Iraq

Iraq has been successively ravaged by the 1980-1988 war with Iran, crippling sanctions after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, internal conflict after the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, and the transnational jihadists of Islamic State after 2014. Its multiple challenges further include sectarian violence and Kurdish separatism. Crisis Group aims to promote locally-centred stabilisation and better governance of post-ISIS Iraq in order to reduce the risk of violent flare-ups in liberated areas and mitigate the impact of foreign strategic competition, notably between Iran and the U.S. Through field research, advocacy and engagement with all sides, we urge countries involved in the anti-ISIS campaign to support security sector and institutional reform in Iraq as well. On the Kurdish front, we urge a return to a UN-led process to resolve the question of the disputed territories, especially Kirkuk, and of oil revenue-sharing.

CrisisWatch Iraq

Unchanged Situation

Govt sought to pass 2023 budget and stabilise currency amid protests against hardship, armed groups targeted international coalition forc-es, and Islamic State (ISIS) continued attacks.

Govt haggled over budget amid protests demanding jobs. PM Sudani 11 Jan met Kurdistan Regional Govt (KRG) PM Barzani in capital Baghdad to discuss KRG’s share in 2023 federal budget and other bilateral issues; Barzani 15 Jan said they had reached “preliminary agreements”. PM Sudani 23 Jan replaced Central Bank gov-ernor Mustafa Ghaleb Mukheef with Muhsen al-Allaq after Iraqi dinar 20 Jan reached new low at 1,670 to U.S. dollar. Demonstrations took place across country as protestors demanded employment; notably, hundreds 2 Jan protested in front of North Oil Company in Kirkuk city as police responded with tear gas, injuring five. Hundreds 8 Jan reportedly demonstrated in front of finance ministry in Baghdad. Hundreds 25 Jan protested currency devaluation in Baghdad.

IED attacks targeted International Coalition. In first attack targeting International Coalition convoy in months, IED 12 Jan hit convoy in Taji distict, Baghdad; armed group al-Muqawama al-Dawliya same day claimed attack. IEDs 19 and 26 Jan tar-geted convoy in Yusufiya district, Baghdad governorate. PM Sudani 15 Jan defended U.S. troop presence, saying: “We think that we need the foreign forces”. Sudani 16 Jan received White House Envoy Brett McGurk to discuss bilateral relations; McGurk reaffirmed U.S. commitment to support Iraq against ISIS.

Low-level ISIS insurgency continued. Alleged ISIS sniper 9 Jan killed police of-ficer in Muqdadiya district, Diyala governorate. Suspected ISIS militants 18 Jan killed two police officers in Jabal Bur, Kirkuk governorate. Counter-terrorism opera-tions continued; notably, airstrikes 21 Jan killed two alleged ISIS militants in Salah al-Din governorate.

In other important developments. U.S. forces 8 Jan shot down drone near Ain al-Asad airbase housing U.S. personnel in Anbar governorate. In possible indication of political comeback after months of silence, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr 13 Jan ad-dressed supporters ahead of Friday prayer.

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In The News

15 Sep 2022
Installing a monarchy that wasn’t very popular and that was overthrown in 1958 was the ignition for the many problems that the modern Iraqi state has faced. AP

Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
17 Aug 2022
The reason we haven't seen much talk of the US in Iraq's political process is simply because they don't have much of a role, and they haven't wanted to. Middle East Eye

Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
4 Feb 2022
[Iraq is] already part of Saudi-Iran tensions and will forever be a part of them as long as they exist. Al Jazeera

Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
7 Oct 2021
[Shiite Muslim cleric] Sadr has been selling himself as a viable option, and a central one in Iraqi politics. Washington Post

Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
2 Jun 2021
Successive [Iraqi] governments since the military victory over ISIS have failed to integrate the PMF. It has become a force in itself, pursuing its own interests. Al Jazeera

Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
12 Dec 2020
In comparison to previous protests [in Iraq's Kurdish north] these are significant as the current fiscal crisis affects larger swaths of the population. The Washington Post

Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq

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Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
Lahib Higel

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