A turning point in the war against the world’s most dangerous terrorist group. After almost nine months of fierce fighting, the campaign to recapture Mosul and defeat Daesh ends with success.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
Narration: July 10, 2017 – Mosul, Iraq. A turning point in the war against the world’s most dangerous terrorist group.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Yarallah, Commander, Mosul Operation: “When Daesh made Mosul fall, they declared their caliphate from here. And we have retaken Mosul, handing it back to the nation, and we have eliminated this proclaimed caliphate.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Lieutenant General Sami al-Aridhi, Commander, 3rd Special Operation Forces: “Today the commander in chief of the armed forces announced a very happy event to the Iraqi people in general, and the people of Mosul specifically. We wish for our brothers, in the city of Mosul, that they will rebuild their city, and the priority is that they should think of eliminating the Daesh ideology, which the group has planted in some minds, especially those of the younger generation. We hope that they (the people of Mosul) will forget their disputes and rebuild their city. And, God willing, all Iraqis and the whole world stand with this great and historical city.”
Narration: After almost nine months of fierce fighting, the campaign to recapture Mosul and defeat Daesh ends with success. The prime minister of Iraq, Haider Al-Abadi, tweeted a celebration of the victory, in which he said the world is seeing "the end of the fake Daesh state," and pledged “to hunt down all of its remaining fighters.” Now this terrorist group has lost control over significant territory in Iraq where it could harbor foreign fighters or exploit resources like oil. The Daesh occupation of Mosul left Iraq’s second-largest city in ruins, claimed thousands of life and displaced nearly one million more.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] A man, Displaced from Mosul: “I want to return to Mosul, but with my house destroyed where do I stay? You tell me. I cannot go back. There is also no safety and stability yet until they really retake the whole of Mosul the local government is back in control, with the authorities and police in place. There is no safety now.”
Narration: The liberation of Mosul – Daesh de facto capital in Iraq for three years–couldn’t be achieved without a unified front against this terrorist group. The operation was the largest campaign in Iraq’s recent history, with about 60,000 mobilized fighters; a mix of forces from Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service, to regular troops, to Kurdish Peshmerga, and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) known also as the Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi which includes many different militias.
While Washington seeks to downplay the Islamic Republic of Iran’s role in the recapture of Mosul from Daesh terrorists, many political analysts think otherwise.
Just after the victory in Mosul, Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki thanked terrorists and praised the Islamic Republic for its advice to the Iraqi armed forces during the nine-month long offensive.
A week after the fall of Mosul in June 2014, Iraq's highest-ranking Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a holy fatwa which called for the mobilization of all sections of society in Iraq to defend the nation against Daesh. Al-Sistani’s religious fatwa enabled various Shia militias, Sunni tribal leaders, Izadis, and Christians to come under the Popular Mobilization Forces which was instrumental in the battle against Daesh.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General, Hezbollah Resistance Movement: “This fatwa pushed 100 000 Iraqi people, young and old, to volunteer to fight, which led to the establishment of a popular Iraqi crowd of paramilitary forces that became part of Iraq's armed forces.”
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
Narration: The battle for Mosul is over now, but the struggle for Iraq's future is far from it. The imperative of defeating Daesh united Iraq’s different forces. Now, there are fears that the fault lines between ethnic and religious groups may re-emerge. Last year, The President of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani, called for a referendum on independence, stating "The time has come and the situation is now suitable for the Kurdish people to make a decision through a referendum on their fate”. Meanwhile, the Kurds have taken advantage of the fight against Daesh to seize control of 70 percent of the territories in northern Iraq that are in dispute between Arabs and Kurds.
While the victory over Daesh in Mosul is certainly worth celebrating as its forces are now more concerned about simple survival than plotting attacks, it's worth recalling that the group continues to hold the Iraqi towns of Tal Afar and Hawija and its de facto Syrian capital, Raqqa. The question is, will the fall of Mosul be the fall of Daesh too? The fact is that the one thing that really brought together the fractious sects and ethnic groups of Iraq was their shared hatred of Daesh. While standing united against this terrorist group is of paramount importance, other measures have to taken as well, above all, cutting off its financial resources. Now it’s an open secret which countries funded and armed Daesh with their petro-dollars to fan the flames of sectarianism in the region.
SOUNDBITE [English] Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder: “There's an early 2014 email from Hillary Clinton, so not so long after she left secretary of state, to her campaign manager, John Podesta. That email, it states that ISIL, ISIS, is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”
Narration: Besides, as a criminal organization, Daesh would fill its coffer with smuggling, illegal oil sales and other types of crime such as bank robberies, kidnapping and extortion. Cutting these financial sources is impossible without an international endeavor; as is the reconstruction of Iraq. Years of war, chaos and insecurity have left many parts of this country in tatters. Without international support, Iraq will not be able to rise from the ashes.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Ihsan al-Shammari, Security Expert: “Another challenge lies in maintaining the stability of recovered areas. The Iraqi government has attached importance to it. It means to get people return to their hometowns as soon as it allows, so as to resume their normal lives as they had before the appearance of terrorist groups. Especially in the context of falling international oil prices and fiscal crisis in Iraq, the Iraqi government cannot rely on its own, and it needs great support from the international community to aid regional reconstruction.”
Narration: With the recent defeat of Deash, it seems that this group’s days are numbered. But it doesn’t mean that extremism in the region and the world will go away with Daesh. Experts believe Takfiri Wahhabism rather than Daesh is the root cause of extremism and as long as this cause is not addressed, the world will not see an era of total peace and harmony. Daesh is the latest embodiment of an extreme ideology called Wahhabism with its roots in Saudi Arabia and as long as that ideology persists, the world will be threatened by terror and violence.
All in all, the victory over Daesh in Mosul is good news, but the focus should now be on the real causes that led to the rise of this terrorist group; those that have not been adequately addressed so far.