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ISHM: June 11 - 18, 2020

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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor, Monitoring the Crisis

Key Takeaways:

  • U.S. And Iraq To Resume Dialogue In July; Parliament Wants Comprehensive Reform Plan Before Authorizing Borrowing; Tension Rises With Turkey Over Anti-PKK Operations – On June 11, the U.S. and Iraq concluded the first round of strategic dialogue talks and agreed to resume discussions in Washington in July. On June 13, hundreds of Iraqis protested in Basra demanding the resignation of the governor and senior security officials. On June 14, Kuwait’s foreign minister visited Baghdad and met with PM Kadhimi and President Salih to discuss counter terrorism cooperation and economic relations, including connecting the Iraqi and Kuwaiti grids. On June 14, Parliament gave the cabinet of PM Kadhimi two months to submit a comprehensive economic reform plan before Parliament would consider granting it the authority to borrow money to address the financial crisis. On June 16-18 Iraq’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador twice to condemn recent Turkish airstrikes and cross-border incursions. Iraq demanded that Ankara halts its operation and withdraws its forces. The ministry also summoned Iran’s ambassador to register its objection to Iran’s shelling of border areas. more…

  • ISIS Attacks Minorities In Diyala; New Rocket Attacks Target The Green Zone And Major Military Bases; Turkey Launches Large-Scale Operations Against The PKK Inside Iraq – On June 13, ISIS gunmen attacked villages of the Kakai minority community in Diyala province, killing six people and wounding six others. Between June 12-15, five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed one civilian and three ISF members, and wounded four civilians and six ISF members in Babylon, Ninewa, Salah ad-Din and Maysan provinces. On June 13, two Katyusha rockets struck Camp Taji, a major Iraqi military base that also hosts U.S. troops. On June 16, three more rockets struck near Baghdad International Airport. Two days later, four rockets struck the parade grounds in Baghdad’s Green Zone. There were no reports of casualties in either attack. On June 15, Turkey started a campaign of airstrikes and cross-border ground operations targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in several areas in northern Iraq. The attacks coincided with Iranian shelling of border areas. The Turkish attacks, which continued into June 18, killed at least one person and led to the evacuation of eight villages. Turkey claimed to have destroyed 500 PKK targets. more…

  • UNITAD Urges Iraq To Pass Laws To Put ISIS Members On Trial; Baghdad Extends Curfew As Dozens Die From COVID-19 Each Day – On June 15, a new Human Rights Watch report described a spike in violations of the right to free expression in Iraq and urged the Baghdad and KRG parliaments to replace current laws with new ones that comply with international law. On June 16, the team of United Nations investigators looking into ISIS crimes in Iraq said it has identified 344 major suspects in connection with ISIS crimes and emphasized that Iraq must approve a law to provide the legal framework to put the suspected criminals on trial before Iraqi courts. On June 16, PUKmedia reported that medical and health personnel in Sulaimaniyah were on strike to protest the delay in getting paid. The local health director warned that the strike could cause health services in the province to collapse. On June 18, Iraq’s Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 25,717 representing a new record weekly increase. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 856 while a total of 11,333 patients have recovered. To date, Iraq has tested 413,966 samples for COVID-19. Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Baghdad, authorities announced a new total curfew that will be in place until June 21. Meanwhile, the KRG extended the current travel ban between provinces until July 1. On June 18, USAID announced a $10 million contribution to help Iraq cope with the COVID-19 outbreak. more…

  • Iraq Plans Deeper Oil Production Cuts; Government Authorizes Negotiations For $2 Billion In Loans To Finance Six Power and Health Projects – On June 14, Reuters reported that the Iraqi Oil Ministry agreed with BP, Lukoil and ExxonMobil to cut production by a total of 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) from three of the country’s largest oil fields operated by these companies. Iraq’s Oil Minister reiterated this week that the Kurdistan region must reduce their oil exports to no more than 370,000 bpd in order to help Iraq comply with its obligations to cut production by 1.06 million bpd unde the OPEC+ deal. On June 16, the Iraqi Cabinet authorized the Finance Ministry to negotiate and sign loans for six major energy and health projects totaling more than $2 billion. On June 17, General Electric said it has added 1,000 megawatts in power generation capacity to the Iraqi electric grid through upgrades at three power plants in Baghdad, al-Muthanna, and Dhi-Qar provinces. 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.