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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: April 28-May 5

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr And Coordination Framework Present Competing Government Formation Proposals Involving Independents -- On May 4, the Coordination Framework (CF) presented a proposal aimed at resolving the political deadlock over government formation. The nine-point statement urged the KDP and PUK to reach consensus on a candidate for the presidency, called for the formation of the "largest bloc" from among the Shia parties to "preserve the rights of the largest societal component," and invited independent lawmakers to present a "netral" candidate for the premiership. CF stressed that the president, PM, and speaker of parliament must be decided through "understandings among the members of each [respective ethno-sectarian] component." On May 5, Muqtada al-Sadr encouraged independent lawmakers to come together and create a bloc of some 40 members to join his trilateral alliance and form a government that excludes CF. Sadr gave the independents 15 days to take action. In other developments, on May 2, KRG PM Masrour Barzani asked PM Kadhimi to form a "joint commission" to control the areas that are being used to launch attacks against the Kurdistan region. On May 3, the YBS militia accused the Iraqi government of attacking it in Sinjar "on orders from the Turkish state," and with help from the KDP. On May 3, a press freedom watchdog in Iraq said it documented 280 violations against journalists, including arrests, threats, and assaults, during the past 12 months. Baghdad and Erbil had the highest number of reported violations, with 56 each. more...

  • Rockets Target Military Base, Refinery, And A Top Intelligence Officer; Army Fights The YBS Militia In Sinjar -- On April 30, a rocket attack targeted the Ain al-Asad Iraqi air force base, which also hosts International Coalition personnel. Coalition sources said one rocket struck outside the base without causing casualties. On May 1, six rockets targeted an oil refinery outside Erbil. At least one rocket struck an oil tank, setting it on fire. Security forces said the attack originated in the al-Fadhliyah area near Bashiqa. On May 4, a rocket struck a residential area in central Baghdad without causing casualties. The intelligence arm of Iraq's Interior Ministry said the attack targeted the residence of its chief, lieutenant general Ahmed Abu Ragheef. Between May 1 -- 2, fighting erupted between the YBS militia and Iraqi army in Sinuni, near Sinjar, after the former reportedly attempted to block army forces from entering the contested district. At least two militiamen were killed as Iraqi helicopters struck YBS-occupied buildings. At least one Iraqi soldier was also killed in the fighting, and two were injured. As of May 4, the West Ninewa Operations Command described the situation in Sinjar as "stable." In other developments, between April 28 -- May 2, the explosions of two IEDs, one VBIED, and one remnant of war in Anbar, Ninewa and Dhi-Qar killed two Iraqis and wounded six. Between April 28 -- May 4, ten attacks by ISIS militants in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, and Baghdad killed at least two Iraqis, wounded 14, and destroyed two thermal surveillance cameras. more...

  • Thousands Displaced By Fighting In Sinjar; Severe Sandstorm Sends Many To The Hospitals -- On May 3, officials in the Kurdistan region said that fighting in Sinjar has displaced more than 4,000 people, mostly Yazidis, who have sought refuge in neighboring Duhok. Migration Ministry officials said they expect the displacement to be "temporary," as the fighting, which started May 1, appeared to subside. Meanwhile, UNAMI said it was "deeply concerned" about the violence, warning that it risks "grave consequences for civilians." On May 5, medical sources said that as many as 5,000 people in several provinces sought medical help for breathing problems amid an intense sandstorm that engulfed large parts of southern, central, and western Iraq. This is the seventh sandstorm to hit Iraq in the span of a month, as the country deals with worsening water scarcity and growing desertification. In other developments, on May 5, Iraq's Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,325,397, an increase of just 550 in cases from the 2,324,847 reported on April 28. Hospitalizations decreased from 2,335 to 1,468, and the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period decreased to 79/day from 138/day during the 7-day period ending April 28. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,536,966, including 1,052 who received their shots on May 5. more...

  • April Oil Exports Brought $10 Billion In Revenue -- On May 1, Iraq's Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports in April averaged 3.38 million bpd, about 136,000 bpd higher than March's average of 3.244 million bpd. The April exports generated $10.55 billion in revenue, about $520 million lower than March's record revenue of $11.07 billion. Iraq sold its crude at an average price of $104 per barrel. In other developments, on May 2, Iraq's Ministry of Electricity said it completed the restoration of an important 400kv transmission line between Baghdad and Haditha that had been inoperable since 2014. The repaired line will allow flexibility in supplying the towns of western Anbar, which largely depend on unsteady hydroelectric generation from the Haditha dam, with power from the national grid. 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.