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Mosul and Aleppo: The War of Two Cities - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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While everyone’s eyes are looking at the somehow – already determined – battle in Mosul against the terrorist organization ISIS, Aleppo in Syria is getting ready to face its fate after both the Russians and the Iranians refused the international calls for a ceasefire and extraction of besieged civilians and armed men.

In Aleppo, Free Syrian Army has few hundred of its fighters inside the city’s neighborhoods, in addition to other fighters of other factions as well as Nusra Front; the terrorist organization fighting everyone. They are faced by troops that had been gathering for months and resorted to complete destruction of neighborhoods in an attempt to empty them from their residents whether by killing or evicting, in order to take over the most important city in the Syrian war.

Are the two wars of Mosul and Aleppo the final stage of Iraq’s war against ISIS and Syria’s civil war?

I don’t think it is likely to happen.

The problem is that both countries lie in the nature of the Syrian regime and the practices of the Iraqi regime.

As a result of elimination, both Mosul and Aleppo will be “wiped clean” of armed men whether through eviction or killing, and we will hear of them in other cities and districts.

The rise of armed factions is not very difficult under two regimes that can’t reform and change. This is a civil war that reflects the general situation, not a war with foreign groups that can be easily eliminated.

Arab Sunnis constitute 20% of Iraq’s population and 40% of other Sunni components. How is it possible to get rid of 10 million citizens? Or even marginalize them?

In Syria, Sunnis are 80% out of over 20 million civilian. So even if 5 or 10 million of them were displaced, they remain the overwhelming majority.

Iraq’s parliament is heading towards a sectarian system – which it would end with – at some point after the liberation of Mosul, until Iraq is shrunk into a smaller state or a less stable one.

As for Syria, after purging Aleppo of most of its residents, fighting will move to another city and battles will continue. It is because there is no political solution amid Iranians insistence to hold on to the man responsible for all this blood shedding, just as they are clinging to Hezbollah, the indirect ruler in neighboring Lebanon and who caused 20 years of in stability in the country.

The difference is that Syria is a large state and geographically, it is located in the middle. Ethnical and sectarian developments in Syria affect its neighbors like Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Let them, in Iraq and Syria, prepare for celebrating the “liberation” of Mosul and Aleppo, while we realize they will be short celebrations. Battles will return after that and persecution against angry citizens and international terrorists who benefit from the fertile soil and turbulence will continue in the region.

Currently, Mosul is surrounded by multinational troops, generals who are eager to appear on their national televisions, politicians competing on taking the credit for a semi-guaranteed victory, and international media outlets that already know the result of the battle. Like the rest of the politicians, it is not important for all of those to know what will happen later on.

Mosul and Aleppo wars are two other battles in a long struggle that will not stable without a just political project.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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