Iraqi forces backed by the US hammers Islamic State in a push to retake Mosul, grave doubts remain on how to keep Iraq from sliding back into chaos once the fighting stops. Foreign policy correspondent, Warren Strobel says there's no telling what could be unleashed once ISIL is driven out and Iraq's many competing factions no longer have a common enemy.
>> The battle for Mosul's expected to be long and bloody. It'll probably be the largest battle in the two-year effort to take territory back from Islamic State in Iraq. Once the fighting is done, there are a lot of unresolved questions. Northern Iraq is this huge mix of minorities and ethnic groups, there's Sunnis, there's Shia Muslims, there's a large Kurdish presence.
So there are different territorial claims and it's unclear who's going to be in charge once the fighting stops.>> The assault on mussel has been in preparation for more than a year. With the US lending air, and ground support.>> They put together a military plan that is all agreed, and they have a plan for sort of administrating the city with a provincial governor and some mayors in each district.
So there is a plan for the near term but the bigger issue is about power sharing. About how all of Iraq's minorities are gonna live together in the long term. Those issues are not solved.>> Strobel says the lack of a clear post-war plan is stirring anxious memories of the US invasion in 2003.
>> In Iraq, the US invaded with not enough troops. And no complete or even serious post-war plan. A lot of people think that led to the chaos that still engulfs Iraq today.>> Another unanswered question in Mosul, how to handle a flood of refugees.>> Well you could have a million internally displaced people who will need food and shelter and water and medical care.
So you could have a large-scale refuge movement. Backed by the US, some thirty thousand Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, and Sunni tribal fighters are battling an estimated 48 thousand ISIL militants from Mosul. And a clash analysts say could go on for weeks, if not months.