Challenges are mounting against PM Abadi’s government and the ISF in Baghdad. Following the kidnapping of the 18 Turkish workers last week, likely by Iranian-backed Shi'a militias, this week witnessed the kidnapping of a former Sunni advisor from Anbar.
The Iraq Control of Terrain map depicts the control exerted by armed actors in Iraq over urban and populated areas. “Control” is defined as “an area in which a military actor exerts physical/psychological pressure to assure that individuals or groups within the area respond as directed.” Control also requires a military command to maintain physical influence over a specified area in order to prevent its use by an enemy. The control zones depicted demonstrate where groups in Iraq are capable of repelling enemy forces.
PM Haidar al-Abadi continues to take actions to ensure that the government implements his reform agenda.
Iranian-backed Shi'a militias are challenging PM Abadi's authority through political means and the use of force in the wake of PM Abadi’s recent reforms. The proxy groups' obstruction of the National Guard Law further limits the government's ability to subordinate the militias to the control of the state. The National Guard Law is legislation that is critical to empowering Iraqi Sunnis by arming them and organizing them in the fight against ISIS. The Iranian-backed militias have also used violence in Baghdad in ways that challenge the government's control of the capital.
The powerbrokers leading the most lethal Iranian-backed Shi’a militias are taking actions to undermine PM Abadi’s reforms.
Indicators are emerging that security is deteriorating in Basra.
The ISIS mobile defense of SVBIEDs around Ramadi affirms ISF reports of advances around the city. Over the past week ISIS responded to ISF advances west of Ramadi by ambushing and targeting ISF forward positions with SVBIEDs. ISIS also managed to kill the commander of the Iraqi Army (IA) 10th Division and the deputy commander of the Anbar Operations Command on August 27 in an attack on a forward ISF position, which was likely a targeted strike.
The government of PM Abadi is using its control over the ISF to protect anti-corruption demonstrators from local authorities south of Baghdad.
The five major Kurdish political parties - the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Gorran (Change) Movement, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, and the Kurdistan Islamic Group - failed to resolve the status of the Iraqi Kurdistan presidency before the expiration of President Massoud Barzani’s term on August 20.
ISIS launched a large complex attack against ISF and Iraqi Shi’a militia positions in Baiji district on August 14, recapturing several parts of the city in an offensive that involved between 7-10 VBIEDs, direct and indirect fire, and up to 200 gunmen.