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ISHM: June 18 - 25, 2020

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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor, Monitoring the Crisis

Key Takeaways:

  • Election Law Deadlock Continues; PM Wants To Eliminate Double Pay In Public Sector; KRG Seeks New Oil And Budget Deal; Parliament Approves $17 Billion Borrowing Bill -- On June 18, political sources said that major political blocs continue to have strong disagreements over the election law annex that will decide the size and boundaries of electoral districts. On June 18, PM Kadhimi instructed all ministries to submit details on their organizational structure, including lists of all senior appointments (also known as "special grade" employees) within 72 hours while a government spokesman revealed that there were 18,000 people who received more than one salary in the Ministry of Education alone. On June 20, the KRG president visited Baghdad and met with PM Kadhimi to discuss oil and budget disputes while the KRG PM confirmed the region's willingness to fulfill its obligations toward Baghdad and sent a delegation to Baghdad to negotiate amendments to the 2019 oil and budget agreements which required the KRG to deliver 250,000 barrels per day of oil to Baghdad in exchange a share of the federal budget. On June 24, the Iraqi Parliament approved a new law authorizing the government to borrow up to $17 billion from domestic and international lenders to cover the financial deficit resulting from the decline in oil revenue. more...

  • New Turkish Operations Kill And Displace Iraqi Civilians; Militia Endorses Bombings In Baghdad; Iraqi Forces Conclude Large Scale Anti-ISIS Operation -- On June 19, new Turkish airstrikes killed at least four civilians and injured one more near the town of Shiladze in Duhok. The new wave of anti-PKK operations forced more civilians to leave their villages near the Turkish border this week. Between June 19 -- 22, two IEDs killed a member of the popular mobilization force (PMF), injured three more fighters and two civilians in Salah ad-Din and Ninewa. Two other ISIS attacks killed three PMF members and injured four others in Diyala and Salah ad-Din. On June 22, a rocket struck near the Baghdad International Airport southwest of Baghdad while an IED exploded targeting a liquor store in central Baghdad. A spokesman for the Kataib Hezbollah militia expressed his support of the bombing, commended those responsible and called on followers to "restore honor" to Iraq. On June 23, the Iraqi counter terrorism service, supported by 59 airstrikes by the International Coalition killed 12 ISIS militants near Makhmour. On June 24, Iraqi forces concluded a large-scale operation across an area of 4,853 square kilometres. Iraqi forces discovered at least 31 hideouts and munitions stockpiles, six IED-making workshops, 11 tunnels, and confiscated various weapons, explosives and vehicles. more...

  • Iraq Builds Field Hospitals To Treat COVID-19 Patients, And Provinces Tighten Curfews As New Cases And Deaths Soar -- On June 19, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said it will set up four field hospitals with a total capacity of 2,425 beds to offer healthcare for the rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in Baghdad. Meanwhile, Iraq's prime minister and health minister asked the Iraqi military to help provide more hospital beds and isolation facilities. Between June 20 -- 25 at least six Iraqi provinces ordered stricter curfews to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, and authorities extended the ban on all commercial passenger flights until July 1. On June 25, Iraq's Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 39,139 representing a new record weekly increase. The spread is accelerating rapidly, with more than 2,400 cases reported in the last 24 hours alone. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 1,437 while a total of 18,051 patients have recovered. To date, Iraq has tested 488,803 samples for COVID-19. more...

  • Iraq To Pay For Iranian Energy Imports With Food And Medicine; KRG Announces Salary Cuts; Baghdad To Assert Control Over Borders To Capture Lost Revenue -- On June 20, Iraqi and Iranian officials agreed to settle $2 billion of Iraq's debt to Iran, which is associated with Iraqi gas and electricity imports, by having Iraq provide food and medicine to Iran. On June 21, KRG said it will implement salary cuts starting this to cope with the financial crisis facing the Kurdistan region. The cuts will range from 21% to 50% for mid and high-earning employees but will not affect employees earning less than ID 300,000 (approximately $250) a month, or the families of veterans and martyrs, political prisoners, and persons with special needs. On June 25, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said his government will soon launch a campaign to "retake control" of the country's border crossings. Kadhimi added that militias are controlling many crossings, costing the country billions in lost revenue. 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.