This week’s headlines: Kurdish Parliament to Reconvene as Tension Mounts Over Referendum Participation ▪ ISIS Militants Surrender in Sharqat, Flee Hawija Ahead of Operations ▪ Iraq Considers Options for Foreign ISIS Fighters, Families ▪ Village Near Tal Afar Cleared Again; Commission Releases Mosul Report ▪ Security in Western Anbar Remains Tenuous
This week’s headlines: Hawija Operations “Imminent” ▪ Intense Fighting Continues Near Tal Afar ▪ Barzani Doubles Down on Referendum ▪ ISIS Militants Released by Hezbollah May Have Reached Iraq
This week’s headlines: Abadi Declares Tal Afar “Liberated” from ISIS ▪ Despite Military Success, More Displacements and Abuse of Tal Afar Civilians ▪ Hawija May Be Next for Security Forces as Atrocities Continue ▪ IEDs Roil Baghdad ▪ Forced Returns to Anbar Province; Jordanian Border Reopens ▪ Kirkuk Provincial Council Votes to Participate in Kurdistan Region Independence Referendum ▪ Militia Storms Diyala Provincial Council Over Attempts to Dismiss Governor
As the Muslim community prepares to celebrate Eid al-Adha, my family is making a gift to the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. For nearly 20 years, EPIC has fought to raise awareness and understanding of the needs in my native Iraq. In the 1990s, that meant organizing protests against sanctions that crippled the Iraqi economy, left average citizens … Continue reading Giving to EPIC this Eid
This week’s headlines: As Tal Afar Operations Begin, PMU Participation Remains Uncertain ▪ Tal Afar Civilian Protection Poses Challenges for UN, Aid Agencies ▪ Kurdish Flag Flies in Kirkuk as Calls to Postpone Independence Referendum Widen ▪ Aid Finally Reaches Western Mosul; U.S. Moves to Assist with IED Removal ▪ PKK Pushes for Greater Authority in Sinjar ▪ Airstrikes Continue in Western Anbar, Despite Some Objection
We are thrilled to announce the addition of Ayad Amin to the EPIC team! Ayad will be coordinating our newest program, the Connection Initiative. In partnership with Professionals for a Better Iraq and with funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, EPIC’s Connection Initiative will seek to connect members of the Iraqi diaspora living in the United States with civil society organizations in their native … Continue reading Launching Our Project with the Iraqi Diaspora
This week’s headlines: Humanitarian Conditions in Tal Afar Deteriorate as Airstrikes Ramp Up ▪ Mosul IDPs Face Difficult Decision in Returning to their Homes ▪ Iraqi-Saudi Relations Continue to Improve, Border Reopened ▪ Basra Governor Resigns, Others Targeted for Corruption ▪ ISIS “Adapting” to Lost Territory
As nearly one million people remain displaced from Mosul and its surroundings, a plan to reconcile differences and rebuild cooperatively is critical for breaking the cycle of violence in Iraq. Our recent publications cover past lessons that may be useful in shaping Iraq’s future…
This week’s headlines: Eastern Mosul “On the Mend,” Though Sporadic Attacks and Retribution Fears Linger ▪ Aid Agencies, Security Forces Shift Attention to Tal Afar ▪ Iranian-Backed PMU Accuses U.S. of Attack, ISIS Claims Responsibility ▪ Changes to Election Law Met with Protests ▪ Gorran Votes to Reconcile with KDP
On this edition of Iraq Matters, noted British writer and journalist Cathy Otten explains the situation facing Yazidi families – particularly women and girls – as ISIS is driven out of their homeland in northern Iraq.
