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

Iran-backed groups claimed attacks on Israel; Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Federal Supreme Court reached agreement on local elections.

Iran-backed groups continued alleged attacks on Israel. Tehran-aligned Islamic Resistance in Iraq in June claimed dozens of drone attacks against Israeli targets, including in Haifa and Eilat cities, none acknowledged by Israel. Resistance groups 6, 12, 23, 26 June also claimed joint operations against Israel with Yemen’s Houthis (see Yemen). Meanwhile, mobs affiliated with resistance groups early month vandalised and burnt down American restaurants and shops in capital Baghdad on grounds that they finance U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza. U.S. 17 June said it targeted Harakat Ansar Allah al-Awfiya (HAAA), part of Islamic Resistance in Iraq, and HAAA leader, Haydar Muzhir Ma’lak al-Sa’idi, with terrorism designation. Islamic Resistance in Iraq 30 June vowed to expand operations, including against U.S. targets, in case of expansion of war in Lebanon.

Kurdish party KDP reached agreement with Supreme Court on Kurdistan parliamentary elections. KDP 9 June announced lifting election boycott after Supreme Court in May reverted February decision to annul minority quota seats in Kurdistan parliament, ordering that five seats be allocated to minorities across Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Duhok provinces in more even distribution than initial system which put minority seats under de facto control of KDP. Electoral commission 6 June announced reopening window for candidate registration. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani 26 June set 20 Oct as new date for parliamentary elections, and electoral commission next day further extended deadline for candidate registration until 4 July. With relations between Baghdad and Erbil improving, KRG PM Masrour Barzani 9 June confirmed last remaining federal bank, Trade Bank of Iraq, was added to list of banks at which KRG employees can open salary accounts.

Türkiye continued strikes on PKK, extended flight ban on Sulaymaniyah airport. Türkiye continued airstrikes targeting PKK; notably, Turkish airstrike 19 June caused fires in al-Amadiya district, Duhok governorate. Officials in Sulaymaniyah governorate 8 June said Turkish authorities extended flight ban until Dec due to alleged PKK infiltration on Sulaymaniyah international airport. 

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In The News

15 Eyl 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

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Lahib Higel

Senior Analyst, Iraq
Lahib Higel

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