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Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: June 16 - 30, 2022

Countries
Iraq
Sources
EPIC
Publication date
Origin
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Key Takeaways:

  • Parliament Swears In 64 New MPs; Coordination Framework Divided Over Government Formation; Kadhimi Visits Saudi Arabia And Iran – On June 23, Iraq’s Parliament convened an extraordinary session in which 64 new MPs were sworn to replace MPs loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr who had resigned on June 12. On June 24, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, said it was difficult to form a stable government without the Sadrists, and called for “a political agreement on redoing the elections” under a new law and electoral commission. Khazali’s position is at odds with that of Nouri al-Maliki, who wants to take the lead on government formation regardless of Sadr’s participation. Press reports say Maliki has a strong interest in becoming PM again and believes that the risks of excluding Sadr are exaggerated. On June 25 and 26, PM Kadhimi visited Saudi Arabia and Iran, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and President Ibrahim Raisi to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments. Kadhimi’s office said the talks focused on “efforts to establish peace and calm in the region.” Speaking from Tehran, Kadhimi said he and Raisi agreed to support a truce in Yemen, while a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said that Kadhimi related that Riyadh was “ready to resume talks on the diplomatic level in Baghdad.” On June 24, Salah ad-Din politician Ahmed al-Jubouri (aka Abu Mazin) said he and his party left the Siyada Coalition of Speaker Halbousi and rejoined their previous parent bloc, the Azm Coalition. more…

  • Rockets Target Key Kurdistan Gas Field; Iraq’s T-50 Jets Take To The Sky; KRG To Enforce Gun Controls– Between June 22 – 25, five Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in Sulaymaniyah on three separate occasions. The attacks, which originated from inside the Kurdistan region, did not disrupt operations or production at the field, which is a vital source of fuel for power plants, but prompted the operator, Dana Gas, to halt an expansion project at the field. The attacks came shortly after two rockets fired from Bashiqa targeted Peshmerga forces in Shaikhan. On June 22, Iraq’s Defense Ministry said the air force’s T-50 jets made their first flight that day from an air base in Baghdad. The aircraft had been grounded since their arrival in 2017 due to financial problems that delayed contracts for essential maintenance, logistics, and training services. On June 30, after a series of high-profile gun murders, KRG PM Masrour Barzani ordered his interior ministry to shut down “all places selling weapons” and to confiscate “any unlicensed weapons.” In other developments, on June 17, a Turkish armed drone struck a vehicle transporting PKK militant in Kalar, more than 160 miles from the Turkish border, killing four people. On June 19, Iraqi airstrikes killed “Abu Mansoor,” the so-called Wali of Anbar, and three of his associates. Between June 18 – 28, the explosions of seven IEDs in Diyala, Baghdad, Ninewa, Basra, and Babylon, injured at least seven Iraqis. On June 23, the ministries of Defense and Peshmerga reached an agreement under which the Defense Ministry will provide training to Peshmerga forces and allow residents of Kurdistan region to enroll in the Defense Ministry’s military academy and staff college. more…

  • Cholera Outbreak Confirmed; New Project Aims To Build Climate Change Resilience; Iraq In New Wave Of COVID-19 Spread – On June 19, Iraq’s Health Ministry said that lab tests confirmed 13 cases of the cholera in Sulaymaniyah, Muthanna, and Kirkuk. The results confirmed the suspected outbreak, first reported in Sulaymaniyah, where large numbers of people fell sick with relevant symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting. In response to the outbreak, the WHO sent “an urgent consignment of medicines and medical supplies” to help local health authorities deal with the situation. On June 29, the UNDP said it launched a new project with funding from the UK and Canada to help Iraq speed up its response to climate change. The Catalytic Climate Action in Iraq is a partnership with the Ministry of Environment designed to build Iraq’s capacity to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change by “managing natural resources, developing renewable resources, and increasing resilience to climate-induced hazards.” On June 30, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,348,662, an increase of 17,514 from the 2,331,148 reported on June 16. Hospitalizations increased more than 580%, from 2,146 to 12,516, and the daily average for new cases jumped to 1,251/day during the last 14-day period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,860,930 including 13,125 who received their shots on June 30. As the spread accelerated, the Ministry warned that the spike in infections and hospitalizations indicated that Iraq was in a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry urged Iraqis to get vaccinated and go back to using preventative measures on the individual and community levels. more…

  • Iraq Cracks Down On Smuggling Amid Fuel Shortages; Oil Services Companies Respond To Baghdad’s “Blacklist” Threat – On June 26, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said that PM Kadhimi ordered a new crackdown on fuel smugglers, as the country deals with widespread fuel shortages. As of June 29, raids across several provinces resulted in 42 arrests, the recovery of 700,000 liters of smuggled fuels, and penalties against eight complicit gas stations. Iraq’s Oil Ministry attributed the shortage to a price differential between the Kurdistan region and adjacent provinces, which created new incentives for smuggling. On June 27, Schlumberger told Iraq’s Oil Ministry that it will comply with the February 15 ruling by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court and subsequent letters sent by Iraq’s National Oil Company concerning operations in the Kurdistan region. Schlumberger agreed to refrain from competing for future contracts in Kurdistan, and said it will “make all the necessary efforts to resolve issues concerning current contracts.” Baker Hughes and Halliburton made similar commitments. In other developments, on June 20, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that the Basra Gas Company exported its inaugural cargo of “semi-refrigerated liquid [petroleum] gas” from the port of Umm Qasr. On June 28, Iraq’s Central Bank said it decided to increase funding available for private sector development initiatives to IQD18 trillion. 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.