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What next for Iraq?

The Islamic State may be routed in Iraq, but the question of what is next remains unanswered.
Shi'ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces walk with their weapons at the front line at the Shi'ite Turkman village of Bashir, 20km south of Kirkuk, March 14, 2015. Kurdish peshmerga forces, backed by Shi'ite militia fighters, have been attacking Islamic State-held towns and villages south and west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, peshmerga sources said. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR4TCDN

While the Iraqi army along with the Shiite paramilitary force Hashed al-Shaabi — or Popular Mobilization Units — and Iranian fighters under the command of Gen. Qasem Soleimani were routing the Islamic State (IS) at Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit in the heartland of Sunni Iraq, it was indeed an interesting experience to watch, from a distance of three hours away, the evolving military and political situation.

Sulaimaniyah is known as Kurdistan’s cultural capital and has been the bastion for Kurdish national sentiment for nearly a century. It has long been the power base of Iraq’s first Kurdish President Jalal Talabani in the post-Saddam period, and the town itself is where the Kurdish Gorran (Change) movement was born and won two successive electoral victories.

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