Friday, May 5, 2017

Iraq Situation Report: April 21 - May 5, 2017

By Jessa Rose Dury-Agri and the ISW Iraq Team

ISIS is setting conditions for its annual Ramadan campaign, anticipated to begin on May 26 with intent to exploit security vulnerabilities across the country. ISIS tested security in and around Baghdad by conducting a successful Suicide Vehicle-Borne IED (SVBIED) attack in central Baghdad and attempting additional attacks in Balad, Tarmiyah, and Jurf al-Sakhr. ISIS strained Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) resources by increasing the tempo of attacks in Ramadi and far west Anbar Province. ISIS attempted numerous attacks in Salah al-Din province, which the ISF foiled. The attacks indicate ISIS's continued attack capabilities in this zone. ISIS attacked Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) near Mosul in a potential bid to incite sectarian violence and detract from Mosul operations. Security forces must complete the campaign for Mosul while protecting Baghdad and repelling ISIS attacks across Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, and Ninewa Provinces. ISF resources are further strained in Maysan and Basra Provinces, which mobilized two operations commands to address tribal violence. ISIS will continue to create and exploit weaknesses in Iraqi security prior to its Ramadan offensive.