Mosul: One Battle, Six Campaigns for the Trump Administration

By James Jeffrey

Ambassador James F. Jeffrey joined the Wilson Center in December 2020 as Chair of the Middle East Program. Ambassador Jeffrey served as the Secretary’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS until November 8, 2020. He is a senior American diplomat with experience in political, security, and energy issues in the Middle East, Turkey, Germany, and the Balkans.

Last October, I published a summary of the coalition battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS in The Cipher Brief, stressing that inside the one battle there were six “campaigns” – military or political in nature – that would shape Middle Eastern and counter-terrorism developments.

This piece updates that analysis in light of progress made defeating ISIS in Mosul, the new Trump Administration, and President Donald Trump’s tasking to the Department of Defense to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS by February 28. While the six-campaign approach remains appropriate, the individual campaigns have taken different courses. The operational campaigns focused on capturing and securing Mosul are going well. However, the stunning Russian-Syrian-Iranian victory in Syria attained by capturing Aleppo and securing a Syrian ceasefire through talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, underlines how important America’s strategic campaigns are, not only in terms of finishing off ISIS but in containing Iran as well. Following is the updated six-campaign analysis.

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