Terror and Murder — Islamic State Switches to an Insurgency in Iraq
Iraq’s military has essentially destroyed the physical Islamic “State” which once militarily occupied one-third of the country. The effort to root out the Islamic State insurgency could take years. Iraq is now faced with the difficult task of implementing effective counter-insurgency methods as the group reverts to its origins... Read more
Before They Attacked the Kurds, Shia Militias Undermined the Campaign for Mosul
In July 2016, the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul was within reach of the forces trying to liberate it. Iraqi and Kurdish forces — along with a spattering of Western troops — had taken up positions on the edge of the city and swapped fire with militants inside. The noose was tightening around... Read more
Iraq’s Shia Militia Problem Always Felt a Lot Like 2007
In August 2014, Islamic State militants seemed poised to seize Amerli, a Shia Turkmen town in northern Iraq. Had they done so, there’s little question the result would have been mass slaughter—just like happened when the Islamists captured the Kurdish Yezidi town of Sinjar. A force of Shia Arab... Read more
¿Dónde atacará el Estado Islámico después de fracasar en Oriente Medio?
El Estado Islámico pronto dejará de existir como un ente territorial en Siria e Irak. A pesar de ello, el ISIS podría conservar su potencial para alterar el sistema internacional y eliminar las fronteras estatales, como hizo temporalmente en Siria e Irak. El Sur de Asia es la región... Read more
I Met an ISIS Fighter in an Iraqi Prison
In a war-scarred jail in Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, I meet a 27-year-old former Islamic State fighter. I’ll call him Abdullah. He claims he intentionally left the terror group in order to seek medical treatment. While trying to pass into Kurdish territory in October 2016 via a checkpoint in... Read more
Where Will Islamic State Strike After it Collapses in the Middle East?
Islamic State will soon cease to exist as a territorial entity in Syria and Iraq. Despite this, ISIS might retain its potential for upsetting the international system and deleting state borders, as it temporarily did in Syria and Iraq. South Asia is the region the group threatens the most.... Read more
Here Are the Leaflets the United States Dropped on Islamic State
This story originally appeared on Jan. 22, 2016. On Nov. 15, 2015, U.S. Air Force A-10 ground-attack planes and AC-130 gunships blew up a truck park near Abu Kamal, Iraq. The American pilots destroyed more than 100 tankers carrying oil that could fund the Islamic State. The Pentagon followed this... Read more
We Watched Kurdish Soldiers Rip Apart IEDs
A Peshmerga fighter slowly worked his around the concrete shell of a half-constructed home in northern Iraq when something in the rubble alerted his attention. After flagging the spot and alerting the other soldiers with him, another Peshmerga fighter specialized in handling improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, arrived on... Read more
Islamic State Hid Tank Cannons Inside Shipping Containers
Islamic State is using a curious trick to conceal its few remaining tanks, if these two truck containers are a sign. Deep within the containers, recently captured by Iraqi forces in Mosul, the militant group installed tank turrets and their cannons. A video posted to Twitter shows the contraptions, most likely built... Read more
‘We Have Had Three Years of Our Lives Destroyed’
Cars, trucks and the occasional motorbike trundle along a wide West Mosul highway in the scorching mid-June heat. Most vehicles here show the scars of battle, such as shrapnel holes and shattered windows owing to thousands of concussive blasts from mortars, bombs and IEDs. On a road in the Al... Read more

Matt Cetti-Roberts

Photojournalist, documentary photographer and correspondent in Iraqi-Kurdistan