Tag Archives: Mosul

Covering the Ground

Review – Days of the Fall: A Reporter’s Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars by Jonathan Spyer

As the violence of the Syrian civil war increased, and as the Islamic State group (IS) crossed the Iraqi border, it was clear that the wars in these two countries would become the essential conflict of our times. Continue reading


Iraq’s Alliances Uncertain Ahead of Elections

As Iraq begins recovering from its war against the Islamic State (ISIS), attention is shifting towards the country’s legislative elections, scheduled for May, and the possible political alliances that could emerge ahead of the vote. Continue reading

Rhetorical Questions

Whatever else he is, Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, is at the very least appropriately named. The élan with which he recently wrote about the American campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) would be worthy of the protagonist of any Hollywood Western. Continue reading


Defeating Daesh?

Despite the rhetoric, the campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) is not over. The international coalition is sounding almost triumphalist, giving developments a sunny gloss and frequently repeating claim that it is ‘defeating Daesh’.

This is true in a way, and success in one aspect – the protracted war which has pushed IS out of many cities and towns in Syria and Iraq – cannot be denied. Continue reading


Iraqi Kurds See Fortunes Reversed after Referendum

In less than a month the for­tunes of Iraqi Kurdistan, its leaders and inhabitants have reversed.

Iraqi Kurds voted over­whelmingly in favour of independence and optimism appeared to reign. The referendum, however, brought complications and immediate repercussions and illuminated systemic problems within the Kurdistan Regional Gov­ernment (KRG), including political and economic dysfunction and general social malaise. Continue reading


What Will Become of Iraq’s Hawija after ISIS?

The northern Iraqi city of Hawija represents the last Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in the country. After the gruelling battle for Mosul and the rapid victory at Tal Afar, the Iraqi state is on the verge of winning its immediate war against ISIS. Hawija and the nearby area are surrounded by Iraq state- and Kurdish-controlled territory, forming what might ap­pear to be a tight seal. Continue reading


How the Iraqis Won at Tal Afar

It was a swift victory, one all the more remarkable for being so unexpected.

After the fall of Mosul, which had taken many months and cost innumerable lives, the attention of the Iraqi state and the international coalition, and the watching world, fell on Tal Afar. It was one of the Islamic State’s last major urban territories in Iraq. Continue reading