The volunteer militias formed to fight the Islamic State group are now policing Baghdad’s neighbourhoods. But as they do, they compete with the real police, ignore the real laws and often act more like a mafia.
In Iraqi Kurdistan businesses can’t get a license unless security cameras are installed. But locals say cameras are unregulated and an invasion of privacy, not to mention they don’t help catch assassins in action.
Recent extremist bomb attacks in Baghdad indicate both good and bad: That the IS group has adapted its methods and become more mobile. But also that fixed bases inside the city no longer seem viable for them.
The border of Syria and Iraq looks likely to be the next testing ground for the newly conciliatory – yet unsteady – relationship between Iran and the US. Various powers are already jockeying for position on the frontier.
A series of unsolved murders, including of high profile locals, has seen Kirkuk’s politicians trading accusations as to who is to blame. The deaths are impacting on the city’s various ethnic and sectarian groups.
As Shiite Muslim political rivalry plays out on various Iraqi provincial councils, it’s becoming clear that the country’s next provincial elections will be among the most important ever – and the most perilous.