This week’s headlines: Civilians Flee Tal Afar as Security Forces Prepare to Clear the City ▪ Orphaned Children and IEDs in Mosul’s Aftermath ▪ HRW, UNHCR Condemn Abuse of Civilians ▪ Security Operations, Airstrikes Ramp Up in Anbar ▪ Saudi Rapprochement Continues with Sadr Visit; Baghdad Strikes Oil Deal with Iran ▪ State Department Urges KRG to Postpone Independence Referendum
This week’s headlines: Destruction, IEDs, and Lack of Goods Leave Few Options for Mosul IDPs ▪ National Strategy to Address Child Health Needs Unveiled; Schools Reopen Despite Dangers ▪ Military Operations Planned for ISIS Centers of Tal Afar, Hawija ▪ Pockets of Militants Targeted in Anbar, Diyala ▪ Ammar al-Hakim Leaves ISCI; Gorran Movement Elects New Leadership ▪ Iraq Signs Security MoU with Iran; Maliki Meets with Putin in Moscow
This week’s headlines: Airstrikes Continue and Leftover IEDs of Concern in Western Mosul ▪ Abuse, Summary Executions Eroding Confidence in ISF in Mosul ▪ Funding Shortages, Long Term Displacement May Plague Mosul ▪ Next Steps for ISF Remain Uncertain Amid Expected Displacement from Tal Afar, Hawija ▪ Christian Militias Lightly Spar Near Qaraqosh; Christian Mayor Ousted by KDP ▪ Implications Loom for September Kurdish Independence Referendum
The people of Iraq have successfully liberated the city of Mosul from the grips of ISIS after a nine month battle that claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians and left 70% of the city’s western half in near ruin. The result of ISIS brutality, 750,000 people remain displaced from their homes and in stark need of … Continue reading Helping Iraq Recover After ISIS
This week’s headlines: Despite Mosul Victory Announcement, “This Fight is Far From Over” ▪ Humanitarian Crisis is Worsening for IDPs from Mosul ▪ Amnesty International Issues Scathing Report on ISF Abuses – Abadi, U.S. Denounce Report ▪ PMUs Want Peshmerga Out of Disputed Areas, Allegedly Enter Syria Against Abadi’s Wishes ▪ Unconfirmed Reports of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Death Lead to Divisions Within ISIS ▪ Kurdish Independence Referendum Stirs Internal Debate
On this edition of Iraq Matters, President of Iraq’s Reconstruction Fund, Dr. Mustafa al-Hiti, explains the stark needs facing Iraq after ISIS, and the steps underway to rebuild his country’s future.
Due to some difficulty with audio, below is a transcript of our IRAQ MATTERS Podcast #31: Reconstructing Iraq After ISIS. To listen to this episode, click here.
This week’s headlines: Iraqi Security Forces Go Door-to-Door in Mosul’s Old City in Final Push to Clear ISIS ▪ Conditions for Mosul IDPs “An Experience Like Hell” According to UNHCR ▪ Security Forces Look to Next Destinations After Mosul: Hawija, Diyala, Syrian Border ▪ Attack at Displacement Camp Extends Protection Concerns for IDPs in Anbar ▪ U.S. Hints at Repercussions for Kurdish Independence ▪ Iranian Dams Restrict Water Flow in Iraqi Kurdistan
This week’s headlines: Abadi Expected to Announce Victory in Mosul Despite Ongoing Violence ▪ Safe Routes Opened from Mosul’s Old City, Though Thousands Remain Trapped ▪ Barzani Presses Kurdish Independence Referendum ▪ Peshmerga Clash with ISIS in Kirkuk Province ▪ ISF Thwart ISIS Attacks in Diyala, Salah ad-Din ▪ UN Ambassador Haley Testifies Before Congress; State Department Plans to Remove Iraq from Child Soldier List ▪ Deportation Orders of Many Christian Iraqis Delayed by Federal Judge
This week’s headlines: Aid Agencies Struggle to Keep Up with Mosul Exodus ▪ ISIS Destroys Famed al-Nuri Mosque; CTS Advances into Mosul’s Old City ▪ PMUs Reach Iraq/Syria Border ▪ Local Forces Thwart Attacks in Diyala ▪ Prime Minister Abadi Meets with Regional Leaders; Iran Pushes Support of Shia PMUs ▪ International Community Pushes Back on Kurdish Independence Referendum
This week’s headlines: Operations to Clear Mosul’s Old City See Slow Progress; Use of White Phosphorous of Concern ▪ ISIS Brutality in Mosul Results in Hundreds of Fatalities ▪ Displacement Rates from Western Mosul Sharply on the Rise; Food Poisoning Sickens Hundreds at Nearby IDP Camp ▪ Iraqi Kurdistan Continues to Press Independence Referendum Despite Objections ▪ U.S. Toughens Removal Order Enforcement; Prepares to Deport Hundreds of Iraqis ▪ Gulf State Diplomatic Row with Qatar Partially Caused by Ransom Payment ▪ Security Situation Along Salah ad-Din, Diyala Borders Remains Uncertain
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 … Continue reading Welcome to Our Summer 2017 Interns!
