How did 1,500 ISIS insurgents successfully face off against over 30,000 members of the Iraqi army to conquer the country's second largest city of Mosul? The answer, as provided in the searing feature-length documentary The Fall of Mosul, is much more complex than you might think.
In June of 2014, the terrorist organization managed to gain control over a population of 1.8 million. They accomplished this seemingly impossible task in just six short days.
What factors made Mosul such a vulnerable target for enemy occupation? You can't gain a complete understanding of the city's current predicament without indulging in a careful consideration of its history. In this regard, filmmaker Graham Templeton does a commendable job of outlining the key events that have shaped the development of Mosul dating back thousands of years.
Throughout the city's history, ongoing conflicts have deepened the divisions between the Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and other religious sects who populate the area. From the aftermath of World War I to the rise of dictator Saddam Hussein to the currently raging Syrian Civil War, a series of tumultuous events have had a cumulative and detrimental impact on the morale and vitality of the region. Amidst an environment of growing instability and disharmony, Mosul has grown increasingly susceptible to the nefarious plots of insurgent forces. This dynamic reached a crescendo with the cataclysmic U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the immense destabilization that followed in its wake.
The film explores the disintegration of Mosul at the hands of ISIS militants with great depth and insight. It's a narrative marked by mass withdrawals of military and law enforcement personnel, poor logistical planning, and inferior supplies of armaments.
As of October 2016, a renewed effort has been mounted among Iraqi forces to reclaim the city of Mosul. The future of this major city continues to hang in the balance. Our modern media has been lax in their coverage of these crucial events, and that's precisely why this film should be considered essential viewing. The Fall of Mosul offers an eye-opening primer on a complicated history that continues to inform present-day events.