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The Bigger Issues at Play: Mosul and the Future of Northern Iraq

Douglas Ollivant wrote for War on the Rocks about the ongoing battle for Mosul.

Mosul was not the first city to fall to the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but it was its capture that shocked the world into action. Over two years later, the much-anticipated Iraqi offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIL is in its early stages. Since the halt of the ISIL offensive outside Baghdad and Irbil and the engagement of U.S and coalition airpower, this battle and its result were preordained. Urban fights bring complications, and the coalition of forces advancing on Mosul should seek to minimize casualties and human suffering. But the moral and strategic imperative is to liberate the citizens of Mosul from the brutalities of ISIL rule, including vicious repression, regular executions and — for the minorities — organized rape.