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With IS on the way out, Iraqi power struggles pose major threat

As Iraq struggles to contain pockets of Islamic State resistance following the liberation of Mosul, political differences and a power struggle between domestic groups threaten more conflict.
Smoke rises from an air strike during fighting with Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad - RTX3ABKI
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Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the US commanding general of the combined task force of Operation Inherent Resolve, confirmed that the war against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq is not over yet, despite the great victory in Mosul and the end of IS’ occupation of the strategic city. He said there are still major challenges ahead for the Iraqi armed forces to establish security in Iraq.

During a July 11 press conference in Baghdad, he told journalists via satellite, “There are still pockets of resistance in Mosul, holdouts, and hidden IEDs [improvised explosive devices] that will take weeks to clear, as well as remaining [IS] enclaves in Hawija and western Anbar.” Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji confirmed this, saying July 16 that "the battle is far from over.”

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