This report provides a general overview of the security situation in Iraq, covering the following topics: a general background of recent conflicts in Iraq; the current political situation; information on the main armed actors and their territorial presence and role; an overview of recent security trends; the impact of the violence on the civilian population; and the impact of the violence on the state ability to secure law and order.
The second part of the report provides a governorate-level description of the security situation. Each governorate chapter includes a map, brief description of the governorate, background conflict dynamics and armed actors present in the area, followed by a description of security trends in 2018, and the impact of the violence on the population.
The report was co-drafters by the following national asylum and migration departments, in conjunction with EASO:
- Belgium, Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, Cedoca(Centre for Documentation and Research)
- France, Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), Information, Documentation and Research Division
- Sweden, Swedish Migration Agency, Lifos Country of Origin Information research service
The following national asylum and migration departments contributed by reviewing this report:
- Austria, Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, Country of Origin Department
- Greece, Greek Asylum Service, Quality Assurance and Documentation Department
- Norway, Landinfo – Country of Origin Information Centre
Additionally, an external expert review was carried out by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD), and also by Dr. Fanar Haddad, a Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore who specialises in sectarian issues and politics in Iraq.
The drafting of this report was finalised 7 February 2019 and covers events up to 31 December 2018. Any event taking place after this date is not included in this report.
As a result of an increase in violence and terrorist acts, the security and human rights situation in Iraq has deteriorated since 2013 and further escalated with the ground offensive that IS launched in June 2014. This has led to a bloody internal armed conflict. Citizens are being targeted by the conflicting parties for ethnic, religious or political reasons. In 2015, the military pressure on IS increased and the Iraqi Security Forces, backed by Shia militias and the Peshmerga, recaptured some areas from it. In 2016, IS lost more ground to government forces. The recapture of IS-controlled areas has clearly led to an improvement in the general security situation in Iraq. In 2017, violence continued to decrease in Baghdad.
The available information shows that there are still significant differences in the level of violence and the impact of the IS ground offensive according to the region considered. These strong regional variations characterise the security and human rights situation in Iraq. This means concretely that the situation in Central Iraq is different from the situation in South Iraq and the Kurdish Autonomous Region.