Iraq is, once again, deeply embroiled in crisis. For three years, the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish region fought together to oust the Islamic State. Now, following the Sept. 25 referendum on independence for the region, they are pointing their guns at each other.
The dynamics in Iraq are far from simple, with intra-Kurdish rivalries; ethnic, sectarian and political divisions in Baghdad; and a war against the Islamic State barely in the rearview mirror. And yet too many people in Washington and elsewhere seem myopically focused on just one factor: Iran, which they view as controlling and dominating the situation in Iraq in pursuit of an ambitious, expansionist foreign policy.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered his forces to retake the province of Kirkuk from the Kurdish peshmerga’s control. Abadi moved with broad support, including groups within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Iran, Turkey, the Persian Gulf countries and the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State militant group.
The peshmerga, isolated and divided, withdrew, as leaders from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) commanding the area decided not to fight in objection to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The latest tensions stem from the Sept. 25 independence referendum in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, now widely considered a major miscalculation.… Seguir leyendo »
In 2014, the so-called Islamic State conquered one-third of Iraq in its pursuit of a Caliphate. By 2017, the organization is finding it difficult to claim statehood. It has suffered a series of territorial losses, from Tikrit (2015) to Ramadi (2015-2016) to Fallujah (2016) to Mosul (2016-2017), and is now facing an assault on its ‘capital’ of Raqqa. Its days of controlling and administering territory appear to be nearing an end.
However – and despite references to a post-ISIS Iraq – territorial losses do not mean the end of ISIS in the country, where it has existed in one form or another since 2003.… Seguir leyendo »
With the Mosul offensive underway, discussion has largely focused on the eventual fate of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), once it is ousted from the city. Yet the most significant barometer of this offensive remains unanswered: what happens if a military victory is not followed by a political accord among Iraq’s competing players? The signs are not encouraging.
The realities of victory differ when viewed from military and political perspectives. In the build up to the offensive, most of the focus has been on how to achieve a military victory. Here, much debate has centred on the makeup of the force.… Seguir leyendo »