It’s there that the pinnacle of the Islamic State (IS) group, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, proclaimed himself, seven years in the past, caliph of the territories conquered by the terrorist group. The ruins of the Al-Nouri Mosque have been cleared for the reason that recapture of Mosul in 2017, however the reconstruction of the constructing has barely begun. The decrease a part of the brick minaret destroyed by the jihadists throughout their defeat remains to be lined with a brown tarp. What stays of the prayer room is supported by props. The locations give an thought of the work to be carried out in Iraq to beat the darkish hours of the “caliphate” and the years of conflict opened after the overthrow, by the US and its allies, of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
It’s right here that Emmanuel Macron selected, Sunday, August 29, on the second day of his journey to the nation, to measure the progress made for the reason that defeat of the jihadists. Nevertheless, the go to changed into a fragile train, even a dangerous gamble, towards the backdrop of the Western debacle in one other theater of operations, thus far and so shut on the similar time: Afghanistan.
Within the streets of downtown Mosul, ruins and piles of rubble are all over the place. Few of the outlets have raised their curtains, whereas the district has been reworked into an unlimited entrenched camp on account of a presidential go to. The convoy accompanying Emmanuel Macron – about twenty armored automobiles – made its manner underneath shut surveillance by Iraqi and French forces. Proof that the menace stays alive.
Name for cohabitation
On this martyred metropolis, the Head of State, who got here from Erbil by helicopter, first visited the Church of Our Woman of the Hour. The Catholic constructing is much less ravaged than the close by Nice Mosque, however nonetheless bears the stigmata of the “caliphate”: the group had reworked the place right into a court docket. She used the cellars to execute, by hanging amongst different issues, the victims of her hasty justice. “Three strings have nonetheless been present in current days”, notes Brother Olivier Poquillon, a Dominican who returned in 2019, with a purpose to assist the restoration undertaking carried out, reminiscent of that of the Al-Nouri mosque, underneath the aegis of Unesco, because of donations from the United Arab Emirates. “We’re lifting the stones to rebuild confidence”stated the monk wearing white.
Within the thoughts of Mr. Macron, this gesture of assist for Iraqi Christians, of whom only a few have returned to town, goes effectively past this single neighborhood. Late the day earlier than, even earlier than the Sunni Mosque in Mosul, he had visited in Baghdad, with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, a Shiite shrine, a neighborhood whose affect has continued to develop within the nation with the assist from Iran. Mr. Macron additionally spoke with Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize winner of Yazidi origin persecuted by IS. Lastly, in Erbil, tribute was paid to the Kurdish fighters and their leaders, together with the ex-president of Kurdistan and tutelary determine Massoud Barzani.
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