Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi is presenting himself as a viable Shi’a reformist alternative to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the upcoming Iraqi legislative elections slated for May 12, 2018. Allawi will likely leverage his opposition to the expansion of the Iranian influence in Iraq, reformist stance and support for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to draw Shi’a Sadrist and some Kurdish support in the post-election premier selection phase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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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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.
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“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.”
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.”