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Image: Grand mosque of Mosul. 1. Permissions*: see below. 2. More information on ISIS**
James Verini arrived in Iraq in the summer of 2016 to write about life in the Islamic State. He stayed to cover the jihadis’ last great stand, the Battle of Mosul, not knowing it would go on for nearly a year, nor that it would become, in the words of the Pentagon, “the most significant urban combat since WWII.”
They Will Have to Die Now takes the listener into the heart of the conflict against the most lethal insurgency of our time. We see unspeakable violence, improbable humanity, and occasional humor. We meet an Iraqi major fighting his way through the city with a bad leg; a general who taunts snipers; an American sergeant who removes his glass eye to unnerve his troops; a pair of Moslawi brothers who welcomed the Islamic State, believing, as so many Moslawis did, that it might improve their shattered lives. Verini also relates the rich history of Iraq, and of Mosul, one of the most beguiling cities in the Middle East.
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** wikipedia: The core of the territory of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
was from 2014 until November 2017 in Iraq and Syria, where the organization controlled significant swathes of urban, rural, and desert territory. ISIS also controls land in Afghanistan as well as Nigeria, and used to control land in Libya, the Philippines, Egypt, Yemen, possibly Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The group also has insurgent cells in India, Algeria, Iraq, Tunisia, the Caucasus, and Saudi Arabia that do not control territory. As of September 2018, ISIL controlled only 200 square miles (520 km2) of territory in Iraq and Syria, according to the US-led coalition against ISIS. However, this estimate referred only to the Euphrates
region and disregarded a large ISIS pocket remaining in the Syrian Desert
. By late March 2019, ISIS territory in Syria was reduced to only the besieged 1,550 square miles (4,000 km2) central desert pocket. The enclave was surrounded by Syrian government forces and its allies. The Syrian military conducted combing operations and airstrikes against the pocket, but with limited success