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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: June 9 - 16, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr’s 73 Representatives Resign From Parliament; KRG Says Federal Court Has No Power To Invalidate Oil Legislation – On June 12, Muqtada al-Sadr instructed the members of his 73-strong bloc in Parliament to submit their resignations, describing the move as “a sacrifice for the homeland and the people to save them from the unknown.” Speaker Halbousi said he “reluctantly accepted” the resignations, adding that he “made a sincere effort to dissuade Sadr” from taking this step. Sadr insisted on June 16 that his decision to withdraw from Parliament was final and irreversible. The leaders of the Coordination Framework (CF) said they “respected” Sadr’s decision, adding that they would “move forward with dialogue with all political powers to…form a government.” But news reports pointed to a divergence between key CF leaders Nouri al-Maliki, who wants to see the Sadrists stay out of the picture, and Hadi al-Amiri, who reportedly wants to convince Sadr to reverse his decision, believing that a government cannot survive without Sadr’s support. On June 14, the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) condemned recent legal action by federal authorities against oil companies operating in Kurdistan as an illegal act of “intimidation.” The MNR statement insisted that the current Federal Supreme Court was not formed properly as required in article 92 of the constitution, and therefore lacks the authority to invalidate the KRG Oil and Gas Law. more…

  • Iraqi Forces Kill Senior ISIS Militants; Child Killed In Turkish Airstrikes On Sinjar - Between June 14 – 16, Iraqi counter-terrorism troops and airstrikes killed at least 12 ISIS militants during operations in Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk, and Ninewa provinces. Iraq’s Joint Operations Command described eight of the slain militants as “very important terrorist leaders.” On June 15, Turkish aircraft attacked a building occupied by the YBS militia and the local council’s building in the Sinuni subdistrict of Sinjar. The airstrikes killed two people and injured at least seven. According to UNICEF, a 12 year old boy was one of the victims. In other developments, on June 9, two Katyusha-type rockets struck near the Turkish military base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. Between June 10 – 16, the explosions of five IEDs in Diyala, Anbar, Ninewa, Salah ad-Din, and Dhi-Qar, killed one Iraqi and injured at least seven. more…

  • Declining Water Flow Threatens Drinking Water Supplies; Possible Cholera Outbreak Threatens Sulaymaniyah; Iraq Reports New Rise In COVID-19 Cases – On June 12, officials in al-Shatra district of Dhi-Qar warned that water flow in the Gharraf river has decreased to dangerously low levels that could soon prevent water treatment plants in the districts from providing drinking water. On June 16, the health directorate in Sulaymaniyah said it was concerned about a possible Cholera outbreak in the province after large numbers of people arrived in hospitals in recent days with symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting, overwhelming available hospital bed capacity. Officials sent samples to the central laboratory in Baghdad to confirm whether the illness is indeed Cholera. On June 16, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,331,148, an increase of 1,835 from the 2,329,313 reported on June 9. Hospitalizations increased sharply from 1,237 to 2,146 and the daily average for new cases nearly doubled to 262/day (up from 135/day) during the last 7-day period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,779,426 including 12,235 who received their shots on June 16. more…

  • Iraq Imports More Wheat As Harvest Shrinks; Oil Ministry To Blacklist Companies Operating In Kurdistan; Baghdad Pays Natural Gas Arrears To Iran – On June 12, Iraq’s state-owned grain trade company said that farmers are expected to deliver only 1.9 million tons of wheat this season (down from 4.2 million in 2021) adding that the government will import an additional 1.5 million tons from Australia and the U.S. to meet domestic needs. On June 16, Iran’s Oil Minister confirmed that Tehran has received $1.6 billion from Iraq for arrears of past natural gas exports. On June 15, Iraq’s Oil Ministry instructed the National Oil Company (INOC) to inform all companies involved in oil operations in Iraq to provide a commitment that they will not undertake work in the Kurdistan region and to terminate any such work currently underway. Companies that do not comply risk being placed on INOC’s blacklist. In other developments, on June 16, Iraqi oil officials acknowledged that high demand due to power shortages during the summer months was causing crowding at gas stations in Baghdad and several other provinces. Officials affirmed that the Oil Ministry was providing enough fuel to allow gas stations to operate nonstop to meet demand, estimated to be at 32 million liters per day. more…