George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action film “Mad Max: Fury Road” offers a frightening glimpse into a drought-stricken future, where water scarcity will critically impact humankind. Meanwhile, in Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian classic, “The Road”, the reader is taken into a world where men seek refuge in violence for the sake of drinking water. A similar scenario is emerging in Mosul, where government forces have made significant progress in retaking Iraq’s second city from the Islamic State. "Nearly half a million civilians, already struggling to feed themselves day to day, are now without access to clean drinking water. The impact on children, women and families will be catastrophic," said Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. Reports indicate that military strikes have severely damaged water pipes in recent days and residents are now forced to dig deep into wells scrounging for water. The humanitarian cost of the civil strife that has gripped Iraq since US-led forces decided to invade in 2003 is beyond comprehension. Akin to the situation in Syria, the war against Islamic State has devastated entire communities and wreaked untold violence and misery on its people. As government forces seek to retake Mosul, the Islamic State has found other ways to establish its deadly presence in the region, despite military setbacks. Last week, the terror group took responsibility for a devastating bomb blast in Hilla, located 100 km south of Baghdad between Najaf and Karbala, two of Shia Islam’s holiest places, where 100 people, mostly Iranian pilgrims were killed. The attack has left many observers arguing that the current offensive in Mosul will do little to deter the violence. As a radical Sunni fundamentalist group, the Islamic State has made concerted efforts to worsen the sectarian fault lines in the war-ravaged country. In the past, when its bases came under attack, the group has not been afraid to use terror and strike at faraway civilian centres. In displaying such unconventional flexibility, IS has given US-backed Iraqi government forces a lot to ponder.