This week’s headlines: Civilian Exodus from Western Mosul Continues as ISIS Targets Those Attempting to Flee ▪ Combat Intensifies in Mosul’s Old City; PMUs Push to Secure Western Ninewa, Border ▪ New Reports of Civilian Abuse by PMUs, Security Forces ▪ Date Set for Kurdish Independence Referendum ▪ Iraq Responds to Diplomatic Row with Qatar
This week’s headlines: Explosions in Baghdad Kill Dozens as Ramadan Begins ▪ Mosul Residents Urged to Flee Western Half of the City ▪ Emergency Response Division Investigated for Abuse ▪ PMUs Make Progress Toward Iraq-Syrian Border ▪ Elections Set for September, Despite Calls for Postponement
This week’s headlines: Federal Police, PMU Accused of Detaining and Abusing Civilians ▪ Displacement from Western Mosul as Military Operations Grind On ▪ Iraqi Security Forces Push into Last ISIS Neighborhoods in Western Mosul ▪ Iraqi Kurdish Forces Repel ISIS Attack in Tuz Khurmatu; Militants Shift Command to Hawija ▪ Security Situation in Diyala Continues to Unfurl ▪ Major Suicide Attacks in Baghdad, Basra
This week’s headlines: Residents in Western Mosul Lack Essential Services Amid Reports of Forced Returns; Humanitarian Organizations Prepare for Summer Heat ▪ Advance into Western Mosul Continues; US Ambassador Comments on Hawija and Tal Afar Liberation ▪ Support for IDPs in Anbar; Civilians Executed by ISIS as Security Operations Continue ▪ Security Forces Uncover Mass Grave in Diyala ▪ Kurdish Policymakers Plan to Unify Peshmerga
This week’s headlines: Iraqi Security Forces Push into Western Mosul; Civilians Return to Cleared Western Neighborhoods ▪ Humanitarian Situation in Mosul Evolves, UNHCR Opens New Camp for IDPs ▪ Anti-ISIS Forces Continue Operations in Anbar ▪ U.S. Combat Troops to Maintain Advisory Role in Iraq Post-ISIS ▪ ISIS Launch Attack on Peshmerga Base with U.S. Presence; Hawija Security Continues to Deteriorate
Our recent publications focus on Iraq’s most immediate humanitarian needs, the importance of strong U.S. and international commitment to peace and reconstruction, and the urgency of supporting political moderates who can carry Iraq forward.
This week’s headlines: Mosul Displacement Increases as Humanitarian Funding Goals Only Partially Met ▪ Thousands of Children Out of School in Mosul; Iraqi Kurdistan Struggles to Educate Displaced Population ▪ Mosul Operations Continue on New Axis, with Rising Civilian Casualties; U.S. Soldier Killed in Ninewa ▪ Security Forces Engage ISIS in Diyala Province ▪ Turkey Continues Deadly Air and Artillery Strikes in Northern Iraq ▪ U.S. Military Contractor Accused of Misconduct
This week’s headlines: Turkish Warplanes Strike Targets in Sinjar, Drawing Condemnation ▪ Reconstruction and Returns Increase in Eastern Mosul Despite Insecurity; U.S. Development Funding in Jeopardy ▪ Operations Continue into Western Mosul as Violence Continues in Tal Afar ▪ Security Forces Launch New Offensives Against ISIS in Anbar and Diyala ▪ Sadrists Meet with PUK in Iraqi Kurdistan as Electoral Commission Head is Ousted
This week’s headlines: ISIS Grows More Brutal Against Civilians Trapped in Mosul; Flooding Slows IDPs Struggling to Flee the City ▪ Prime Minister Abadi Visits Mosul; Federal Police Progress Cautiously into Old City and ISIS May Have Used Chemical Weapons Again ▪ ISIS Continues to Execute Innocent Civilians in Hawija ▪ Diyala, Salah ad-Din Security Remains Tenuous ▪ VP Allawi Speculates ISIS and al-Qaeda Reunite; New Iranian Ambassador Arrives in Baghdad; U.S. Recommits to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga ▪ Update on Captured Yazidis, Christian Minorities
This week’s headlines: Iraqi Kurdish Political Parties Come Together on Independence Referendum as Kirkuk Tensions Simmer ▪ ISIS Executes Civilians Fleeing Western Mosul as Displacement Rates Increase ▪ Military Operations Push into Western Mosul as Talk of Tal Afar Liberation Grows ▪ Humanitarian and Security Conditions in Hawija Continue to Deteriorate ▪ Civilians Return Home in Diyala, Local Officials Decry Social Impact of Displacement on Province’s Youth ▪ Medium- and Long-Term Humanitarian Challenges Threaten post-ISIS Stabilization ▪ Moqtada al-Sadr Condemns U.S. Actions in Syria, Mike Pence Reaffirms Commitment to Iraq’s Counter-ISIS Fight
