ISW Daily Update March 30, 2017

These are the major events from March 30, 2017 in the theaters and from the trans-national groups that ISW monitors: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, and ISIS.

IRQ: Iran's proxies defended the coalition's Mosul operation in order to continue using it as a vehicle to penetrate mainly Sunni areas of northern Iraq. The Minister of Interior (MoI), an Iranian proxy, used a visit to the site of a likely high-casualty coalition airstrike to reduce growing political pressure on the anti-ISIS coalition to halt airstrikes in Mosul. He emphasized that Iraq's security forces are "part of the people" and that victory comes with a price. The MoI intends to enable clearing operations to continue in order to create time and space for Iranian clients to continue developing local influence in Mosul.

AFG: Russia continues to increase its political and military relations with Pakistan as part of its efforts to assert itself as the dominant regional power and to hedge against US influence. A Russian military delegation led by Deputy Chief of General Staff Colonel General Israkiv Sergu Yuryevich met with Pakistan Army officials in Miram Shah, North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan.  Pakistan Army officials reportedly briefed the Russian delegation on counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). The Haqanni Network leadership uses Miram Shah as a headquarters for directing the insurgency in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Army has historically used military operations in the FATA to push militants into Afghanistan in order to simultaneously destabilize Afghanistan and clear areas of Pakistan. Russia will continue to increase its ties with Pakistan’s military to position itself as Central Asia's preeminent regional power. 

EGY: Egypt’s top judicial organization is attempting to avoid destabilizing Egypt over President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s recent move to consolidate power over the judiciary. Egypt’s largest judicial organization called for a meeting with President Sisi to discuss the amendments to the judicial authority law approved on 27 MAR by the Egyptian parliament. The amendments give the president the right to appoint the heads of four of the country’s top judicial councils. Egypt’s top judicial organization is attempting to position President Sisi as a mediator and blame the parliament for any political crisis. A political and constitutional dispute between Egyptian judges and President Sisi would destabilize the Egyptian regime, further erode the rule of law in the country, and provide an opening for the Muslim Brotherhood back into the political sphere.