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US-Iraqi offensive against Mosul may begin in mid-2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Significance

The United States has sent 3,000 'train and assist' troops to the country, and passed a 1.6 billion dollar assistance package in December 2014 to provide funding for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Kurdish peshmerga and a Tribal Security Force (TSF) of Sunni Arabs in Anbar Province.

Impacts

  • The Mosul offensive will also depend on Baghdad reaching political accommodation with Sunni Arabs.
  • The rise of Iran-backed Shia militias will challenge the ISF's monopoly over state security.
  • Their deployment also raises the risk of sectarian atrocities during reconquest of Sunni areas.
  • ISG is likely to retain a strong presence in western Iraq so long as it has safe havens in eastern Syria.
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