In a recently-released report to Cabinet, the New Zealand government paints a positive picture of its military training mission in Iraq – New Zealand’s contribution to the Global Coalition to combat the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). According to the report, Iraqi Security Forces are making military gains against the terrorist group in Iraq – reclaiming up to 40% of ISIL-held territory - “due in part to the increased capability of Iraqi forces and the air support provided by coalition partners.”
Defeating terrorists on the Iraqi battlefield is not the hard part. After all, the US, Government of Iraq and international partners have fought and won a similar campaign before. But herein lies the problem. Unless and until the Government of Iraq and its global coalition partners, including New Zealand, get the political strategy right, ISIL and its ilk may still prevail.