By: Katherine Lawlor and Brandon Wallace
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 March 11 - 17, 2020.
Key Takeaway: The U.S. began a planned drawdown from three Iraqi bases after Iran’s proxy network in Iraq intensified its campaign of rocket attacks against U.S.-led Coalition forces. A new Shi’a militia group, likely spawned from the Iranian proxy network and calling itself Usbat al-Thairen, claimed the attacks. Iran’s proxies will likely frame the U.S. drawdown as a victory in their campaign to expel U.S. forces from Iraq and may seek to gain access to these bases. Meanwhile, Iraq’s president unilaterally designated a new prime minister, former Najaf Governor Adnan al-Zurfi, but may be unable to form a government due to open opposition from the Iranian proxy-led Conquest Alliance. Widening government shutdowns due to COVID-19 may further elongate the government formation process.