With combat operations underway in west Mosul, Iraqi security forces will later this year regain control of the city. But what comes next will be crucial, affecting the utility of the costly international intervention against ISIS, the chances of stability in Iraq and the risk of terrorism beyond its borders for decades to come.
Building on his in depth reporting in Mosul in late 2016 and early 2017, Matt Brown explores the fight for this vital city in Iraq and the challenges that face the Iraqi Army, Iraqi people, their government and the wider coalition forces, including Australia, who seek to restore order and stability.
Key points include:
The battle for Mosul has resulted in fewer civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure than many first feared;
After government forces recapture the city ISIS is likely to continue to stage attacks and seek influence through extortion, intimidation and corruption;
Civilians have been scarred by previous abuse at the hands of the security forces and ISIS but are receptive to reconciliation with the government; and
Fears that security forces would engage in sectarian violence have not been realized but sectarianism remains a threat.