Can Al-Abadi Ensure Stability for Mosul?

July 15, 2017

Washington, D.C.- Emerald Robinson, Political Correspondent

The past week has seen both victories and set backs in the Middle East. Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may not have been able to broker a negotiation between Qatar and other Arab states, the Trump administration foreign policy scored a “win” with the victory in Mosul-the last urban stronghold of the terrorist group ISIL in Iraq.   President Trump has promised Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi a stable Mosul.  However, it’s been proven many times that stability in this region is fragile.  Heritage Foundation Fellow and Middle East expert Jim Phillips says that any chance of real stability relies on Al-Abadi and the Iraqi government.

“I think it’s possible to stabilize Mosul but that will take tremendous outreach from the Baghdad government to reassure Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority that they have a good future within an integrated Iraq,” explains Phillips.  A future free of sectarian policies according to him.  Policies such as those exhibited by former Prime Minister Maliki under which Mosul succumbed to ISIS back in 2014.  Phillips likened the spread of ISIS in Iraq to a cancer which the Iraqi government could not defeat. A cancer that ultimately took a big chunk out of Northern and Western Iraq.

However, some people question Al-Abadi’s allegiances insinuating that he could potentially be strongly influenced by neighboring Iran who has sponsored and supported terrorism within Iraq.  Particularly some Iraqi Kurds and Sunni Arabs feel he may even be an Iranian plant. Phillips says that although Al-Abadi is understandably not free of Iranian influence due to the country’s proximity and regional power, he believes that the current Prime Minister is a nationalist who desires an independent identity for Iraq.  According to Phillips, he is a tremendous improvement to his predecessor.

“He’s a huge improvement over Maliki who was much more open to Iranian influence. But there is no doubt that Iran is the most influential foreign power in Iraq today and it’s influence is much greater than the U.S.’s influence,” says Phillips.

The Heritage fellow also added that the role of the U.S. in Iraq would be less than what is was pre-2011 after the Obama Administration made an abrupt exit from the country and broke several promises of continued support.  He says that leaves the job of stabilization up to the Iraqi’s themselves and that it will require the government to reach out to Sunni Arabs to create a unified Iraq.

 

Phillips warns that the U.S. must be careful this time not leave a vacuum that could again result in radical islamist terror influence infiltrating the region.  He says the U.S. must walk a fine line of not having such a strong military presence as to create resentment, yet provide enough training and anti-terrorism support to keep Iraq strong enough to resist such destabilizers. “Nature may abhor a vacuum but terrorist love them,” says Phillips.

In regards to neighboring Syria, Phillips says that the country is even more complicated than Iraq and that he does not see the U.S. maintaining a military presence in Syria post-ISIS.  He believes the Trump Administration is trying to reach some kind of political settlement through Russia that would stabilize Eastern Syria without a U.S. military presence.   Phillips doesn’t expect to see peace in the Middle East anytime soon suggesting that perhaps a decrease in fighting is the most that can be achieved.  As for Mosul, he’s more hopeful in that he says the Al-Abadi and a few other political figures within Iraq do see a future for Iraq as a stable and independent country.

 

 

  • Bill Strong

    This will fly like a led balloon. Reverse the divisions that British made in the Middle East that broke up tribal and religious territory to better control the populace. (That worked out real well). Borders would have to be redrawn in some cases done away with. The Kurds are going want their own homeland.

  • Sui-Juris

    The only real hope for Mosul is that the Christians return to their homes in number. The history of Mosul is Chaldean Christian and they are mentioned as a distinct ethnic group in Article 125 of the Iraqi constitution.

    The Sunni-Shia sectarian warfare is not going away anytime soon.

  • jeff

    This means more American troops on the ground in Iraq!

    • constitutiononly

      Hope not, but looks like it. Round #15 coming up! We should just get the hell out and encourage them to destroy each other.

  • town22

    Why give Syria to the Russians? Why let Iran maintained its influence over Syria and Hezbollah? Why repeat the Yalta Roosevelt debacle; of giving our adversaries a comfortable position in the world to enslave people?

  • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

    The Iraqi government and its allies face two challenges regarding Mosul. The first is ensuring that the ISIS presence there is rooted out. This not only includes ISIS fighters, but also its “civilian” infrastructure as well as its support networks among the general population, so this will take some time and effort, and be entrusted to the regime’s allied militias as well as the police. What we’ve been seeing recently are efforts to apprehend and arrest any remaining active ISIS and their key supporters. Most have been given rough and summary justice by militias allied with the Iraqi regime. Many militias had members from families and communities that have suffered heavily from ISIS, so little mercy is likely to be shown captured fighters and supporters. However, many ISIS fighters and supporters have fled the Mosul area, knowing what would be in store for them if they remained. Many are now scattered throughout the region and the Iraqi government will have to work hard to prevent them regrouping.

    The second challenge is in dealing with the population in the Mosul area. The latter was a center of support for ISIS, and supported the latter in its defense of the city against Iraqi and allied forces. The regime in Baghdad claims that Mosul is a traditionally rebellious area, but part of the problem is that the city is a major center of Sunni Islam, and its people believe themselves to have been badly treated by the Shi’a dominated government in Baghdad. Mending and maintaining relations between the Iraqi government and the people of Mosul will not be easy, but is a must-do in order to prevent the re-establishment of armed Islamist groups in the region.

    • irjsiq

      The USA should drop Copies of Our Constitution all Over the Arab World!
      Export America: “The Concept! “The Freedom!”

      • irjsiq

        Paper the Globe with Copies of Our Constitution!
        Someone may be able to Connect the Dots, on how America Succeeded as a New Nation!

      • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

        Problem is, sharia law is incompatible with the US Constitution.

        • 🍀Rpaddyᵀʳᵘᵐᵖᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ🇺🇸🔒🚧🚷

          Maybe, just maybe we will witness a true reformation of Islam in the next 20 years, and sharia will be banned/disowned along with the concept of jihad.
          Alas, it’s but a wish, however we christians reformed our ways. Although it was over centuries, so again, it is a wish…

          • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

            Whether or not it is a vain hope, at least in the meantime we can educate. Few people know the truth about sharia law.

          • David Bagdasarian

            They’ve had 14 centuries to reform their ways. Not gonna happen in our lifetimes bucko.

          • LB

            Not gonna happen. it’s a violent and repressive theocratic social culture.They hate each other and everyone else because god tells them to. You don’t reason with that. There’s not hoping that will change because it has to come from god, and that doesn’t happen until after you die.

    • constitutiononly

      They are all tribal barbarians. Loyalty lasts as long as a better bribe or a worse threat.

      • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

        Quite right. That is why the militias and the locals are so anxious to get their work done. The longer issues, and people, hang around, the greater the chance that bribes or threats will complicate their being held to account in a court of law. Hence the rough and summary justice. It’s quick, and final. Bribery works best against soft hands, much less so against hard lead.