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Iraqi troops march in a military parade during celebrations marking the recapture of Mosul from Islamic State militants, Baghdad, July 15, 2017 (Iraqi Prime Minister’s media office via AP).

After the Liberation of Mosul, Where’s the Good News for Iraq?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The defeat in Mosul of the so-called Islamic State was supposed to be good news for Iraq. But challenges that remain—ranging from Shiite militias’ new role and Sunni Iraqis’ enduring mistrust of each other and Baghdad, to the lack of state capacity to restore basic services—mean that Mosul’s nightmare will just continue. For some modest signs of constructive political change that is happening in Iraq, we need to look deeper, at local and regional developments.

The recapture of Mosul on July 10 by Iraqi forces, with the help of Shiite and Kurdish militia, was supposed to usher in a new period of hope for restoring the Iraqi state and some semblance of domestic peace. The defeat of the Islamic State from control of Iraqi territory, while not complete, is indeed a major step forward. But it is abundantly clear that a whole new set of daunting challenges now confronts Iraq’s leaders. ...

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