ISHM: January 5 – 18 , 2018


Key Takeaways:

    • Suicide Attacks Roil Baghdad – On the morning of January 15, two suicide bombers detonated their explosives near Tayaran Square, a major intersection in east-central Baghdad. The explosions killed at least 38 and wounded more than 100 in the predominantly Shia neighborhood where day laborers and street vendors were gathered. Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jan Kubis, urged greater vigilance by authorities and “strengthened unity among the Iraqi people” in the wake of such terrorism. On January 18, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, verifying concerns that militants are resorting to more sporadic attacks following territorial losses. more…
    • Concern Over Forced IDP Returns Mounts Ahead of Election Date Decision – Iraqi Parliament is considering whether to hold elections on May 12 or postpone them for at least six months in order to allow internally displaced persons enough time to return to their places of origin. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pressed for elections to be held in May, leading political opponents to express concern that Iraqi Security Forces may be hastening returns and endangering IDPs in the process. According to a January 7 report by Reuters, between 2,400 and 5,000 IDPs were forcibly returned from camps in Amriyat al-Fallujah in Anbar Province after military trucks arrived and listed the names of people who had to leave. Aid agencies report that some places of origin do not yet have adequate access to basic necessities, electricity, or medical facilities and may remain littered with unexploded ordinance and other IEDs. Parliament has asked the Iraqi Federal Court for a decision on whether a postponement of elections is constitutional, and the legislature is expected to continue debate over the issue on January 20, according to Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri. UN representatives are encouraging the Iraqi government to hold elections on time in May. more…
    • KRG, Federal Government Begin Negotiations – On January 16, a federal government delegation headed by Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers Mahdi al-Alaq visited Erbil for the first negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government following the September 2017 referendum on Kurdish independence. Major issues covered in the meeting included the redeployment of federal forces in disputed territories, the imposition of an international aviation ban to and from Kurdish airports, and federal authority over land border crossings. The following day, spokesman of the Kurdish Ministry of Transportation Omid Mohammed suggested that an agreement over lifting the ban on international flights to Kurdish airports may soon be reached, subject to review by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. more…
    • Federal Budget Still Without Consensus as Kurds Boycott Parliament – Member of Parliament for the Kurdstian Democratic Party Najiba Najib, announced that Kurdish Members of Parliament will boycott sessions that include debate over the draft federal budget for 2018 because the draft budget does not meet expected allocations for the Kurdistan Region. Najib added that the reduction from a 17 percent allocation to a suggested 12.67 percent allocation of federal revenue would leave the KRG unable to pay the salaries of a single province in the Kurdistan Region. The proposed reduction in allocations came after the September referendum on Kurdish independence and has been a point of contention between the federal government and the KRG as negotiations between them resume. Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi suggested that the KRG’s oil revenue was sufficient to make up for the reduction. more…
    • Sporadic ISIS Attacks Linger, Despite Territorial Losses – On January 11, Iraqi Security Forces launched a large-scale operation to clear ISIS insurgents from the Anbar desert south to the Saudi border. The operation destroyed several ISIS vehicles and hideouts. ISF operations also occurred in Salah ad-Din and Diyala Provinces, as well as in areas near Mosul and Tal Afar in Ninewa Province. Similar operations are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. more…
    • U.S. and Germany Lead Funding Ahead of Kuwait Pledging Conference – The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released the final funding numbers for the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan. In total, 91 percent of total requested contributions were received, or US$ 892.8 million. The United States and Germany were the top two contributors, accounting for more than half of the total. From February 12-14, Kuwait will host an international pledging conference to solicit global funds for Iraq’s reconstruction and development. The conference outcome will significantly shape Iraq’s mid- and long-term recovery strategy. more…
    • U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq Unrelated to Combat – 24-year old U.S. Army Specialist Javion Shavonte Sullivan of Fort Mill, South Carolina was killed on January 8 in Anbar Province. According to the Pentagon, Sullivan’s death was not combat-related and is currently under investigation. Suillivan was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. He is the first U.S. servicemember to die in Iraq this year, and the 22nd since Operation Inherent Resolve bagan in the fall of 2014. 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.

Suicide Attacks Roil Baghdad

On January 15, two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in the predominantly Shia area of Tayaran Square in Baghdad. Tayaran Square is a major intersection in eastern central Baghdad between Sadr City and al-Jumariyah Bridge. Estimates put the number killed at 38 and wounded at 105 – mostly day laborers and street vendors beginning their day. The death toll is expected to rise as many of the injured remain in critical condition. No group has claimed responsibility.

