The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi flew down to Mosul landing at a military airfield a few kilometres away from the city to proclaim a victory over the ISIS. He also visited the site of the Great Grand al-Nuri Mosque destroyed by the Islamic state. The ISIS has blamed the destruction of the mosque on an American Air raid. This mosque is significant as it was from here the leader of the Islamic State, Al-Baghdadi, announced the setting up of the Caliphate. The rule of the Islamic state lasted just about three years, and they have now been ousted after a bitter battle.

Nonetheless, despite the victory, the Islamic state remains in possession of large areas of Iraq and Syria. It is a moot point whether the Iraqi Army will be able to recapture all those areas. Although the Prime Minister has proclaimed victory, it looks a little premature as according to CNN International the ISIS is on the run but not wiped out.

The campaign

The Iraqi army made heavy weather of the attack on Mosul. Despite having air cover provided by the USAF and Navy and complete control of the sky the Iraqi army took 10 months to capture Mosul. Even now small pockets of the ISIS fighters remain in many places. The credit for the victory must go to the air bombing by the US military bombers who mounted a relentless campaign against the Islamic State fighters who had no air cover at all.

One wonders what would have been the result if the Iraqi army had no air cover themselves to soften the ISIS positions.

Air power is decisive

Three years ago the ISIS in a swift operation overran large tracts of land in both Iraq and Syria. Mosul became the capital of the Islamic state and Al- Baghdadi took up his abode there and unleashed a reign of terror.

The army simply threw in the towel and hundreds of soldiers were executed in a summary manner. The battle would have been lost but for the re-entry into the war by the US who made a significant contribution to the war with the judicious use of air power. Italian general Giulio Douhet's theory of the superiority of air power was proved true during the fall of Mosul.

The ISIS was defeated on the strength of US air support


The Iraq government forces having proclaimed victory face a long battle ahead and can only move forward with American air support. There is no way the Iraq army can defeat the ISIS on its own. In hindsight, after the removal of Saddam Hussein, it was a blunder for the US to have withdrawn from Iraq. It will be interesting to watch how long the USA props up the Baghdad regime.