Friday, April 17, 2020

Iraq Situation Report: April 8 - 14, 2020

By: Katherine Lawlor and Brandon Wallace

ISW is assessing the ongoing unrest and its effects on political-security dynamics in Iraq. The Iraq Situation Report (SITREP) map series summarizes key events and likely developments to come. The following SITREP map covers the period April 8 - 14, 2020.

Key Takeaway: The United States, Iran, and most of Iraq’s political elites agreed to support Iraq’s new prime minister (PM)-designate, Iraqi National Intelligence Director Mustafa al-Kadhimi, following Iran’s successful political proxy campaign to sink the PM-designation of Adnan al-Zurfi. Most of Iran’s political and militia proxies fell in line behind Kadhimi but conditioned their support on the rapid expulsion of US forces from Iraq. However, key proxy militia Kata’ib Hezbollah maintains its firm anti-Kadhimi stance and may escalate to violence if the government formation process does not favor Iran's preferred outcomes, including key cabinet appointments and 2020 budget allotments. Iran’s proxies are conducting an information operation consisting of rhetorical threats to shape Kadhimi's proposed cabinet and to increase Iraqi political support for ending the US force presence ahead of a US-Iraq strategic dialogue slated for June. Meanwhile, Iran’s proxy militias created a fourth new Shi’a militia group to increase rhetorical and kinetic pressure on US forces.

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