This week’s headlines: ISIS Militants Launch Surprise Attack in Tikrit, Killing 30 ▪ Iraqi Security Forces Establish Evacuation Corridors for Civilians in Western Mosul; Civilian Casualties, Atrocities Continue ▪ Operations in Western Mosul Progress Slowly; ISIS Bombards Eastern Mosul ▪ Security Forces Restart Offensive in Anbar as IDPs Flee Toward Qa’im ▪ Local Officials Raise Kurdish Flag Over Kirkuk, Sparking Row with Ankara ▪ Jared Kushner Visits Iraq with Gen. Joseph Dunford
This week’s headlines: Hundreds of Civilian Casualties in Western Mosul Blamed on Coalition Airstrikes ▪ Security Forces in Mosul Regroup as More U.S. Troops Deploy ▪ Despite Improved Security, Eastern Mosul Remains a Target ▪ Kurdish Flag Flies in Kirkuk, Civil Servants Pay Suspended ▪ Violence Continues on Diyala, Salah ad-Din Border; Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use Emerge
This week’s headlines: Prime Minister Abadi Visits DC Ahead of International Coalition Conference ▪ Cordon Tightens in Western Mosul ▪ Casualty Rates Rise in Western Mosul; PMU Involvement in Screenings Alleged ▪ ISIS Sleeper Cells Targeted in Anbar, Diyala, Salah ad-Din Provinces ▪ Militants Question Allegiance to ISIS? ▪ New UNAMI Youth Program Encourages Cooperation, Dialogue
This week’s headlines: Fighting Slows in Western Mosul as Security Forces Struggle to Hold Cleared Areas ▪ Displacement Estimates from Western Mosul Soar; Prime Minister Abadi Announces IDP Assistance Efforts ▪ Trump Announces Conference for Defeating ISIS ▪ Syria’s Assad Allows Iraq to Conduct Airstrikes in Syria as ISIS Remains Scattered in Anbar ▪ Atrocities Continue in Hawija, Tribal Leaders Call for Peshmerga Support ▪ Salah ad-Din, Diyala Provinces Receive Some Support Amid Continued Violence ▪ Secretary of State Tillerson Talks Iraqi Oil
This week’s headlines: Waves of IDPs Flee Western Mosul as ISIS Resorts to Chemical Weapons ▪ Iraqi Security Forces Continue to Make Progress in Clearing Western Mosul; Baghdadi Reportedly Fled the City ▪ President Trump’s Executive Order Restricts Iraqi Refugee Admissions, Allows Iraqis to Apply for Visas ▪ Humanitarian Crisis Remains in Hawija as ISIS Militants Move Toward Hamrin Mountains ▪ Rojava Peshmerga, Yazidi Militias Clash in Sinjar ▪ Security Remains Tenuous on Diyala, Salah ad-Din Border ▪ Kirkuk, Baghdad Reach Agreement on Oil Transportation
This week’s headlines: Iraqi Security Forces Progress into Western Mosul, PMUs Near Tal Afar ▪ 4,000 IDPs Per Day Are Fleeing Western Mosul ▪ U.S. Commitment to Iraq Post-ISIS All But Certain ▪ Security Concerns Linger in Diyala, Salah ad-Din Provinces; PUK Sends Troops to Oil Facilities in Kirkuk ▪ Saudi Foreign Minister Makes Surprise Visit to Baghdad ▪ Minority Communities Receive Rebuilding Assistance; Iraqi Christians Relocate
On this edition of Iraq Matters, Moussa al-Naseri, a Baghdad native and witness to the 2007 Mutanabbi Street bombing, and Sarah Browning, renowned poet and peace advocate, commemorate Baghdad’s rich history of poetry and literature and examine how those art forms can be used in reconciliation.
This week’s headlines: Mosul Airport Cleared, Western Operations Move Forward as Violence Flares in the East ▪ Aid Delivery Resumes in East Mosul as Residents, Agencies Brace for West Operations ▪ PMUs Progress Toward Tal Afar, Continue to Interdict Supply Lines ▪ Defense Secretary Visits Baghdad; Iraq Vet McMaster Named National Security Adviser ▪ Coalition Airstrikes Continue in Anbar, Kirkuk, and Diyala Provinces; Turkey Targets PKK ▪ KRG Looks to Streamline Civil Service, Cut Down on Waste
This week’s headlines: Uptick in Violence, Bombings in Baghdad; Protests Turn Violent ▪ Aid to Eastern Mosul Restricted Due to Surge in Violence; Returnees Fearful ▪ Airstrikes Continue as Operations Into Western Mosul are Set to Begin ▪ Hawija Still Not a Priority as Residents Suffer Atrocities ▪ Security Situation in Diyala Province Remains Unstable ▪ Reconstruction Investment, Resources for Returnees Much Needed; Parliament Set to Question Displacement and Migration Minister
On this edition of Iraq Matters, Jen Smyers of Church World Service discusses the history of the US refugee resettlement program, explains the process by which refugees are vetted, and outlines why that vetting process might be of concern.
