By Saeed Sobhani

End of ISIL's life in Iraq

November 24, 2017

TEHRAN _ Iraqi forces ended the occupation of Takfiris by conquering the city of Rawah, the last ISIL center in the west of Iraq. Thus the ISIL military case was closed down. In this article, first we look at the incidents of ISIL's 3 years of occupation of vast areas of Iraq. In 2014, large areas of Iraq were occupied by ISIL. This year, ISIL terrorists occupied Mosul and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the commander of ISIL, called himself the caliph of ISIL.

At that time, and in a situation where Americans were standing aside and didn’t do anything, Ayatollah Sistani issued his historic fatwa. Following his Fatwa, al-Hashad al-Shaabi, or the popular mobilization forces, were established on June 15, 2014. These forces have played a significant role in defeating ISIL.

In August of 1993, the dam of Mosul, the largest dam in Iraq, fell to the hands of ISIL forces.. This dam, which is not stable due to structural weakness, constantly needs concrete injection for strength. With ISIL dominating the dam, fears of breaking it raised deeply among people. This could lead to a deadly flood. At the same time, ISIL attacked Sinjar, the city of Yazidis. Subsequently, reports of mass executions and rape to women were released. A group of refugees took shelter on a hill in the north of the city. ISIL terrorists started to mass murder civilians once again.

In December 2014, ISIL destroyed the ancient city of Nimrud. The historic city of Nimrud, known as the symbol of Assyrian civilization, was built on the margin of the Tigris River, about 30 km south-east of Mosul. Until the end of 2014 and even after that, Iraq was the scene of successive violence and expansion of ISIL's dominance. The political crisis in Iraq, and the dismemberment of the army, made it difficult to confront ISIL. It was impossible to fight the Takfiri forces in many areas.

 March of 2015 was the time for the advancement of Iraqi forces towards Tikrit. On the eleventh of March this year, the Iraqi prime minister announced that ISIL has been driven from Saddam's birthplace. In this battle, Popular Mobilization forces played a significant role. The joy of freeing Tikrit still fresh when Ramadi in western Iraq was captured by ISIL. This city is the capital of Al Anbar province in western Iraq. In June of the same year, operations began to free the province of Anbar Hashad al-shaabi forces again played an important role in these operations. In January of 2016, Iraqi forces took control of Ramadi.

In July of the same year, the Iraqi Army drove away ISIL from Fallujah, which is not far from Baghdad. The clashes in the streets of the city continued for more than a week. The most important operation was the recapture of Mosul on October 2016.

In November, the Iraqi army entered the east of Mosul. The speed of military advance was beyond expectation. In December, Hashad al-Shaabi forces, the Iraqi mobilization forces, announced that they had cut off the way of ISIL's entry and exit to western Mosul, and that this group was actually surrounded by Iraqi forces. On March 2017, six months after the start of Mosul Operation, the Iraqi army announced that it has penetrated the old city of Mosul. The government announced the slowness of the operation was due to the civilian presence.

In June of this year, the Iraqi army began a new operation to capture the west of Mosul. The United Nations has announced that ISIL has held about 100,000 people as human shields. Shortly after that Iraqi security forces announced that ISIL blew up the historical mosque of t al-Nouri. This mosque was the place where Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate there. Heydar Ebadi saw this ISIL act as an indication of the failure of this group.

In July, with the continuation of the Mosul operation, the ISIL siege rings was narrowed, and eventually in July 9, HeidarEbadi announced that ISIL had been driven away from Mosul. Following the liberation of Mosul, Tal Afar, and al-Hawijah in the southwest of Kirkuk and the remaining areas were one by one freed from the occupation of ISIL forces. In fact, the presence of ISIL in Iraq was terminated by freeing the city of Rawah in Western Al-Anbar. But now that ISIL has reached its militarily end, this question is raised whether Iraqis are eventually released of terrorism and extremist groups, or do these groups find other ways to continue their deadly missions?

Regarding the recent terrorist attacks, ISIL terrorists seem to have determined their future after military defeat and loss of occupied territories. They will take tactics of assassination and murder through explosions to create instability. In fact, they will continue the extreme line that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi began in 2004 with the killing and targeting of civilians and intensified the conflicts among Iraqis, which led to the creation of ISIL from al-Qaeda's core. In this way, they easily managed to occupy Iraqi cities in 2014.

In spite of their victory against ISIL forces, the Iraqis should know that military victory over extremists isn’t the end of the work, and this is the radicalism and extremism root that must be dried up. The terrorists will blow up many bombs and assassinate and wait for the disagreements and conflicts among politicians so that these differences will affect people, and then the hidden corps will be activated.

It is true that ISIL is pushed away from Iraqi cities in military terms, but were all terrorists killed when Iraqi forces conquered the occupied cities? Or were they hidden among civilians in some way and moved to other areas? Naturally, the Iraqi forces did not have the opportunity to carefully examine the identity of all those who came with civilians out of the area. Although the Iraqi intelligence community has made the most of its endeavors, the problem has not been resolved and some are likely to be hidden. Undoubtedly, one of the great challenges of the Iraqi government after the liberation of the country from ISIL forces is with the families that one or some of Its members have been serving ISIL. These people will definitely be a threat to the future of this country.

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