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ISHM: August 26 - September 2, 2021

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Key Takeaways:

  • Muqtada Al-Sadr Reverses Decision To Boycott Elections; Baghdad Hosts “Successful” Regional Summit; Kadhimi Pushes Compulsory Service Bill – On August 27, Muqtada al-Sadr reversed his earlier decision to boycott the upcoming October election, citing a letter signed by several political leaders promising to work with him to advance reforms. On August 28, the leaders and top diplomats from nine nations arrived in Baghdad to attend the Baghdad Conference for Partnership and Cooperation. The final statement said participants “stand with Iraq,” stressed the need for “joint regional and international efforts” to support regional stability and security, and welcomed Iraq’s efforts to create political, economic and security partnerships. France called the event “historic,” while president Joe Biden congratulated Iraqi leaders on hosting a “ground-breaking regional summit.” On August 29, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Mosul and Erbil, where he said that France will remain in Iraq to fight terrorism so long as Iraqis needed help, regardless of whether Washington withdraw its military. On August 31, PM Kadhimi said his Cabinet approved a draft law to reinstate compulsory military service, which was abolished in 2003. On September 1, the Iraqi government said that security forces foiled “an attempt to commit election fraud,” and arrested several of the conspirators. more…

  • Iraq Seeks Weapons From Turkey And France; Explosion At IDP Camp Kills Two Children – On August 27, Iraq’s Defense Minister said Baghdad was in negotiations with Turkey to acquire advanced Turkish-made weapon systems, including a dozen T-129 helicopters and an undisclosed number of TB2 drones. On August 29, an Iraqi military spokesman said Iraq was close to signing new deals with France to procure air defense systems and armaments for Iraq’s air force planes. Between August 28 – 30, Iraqi security forces killed three ISIS militants, including a suspected suicide bomber that was preparing to attack them with a bomb-laden motorcycle, and injured three others in Anbar, Kirkuk and Diyala. Between August 26 – September 2, nine IED explosions killed at least three Iraqis and wounded 17 others. One of the deadly attacks struck a guard post at an IDP camp in Duhok. Two of the IEDs targeted convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition. Between August 26 – September 2, six other attacks by ISIS militants killed at least seven Iraqis and wounded 16 others.more…

  • UNICEF Report Says Water Scarcity Threatens Millions Of Children; COVID-19 Cases Plateau – On August 29, UNICEF released a new report about the risks that water scarcity is affecting children in countries in the MENA region, including Iraq. The report warns that almost 60% of Iraqi children are unable to get water that is safe to use, and that more than half of the country’s schools don’t have water at all, presenting risks to children’s “health, nutrition, cognitive development, and future livelihoods.” On September 2, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 1,902,407. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 20,934 while hospitalizations decreased to 132,715. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period was 6,660/day, almost unchanged from the previous reporting period. The total number of vaccinated people reached 3,571,321, including 120,830 who received their shots on September 2. more…

  • August Oil Revenue Stable At $6.5 Billion; Drop In Iranian Gas Supply Causes New Power Shortage – On August 28, Lukoil announced plans to increase production at the West Qurna-2 oil field it operates in Basra by 80,000 barrels per day (bpd), to reach 480,000 bpd next year. On August 31, the Iraqi government approved a plan proposed by the Ministry of Electricity to target up to 7.5 gigawatts of generation capacity from solar energy projects. On September 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that oil exports during August averaged 3.054 million bpd, which is 136,000 higher than July’s average of 2.918 million bpd. The August exports generated $6.533 billion in revenue, slightly more than July’s $6.514 billion. On September 1, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said that Iranian gas supplies dropped from 49 million cubic meters per day to just 8 million cubic meters per day, resulting in the loss of 5,500 megawatts in generated electricity. On September 2, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said “recovered or prevented the squandering” of $4.9 billion and IQD253 billion during the first half of 2021. 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.