ISHM: October 6 – 12, 2017

Report
from Education for Peace in Iraq Center
Published on 12 Oct 2017 View Original

Key Takeaways:

Hawija Declared Cleared of ISIS as Most Militants Surrender to Peshmerga – On October 5, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the “liberation of the city of Hawija” from ISIS militants, adding that ISIS’s presence in Iraq is now limited to the Syrian border area in western Anbar. The Pentagon characterized Iraqi Security Force operations in Hawija as “swift and decisive,” and reported the capture of over one thousand ISIS militants. Most suspected ISIS affiliates surrendered to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces north of the city, fearful of extrajudicial killings by Shia Popular Mobilization Units who approached the city from the south. The International Organization for Migration reported more than 33 thousand displacements during the operations. ISIS held Hawija since 2014 and reportedly carried out some of the militant group’s most traumatizing atrocities there. more…

Dialogue Pushed as Next Steps in Easing Erbil-Baghdad Tensions – The Kurdistan Regional Government offered to negotiate with Iraqi federal officials on the status of airports, border-crossings, and banks in the Kurdish region, but a spokesperson for the Iraqi government in Baghdad said that negotiations can only take place if the KRG recognizes federal authority “over all of Iraq’s territory.” Out of retribution for a recent referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq, the federal government has suspended most direct international flights to airports in the Kurdistan region, halted currency exchange with Kurdish banks, and has insisted on control of border-crossings between the Kurdish region and Turkey and Iran. Responding to allegations by Kurdish officials that Iraqi Security Forces and Shia militias are preparing to attack Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reaffirmed that he will not use force against the Kurdish region, saying “We will not use our army against our people…it is our duty to preserve the unity of the country, implement the constitution, and protect citizens…” Meanwhile, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council ordered the arrest of Kurdish officials in charge of organizing the recent referendum for independence for violating a previous court order which banned the September 25 vote. more…

Iran, Turkey Unite in Disdain for Kurdish Independence – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to express his disdain over the recent Kurdish independence referendum, warning Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani of “a lonely stay” in the Kurdish region – a reference to the potential closing of Turkish-Iraqi Kurdish borders and economic isolation. Turkish Prime Minister Ben Ali Yildrim announced his intention to hold talks on the future of regional relations with Iraqi Kurdistan, noting that Barzani’s administration “lost its friendship with Turkey and Iran.” Military leaders from Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran have held talks and coordinated joint military exercises in recent weeks in an attempt to intimidate Kurdish separatist sentiment. more…

Diyala Security Situation Remains Tenuous as Focus Shifts – On October 10, Iraqi commander of Tigris Operations Lieutenant General Mozhar al-Azzawi, announced the launch of a large-scale operation to track and clear ISIS militants in the Nada Basin (approximately 45 kilometers northeast of Baquba in Diyala Province). Iraqi Army Units, Air Force, and Popular Mobilization Units are expected to take part in the operations, having recently cleared the nearby Zour Basin. ISIS insurgents in Diyala Province have plagued the region since 2014, especially along the Diyala border with Salah ad-Din Province. more…

Schools Reopen in Mosul; HRW Condemns Forced Detentions – NPR published a story this week on the reopening of schools in Mosul and the challenges facing educators whose students received little or no education for nearly three years under ISIS occupation. Nearly half of the Mosul region’s 600 public and private schools were destroyed in the fight against ISIS. On October 5, Human Rights Watch condemned reports that families with suspected ISIS affiliations are being forcibly detained at displacement camps in violation of Iraqi law. Addressing the unmet educational needs of a generation of young Iraqis and deciding how to repatriate ISIS-affiliated families are just some of the many questions posed as Iraq recovers post-ISIS. 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.