It is nine months since the battle for Mosul was launched. By Sunday, US-backed forces had made enough progress in crushing resistance from fighters of the Islamic State (IS) that Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, was able to visit the city and proclaim victory from its ruins. IS is surrounded too in Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria. Defeat there is only a matter of time and lives sacrificed. The physical caliphate is crumbling. No one, however, should underestimate the dangers that still lie ahead. Mosul has been under IS occupation since June 2014 when a few hundred fighters forced thousands of Iraqi troops into a humiliating rout. It was from the city’s ancient al-Nuri mosque that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, trumpeted his global ambitions. The effect was to unite a combustible mix of Iraqi factions and foreign backers in an alliance to reclaim territory lost. Kurds, Turkish-backed Sunni fighters, Iranian-armed Shia militias, and Baghdad government forces have fought...

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