However, the battle took longer than planned, as the progress made by the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces seems to have slowed down somewhat. Researcher Morten Bøås at the Norwegian Insitute of Foreign Affairs (NUPI) ventured that Daesh so far has unfortunately succeeded with its strategy of skirmishes in a battle they are doomed to lose.
According to Bøås, Daesh never intended to maintain full control over the city, which is widely seen as their stronghold and by far the largest city in their self-proclaimed caliphate. Instead, Daesh retreats from district after district, seeking to create as much death and destruction as possible. The aim is to create an impenetrable stronghold, thus playing for time.
"This alliance will not last forever, it's just a matter of time before it cracks," Morten Bøås said, as quoted by Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.
According to analyst and writer Hassan Hassan of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy think-tank, the coalition is likely to lose a good opportunity in Mosul. According to Hassan, the skirmishes are about to wear out Iraqi forces who have been specially trained to counter terrorism. One of the reasons for the quagmire is that Daesh possess a good knowledge of Mosul after having controlled the city since 2014. In December 2016 alone, over 100 Iraqi special troops were killed in ambushes in the city.
According to Morten Bøås, there are three scenarios, yet the outlook for the battle against Daesh is grim regardless of which of them will take place.
Secondly, Daesh manages to maintain control over parts of the city and is only defeated after a long and exhausting urban warfare campaign, being gradually pushed out street by street and house by house. Many civilians die, as Shiite militia, Kurdish forces and Turkey-supported groups enter the city simultaneously in what Bøås called "the perfect storm."
Thirdly, the coalition wins Mosul but loses peace. The lack of a plan for Mosul's future may create a security vacuum, which in turn stirs a major power struggle, causing further problems.
"Then Daesh will become a traveling organization which attacks where it best suits them. Perhaps the chain of command will be weakened somewhat, but the terrorists themselves can become even more violent than ever," Bøås concluded.