Wie der Krieg gegen den IS gewonnen werden kann

mossul„As an alliance of Iraqi and Kurdish forces pushes to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, there should be no doubt about what the group plans to do next. It will fight to the bitter end to defend its most populous and symbolic stronghold. After all, it was in Mosul that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the city’s leader for two years before he became the Islamic State’s leader in 2010 – declared a caliphate from the pulpit of an iconic 12th-century mosque. If the Islamic State loses Mosul, the group has a clearly articulated contingency plan, a strategy it has frequently broadcast on multiple platforms for the past five months: inhiyaz, or temporary retreat, into the desert. (…)

[T] this time conditions are even more conducive to the Islamic State’s rebuilding. Iraq now is more politically and socially fractured than it was then. And, as one Iraqi who participated in the Awakening Councils told me, there is now no Sunni group in Iraq that can fill the void left by the Islamic State. The conflict in Syria further complicates the situation: Even if the Islamic State is driven from populated areas in both countries, the open desert border between them will make the group hard to chase. The war against the Islamic State is unwinnable without filling the political and security vacuum that now exists in too much of Iraq. The Islamic State’s eventual retreat from Mosul will be a much-needed victory for the country. But unless the government in Baghdad enables Iraqi Sunnis to fill that void, it will once again emerge from the desert.“


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