Mosul: liberated but not pacified

Although fighting still continues in some parts of Mosul, the Iraqi leadership has declared the city liberated. But what will follow after the IS's three-year rule of terror? Commentators fear that true peace is still a long way off.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

IS defines itself as a brand

The IS's territorial losses don't mean that its campaign of global terrorism will end, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns:

“On the contrary. In recent days the jihadists have demonstrated more drastically than in a long time just how capable they are of carrying out attacks outside Syria and Iraq. In the holy month of Ramadan alone - in the IS's view a particularly 'commendable time' for killing -, devastating attacks were carried out in Egypt, the Philippines, Britain, Afghanistan and Iran, among other targets. To cover up its weaknesses on the ground, the IS is increasingly defining itself as a brand. Consequently it will be celebrating the year 2017 as 'glorious' regardless of what becomes of the caliphate.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Fighters in hiding will resume their campaign

Habertürk also doubts that the IS has truly been defeated:

“The IS will live on as an idea, a cause, a driving ideology and a centre of attraction. As long as the legitimation and leadership conflicts of the states in the Middle East aren't overcome the chaos, violence, antagonisms and the rapid destruction of the future will continue. Since the recapture of Mosul many IS fighters have apparently gone underground. It's possible that they will regather within the ranks of the Iraqi Sunnis who still feel that they have been unfairly treated. Or the warriors will join other Sunni groups and resume their activities in Iraq or Syria.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

The IS's Stalingrad?

The long fight for Mossul reminds Lidové noviny of the Battle of Stalingrad:

“That battle was neither the first nor the last of World War II, but it had a symbolic character. The war was split into the period before and after Stalingrad. This could also be true for Mossul. But the euphoria is lacking and the media response has been weak. In Europe probably because people fear the return of dangerous IS fighters. Yet on TV we see images of people peacefully playing cards or smoking water pipes in Mossul after three years. These pipes look like freedom pipes. But there's a long way to go before the peace pipes are smoked.”

al-Akhbar (LB) /

Intellectual liberation still a long way off

After the reconstruction work the Iraqi government urgently needs to focus on culture and education in the Mossul region, the Lebanese academic Ali Mazid writes in Al Akhbar:

“The state-run educational institutions need to address the integration of the young generation from Mossul as quickly as possible. They need to make psychologists and educators available so that the children and youths learn to trust people once more, to respect them and live in peace. … The military defeat of the IS has major symbolic value. But it can only be described as a success if a cultural and intellectual liberation takes place. This must happen quickly. Any delay means that extremism and violence will be able to flourish.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Europeans must also get involved

Unlike Obama, Trump shows no sign of being interested in the difficult process of rebuilding Iraq, the Süddeutsche Zeitung complains:

“While it's true that Obama's special envoy Brett McGurk is still in office, one wonders how much he can accomplish in a systematically weakened State Department, without the political clout of the White House behind him. That does not bode well for Iraq. One possible scenario is a new civil war. The regional powers, above all Iran and Turkey, see the vacuum as giving them carte blanche to push through their own agenda. The Europeans must show more commitment here - also in their own interest. Refugees will continue to find their way into Europe if the situation is not stabilised. And IS terrorists will look for new targets.”