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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: May 26 – June 2, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • KRG Oil Chief Resigns; U.S. Criticizes Anti-Israel Law; Sacked Governor Fights To Stay In Power; UNAMI Says Accountability For Abuses Remains “Limited” – On May 26, KRG PM Masrour Barzani said his Minister of Natural Resources, Kamal al-Atrushi, had “voluntarily” resigned. On May 26, the U.S. Department of State said Washington was “deeply concerned” by a bill passed by Iraq’s Parliament that criminalizes establishing any kind of ties with Israel, saying it undermines freedom of speech and encourages anti-semitism. On May 29, the sacked governor of Salah ad-Din province, Ammar Jabr al-Jubouri, sent a letter to the Cabine contesting Parliament’s vote to remove him from office, and insisting that he must continue to undertake his duties. Meanwhile, news reports described a chaotic administrative situation in Salah ad-Din, with Jubouri and his replacement both issuing orders and memoranda as the rightful governor. On June 2, the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq released an update on efforts by Iraqi authorities to establish accountability for human rights violations committed by “unidentified armed elements” against protesters since the country’s mass protests in the fall of 2019. The report found that “results regarding accountability remain limited.” Critically, it underscores that a fact-finding body the Iraqi government established in October 2020 “has not produced any investigative outcomes or provided public information about its work.” more…

  • PKK Shelling Kills Civilians Near Duhok; New Rocket Attack Targets Ain Al-Asad Base – On May 26, the counter-terrorism agency of the Kurdistan region said that PKK militants fired two rockets that struck a village near Amadiyah, in Duhok province, killing two civilians and injuring two. On May 31, five Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Ain al-Asad Iraqi air force base in Anbar province, which also hosts personnel from the International Coalition to defeat ISIS. The rockets impacted around the perimeter of the base without causing casualties or material damage. In other developments, between May 26 – 29, fighting between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants in Kirkuk, Anbar, Diyala, and Ninewa killed ten ISIS militants and injured two civilians. Between May 27 – 29, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said that its forces killed 43 PKK militants in airstrikes targeting the group’s presence in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. On June 2, sources in Ninewa province said that multiple drones of unknown origin targeted the Turkish military base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. more…

  • Major Irrigation Project Repaired; Child-Protection Programs Severely Underfunded – On May 30, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced the completion of the North Al-Jazeera irrigation project following extensive rehabilitation of pumps and other key infrastructure. The project will enable more than 200,000 people in western Ninewa to resume agricultural activity halted by the lack of water after the ISIS occupation damaged the project. On May 31, UNICEF said that its response to ongoing humanitarian needs of some 700,000 children in Iraq was facing serious funding gaps, having secured only $8 million against a requirement of $52.2 million. The three most impacted sectors are child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and water, sanitation and hygiene, being 85%, 90%, and 93% underfunded, respectively. In other developments, On June 2, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration said that 579 IDPs have returned to their home districts in Anbar province from irregular camps in Amiriyat al-Fallujah. On June 2, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,328,369, an increase of just 704 from the 2,327,665 reported on May 26. Hospitalizations decreased from 1,025 to 1,010, and the daily average for new cases remained at 100/day during the last 7-day period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,703,496 including 11,521 who received their shots on June 2. more…

  • Oil Revenue Hits New Record High In May; Iran Cuts Natural Gas Deliveries – On June 1, the Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports during May averaged of 3.3 million bpd and generated $11.43 billion in revenue, nearly $900 million higher than April, and surpassing the previous record of $11.07 billion that Iraq reported in March. On June 1, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said that power generation and hours supplied through the national grid will drop due to the loss of five million cubic meters of daily natural gas imports from Iran. The ministry blamed Iraq’s inability to pay about $1.7 billion in arrears owed to Iran. In other developments, on June 1, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said the country’s treasury incurred losses of nearly IQD4 trillion as a result of “obvious corruption” in the Central Bank’s sale of hard currency to private banks. According to the Commission, investigations have shown that many of the related documents filed by private banks were fake. 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.