Small Wars Journal


Irregular Warfare Podcast: The Harsh Lessons of Anbar: Insurgency, the Awakening, and the Rise of ISIS

Sat, 05/08/2021 - 9:37am

An interview with General (Retired) Robert Neller, the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps and the deputy commanding general I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in Anbar Province in 2005–2007, and Dr. Carter Malkasian, former advisor to US military leadership in Iraq, State Department political officer in Afghanistan, and senior advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford

USIP: Struggle for Sinjar: Iraqis’ Views on Security in the Disputed District

A United States Institute of Peace commentary on the ongoing status of Sinjar after being a battlefront in the fight against ISIS

Part 1:

Part 2:

"Iraq’s Sinjar district and its communities have struggled to recover from the recent conflict against the Islamic State group (ISIS). This is due in large part to the fact that the district is one of 14 territories under dispute between Iraq’s federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). As a result, Sinjar has become an arena for competition between the federal government, KRG and other actors in the post-ISIS period. This reality has led to frustration, anger and disillusionment among the communities in Sinjar, the majority of whom are Yazidi (Ezidi).

Along with the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the KRG, actors aligned with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), among others, are also part of this competition for control of Sinjar. There is a multitude of security actors aligned with these sides along with two competing administrative units attempting to govern the district, one aligned to the PMF and the other to the KRG. In October 2020, the GoI and KRG reached an agreement to help address the security and administrative challenges facing the district.

Recent findings from USIP’s Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework (CSMF) highlight that the Sinjar agreement, if implemented, may indeed help address some community concerns around security and governance."

Riley.C.Murray Sun, 04/18/2021 - 3:31am

Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve Quarterly Report to the United States Congress | October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 7:48pm

A roundup of the conflict in against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Topics Include:

Partner Forces

The state of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Troop Reductions




The Return of the Eastern Front: The Evolution of the Iraqi Threat in Israeli Eyes

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 12:39pm
Iraq is returning to the attention of Israel's decision-makers. Speaking publicly at a conference in Herzliya, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi emphasized in no uncertain terms Iran's transfer of precision weapons into Iraq. "The weaponry from Iraq passes through freely and we cannot allow this to happen without a response…," stressed Kochavi. "We will not let Iran secure a foothold in the northern theater at all, not even in Iraq."

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After the Soleimani Strike, What’s Next for Iraq and the Region?

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 6:21pm
With tensions between Iran and the U.S. already simmering, the January 3 U.S. airstrike that killed powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani is sure to have ripple effects across the region. Maj. Gen. Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, coordinated Iran’s military operations and proxies across the Middle East.

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As Protests Continue in the Street, Iraq Reaches a Crossroads

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 4:32am
ImageTens of thousands of Iraqis have been protesting in Baghdad and southern provinces against the failure of the Iraqi government and the political class in delivering basic services, providing jobs, fighting corruption, and more. Iraqi security forces and armed groups reportedly linked to Iran have used lethal force in response to the protests, leaving over 260 dead and over 10,000 injured. As the protests have progressed, demands have expanded to include calls for regime change, the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, early elections, pushing back against Iranian influence, and accountability for killing peaceful protesters.

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Arab Cultural Manifestations in the Iraqi Army

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 12:11am
Underpinnings of ethnic, religious, tribal, and demographic factors as well as their associated social identities remain a recurrent player in Iraqi politics and has affected the building of the Iraqi Army over the past 16 years. Researching Iraqi culture, social identities and their historical context is paramount to understanding the challenges the U.S. has faced in its efforts to train, equip, and advise the Iraqi Army. Independent thinking, creative ideas, information sharing, individual initiative, decentralized control, delegation of responsibility, and personal merit are all keys to success in U.S. military doctrine but contradict Iraqi sociocultural norms of centralized power, groupthink, and avoiding shame, embarrassment, and admission of mistakes. Training, equipping, and advising Arab militaries to follow Western military doctrine has had a history of at best mediocre results and rarely outlives the departure of Western advisors. U.S. capacity building doctrine in Iraq did not adjust to take into account Iraqi culture, instead it expected the Iraqi military to adapt to American military doctrine.

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