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In April 2003, a few days after Saddam Hussein's statue was brought down in Baghdad, I went into Mosul with Hoshyar Zebari, a leading Kurdish official who would become Iraq's foreign minister.No one should be surprised that the war in Syria has upended Iraq, or that Mosul, 11 years later, should again be a battlefield.Many Iraq army officers under Saddam Hussein had come from Mosul.All of which leaves the Kurds very much on the front line – specifically the mainly Kurdish east bank of Mosul, home to perhaps 250,000 of the city's 1.25 million population. In 2003, the Kurds held back from the rest of Mosul, wary of Washington's reaction. Domiz, the main refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan for Syrian Kurds, alone has at least 80,000 people, and tens of thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – have now fled Mosul.Optimists suggest the shock of the takeover of Mosul will lead to a grand alliance against ISIS made up of the United States, the Kurds, the Iraqi Army, and sections of the Syrian opposition.
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