Here are this week’s top stories on Iraq, followed by the Iraq Video of the Week.
Sterling Jensen | The Hill
In fact, the retaking of Ramadi was merely a tactical victory with significant firepower after a long-drawn-out military campaign. In order to achieve a strategic victory against IS, both Baghdad and Washington will have to change fundamental assumptions driving their anti-IS strategy.
Alice Fordham | NPR
When Iraqi forces with coalition airstrikes retook the western city of Ramadi, it was the latest in a series of successes. But ISIS is just one of many groups trying to carve out power for itself in a country where the central government is looking ever weaker.
Zach Beauchamp | Vox
There’s a slow-motion crisis brewing in Iraq – one dramatized by recent events that, over the long term, could make any victory over ISIS illusory. One January 11, ISIS carried out two suicide bombings in Muqdadiya, a town in Iraq’s Diyala province, killing at least 26 people. Retaliation was swift – but it wasn’t directed against ISIS. The targets, instead, were Diyala’s Sunni residents.
Stephen Kalin & Ahmed Rasheed | Reuters
Strain on Iraq’s budget from falling oil prices is delaying the removal of Islamic State explosives in Ramadi and restoration of basic services needed for displaced civilians to return to the western city. Ramadi’s hundreds of thousands of residents will not be able to go home until bombs are removed and infrastructure damaged by six months of fighting is rehabilitated – operations that require tens of millions of dollars Baghdad cannot spare.
Faris Mohammed | AP
Plunging oil prices have pitched Iraq into a severe financial crisis as it struggles to combat the Islamic State group, play host to millions of refugees and rebuild cities and towns ravaged by war. Iraq’s economy is almost completely reliant on oil, which accounts for 95 percent of government revenues. With global prices hovering around $30 a barrel, Iraq has had to draw on foreign exchange reserves to fill a shortfall in the 2016 budget, which anticipated $45 per barrel.
Iraq Video of the Week:
Iraq has roughy 30 militias, all beholden to different political masters. Imran Khan, of Al Jazeera, explains how and why this is. (1:40)