Iraq: Mosul Offensive Gains Momentum Amid Lingering Failures

The Iraqi armed forces’ efforts to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State are proceeding, but at a slow pace. Attempts to restart development of two northern fields are overly optimistic given recent IS attacks.

Prime Minister Haidar al-‘Abadi declared that Iraqi forces had fully liberated eastern Mosul during his weekly press conference on 24 January. This is an important hallmark in the offensive to liberate Ninawa province, which was launched on 17 October.

Mosul, the provincial capital, is bisected by the Tigris River and the homogenously Sunni Arab western side (the “Right Bank”) contains the old city, the administrative center and the majority of the population. The now-liberated east side (Left Bank) contains modern institutions such as Mosul University and has a more heterogenous population comprising Kurds and religious minorities. The east’s liberation was initially announced on 18 January by military officers, who also noted that a few IS pockets then remained. (CONTINUED - 1781 WORDS)