Conflict Emerges Over KRI Election Law; No Signs Of Breakthrough In KRG-Baghdad Oil Talks; Fringe Religious Movement Faces Crackdown – On April 11, the New Generation opposition party called on the international community to help ensure the Kurdistan region holds free and fair elections. The appeal comes amid signs of a deadlock between the ruling KDP and PUK parties over the election law, as the KDP insists on holding elections in October, while the PUK wants to amend the law and update the voter registry first. On April 13, after meetings between KRG and federal oil officials, the KRG issued a statement affirming “its legal obligations” towards oil companies operating in the Kurdistan region until there was final agreement with the federal government. The statement emphasized that the solution lies in “approving a federal oil and gas law according to the constitution.” On April 13, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said its forces had shut down offices and mosques belonging to a “heretical movement” and arrested dozens of its members in several provinces for “offending the sentiments and beliefs” of the general public. The actions targeted the followers of Mahmoud al-Sarkhi, a fringe Shia cleric, after his followers criticized the practice of building and venerating shrines. Iraqi courts issued a warrant for the arrest of Sarkhi, while mosques affiliated with his movement suffered attacks. In other developments, on April 11, Iran appointed a new ambassador to Baghdad. On April 14, the Emtidad party announced that it will seek to build a coalition of independent lawmakers “and free representatives from other blocs” to form the largest bloc in Parliament, saying the other alternative is to dissolve the legislature. more…
Drones Target Major Air Base; Explosion Reported Near Key Oil Pipeline; ISF Arrest Individuals Plotting Rocket Attack In Baghdad – On April 8, an explosive drone attempted to strike the Ain al-Asad Iraqi air force base in Anbar but was shot down by the base’s defense systems. On April 12, Iraq Oil Report said that the Kurdistan region’s main oil export pipeline to Turkey was the target of an attack on the evening of April 10. The attack caused an explosion “in the vicinity of a key pumping station” serving the pipeline, which carries the bulk of the region’s oil exports, as well as roughly 100,000 bpd of the federal government’s exports from the Kirkuk oil fields. On April 13, the Baghdad Operations Command said that its forces discovered rockets and arrested three individuals who were preparing to use them to attack “vital installations.” In other developments, between April 8 – 14, six attacks by ISIS militants in Anbar, Kirkuk, and Diyala killed at least four Iraqis and wounded eight. The militants reportedly also kidnapped four other civilians during the attacks. Between April 8 – 14, the explosions of five IEDs and one remnant of war in Anbar, Salah ad-Din, Basra, Diwaniyah, and Kirkuk, killed at least one Iraqi and wounded 13. [more…] (https://enablingpeace.org/ishm348/#Headline2)
New Study Shows Devastating Impact Of Conflict And Displacement On The Education System – On April 11, the Norwegian Refugee Council released a new study about the problems affecting Iraq’s formal education system due to years of conflict and large scale displacements. Among other findings, the study shows that most teachers in six war-affected provinces lacked training, and that most school buildings lacked basic safety and hygiene requirements. The report warns that a “generation of young people now face an increasingly uncertain future…particularly among the most vulnerable that include refugee children, displaced children, and children with disabilities.” In other developments, on April 12, the UNDP and Iraq’s Ministry of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding that covers multiple joint initiatives to support “innovative small businesses and start-ups needed for employment generation in Iraq today.” On April 14, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,322,734, an increase of just 1,365 in cases from the 2,321,369 reported on April 7. Hospitalizations decreased from 9,271 to 6,467, and the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period decreased to 195/day from 260/day during the 7-day period ending April 7. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,440,348, including 13,526 who received their shots on April 14. more…
Trucked Oil Exports To Jordan Resume; Iraq Relaxes Import License Requirements; Drought Hits Garmyan District – On April 10, Jordanian transportation officials said that trucked oil exports from Iraq resumed on Sunday after being suspended for two months due to unspecified “logistical problems.” On April 12, the Iraqi government decided to stop requiring import licenses at ports of entry for foodstuffs, medicine, and other consumer goods, until June 8 to mitigate supply chain disruptions and shortages. On April 13, officials in the Garmyan district of the Kurdistan region said 2022 will be “a year of drought,” expecting the water scarcity to impact more than 35,000 acres of farmlands. In other developments, on April 9, Iraq’s Trade Ministry reported that wheat marketing operations for the winter wheat harvest of 2022 have commenced, with farmers in the Muthanna province being the first to deliver their grain to ministry silos. On April 12, Iranian customs officials said that Iraq imported $8.9 billion worth of Iranian goods during the Iranian financial year ending March 20, 2022, making Iraq the top importer of Iranian goods during that period. 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.