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ISHM: June 3 - 10, 2021

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi and US Commanders Hold Security Talks; Controversial PMF Commander Released For Lack Of Evidence; IHEC Disqualifies 135 Candidates – Between June 4-8, PM Kadhimi and other Iraqi officials held separate talks with the French President, and the Foriegn Ministers of Denmark and the UK. The discussion focused on bilateral relations, countering terrorism, and support for the October elections. On June 5, senior U.S and Iraqi military commanders discussed implementing the security aspects of the third round of strategic dialogue talks between the U.S. and Iraq. On June 6, the Iraqi President condemned a Turkish airstrike that killed three people in Makhmour refugee camp in Erbil, while Ankara insisted that Iraq must expel PKK fighters from the camp. On June 6, several lawmakers predicted an election delay after parties filed appeals objecting to articles in the elections law. On June 7, a judge ordered the release of PMF commander Qassim Musleh, for “lack of evidence” in the assassination of activist Ehab al-Wazni last month. The Supreme Judiciary Council said Musleh was not in Iraq at the time of al-Wazni’s murder. On June 9, Iran’s Quds Force commander reportedly arrived in Baghdad to meet with political and militia figures to address tensions between Kadhimi and the militias following Musleh’s arrest. On June 9, IHEC disqualified 135 candidates for running for office while being active military service members, a violation of elections law. more…

  • Explosion Near A Baghdad Shrine Kills Four; Peshmerga Fighters Killed In a PKK Ambush; Rockets, Drones Target Sites With US Military Presence – On June 3, an explosion at a restaurant in the highly protected Shia shrine area of al-Kadhimiya in Baghdad killed four people and injured 36 others. Authorities said a propane canister caused the blast, but subsequently arrested nine suspects for orchestrating the bombing. On June 5, KRG officials said that PKK fighters ambushed a Peshmerga force in Duhok, killing five members. On June 5, a Turkish airstrike targeted the Makhmour refugee camp in Erbil, killing three people. On June 6, air defenses at Ain al-Assad air base intercepted and downed two drones. Hours later, a rocket landed in the vicinity of the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center inside the perimeter of the Baghdad International Airport. On June 9, three rockets struck Balad air base in Salah al-Din. On the same day, three drones targeted Baghdad Airport. On June 7, gunmen killed a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in eastern Baghdad. more…

  • Fire Destroys Camp For Yazidi IDPs; Saddam Era Mass Grave Discovered In Diyala; COVID Infections Remain Steady At 4,000 Per Day – On June 4, a massive fire burned down 400 tents and injured several people in the Sharya Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Duhok. The blaze also affected 1,400 people. On June 6, authorities discovered a mass grave between the Kifri and Khanaqin districts in the Diyala. Officials said that the site contains a large number of remains of people who were likely victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime. On June 7, a study showed that COVID-19 caused an average income loss of 16% among Iraqis, and pointed to an increase in gender-based violence and insecurity. On June 7, defense lawyers for five imprisoned Duhok journalists and activists said that they resubmitted a second and final appeal to overturn their convictions. On June 10, Iraq authorities said of COVID-19 infections reached 1,242,540. The average number of new cases was 4,025 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 4,008 per day during the 7-day period ending June 3. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 679,151. more…

  • Iran To Increase Gas Supplies To Iraq; Baghdad Reveals Ambitious Plan To Build Eight Nuclear Reactors – On June 4, the al-Qayyarah oil field in Ninewa resumed production at 10,000 bpd after a 14 month shut-down. On June 4, the Electricity Ministry said that Iran will increase gas supplies to Iraq following an agreement with the Trade Bank of Iraq on arrears due to Iran. On June 6, the Agriculture Ministry said that it contained a bird flu outbreak in poultry farms in Basra that killed more than 60,000 birds. On June 8, Iraqi and Chinese officials signed an agreement to renovate the Nasiriyah International Airport in. The Dhi-Qar governor said the airport would provide 2000-3000 job opportunities. On June 8, an Iraqi official said that the government developed a $40 billion plan to build eight nuclear-powered power plants to address the projected increase in demand for electricity. 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.