On January 15, Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, condemned the suicide attack in Baghdad and extended his condolences to the victims. Kubiš said, “This ghastly and cowardly twin suicide bombing indiscriminately targeted a busy square in Baghdad during the morning rush hour with the sole purpose of inflicting maximum casualties among innocent civilians […] The terrorists have been defeated recently on the battlefield but they continue to pose a threat to the country, in particular to ordinary citizens who continue to suffer from their attacks. I urge greater vigilance by the authorities and strengthened unity among the Iraqi people to thwart the aims of terrorists like Daesh who seek to derail the country’s recovery after a long conflict.”

On January 15, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres, shared the Secretary-General’s condolences for the victims and families of those killed and injured in the bombings in Baghdad. He also reiterated that the UN would continue to support Iraq in its fight against terrorism.

On January 16, following the double suicide bombing attack on January 15, Saad al-Muttalibi, member of the security committee in the Baghdad Provincial Council, said that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s (ISIS) strategy has changed since their geographic defeat in Iraq. It seems that the new targets are civilian areas with exploitable security vulnerabilities. He made it a point not to accuse any political party, since no official statement claiming responsibility has followed the attack. Muttalibi focused on the importance of intensifying intelligence efforts to eradicate ISIS from Baghdad and the surrounding areas.

On January 16, three people died in of Al-Shaab, approximately 10 km north of Baghdad, inside the Baghdad District, after an unidentified gunman opened fire. One of the victims is believed to be a military conscript.

On January 16, the owner of a construction company died in car bomb blast in the area of Al-Tobji, west of Baghdad. The device was attached to the victim’s vehicle.

On January 17, two bomb blasts hit Baghdad. Three people were injured after an explosive charge went off in Al-Tarmiyah, 50 km north of Baghdad. One person was killed and four were wounded following the explosion of a bomb in the district of Al-Mada’in, 40 km south of Baghdad.

On January 18, The New York Times reported that ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack in Tayaran Square in Baghdad. In an online statement, ISIS said that the bombers were targeting Shias in the area.

Concern Over Forced IDP Returns Mounts Ahead of Election Date Decision

On January 6, the Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri revealed that Iraq was expecting a bigger role from the United Nations for reconstruction of the post-Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) period in Iraq. He also referred to the Parliament, confirming that the Parliament has started the work of amending the Election Law, and that Parliament would make every effort to ensure that the election will be held on time. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi revealed that he planned to submit a request to the Supreme Court to set an election date, suggesting that any postponement of the election would be unconstitutional and he was keen to making sure the election would happen on time.

On January 7, Reuters reported that Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were forcing internally displaced people (IDPs) to prematurely return to areas (mostly in Anbar Province) that were still unsafe. Political opponents have accused Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of being more concerned about winning elections than about the plight of IDPs in Iraq. According to refugees and aid workers at camps in the town of Amriyat al-Falluja, the forced returns have been initiated in order to hold the elections on time. One of the conditions for holding the elections on the set date in May has been the return of all IDPs. Critics believe that Abadi is attempting to hold elections before he loses the surge in popularity he has experienced since the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). According to aid workers, between 2,400 and 5,000 people have been forcibly returned after military trucks arrived at refugee camps and listed the names of people who had to leave. In one instance, a man who was forced to return to Fallujah was seriously injured and his wife killed when an unexploded ordnance detonated in his booby-trapped house. The man had initially refused to return to Fallujah because contacts had told him that it was still unsafe, but ISF reportedly told him that it was “better to go live in a tent in your hometown than live in a tent in the camp.” ISF said that the reports are exaggerated. Iraqi Joint Operations Command Spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said, “Our primary concern is the safety of our citizens, our job is to protect people”.

On January 7, the Ana Police Department announced that more than 800 families displaced from Ana District in Anbar Province had returned. The police chief reported that Ana had been completely cleared of debris and that it was safe for more IDPs to return.

On January 7, the Electoral Commision decided to extend the electoral registration for political parties. On January 9, the Electoral Commission announced that the number of parties that had submitted an application for registration reached 19 after the deadline was extended to January 11. The Electoral Commission called for the parties to speed up their applications since the registration would be closed officially on Thursday. The number of eligible voters across Iraq reached 24 million. Voters registered in the Albaaomitri registration centers accounted for 46% of all the eligible voters.

