Iraq’s political elites are conditioning their support for Prime Minister (PM)-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi on the composition of his cabinet. The US and Iran have continued their competition to influence Iraq’s future. The Iraq Situation Report (SITREP) map series summarizes key events and likely developments to come. The following SITREP map covers the period April 15 - 21, 2020.
The Kremlin is losing initiative and influence in several Balkan states. North Macedonia joined NATO despite Russia’s efforts to prevent it. Russia’s strategic partner Serbia is increasingly vocal about its aspirations to join the EU. Balkan states are curbing the influence of Russian energy and the Russian Orthodox Church in their countries. The Kremlin is attempting to counteract these potential influence losses by exploiting its connections to Serbia’s defense establishment to prevent Serbia from deepening ties with the EU. The West should keep the Kremlin on the defensive in Europe by supporting ongoing EU and NATO efforts to integrate the Western Balkans.
ISW is assessing the ongoing unrest and its effects on political-security dynamics in Iraq. The Iraq Situation Report (SITREP) map series summarizes key events and likely developments to come. The following SITREP map covers the period April 8 - 14, 2020.
Syria Situation Report April 1 - 14, 2020
Putin’s response to the COVID-19 crisis is focused on shaping reality to conform to his desired narrative. The Kremlin is restricting the free flow of information on COVID-19, jailing doctors, and obfuscating its public infection numbers to support Putin’s central narrative that COVID-19 will affect Russia less than much of the world. The Kremlin is additionally testing new methods of societal control as part of its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. The Kremlin will retain these improved authoritarian tools for use against future opposition.
ISW is assessing the ongoing unrest and its effects on political-security dynamics in Iraq. The Iraq Situation Report (SITREP) map series summarizes key events and likely developments to come. The following SITREP map covers the period April 1 - 7, 2020.
Russia in Review: Kremlin Attempts to Exploit COVID-19 Crisis to Remove Sanctions on Russia and its PartnersApril 3, 2020 - Press ISW
The Kremlin is exploiting calls by the United Nations for limited sanctions waivers to combat COVID-19, to advance the Kremlin’s longstanding objective of removing international sanctions on Russia and its partners. The Kremlin has launched an information campaign on this issue and is leveraging its sanctioned allies around the world, alongside networks of Russia-amenable actors in Europe, to amplify the Kremlin’s message.
Iran advanced multiple lines of effort in Iraq to compel the U.S. withdrawal from the country. Iran successfully organized political opposition from the most powerful Iraqi Shi’a blocs to deny parliamentary backers to Prime Minister-designate Adnan al-Zurfi. Zurfi, who enjoyed tacit U.S. and international support, is now unlikely to win a vote of confidence. The U.S. completed pre-planned consolidations from three major Iraqi bases and several smaller camps, while several European nations either completely or partially withdrew their forces from Iraq over COVID-19 concerns.
Syria Situation Report: March 18 - 31, 2020
Iran continues to escalate proxy attacks against the U.S. in Iraq, demonstrating that it remains undeterred despite the January 3 strike that killed IRGC - Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and key Iraqi proxy leader Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis and subsequent U.S. strikes. Iran’s proxy network in Iraq is advancing its campaign to compel an American withdrawal by increasing the operational tempo of its attacks on U.S. and allied personnel. Iran’s proxies are responsible for at least 15 attacks on American and U.S.-led Coalition personnel since January 3. A new militia group, Usbat al-Thairen, claimed several recent attacks, indicating that the proxy network may be reorganizing in observance of the shared vision of Soleimani and Muhandis and that Iran may have reached a new phase in its campaign to expel U.S. forces form Iraq.