The Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve that covers January to March 2020 has been published. This 134-page report provides a detailed summary of the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
The report is led by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense – assisted by the IGs of the Department of State, USAID, and other agencies. Congress requires this report every quarter. There usually is a classified appendix to this report; however, due to the coronavirus disease one has not been done for this reporting period.
Operation Inherent Resolve was established in 2014 to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and to set the conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability. OIR consists of military operations, support for local security forces, diplomacy, stabilization, humanitarian aid, and governance. This report describes the activities of DoD, DoS, and USAID to achieve the US government’s goals in the region.
The situation in Iraq is in a state of flux. The coronavirus pandemic has reduced the activities of the U.S., Coalition, and its partner nation forces significantly. In fact, many of the troops have relocated to other bases in the Middle East, Europe, or have been redeployed to CONUS. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) have paused operations and training due to the virus.
In addition, the U.S. has been conducting a ‘planned’ consolidation of bases within the two countries. This has reduced the visibility that the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) has on the activities of the ISF and the SDF. The stepped up activities of Iran’s proxies in the region – especially in Iraq have presented some security concerns to the United States – also contributing to the need to consolidate bases and decrease activities.
A low-level insurgency continues to exist in both Syria and Iraq. The political environment in Iraq is mixed. Attempts to form a government have been stalled. Public protests have kept the security forces busy. The economic situation is less than ideal – compounded with the significant drop in oil prices. The situation in Syria is dire for the people of Syria. Turkey, Russia, and Iran – as well as the U.S. have been supported different warring factions and there are some dire humanitarian conditions in some parts of the country.
The report reviews the following topics in both Iraq and Syria:
- Status of OIR
- Status of ISIS
- Actions against ISIS
- Partner Force Development
- Role of Third Parties
- Humanitarian Assistance
In addition there are several pages on oversight activities covering strategic planning, audit and inspections, and investigations. There are four appendices – acronyms, map of Iraq, map of Syria, and endnotes.
This report is a good read to come up to speed on the activities of the United States in both Syria and Iraq. There is not a lot of detailed reporting on the activities of the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (SOJTF-OIR). Although . . . there is a discussion on how equipment and funding is managed by SOJTF-OIR. If you have an interest in Middle East conflicts then you will find this report informative.
Operation Inherent Resolve: Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress, May 2020.