Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has arrived in Mosul and congratulated the armed forces for their “victory” over Islamic State after nearly nine months of urban warfare, bringing an end to jihadist rule in the city.
Islamic State’s defeat in Mosul three years after taking the city is a major blow for the hardline Sunni Islamist group, which is also losing ground in its operational base in the Syrian city of Raqqa, where it has planned global attacks.
The group, however, still controls territory in Iraq and is expected to revert to more conventional insurgent tactics such as bombings as its self-proclaimed caliphate falls apart.
This is a major victory. Absolutely Islamic State will still sponsor terrorist attacks, but losing Mosul means that they no longer credibly can promise a caliphate which attracted so many to their cause.
We should be pleased that NZ troops played a small but significant role in training up the Iraqi troops.
Certain politicians here opposed our training role by claiming that the Iraqis were cowards and could never win against Islamic State. They said we should just abandon Iraq. I’m glad we did not. Iraq still has many challenges ahead, but liberating major cities from IS rule has freed millions.