Tuesday, July 11, 2017
The Iraqis have retaken Mosul from ISIS. The town is a wreck. Its citizens are either in resettlement camps or picking through ruins for anything to eat. It is already well understood that the military victory will be hollow unless the town is rebuilt and its citizens resettled within. Public relations is a bulldozer and backhoe. It will take years to clear away the debris and rebuild, but the Iraqi government doesn't have that kind of time. Sectarian tensions have not gone away and the potential for renewed clashes between Sunnis and Shiites is large. Mosul might never recover if the two religious groups cannot work together. What is needed is a unified focus on rebuilding. Failing that, ISIS could make a comeback in the town by promising to run its utilities and provide governance, as brutal as it is. The US can help the rebuilding effort but it cannot do it alone. The future of the city and its people is unclear at best.