This is the last Iraq Alert and recommendations from PAX entitled "Iraqi Stability at Risk: Preventing the pitfalls of the fight against ISIS."
Recent political crises in Baghdad and Erbil, together with ongoing demonstrations, affirm that the necessity for a more assertive commitment of the international community to address current challenges in Iraq is greater than ever. PAX strongly believe this requires a comprehensive approach that does not focus exclusively on ISIS-affected areas, but on all of Iraq.
The military campaign against ISIS in Iraq is strengthening non-state armed groups throughout the country and the political parties with which they are aligned. This trend is weakening and dividing Iraqi state structures, with an all-time low level of confidence of Iraqi citizens in the state. It also makes it harder for civil society to play a constructive role and represent the interests of citizens because their natural counterparts, state institutions, are increasingly weak.
Currently, new armed groups are set up to prepare for a Mosul offensive. These militias, often influenced by external actors, severely threaten the human security of civilians and are perceived by Iraqis as a similar threat to ISIS. This is particularly relevant for communities who have endured ISIS rule and are considered hostile to both Baghdad and Erbil governments.
Current UN-led stabilization policies in the areas where ISIS has retreated have a short-term time frame and have a negative political impact as they solidify changed power dynamics on the ground. Moreover, a multitude of initiatives are disconnected and often operate from different strategic departure points. This lack of a comprehensive and coordinated approach with a longterm vision is counterproductive and may contribute to renewed conflict.