On this edition of Iraq Matters, Stuart Bowen examines the lessons learned during his ten years as Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction and how those lessons should be applied to the next phase in Iraq’s post-ISIS recovery.
This week’s headlines: Suicide Attacks Roil Baghdad ▪ Concern Over Forced IDP Returns Mounts Ahead of Election Date Decision ▪ KRG, Federal Government Begin Negotiations ▪ Federal Budget Still Without Consensus as Kurds Boycott Parliament ▪ Sporadic ISIS Attacks Linger, Despite Territorial Losses ▪ U.S. and Germany Lead Funding Ahead of Kuwait Pledging Conference ▪ U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq Unrelated to Combat
Since 2014, EPIC has delivered emergency assistance to more than 60,000 displaced men, women, and children affected by violence in Iraq…and in 2018, we will do even more with your support. Our fiscal year comes to a close at midnight tonight and we need your fully tax-deductible gift to help finish our year strong. Please… Give $25 RIGHT NOW … Continue reading Before Midnight…
The progress of peace over the past year in Iraq marks a most significant turning point toward hope and opportunity. In the coming year, we must join together and continue to support Iraq’s next steps toward lasting security and prosperity so that peace can endure for generations to come. We recently shared the story of the young … Continue reading Looking Ahead to 2018
We hope that the recent recap of our efforts in 2017 has inspired you to make a year-end gift to EPIC. Every donation we receive between now and midnight on New Years Eve is very much needed as we close out our fiscal year and press in to 2018 with renewed commitment to Iraq’s future. Make a gift online: … Continue reading A Year-End Gift
Right now, Iraq is poised to break the cycle of violence that has spun within its borders for decades. To capitalize on this moment, the Education for Peace in Iraq Center cannot and will not stop in our efforts to lend support. For nearly 20 years, you have stood by us as we rallied against crippling economic sanctions … Continue reading Looking Back on 2017
This week’s headlines: Violent Anti-Government Protests in the Kurdistan Region Result in Dozens of Casualties ▪ German Government Makes Aid Contingent on Resolution of Baghdad-Erbil Conflict ▪ Sistani Calls for PMUs to Merge with ISF; U.S. Troops in Iraq ‘Long-Term’ ▪ Mosul Civilian Casualty Counts Still Underestimated ▪ Minimum Wage Increased; Personal Status Law May Be Reintroduced Next Year
Last week, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the war against ISIS and we join the international community in celebrating this significant victory! Together, we must seize this moment to make sure that peace in Iraq is sustained in the near-term and endures for generations to come. With your help, we are focused on supporting Iraqi civil society– … Continue reading Seizing the Moment
This week’s headlines: Abadi Declares “End of War Against ISIS” ▪ WSJ: Lack of Aid Funding Could Lead to Resurgence of ISIS ▪ KRG Continues Push for Dialogue with Baghdad ▪ Erdogan Organizes Meeting in Response to Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem ▪ UN Concludes Oil-for-Food Program
This week’s headlines: Iraq Voices Opposition to Trump’s Plan to Move U.S. Embassy in Israel ▪ 3,000 ISIS Militants Still Operating in Iraq and Syria ▪ France’s Macron Meets with Barzani, Calls for an End to PMUs ▪ 2018 Budget Law Remains Under Debate ▪ Move to Privatize Electricity Distribution Met with Protests
This week’s headlines: President Masum Visits Kurdistan Region, Disputed Territories ▪ Kubis Briefs UN Security Council, Meets with Sistani ▪ British Prime Minister Visits Baghdad ▪ ISIS Claims Responsibility for Suicide Bombing Near Baghdad ▪ Military Operations Continue to Target ISIS in Western Anbar
Today is #GivingTuesday – the non-profit world’s version of Black Friday – when we ask all of our supporters to give generously to causes that inspire them and encourage their friends and family to do the same. This past summer, EPIC’s Executive Director Erik Gustafson was in Mosul shortly after the last of the ISIS militants were driven … Continue reading Inspiration to Give on #GivingTuesday
On this edition of Iraq Matters, Iraqi Kurdistan expert Bilal Wahab explains the implications of the September 25 referendum and answers crucial questions on what comes next for the region.
