Small Wars Journal

Why Victory in Mosul Won’t Solve America’s Iraq Conundrum

Why Victory in Mosul Won’t Solve America’s Iraq Conundrum by Joshua Rovner and Caitlin Talmadge, Lawfare

ISIS is back on its heels in both Syria and Iraq, and the Iraqi government announced on March 24 that the all-important, yet much-delayed campaign to re-take the critical Iraqi city of Mosul has finally begun. Starting with attacks on towns south of the city, the campaign’s goal is to effect a “slow strangulation” of ISIS in Mosul, much as in the successful effort against ISIS in Ramadi last year.

Unfortunately, it is one thing to recognize that ISIS is becoming weaker, but quite another to exploit its weakness in a way that leads to a meaningful victory and a durable peace. Three crucial questions remain unanswered about the coming battle for Mosul and the larger implications for the United States and Iraq. Without good answers, even a vigorous campaign may deliver only marginal strategic results…

Read on.