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Mosul, after ISIS

An Iraqi man walks over the rubble in the old city of Mosul.
An Iraqi man walks over the rubble in the old city of Mosul. Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP / Getty Images

In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed the end of the nearly four-year-long war against ISIS, five months after al-Abadi announced victory in the city of Mosul.

Why it matters: Since Iraq's second-largest city was liberated, around 327,000 of the 1 million people who left the city have returned, ABC reports. And while the people of Mosul are beginning their lives again, after three years of ISIS control the conditions of the city still pose challenges and dangers to its residents.

Mosul, after ISIS

  • Lise Grande, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement that eastern and western Mosul are facing different challenges: "Ninety-seven percent of the population has returned to their homes in eastern Mosul. People are rebuilding their lives there...Conditions in western Mosul are very difficult...Families are worried about booby-traps, security and services."
  • More than 270,000 people were "living in 18 camps and emergency sites surrounding the city," per a U.N. report from October.
  • ABC reports that repairing the basic infrastructure in the city will cost more than an estimated $1 billion.
  • Corruption in the Iraqi government has led citizens to doubt claims that "hundreds of millions of dollars of U.N. aid is being spent to rebuild Mosul," CNN reports.
  • As of October, the remains of 1,642 civilians had been found underneath rubble, the U.N. reported.
  • 60,000 homes are "uninhabitable," the New York Times reports, and "at least 20,000 commercial and government buildings" were destroyed.

Go deeper: Timeline: the rise and fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Haley Britzky 4 hours ago
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Russia continues pointing fingers after ex-spy poisoning

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses with medalists of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games
Russian President Vladimir Putin poses with medalists of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games. Photo: Yuri Kadobnov / AFP / Getty Images

It's become relatively understood with world leaders that Russia probably poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

The bigger picture: The U.S. has said so, the E.U. recently voiced support for the U.K. in saying so; the only person who won't say is Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Kremlin has "spread a flurry of theories" to explain the nerve-agent attack, with "one common theme: It was anyone but Russia."

Zachary Basu 14 hours ago
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What to watch for in Egypt's sham election

Sisi billboard
A billboard in Cairo voicing support for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the upcoming election. Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images.

Egyptians will vote March 26-28 in a presidential election that is sure to see incumbent strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi handily defeat Mousa Mostafa Mousa — the sole challenger who hasn't been jailed or intimidated into dropping out.

The backdrop: Sisi, the former minister of defense and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, led a military coup to topple President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. He formally came to power in 2014 after winning 96% of the vote in the presidential election, but has since seen his popularity wane under deteriorating economic conditions and an oppressive human rights record.