On January 9, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, suggested the President of the National Alliance Ammar al-Hakim to reject any attempt to postpone the elections. Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi stated that he believed that holding the election on time was necessary to respect the democratic system and rule of law of the country. At the same time, he urged Parliament to approve the Election Law as soon as possible.

On January 10, more than 400 displaced families returned to western Baghdad. The Commander of the 6th Infantry Division and a representative of the United Nations participated in the reception of the displaced families, together with several officers and brigadier generals.

On January 10, Parliament submitted an inquiry to the Iraqi Federal Court concerning the constitutionality of potentially postponing national and provincial elections in Iraq for another six months. The Parliament decided to resolve the date of the election in an upcoming session on January 21.

On January 10, the Head of the Foreign Relations Committee, Abdel Bari Zebari, received information that the European Union intends to return Iraqis who have been refused asylum, and called on the Iraqi government not to accept any negotiations involving forcible returns of asylees. Zebari said that “there is a tendency for the European Union to start negotiations between member states with the Iraqi government, which is expected to start during the visit of the European Minister of Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on January 22 to Baghdad”. He added that the Foreign Relations Committee will open the dialogue with the European Union about  the return of Iraqi asylum-seekers to Europe whose applications were rejected, and urge them to terminate the steps of any force return.

On January 12, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that, for the first time since December 2013, more Iraqis are returning to their areas of origin than remain displaced. According to IOM, 3.2 million people have returned while 2.6 million are still displaced. The majority of returns are to Anbar, Ninewa, and Salah ad-Din Provinces, some of those most highly impacted by ISIS activity.

On January 12, the United Nations (UN) pledged to help Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) hold timely, transparent elections on May 12. The UN promise came after an IHEC workshop to prepare the country for the elections. Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq for Political and Electoral Affairs, Alice Walpole, said, “It will remain paramount for IHEC to demonstrate its readiness to deliver a robust and efficient operation within the current timelines.”

On January 15, the Legal Committee in Parliament revealed that the finalization of the Election Law was likely to be postponed, because they had received 70 proposed amendments and felt that there was not enough time to review and discuss all of them before including them into the legislation.

On January 15, a cross-sectarian coalition, “Victory Alliance”, which brought together Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militias disintegrated after 24 hours of declaration of its formation. Massive withdrawal happened in the morning of 14th, and there are multiple reasons. The number of the fractions joined the “Victory Alliance” exceed 30, including both Sunnis and Shia parties. Critics accused Abadi of forming an alliance with suspected “corruption” figures while the he is the one who promised to fight “the corruption”.a deputy in the parliament al – Khazali said in a statement, “We can not allow ourselves to be part of the system of corruption and rotate some of the characters that offended Iraq.” The announcement (of the formation of the Victory Alliance) was in an ambiguous time, after the election commission closed the door of registration of coalitions on Thursday (11th), which rejected the legal deadline.

On January 16, Kirkuk Governor Rakan Saeed al-Jubouri announced the return of the 15,000 displaced people to central Hawija. On January 11, the Council of Ministers Secretariat (COMSEC) announced that about 50% of IDPs have returned to the liberated areas.

On January 17, anonymous sources revealed that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was meeting with another alliance, “Conquest Alliance”, which includes the Badr Organization, the League of the Righteous, and some other factions within the “victory” coalition which collapsed a few days ago.

On January 17, the deputy head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) alliance, Bakhtiar Shaways revealed that they agree the idea of holding the election on time, but it was necessary for the Electoral Commission to be constitutionally prepared and for all internally displaced persons (IDPs) to be returned to their areas of origin. Additionally, another alliance, The Unity Alliance of Iraq expressed his intention to submit two proposals, one is a proposal for the Parliament to postpone the upcoming election. The National Wisdom Movement expressed condemnation about the request submitted by The Unity Alliance of Iraq and some other powers about postponement of the election for a period of one year with “flimsy excuses”.

On January 18, Member of Parliament Masood Haider announced there is an agreement among the political alliances to suggest two options for the date of the next elections, indicating that one option is the original date of May 12, and the second is December 1. Haider added that “although there is faith and desire to hold elections on time (May 12), the current circumstances are going towards the direction of the first of December,” noting some alliances are collecting signatures in support of postponing. The Electoral Commission informed Parliament that they have completed all the technical and administrative preparations and procedures for the election to be held on May 12.

