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As the battle over U.S. military operations in Mosul intensifies, it seems clear that the Iraqis are fighting against ISIL, but there is not much to differentiate us from the enemy.
We have a common enemy, but we have no common plan for defeat in Mosul.
With every advance our forces make, they seem to lose more of the city we supposedly liberated.
I am not suggesting that our efforts to retake the city are doomed. But we have seen from Iraq’s history that it is possible for the enemy to pull out of a fight and then quickly turn back. So it remains to be seen whether our military’s current plan will succeed either in stopping the Daesh advance or in reestablishing our presence in Mosul, which the Iraqi government is keenly interested in.
The current strategy to retake Mosul, which is under the auspices of the U.S.-led international coalition, seems to be building on the old Iraqi strategy of taking the city one by one, and then moving in an orderly fashion, and then eventually taking the city under the command of a Shia cleric who represents the Iraqi ruling establishment.
That Shia cleric is Massoud Barzani, whose son, Masoud Barzani, is the prime minister of Iraq. In 2008 Massoud Barzani was elected prime minister in an electoral victory that was seen as a referendum on U.S. leadership in Iraq.
To keep up appearances, many people believe that Massoud Barzani is the one man who led the people of Iraqi Kurdistan to victory in the battle of Mosul. He has claimed many times to be the real leader, and he is certainly the largest and most influential political figure in the city of Mosul.
With these claims, Massoud Barzani has had a number of political and media successes. It is very hard to imagine how he could lose the confidence of the people of Mosul, as his image and power are already well established.
Many of our soldiers who return from Mosul will not know Massoud Barzani’s name but will have learned about Massoud’s image as the “Caliph.”
His father has also come to represent Iraq as the legitimate ruler of Iraq, and will be seen as the “Caliph,” to many Iraqis. The fact that one of the leading Shia clerics in Baghdad has become the prime minister
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