Thursday, October 13, 2016

Iraq Situation Report: October 4-11 2016

(ISW) The nice people at the Institute for the Study of War have brought out a map which shows the current situation inside Iraq as of this Tuesday.

Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to shape the political landscape in Iraq. Maliki’s shadow party, the Reform Front, led an interrogation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jaafari on October 6. The effort to remove Jaafari from his post follows an ongoing process steered by Maliki to eliminate his key rivals and undermine Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s administration. The successful removal of Jaafari, a competitor to Maliki’s premiership, would indicate that the Shi’a National Alliance is too fractured to support Jaafari, a pro-Iranian and consensus figure, and to foil Maliki’s targeting of ministers, which the National Alliance has stated it opposes. Jaafari’s removal would also indicate to Maliki that he has the numbers to drive a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, a position he ultimately aims to retake.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan and PM Abadi traded bombastic rhetoric over Turkish force presence northeast of Mosul. Turkey renewed its one-year force mandate on October 1, reviving ongoing complaints by Iraqi officials against Turkey’s violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Erdogan’s hostile comments against Iraq and PM Abadi on October 11, however, are part of a greater trend by Erdogan to posture Turkey as having a right to influence any decision made about northern Iraq. His firm rhetoric does, however, suggest that he is reserving Turkey’s right to operate in northern Iraq, primarily to counter the expansion of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on the Turkish-Iraqi border and prevent them from participating in Mosul operations.