Mosul Loss Huge, But Not Deadly, Blow To ‘Caliphate’
BAGHDAD: Mosul was the largest city of the “Caliphate” proclaimed by ISIS and its loss is a severe blow to the experience of the terrorist personnel, but not fatal.
The northern Iraqi city where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his public appearance is only known in July 2014, announcing himself to the world as “caliph” during a Friday sermon in an old city mosque.
It took tens of thousands of Iraqi forces backed by Western warplanes and special forces nearly nine months to defeat the terrorists, who have left behind a heavily damaged city and exhausted the security forces.
In Mosul, a city that had a population of about two million three years ago, the “Caliphate” loses one of the main centers of administration and ISIS, one of the most powerful symbols of its power.
“This is a serious blow to ISIS’s prestige,” said David Witty, an analyst and retired US special forces colonel.
The resumption of Mosul, hailed as an important step towards the end of this unprecedented episode in the history of modern jihad is the latest in a long series of setbacks for ISIS.
At its peak, the terrorist group controls a territory the size of South Korea or Jordan and a population of more than 10 million. Now more than half of the land and three-quarters of the population have been lost.
And a major offensive in its other de facto capital, the Syrian city of Raka, is growing.
The group – with the motto “stays and grows” – does not conquer new areas around the core of its “caliphate” since 2015, has lost thousands of fighters and is less attractive to foreign terrorists than it once was.
The fall of Mosul further reduces the territorial contiguity of the so-called caliph, leaving more pockets of land in the power of ISIS completely isolated.
Still, analysts have warned that it is too early to declare victory.
“We should not see the resumption of Mosul in dead clothing for ISIS,” said Patrick Martin, an analyst in Iraq at the Institute for the Study of War, adding that the group “still maintains significant urban land” especially in Syria.
Even in Iraq, where terrorists have lost more ground and retain only seven percent of the territory they once had, declaring the caliphate death “implies that ISIS can not control the land and rule” It is said.
However, “if the security forces are not taking the necessary steps to ensure that the gains against ISIS will be sustained in the long run, whereas ISIS in theory could recover and rebuild urban land,” Martin said.
Trying to salvage the remains of the caliphate, the group is likely to intensify a transformation that has already begun to focus more resources on guerrilla attacks and attacks.
“In the short term in Iraq, ISIS with terrorism and insurgency instead of trying to openly control large areas,” Witty said.
Martin said that it was already a model of great result ISIS attacks of military setbacks.
The bombing of the deadliest in Baghdad in which more than 320 people died last year, came after terrorists have lost their iconic bastion of Falluja.
The group also organized a major attack on the Kurdoue-controlled Kirkuk command after launching an aggression against Mosul, which was the largest military operation in Iraq for years.
With its dream state on hold, ISIS must return to these types of attacks and do everything possible to deny any claim to the Iraqi government that has been eliminated.
“It’s very easy to see the next, and Iraq is likely to be plagued with insecurity in the next few years,” Witty said.
The scope of ISIS ideology continues to be one of the greatest threats to the world after three years foreign branches have grown far beyond the core of the “Caliphate” and thousands of foreign fighters are joining the battlefield with a return to home.