KRG, Federal Government Begin Negotiations

On January 5, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) released a statement that a Kurdish delegation that met with Baghdad officials did not represent Kurdistan. Ares Abdullah, a member of the PUK, said that “the Kurdish delegation, which visited Baghdad yesterday, represents the opposition parties and represents themselves only and does not represent the provincial government.” Abdullah asserted that the PUK wanted dialogue with Baghdad but that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had set conditions for dialogue which the PUK believed were “not suitable.”

On January 5, Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki met with a Kurdish delegation of Gorran and Islamic Union party representatives in Baghdad. Maliki highlighted “the importance of ending the outstanding problems between the federal government and the region under the Constitution and to secure the salaries of employees of the Kurdistan region.” The delegation expressed their gratitude to Maliki for his support.

On January 5, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Nechirvan Barzani received a letter from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. According to the letter, the most important thing to resolve the Baghdad-Erbil dispute peacefully is through political negotiations on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution.

On January 5, representatives from the Kurdish Gorran Party and Islamic Union of Kurdistan met with officials in Baghdad. Abdullah al-Zaidi, a member of the Iraqi National Alliance, reported that the Kurdish representatives stressed their commitment to the unity of Iraq and the “folding” of the referendum. Zaidi also said that “the delegation stressed the need for serious dialogue, which leads to the solution of all the problems between the federal government and [Kurdistan], and creates the appropriate ground for dialogue.”

On January 6, the head of the Islamic Supreme Court, Humam Hamoudi encouraged dialogue between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to settle disputes stemming from the KRG’s September 25 referendum on Kurdish independence. He suggested that the former road of dealing with the disputes had been proven to be wrong and that conversation and constitution were the correct path. He also warned that postponing national and provincial elections schedule for May  could “open the fires of hell” in Iraq.

On January 10, former Prime Minister of the KRG and leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Barham Salih was elected as the head of the Alliance of the Democracy and Justice party with 627 out of 684 votes among members. The Alliance for Democracy and Justice will contest the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

On January 10, the KRI rejected any option posed by the Iraqi Federal Government on managing the territory of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu before the situation in these disputed areas becomes “normalized.” The KRI suggested that since the federal government is taking control of some of the disputed places last October, there are some residents fleeing these areas again, causing the re-displacement issues. Both KRI and the Federal government need to reach an agreement which serves the interests of both sides in order to stabilize the situation.

On January 12, the KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met Pope Francis in Vatican City. This is the third European trip of Barzani after the independence referendum in 2017. Meanwhile, the European Union expressed their hesitation for the Turkish government’s proposal to mediate between the federal government and KRG. EU Representative, Clarice Pastore, said that Iraq should have the faith that they are capable of dealing with the disputes on their own, and “to not wait for help from Europe and Washington.”

On January 16, a government delegation from Baghdad, led by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Mahdi Al-Alaq, visited Erbil for the first time following the September 2017 referendum. The three major issues covered in the meeting were: the redeployment of the federal forces in the disputed areas, the imposition of international aviation ban on airports, the demand to hand over border crossing points to the federal authority. Until recently, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi suggested that a precondition for dialogue was the KRG’s annulment of the referendum results and recognition of Iraqi sovereignty.

On January 17, five bilateral meetings were held between the delegation of the Iraqi Federal Government and the KRG. Spokesman of the Ministry of Transportation in Kurdistan, Omid Mohammed, suggested that a draft agreement over international air travel to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah may soon be reached, subject to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s approval. International travel to the Kurdistan Region was suspended following the September referendum on independence.

Federal Budget Still Without Consensus as Kurds Boycott Parliament

On January 6, Member of Parliament (MP) of Iraq National Wisdom Movement Hassan Khalati revealed that the 2018 federal budget is expected to pass during the last week of January, despite the bill’s complexity. The coming elections, and the need for a legal resolution of the election date are adding to the political environment in which the budget is being negotiated. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi submitted the budget to the Iraqi Parliament one month later than expected in November, in part because of the budget’s use as a negotiating tactic following the Kurdistan Regional Government’s September referendum on Kurdish independence.  

On January 9, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that oil revenues for the Kurdistan Region in 2017 amounted to 9 trillion Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 7.65 billion), suggesting that the oil revenue calculation of the Kurdistan Regional Government is wrong, and accusing the Kurdistan authorities of a “lack of seriousness” in implementing the constitution.

