Iran Looks to Expand Influence in Iraq When Mosul Falls

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The battle for the strategic Iraqi city of Mosul has reached its final stage as Iraqi forces close in on the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Mosul’s Old City. The liberation of Mosul, the second-largest Iraqi city and the capital of oil-rich Nineveh province, would mark a watershed moment in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the broader region. It was in Mosul where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself the Caliph of the Islamic State caliphate in July 2014; and he used the city as headquarters to expand the group’s control over other Iraqi regions and into neighboring Syria.

If recent past is prologue, though, the military victory in Mosul will not easily translate into long-term peace and stability unless key security, political, social, and economic challenges in the region are addressed.  

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