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ISHM: July 16 - July 23, 2020

Countries
Iraq
+ 3 more
Sources
EPIC
Publication date
Origin
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Key Takeaways:

  • Minister Says Iraq Urgently Needs Water Agreement With Turkey; Finance Minister Leads Delegation To Riyadh; PM Kadhimi Postpones Trip to Saudi Arabia, Visits Iran – On July 16, Iraq’s Minister of Water Resources said Iraq needs to reach an agreement with Turkey about its water projects or the country will face severe water shortages, warning that inflows of water at the Turkish border were 50% below average this year. On July 20, PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi postponed a plan announced last week to visit to Saudi Arabia after King Salman was hospitalized. Despite the cancellation, an Iraqi delegation headed by Finance Minister Ali Allawi visited Riyadh for discussions with Saudi officials led by the Saudi Energy Minister within the framework of the Iraqi-Saudi Council. On July 19, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Baghdad and met with President Salih, PM Kadhimi and Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein. Two days later Kadhimi visited Tehran in his first foreign trip as prime minister. Speaking alongside the Iranian president, he expressed Iraq’s desire for good relations “based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of both countries,” adding that he will “not allow any aggression or challenge to Iran” from Iraq, while stressing that he did not want Iraq to become a battlefield for the U.S. and Iran. Kadhimi also met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who said Iran will avenge the killing of Qasim Soleimani but claimed that Iran would not interfere in U.S.-Iraq affairs. more…
  • Attack Kills Senior Officer; German Activist Kidnapped In Baghdad; New Attacks On Green Zone And Convoys Supplying U.S. Forces – Between July 16 – 22, six attacks with IEDs killed a child and a member of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and injured two civilians and six PMF members in Kirkuk, Basra and Diyala. One attack in southern Iraq targeted a convoy in transporting supplies for U.S. forces. On July 17, a militant attack killed the commander of the Iraqi Army’s brigade 59 in the Ibn Sena area of the al-Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad. On July 19, three mortar shells struck Baghdad’s Green Zone. On July 20, two mortar attacks targeted security forces in Ninewa and Diyala, while other ISIS attacks on July 21 killed a civilian and a PMF member and injured three other security personnel. Between July 19 – 22, Turkish airstrikes killed at least five PKK members and damaged civilian homes in new operations in the Kurdistan region. On July 21, unknown attackers kidnapped German arts educator and activist Hella Mewis outside the arts center she runs in central Baghdad. Witnesses say police observed the kidnapping but failed to intervene. On July 22, security forces seized a drone of unknown origin carrying a projectile weighing two kilograms (2.2 lbs) over a building near al-Jadiriya in central Baghdad. more…
  • More IDPs Return To Sinjar; HRW Report Says Authorities Prevent Return Of 1,200 West Ninewa Families; COVID-19 Cases Exceed 100,000 – On July 15, the Ministry of Interior said there were more than 5,311 complaints of domestic violence during the last six months, attributing an increase in domestic violence to the pandemic, curfews, the economic crisis, and drug use. On July 17, the Ministry of Migration said that 332 IDPs returned to the villages of Sinjar from camps in Duhok. In Anbar, the International Organization for Migration and Iraqi government organized the facilitated return of another 50 families of IDPs from the Amriyat al-Fallujah camp to their places of origin. On July 19, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that the KRG has prevented 1,200 Arab families from returning to their villages in Ninewa province nearly six years after the villages were retaken from ISIS. On July 20, Qatar offered to provide two mobile hospitals to Iraq to help the country manage the COVID-19 outbreak. On July 23, Iraqi airports in Baghdad, Najaf and Basra resumed international flights after being shut down in March, even though the country continues to report large numbers of COVID-19 cases. On July 23, the Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 102,226. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 4,122 while a total of 69,405 patients have recovered. To date, Iraq has tested 861,165 samples for COVID-19. more…
  • France Offers €1.1 Billion For Infrastructure Projects; Iranian Exports To Iraq Declined 47% Last Quarter; Gharraf Oil Field Resumes Production – On July 16, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said from Baghdad that France will support Iraq with up to €1.1 billion in financing for “essential infrastructure and services” projects, including “transportation, energy, and water.” On July 16, the U.S. State Department pledged to support the implementation of a project between Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority to link the Iraqi electrical grid with that of its Gulf neighbors. On July 19, the Iranian Secretary General of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce said Iran exported $1.45 billion in goods to Iraq during the March 2020-June 2020 quarter compared to $2.35 billion during the same period of last year. On July 20, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani announced the launch of a large food industrial zone in Duhok province that he said will provide thousands of jobs by developing the industrial and agricultural sectors of the economy. On July 21, production resumed in Iraq’s Gharraf oil field, where operations were suspended in mid-March, at a rate of 50,000 bpd. 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.