Kurdish Objectives in Iraq’s Political Crisis

May 21, 2016 - Patrick Martin

Iraqi politics are deadlocked. Several political parties and blocs boycotted the Council of Representatives (CoR) following the Sadrist protesters’ first breach of the Green Zone on April 30. The Kurdish Alliance, a bloc that consisted of nearly one-fifth of the CoR, withdrew on May 5. The bloc has now split, and two of its component political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran, formally reunited on May 14 to create a new bloc.

Syria Situation Report: May 12 - 20, 2016

May 20, 2016 - Chris Kozak

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) agreed to new measures to reinforce a nationwide 'cessation of hostilities' following a meeting on May 17. The ISSG pledged support to a campaign of "air bridges" starting on June 1 if actors continue to deny humanitarian access to besieged regions. The ISSG also threatened to exclude parties with a "persistent pattern of noncompliance" from the ceasefire. The meeting nonetheless failed to set a clear date for the resumption of the Geneva III Talks.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: April 19 - May 12, 2016

May 13, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande
Pro-regime forces supported by Russian airpower are continuing operations to encircle and besiege the Syrian opposition in Aleppo City following the expiration of a series of temporary ceasefires on May 12. Russian air operations in Aleppo from April 19 – May 12 demonstrate Russia’s continued prioritization of support to its client regime in Damascus. Russia has nonetheless continued to present itself as a constructive international arbiter to the Syrian conflict through a series of Russian- and U.S.-brokered partial ceasefire deals from May 4 – 11.

Syria Situation Report: May 7 - 13, 2016

May 13, 2016 - Chris Kozak

A temporary ceasefire ended in Aleppo City on May 11, sparking a new wave of violence throughout the city and its outskirts. The U.S. and Russia brokered the local truce on May 5 as part of an effort to reinstate a nationwide 'cessation of hostilities'. Meanwhile, Lebanese Hezbollah military chief Mustafa Badreddine reportedly died in an unidentified explosion near Damascus less than a week after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps suffered one of its largest single-day combat losses in Syria.

ISIS's Explosive Attacks in the Greater Baghdad Area: April 4-May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016 - Patrick Martin

ISIS carried out explosive attacks in Baghdad and its environs to undermine an increasingly fragile Iraqi government through April and early May. The group exploited a security system both distracted by ongoing political upheaval caused by a stalled reform and burdened with protecting thousands of Shi’a pilgrims travelling to northern Baghdad for a major Shi’a holiday.

Iraq Situation Report: April 26 - May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016 - Patrick Martin

Iraq’s political crisis has degenerated further as a majority of Iraqi parties, including the Kurdish parties and the Sunni Etihad bloc, have boycotted parliament sessions following the April 30 breach of the Green Zone by Sadrist demonstrators. 

Iraq Council of Representatives Graphic: May 9, 2016

May 9, 2016 - Patrick Martin

May 9 Update: Multiple political parties announced that they would boycott any upcoming session of the Council of Representatives (CoR). The Sunni Etihad bloc announced on May 9 that it would not attend any parliamentary session until those responsible for the April 30 protests were held accountable.