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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: March 31 - April 7, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr Offers Rivals 40 Days To Form Government; Tension Rises Between Speaker Halbousi And His Sadrist Deputy – On March 31, Muqtada al-Sadr gave his rivals in the coordination framework for Shia parties (CF) 40 days to negotiate with any other political bloc to form a government, and instructed his followers to not interfere “neither positively nor negatively.” On the following day, the KDP and Siyada coalition said they were committed to their partnership with Sadr. CF responded to Sadr’s move with a statement calling for forming the “largest bloc” from both sides of the political divide, then creating a joint CF-Sadris committee to select the next PM. On April 4, Speaker Halbousi issued instructions to lawmakers banning the use of the term “Parliament leadership committee” and requiring that administrative orders relating to staff be signed exclusively by him. The move reflects escalating competition between Halbousi and his first deputy, Sadrist representative Hakim al-Zamili, who called the instructions unconstitutional and demanded the withdrawal of the notice containing Halbousi’s instructions. In other developments, on April 4, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court rejected a case filed against the government demanding the reversal of the December 2020 currency devaluation decision. more…

  • Suicide Bomber Injures 8 Iraqis; Rockets Target Erbil Oil Refinery And Turkish Military Base – Between April 3 – 5, the explosions of six IEDs and one suicide vest in Diyala, Salah ad-Din, Ninewa, Baghdad, and Najaf wounded nine Iraqis. Eight of the injuries occurred when a suicide bomber detonated his device near Iraqi troops in a tunnel in the Nwegeit mountains, southwest of Mosul. On April 6, three rockets struck near an oil refinery owned by the KAR Group in the Khabat district, on the border between Erbil and Ninewa. The rocket fire originated from the Hamdaniyah district, east of Mosul, and landed in an empty space, without causing casualties. Earlier, on April 3 – 4, unidentified militants fired rockets three times at a base occupied by Turkish military forces in the Zelikan subdistrict of Ninewa. In other developments, On April 3, authorities ordered a curfew in 12 villages near Zakho due to recurring Turkish airstrikes and clashes between Turkish forces and the PKK. On April 7, ISIS militants abducted five civilians from a village between Salah ad-Din and Kirkuk. more…

  • Jedaa Camp Almost Empty As More IDPs Return Home; COVID-19 Infections And Vaccinations Slow Down – On April 7, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement said that 130 households of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned from the Jedaa IDP camp in Ninewa to their home districts in Anbar and Salah ad-Din this week. With these returns, only 320 IDP households remain at Jedaa. On April 7, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,321,369, an increase of just 1,819 in cases from the 2,319,550 reported on March 31. Hospitalizations decreased from 12,119 to 9,271, and the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period decreased to 260/day from 346/day during the 7-day period ending March 31. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,401,691, including 16,394 who received their shots on April 7. more…

  • March Oil Revenue Reaches Record High; KRG Seeks Talks As Baghdad Prepares To Take Over Its Oil Contracts – On April 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports in March averaged 3.244 million bpd, and generated $11.07 billion in revenue, about $2.5 billion higher than February. This was the highest monthly export revenue Iraq has ever generated since 1972. During the first week of April, Iraq’s Oil Ministry and National Oil Company hosted multiple meetings with international consultants to discuss “mechanisms for managing the Kurdistan region’s oil industry in accordance with constitutional principles.” The consultations are part of Baghdad’s preparations to implement the Federal Supreme Court’s decision that declared the KRG oil and gas law to be unconstitutional and required the federal government to take over KRG oil production. Meanwhile, the KRG said it would dispatch a high level delegation to Baghdad next week to discuss “increased coordination in the oil and energy sectors.” In other developments, on April 4, Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry said that the KRG had signed a memorandum of understanding with PowerChina to build four new dams without the knowledge or approval of the federal government. 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.