All posts by EPIC

ISHM: April 13 – 19, 2018

This week’s headlines: Iraqi Foreign Minister, Protesters Condemn U.S. Airstrikes on Syrian Government Targets ▪ Candidates for Parliament Attacked in Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Anbar ▪ Arab Summit Calls for Turkey to Respect Iraqi Sovereignty ▪ World Bank Forecasts Positive GDP Growth in Iraq for 2018 ▪ Campaign Spending Criticized ▪ HRW, NYT Report on Sham Trials of Suspected ISIS Sympathizers

ISHM: April 6 – 12, 2018

This week’s headlines: Attack on Political Party Headquarters in Anbar Prompts Conversation on Election Security ▪ Diyala Security Chief Transferred to Basra Amid Protests ▪ Baghdad Security Tightened During Shia Pilgrimage ▪ Peshmerga Return to Disputed Areas Remains in Dispute; Trump, Abadi Speak About Syria ▪ UNAMI, UNICEF Issue Humanitarian Response Plans for Iraqi Kurdistan

Run or walk “In Their Shoes” with EPIC!

Looking for a fun excuse to get outside this spring? Then join us on Saturday, May 5th for the Iraqi Children Foundation‘s annual “In Their Shoes” 5k! Enjoy Iraqi music, food, and family-friendly activities! Invite your friends to take part and sign up before this Saturday to take advantage of the reduced registration fee – and be sure to select ‘Team EPIC‘ when you … Continue reading Run or walk “In Their Shoes” with EPIC!

ISHM: March 23 – 29, 2018

This week’s headlines: PKK Withdraws from Sinjar, Erdogan Continues to Threaten Turkish Intervention ▪ Kurdistan Teachers, Civil Servants Demand Salary Payments ▪ Candidates, Coalitions Sign ‘Electoral Charter of Honor’ Ahead of May Elections ▪ Interior Ministry Touts Improvements in Baghdad Security ▪ Iraq, Saudi Arabia Sign Air Transportation Agreement

ISHM: March 16 – 22, 2018

This week’s headlines: Baghdad Pays Kurdish Salaries; Kirkuk-Erbil Road Reopens ▪ Turkey Continues Attacks on PKK in Northern Iraq, Erdogan Threatens Escalation ▪ Yazidi MP: Sinjar Children Still Held by ISIS in Syria; Missing Indian Laborers Identified ▪ Seven U.S. Servicemembers Killed in Helicopter Crash Near Qa’im ▪ FIFA Lifts Ban on Official Soccer Matches in Iraq ▪ World Bank Assists in Reconstructing Mosul’s Bridges, UAE Offers to Rebuild al-Nuri Mosque

ISHM: February 23 – March 1, 2018

This week’s headlines: Integrity Commission Issues Arrest Warrants for Ninewa Governor, Others ▪ According to Foreign Minister, Iraq Considering Purchase of Russian Defense System ▪ Rumors Cause Alarm in Kirkuk; KRI Airports Will Remain Closed ▪ IRC Publishes Report on IDP Returns ▪ Oil Drilling Resumes in KRI; Bidding for Majnoon Discussed at Iraq Petroleum Conference

ISHM: February 16 – 22, 2018

This week’s headlines: Popular Mobilization Units Attacked Near Hawija ▪ Russian Tanks Delivered to Iraq While the U.S. Wants Theirs out of the Hands of Militias ▪ Flooding in Diyala Raise Concerns of Water-Borne Illness ▪ UNOCHA Releases 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan; Kubis Addresses UN Security Council ▪ Fewer Candidates Campaigning Than in 2014

ISHM: February 2 – 8, 2018

This week’s headlines: U.S. Begins Drawing Down in Iraq, Encourages Greater Role for NATO ▪ UNAMI Launches Recovery Program, International Community Presses Private Sector Investment Ahead of Kuwait Conference ▪ Electricity Minister Questioned by Parliament ▪ Three Kurdish MPs Suspended Amid Budget Impasse ▪ Security Forces Target “White Flags,” ISIS in Hamrin Mountain Region ▪ France Will “Intervene” if French Citizen ISIS Members are Sentenced to Death

ISHM: January 26 – February 1, 2018

This week’s headlines: Demonstrators, KRG Condemn Turkish Action Against Syrian Kurds ▪ Political Alliances Develop Ahead of Election; Dep Sec Sullivan Visits Iraq ▪ Federal Budget Stalls Without Kurdish Support ▪ Coalition Airstrike Blamed for Friendly Fire Fatalities ▪ Sistani’s Representative Attacked in Karbala ▪ Disappointed at Davos, Abadi Looks Ahead to Kuwait Pledging Conference

Welcome to Our Spring 2018 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 … Continue reading Welcome to Our Spring 2018 Interns!

