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ISHM: September 9 - September 16, 2021

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Key Takeaways:

  • Kadhimi Visits Tehran; PMF Reinstate 30,000 Discharged Fighters; Iraq Seeks Help In Recovering Billions In Stolen Funds; IHEC Cracks Down On Voter Card Trade -- On September 12, PM Kadhimi arrived in Tehran and co-chaired a meeting with Iran's Ibrahim Raisi to discuss expanding commerce, Iraq's water rights to shared rivers, and navigation in the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Kadhimi also agreed to allow Iranian visitors traveling by air to enter Iraq without a visa. On September 12, a senior military official said that the commander in chief issued orders to arrest a number of officers for appearing with parliamentary candidates during their election campaigns. On September 13, the PMF commission said the Finance Ministry agreed to reinstate 30,000 discharged PMF fighters. On September 15, PM Kadhimi urged Iraq's friends and allies to support Baghdad's effort to recover billions of dollars in stolen and smuggled funds, stressing that "there must be no safe haven for plundered any country." On September 15, IHEC said it has received reports of eligible voters trading their voter cards for money, and of political parties using threat to manipulate voters, but reassured that it "has set strict regulations and strict rules," to counter voting fraud. On the same day, IHEC disqualified a candidate who faces criminal charges of buying voter cards. On September 15, KRG President Nechirvan Barzani met with the British Defense Minister in London to discuss unifying the Peshmerga forces and international support in countering the resurgent ISIS threat. more...
  • Drones Hit Erbil Airport; ISIS Intensifies IED And Complex Attacks; PMF Drain Tarmiyah Marshes To Expose Militants -- Between September 10 -- 15, security forces killed at least eight ISIS militants in operations in Anbar, Kirkuk, and Ninewa. Between September 9 -- 16, 14 IED explosions killed at least eight Iraqis and wounded 14 more. Two of the explosions were part of complex attacks by ISIS militants near Makhmour and Khanaqin that inflicted two additional fatalities and eight injuries with small arms fire. Between September 11 -- 15, seven additional militant attacks killed at least nine Iraqis and wounded 18 others in various provinces. On September 11, the PMF engineering chief said the PMF began work to drain a marsh area in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, to prevent ISIS militants from using the area as a safe haven. On September 11, explosives-laden drones struck Erbil International Airport without causing casualties. Security forces later found and disarmed eight rockets northeast of Mosul that had been prepared to launch further strikes. On September 14, unidentified drones struck PMF targets on the borders with Syria, destroying three PMF vehicles without inflicting casualties. more...
  • Humanitarian Aid Efforts Face Large Funding Gaps; New COVID-19 Cases Decline For Another Week -- On September 13, UNICEF said that more than 4 million people in Iraq require humanitarian aid (including 1.8 million children), of whom 2.4 million face "acute humanitarian needs." UNICEF added that its planned response in Iraq faces a 75% funding gap. Meanwhile, UNHCR reported that its operations in Iraq face a 67% funding gap. On September 16, Iraq's Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 1,967,187. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 21,683 while hospitalizations decreased to 99,346. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 3,968/day from 5,285/day during the previous reporting period. The total number of vaccinated people reached 4,310,896 including 97,262 who received their shots on September 16. more...
  • Iraq Expects Dates Harvest To Hit 1 Million Tons; Swedish, Turkish Companies To Build 70,000 BPD Refinery At Qayyarah -- On September 13, Iraq's Agriculture Ministry said it expects the production of dates to reach 1 million tons this year, approximately 30% up from last year's harvest, which stood at 735,000 tons. On September 15, Iraq's Planning Minister said during a meeting with representatives of service ministries and the World Bank in Iraq that the government plans to reduce foreign borrowing to the smallest amounts possible. On September 16, Iraq's Oil Ministry said it signed heads of agreement with SEAB of Sweden and Limak of Turkey to build a 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil refinery in Qayyarah. The refinery will be designed to process heavy crude oil. more...

Attention readers! On September 29, EPIC will host a virtual panel discussion marking the release a long report detailing the findings of a year-long study about the Tishreen (October) protest movement in Iraq. More details and registration information will follow soon.

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.