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CrisisWatch Iraq

Unchanged Situation

PM Abadi announced victory over Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul in north 10 July after weeks of heavy fighting to recapture western half, though small-scale clashes between U.S.-backed govt forces and ISIS continued in city in following days. Fighting continued around Mosul: ISIS captured Imam Gharbi village 70km south of Mosul 5 July, retaken by govt forces 20 July; govt forces 11 July repelled ISIS attack on nearby al-Jaran village. Govt-backed forces 11 July also repelled ISIS attack on Hatra city 110km SW of Mosul. ISIS killed 30 civilians in Hawija district, Kirkuk province in centre north 18 July. Abadi rejected rights groups’ allegations of abuses by govt-backed forces 12 July, day after footage emerged online appearing to show security forces beating and summarily executing detainees in Mosul. German Chancellor Merkel 19 July urged Abadi to investigate alleged abuses by govt-backed forces during and after operation to retake Mosul.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

12 Aug 2017
There is a risk that the Arabs, the Turkmen and the Shia will protest [against a referendum on Kurdish independence] and that Baghdad, backed by Iran, will send in militias or security forces. The Economist

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
1 Jun 2017
Iraq, which is in charge on paper, does not want to give away a single piece of land [to the Kurdistan Regional Government]. Foreign Policy

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
29 May 2017
The Iranians have been prioritizing something that the U.S. has overlooked [in Iraq]: control over strategic roads, rather than control of the Sunni communities. AP

Maria Fantappie

Senior Analyst, Iraq
21 May 2017
The shift in the Trump administration's approach reflects an assessment that the primary threat posed by surviving ISIS fighters derives from those who came from Europe. Deutsche Welle

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
27 Apr 2017
There isn’t an easy solution to [the Turkish-U.S. disagreement on Kurdish militias in Iraq and Syria], and now Turkey has raised the stakes. TIME

Noah Bonsey

Senior Analyst, Syria
20 Apr 2017
Iran's strategy in Iraq is a policy of divide and rule. Kurdish society is very divided at the moment and Iran has a chance to exploit those divisions. Al-Monitor

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

Reconciling Iraq's Hard Realities

In a Berlin speech to German and Dutch officers, diplomats and civilians, Crisis Group's Middle East and North Africa Program Director Joost Hiltermann argues that any attempt to help Iraqis piece their country back together again needs to take into account local realities, the grander geopolitical picture, and especially regional powers Turkey and Iran.

The U.S. joins the Turkey-PKK fight in northern Syria

Directly arming one mainly Kurdish faction in Syria makes U.S. partly responsible for the fate of Syria’s Kurds. Given Ankara’s bitter opposition to the group, Washington should push its Kurdish partner to focus on regional autonomy in Syria, not its insurgency in Turkey.

Originally published in Middle East Eye

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