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Kampf um Mossul: Eine vertane Chance

shia-militias_ii„Last week, a Lebanese newspaper, Al Akhbar, reported that some Iraqi officials had complained that the campaign in Mosul was going too slowly. The officials asked the prime minister, Haider Al Abadi, to allow the Badr Organisation and Kataib Hizbollah to participate in the fighting, despite fears over the role of sectarian militias in a predominantly Sunni city. Al Akhbar’s report aligns with familiar calls for the Hashd Al Shaabi to be given a fighting role in the eastern parts of the city. For now, the recently-formalised militia organisation is assigned mostly to the areas west of Mosul. Hashd Al Shaabi commanders have also complained that the government in Baghdad has not given them the green light to attack Tal Afar, a major ISIL stronghold west of Mosul, despite their preparedness to storm it. (…)

Even if Mr Al Abadi continues to refuse permission for the militias to fight in the city, the fact that such pressure is mounting indicates that the battle is facing critical tests. It also suggests that the entry of Shia militias into the city might be inevitable if the current patterns persist. (…)

The battle in Mosul could have been much more significant; it could have been part of a national project to rewrite Iraq’s social and political contract. Unfortunately, it has been reduced largely to a counterterrorism operation to clear the city of ISIL militants. That is a worthwhile target, but a modest one compared to what could be achieved if Washington and Baghdad had worked together on a political track. The militants’ perseverance in the face of the advancing government forces and the reduction of such a major battle into a counterterrorism operation mean that Iraq has already lost a significant aspect of the war: the grand objective of dealing a deadly blow to ISIL’s claims of statehood. The entry of despised militias into Mosul might render the militants’ defeat in the city meaningless.“

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