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ISHM: March 8 – 14, 2019

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts; Historic Iranian Visit to Iraq; Progress and Setbacks in KRG Formation – On March 10, a Lebanese delegation arrived in Iraq including the Minister of Communications Mohammad Choucair, the Ambassador to Iraq Ali Habhab, and 25 businessmen. On March 10, leaders of the Kurdistan parliament allotted the seats in the 15 permanent parliamentary committees to the various parties comprising the parliament. On March 11, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baghdad for a three-day visit. This is his first visit to Iraq since taking office in 2013. On March 11, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Qubad Talabani met with Estonian Deputy Prime Minister Taimar Peterkop. On March 11, Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan agreed to open the Shoshmi commercial border crossing to boost trade and tourism between the two. On March 12, leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met in Erbil to work on the formation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) after several points of contestation emerged between the two parties. On March 14, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with the Saudi Minister of Trade and Investment Majid al-Qasabi. more…

  • Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq Despite Security Operations; 20,000 Iraqis including ISIS Militants Set to Be Sent to Iraq from Baghouz, Syria – On March 8, Kurdistan24 reported that Iraqi security forces used tear gas and water cannons to put an end to a protest in Basra, injuring three protestors. On March 8, a car bomb exploded in the al-Muthanna neighborhood in Mosul city in Ninewa province, killing two individuals. On March 8, in an interview with The National, President Barham Salih confirmed that guilty foreign fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) could face the death penalty. On March 11, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) transferred 407 ISIS members captured in Syria, most of them Iraqi citizens, to Iraqi custody. On March 12, a clash between the Albu Hamdan and the al-Batut tribes in northern Basra resulted in three deaths and at least seven injuries. On March 11, Reuters reported that an estimated 20,000 Iraqis in Syria, who left Baghouz, Syria in recent weeks are expected to be sent back to Iraq soon. On March 13, a mortar shell landed on homes in the Qara Tabbah district in Diyala province, killing one civilian and injuring five others. more…

  • Foreign Donors Pledge Additional Support for Iraq; UNDP Renovates Homes in West Mosul; New Report Shows Improvement in Ninewa’s Justice System – On March 10, the World Food Programme (WFP) released an update on their work in Iraq. The report describes WFP’s assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and recovery activities for returnees. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement thanking the Government of Japan for their contribution of $803,571 to enable Iraq to better prepare and respond to issues in public health. On March 12, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced that the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark has contributed an additional 7.7 million dollars to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS). On March 13, the United Nations released a report stating that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is renovating 15,000 homes in west Mosul. On March 13, Humans Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on improvements that are being made by the Ninewa governorate counterterrorism court to address unjust prosecution of suspected Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) fighters.On March 13, Canadian Ambassador to Iraq, Paul Gibbard announced that Canada will provide 14 million dollars to Iraq for the implementation of three projects for Iraqi women. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.