Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni and prominent official from the opposition Iraqiyya List, on December 19, 2011.
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. These pitfalls could promote future regional disorder and prevent the U.S. from successfully degrading and destroying ISIS.
Financial difficulties stemming from collapsed oil prices, corruption, and the cost of the anti-ISIS fight pose an increasingly dire threat to Iraq that may prove more destabilizing than ISIS.
The U.S. is actively searching for ways to increase its impact on the anti-ISIS fight in Iraq. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called on Coalition members on January 22 to increase the amount of support they provide, and the U.S. indicated plans to intensify its own assistance for anti-ISIS actors in Iraq.
Iraqi Shi’a militias significantly escalated their confrontation with the U.S.
Rival Shi’a political factions are capitalizing on increased instability in Basra to compete for influence.
The ISF made significant gains in Ramadi in December, clearing much of the city center and recapturing the government complex on December 28.
ISIS launched spoiling attacks across Iraq to relieve pressure by anti-ISIS forces on multiple fronts.
The ISF accomplished major gains in Ramadi amid reports of an imminent increase of U.S. support, recapturing key areas north and south of the city and began advancing into the city’s southeastern neighborhoods.