More than two years after Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) retook remaining areas of Kirkuk governorate in 2017 from the Islamic…Details
The deaths of civilians and the growing number of wounded at the ongoing demonstrations across Iraq and the response of…Details
Policies and Practices to Protect Civilians: Lessons from ISF Operations Against ISIS in Urban Areas
The fight against ISIS posed unique challenges to the Government of Iraq (GOI), its security forces, and the coalition on how to protect civilians. ISIS’s tactics of preventing civilians from fleeing and using them as human shields, using IED—including human and vehicle borne IEDs— rigging buildings with booby traps, and using tunnels to escape or re-appear in cleared areas added to the complexities of fighting in densely-populated urban areas.
The GoI and the ISF have acknowledged the need to identify and learn ways to build trust and good relations with civilians and build capacities of its security forces to protect them. A Nineveh Police officer told CIVIC, “Before ISIS, people did not accept any security forces; there was a wall between civilians and us.”4 A lieutenant general in the MOD said, “Now we understand that the army has to work with local authorities, civilians and tribes.”5 A major general in the ISF reflected, “The government needs to be close to its citizens to avoid creating another Daesh. Daesh found a good environment because the government and its forces were not close to people.”6
This report, “Policies and Practices to Protect Civilians: Lessons from ISF Operations Against ISIS in Urban Areas” is intended to inform the institutional learning of the ISF and suggest improvements in policies, procedures, and trainings on civilian protection.
CIVIC started in 2003 when its founder Marla Ruzicka began going door to door in Iraq advocating for civilians that…
Ali Al-Assaf is CIVIC’s Country Director in Iraq. Along with our Iraq team, Ali engages with civilians on a regular…