At the dawn of the seventeenth of October last year, Haider Abadi , Iraq ‘s prime minister announced the start of military operations for the liberation of Mosul from the grip of the organization Daesh, with the participation of the international coalition forces and during the course of battle the coalition forces and the Iraqi army have made field gains in the war of restoration of the city of Mosul from al Daesh. Hence , the battle of Mosul derives its major importance as being one of a central gravity for al Daesh in both Syria and Iraq from which al – Baghdadi announced the birth of the “state,” and it occupies a unique strategic position that it is the link among Turkey, Syria and Iraq , including the Kurdistan region, as it lies on the new Hareer Road new that the Iranian regime is seeking for decades to reach through it to the Mediterranean Sea, so all parties affected by the outcome of the battle of Mosul seek to participate in it to secure their interests. As well as the distinguished location enjoyed by this city, in addition to the enormous geographical area and the important number of its population compared to the rest of the other Iraqi cities. Al- Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq. The war in urban areas is not an easy task , as shown by recent operations for the Liberation of Ramadi , which is inhabited by 200 thousand inhabitants and Fallujah , inhabited by 275 thousand inhabitants, while the number of Mosul ‘s population estimated at 1.8 million ( a lot of them left the city in search of a safe heaven ) .
Followers of Iraqi affairs of political analysts and military experts say that the military operation would be the easy part, and that the hardest challenge after the military campaign is to Mosul management in the post-Daesh, the larger challenge for them is how to administrate Mosul after Daesh in order to set up a permanent political defeat to the organization Daesh and to prevent his return to the city. The battle of Mosul is an adventure that may make it difficult to escape from its consequences, if a long-term plan has not been put to answer questions such as: How should to deal with the city after Daesh to ensure long-term stability for the city? And how can avoid falling back into the hands of a militant organization like Daesh or others or become an area controlled by the princes of the sectarian war? This makes it necessary to prepare a political framework for after the battle and the pursuit of political reforms as a starting point for the path of overall stability.
In the context of these fundamental questions for the future of the city of Mosul in particular and Iraq in general , it seemed that the new administration of US Donald Trump has an idea crystallized in the war on «Daesh», not limited to the deployment of helicopters and artillery in Mosul and strengthen the presence of the special forces, but rather constitutes an American –Gulf front to contribute to the war on «Daesh», provided that the areas liberated from «Daesh» must not be occupied by the Iranian regime or affiliated militias, this is the headline resulted of the document of Moscow and visiting of US Secretary of defense James Matisse to the Gulf and Iraq. This means that there is US ,Russia, Turkey Gulf agreement to end the Iranian expansion in Arab capitals, and we must be very clear in the message that if the world wants a cooperation to eliminate the organization Daesh. For any Gulf contribution or Arab in the war on «Daesh», whether in Iraq or in Syria, the Iranian regime should be outside those areas, and that this message be more clear to the Iraqi government, where Matisse said that the United States will remain supportive of Iraq even after liberation from «Daesh», and for this purpose , James Matisse visited Iraq in last February to stress the importance of military cooperation between governments of US and Iraq in the war against extremist groups .this cooperation already exists, as the reports indicate that American advisers are helping the Iraqi forces in the battle to restore Mosul from “Daesh” . it is expected that Matisse strategy to be expanded in the scope of this cooperation , despite that the matter is not clear whether if this means to send more US forces to Iraq but in spite of the importance of and the need for increased US support for the Iraqi government in its war against Daesh, this is not enough . it is worth noting that Matisse strategy to provide something more effective than what has been done by US in the era of the Obama administration , it needs to go beyond military matters and should be based on long term thinking .
Based on field progress, the Followers of Iraqi affairs of political analysts and military experts believe that the administration of US President Donald Trump, which raised the size of its participation in the battle because it is final and important for the development of post-Daesh in Iraq arrangements, should encourage Baghdad to prepare the political framework for Mosul after the battle from now and on. This encourage should includes the following steps:
* Pressure on Baghdad to set up a permanent political settlement belonging to Mosul and the surrounding of province of Nineveh.
