For John, BLUF: There is hope in parts of Iraq. Nothing to see here; just move along.
A younger acquaintance of mine is serving in Iraq as a US Army military advisor to the Iraqi Army. On Christmas Eve, our time, he wrote this note, which brings hope.
I was able to attend Mass at St. Joseph's Chaldean Church in Erbil tonight. The Archbishop of Mosul celebrated with the Archbishop of Erbil. At the end he gave a quick talk thanking the congregation for their hospitality on this, their second Christmas away from their city. He said that next year he hopes to celebrate Christmas at home and not as a displaced person in Northern Iraq.The Archbishop of Mosul returning home of course depends upon the defeat of Daesh, the criminal gang which is excluding from its territories anyone who is not the same as them. No diversity in their areas of control.
In the mean time, the Iraqi Government, which needs to retake Mosul, has put out this 2'11" YouTube Propaganda video, "Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units promise Mosul's church bells will ring again". It is propaganda, but propaganda needs to be based on a kernel of truth or on actual hopes and wishes (or fears).
Regards — Cliff