Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Iraq Update 2014 #8: ISF Deployments to Anbar

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The Iraqi government’s recent movement of troops in response to the Anbar crisis is potentially exposing other areas of the country to risks and exploitation by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In Baghdad, forces from the 6th Iraqi Army division have reportedly completely deployed to Anbar province.  The 6th Division is traditionally positionedin areas northern and southern Baghdad in what is known as the Baghdad Belts. These areas are known for being support /attack zones for AQI. The Iraqi government has also movedelements of the Salah ad-Din-based 4th division to western Baghdad presumably to relieve the Anbar-bound 6th division. The deployment of these units will likely generate gaps and allow AQI freedom of maneuver. Deployments of units from southern Iraq are likely not going to have grave security consequences on their base provinces given that these areas are minor attack zones for AQI. Nonetheless, the deployment of south-based units has heightened sectarian tensions with Anbari tribes callingfor the southern tribes to withdraw their sons from Anbar.