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What happens when Mosul falls?

The battle for the city is the prelude to wider struggles for political influence in the region and control of northern Iraqi oil production

The Iraqi-led offensive to drive Islamic State (IS) fighters out of the country's second-largest city has made slow but significant progress. By mid-November, Iraqi forces had recovered one third of the eastern side of Mosul, while Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia militiamen were encircling the city. The ultimate defeat of IS in Mosul seems assured. Less clear is what awaits northern Iraq-and its oilfields-when the city is liberated. Of particular importance to the federal government is the fate of territory and population centres taken over by the Iraqi Kurds since the start of the IS surge in mid-2014. At the top of its list of concerns is the fate of Kirkuk, which the Peshmerga captured in the

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