Iraq Situation Report

Iraq Situation Report: February 7 - 12, 2020

Confrontation between protesters and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) flared in Nasiriyah, Dhi Qar, after protesters there demanded the government hold a referendum on newly designated Prime Minister (PM) Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi. Protesters likely felt emboldened to demand new change when the PM-designate met with popular, former CTS commander Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, whose firing was a major spark for the start of mass protests in October. Three days after the demand for a referendum, unidentified ISF used live ammunition to disperse protesters blocking access to al-Ain University buildings in Nasiriyah.

Iran’s Role in the Kirkuk Operation in Iraq

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.