ISHM: January 19 – 25, 2018

This week’s headlines: Court, Parliament Finalize Date for National Elections ▪ IEDs Continue to Pose Risks to Returning IDPs ▪ Attacks by ISIS Insurgents Lead to Change in Tactics, More Training ▪ Turkish Action in Syria May Leave Border Vulnerable ▪ Barzani, Abadi Meet on Sidelines at Davos in Show of Cooperation ▪ German Woman Sentenced to Death in Iraq for Supporting ISIS ▪ Sandstorm and Bird Flu Contribute to Regional Health Problems

#34: Corruption and Reconstruction – Lessons Learned

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.

ISHM: January 5 – 18 , 2018

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

ISHM: December 15 – 21, 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

Inspiration to Give on #GivingTuesday

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

#33: What is next for Iraqi Kurdistan?

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.

ISHM: November 17 – 22, 2017

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

Giving Thanks in 2017

  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

ISHM: November 10 – 16, 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

ISHM: November 3 – 9, 2017

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

Calling Iraqi-Americans!

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!

ISHM: October 27 – November 2, 2017

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

ISHM: October 20 – 26, 2017

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

ISHM: October 13 – 19, 2017

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

A Truly EPIC Happy Hour!

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!

ISHM: September 29 – October 5, 2017

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

EPIC Joins PBI for First Annual Assembly

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

Welcome to our Interns Brennan and Yaniv!

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!

ISHM: September 15 – 21, 2017

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

ISHM: September 8 – 14, 2017

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

ISHM: August 25 – 31, 2017

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

ISHM: August 18 – 24, 2017

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

Launching Our Project with the Iraqi Diaspora

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

#32: Yazidi Women and Conflict in Northern Iraq

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.

ISHM: July 28 – August 3, 2017

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

ISHM: July 21 – 27, 2017

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

ISHM: July 14 – 20, 2017

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

ISHM: July 7 – 13, 2017

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

#31: Reconstructing Iraq After ISIS

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.

ISHM: June 30 – July 6, 2017

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

ISHM: June 23 – 29, 2017

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

ISHM: June 16 – 22, 2017

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

ISHM: June 9 – 15, 2017

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

Welcome to Our Summer 2017 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 … Continue reading Welcome to Our Summer 2017 Interns!

ISHM: May 19 – 25, 2017

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

ISHM: May 12 – 18, 2017

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

ISHM: May 5 – 11, 2017

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

ISHM: April 28 – May 4, 2017

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

ISHM: April 21 – 27, 2017

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

ISHM: April 14 – 20, 2017

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

ISHM: April 7 – 13, 2017

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

ISHM: March 31 – April 6, 2017

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

ISHM: March 24 – 30, 2017

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

ISHM: March 17 – 23, 2017

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

ISHM: March 10 – 16, 2017

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

ISHM: March 3 – 9, 2017

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

ISHM: February 24 – March 2, 2017

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

#30: Remembering Mutanabbi Street 10 Years Later

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.

ISHM: February 17 – 23, 2017

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

ISHM: February 10 – 16, 2017

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

#29: How are Refugees Resettled in the US?

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.

ISHM: February 3 – 9, 2017

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

ISHM: January 27 – February 2, 2017

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

EPIC’s Statement on Executive Order “Protecting the 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…

ISHM: January 20 – 26, 2017

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

ISHM: January 13 – 19, 2017

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

ISHM: January 6 – 12, 2017

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

Welcome Our Spring 2017 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 … Continue reading Welcome Our Spring 2017 Interns!

ISHM: December 30, 2016 – January 5, 2017

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.