Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Enhance Understanding

ISHM 212: JULY 4 – JULY 11, 2019

Key Takeaways: New KRG Cabinet Sworn In; Baghdad And Erbil Agree On Security Arrangements In Disputed Territories; Parliament Fails To Amend Local Elections Law – On July 10, Masrour Barzani and 22 other candidates were sworn in as the new prime minister and cabinet of the KRI. The new ministers are all affiliated with the KDP, PUK and the Gorran, except for two representing Turkmen and Christian minority communities. On July 10, PM Abdul-Mahdi announced that the Iraqi Defense Ministry has reached an agreement with the KRG over security arrangements in the disputed areas. On July 10, Iraq’s parliament failed

Read More »

ISHM 211: JUNE 27 – JULY 4

Key Takeaways: Abdul-Mahdi Issues New Regulations To Control Militias; U.S. Accuses Iraqi Factions of Attacking Saudi Pipelines; UNSC Delegation Visits Iraq – On June 28, U.S. officials claimed that attacks on Saudi pipelines in May were undertaken by certain Iraqi groups backed by Iran. Iraqi officials dismissed the accusations and demanded evidence. On June 29, The UN Security Council visited Baghdad for the first time since Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The council representatives discussed humanitarian efforts and implementation of the 2018-2022 National Government program. On July 1, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi issued a decree for all Popular Mobilization Forces

Read More »

EPIC WELCOMES SUMMER 2019 INTERNS

Three times per year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Summer 2019 interns: Ali, Katie, May, Rachel and William! Ali Tinai was born and raised in Eritrea. He moved to Egypt at age 15 to escape Eritrea’s dictatorship. While in Egypt he learned English

Read More »

ISHM 210: JUNE 20 – JUNE 27, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraq Parliament Approves New Ministers Of Defense, Interior and Justice; Multiple Governors Sacked; New Protests In Basra, Baghdad And Najaf; French President To Visit Iraq – On June 24, the Iraqi Parliament voted to approve the appointment of new ministers for Defense, Interior Minister, and Justice, but failed to confirm a candidate for the Ministry of Education. On June 20, the French President announced that he intends to visit Iraq before the end of the year. On June 20, protestors gathered in Baghdad to condemn government corruption and the lack of public services. On June 22, dozens of

Read More »

Summer is Here

As the mercury surges in Mesopotamia, so does the risk for a new showdown between angry protesters demanding better conditions and a government struggling to provide for them but is shackled by a legacy of corruption and incompetent, fiefdom-like institutions.   Many parts of southern Iraq, especially Basra, witnessed widespread protests last summer. Those highlighted multiple popular demands, on top of which were jobs, basic services—especially adequate electricity and clean water—and putting an end to endemic corruption across government institutions. The episode wasn’t without violence. Several offices of prominent parties and militias were torched, and so was Iran’s consulate in

Read More »

ISHM 209: JUNE 13 – JUNE 20, 2019

Key Takeaways: Political Opposition To Abdul-Mahdi Escalates; Provincial Elections Postponed Again; Commander in Chief Forbids Military Movements Without His Oversight; Kuwait’s Emir Visits Baghdad – On June 16, Iraqi press reported that six parliamentary blocs were considering a move to oppose the government of Abdul-Mahdi. On June 17, Moqtada al-Sadr a issued an ultimatum for parliament and the prime minister to complete cabinet formation within ten days. On June 16, the former governor of Kirkuk returned to Erbil weeks after he was reported arrested at Lebanon’s Rafic Hariri Airport. On June 17, Iraq’s Electoral Commission postponed the next provincial elections

Read More »

ISHM 208: June 6 – June 13, 2019

Key Takeaways: New KRG President Sworn In, New KRG Prime Minister Elected; Abdul-Mahdi Denies Calls For Resignation; Pope Francis To Visit Iraq In 2020 – On June 10, Pope Francis announced his intent to visit Iraq in 2020, which would be the first papal visit to the country. On June 10, Nechirvan Barzani was sworn in as president of the KRG. PUK Leaders attended the ceremony but tensions continue over PUK demands for the Kirkuk governor post. On June 11, the KRG Parliament elected Masrour Barzani to be the region’s new prime minister. On June 11, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel

Read More »

Some Good News for Stigmatized Iraqi Families

Last week, Wehda al-Jumaili, a member of the Human Rights Committee in the Iraqi parliament reported that Iraq is establishing courts to issue birth certificates and identification cards to Iraqi children who were born under ISIS rule. This remarkable and laudable decision, once implemented, will affect the lives of tens of thousands of children, about 45,000 of whom reside in camps for the displaced. Obtaining documentation will grant these children access to basic rights, including education, medical and welfare services. Documents will also significantly reduce or entirely lift the restrictions on their freedom of movement within Iraq. This important step

Read More »

ISHM 207: May 30 – June 6, 2019

Key Takeaways: KDP and PUK Exchange Recriminations; Ammar al-Hakim Threats to Oppose the Government; Iraq Continues Mediating Between Iran and Gulf States – On June 2, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with the German, French and UK ambassadors in Baghdad. On June 2, the KDP published the full text of the deal it signed with the PUK in March regarding government formation, in an implicit jab at the PUK for boycotting the May 28 vote to elect Nechirvan Barzani as KRG President. On June 2, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi claimed in a speech that the Kurdistan Region had not turned over

Read More »

ISHM: May 23 – May 30, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi Politicians Meet Foreign Counterparts; Nechirvan Barzani Elected President of the Kurdistan Region – On May 23, Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in Jordan for a tripartite meeting including Jordanian King Abdullah II, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. On May 25, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad and met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi. On May 26, Zarif met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim. On May 27, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Doha

Read More »

ISHM: May 16 – May 23, 2019

Key Takeaways: New U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Confirmed as Tensions between Iran and the U.S. Continue to Affect Iraq; Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts – On May 16, Matthew Tueller assumed his position as the new United States ambassador to Iraq. On May 18, ExxonMobil evacuated its foreign workers from the West Qurna oil field due to reports about growing threats to Americans in Iraq due to tensions with Iran. On May 18, the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised its citizens to leave Iraq and Iran immediately and cautioned against travel to these two nations. On May 20, Iraqi

Read More »

ISHM: May 10 – May 16, 2019

Key Takeaways: Escalating Tensions Between the U.S. and Iran Affect Presence of Foreigners in Iraq – On May 12, the United States Embassy in Baghdad released a statement advising “all U.S. citizens of the heightened tensions in Iraq” and telling them to “remain vigilant.” On May 14, during a briefing to the press, U.K. Major General Chris Ghika, the Deputy Commander of the anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve stated that “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” thus contradicting claims made by U.S. government officials. On May 16, in a move contradicting the earlier briefing, the

Read More »