This week’s headlines: Abadi Hints He Knows where ISIS Leader is Hiding; Iraqi-U.S. Troop Relations May be Suffering from President Trump’s EO ▪ IDPs Continue to Come and Go From Eastern Mosul; Qayyarah Oil Fires Still Rage ▪ Security Force Shortages Slow Operations in Anbar as Diyala and Salah ad-Din Rely on PMUs ▪ Aid Agencies See Funding Shortfalls Amid Reports of Fraud, Misuse ▪ Iraq Looks to Diversify Economy with World Bank Support ▪ Protests in Baghdad Amid Efforts at Post-ISIS Reconciliation
This week’s headlines: President Trump’s Executive Order Banning Travel, Refugee Resettlement Condemned by Iraq ▪ PMUs Repositioning in Ninewa as Plans for Western Mosul Continue to Develop ▪ IDPs Continue to Repopulate Eastern Mosul as Conditions Worsen in the West ▪ Facing Outsized Need, Government and Aid Agencies Forced to Restrict Relief ▪ Diyala Province Sees Significant Uptick in Violence ▪ After Extended Vacancies, Defense and Interior Ministers Approved
With the stroke of a pen last Friday, President Trump signed an ill-conceived Executive Order that attacks the very foundations of who we are as a nation.
WASHINGTON, DC – On January 27, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” that suspends refugee admissions for 120 days, bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely, dramatically reduces the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States in 2017, and severely restricts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq…
Now that Donald Trump is President of the United States, we owe it to the people of Iraq to educate his administration and Congress on the needs of 1.5 million children in the country displaced by violence and to advocate for a greater response from the American people. At EPIC, we are continuing our mission … Continue reading Our Recent Publications
This week’s headlines: Iraqi Security Forces Clear ISIS from Eastern Mosul, Prepare for Operations in the West ▪ IDPs Encouraged to Return to Eastern Mosul Despite Lingering Security Concerns ▪ Trump Administration Still Determining Iraq Policy, Prime Minister al-Abadi Responds ▪ PMUs Working to Clear Baghdad-Mosul Highway, Restrict Movements from Hawija ▪ Airstrikes Continue in Anbar Despite a Halt to Ground Ops
As Donald Trump takes the oath of office at noon today, over 1.5 million children in Iraq remain displaced from their homes by violence, 70% of families across the country rank food insecurity as their number one concern, and over one million innocent civilians are trapped by their ISIS captors in western Mosul. At EPIC, … Continue reading Inauguration Day
This week’s headlines: ISIS Brutality Worsens for Those in Western Mosul ▪ Security Forces Clear ISIS from Eastern Mosul, Prepare for Protracted Battle in the West ▪ Shakeups in Security Force Leadership in Western Anbar ▪ Conditions in Hawija Remain Dire, Though Military Operations May Begin Soon ▪ Elections Pushed to September ▪ Protesters Demand Better Security, Abadi Responds and Baghdad Governor Dismissed
Key Takeaways: ISF Makes Progress in Eastern Mosul, Plans for Crossing the Tigris – Iraqi Security Forces made slow but steady progress in the ongoing operation to clear Mosul of ISIS militants. Assisted by Iraq’s elite Counterterrorism Force (CTS), security forces cleared several important municipal areas in the city’s southeast, united with the 16th Brigade … Continue reading ISHM: January 6 – 12, 2017
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 … Continue reading Welcome Our Spring 2017 Interns!
A series of ISIS bombings in Baghdad left approximately 113 civilians dead on January 2, hours after French President Francois Hollande arrived in the capital to meet with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The deadliest attack occurred at a busy market in Sadr City – an impoverished and predominantly Shia neighborhood of Baghdad that has witnessed deadly bombings and insurgency – killing an estimated 24 to 35 people and wounding 67.
Now is a time of ongoing crisis and concern for families in Mosul and throughout Iraq. Millions of innocent civilians have been forced to flee violence and persecution at the hands of ISIS. At a time when displacement is at an all-time high, consistent U.S. leadership in responding to humanitarian needs has never been more … Continue reading Looking Ahead to 2017
This holiday season, the team at EPIC is listening to some great tracks from young and innovative Iraqi musicians across the country, Middle East, and globe.