On January 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stressed that the delay in approving the federal budget aims to “embarrass” the government. In a press conference, he clarified the importance of returning all the internally displaced people (IDPs) back to the liberated areas, that he was not involved in any forced return, and that he had no intention of postponing the elections.

On January 15, the Kurdistan Regional Government announced its gross oil revenues for the first six months of 2017 as more than US $3 billion. The whole report aims at improving the transparency and showing the responsibility of the regional government.

On January 16, the Iraqi Parliament claimed that they had received negative comments from the Council of Ministers about the federal budget. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected the request of meeting with members of Parliament before the budget vote on condition of reading the draft budget first. Also, a member of the Finance Committee mentioned that the delay of the passing of the federal budget would not affect the election because they could allocate funds from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The draft budget includes a reduction in allocations for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) from 17 percent to 12.67 percent.

On January 17, a Member of Parliament for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Najiba Najib, anounced that Kurdish members would boycott Parliament session scheduled for that day and any other sessions during budget negotiations, suggesting that the budget draft does not meet the demands of the KRG. She added that the 17 percent allocation for the Kurdistan Region had been in effect since 2005, and that the proposed reduction to 12.67 percent could not even pay the salaries of one province in the KRI.

Sporadic ISIS Attacks Linger, Despite Territorial Losses

On January 6, the Military Media Cell denied reports that ISIS militants still existed west of Mosul. According to the cell, ISIS was “defeated irreversibly,” and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were fully in control of the Iraqi territories. The cell also called on media sources to “be accurate in the transfer of security information on Iraq and to beware of echoing what is published by some parties with malicious aims [because the ISF] reserves our national right to sue them by legal means.”

On January 10, U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman noted that the U.S. troop presence will be gradually exiting Iraq in the following months. The presence of the U.S. troops in Iraq will decrease and take on a limited advisory role in coordination with Iraqi Army. Silliman stressed that the focus will be training the Iraqi forces and humanitarian workers until all internally displaced persons have returned. He also mentioned that Washington has spent US$ 112 million to secure the liberated areas and to clear mines and explosives. He also voiced concerns about the splits between Iraqi Kurdistan’s political parties, fearing that the situation could harden anticipated talks with the Iraqi government to resolve disputes. He encouraged Baghdad to pay the salaries of Kurdish public servants, and to coordinate with Erbil on security and border issues.

On January 11, Iraqi Security Forces launched large-scaled military operation aimed at clearing the Anbar desert south to the Saudi border for the remnants of ISIS. This operation carried out by troops from the army, border guards and tribal forces, air support from Air Alliance International and helicopters of the Iraqi army. The joint operation successfully destroyed ISIS vehicles and ISIS training camps. Despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration on December 9 that the Iraqi government has cleared ISIS militants from its geographic strongholds, security operations to target resurgent militants continue.

On January 13, the Ministry of the Interior announced the deployment of the rapid reaction forces in the province of Tuz Khurmatu, in the eastern Salah ad-Din Province. The Ministry said its goal is to strengthen security and facilitate the return to a normal life.

On January 15, Iraqi Security Forces arrested two members of ISIS in Anbar Province, approximately 210 km west of Ramadi. who had returned among the Internally Displaced Person (IDPs). The security forces have resumed control of the area after its liberation from ISIS about a month ago.

On January 16, security forces killed five ISIS militants in the province of Salah ad-Din. The Iraqi troops said the terrorists were trying to infiltrate into two villages east of Sharqat.

On January 16, during an Iraqi Security Forces operation in southern Mosul, three ISIS militants were killed. The operation was carried out after the Ninewa Operation Command was informed of the presence of ISIS members in the areas overlooking the Tigris River.

On January 17, members of a Popular Mobilization Unit killed three ISIS militants attempting an attack on the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. Other militants managed to escape.

On January 17, a sniper attack carried out by ISIS injured a policeman in Baqubah. The militants opened fire at a checkpoint in the district of Al-Abbara, in northeastern Baqubah.

On January 17, a bomb killed two policemen and injured seven, in the outskirts of Jalawla, north-east of Diyala. Wahlan al-Karwi, member of the Jalawla municipal council, said the bomb targeted the police troops.

