Iraq’s military offensive to liberate Mosul from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), launched on 17 October, continues to grind forward, but in many ways the politics is already overshadowing the war.

Militarily, the northern and southern prongs of the offensive have only taken areas around the city. Only the eastern push led by federal special forces has made progress into the city proper, and even they have yet to reach the Tigris River which bisects the city. (CONTINUED - 1917 WORDS)