The Iraqi government’s interest in getting the invasion of Mosul, the largest ISIS-held city, underway in the next month, has many would-be allies scrambling into the area, forming an array of different factions that all have an interest in participating in the battle.
The Iraqi military is rushing, in no small part because the Kurdish Peshmerga are just north of Mosul, and grabbing territory they intend to annex, while the US embeds troops with the Iraqi military, and both Sunni and Shi’ite militias also looking to join the battle.
The Iraqi government has long relied on the Shi’ite militias in such offensives, but they have been repeatedly caught abusing the Sunni population after sieges, and while the Shi’ite-dominated government sees them as a loyal force with a close relationship to the ruling party, torture and kidnapping could easily spark more unrest in Mosul.
The Sunni militias are usually there for show, to prove that the war isn’t fully sectarian. Meanwhile, the Kurds are going to be looking for influence, just like everyone else. While this many groups could be a boost for the fight against ISIS, it also could easily end up drawing new battlelines over the city.
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