Monday, January 6, 2020

Iraq Situation Report: December 27, 2019 - January 3, 2020

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is assessing the ongoing unrest in Iraq and its effects on political-security dynamics. The Iraq Situation Report (SITREP) series summarizes key events and likely developments to come. These Iraq SITREP maps cover the period from December 27, 2019 - January 3, 2020. 

December 27-31, 2019

Key Takeaway:  Iran’s proxies triggered a series of violent reprisals with the U.S. in Iraq by killing an American contractor and wounding multiple American soldiers in a proxy rocket attack in Kirkuk Province on December 27. The U.S. conducted multiple airstrikes against the Iranian proxy militia Katai’b Hezbollah (KH) in Syria and Iraq in response on December 28 in an attempt to deter further attacks. Instead, KH then organized an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on December 31 in a clear threat of future violence.

By: Brandon Wallace, Katherine Lawlor, and Jason Zhou

January 01-03, 2020

Key Takeaway: The United States killed Iranian IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and several senior proxy militia officials, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a drone strike outside of Baghdad International Airport. The strike places the months-long U.S.-Iranian escalation cycle on an unprecedented trajectory. Iranian reprisals for the death of their second most important figure will include leveraging Iranian influence in the Iraqi parliament and proxy militia groups to expel U.S. troops from Iraq, thereby precluding the U.S. from sustaining its mission in Syria which depends on Iraqi basing. 

By: Katherine Lawlor