This week’s headlines: Federal Supreme Court Annuls Referendum Results; Abadi May Be Open to More Funding for KRI ▪ Rawa Cleared of ISIS ▪ Vehicle Bomb Targets Tuz Khurmatu Market, 83 Casualties Reported ▪ NY Times: Airstrikes Killed More Civilians in Mosul than Reported ▪ Abadi Pledges Elections Will Be Held on Schedule, Despite Pushback from Ninewa MPs
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 are blessed with staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to enhance understanding of Iraq’s story, monitor the crisis to inform smarter policy, and provide relief to those who need it most. But we are most thankful … Continue reading Giving Thanks in 2017
This week’s headlines: ISIS Territory “Down to the Last One Percent” as Security Forces Move Toward Rawa ▪ Kurdistan Parliament Affirms Federal Court Ruling on Independence; KDP MPs Return to Baghdad ▪ Earthquake Hits Along Iran-Iraq Border ▪ Kirkuk KRG Office Relocates to Erbil; Ousted Governor’s Case Dismissed ▪ Iraqi Foreign Minister Visits Qatar
This week’s headlines: Abadi, Speaking in Qa’im, Declares City Cleared of ISIS Militants; Operations in Anbar Continue ▪ Suicide Attacks Roil Kirkuk; Sadr Orders PMU to Withdraw ▪ Federal Court Ruling, Budget Woes Further Erode KRG Leverage ▪ VP Nujaifi Sets Conditions for May Elections in Speech at USIP; Denies Report He Asked U.S. to Arm Sunni Militias ▪ ISIS Atrocities During Mosul Battle Detailed in UN Report
The Education for Peace in Iraq Center’s Connection Initiative brings together members of the Iraqi diaspora living in the United States and civil society organizations in Iraq who need contributions of time and talent. Over the past several months, we have reached out to dozens of Iraqi NGOs working on the front lines of government accountability, minority protection, youth empowerment, … Continue reading Calling Iraqi-Americans!
This week’s headlines: KRG President Barzani Steps Down as Kurdish Parties Clash ▪ Unaided by Rumors, ISF, Peshmerga Tensions Continue Over Border Control ▪ Date Fixed for National Elections ▪ Tillerson: U.S. Will Stay in Iraq Until ISIS is Defeated ▪ ISF Make Measured Progress in Western Anbar ▪ Amid Growing Need, World Bank Approves Aid Package; Ninewa Governor Ousted
This week’s headlines: Allegations and Rhetoric Confuse Situation as ISF Take Over Disputed Territories ▪ Reports of Casualties and Looting Amid ISF, Peshmerga Clashes ▪ Kurdish Elections ‘Suspended’ for Eight Months; Referendum Results ‘Frozen’ ▪ Abadi Dismisses Tillerson Comments on PMUs, Seeks Regional Cooperation ▪ ISF “Coming to Liberate You” in Anbar ▪ Lack of Planning in Mosul Causing “Chaos” as Funding Urgently Needed
This week’s headlines: Iraqi Security Forces, PMUs Move Quickly Into Disputed Territories ▪ Political Fallout Over Referendum Continues: Barzani Loses Leverage, Kirkuk Governor Ousted, Kurdish Elections Postponed ▪ Thousands of IDPs Move Through Disputed Territories Amid Unreliable Reporting ▪ U.S. Colonel Says There is “Work to Be Done” After ISIS is Cleared ▪ Extreme Hardship Remains in Western Mosul
On Thursday, November 16, join EPIC staff, Board Members, and our Host Committee at A Truly EPIC Happy Hour in support of Iraq’s future. All proceeds go to further EPIC’s mission of humanitarian action for peace. Meet new friends interested in making Iraq safe and prosperous again and reconnect with colleagues who have spent time in the region. Enjoy … Continue reading A Truly EPIC Happy Hour!
This week’s headlines: Hawija Declared Cleared of ISIS as Most Militants Surrender to Peshmerga ▪ Dialogue Pushed as Next Steps in Easing Erbil-Baghdad Tensions ▪ Iran, Turkey Unite in Disdain for Kurdish Independence ▪ Diyala Security Situation Remains Tenuous as Focus Shifts ▪ Schools Reopen in Mosul; HRW Condemns Forced Detentions
This week’s headlines: Referendum Tensions Relax, For Now, Aided By Calls from Sistani ▪ Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga Continue Cooperation Toward Hawija ▪ Revered Former President Jalal Talabani Dies at 84 ▪ Despite Saber Rattling, Iran and Turkey Await Next Steps for the KRI ▪ New Reports Released on Toll of Operations in Mosul ▪ Airstrikes Continue Over Anbar
On Sunday, September 24, Professionals for a Better Iraq (PBI) held their First Annual Assembly in northern Virginia where 60 Iraqi-American professionals came together for the opportunity to network and contribute to a shared vision for Iraq’s future. PBI is EPIC’s implementing partner on our Connection Initiative which aims to link members of Iraq’s talented diaspora … Continue reading EPIC Joins PBI for First Annual Assembly
This week’s headlines: Kurdistan Votes for Independence, Baghdad Retaliates ▪ Turkey, Iran Conduct Military Exercises on Iraqi-Kurdish Borders ▪ Aid Agencies Prepare as Military Operations Commence Near Hawija ▪ UN, Amnesty Condemn Executions in Nasiriya ▪ IDP Returns to Cleared Areas May Be Premature, Report Suggests
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 Interns Brennan and Yaniv!
This week’s headlines: Tensions Mount in Kirkuk as Kurdish Independence Referendum Looms ▪ Governor of Kirkuk Disputes Ouster ▪ Attack in Nasiriya Results in Mass Casualties ▪ Mass Displacement from Hawija Expected as Operations Begin ▪ Encouraged by Improved Security, More IDPs Return to Eastern Mosul ▪ “Hundreds” of ISIS Militants Killed in Western Anbar ▪ Kurdish Parliament Reconvenes Without Gorran
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.