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SnapshotsJun 18, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Turkey Expands Its Military Operations in Northern Iraq
The escalation of Turkey’s operations against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq has shown Ankara’s willingness to encroach on Iraqi territory, even if it risks damaging ties with Baghdad. On June 17, Turkey deployed commandos in northern Iraq’s Haftanin region as part of Operation Claw-Tiger, a follow up to the air-intensive Operation Claw-Eagle launched the day before. Turkey's defense ministry described the operations as Turkey’s largest in the area in five years. Although Turkey has been conducting airstrikes in northern Iraqi territory against Kurdish militants and extremists for many years, the deployment of ground forces is an unusual development illustrating escalation in the urgency with which Turkey views these operations, which continue Ankara’s goal of targeting and destroying enclaves of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 
On SecurityMay 19, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An image of the Islamic State flag overlays a map of Iraq.
Rumblings of an Islamic State Resurgence in Iraq
The Islamic State may have faded from international headlines, but the group remains a potent threat capable of returning with force in its core territory. Since beginning its initial resurgence in Iraq during 2011, the Islamic State has morphed from a local insurgent group to a global movement, with branches that have continued to launch attacks in areas ranging from West Africa to Afghanistan. And without sustained pressure from its adversaries, including the United States and Iraq, the group is well-positioned to continue its resurgence in its core territory -- a development with potentially grave global consequences.
SnapshotsMar 23, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
As Attacks in Iraq Increase, U.S.-Led Coalition Forces Retreat
On March 19, the official Iraqi Security Media Cell announced via Twitter that Iraq's security forces had taken over the al Qaim military base, which formerly housed U.S.-led coalition forces against the Islamic State. The seizure comes just three days after the U.S. military announced it was repositioning its forces from three of the eight bases currently housing American troops in the country, including al Qaim. The United Kingdom and Denmark have also announced that they would be drawing down their forces from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.  The repositioning of Western and international forces in Iraq is in part a response to the growing threat posed by Iran-backed militia forces. These militias -- which have become a formal component of the Iraqi state's security forces -- have increased the tempo of attacks on bases housing U.S.-led coalition forces in recent months, particularly over the last week. But while intended to help
AssessmentsDec 30, 2019 | 21:44 GMT
Protesters waving the Iraqi flag alongside one of an armed network march in Basra to denounce U.S. airstrikes that killed dozens of Iraqi militia members.
The Iranian-U.S. Confrontation in Iraq Grows Hotter
The U.S. military response against an Iraqi paramilitary group closely affiliated with Iran has further increased the risk that an escalatory pattern of violence between Iran (and its proxies) and the United States will develop. Three U.S. airstrikes on Dec. 29 targeted positions in Iraq where the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah has a presence; concurrent airstrikes hit two of the militia's positions in Syria near Qaim, an Iraqi border city. The airstrikes came in retaliation for a Dec. 27 rocket attack against the K-1 base near Kirkuk that killed a U.S. civilian contractor.
SnapshotsDec 28, 2019 | 18:23 GMT
A Deadly Rocket Attack in Iraq Raises the Odds of a U.S. Response Against Iran
The odds of a U.S. military response either directly against Iran or against the militias in Iraq backed by Tehran have risen following a Dec. 27 rocket attack on a military base in Kirkuk that left a U.S. contractor dead and four U.S. military personnel injured. At least 30 rockets struck the K-1 base in northern Iraq that houses both U.S. and Iraqi military forces. Both Islamic State militants and Iranian-backed militias known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) have been active in the area, and both have conducted attacks around the base. But the scale of the Dec. 27 attack and the types of rockets launched make PMUs a more likely suspect in the assault than the Islamic State. In fact, U.S. officials have singled out Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah as a possible perpetrator.
On GeopoliticsAug 15, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech to the nation during a ceremony to celebrate the country's 73rd Independence Day, which marks the of the end of British colonial rule, at New Delhi's Red Fort on Aug. 15, 2019.
When Populist Nationalists Tempt Geopolitical Fate
Despite being explicit in their rhetoric, the actual actions of latter-day populist-nationalists still seem to shock and awe even the most jaded among us. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to simultaneously bifurcate and strip autonomy from the disputed territory of Kashmir was lying in plain site on page 12, point 14 of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) 2019 election manifesto. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been extremely forthright with his intent to force a no-deal Brexit "do or die, come what may" -- even if this means losing a no-confidence motion but forcing through a no-deal Brexit regardless by scheduling an early election for immediately after Brexit D-Day. And U.S. President Donald Trump may have seen the courts and Congress stymie many of his policies, but he has delivered on a long list of campaign promises against the odds. Each of Modi, Johnson and Trump are political figures
AssessmentsJul 24, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Kurdish officials attend a signing ceremony in Suleimaniyah, Iraq, on May 5, 2019.
Turkey's Delicate Dance in Iraqi Kurdistan
On July 17, a Turkish diplomat was shot and killed in eastern Arbil, the capital of Iraq's northern Kurdish region. The assassination was likely perpetrated by a sympathizer of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the Kurdish group that Turkey has been targeting in regional military operations for decades. Ankara's high-risk tolerance will serve it well in the months ahead, as it continues to prioritize building its Iraqi-Kurdish ties -- taking advantage of the economic leverage it wields over the newly formed Kurdistan Regional Government. But just how much violence and political backlash Turkey can endure to prevent the formation of an independent Kurdish state will be tested because the risks in the region, as evidenced by the latest incident, remain as high as ever.
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