Advisory - Iraq - 11 August 2014

Advisory #48
Country: Iraq
Date Issued: 11 August 2014, 17:00 GMT
Impacted Zones:
Iraqi Kurdistan Region: Stand-By
Central Government-held territory: Stand-By
ISIL-held territory: Evacuate
Baghdad: Prepare
Next Advisory Update Scheduled:
15 August 2014, 17:00 GMT
Current Status
Several notable developments have occurred in Iraq since the last advisory was issued on 8 August 2014. Political
tensions have escalated as Shia political parties belonging to the National Alliance coalition nominated Haider al-Ibadi to
replace current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 11 August. President Mouad Massoum has asked Abadi to form a
government and he has 30 days to complete this task. Many in the international community, and even those in his own
government, accuse al-Maliki of precipitating the ongoing sectarian crisis in Iraq, and encourage him to step down to
encourage stability and peace. Al-Maliki, however, has stated he will continue seeking a third term as the premier, though
opposition Sunni and Kurdish groups have called for his removal. These developments could potentially further
exacerbate the deepening internal political crisis in Iraq and be a catalyst for an escalation in violence.
In other concerning developments, reports cited deployments of military forces backed with tanks in a number of areas in
Baghdad. The deployments of forces said to be loyal to al-Maliki began late on 10 August-early 11 August. Pro-Maliki
forces took up positions en-mass across Baghdad’s International Zone (also known as the Green Zone, and where a
number of strategic Iraqi government facilities as well as foreign embassies are located) in the early morning hours of 11
August. Forces have also reportedly deployed around Baghdad’s international airport and around key bridges and roads
in several neighborhoods. At this point the reason for the troop deployment remains unclear and it is unknown whether it
is tied to the political situation (as a possible show of force by al-Maliki) or in response to concerns regarding Islamic State
militant forces.
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Meanwhile, fighting persists between the Islamic State (IS) and Iraqi Security Forces. Additionally, Peshmerga – the
security forces of the northern, semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan – continue to engage IS in various locations in
northern Iraq, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents from the towns of Sinjar and Zimar into the northern
Kurdistan region. While Kurdish troops have reclaimed the northern towns of Gwer and Mahmour from IS militants, they
lost control of the town of Jalawla. The U.S. government continues to carry out airstrikes on IS-occupied areas throughout
northern Iraq in support of Kurdish troops.
The U.S. Department of State announced on 10 August that it was evacuating some of its staff from the northern Kurdish
city of Erbil as a precaution. Despite this drawdown of staff, the U.S. Consulate in Erbil remains open. The British Foreign
and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revised its travel information for Iraq as of 11 August, and is now recommending its
nationals avoid travel to Erbil city and areas west of the city in the Erbil province. Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk province in the
Iraqi Kurdistan region were not referenced in the call for travel avoidance. On 8 August, the Australian Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated its travel advice for Iraq and now recommends its citizens against travel to any
area of the country, including the Kurdistan region. This announcement came amid heavy fighting between IS and Kurdish
military forces in recent weeks.
Various air carriers have canceled or modified their services in light of the ongoing conflict. Emirates Airlines has
announced the indefinite suspension of flights to Baghdad International Airport (ORBI/BGW) on 9 August following an
earlier suspension of flights to Erbil International Airport (ORER/EBL) by Emirates on 5 August. Additional flights by U.S.
airline carriers were prohibited from flying over Iraqi airspace by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority on 8 August due to
prevailing security concerns.
Security and political developments in the country remain fluid and should continue to be monitored; the next Advisory will
be issued on 15 August unless developments warrant an update prior to this date.
Potential Risks
Attacks on areas located in the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region
Fall of Balad (Iraqi military base – Joint training installation)
Ramadi/Fallujah militants push into Baghdad from west
Capitulation of central government
Major governments issue evacuation notice in direct response to current crisis
Intervention from neighboring countries, in particular Iran or Saudi Arabia
Significant increase in targeted killing of Western/foreign individuals
Attack of prominent Shiite holy shrines by ISIL militants
Outbreak of mass civil unrest or increase that affects majority of country and shows no indication of being resolved
within a short time period
Open conflict between Kurdish ethnic groups and the Iraqi military and/or Islamist militants
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Foreign nationals and expatriates should re-assess any non-essential travel to Iraq at this time. All travelers should
continue to monitor both local and international events to stay abreast of developing situations.
Due to the developing nature of the situation, personnel are advised to secure all critical documentation and ensure
that cellular telephones are fully charged.
Security managers and directors should establish and maintain frequent contact with personnel in Iraq to monitor their
status and location. Evacuation plans should be established immediately in the event that a departure or relocation
becomes necessary.
Adequate supplies of food, water and fuel should be on hand in the event that it becomes difficult to travel from one’s
All overland travel should be carefully reviewed and only undertaken in areas with robust security measures in place;
travel at night should be restricted if remaining in Iraq.
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Map data 2014 Basarsoft, Google
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Status Level Definitions
•AIG Global Security recommends a Stand-By posture in response to recent developments. A standby posture includes the close and consistent monitoring of developments due to the potential for
overall conditions to deteriorate or change quickly.
•AIG Global Security recommends a Prepare posture in response to recent developments. The
Prepare advisory level indicates that the situation may escalate and that precautionary measures -including planning for a possible departure from the location -- should be implemented in the event
of a significant deterioration in security conditions.
•AIG Global Security has evaluated the situation as warranting an Evacuation from affected areas as
noted in the advisory below. Contact should be established with security support personnel and
preparations for a departure should be implemented. (Please note: The decision on the payment of
your security evacuation claim will be made by the Claims Office and will be based on the Terms
and Condition of the policy.)
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