The coming military offensive against the Islamic State in Mosul is anticipated to be long and difficult, resulting in the likely displacement of thousands of people and a humanitarian crisis affecting over a million. The battle for Mosul looms against the backdrop of escalating regional ethno-sectarian hostilities, which are bound to be exacerbated as the competing interests of the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, Iran and Iranian-backed Shiite militias, Sunni fighters, and the U.S. all converge on the ISIS stronghold.
Beyond the battle itself, a political plan for reintegrating Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and securing their future remains elusive, leading many to question what will fill the vacuum once the Islamic State is destroyed in the city. Given the rolling political and governing crises in nearby Kurdistan and in Iraq as a whole, and now also in Turkey, it is not clear if key U.S. allies are prepared to cope with the post-Mosul fallout and other long-term challenges.
On September 9, Hudson Institute convened a panel discussion with Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, Michael Pregent, Dylan O’Driscoll, Bilal Wahab, and Eric Brown. These speakers discussed the prospects for Kurdistan and Iraq on the eve of the Mosul offensive as well as policy approaches that the next U.S. administration should consider to help Mosul recover and to bolster its most important regional allies.