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Iraqi forces deployed during an offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants outside Mosul, Oct. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

What Comes After Liberating Mosul From ISIS Will Determine Iraq’s Future

Ellen Laipson Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016

Early Monday morning, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the beginning of military operations to retake Mosul, two years after the so-called Islamic State seized the city. The anticipated recapture of the Sunni-majority city by a diverse coalition of forces holds the promise of improving some of Iraq’s most troubling trends. How the U.S. manages the complex politics of the coalition and how Abadi handles the Shiite players involved in the offensive will be critical to shaping the political aftermath of any eventual military success.

In the run-up to the campaign to retake Mosul, the U.S. provided additional troops to expand the training of Iraqi forces that will lead the assault. Washington has also sought to resolve disputes over which other forces will participate in the campaign. Retaking Mosul has been Abadi’s paramount goal since he took office in 2014, not long after Mosul was captured by the Islamic State, setting off a chain of events that led to Abadi being installed as prime minister. ...

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