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Over recent months, the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq has lost territory to the Syrian army, opposition forces in Syria, the reorganised Iraqi Security Forces and the Hashed Al-Sha’bi (Popular Mobilization Forces – PMF), as well as to Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq. These losses have led to heightened speculation that an assault on the IS stronghold of Mosul may happen sooner rather than later. However, with such speculation comes the fear of ‘the day after’, and what could be expected to happen in Mosul – a traditional focal point of Arab and Iraqi nationalists – and a city that was the centre of Iraq’s military establishment throughout the twentieth century. Tallha Abdulrazaq and Gareth Stansfield investigate this ‘day after’ question, highlighting the potential problems that may emerge following IS’s departure from the city.
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