Iraqi Gov’t declares “mighty Triumph” over ISIL in Mosul, as Sunni Press decries Casualties

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Al-Mada reports that 24 hours after Mosul was completely liberated from the hold of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi visited it and walked around the city. Photos on his official Twitter site showed him in black military garb.

Al-Abadi convened a meeting with leaders of his military at Mosul. When he first arrived, he had announced that victory was assured and the remnants of Daesh were surrounded on a few square feet of territory. He said it was a matter of time before he would be announcing a magnificent triumph for the people of Iraq (i.e. that Daesh had been defeated). He praised the Iraqi army for their sacrifices.

At the end of his 8-hour tour, the prime minister said that the handful of remaining Daesh fighters had nowhere to flee, save to their deaths or to surrender. He announced “a great victory” in “liberated Mosul” after less than 9 months from his initiation of the effort to take Mosul back from Daesh.

Video of his visit showed Mosul residents celebrating the defeat of Daesh near the mosque of the prophet Jonah.

For its part, Daesh issued a communique accepting its defeat in Mosul and saying that it would make Talafar its new HQ. Talafar is a large Turkmen town that used to be split between Sunni and Shiite Turkmen but Daesh rule has led to the departure of the Shiites.

Some of the coverage of the fall of Daesh in Mosul was about the differing ways it was covered. Iraqi Shiites complained that many Sunni outlets concentrated on the loss of civilian life in the military campaign, and the controversial role of hard line Shiite militias. Even the Sunni-owned al-Zaman newspaper in Iraq concentrated on Sunni casualties and the destruction of the old city.

In the Sunni Arab world, sympathy with civilian victims of the Iraqi government campaign was apparent. Iraq Shiites also regretted the loss of civilian life, but typically blamed Daesh for it.

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Related video:

ABC News: “Iraqi leaders declare victory over ISIS in Mosul”

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6 Responses

  1. If the people of Iraq want their nation to rise up after all the violence, war, and turmoil, they have gone through, for no fault of theirs, they must unite and work together to succeed in bringing some normalcy to their country. It is time Sunni and Shiite put their differences aside and unite to fight the bigger problem, anti Muslim campaigns against all Muslims.
    It is up to the leadership in both sects to set the right tone in their communities.

  2. “In the Sunni Arab world, sympathy with civilian victims of the Iraqi government campaign was apparent. Iraq Shiites also regretted the loss of civilian life, but typically blamed Daesh for it.”

    Syria and Iraq will need to concentrate on reconciliation efforts between the various religious, sectarian and ethnic minorities. While the losses are different in severity and numbers between the various groups, they have all lost a great deal. These groups will need to look inward and consider alternative policies and decisions. Most, if not all, Syrians and Iraqis (Sunni, Shia and Christian) want nothing to do with Daesh, Nusrah Front, Jaysh al-Islam, or Ahrar al-Sham. Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham received financing and support from Saudi and Turkey. An ideal future would put a stopper on Saudi funding of extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

    In order for reconciliation to begin and be successful, Iraq and Syria will need to put the carnage behind them. Ireland, South Africa, and Sri Lanka all went through protracted strife in the past, and it was only once the carnage stopped that the various groups were able to sit down and concentrate on a fairer and just future that partially addressed the past injustice. The same can only happen in Iraq and Syria, if we insist that support of Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham will not be tolerated. The alternative is what you see today: continued protracted strife in which the homes, livelihood, and lives of Syrians and Iraqis are destroyed. One begins to wonder after 6+ years of continued strife just what will be left of these countries and its people.

  3. Not surprised by the sectarian coverage. It’s probably emotionally easier to pin the crisis on abusive Shiite authorities than it is on Sunni extremists for Sunni media, and vice versa for Shia media.

    Kind of reminds me of how many Pakistanis were more focused and outraged on news about drone strikes by Western powers as compared to terrorist attacks by extremists.

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