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As Iraqi Forces are fighting to retake the city of Mosul, the question arises, what will happen the day after Mosul is liberated? Will there be increased stability or more chaos? Will Iran take advantage of the situation in order to make the plight of the citizens worse? And how will Israel respond to the situation?

Iraqi forces in Mosul

Iraqi forces in Mosul Photo Credit: EPA/Channel 2 News

Iraqi Forces are fighting to retake the city of Mosul, which is under ISIS control. According to Kurdish dissident Kajal Mohammadi, ISIS displays the “dark side of humanity, one that is a threat not only to the people in the territories it occupies and the region but also to the entire world. It has carried out the most gruesome and medieval practices in the recent history of the world – it has destroyed infrastructure, subjected people under its control to countless genocides and oppression, and even destroyed century’s old civilizations.” Nevertheless, the question remains, what will happen the day after Mosul is liberated?  

According to a JerusalemOnline source in Iraq, the day after Mosul is liberated, the situation is going to be even more dangerous: “There will be a huge mess after ISIS. Iran is trying its best to control Mosul. The Sunnis are in a bad situation because of the war with ISIS. After the operation, they will be in a worse situation for Iran will take revenge on the Sunnis and make the area Shia.” The source noted that video documentation has emerged of Iranian militias beating the Sunni refugees that are trying to escape from ISIS.   According to the source, this is proof that Iran is part of the problem rather than the solution: “The whole city is destroyed and there is no plan to rebuild the city. Iran wants the people to stay in refugee camps.”    

The question remains, why does Iran seek to control Mosul? Iranian dissident Mohsen Behzad Karimi told JerusalemOnline that Iran has strategic reasons for wanting to capture the city and to control all of Iraq more generally: “It is essential for the Iranian regime to control Iraq because it is the supply route to Syria. If Hezbollah dies, the Iranian regime dies. So being able to access its proxies by land is very essential.”  According to Karimi, supply routes by sea are not secure for Israel frequently intercepts them, which makes the land routes to be very important for Iran.

Saher Idris, a member of the Syrian Opposition, told JerusalemOnline that the Iranian regime is actually supporting ISIS and therefore, any liberation of Mosul that is headed by Iranian backed groups won’t solve the issue: “Iran and ISIS are merely swapping territories.” He noted that Yosr Mohammed Ibrahim Bayomi, Abu Baker Mohammed Amian and Faisal Jasem Al Khalidi are Al Qaeda members that live in Iran and provide financial support to Al Qaeda: “In November 2015, the US Department of Treasury revealed evidence about a connection between the Assad regime, Iran, ISIS and even Russia.” He stressed that the battle for Mosul will only make a difference if you stop the source of the terrorism, which is Iran.

Syrian dissident Yamam Sadi, who heads the Syrian National Democratic Party, concurred that Iran is the source of terror in the Middle East region: “Assad and ISIS are one and the same. They are both supported by Iran. Iran is the big mafia head in this land.” Kurdish dissident Kajal Mohammadi added: “The Iranian regime is just as bad and medieval in nature as ISIS if not more– the only minor difference is that ISIS actually takes responsibility for its terror activities but Iran does not.”

Mendi Safadi, the head of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, stated that the Iraqi government is Iran’s proxy: “For Iran and for ISIS, they have the same interest that the war will continue until all of their goals will be obtained in Iraq and Syria.   In Syria, they will continue to strengthen ISIS near the Golan Heights and that will influence Israel related to the terror.  They will give more weapons to Hezbollah.  The goal of Iran is to eradicate Israel. They use the chaos in Syria in order to harm Israel and to strengthen Hezbollah.”  Safadi claims that what is happening in Iraq and other places is that Iran declares victory against ISIS for the media but in reality, it is just a show: “Until now, they can’t control Syria and Iraq. They don’t want to stop the war until they take full control.”

The question remains, how is Israel planning on responding to Iran’s increased influence in the wake of the battle for Mosul?  According to an Iraqi source, Israel has joined a coalition of Sunni countries that seeks to stop Iranian aggression in the region.   Among the countries in this coalition are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, Egypt, etc.  Also the Kurds, Turkey and the US are part of this coalition: “They have a strong military coalition now. The coalition wants to help the Sunnis in Iraq to defeat Iran. They want to help Kurdistan to counter-balance Iran in Iraq. Mosul will be liberated but what will happen afterwards? The important thing is the transfer of power process.”