|Second Iraqi Civil War|
What the rebel groups planned for the Mesopotamian region.
| Tariq Al-Hashimi|| Nouri Al-Maliki|
| Initially:|| Initially:||Estimated at 70,000—100,000|
|Casualties and losses|
|45,673 killed or missing, 63,291 wounded||31,805 killed or missing, 47,322 wounded||40,000—55,000 killed, unknown wounded|
|An estimated 350,000 civilians were killed or wounded, and some 400,000 were displaced|
The Second Iraqi Civil War was an internal conflict in Iraq, with spillovers into Syria, that occurred from February 2015 to November 2020.
The government of Iraq had been controlled by the Shia Muslim minority, while the majority of the population is Sunni Muslim. The divide became great when, in June 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) invaded northern Iraq, and was joined by many Sunni Muslims. Many Sunnis in the Iraqi army defected and joined ISIS. However, the government of Iraq was able to handle the issue with ISIS with a military offensive in the north of the country in December 2014 and January 2015, which caused ISIS to retreat and lose many of the gains it initially made during its summer offensive into northern Iraq. But the damage was done, the Sunni majority began rioting across the country against the Shia-dominated government. The government responded by trying to quell the protests, which failed, as they only intensified. Radical Sunnis began attacking Shia Muslims.
The situation quickly escalated when, in Mosul, a city liberated from ISIS control, a group of influential Sunni leaders founded a movement that they called the Northern Iraqi a People's Front. It demanded a greater voice for Sunnis in the government. However, Prime Minister Al-Maliki declared it to be a terrorist group and ordered the arrest of its leaders. This sparked outrage, and Iraqi police were prevented from arresting the leaders, who escaped to Erbil, which is located in Kurdistan. Meanwhile, the Kurdish leaders became emboldened by the act of protest against the government in Baghdad, and began making demands for independence, as they hosted the leaders of the Northern Iraqi movement. The movement was under overall command of Tariq Al-Hasimi, a Sunni politician.
Course of the war
2015: The beginning
The Northern Iraqi movement generated a harsh response from the Baghdad government. A force of 25,000 troops, both Iraqi army and Shiite militias, was ordered to take control of the Kurdish city of Erbil in response. In the resulting Battle of Erbil, the Kurdish forces, numbering some 40,000 men, held off the enemy advance. The Iraqi government force was defeated outside the city and forced to retreat.