News Release

Mosul and the “Shadow Wars”



CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON, cmd [at], @dr_davidson
Davidson teaches politics at Durham University in England. He has written several books on the Mideast, focusing on the Gulf monarchies. His latest is the just-released Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East.

Davidson said today: “With significant advance warning, the ISIS leadership in Mosul will likely now be long gone, having moved across into northern Syria to strengthen forces in and around Raqqa and thus help accelerate the fragmentation of what remains of the nation state of Syria.

“From the perspective of the U.S.’s key allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the various other private backers of the hard-line Sunni militias and jihadist factions fighting both the Syrian and Iraqi governments, the liberation of Iraq’s second biggest city will not cause too much disappointment, as the convergence of Iraqi government forces, Shia militias, Kurds, and the Turkish army on Mosul — all under the watchful eye of the U.S.-led coalition’s air cover — will mean that the city and the surrounding oil rich region can no longer be easily controlled solely by Baghdad and — by extension — influenced by Baghdad’s key partners such as the Iranian government.

“ISIS’s presence (and imminent legacy) in north-western Iraq has already succeeded in dealing a strong blow to the concept of a strong Iraqi nation state capable of charting its own foreign policy and maintaining control over all natural resources in its territory. It has been allowed to survive and, until recently, prosper, as the U.S. has been running a ‘contain and react’ strategy since 2014, which has effectively given ISIS ‘red lines’, preventing it from reaching key territory belonging to the U.S.’s Kurdish clients, but has more or less allowed it to move freely across vast tracts of open terrain so as to fight against and claim territory from the Syrian and Iraqi governments.”

See video summarizing findings of Davidson’s latest book.