The Battle for Mosul

by Marilou Long on October 18, 2016

in Geopolitical,Recommended Reading

Geopolitical Futures published an interesting article today titled “The Harsh Reality Behind the Battle for Mosul”.

From the conclusion of the linked article:

The U.S. thought it was building a liberal democracy in Iraq. It helped Iraq draft a constitution, and Iraq even has a functioning Supreme Court. But the U.S. forgot that liberal democracy is not a light switch you can simply flip on at a moment’s notice. Freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and the right to life, liberty and justice for all, regardless of language, creed or tribe – these are values that became codified in laws. The laws would be useless without the values that inspired them and without the requisite willingness to respect them. Americans had to fight a civil war of their own before these issues were settled in the U.S., and they struggle with them to this day. The same is true of many of the liberal democratic regimes that emerged in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were not adopted overnight, nor did they arise bloodlessly. But they seem like a simple fact of life today in these societies.

Iraq is not such a place governed by such values. Perhaps it will be one day. But that day is a long way off. Iraq’s history has been bloody and violent. Its population is made up of distinct tribes and religious and ethnic groups, and none have any reason to trust the others. People don’t become more empathetic or more willing to compromise because they have lived through the physical and emotional trauma of war and conflict. The worst part of hate and distrust is how insidious they are, and how they recreate themselves in the people who have been victimized by them. To think Iraq’s myriad factions are about to come together to expel the Islamic State and rule Iraq with love, equality and cooperation is a delusion. It is the very same mistake U.S. strategists made in 2003, when they let themselves believe Iraq was going to become a liberal democracy overnight by virtue of a piece of paper American advisors were going to help them write. The battle for Mosul is beginning. It’s a time for humility, not celebration.

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