When Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, launched the battle a year ago to retake Mosul from the jihadists of Islamic State (IS, or Daesh in Arabic), he declared: “God willing we will meet in Mosul...all religions united. And together we shall defeat Daeshand rebuild this dear city.”
The first part of his promise, the defeat of IS, is almost done. Mosul was liberated in July by an alliance of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, supported by America, Iran and other powers. The fight to eject IS from Raqqa, its Syrian capital, is drawing to a close.
But the second part of Mr Abadi’s promise, the reconstruction of Mosul, has been woefully neglected. The fate of Iraq’s second city matters—not just to its people, but as a symbol of the reintegration of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority. Unless Sunnis feel they have a stake in the country, another incarnation of IS will surely emerge from the ruins of Sunni cities.