Iraq Situation Report: July 8-14, 2020
By Katherine Lawlor and Brandon Wallace
Key Takeaway: Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s political maneuverability is increasingly constrained by resistance from Iran’s militia proxies and from protesters demanding better government services. Kadhimi directed elite forces to retake border crossings, advancing his campaign to reclaim Iraq’s border crossings from Iranian-backed militias with limited success. These security operations have not resulted in arrests or the permanent ousting of any militia groups to date but do signal to the United States that Kadhimi is taking the most aggressive actions he can without triggering violent retaliation from Iran’s proxy militias. Meanwhile, mass demonstrations broke out across the Shi’a-majority south to protest a lack of electricity service provisions after a months-long, COVID-19-induced downturn. Kadhimi continues to pursue new energy partnerships with Iraq’s neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, but will be unable to provide the immediate jump in electricity supplies needed to quell the protests.