Hey there. Does anyone remember Iraq? That is our other war that we do not talk about anymore. You would think that after a 13 year conflict that it would be more important.
ISIS (remember them?) seems to have been all but totally defeated in Iraq….word is there are isolated pocket of ISIS resistance left in the country…..mostly in the western desert.
Now the question is what’s next for Iraq?
With the recent fall of Raqqa, Dair ez-Zor and now al-Qaim, the military defeat of Islamic State (IS) is at hand. For strategists, it is thus timely to question whether the three years of war against this adversary have yielded strategic victory—and the answer is vague indeed.
The significant attrition experienced by IS in Mosul may have overwhelmed the idea of the caliphate. Rapid capitulation in Tal Afar and Hawijah suggests either a loss of morale or a change in strategy towards posturing for an insurgency. Evidence of the latter has been seen in Europe, where attacks by IS increased in frequency despite its losses of terrain and senior leadership in the Middle East and North Africa. The IS leadership may be purposefully choosing to transition to a global insurgency paradigm—akin to a Maoist latent/incipient phase of guerrilla warfare—leveraging an IS-affiliated diaspora across the globe. Alternatively, IS may be rejecting a territorially based identity that would understand defeat via this Westphalian norm. It must therefore be expected that the group will continue to inspire terrorist activities to create instability, progress global insurgency, and grow the virtual caliphate.
There is no way of knowing what will be next for Iraq….but now that the fighting is mostly done….Iran is moving to consolidate its power base in Iraq…..
Iran is consolidating military control in Kirkuk. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi appointed an Iranian-friendly commander, Lieutenant General Ali Fadhil Imran, to lead the newly created “Kirkuk Operations Command” on October 28, 2017. Imran is the former head of the Iranian-influenced 5th Iraqi Army (IA) Division, based in Diyala. Photos in Iraqi and Jordanian media and a Facebook page linked with Imran show him closely coordinating with Iranian proxy Badr Organization leader Hadi al Ameri in 2015. The 5th IA Division is a component of the Dijla Operations Command (DOC), which is responsible for security in Iraq’s Diyala Province along the Iraq-Iran border. Iran’s influence over the DOC’s leadership is a template for how the security structure in Kirkuk will likely evolve. Iran’s proxies have disproportionate influence over the DOC. A video published by Vice News in February 2015 shows the former head of the DOC Abdul Amir al Zaydi taking direct orders from Ameri. Imran will likely provide a durable conduit for Iran’s proxies to dominate Kirkuk’s security structure similar to their role in Diyala.
Will this become a problem?
The US is already beating the war drum towards Iraq and yet the prudent decision would be to appoint a special envoy to go to the Kurds and act as a diplomatic buffer…..you would think right?
The United States has said there was no need to appoint a special envoy to resolve the crisis between Iraq and Kurdistan Region, saying that such a dispute could be resolved “internally”.
“We certainly heard about that idea to appoint a special envoy. We believe at this point that this is an issue that can be worked out internally, that it can be worked out between Baghdad and Erbil and don’t feel that it’s necessary to appoint some sort of United States envoy in some sort of new position to handle this,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said in a press briefing late Tuesday.
Not to worry…..the American military will be standing by to re-invade if necessary.
A special envoy would be the perfect answer to a tense situation. But Fearless Leader has no time for diplomatic solutions to complex events…..too busy with all the “slap and tickle” stuff he can Tweet about.
While he is busy on Twitter Iran is slowly consolidating a power base in Iraq….maybe Fearless Leader should look up from his phone every now and then and see what is happening while he Twaddles away…..