The below snippet was taken from our full Q3 forecast, available to download as a pdf. for free using this form:

Security

Kirkuk, security Although the overall trend is still improving, the security situation will remain precarious in the near to medium term. Islamic State (IS) remnants continue to pose the greatest challenge, particularly in areas south of Kirkuk, and the deserts of Salehedinne and al-Anbar where, in the absence of a proper security presence, the group is becoming increasingly bold. With the security forces unable to cover all areas, it is likely these IS elements will grow in strength and potency. Although it is highly improbable that they will be able to recover territory or gain any meaningful popular support, they will continue to perpetrate attacks, executions and abductions.

Kirkuk will remain a key flash-point, not only because of IS, but also because of inter-communal tensions that will remain high. These tensions have the potential to worsen as a result of the election recount, as whichever side comes off worse will reject the results. Such insecurity will only be mitigated when Baghdad agrees to give more space to Kurdish security forces. This is still a long way off, given tensions between the federal government and the KRG, and Baghdad’s need to impose its authority over the governorate.

The coming months could see a rise in tensions in Baghdad, where militia forces have responded to post-election uncertainty by consolidating their presence. Baghdad also remains susceptible to attacks by IS remnants. Should the election recount see the Sadrists stripped of their electoral lead; the capital could also experience destabilisation as a result of protests and unrest.

Localised violence in the form of tribal clashes is also expected to continue both in the Sunni governorates and in the south.

This article was taken from The Q3 Forecast from our Iraq & Kurdistan Focus publication. To find out more about the contents of this article, or discuss any questions you might have regarding business in Iraq & Kurdistan, then please contact us.

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