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ICC Note:

Iraq’s Prime Minister declared that ISIS has been defeated in Mosul which is a time of celebration for many Iraqis – Muslim and Christian alike. ISIS’ self-declared caliphate is collapsing, with Mosul gone and Raqqa (in Syria) under extreme pressure to fall. The joy, however, may be short lived. While ISIS has devastated the Middle East with its terror, it was a group that could unite numerous factions together against it. No matter political, cultural, and religious background, it was easier to work together in order to defeat ISIS. With ISIS diminishing, the question of who runs Iraq, what to do with Christians, how to address the Kurds, and the Shi’ite versus Sunni debate has already begun to restart. Iraq’s fractured history was bandaged together to fight ISIS, but divisiveness is resurfacing.        

07/10/2017 Iraq (Reuters) – After almost nine months of fierce fighting, the campaign to recapture Mosul from Islamic State is drawing to a bitter end in the ruins of the city’s historic quarter, but the struggle for Iraq’s future is far from over.

Aside from Mosul, across the border in Syria a battle is raging to dislodge IS from Raqqa, the second capital of its self-declared caliphate. Fighting will push down the Euphrates valley to Deir al-Zour, the jihadis’ last big urban stronghold.

But the fall of Mosul also exposes ethnic and sectarian fractures that have plagued Iraq for more than a decade.

The victory risks triggering new violence between Arabs and Kurds over disputed territories or between Sunnis and Shi’ites over claims to power, egged on by outside powers that have shaped Iraq’s future since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority-rule and brought the Iran-backed Shi’ite majority to power.

For Iraq, stunned by the blitz on Mosul by Islamic State in 2014 and the collapse of its army, victory could thus turn out to be as big a problem as defeat.

The federal model devised under the Anglo-American occupation and built on a power-sharing agreement between Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds collapsed into ethno-sectarian carnage spawned by the al Qaeda precursors of Islamic State.

In the three years since the jihadis swept across the border from Syria where they had regrouped in the chaos of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, IS was the rallying point uniting a fractured Iraq.

 

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