The Mosul campaign: Winning the war, losing the peace?


After three years and a costly war, which recently destroyed the great al-Nouri mosque in Mosul, the military defeat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq is imminent. The Mosul offensive is a test case for both Iraq and for the international coalition; if it succeeds, it could be used as a model to be applied elsewhere in the region, such as in Raqqa. If it fails to create stability in Nineveh and Iraq, a new radical group may emerge, with far-reaching consequences. There are at least four essential reasons for concern. The first is the lack of a real Iraqi and regional coalition against ISIS. The reluctance of regional actors to work together against ISIS makes the ideological battle against it difficult. Governments in the Middle East do not consider ISIS their prime enemy; for instance, for Turks, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and not ISIS, is the main terrorist group. The Saudi-Iran rivalry takes priority over the regional battle against ISIS and fuels sectarianisation and extremism in both camps.

  • Published year: 2017
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  • Publisher: European University Institute, Robert Shuman Centre for Advanced Studies
  • Page count: 12
  • Language: English