A constellation of warring factions have seemingly set aside deadly disputes to take part in one of Iraq’s toughest challenges yet — clearing ISIS out of its last major stronghold in the country.

A successful offensive to recapture Mosul could boost desperately needed national unity, restore the pride of an army that was humiliated when it fled ISIS in 2014 and rip the heart out of the group’s self-declared caliphate.

But the tinderbox coalition of anti-ISIS fighters that began its march on Iraq’s second-largest city earlier this month, as well as the combustible mix of the city’s ethnic and sectarian groups, risks triggering yet more bloodshed even after the jihadists have gone.

“Politically it’s an opportunity, a major opportunity for us to get our politics in better shape,” said Lukman Faily, a former Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. “That can only happen if we keep focusing on this and Mosul is a good example, an acid test.”

Few doubt ISIS will eventually be dislodged from the city, but how Mosul is governed afterwards will truly determine whether the operation is a success.

Read more- NBC News

Image courtesy of Reuters