The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Popular Mobilization, and tribal fighters launched a major operation to retake Fallujah on May 23.

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) has made significant gains in the Euphrates River Valley over the past two months, recapturing almost the entirety of the southern bank.

ISW and CTP conducted a multi-week planning exercise to develop potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. The first three reports were relased in January and February.

Iraq faces a major political crisis that threatens to collapse the current government and exacerbate political unrest. Political stability in Iraq is critical to the ability of the U.S. to continue anti-ISIS operations, not only to defeat ISIS but also to prevent its reconstitution.

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) agreed to new measures to reinforce a nationwide 'cessation of hostilities' and also pledged support to a campaign of "air bridges" starting on June 1 if actors continue to deny humanitarian access to besieged regions.

Latest from ISW

ISIS Sanctuary Map: May 25, 2016

ISIS lost terrain in Iraq but claimed an attack from a new governorate, Wilayat Sahel, on the northwestern coast of Syria deep in regime territory. ISIS militants launched complex suicide attacks in core regime territory in Tartus City and Jableh on May 23, 2016. ISIS will likely escalate attacks against Alawite communities on the Syrian Coast in order to exacerbate sectarian tensions during Ramadan.

ISW Tracking of Iraq’s 2016 Political Crisis

Updated on May 24: Iraq’s Federal Court will issue an important ruling on May 25 that could have a major impact on the political crisis. The issues at stake are the legitimacy of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s ministerial appointments and the speakership of the Council of Representatives. This page provides a comprehensive collection of ISW reporting and analysis of this political crisis, which ISW has covered since it began.

Russia and Turkey Escalate: Russia’s Threat to NATO Goes Beyond Eastern Europe

Russia is waging a multi-front campaign against Turkey in order to weaken NATO in line with its strategic objectives. The use of a high-end Soviet-era MANPADS against a Turkish helicopter in southeastern Turkey on May 13 could indicate that Russia is providing meaningful military support to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgency. The incident, if indeed an escalation by Russia, is yet another infringement of a sovereign NATO partner.

Kurdish Objectives in Iraq’s Political Crisis

Iraqi politics are deadlocked. Several political parties and blocs boycotted the Council of Representatives (CoR) following the Sadrist protesters’ first breach of the Green Zone on April 30. The Kurdish Alliance, a bloc that consisted of nearly one-fifth of the CoR, withdrew on May 5. The bloc has now split, and two of its component political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran, formally reunited on May 14 to create a new bloc.