Author: Iraqi Thoughts

Why Some Iraqi Officials Want Elections Delayed

The Iraqi cabinet and parliament have confirmed that federal and provincial elections will be held on May 15, 2018 despite the call to postpone elections from various political leaders. Provincial elections have usually been held a year prior to the federal election but due to logistical, economic and political reasons, the provincial elections were postponed a year to coincide with the federal election. This was the first time outside the Kurdistan Region that elections were postponed in the new Iraq, and despite the dangerous precedent it could set, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has ensured they would not be postponed...

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The Standoff at the Border

With the dust still settling in Kirkuk, on 18 October, Iraqi forces- including elements of the Popular Mobilization Units (Hash’d al Shaabi)- took federal control of the Syrian border crossing at Rabia. Like in much of the disputed territories, federal forces bore minimal resistance. However, genuine pushback began on early 24 October when residual Peshmerga (Kurdish troops) in Ninevah clashed with federal forces moving north. The incident foreshadowed several subsequent border calamities for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) shares international borders with Syria, Turkey, and Iran. At the tri-border zone of Syria, Turkey,...

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Doing Business in Iraq: on Track to Wider Economic Reform

A few months into his term Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi laid out his vision for reforms in front of global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. By the summer of 2015 his political reforms had grabbed all the headlines, overshadowing the reforms he was bringing to the military and economy. But as the fight against Da’ish draws down, the focus has turned back to the economy. On October 31st the World Bank published its Doing Business 2018 report, an annual report “measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it” and ranks “the...

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Optimism as Iraq Defeats Da’ish Should be Coupled with Caution

By Haidar Sumeri Since operations began in and around Mosul, the military advance in Iraq has been nothing short of a perfect storm. The battle for northern Iraq’s major city knocked over the first domino in what has developed into a humiliating year for the so-called Islamic State (Da’ish). One stronghold after another has been liberated by a resurgent Iraqi military, determined to heal the wounds of the past. The Mosul operation dragged on for months, rapidly turning into one of the bloodiest and most difficult urban warfare battles since World War ll. After the conclusion of that battle,...

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The Kurdish Political Narrative after the Referendum | PART III

On October 29, 2017 the Kurdish parliament convened to discuss Masoud Barzani’s letter formally announcing that he will no longer seek an extension of his overdue presidency after November 1, 2017. Analyzing the content of his letter and speech along with the events that accompanied his resignation presents another showcase of how the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) deals with the current developments in the region, and some unmistakable indicators of how it will do so in the future. Masoud Barzani’s use of phrases like “I refuse to continue in the position of president of the region after November 1”...

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