Iraqi prime minister touts plan to retake Mosul, says ISIS is losing momentum

Fri, Jan 29, 2016

by Mick Krever

Claiming a victory in Ramadi over ISIS, Iraqi security forces now plan to retake Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that Iraqi military and local police forces will work together to make it happen. That cooperation will make it "much, much easier," he said.

He repeated his pledge to give ISIS the boot from Iraq in 2016 "like we surprised the world by liberating al Ramadi -- nobody thought we would, or we can, but we did."

Whether Ramadi has been fully liberated is up for some debate. ISIS fighters may still control up to a quarter of the city.

"I think Daesh is losing the momentum," Abadi said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Foreign fighters, foreign support

The prime minister blamed foreign fighters for the worst of Iraq's problems.

"Most of, or [the] majority of hardcore fighters in Iraq are non-Iraqis," Abadi said. "They are from all over the world."

Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are believed to be in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

"How Daesh was allowed to be built in that strength in Syria?" Abadi asked. "And was enabled to cross the Iraqi border and occupy Iraqi cities and push its civilians out as refugees and killing many others?"

But it will be a long, hard process, he admits. Mosul has been under ISIS control for a year and a half.

"That is a challenge for us. We have to regain these cities. But of course Daesh is an ideology, as you said -- is an ideology which is very dangerous. That ideology, I think, has been supported by some countries in the region."

To read the full piece from CNN, click here.