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ANALYSIS Listening to Iraq’s PM Al Abadi congratulate his forces on a hard fought ‘victory’ over Daesh in Mosul, took me back me to the time when Nouri al Maliki announced to the world that that other Satan of Iraq, one Zarqawi had been killed. Like the leader of Daesh, Abu Musab al Zarqawi was a terrorist who deserved his fate and that went for his ‘band of brothers’ who in this case were al Qaeda. Of course, then as now, there seem to be no understanding of the human cost as well as the legality of taking out someone the West doesn’t like. 

Mosul has been ruined – the UN estimates the damage to be $1bn and we have no idea how many people have perished under the rubble. Iraq’s forces alone may have suffered close to a thousand losses. Until now, Iraq had come to an understanding with the forces of ISIS who were tolerated for the sake of the local population and peace. That of course changed with attacks in Europe and elsewhere that were blamed on Daesh. Iraq under pressure from the country that had invaded it to get rid of the ‘Butcher of Baghdad’ and put in place a pliant leader was forced to act. And every inch of soil ‘recovered’ has come at an appalling cost – Tikrit, Ramadi all were virtually flattened which brings us to the remaining ‘swath’ of Daesh land, Raqqa where US forces have been using white phosphorus.