U.S. Must Plan Now for the Day Mosul Is Liberated
The long-delayed military campaign to liberate Mosul from ISIS occupation is in its early stages. However, as the central government in Baghdad and policymakers in the U.S. will soon find out, the military operation will be the easy part.
Washington must encourage Baghdad to prepare a post-liberation political framework for Mosul now in order to cement a lasting political defeat for ISIS and prevent its return to the city. This encouragement should include the following steps:
- Pressing Baghdad to develop an enduring political settlement for Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Governorate,
- Providing humanitarian relief and helping Iraqi efforts to prevent refugee camps from turning into ISIS bases, and
- Establishing a long-term political framework that will give Iraq’s anxious Sunni minority a stake and hope in being included in a broad-based national government.