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ISHM: September 16 - September 23, 2021

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Key Takeaways:

  • President Salih Attends UNGA, Meets Joe Biden; Iraq, Jordan, And France Plan New Regional Conference – On September 16, Iraq’s Foreign Minister attended the ministerial meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh, where he said that Iraq wants a strategic treaty for cooperation with the GCC. On September 17, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said that Iraq and the U.S. have agreed to downsize the U.S. military presence at two bases in Iraq by the end of September. On September 19, President Barham Salih traveled to New York to participate in the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. Salih met with U.S. President Joseph Biden, who assured Salih of Washington’s “commitment to Iraq’s long-term stability,” and reiterated his support for recent Iraqi diplomatic initiatives. Salih also met with the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On September 22, PM Kadhimi said Iraq’s High Electoral Commission conducted another successful election day simulation. On September 22, a senior political official with UNAMI said that the UN will have a large contingent of at least 800 staff members on the ground before the end of the month to help monitor the upcoming Iraqi election. On September 23, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said that Iraq, Jordan, and France have created a trilateral ministerial committee to prepare for a new regional conference that will be held in Amman. more…
  • Iran Threatens More Operations Against Kurdish Dissidents Inside Iraq; ISIS Deploys Larger Patrols Around Mosul – Between September 16 – 22, Iraqi forces killed at least seven ISIS militants during operations backed by airstrikes in the Wadi Zgaytoun, Wadi Shay, and the Himrin Mountains. Between September 17 – 20, the Turkish military said it killed nine PKK members while one of its soldiers died from an IED attack inside the KRI. On September 17, the PKK accused Turkish intelligence agents of assassinating one of its activists in Sulaymaniyah. On September 19, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said that the joint coordination centers between federal and Peshmerga forces conducted joint activities in the buffer zones separating their respective lines. On September 19, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces threatened to expand military operations inside the KRI against the presence of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups. On September 19, al-Mada, citing security sources in Ninewa, reported that ISIS has intensified its presence and activity in areas south of Mosul, deploying large patrols involving up to 30 fighters each. On September 21, an IED struck a dismounted police patrol in Diyala, injuring three policemen. On September 22, three IEDs exploded targeting convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition without causing casualties. more…
  • UN Agencies To Help Iraq Revamp Social Protection Programs; Sulaymaniyah Overtakes Baghdad In New COVID-19 Cases – On September 21, Iraq’s ministries of planning, labor, and trade and three United Nations agencies (UNICEF, WFP, and ILO) launched a new multi-year program designed to achieve “comprehensive, efficient, and effective social protection coverage” of women, children, elderly citizens and those with disabilities, and to offer “pathways…for human development, economic inclusion, and enhanced resilience” within four years. On September 23, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 1,987,352. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 21,993 while hospitalizations decreased to 82,763. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 2,880/day from 3,968/day during the previous reporting period. The total number of vaccinated people reached 4,585,095 including 73,074 who received their shots on September 23. more…
  • Baghdad Restricts Foreign Ownership In Companies; Oil Ministry Launches Delayed Gas Project; Abu Dhabi Ports To Develop Transport Infrastructure – On September 17, Iraq Oil Report wrote that Iraqi authorities have started enforcing a regulation that caps foreign stakes in Iraqi businesses at 49%. On September 20, Iraq signed an initial agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports to develop plans for the administration and operation of Iraqi ports and related facilities. On September 17, al-Sumaria reported that a first shipment of 31,000 tons of Iraqi fuel oil sold under a deal between Baghdad and Beirut has arrived in Lebanon. On September 19, Iraq’s Oil Ministry and Baker Hughes inaugurated a project to capture 200 million cubic feet/day of natural gas at the Gharraf and Nasiriyah oil fields. On September 23, Shell executives in Iraq said the energy company, which leads the Basra Gas Company (BGC) operations, is engaged in talks with Iraqi officials to double BGC’s production in the near future. more…

Attention readers! You are invited to join us on September 29 for a discussion of EPIC’s latest study: The Long Game: Iraq’s “Tishreen” Movement and the Struggle for Reform. CLICK HERE to learn more and register.

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.