Iraq

ISHM: November 23 - 30, 2017

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Key Takeaways:

  • President Masum Visits Kurdistan Region, Disputed Territories – Iraqi President Fuad Masum spent the week traveling through the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Kirkuk Province, where he met with leaders from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdish Democratic Party, as well as Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Masum’s trip signaled a beginning to conversations between the KRG and Iraqi Federal Government over Kurdish independence, even though official negotiations have not yet taken place. Barzani insists that as a result of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court’s November 20 ruling which canceled the results of the September 25 referendum on Kurdistan’s independence, Baghdad must restore international flights to the KRI and pay back salaries of civil servants and members of the Kurdish Peshmerga. Meanwhile, the U.S. announced that it will provide US$ 364 million in funding to the Peshmerga in 2018, adding to the US$ 1.4 billion provided by the U.S. since 2015 to secure the help of the Kurdish fighters in clearing ISIS from northern Iraq. more…

  • Kubis Briefs UN Security Council, Meets with Sistani – Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, Jan Kubis, briefed the UN Security Council on the current situation in the country, including the need for Erbil and Baghdad to begin negotiations over Kurdish independence, the need for the international community to remain committed to Iraq’s military and non-military development, and the need for the Iraqi government to ensure that upcoming elections take place as scheduled in May 2018. Later in the week, Kubis met with Iraqi Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf. The two discussed the need for assistance to displaced persons and a mutual commitment to fighting corruption in government. more…

  • British Prime Minister Visits Baghdad – On November 29, British Prime Minister Theresa May visited Baghdad, the first visit of a British PM since 2008. Following meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, May announced a pledge of GB£ 10 million to Iraq to aid in counter-terrorism capability, and an assistance program for border infrastructure and biometric capabilities. May also visited a coalition base at Taji where she visited with some of the 600 British troops currently stationed in Iraq. more…

  • ISIS Claims Responsibility for Suicide Bombing Near Baghdad – On November 27, two ISIS militants attacked a market in Nahrawan, approximately 32 kilometers east of Baghdad in Diyala Province. After reports of gunfire, one of the two attackers detonated a suicide vest, killing at least 17 and wounding 28 others. Iraqi police issued a curfew in the area following the attack. more…

  • Military Operations Continue to Target ISIS in Western Anbar – According to the UN Population Fund, an estimated 60 thousand people remained in western Anbar throughout the ISIS occupation and are now in urgent need of assistance. Military operations targeting sleeper cells and insurgent ISIS militants are continuing in the area, as well as in Diyala and Salah ad-Din province. U.S. Army Lt. General Paul Funk, Commanding General of Combined Joint Task Force – Inherent Resolve, said this week that the U.S. “will stay in Iraq until the situation stabilizes,” and that “the focus is on…maintaining stability of the situation through the establishment of defense lines.” The following day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the security forces had cleared approximately 14 thousand square kilometers in western Anbar, but noted that the fight against terrorism is far from over. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.