How to Avoid an ISIS 2.0 in Iraq

An Iraqi helicopter flies over a soldier in Husaybah, in Anbar province July 22, 2015. Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters launched an offensive on Tuesday to dislodge Islamic State militants and secure a supply route in Anbar province, police and tribal sources said. REUTERS/Stringer

Washington and Baghdad have a golden opportunity, but it is slipping away.

Prime Minister Abadi, who deserves credit for trying to bring Iraqis together during his three years in office, needs to lead a bold and decisive plan for rebuilding Iraq's second largest urban area. He should appoint a steering group to govern the city that consists of national and regional leaders of high repute, with a range of political identities and technical skills reflective of Mosul’s vibrant constituencies. They should be commissioned with overseeing the return of the displaced, the provision of services, and ultimately the fostering of a suitable environment for elections. Investment and insurance laws should also be enacted to provide a foundation for economic growth. Once they do so, Washington should commit to help fund, on a matching basis, many of the reconstruction costs that will be incurred as Iraqis seek to rebuild the historic city of Mosul and return the country as a whole on a path towards something like normalcy. Less important than the actual amount is a sense of steady and dependable help over the many years—perhaps a decade—that will be needed for this great task.

The costs of building the new Iraq will be substantial. But compared to what America has already expended in lives and treasure, and relative to the stakes involved, those costs will be quite modest.

Sara Allawi is daughter of Vice President Ayad Allawi and based in Baghdad, where she leads the youth movement in the Iraqi National Party, a cross-sectarian group, and works as his Executive Officer. Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Image: An Iraqi helicopter flies over a soldier in Husaybah, in Anbar province July 22, 2015. Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters launched an offensive on Tuesday to dislodge Islamic State militants and secure a supply route in Anbar province, police and tribal sources said. REUTERS/Stringer

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