Liberating Mosul: Beyond the battle

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The occupation of the Iraqi city of Mosul by the Islamic State (IS)1 has become an issue of global importance. The liberation of the city is seen as a symbol for defeating IS in Iraq, and there is international pressure to achieve this. Both the Obama administration and the prime minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, have been pushing for the liberation of Mosul for political reasons.2 There is the perception that Obama would like to end his term on a high, and victory over IS in Iraq would provide just that, at least temporarily. Additionally, Abadi promised to defeat IS before the end of 2016 and, as his political position is weak at the moment, this is a promise he needs to deliver on.3 The flurry of activity in September 2016 — with visits from the British and German defense ministers to Erbil,4 a high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) visiting Baghdad5 as well as a tripartite agreement among Baghdad, Erbil and Washington for the Mosul liberation — made it clear that the Mosul battle was imminent.6 Indeed, on October 17, 2016, Abadi announced the beginning of the operation to retake the city of Mosul from IS.7 However, no political agreement has been reached for the future governance and security of Mosul and the wider province of Nineveh.8 Liberating Mosul without adequate planning with regard to post-IS dynamics will only result in a short-lived victory that the people of Iraq will pay for in the years to come. A political agreement should have been reached prior to the launch of the offensive, and it is now imperative that political action be taken before the end of the offensive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
JournalMiddle East Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Institute themes

  • Security and Resilience
  • Peace and Conflict


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