Middle East: Iraq-Syria TR Aug17


  • Friction points in northern Iraq will be intra-Kurdish differences and conflicts with the Iraqi government over autonomy and oil rights.
  • As the balance of power in northern Iraq shifts, Iran will attempt to counter Turkey’s presence in Iraq through support of Shia militias, setting up future international points of tension between Iran, Turkey, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), and the Iraqi government.
  • Central Iraq contentions will be over Sunni political and economic inclusion.
  • Absent meaningful political reform pursuant to the ouster of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), conditions on the ground will continue to be conducive to another Sunni insurgency.
  • Without a Sunni power-sharing strategy, the Shia government in Baghdad will find itself battling ISIS-like organizations for control of critical Anbar Province cities, such as Ramadi.
  • Intra-Shia economic and political conflicts will continue to occur in southern Iraq.
  • The political motivations behind the formation of the Shia militias may be a dividing force going forward, as the militias become the means of enforcement for factional alliances.
  • Iraqi Shia militias will have expanded influence after successful military operations against ISIS.
  • The Assad regime will continue to make incremental progress in eastern Syria with Russian, Iranian, and Shia militia support.
  • Northern Syria will remain volatile as Turkey continues to object to any support of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm, the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), because of its affiliation with the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
  • Water systems, oil facilities, and other infrastructure critical to Iraqis will likely be targets for attacks in the future.