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The Conflict in Mosul

Suvan Bhat ‘20, Staff Writer

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What started out as a dispute between the government and people of Syria became a worldwide problem with the different powers of the world fighting for influence in the outcome of the Syrian civil war. However, the primary focus nowadays seems to be on ISIS. The formation of ISIS is debatable and often credited to the war, and after gaining territory in Syria and Iran, the need to deplete its forces has become a major issue for the U.S. Fortunately for international security, the amount of land that ISIS controls has been lowering. ISIS, now sensing its lack of presence, has been struggling to keep control of the major cities that it still controls. This is where the conflict in Mosul comes in.

Mosul, being the second-biggest city in Iraq, is a key trading city that ISIS uses to transport militants, weapons, and illegal goods between Turkey and Syria. In addition to this, there are a vast number of oil fields located near Mosul, and ISIS uses them to sell oil–the primary source of their profits–illegally. After losing the cities of Tikrit and Ramadi, two other major ISIS strongholds, Mosul is all that is left for ISIS. This makes taking the city of Mosul a very necessary course of action. As always, though, many complications arise when dealing with Mosul.

For one, the number of civilians in Mosul amounts to a quarter of the population of Los Angeles (one million people) according to CNN, which poses a huge problem for anyone trying to enter the city. ISIS is not known for its mercy, and intelligence officials say that ISIS could be using humans as a more severe form of propaganda, using the humanity of opposing forces against them. Another problem is the plethora of booby traps that litter the streets of Mosul. The city is encompassed by moats of oil, lit ablaze by the ISIS fighters, hoping to deny entry to the city. Houses are filled with explosives, and a wrong step can lead to an I.E.D going off, CNN reports. Add the fact that there are 3,000 to 5,000 militants inside the city willing to defend with their lives, and now the situation in Mosul becomes a whole lot more complicated.

Let’s look at the good side though; U.S. troops are supporting the already existing Iraqi army. The professional training from the United States is sure to help the Iraqi army take out ISIS. The strategic move of cutting off all trade networks to and from Mosul also seem to be working, as various intelligence sources report that the militants are often deprived of necessities to fight the war. This will make the conflict a little easier, to say the least.

Although many estimate that the conflict in Mosul will take about three more months, things are looking better than before. If Mosul does fall, it will mark the “beginning of the end of ISIS in Iraq,” as CNN put it. The aftermath will be tough, though, with massive numbers of people displaced and deprived. The conflict in Mosul has become a major issue; however, good always prevails, and, in time, peace and order will be restored to the Middle East.

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The Conflict in Mosul