Kurdish security chief calls for deal on post-ISIS administration of Mosul

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Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters guard a position behind sandbags at the frontline of fighting against Islamic State west of Mosul. File photo: AFP

ARA News

ERBIL – Masrour Barzani, the Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, said on Wednesday that a post-ISIS management deal for Mosul should be completed “before it’s too late.”

The Kurdish security chief, met with the US Deputy Head of Mission in Baghdad Stephanie Williams on Wednesday to discuss Iraq’s challenges ahead of major offensives planned against ISIS in Hawija and Mosul. After the meeting, Barzani warned of future problems in Mosul.

“[We] must contextualize Iraq’s war as part of ethnic, religious and political differences, and address root-causes of problems to win the peace,” Barzani said. “Problems will resurface once Mosul’s liberated. It’s easier to reach a post-management deal now whilst the parties need each other.”

Barzani’s statement indicates that although a military plan might be ready for Mosul, there is no concrete plan yet for the post-ISIS administration of the city.

Analysts and retired generals have warned that the biggest challenge would be the post-ISIS management of Mosul. The city has been a refuge for Sunni insurgents since the Iraqi Insurgency began in 2003.

US Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, wrote that failure to stabilize Iraq after retaking Mosul could “lead to ISIS 3.0.”

“There is no question that the Islamic State will be defeated in Mosul; the real question is what comes afterward. Can the post-Islamic State effort resolve the squabbling likely to arise over numerous issues and bring lasting stability to one of Iraq’s most diverse and challenging provinces?” he said.

According to a report by Middle East Research Institute (MERI), an Erbil-based think tank,  it is important that a political deal between the various local actors and the central government be reached ahead of the looming battle for Mosul. The battle is expected to begin in late October.

“This will ensure that there is a clear understanding of who will govern Nineveh [Governorate] and how. There are currently too many political and military factions within Nineveh and failure to reach a deal is likely to result in violent conflict,” the MERI report said.

“For the same reason, there must also be an agreement for the local armed groups to come together under one command within the wider Iraqi security apparatus,” the report added.

According to Washington-based analyst Amberin Zaman, writing for Al Monitor, tensions are escalating between Turkey and Iraq over a Turkish troop presence near Mosul. These tensions threaten to disrupt the long-awaited campaign in Mosul.

The Council of Representatives, Iraq’s parliament, called on Turkish troops to leave Iraq after the Turkey unilaterally extended the mandate of Turkish troops in both Iraq and Syria. Turkish officials have suggested that Shia forces should not be involved in any Mosul operation.

On Wednesday, the US Vice President Joe Biden thanked Kurdish President Masoud Barzani for his leadership and cooperation with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“The leaders underscored the urgency of sustaining momentum for the liberation of Mosul and other [ISIS]-held territories,” the White House said in a statement.

Iraqi-Kurdish cooperation ahead of the Mosul operation is crucial since the Kurdish Peshmerga already surround Mosul from several directions, while the Iraqi Army is pushing towards Mosul from Qayyarah, further south.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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