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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: May 12 - 19, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr Lashes Out At Rivals, Judiciary; UNAMI Says Political Will To End Deadlock Is "Painfully Absent"; Parliament Bypasses Court Ruling On Spending Bill; Salah Ad-Din Governor Sacked -- On May 16, Muqtada al-Sadr attacked his rivals in the Coordination Framework (CF) and the Federal Supreme Court after the latter blocked a Sadr-backed IQD25 trillion spending bill. Sadr issued a veiled threat to his rivals, warning of "the anger of the patient and the oppressed." On May 17, the head of UNAMI told the Security Council that despite repeated talk of dialogue, the political will to reach a solution to the post-election deadlock was "painfully absent." The problem, according to UANMI, was that "the national interest is...taking a backseat to short-sighted considerations of control over resources." On May 18, the Iraqi Parliament's Financial Committee presented a new draft of the "Emergency Support for Food Security and Development" bill to the Speaker of Parliament, and on the following day, the legislature conducted a first reading of the IQD25 trillion bill. An earlier draft with the same title was first presented by PM Kadhimi's Cabinet in late March, but the Federal Supreme Court ruled on May 15 that a caretaker government lacks the power to present bills. On May 19, Parliament voted to sack the governor of Salah ad-Din province, Ammar Jabr al-Jubouri, who was investigated in April for allegedly soliciting bribes from contractors. In other developments, on May 19, a document circulating on local news sites appeared to show that five lawmakers from the Emtidad movement had decided to withdraw from the party in objection to unilateral decisions made by the party's secretary general, Ala' al-Rikabi. more...

  • Iraqi Forces Kill 20 ISIS Militants In New Operations; Militias Ramp Up Attacks On Supply Convoys -- Between May 12 -- 15, Iraqi ground troops and airstrikes in Ninewa, Kirkuk, and Anbar killed at least 20 ISIS militants. Between May 14 -- 19, the explosions of eight IEDs in Diyala, Muthanna, Babylon, Dhi-Qar, Diwaniyah, and Ninewa, killed at least one Iraqi and injured eight. Six of those IEDs were targeting convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition forces. In other developments, on May 14, security sources in Duhok said that the Iraqi border guards established a new outpost in the Kani Masi subdistrict, an area of frequent fighting between Turkish forces and the PKK. On May 15, the Turkish Defense Ministry said that its forces have killed a total of 95 PKK members since the beginning of operation "Claw Lock" on April 18. more...

  • New Severe Sandstorm Sends Thousands To The Hospitals; IDP Numbers Relatively Unchanged Since February -- On May 16, Iraq's Health Ministry said that more than 4,000 people received medical help for breathing problems amidst a new severe sandstorm that engulfed large parts of Iraq. The storm shut down government offices, grounded flights, and closed Iraq's seaports in Basra. On May 17, new UNHCR data on the refugee and IDP population in Iraq showed that a total of 1,184,818 people continue to experience displacement in Iraq. This is a decrease of just 1,700 since the last set of data, released in February. These IDPs are part of the total "population of concern" that also includes more than 4.95 million returnees, nearly 300,000 refugees (mostly Syrians), and 46,500 people experiencing statelessness. In other developments, on May 19, Iraq's Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,326,965, an increase of just 803 from the 2,326,162 reported on May 12. Hospitalizations decreased from 1,278 to 1,238, but the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period increased to 115/day from 109/day during the 7-day period ending May 12. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,613,626 including 16,708 who received their shots on May 19. more...

  • KRG Accused Of Annexing Oil Wells In Kirkuk; Iraq Raises Wheat Buying Price Again; Central Bank Boosts Capital By IQD2 Trillion -- On May 14, Iraq's state-owned North Oil Company accused the KRG of dispatching oil workers and an armed force to take control of an unspecified number of oil wells in the "Bai Hassan and Dawood" fields in Kirkuk. A KRG spokesman said the accusations were untrue, denouncing them as part of a "politically motivated campaign" against the Kurdistan region. On May 17, Iraq's Agriculture Ministry said the government decided to raise the price at which it buys wheat from farmers by IQD100,000 per ton to become IQD850,000 per ton. This is the second increase this season as Baghdad seeks to ensure sufficient grain supply amid global shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On May 19, the Central Bank of Iraq said it has increased its capital from IQD3 trillion to IQD5 trillion (approximately $3.45 billion) using part of the bank's profits generated in 2021. 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.