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ISHM: August 5 - August 12, 2021

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Key Takeaways:

  • **Kadhimi Urges Election Boycotters To Reconsider; Baghdad To Host Regional Conference; Protests Escalate Against Raids And Arrests In Nasiriyah – On August 7, PM Kadhimi convened a meeting of Iraqi political leaders, during which Kadhimi insisted on holding the election on time and urged political parties that had announced plans to boycott the election to reconsider their decision. Prior to the meeting, an adviser to Moqtada al-Sadr said that Sadr’s decision to boycott the election was “absolute.” On August 7, the head of Iran’s National Security Council urged Iraqi officials to expediting the implementation of a January 2020 Iraqi parliamentary resolution calling for the departure of foreign military forces. On August 9, PM Kadhimi spoke on the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss preparations for a regional conference that Iraq plans to host by the end of the month. At least 13 states will reportedly attend the conference, which is supported by Paris and Washington. Participants include Iraq’s immediate neighbors, regional powers like Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE, as well as the UK, U.S., and France. On August 9, al-Mada reported that protests escalated in Nasiriyah after security forces arrested a prominent local activist and conducted night raids against the homes of other activists. more…

  • Militia Group Claims Responsibility For New IED Attacks On Contractors; ISIS Continues Its Campaign To Disrupt Iraq’s Power Grid – Between August 5 – 9, six IEDs targeted convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition. A militia group called Qasim al-Jabareen claimed responsibility for at least three of them. Between August 5 – 12, numerous IED explosions damaged at least 15 high voltage transmission towers across several provinces in northern and central Iraq, causing widespread power outages. On August 9, Turkish military operations killed 13 PKK members in northern Iraq and damaged farms and villages. Between August 11 – 12, the explosions of two remnants of war and one IED killed nine members of the security forces and a civilian, and wounded two children. Between August 6 – 9, six attacks by ISIS militants killed five Iraqis and injured seven others. The militants also reportedly abducted five other civilians. On August 8, an activist from Wasit survived an assassination attempt by unidentified gunmen who struck him with multiple bullets. more…

  • Hundreds Of Iraqi Migrants Stranded In Europe; Iraq Receives 2 Million Vaccine Doses; Virus Spread Slows Down But Remains High – On August 9, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry launched an investigation into the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting 1,500 Iraqi refugees stranded along the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, in which an Iraqi citizen has died. On August 8, Iraq received two million doses of the Pfizer and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines. On August 10, a vulnerability assessment in Sinjar estimated that nearly three quarters of families have “marginal and precarious shelter arrangements,” including half living in abandoned buildings. On August 11, HRW revealed that a family feud between a government minister and one of his relatives over the latter’s marriage to a villager with alleged ties to ISIS fighters led to the forced removal of dozens of families from their homes in the village in question. On August 12, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 1,751,176. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 19,466 while hospitalizations increased to 165,007. To date, Iraq has tested 13,632,192 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases decreased slightly from 11,595/day over the 7-day period ending August 5 to 9,460/day during the last 7-day period. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 2,408,986, including 100,200 who received their shots on August 12. more…

  • Baghdad Seeks New $4 Billion Loan From IMF; Lack Of Rainfall Cuts Iraq’s Wheat Harvest By 33%; Customs Revenue Shows Small Increase – On August 5, Iraq’s Finance Minister said that Baghdad has entered into discussions with the International Monetary Fund to borrow up to $4 billion to address its budget shortage. On August 9, Iraq’s Trade Ministry said farmers across Iraq delivered more than 3.36 million tons of wheat to the ministry’s silos, about 33% less than last summer. Lack of rain severely impacted the harvest in the northern provinces like Ninewa, where production declined by more than 90%. On August 10, the director of Iraq’s Border Ports Authority said the country’s ports of entry generated more than IQD600 billion in customs revenue during the first half of 2021, IQD95 billion higher than the same period of last year. 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.