This is the 32nd Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the overseas contingency operation to advise, assist, and enable local partner forces until they can independently defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria, thereby setting conditions for the implementation of long-term security cooperation frameworks.
The report covers the period October 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. It summarizes the quarter’s key events, and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work related to OIR.
Through OIR, U.S. and Coalition forces seek the defeat of ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria. ISIS capabilities remained “significantly degraded” by the steady removal of ISIS leaders in Iraq and Syria but the group continued to spread its ideology and conduct attacks. ISIS remained focused on bolstering its ranks by freeing its fighters from detention and indoctrinating and recruiting children at the al-Hol displaced persons camp in Syria.
Türkiye, Iran, Russia, and the Syrian regime continued to impact the OIR campaign. In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) paused counter-ISIS operations due to Turkish airstrikes and Turkish preparations for a potential incursion. In response to the potential Turkish ground incursion, the
Syrian regime and probably its Russian backers reinforced positions in northern Syria. Iran-aligned militias continued to pause attacks on U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq, though small-scale indirect fire attacks continued against Coalition personnel in Syria.
U.S. military activity related to OIR focuses on advising and enabling of partner forces as they build their capacity to fight ISIS independently. Iraqi partner forces continued counter-ISIS operations, often without Coalition support. In Syria, Coalition and partner forces increased counter-ISIS raids following the end of the operational pause on December 8. However, partner forces in both countries continued to rely on the Coalition, particularly for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support.
The OIR mission to defeat ISIS depends, in part, on addressing basic needs for food, water, and shelter; repatriating and reintegrating thousands of displaced Iraqis and Syrians; and strengthening economic opportunity and hope across the region. Iraqi political leaders announced a new government in October, following a year of political deadlock. State said that the onus is on the Iraqi government to enact bold policies and reforms that concretely improve lives and reinforce democratic values and good governance. In Syria, drought conditions continued and a cholera outbreak continued to spread, with displacement camps at the highest risk.
State OIG completed one report related to OIR during the quarter, related to its inspection of the programs and operation of the U.S Embassy in Kuwait City, Kuwait. As of December 31, 2022, 11 projects related to OIR were ongoing and 1 project related to OIR was planned.
The Inspector General Act of 1978 provides a mandate for the three Lead IG agencies—the DoD OIG, DoS OIG, and USAID OIG—to work together to develop and carry out joint, comprehensive, and strategic oversight. Each IG retains statutory independence, but together they apply their extensive regional experience and in-depth institutional knowledge to conduct whole-of-government oversight of these overseas contingency operations.