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Iraqis celebrate while holding national flags in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory against the Islamic State group in Mosul, July 10, 2017 (AP photo by Karim Kadim).

With ISIS Near Defeat, the U.S. Must Avoid Repeating Past Mistakes in Iraq

Friday, July 14, 2017

Earlier this week Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared Mosul freed from the forces of the self-styled Islamic State, the result of the longest and most destructive urban battle of the 21st century. Elsewhere in Iraq, the Islamic State is close to losing most of the territory it once controlled. Across the border in Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are driving the group out of its stronghold in Raqqa. Soon it may lose Deir Ezzor, the last urban center it controls.

While this is all good news, the Islamic State is far from eradicated. Many of its foreign fighters are returning home, possibly taking terrorism back with them. Some of its leaders and fighters remain in Iraq. As analyst Renad Mansour observed, “the group is resorting to guerrilla warfare, including attacks against civilians in densely populated areas of Iraq.” ...

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