Iraqi Federal Police celebrate in the Old City of Mosul. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
By Warren Strobel and Fatima Bhojani
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With Islamic State all but ejected from one if its former capitals and surrounded in the other, members of a 72-nation coalition meet in Washington this week to try to ensure the battlefield victories do not, once again, evaporate amid new sectarian strife.
Iraq’s prime minister declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul on Monday, three years after the militants seized the city.
In neighbouring Syria, U.S.-backed forces have entered Raqqa and are battling Islamic State militants there.
The battlefield advances are a potentially fatal blow to Islamic State’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” but also bring fresh challenges and risks, according to Western diplomats and U.S. officials.
The key question, they said, is whether U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been leery of foreign assistance and “nation building,” and allies in Europe and the Middle East lead a long-term campaign of physical and political reconstruction.