Early indicators suggest that a post-ISIS Sunni insurgency may be forming in Iraq and al Qaeda (AQ) is trying to gain traction within it.
ISIS continued to reestablish its presence in its historic support zones; other Sunni insurgent groups may form in Iraq as ISIS focuses on shifting from a governing to guerilla style terrorist organization.
The recapture of Mosul can reset the balance of power between Iran and the U.S. in Iraq and the region.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) pushed ISIS out of eastern Mosul on January 24, but will need to continue efforts to expel ISIS from historic support zones in Diyala and Anbar.
ISIS continued to demonstrate its ability to carry out spectacular attacks inside Baghdad from January 6 to 11, following weeks of increasing activity in the capital in response to its losses in Mosul.
ISIS launched waves of counteroffensives and spectacular attacks across Iraq after operations in eastern Mosul resumed on December 29.
Local and regional actors are maneuvering to secure their position in 2017 and for a post-ISIS Mosul.
The Council of Representatives met to discuss the 2017 federal budget on December 4 and 5 but failed to put the budget to a final vote .The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) deployed security forces from Baghdad to northern Iraq, as ISIS spectacular attacks in the capital decreased.
The Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) passed a law on November 26 that solidifies the Popular Mobilization, the majority of which are Shi’a militias with a history of sectarian violence, as a permanent security institution in Iraq.
Iraq could face another Sunni insurgency after ISIS loses control of Mosul. The U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve has not resolved the political conditions that originally caused Sunni Arabs to mobilize in a non-violent protest movement in 2012-2013. Sunni Arabs in Iraq who are liberated from ISIS’s control will not necessarily be reconciled to the Iraqi Government.