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This glossary includes key terms, acronyms, and terminology used in Talos reporting.
Abduction The unlawful detainment of an individual for a variety of potential motivations including kidnappings for criminal ransom, terrorist motivations, and personl disputes.
Airstrike An attack on specific objectives by fighter, bomber, or attack aircraft on an offensive mission. Includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. One airstrike may encompass multiple engagements.
Armed Forces of Islamic Republic of Iran (AFIRI) Comprises various Iranian security services including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Arrest To seize and hold under the authority of law.
Assassination To murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons.
Booby-trapped structure A building rigged with explosives set to be triggered by potential victims. Commonly affects returning IDPs.
Border Crossing Point (BCP) A key port of entry located along an international border.
Border Guard Police The Border Guards are a motorized infantry force attached to the MoI. They administer the security of Iraq’s ports of entry and its borders. Border Guards in the KR-I are responsive to the KRG, not the MoI. The Border Guards operate under five distinct border regions.
Cease-Fire A suspension of armed conflict agreed to by both sides. It may be aimed at freezing the conflict in place, in which case it is often called a cessation of hostilities agreement. Or it may be a formal cease-fire with more elaborate terms and provisions including external monitoring, often undertaken as part of a larger negotiated settlement.
Civil Unrest A civil disturbance such as a demonstration, riot, or strike that disrupts a community and requires intervention to maintain public safety.
Coalition Forces (CF) Any international military unit under the Command of the Combined Joint Operations Command of Operation Inherent Resolve. Established in 2016 by the U.S Central Command to coordinate military efforts against IS in Iraq and Syria.
Complex Attack An attack involving multiple different weapon systems affecting the same general area, i.e. an IED and small arms fire.
Coordinated Attack Attacks affecting multiple areas either simultaneously, near simultaneously, or near enough in timings to denote a clear level of coordinated attack planning.
Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) The CTS is a force attached to the Council of Ministers and reports directly to the Prime Minister. CTS Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) units were utilized as an elite light infantry force to spearhead its most important offensive operations against IS and has subsequently began reverting its focus to traditional counter-terrorism roles.
Emergency Police Emergency Police Battalions are provincial-level police units that fall under associated police commands. Emergency Police Battalions have limited combat capabilities and are most frequently used to control the terrain and impose law and order.
Emergency Response Division (ERD) The ERD is a light infantry special operations force under the Ministry of Interior. The Emergency Response Division and its commanders have reportedly close ties to the Badr Organization.
Engagement An armed attack against a local objective.
Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Legacy explosive munitions left behind after a conflict has ended. This includes historic IEDs and other explosive threats that were not fired but remain littered in former conflict zones.
Government of Iraq (GoI) Islamic, democratic, federal parliamentary republic.
Human Remains Find Discovery of the body of a deceased person, in whole or parts.
Improvised Explosive Device (IED) An improvised explosive device comprises of military or nonmilitary components, that is frequently employed by insurgents, and other non-state actors as a crude but effective weapon against a variety of potential targets.
Indirect Fire Attack A bombardment delivered by indirect fire weapon systems, including rockets, artillery, and mortars.
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) Comprises much of the Iraqi security apparatus including the Counter-Terrorism Service, Iraqi Army, Federal Police, various other security services.
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Primary Erbil-based political party.
Kurdish Security Forces (KSF) Comprises much of the Kurdish security apparatus including Peshmerga, Asayish, Zeravani, police, and various other security services.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) The government of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Kurdistan Regional of Iraq (KR-I) The government of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Low-yield IED “Sound Bomb” An IED that consists of a relatively low amount of explosive material and commonly utilized during intimidation-style attacks.
Military Operations Coordinated military actions of combat or non-combat types conducted by a recognized military force.
Motorcycle-borne IED A motorcycle rigged with explosives, or a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle, triggered by either suicide or remote controlled.
Murder The killing of a human being with malice aforethought.
Non-Government Organization (NGO) An NGO is usually a non-profit group that generally functions independently of the government, though significant government funding is not uncommon. NGOs commonly function as aid organizations supporting humanitarian purposes.
Organized Armed Group (OAG) Other armed groups outside the formal Iraqi military structure, also includes unidentified armed actors.
Oil Police Oil Police elements are essentially security guards protecting critical infrastructure related to the oil and gas sector. The large majority of Oil Police units are concentrated around the oil fields in Basra Province and the Southern Region.
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) The PKK was formed with Marxist-Leninist roots in 1974 and, until recently, sought to create an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey and parts of neighboring countries inhabited by Kurds. Today the aim is more in line with winning some level of autonomy.
Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) / Hashd al-Shaabi The PMF was first created by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2014 after the collapse of the ISF against IS. To obtain religious legitimacy, Maliki and his senior PMF allies took a fatwa (religious ruling) issued by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who called on volunteers to rise up and defend Iraq. In November 2016, the GoI legally recognized the PMF and formed as an independent military formation within the Iraqi armed forces.
Propaganda A form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position. Often the term is used with a negative connotation.
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Significant Sulaymaniyah-based political party.
Robbery The act of taking goods from a victim by violence or threat.
Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) RPGs are a commonly used explosive projectile weapon, used by many armies across the world. They play a major part in contemporary warfare, particularly as an anti-armor weapon, and are also highly used among insurgent and terrorist groups.
Small Arms Fire Fire delivered using man-portable, individual, and light crew-served weapon systems used mainly against personnel and lightly armored or unarmored equipment.
Suicide Attack An attack involving at least one explosive device that is suicide initiated. This includes suicide vehicle borne IEDs, operatives triggering an explosive vest or explosive belt, or other form of suicide-initiated device.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Founded in 2015 and heavily supported by the International Coalition, the SDF are an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen, Assyrian and Armenian militias fighting against IS in Syria. The SDF largely comprises of units from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) Comprises various Turkish security services.
Under Vehicle IED An IED emplaced under a vehicle, commonly magnetically attached.
Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Any sort of military ammunition or explosive ordnance which has fired but failed to function as intended such as cluster munitions, artillery shells, etc.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is an aircraft with no pilot on board. UAVs can be remote controlled aircraft or can fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems.
Vehicle Borne IED A vehicle rigged with a significant amount explosives, commonly for mass-casualty intent.

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