* Provide humanitarian assistance and empowering the Iraqi efforts to prevent the transformation of the refugee camps to the Daashah bases .
* to establish a Long-term political framework that gives a hope and bet to the anxious Sunnis in Iraq across their participation in a broad-based government of national unity .
Local residents of the Sunni Arabs need an acceptable alternative vision, to be credible with the status quo before their stated support of the Iraqi army. Many of the supporters Daesh are not ideologues but most of them are local residents or leaders or tribal realists that are looking for representation in power for themselves and their communities. The policy of the previous Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pushed them to join the organizing Daesh as their support to Daesh was better for them to remain under the rule of al-Maliki, which has caused great concern within the Sunni street.
In order to establish the required Iraq’s stability, that the United States should adopt the efforts to achieve stability in post-conflict and reconstruction, with the participation of the coalition parties and work with the Iraqi Government to resolve differences on decentralization issues, and the mechanism of governance, security, and sovereignty over the territory. But before that there are other stages that must be followed to get to the reconstruction phase, so that the continued military and economic support depends on the establishment of a coherent military force of sectarian pluralism, and it can be done through the development of the National Guard system, allowing engagement of Sunni forces, and delegitimize of any unlicensed Group or independent militia. Based on the fact that Iraq will depend on the flow of American arms to fight Daesh, it should take advantage of this fact for demanding political reforms as a springboard on the way to overall stability, and promote efforts of the engagement and integrate Sunnis into the political system of Iraq and forming a counterweight and against the Iranian influence in Iraq.
Although the liberation of the Iraqi lands from the grip of “Daesh” seems
Successful militarily , but this obscures the existence of some problems in the long run in Iraq , and that must be addressed in order to prevent “Daesh” or groups similar to it from appearing a gain in the future due to the ongoing grievance . Some of these problems includes the question of who will govern the liberated areas after” Daesh” especially that of the Sunni community in Iraq is facing internal divisions . Shiite community has come together in Iraq as well as in the war against “Daesh” but there is no agreement yet about the political scene after the defeat of the organization , as the political leaders are continuing to dominate the society with their competitive agenda . Iran insists to support Nuri al-Malki , whose supporters believe that the war against “Daesh” is an opportunity to regain power , whether in official or unofficial way , while his political rivals of the Shiite community also competing among themselves . The Kurdish community is also experiencing similar political conflicts between the different parties and leaders . Thus the sectarian divisions are not alone to spoil the social and political scene in Iraq despite the fact that the war on Daesh managed to unite the many sects, religions and different races but there are also political clashes inside one community and one race . Any effective strategy against “Daesh” must address the political dimension of the future.
If the political leaders of the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds failed to reach a political settlement on the future of Mosul and the future of other Sunni areas. If we assume that the Iraqi government will not be able to represent the Sunnis in Mosul legally so the organization of the Daesh in its current form or in other similar form will appear again. In the meantime, the organization will try to organize a rebellion to exacerbate the sectarian tensions and deepen the crisis of confidence and the problem of Sunni representation between the Sunni provinces and the central government in Baghdad, thereby sowing the seeds of rebellion again.
The question is whether the political leaders who rule the country able to overcome the current differences and take advantage of the Iraqi national figures to create a policy of rule based on national standards that will ensure representation and independence for the Sunnis . Thus, such a project will ensure the disposal of Daesh in the country. As in the case of lack of access to political stability, things will be more difficult after the end of the battle as it will escalate the competition to fill the vaccume in Mosul. But the fact that Baghdad is weak and is not able to resolve this issue will dissipate the anticipated victory, the result expected by the organization Daesh.
Muammar Faisal Kholi
Translated by : Mudhaffar al-Kusairi
Rawabet Research and Strategic Studies Center