Since Iraqi troops seized back Mosul last month, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has been reduced to the area around Raqqa in Syria. Predominantly Kurdish forces are attempting to take the city, protected by Western airpower. Authorities estimate the number of Islamist fighters has dwindled from the thousands to the hundreds.
As soon as the caliphate falls, governments will face another challenge: the reconstruction.
Repairs to basic infrastructure in Mosul alone could cost up to $1 billion, according to the United Nations.
Iraq’s Ministry of Planning puts the long-term cost of rebuilding Mosul at $10 billion. That includes repairing the damage from the fighting as well as the deliberate destruction caused by the Islamic State.
Given Iraq’s history of corruption and mismanagement of public funds, the final figure could be much higher. And that’s just Mosul. Read more
Dark Side to Coalition’s Success Against Islamic State
The Western-backed effort to drive the Islamic State out of Iraq is making headway. The self-proclaimed caliphate has lost two-thirds of its territory. The battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second city, is well underway.
But there is a dark side to the coalition’s success in Iraq. We’ve seen it in the streets of Paris, Nice and London: The more the Islamic State is cornered, the more of its sympathizers commit terrorist attacks in the West. Read more
Trump Seems to Realize Assad Is No Ally Against Islamic State
It appears to have dawned on Donald Trump that a pact with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad against the Islamists in his country makes no sense.
“It’s very, very possible, and, I will tell you, it’s already happened, that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,” the American president told reporters in Washington after it emerged that Assad’s troops had again deployed chemical weapons. Read more
Trump’s Plan to Defeat Islamists Looks a Lot Like Obama’s
As David Downing reported here on Sunday, Mosul could make a quick economic recovery once it is entirely liberated from the self-declared Islamic State by Iraqi government forces.
Not only is the city, once Iraq’s second largest, a hub for northern Iraqi industry and trade; it’s also situated close to major oil and natural gas reserves. The potential for further economic expansion could be close at hand. Read more
Joining Assad and Russia Against Islamic State Is Foolish