Key Takeaways: Security Forces Face Mounting Challenges in Mosul – Operations to clear the city of Mosul of ISIS militants have slowed considerably over the past week as the area experienced heavy rains and as Iraqi Security Forces in the city conduct a “planned operational refit,” according to the Deputy Commander for the U.S.-led international … Continue reading ISHM: December 16 – 22, 2016
For 18 years, EPIC has brought together veterans, Iraqi Americans, and other caring individuals to help children and families who are suffering in Iraq and to create a safer world through peace and development. You are a vital part of that mission and the EPIC community. Right now you can double your impact – make … Continue reading Looking Back on 2016
Key Takeaways: Humanitarian Conditions in Mosul are Worsening as More Civilians Flee – Iraqi Security Forces are assisting civilians attempting to flee from Mosul, representing a shift in policy by the ISF which previously encouraged civilians to remain in their homes during the fighting. As of December 15, approximately 100,000 IDPs (an estimated one-third of … Continue reading ISHM: December 9 – 15, 2016
In light of the hateful rhetoric about refugees, Muslims, and innocent victims of ISIS violence expressed throughout the recent U.S. Presidential campaign, there is reason to be concerned as a new administration prepares take power in Washington. To counter these messages and educate policymakers and the public about the value of our immigrants, the need … Continue reading Double the Impact
Thank you for being an important part of the EPIC community. Just last week, many of you joined us on #GivingTuesday as we raised funds to advance our mission and help children and families who are suffering in Iraq. This comes at a time of ongoing crisis and concern for families in Mosul and throughout … Continue reading Challenges (and Opportunities) Ahead
Key Takeaways: Iraqi Security Forces Continue to Progress Slowly in Mosul, Despite Reinforcements – The Iraqi Army deployed the 43rd Brigade from Baghdad to Mosul, where efforts to clear the city of ISIS militants have been underway since October 17. The Iraqi Ninth Armored Division entered al-Alam Hospital in the Wahda neighborhood of eastern Mosul … Continue reading ISHM: December 2 – 8, 2016
Key Takeaways: Security Forces Rethink Strategy in Mosul – Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul are debating whether to encourage an exodus of innocent civilians from the city, citing frustration with the inability to progress more quickly or use heavy weaponry because of the presence of human shields. Previously, the Iraqi Government has encouraged Moslawis to … Continue reading ISHM: November 25 – December 1, 2016
Last week as we celebrated Thanksgiving, we told you about the brave men and women who help carry out our work on-the-ground in Iraq. These volunteers risk their lives to bring aid and comfort to innocent children and families displaced by violence. They are doing so right now in Tikrit – and we need to … Continue reading Getting to the Goal on #GivingTuesday
Due to the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday, this ISHM Report is being released one day ahead of schedule. The next ISHM will be made available on Thursday, December 1. Key Takeaways: Security Forces Make Progress South of Mosul Despite Heavy Resistance – Iraqi Security Forces and Federal Police continue to clear ISIS militants from points south … Continue reading ISHM: November 18 – 23, 2016
Every year at this time, Americans reflect on what it is we are most grateful for as we celebrate the season of Thanksgiving. At EPIC, we have been blessed with a dedicated network of supporters like you, a staff and Board of Directors who work tirelessly to fulfill our mission, and the encouragement of stories from … Continue reading Giving Thanks
Key Takeaways: In Mosul, Iraqi Security Forces and Allies are Slowed by ISIS Resistance – Iraq commanders say their forces have been “shaken” by some of the most complex fighting that they have encountered against ISIS since operations to clear Mosul began on October 17. ISIS militants are using vehicle based improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), … Continue reading ISHM: November 11 – 17, 2016
Key Takeaways: Iraqi Security Forces Press Into and Hold Eastern Mosul as Allies Approach – U.S. Central Command reports that nearly 1,400 ISIS militants have been killed since operations to clear the city of Mosul began on October 14, and that ISIS may be losing control of its fighters as they retreat toward western Mosul. … Continue reading ISHM: November 4 – 10, 2016
As Iraqi forces push deeper into populated areas of Mosul, they are facing extraordinary dangers. In the midst of street to street battles against ISIS snipers, IEDs, and suicide bombers, families and children flee, trying to escape the fighting. At EPIC, we are responding by closely monitoring and reporting on the crisis, meeting with public … Continue reading Responding to Needs in Mosul and Beyond
Key Takeaways: Iraqi Security Forces Enter Mosul from the East, Continue Approach from the South – On November 1, the Iraqi Army entered the city of Mosul for the first time in two years and began efforts to screen and escort civilians trapped by ISIS militants to safety. The Army’s 9th Armored Division’s entrance to … Continue reading ISHM: October 28 – November 3, 2016
Key Takeaways: Iraqi Security Forces and Allies Continue the Difficult Approach Toward Mosul – Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, assisted by U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes, continued efforts to clear areas surrounding the city of Mosul of ISIS militants. Peshmerga fighters and the elite Iraqi Counterterrorism Service are holding positions within a few kilometers … Continue reading ISHM: October 21 – 27, 2016
Key Takeaways: Military Operations to Clear Mosul of ISIS Begin – Early in the morning on October 17, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of military operations to clear the city of Mosul of ISIS militants. Since then, the Iraqi Army, Shia militias, and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga have demonstrated unity in progressing toward the … Continue reading ISHM: October 14 – 20, 2016
On this edition of Iraq Matters, we are pleased to welcome Daryl Grisgraber of Refugees International who recently returned from Iraq. While there, she visited displacement camps in both central and northern Iraq, and met with displaced families, aid agencies, and UN officials to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation.
