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ISHM: January 13 – 20, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Qaani Mediating Between Sadr And Rivals; Mosul’s Mayor Arrested; Court Delays Ruling In Case Concerning Legality Of Parliament’s First Session – On January 16, Iran’s Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani arrived in Iraq to mediate between the coordination framework for Shia parties (CF) and Muqtada al-Sadr, seeking a compromise on government formation. Political sources initially said Qaani failed to convince Sadr to reconsider his demand for “excluding Nouri al-Maliki.” But by January 19, there were signs of possible breakthrough as political sources said the CF agreed to accommodate Sadr’s “veto” on Maliki. On January 19, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that an anti-corruption court in Ninewa executed an arrest warrant against the mayor of Mosul on charges of soliciting and receiving bribes in exchange for allowing developers to parcel out and sell public land. On January 19, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court heard from the plaintiffs in the case filed last week by two independent lawmakers, in which they argue that parliament’s first session violated the constitution and the legislature’s bylaws. The Court decided to adjourn and resume deliberations on January 25. In other developments, on January 19, a senior PUK member said that his party and the KDP have not reached consensus on supporting one candidate for the presidency post. more…

  • Bombings Target Political Offices; Drones And Rockets Target The Green Zone And Balad; Army Tackles Sinjar Militia – Between January 13 – 19, the explosions of 12 IEDs and two remnants of war in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, Babylon, Ninewa, Muthanna, and Anbar, killed one Iraqi and wounded at least seven. Two of these IEDs targeted two Baghdad offices of the Taqaddum Party, led by Speaker Halbousi. Meanwhile, the Kirkuk office of Halbousi’s deputy, Shakhwan Abdullah, was attacked by a grenade. Of the 12 IEDs, only two targeted military supply convoys this week. On January 13, at least four rockets targeted the Green Zone, one of which struck a school, injuring a child and a woman. On January 15, armed drones attempted to attack the Iraqi air force base at Balad. The drones aborted the attack after the base guards opened fire on them. On January 18, Iraqi army forces in Sinuni arrested fighters from the PKK-affiliated YBS militia and confiscated their weapons in an attempt to impose government control over the area. In other developments, on January 15, five rockets targeted the Zelikan Turkish military base near Bashiqa in two separate attacks. Between January 16 – 18, ISIS militants killed at least six Iraqis and wounded another in two attacks near Taji and Samarra. On January 17, unidentified gunmen attempted to assassinate Hameed al-Yasiri, the commander of Ansar al-Marjiyah, a PMF unit affiliated with the shrines of Najaf and Karbala. more…

  • UNICEF Condemns Attack On School; IDPs Need Aid Amid Heavy Snowfall; COVID-19 Cases Triple – On January 14, UNICEF urged Iraqi factions “to fulfil their obligation, under international law, to protect children at all times,” after a rocket attack in Baghdad struck a school and injured a child. On January 20, officials in Sinuni, near Sinjar, urged authorities to send aid to help IDP camps in the area cope with a sudden cold and snow wave that cut roads and electricity. On January 20, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,137,267, an increase of 32,327 from the 2,104,940 reported on January 13. Hospitalizations increased sharply from 11,984 to 40,272. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period tripled, from 1,298 per day during the 7-day period ending January 13, to 4,618 per day. Total vaccinations reached 9,004,121 including 58,553 who received their shots on January 20. Earlier this week, health officials said that demand for the vaccines remains low, and that many Iraqis who received their first doses were neglecting to take their second shots, resulting in low levels of protection against infection and hospitalization. more…

  • Accident Briefly Disrupts Oil Exports Through Turkey; Sinopec To Develop Iraq’s Mansouriyah Gas Field – On January 19, the KRG Minister of Natural Resources said that an electrical fault caused an explosion that disrupted crude oil exports to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Oil flow resumed the next day, and officials expect overall export volumes to remain unaffected. On January 20, Iraq’s Oil Minister signed a contract with China’s Sinopec for the development of the Mansouriyah gas field in Diyala province. The project aims to produce 300 million cubic feet/day from Mansouriyah, which holds an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet in gas reserves. 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.