We talked to David Petraeus about the battle for Mosul

This is an extended version of a segment that originally aired Oct. 19, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

David Petraeus is certain the Islamic State group will lose control of Mosul, and he says they know it, too. It’s just a question of how brutally they’ll fight in the meantime.

As a Western-backed coalition of 30,000 troops pushed through northern Iraq to try to retake the key city from the terrorists, VICE News correspondent Josh Hersh discussed Iraq’s outlook with the retired general and former CIA director.

Petraeus, who called himself the former sheik of the strongest tribe in northern Iraq, said it’s “hard to say” whether Iraq is better off now than it was under Saddam Hussein — it depends on which Iraqis you ask.

And after the inevitable defeat of IS in the country, he hopes moderate Iraqis will avoid a “ruinous return” to politics that destroyed previous progress there.

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