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Retaking Mosul will be hard, but Raqqa will be harder

Today Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop observed that the Mosul offensive is an 'important milestone' in the battle against Islamic State; there is no doubt retaking the city would seriously dent both IS capabilities and morale. But it would not be a fatal blow. The Iraqi Army and its allies have two years of planning behind them since those fateful four days in June 2014, when IS overran Iraqi security forces and pillaged US military equipment in a lightning surge on Mosul that saw the Iraqi Army down arms and flee.
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