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ISHM: January 6 - 13, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • New Parliament Convenes, Electing Halbousi As Speaker; Sadr’s Rivals Say Session Was Illegal; Top Court Suspends The New Parliamentary Leadership – On January 9, Iraq’s new Parliament held its inaugural session, which ran into trouble as the Sadrists and the coordination framework for Shia parties struggled to assert primacy in the legislature. The meeting, which was briefly disrupted, resumed without the representatives of the coordination framework, and the remaining lawmakers elected Mohammed al-Halbousi as speaker, and Hakim al-Zamili and Shakhwan Abdullah as his deputies. The coordination framework said that it “does not recognize” the outcome of session, arguing that the vote was illegal. On January 13, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court decided to temporarily suspend the parliamentary leadership committee (the speaker and his deputies) after two independent lawmakers filed a case in which they argue that parliament’s first session violated the constitution and the legislature’s own bylaws. In other developments, On January 10, a senior member of the PUK announced that the party has decided to present Barham Salih as its “sole candidate” for president. The KDP rejected Salih’s nomination, amid news that the KDP was going to present Hoshyar Zebari as its own candidate for the presidency. On January 12, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that it had issued a total of 77 summons and 21 arrest warrants during the month of December, most of which against current and former ministers, governors, and other senior officials. more…

  • IED Attacks On Military Supply Convoys Continue; Gunmen Attack Oil Workers In Maysan – Between January 6 – 12, the explosions of 11 IEDs and two remnants of war in Anbar, Baghdad, Muthanna, Babylon, Najaf, Diwaniyah, Salah ad-Din, and Dhi-Qar provinces killed at least two Iraqis and wounded eight. Six of these IEDs reported this week targeted convoys transporting supplies for the Iraqi military or International Coalition forces, while security forces found and disposed of six additional bombs. On January 12, unidentified gunmen opened fire at a vehicle transporting foreign staff working for Chinese oil company CNOOC in Maysan province, injuring two Sudanese nationals. In other developments, on January 7, several Katyusha-type rockets struck Altun-Kupri in Kirkuk province, ostensibly targeting Peshmerga forces, without causing casualties. more…

  • KRG Closes Border With Syria To Stop Refugees; Iraq Braces For The Omicron Wave As Cases Rise Again – On January 12, authorities in the Kurdistan region shut down a vital border crossing with northeast Syria to prevent more refugees from entering the region. The decision followed an increase in the flow of refugees, after more than 1,500 refugees crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan since December 29. On January 13, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,104,940, an increase of 9,092 in cases from the 2,095,848 reported on January 6. Hospitalizations increased sharply from under 5,000 to 11,984. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period jumped to 1,298/day from just 344/day during the 7-day period ending January 6. The total number of vaccinated people reached 8,801,915 including 63,997 who received their shots on January 13. Earlier this week, the Health Ministry warned that the new wave of the pandemic may be worse for the country than the preceding spikes, urging Iraqis to wear their masks and get vaccinated. In other developments, on January 8, the Ninewa police said that 100 households with perceived affiliation to ISIS had arrived at al-Jadaa camp for IDPs coming from al-Hol IDP camp in Syria. more…

  • EU Hails Iraq’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures; Oil Ministry And CNOOC To Jointly Explore Offshore Block – On January 9, Iraq’s Foriegn Ministry announced that the European Union’s mission to Iraq delivered a letter to PM Kadhimi informing him that Iraq has been removed from the list of countries that are considered at high risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. On January 11, Iraq’s Oil Ministry signed an agreement with China’s CNOOC to conduct a joint study of an offshore hydrocarbon exploration bloc, involving 2D seismic surveys followed by drilling two exploration wells. In other developments, on January 9, Iraq and Lebanon signed a memorandum of understanding for industrial cooperation focusing on mineral extraction and pharmaceuticals. On January 11, PM Kadhimi said the government has distributed nearly 186,000 land deeds to beneficiaries under the “Dari” housing initiative, with 300,000 additional lots awaiting distribution. 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.