The liberation of Mosul is in the early days of execution, but as the central government in Baghdad and policymakers in the US will soon find out, liberating the city and kicking out ISIL (also known as ISIS) will be the easy part.
The real challenge will be finding a political settlement that allows the local Sunni inhabitants to address their legitimate political grievances with the central government in Baghdad.
It is in this area that the battle for Mosul will be truly won or lost.
Even though there has been much media reporting on the upcoming offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL, there are many reasons why we should not expect a swift liberation of the city.
Mosul is Iraq’s second-largest city, and urban warfare is no easy task as the recent operation to liberate Ramadi has shown.
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Image courtesy of Reuters