Iran provided decisive military support to compel Iraqi Kurds to surrender in Kirkuk, Iraq, on October 16, 2017. Military forces from three major Iranian proxies participated in the operation: Katai’b Hezbollah, Asai’b Ahl al Haq, and the Badr Organization. Iran did not attempt to outshine Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in public. Iran instead allowed Abadi to take credit, while quietly positioning its proxies to influence Kirkuk in the future.
Iraq Situation Report
Iran-backed Shia militias set conditions to disrupt or deny U.S.-backed forces freedom of maneuver near the Iraq-Syria border. Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) forces began clearing territory in western Ninewa Province toward the Syrian border.
ISIS is waging a renewed offensive campaign in recaptured areas that could exploit vulnerabilities in the Iraqi Government’s ability to respond amidst accelerating political competition before upcoming elections.
Regional actors are vying to dominate the post-ISIS security structure and political order in northern Iraq.
ISIS could be facing difficulty coordinating successful attacks in Iraq as losses in Mosul are forcing it to transform from a governing to guerrilla style terrorist organization.
Baghdad witnessed serious breaches of security from February 11 to 16 due to both escalating protest movements and ISIS attacks.
Security conditions have decreased in Mosul and Salah al-Din and in the southern provinces due to revived militant attacks and election-related violence, respectively, from February 2 to 10.
ISIS continued to reestablish its presence in its historic support zones; other Sunni insurgent groups may form in Iraq as ISIS focuses on shifting from a governing to guerilla style terrorist organization.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) pushed ISIS out of eastern Mosul on January 24, but will need to continue efforts to expel ISIS from historic support zones in Diyala and Anbar.
ISIS continued to demonstrate its ability to carry out spectacular attacks inside Baghdad from January 6 to 11, following weeks of increasing activity in the capital in response to its losses in Mosul.