The Islamic State (IS) has been militarily defeated in its attempt to create a ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria. Its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria were wrested from the terror group after long, grinding campaigns fought by local forces with extensive international assistance.
After the rapid capture of Tal Afar and a pocket around Hawija from IS last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the war against IS was over, that it had been won. Continue reading →
An earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck Iraq and Iran on November 12. It began in the Iraqi area of Halabja but its tremors were felt across the Middle East and its effects were extensive. Continue reading →
Iraq’s Kurds have voted overwhelmingly to become independent. More than 90 per cent of those who voted backed secession. This confident margin of victory does not translate into international confidence. The United States repeatedly attempted to dissuade the leaders of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from having the referendum at all. Continue reading →
The northern Iraqi city of Hawija represents the last Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in the country. After the gruelling battle for Mosul and the rapid victory at Tal Afar, the Iraqi state is on the verge of winning its immediate war against ISIS. Hawija and the nearby area are surrounded by Iraq state- and Kurdish-controlled territory, forming what might appear to be a tight seal. Continue reading →
The name Muqtada al-Sadr used to inspire fear. His brand of Shia sectarianism contributed greatly to the turmoil following the deposition of Saddam Hussein in 2003. His militia, the Mahdi Army, fought against the United States and the forces of the reconstituted Iraqi state. It also engaged in street violence and intimidation. Continue reading →
Recapturing eastern Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) represents a notable achievement for Iraq’s security forces. This presents a marked contrast to the disorder with which the Iraqi Army fought the sudden advance of ISIS in 2014. Then Iraq’s armed forces fell back and ISIS advanced to within 64 km of Baghdad. Continue reading →