Iraq is once again in the headlines as military efforts to expel ISIS from the city of Mosul are well underway. At EPIC, we are responding by continuing to monitor the security situation and humanitarian crisis, informing Congress, our aid community colleagues, and the administration of emerging needs, and stepping up our on-the-ground efforts by providing … Continue reading A Truly EPIC Event: Thursday, November 17!
Key Takeaways: Turkish Troop Presence in Northern Iraq Continues to Cause Tension – On October 11, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a press conference that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi needs to “know his place” in regional affairs, asserting that Turkey will not be excluded from impending operations to clear Mosul of ISIS … Continue reading ISHM: October 7 – 13, 2016
Key Takeaways: Tensions Rise as Turkish Troops Remain in Northern Iraq – On October 6, Iraq called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to adjudicate the presence of unwanted Turkish troops in northern Iraq who have been stationed there since ISIS emerged in 2014. On October 1, Turkey’s Parliament voted to extend the … Continue reading ISHM: September 30 – October 6, 2016
Key Takeaways: Kirkuk Reported to be Forcing Returns of IDPs without Explanation as Conditions in Hawija Worsen According to the UNHCR, officials in Kirkuk have pressed nearly 8,000 IDPs to depart the province since the beginning of September–allegations that the Kirkuk Provincial Council denies. At least 30 of these expelled families are living on the … Continue reading ISHM: September 23 – 29, 2016
On this edition of Iraq Matters, we ask Christine van den Toorn from the American University of Iraq how northern Iraq, which has long been shaped by ethnic factions vying for power, will be governed as it rebuilds and repopulates. What pre-ISIS conflicts among these groups linger, and how will that shape the future?
Key Takeaways: ISF Clears Sharqat as ISIS Resorts to Chemical Weapons Following a three day surge of military operations, Iraqi Security Forces assisted by U.S.-led international coalition successfully cleared ISIS militants from Sharqat on September 22. Sharqat is a strategically important city that has served as a major transportation and smuggling hub for the so-called … Continue reading ISHM: September 16 – 22, 2016
We are thrilled to announce that Matthew Schweitzer began this week as EPIC’s new Program Assistant! Fluent in Arabic, Matthew has spent considerable time in Iraq examining the intersection of conflict, political development, and culture. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the International Journal of Constitutional … Continue reading Welcome EPIC’s New Program Assistant!
Key Takeaways: Despite a tenuous security and public health situation, 965 IDPs have returned to Qayyarah in Ninewa Province from the overcrowded Debaga Camp in Erbil Province, and several hundred families will begin returning to central Fallujah within the next few days. Despite some effort, the preparedness of these locales to welcome returnees is uncertain … Continue reading ISHM: September 2 – 15, 2016
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 … Continue reading Welcome EPIC’s Newest Interns!
Soccer Salam is now in its third week of delivering emergency food assistance to children and families fleeing the fighting in Qayyarah and other areas south of Mosul. After a long, arduous journey on foot for hours, and in many cases days, an average of 200 families arrive each day at a checkpoint where our team … Continue reading A Respite from their Long Journey
Key Takeaways: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Human Rights Watch expressed deep concern this week over a growing number of reports that some Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) are actively recruiting children from displacement camps to join them in fighting ISIS militants in and around Mosul. According to one report, … Continue reading ISHM: August 26 – September 1, 2016
“We need to maintain the flow of water and food. Basics only, inexpensive but continuous and lifesaving.” – Hala al-Saraf, Director of our Soccer Salam partner, the Iraq Health Access Organization Iraqi Security Forces and their allies are quickly making gains in their efforts to clear the city of Mosul of ISIS militants. Unfortunately, as … Continue reading Overwhelming Need
Join us on Sunday, August 28, 10 AM at the Washington Monument for DCRally4Refugees! The event seeks to raise awareness about the magnitude of the global refugee crisis, encourage advocacy and U.S. support for relief efforts, and demonstrate solidarity with refugees and displaced people worldwide. Several Iraqis and many others will share their stories as … Continue reading Rally 4 Refugees – This Sunday!
