Iraqi Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and other key powerbrokers are in negotiations to form a governing coalition with a majority of seats in Iraq's parliament following the May 2018 election.
Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi is presenting himself as a viable Shi’a reformist alternative to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the upcoming Iraqi legislative elections slated for May 12, 2018. Allawi will likely leverage his opposition to the expansion of the Iranian influence in Iraq, reformist stance and support for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to draw Shi’a Sadrist and some Kurdish support in the post-election premier selection phase.
Iraq’s political parties will use a week-long extension on the submission of electoral list candidates to reshape unofficial and official electoral list alliances.
Vice President Nouri al-Maliki–seeking to regain the premiership–is likely leveraging his influence over the judicial process to marginalize political rivals ahead of the legislative and provincial elections, slated for May 12, 2018. Maliki previously influenced Iraq’s judiciary and ostensibly independent bodies to eliminate rival candidates and politicians during his two terms as Prime Minister (2006-2014).
The U.S. should reassess military and political plans that rest on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s continued premiership after Iraq’s May 12, 2018 elections. A series of splits from Abadi’s electoral list will increase opportunities for alternative candidates to gain the premiership. Abadi’s failed political alliance with Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces and inability to maintain the confidence of Ammar al-Hakim’s political allies signals that Abadi is unable to manage varying political interests and will struggle to hold together a post-election coalition.
Any U.S. strategy relying on a partnered force must proceed from a realistic assessment of its capabilities and intentions. The Institute for the Study of War completed an Order of Battle study to evaluate the capabilities and disposition of the ISF. This study also presents an Order of Battle of the PMF to help U.S. decision makers and forces on the ground recognize and remediate the presence of Iranian-backed militias within the ISF.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute conducted an intensive multi-week planning exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syri
Unidentified gunmen, likely Iranian proxies, fired rockets at the Green Zone during a large Sadrist demonstration in Tahrir Square in eastern Baghdad on February 11, 2017.
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.