MOSUL, Iraq — Will 2018 dampen the fires that rage across the Middle East? Although skepticism is understandable, there is a glimmer of change.
Zaid Benjamin, a Radio Sawa Washington Correspondent shared photos on Twitter of the people of Mosul, Iraq celebrating New Year’s for the first time in four years, their first chance to ring in the new year since the Islamic State was driven out of the city.
For a city that has been ravaged by violence and war, the New Year brought a welcome change in the sounds of pops and bangs not from bombs or gunfire, but from fireworks.
A PHOENIX ON THE TIGRIS
The war against the Islamic State group has been declared over after four years of savagery. The group’s epic abuses inspired a furious reaction that has left large parts of Iraq in smoldering ruins.
The fight by the U.S.-led coalition was grueling in Fallujah, Ramadi, Hawija, Tal Afar and finally Mosul. Whether Iraq can rebuild is a key question for 2018, for only then will Baghdad regain the authority to govern the whole country.
The cash-strapped government estimates $100 billion is needed nationwide — while leaders in Mosul say that amount is needed for their city alone. Funding is unclear, and the United States — whose coalition dropped approximately 27,700 munitions around Mosul from October 2016 to July 2017 — seems to be washing its hands. If the Shiite-dominated government fails to rebuild the Sunni areas, they will likely become restive again.