This page highlights updates for the Institute for the Study of War's coverage of Iraq's 2018 Elections series.
"Electoral Shifts Likely Following Deadline Extension for Candidates" (Update #3) : Iraq’s political parties will use a week-long extension on the submission of electoral list candidates to reshape unofficial and official electoral list alliances. Political alliances show signs of upcoming change.
"Iraq's Judiciary Ruels Against Sunni Politician Ahead of Iraqi Elections" (Update #2) : Vice President Nouri al-Maliki–seeking to regain the premiership–is likely leveraging his influence over the judicial process to marginalize political rivals ahead of the legislative and provincial elections, slated for May 12, 2018. Maliki previously influenced Iraq’s judiciary and ostensibly independent bodies to eliminate rival candidates and politicians during his two terms as Prime Minister (2006-2014). Politically-motivated decisions by Iraq’s so-called Independent Bodies are likely to increase as the election approaches.
"Iraqi Prime Minister's Electoral Coalition Frctures, Signaling Change of Premier" (Update #1) : The U.S. should reassess military and political plans that rest on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s continued premiership after Iraq’s May 12, 2018 elections. A series of splits from Abadi’s electoral list will increase opportunities for alternative candidates to gain the premiership. Abadi’s failed political alliance with Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces and inability to maintain the confidence of Ammar al-Hakim’s political allies signals that Abadi is unable to manage varying political interests and will struggle to hold together a post-election coalition. Abadi must prevent additional fractures in his electoral list, ensure friendly candidates have funding, and block alternate political blocs such as Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition from achieving competitive electoral success. Abadi will likely make major political concessions post-election to retain the premiership if unable to meet these requirements, compromising his will and ability to pursue policies compatible with U.S. national security interests.