Victory in Mosul is imminent according to a U.S. military official echoing the statements of ground forces fighting the city. However, the group is still inspiring global attacks amid their crumbling caliphate highlighting the need to combat the group’s ideology.
It has been more than three years since a little-known cleric by the name of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria at a mosque in Mosul. Now, the terrorist state is a pile of rubble much like the mosque that witnessed its birth.
However, while the group’s days in Iraq and Syria are already numbered, its ideology still lives on. In the three years since its creation, the terrorist organization launched an intense propaganda campaign to radicalize Muslims all over the world.
This led to many attacks in Europe as well as North America carried out by lone wolf terrorists who have been been brainwashed by the group’s doctrine spread through social media platforms. To this day, the group still inspires attacks around the globe according to the New York Times.
There are also fears that the group is taking advantage of the current migrant crisis to plant sleeper cells in Europe waiting for the order to strike. The crackdown on this cells has been made even difficult by the current political climate in the West.
After nine months of intense fighting, victory in Mosul is finally within reach. Iraqi security forces have finally taken the group’s final bastion in Mosul’s Old City after a confrontation that left most of the city’s remaining defenders dead.
Still, remnants of the group are desperately trying to hold on to the city. Suicide attacks have increased in the final weeks of the battle made possible by the large number of foreign fighters in the area.
The group has largely used foreign fighters in suicide attacks due to their lack of training compared to their Arab couterparts. Prior to the creation of the Islamic State, the group existed as Al Qaeda In Iraq whose members are mostly veteran of the War on Terror and the 2003 Iraq War.
More than three-quarters of fighters in Mosul are foreign fighters, mostly from Europe who have little to no experience in combat. They are mostly treated as expendable soldiers and are sent on suicide bombing attacks or missions with low survival rates.
The loss of Mosul is the biggest defeat the group has experienced so far. The effects of the city’s capture will be felt later by the group due to the fact that the city has been their economic capital. Mosul has served as the group’s commercial hub for the sale of captured crude oil and Yezidi and Christian sex slaves.
While some militants are desperately trying to fight the city, some have chosen to save their lives and flee the city. With civilians continuing to pour out of the Old City, many jihadi’s are taking advantage of the commotion to escape according to the Guardian.
Speaking to national TV, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool revealed that 30 militants have been killed trying to cross the Tigris River. Iraqi security forces have positioned themselves opposite the river in order to trap the beleaguered defenders.
The fall of the caliphate will no doubt be considered a victory by the Iraqi and Syrian governments as well as their American and Russians who supported them. However, there is no doubt that vengeful members of the group will carry out retaliatory strikes all over the world.
With security in most European countries all but compromised, remnants of the group will have nothing to fear. The battle against ISIS will switch from a battle of armies to a battle of ideologies as the victors do the difficult and expensive task of stamping out their influence in the Middle East and everywhere else.
[Featured Image by Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Images]