Iraq

Iraq Situation Report: March 22 - 28, 2016

Pressure continues to mount on Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to reshuffle the cabinet. Abadi misses Sadrist deadline leading to Muqtada al-Sadr staging a sit-in in the Green Zone.

Iraq Euphrates River Valley Activity: December 22, 2015-March 2, 2016

The Iraqi Security Forces launched operations to retake Ramadi from ISIS on Dec. 22 and established control of the city on Feb. 9. The ISF will need to target remaining ISIS safe havens in the Euphrates River Valley in order to consolidate these gains.

Iraq Control of Terrain Map: February 9, 2016

Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Sunni Arab tribal ­fighters backed by Coalition air support recaptured central Ramadi on January 9, the completion of a six-month operation. Iraqi Security Forces entered the city center on December 22.

The Pitfalls of Relying on Kurdish Forces to Counter ISIS

American over-reliance on Kurdish forces as the primary ground partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) threatens the long-term success of the anti-ISIS campaign.

Ramadi Control Map: December 28, 2015

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reportedly recaptured the government complex in central Ramadi on December 28 after clearing ISIS-held areas south of the complex on December 26 and 27.

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Overview

The Iraq Project at the Institute for the Study of War produces detailed publications that monitor and analyze the changing security and political dynamics within Iraq. Topics include: understanding the evolving nature of Iraqi politics and Iraq’s democratic transition; evaluating Iraq’s security after U.S. forces withdraw; and analyzing the influence and behavior of regional actors in Iraq.

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Iraqi Prime Minister’s Electoral Coalition Fractures, Signaling Change of Premier

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.

Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Forces: Orders of Battle

Any U.S. strategy relying on a partnered force must proceed from a realistic assessment of its capabilities and intentions. The Institute for the Study of War completed an Order of Battle study to evaluate the capabilities and disposition of the ISF. This study also presents an Order of Battle of the PMF to help U.S. decision makers and forces on the ground recognize and remediate the presence of Iranian-backed militias within the ISF.

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LTG Dubik on the Fight for Tikrit

“The concern [over Shi’a militias] is what happens after the battle.  Will there be sectarian violence?…  Or will there be a relatively inclusive kind of governance and even-handed governance?  If it’s the latter, that will bode well for the future.  If it’s the former, these will be big problems.”

The Fight for Mosul

Mosul is a “very big target to start the counter-offensive with and the stakes will be pretty high to make sure that it’s successful.”  Signaling the move on Mosul by U.S. was “really foolish.”