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Enhance Understanding

ISHM 225: OCTOBER 3 – OCTOBER 10, 2019

Key Takeaways: Government Crackdown Kills At Least 110, Injures Thousands; Prime Minister Offers Reform And Aid Packages To Contain Crisis; Parliament To Suspend Provincial Councils; Two New Ministers Confirmed In Cabinet Reshuffle – Anti-government protests in central and southern Iraq, which started on October 1, escalated through October 8, amid an intense security crackdown. The use of excessive force by government forces, including live bullets, left at least 110 protesters dead and 6,000 injured. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for an end to violence and blamed the crisis on the failure of the political class and previous governments to enact

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CHECKING IRANIAN POWER IN IRAQ

Originally published on War on the Rocks – October 3, 2019 Iraq faces a threat of Iranian subversion that is, to a large extent, a function of a deepening geopolitical rift in which Iran stands on one side and the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are on the other. To protect its own interests and avoid falling prey to Iran’s apparent desire to become the regional hegemon and assimilate Middle Eastern capitals into its sphere of influence, Iraqi leaders would be wise to chart these waters carefully. They need to defend and strengthen institutions at home, check the rogue

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ISHM 224: September 26 – October 3, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraq’s Top Counter-Terrorism Commander Sacked; Iraq Officially Blames Airstrikes On Israel; Government Uses Force To Suppress Widespread Demonstrations, Killing 21, Injuring Hundreds – On September 27, PM Abdul-Mahdi removed Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi from his position as commander of the Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) amid wide expressions of solidarity with the general and speculations of militia pressure and corruption within the CTS. On September 30, PM Abdul-Mahdi said investigations proved Israel was responsible for several airstrikes on PMF bases in July and August. Senior members of PMF factions close to Iran called the announcement a “green light” to

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ISHM 223: SEPTEMBER 19 – SEPTEMBER 26

Key Takeaways: Iraq’s Prime Minister Visits China And Saudi Arabia, President Attends UNGA; Abadi Warns of Government Collapse; KRG Links Oil Obligations To Baghdad With Its Debt To Oil Firms – On September 19, PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi traveled to China for five days of diplomatic and economic meetings. Abdul-Mahdi signed eight MoUs with Chinese officials pertaining to financial, commercial, security, reconstruction, communications, culture, education, and foreign affairs. On September 25, Abdul-Mahdi went to Saudi Arabia to discuss regional security and bilateral relations with the Saudi king and crownprince, following recent attacks on Saudi oil installations. On September 23-24, President Salih

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#37: The Iran-Iraq War and Its Enduring Impact on the Region

This week marks the 39th anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan Province, starting the Iran-Iraq War. On this episode of IRAQ MATTERS, we talk with Joel Wing of “Musings on Iraq” and EPIC’s very own Omar Al-Nidawi about that war and its lasting consequences on the Middle East today.

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ISHM 222: September 12 – September 19, 2019

Key Takeaways: Iraqi Minister Resigns Under Pressure; Parliament Moves to Abolish Public Inspector Offices; New Calls for Removing U.S. Forces From Iraq – On September 15, Iraqi Health Minister Alaa al-Alwan announced his resignation, citing extortion by external political forces seeking illegal profit from corrupt deals. The prime minister rejected the resignation. On September 16, Parliament announced that it will abolish the offices of the Inspector General that monitor performance at Iraqi ministries and independent commissions. Some of the inspectors were appointed by the prime minister as recently as August. On September 16, 53 members of Iraq’s Parliament, representing the

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ISHM 221: September 5 – September 12, 2019

Key Takeaways: Sadr Threatens To “Disown” Abdul-Mahdi’s Government; Kurdish Parties Unite To Contest Kirkuk Elections In 2020; KRG President Appoints Two Deputies – On September 6, Moqtada al-Sadr said he would “disown” the Iraqi government if it didn’t take strict measures to assert its authority after the deputy chairman of the PMF commission, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, announced plans to form a separate air force to defend the PMF against Israeli airstrikes. On September 9, Kurdish political parties announced from Kirkuk that they plan to compete in the 2020 provincial elections in the disputed province as one unified party list. On

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Iraq’s Assyrian Christians’ struggle to secure political rights

Interview with Yacoob Yaco, the deputy secretary general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. This is the first of a series of interviews we had with representatives of various minority communities in Ninewa that will be published in the following weeks. In July, EPIC traveled to Iraq and visited Erbil and Ninewa provinces as part of our work on Safe Return, a USAID project designed to enable the safe and sustainable return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes in Ninewa. While in Erbil, we had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Yacoob Yaco, the Deputy Secretary General of the

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EPIC WELCOMES FALL 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 Fall 2019 interns: Laura and Jennie! Laura Clancy is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Justice Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of New Hampshire. She is

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ISHM 220: AUGUST 29 – SEPTEMBER 5, 2019

Key Takeaways: Maliki Renews Push For VP Post; Fayyadh In Moscow Seeking Weapons; New Border Dispute With Kuwait; Hikma To Form “Shadow Cabinet” – On August 31, Nouri al-Maliki said he was awaiting a decision from President Barham Salih to nominate him for the vice presidency. On September 2, PMF chairman Falih al-Fayyadh visited Moscow and met with the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation amid statements by allied politicians about plans to buy advanced Russian air defense systems. On September 3, Iraqi media reported that Iraq sent a letter to the UN accusing Kuwait of making

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ISHM 219: AUGUST 22 – AUGUST 29, 2019

Key Takeaways: PMF Affiliates Call Israeli Airstrikes “A Declaration Of War”; Government Issues Six-Point Statement To Contain Crisis – On August 25, the PMF-affiliated Fatah coalition called Israel’s recent airstrikes against PMF weapons stores a “declaration of war”, and accused the U.S. of complicity. On August 26, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi briefed Iraq’s president and speaker of parliament on a government investigation into recent attacks on PMF bases. The meeting concluded with a six-point statement highlighting the need to avoid entanglement in a proxy war. On August 25, a member of Parliament with the Sadiqoun bloc said his group would

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ISHM 218: AUGUST 15 – AUGUST 22, 2019

Key Takeaways: PMF Accuse U.S., Israel Of Targeting Their Bases; President Salih Tries To Contain U.S.-Iran Tensions; Parliament Removes Immunity Of Several Lawmakers – On August 21, senior PMF leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis said the PMF hold the U.S. and Israel responsible for recent attacks on PMF sites and threatened to fire at foreign aircraft that fly over PMF bases without Baghdad’s knowledge. On August 18, Iraqi President Barham Salih met separately with the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq and discussed defusing U.S.-Iran tensions that are affecting Iraq. On August 16, Moqtada al-Sadr criticized PM Abdul-Mahdi over weak government

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