Key Takeaways: On August 25, following an investigation into allegations of corruption, the Iraqi Parliament passed a vote of no confidence and ousted Minister of Defense Khaled al-Obeidi, 142 to 105 with 16 abstentions. Al-Obeidi has served in the role since October 2014. The vote follows several weeks of delayed votes and a secondary investigation … Continue reading ISHM: August 19 – 25, 2016
Key Takeaways: Over the past week, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces were involved in successful “widespread” operations to clear ISIS militants from areas north, east, and southeast of Mosul while Iraqi Security Forces continued efforts to clear the key area of Qayyarah, south of Mosul, where there is a heavy concentration of ISIS militants. U.S.-led international … Continue reading ISHM: August 12 – 18, 2016
Key Takeaways: A fire in a neonatal care ward of the Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad resulted in the deaths of at least 13 infants in the early morning of August 10. According to western media reports, the infants could not be rescued because doors to the ward were locked and no one with access to … Continue reading ISHM: August 5 – 11, 2016
Key Takeaways: According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, over 70,000 people have been displaced from al-Sharqat, Qayyarah, and Hajj Ali over the past three weeks as efforts to clear the areas of ISIS militants intensifies. The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that humanitarian conditions in Tikrit will turn into a “humanitarian catastrophe” … Continue reading ISHM: July 29 – August 4, 2016
Key Takeaways: “Thousands” of ISIS militants are retreating to Mosul as Iraqi Security Forces advance into the al-Sharqat District in northern Salah ad-Din Province and other points just south of Mosul. The retreat has forced civilians captive in Mosul into even more extreme living conditions as they are forced to hand over scarce resources to … Continue reading ISHM: July 22 – 28, 2016
A young Iraqi writes about the expectations and losses he witnessed during and after the ISIS-perpetrated bombing of Baghdad’s Karradah neighborhood on July 3. Originally posted on July 5, 2016 by Sajad Jiyad I’m frequently asked to write security assessments of Baghdad, to gauge what the risks are and what the associated political fallout could … Continue reading The Flames that Consumed Hope
Key Takeaways: On July 15, thousands of protesters led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gathered in Tahrir Square in Baghdad and elsewhere throughout the country calling for reform, an end to government corruption, and for the abolition of the sectarian quota system in government. Following the protests, Parliament postponed a vote on the “Freedom of … Continue reading ISHM: July 15 – 21, 2016
Key Takeaways: In the aftermath of the July 3 ISIS-perpetrated suicide bombing in Baghdad’s Karadah neighborhood which killed 292 people, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban. Al-Abadi also dismissed Baghdad Chief of Security Abdul Amir al-Shammari and several of his subordinates. Minister of Defense Khaled al-Obedi acknowledged that the … Continue reading ISHM: July 8 – 14, 2016
Key Takeaways: In the early morning of July 3, a massive explosion ripped through a crowded shopping center in the Karadah neighborhood of central Baghdad, killing nearly 300 individuals in the predominantly Shia area. ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the vehicle based IED used in the attack. Since then, public protests have called for the … Continue reading ISHM: July 1 – 7, 2016
Last Saturday night, as families were observing the final few days of Ramadan and preparing for the culminating celebration of Eid al-Fitr, a mini-van exploded in the Karadah neighborhood of Central Baghdad, claiming more than 250 innocent lives in one of the deadliest single acts of terrorism in Iraq in recent years. The attack by … Continue reading Recent Events in Baghdad
Key Takeaways: Since military operations to clear Fallujah of ISIS militants began on May 23, more than 85,000 residents have been displaced from the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, according to the UNHCR. Humanitarian conditions in the six vastly overcrowded camps near the city are dire, with many still lacking shelter and adequate clean water … Continue reading ISHM: June 24 – 30, 2016
Key Takeaways: As Iraqi Security Forces continued to clear Fallujah of ISIS militants, over 60,000 individuals fled the city this week alone, according to the UNHCR. The mass exodus has dramatically overwhelmed existing camps for the displaced population, and estimates of the total number of IDPs from Fallujah is projected to reach 150,000. In response, … Continue reading ISHM: June 17 – 23, 2016
Key Takeaways: Iraqi Security Forces have entered the center of Fallujah in an effort to clear the major city of ISIS militants, an effort which began on May 22. According to Iraqi Special Police Command, 25% of the city has been secured. Over the past week, operations have focused on clearing and holding surrounding villages, … Continue reading ISHM 66: June 10 – 16, 2016
Key Takeaways: Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Units, aided by U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes, have made steady progress toward clearing ISIS militants from the outskirts of Fallujah. To date, efforts have focused on creating evacuation routes for civilians trapped in the ISIS-occupied city and clearing areas to the city’s south, east and north to … Continue reading ISHM 65: May 27 – June 9, 2016
Courteney Doerschel is a recent graduate of The George Washington University where she earned a B.A. in Political Science with a focus in Middle Eastern studies, Women and Gender studies and Humanitarian studies. She originally started her professional career in the production industry in Los Angeles but later became interested in social justice and political … Continue reading Our Summer 2016 Interns Have Arrived!