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Enhance Understanding

ISHM: February 21 – February 28, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts; Shia Iraqi Politicians to Form Alliance; Meeting Held to Complete Government Formation – On February 25, the Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, reported that Nouri al-Maliki, Secretary General of the Islamic Dawa Party and Ammar al-Hakim, the Head of the National Wisdom Movement intend to establish an alliance described as a “nucleus of opposition” to the growing warmer ties between Moqtada al-Sadr and Hadi al-Amiri. On February 25, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with several Iranian officials. On February 25, Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in Paris for a two-day visit. On February 25,

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ISHM: February 15 – 21, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi and Kurdish Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts; Political Developments between Iraq-KRG – On February 15, the Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. On February 16, Iraq eliminated all of the customs checkpoints between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan that had been installed after the failed Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum in 2017. On February 17, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with the U.S. Army General of the U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, to discuss continued Iraqi-U.S. cooperation in combating the

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ISHM: February 7 – February 14, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi Politicians Debate Future of U.S. Forces in Iraq and Ties with Iran – On February 11, Nassar al-Rubaie, a Sadrist official, and Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Fatah Alliance, announced in a joint press conference an agreement between the two Shi’ite blocs on the need to remove foreign forces from Iraq. On February 12, United States Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan landed in Baghdad to discuss possible continued U.S. military presence in Iraq with Iraqi officials. On February 13, Abdul Amir al-Mayahi, a Member of Parliament for the Fatah Coalition, claimed that U.S. troops crossed the border

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ISHM: February 1-7, 2019

Key Takeaways: Controversy Over U.S. Military Presence in Iraq and Relations with Iran – On February 1, the Sairoon electoral coalition in the Iraqi Parliament gathered signatures to pass a law to end the security agreement between Iraq and the United States. On February 3, United States President, Donald Trump mentioned in an interview to CBS that he plans to keep American troops in Iraq so they can offer rapid response to events in the region as well as to monitor Iran. Following President Trump’s remarks, a delegate from Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah threatened forceful actions against American troops if they

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The Ongoing Crisis in Basra: Interview with Benedict Robin-D’Cruz – Part 2

Protests and political violence continues to plague Basra, Iraq’s southernmost province. The province is largely populated by Iraq’s Shia majority, which has dominated Iraq’s post-2003 political order. Basra’s oil fields are the primary source of Iraq’s oil exports and proven oil reserves and Basra is home to Iraq’s only port. Despite all of these promising conditions, Basra continues to suffer from government neglect, resulting in high levels of unemployment and lack of basic services such as clean water and electricity. To understand more about the ongoing protests in Basra and the region’s relationship with Baghdad, we spoke to Benedict Robin

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ISHM: January 25 – January 31, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi Politicians Hold Series of Meetings with Foreign Officials, Expound Neutral Position in Region – On January 27, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister reported that several ministers from the Jordanian government arrived in Baghdad for meetings. On January 27, Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim stated in an interview that Iraq will not attend any events that are focused on countering Iran and will not get in the middle of US-Iran relations. On January 29, the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Mohamed Halboussi, stated that Iraq does not want to be a battlefield for conflicts, but seeks

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EPIC Welcomes Spring 2019 Interns

Three times per year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Spring 2019 interns: Chisara, Emily, Grace and Molly! Emily Coletta is currently finishing her studies at the University of Connecticut with a major in Political Science and minors in Middle Eastern Studies, Global Studies,

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Violence in Southern Iraq & Shia Politics: Interview with Benedict Robin-D’Cruz – Part 1

Away from the limelight, violence continues to rage in southern Iraq in the form of tribal clashes, pro-government militia infighting and criminal violence. This violence often affects unarmed bystanders and makes life in Basra, which is already challenging due to government neglect, lack of services and rife unemployment, even more precarious. Although most residents of southern Iraq are Shia, Iraq’s current political elite, which claims to represent the Shia community, has failed to address the needs of the south.

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ISHM: January 11 – January 24, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi officials meet with foreign counterparts; Legislation proposed to expel U.S. forces from Iraq; Iran works to expand trade with Iraq; Growing Baghdad-KRG cooperation – On January 14, the French government announced that it had agreed to loan Iraq EUR 1 billion to aid reconstruction of areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). On January 14, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adel Abd al-Mahdi in Baghdad. On January 19, the pro-Iran Fatah Alliance, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition, and Shi’ite cleric Moqtada

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Best Ten Reads on Iraq for 2018

The past year was marked by considerable political turmoil and unrest in Iraq, underscoring the many challenges that the country faces beyond the battlefield. In 2018, we saw a further erosion of public confidence in Iraqi leaders over corruption, insufficient basic services, and unemployment; a parliamentary election marred by poor voter turnout and irregularities that triggered a months-long recount; and a growing water crisis and mass protest movement across southern Iraq. Despite slow progress with the de-mining, rebuilding, and recovery of devastated post-ISIS areas like West Mosul and Ramadi, we saw the closure of some IDP camp and forced returns.

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ISHM: January 4 – January 10, 2019

Key Takeaways:
Iraqi officials meet U.S. and Qatari counterparts; Iraqi delegations to Israel cause uproar
Government formation still incomplete; Parliament fails to pass budget
New Human Rights Watch report documents torture of minors in KRG prisons; Unrest in Kirkuk after PUK raises flag of Kurdistan in the disputed city; Government formation in KRG stalls
Iraqi officials praise security cooperate with U.S. and the UK; ISIS attack in Tikrit kills 2; al-Hurra journalist killed
UK, Spain, U.S. pledge additional support for stabilization and humanitarian aid in Iraq; New report on Syrian refugees in Iraq; Iraqi Army shutters another IDP camp

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