On January 18, ISIS militants kidnapped two young men in Al-Udhaim, a village situated in the north of the Diyala province. Mohammed Deif, mayor of the village, said the Islamic State is still present in certain areas surrounding Al-Udhaim, particularly along the Hamrin Mountains.

U.S. and Germany Lead Funding Ahead of Kuwait Pledging Conference

On January 8, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission adopted a Joint Communication for a European Union (EU) strategy for Iraq. The strategy focused on rebuilding and humanitarian aid for the new period of post-ISIS Iraq. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said, “The EU has been providing emergency assistance to the Iraqi people since the beginning. Humanitarian needs remain high and many people remain displaced by conflict. I have seen first-hand the suffering in places like Mosul and Fallujah and it is crucial that all aid efforts continue to be impartial and neutral. It is essential to support all Iraqis in need of assistance today and tomorrow, for as long as it takes.” Since 2015, the EU has given EU€ 350 million (approximately US$ 428 million) in emergency assistance humanitarian aid for Iraq.

On January 8, Samaritan’s Purse released a post-conflict assessment on minority communities in Ninewa Province. In the report, Samaritan’s Purse interviewed 16,000 minority households about the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) and barriers preventing returns. Samaritan’s Purse concluded that security is critical, education and health are primary concerns, damage is repairable, minorities are returning, and restoration of minority communities is possible. The report gives a breakdown of each conclusion and shows the data collected.

On January 9, the Government of Germany donated an additional EU€ 17 million (approximately US$ 21 million) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). This addition brings Germany’s overall contribution to EU€ 44.2 million (approximately US$ 54.1 million), making Germany the single largest donor to UNMAS. UNMAS will be focusing on risk education and clearance of public spaces in Anbar, Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk and Ninewa Provinces. Cyrill Nunn, Germany’s Ambassador to Iraq, said, “Mine action saves lives. The German Government is committed to mine action in Iraq and will continue to support UNMAS to work closely with the Government of Iraq to mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards.”

On January 9, the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) launched a field hospital in recently cleared Ana District in Anbar Province. Thus far, the health facility has served more than 500 patients. The hospital has operations, intensive care, X-ray, laboratory, pharmacy, and sterilization & equipment departments as well as a blood bank. The Ana Field Hospital is the only health care service in Ana District because of the complete destruction of infrastructure during ISIS’s occupation.

On January 9, the United Nations Population Fund worked with the World Food Programme to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse through the Iraq Network to Protect from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. The program is designed to train humanitarian workers throughout Iraq on how to prevent and respond to sexual abuse. Akram T. Hamasaiid, from People’s Development Organization and a participant in the program, said, “The training gave us a wider perspective on gender-based violence. I want my staff to be well-informed on gender-based violence issues and challenges.”

On January 10, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman announced that the U.S. would allocate US$ 75 million to help IDPs in Ninewa Province and the Yazidi city of Sinjar. Silliman also disclosed that the U.S. would have a leading role in helping with reconstruction in liberated areas. The U.S. will be officially pledging this money at the funding conference in Kuwait next month. From February 12 to 14, Kuwait will be hosting an international pledging conference focused on reconstructing parts of Iraq that had been damaged in the war with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Silliman reported that the funding would be “not only [for] the security and military, but also other areas within the strategic agreement signed with Iraq in 2008.”

On January 11, Voice of America (VOA) reported that dozens of Yazidi children who were rescued from ISIS are receiving counseling to deal with the trauma. Many of the boys were trained to fight, while the girls were sexually assaulted. VOA interviewed one twelve year-old boy who had begun training to fight at age nine. Naeef Jardo, a psychiatrist at the camp, said, “They brainwashed him for 3½ years and, in many ways, made him act exactly like one of them…We are working hard to bring him back to normal.”

On January 16, ACTED and People In Need (PIN) worked to distribute supplies to families in Hawija and Sharqat. Together, ACTED and PIN distributed hygiene kits, household goods, and baby kits to 4,679 individuals. Since the arrival of winter, ACTED and PIN have begun to focus on giving essential winter supplies to families in Hawija and Sharqat in order to survive the cold, winter temperatures in Iraq.

On January 17, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released the final numbers for the funding for the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan. In total, US$ 892.8 million was donated, which accounted for 91 percent of the total contributions requested. The United States and Germany were the top two contributors, accounting for more than half of the total contributions. 2017 was the highest year for contributions to Iraq since 2007.

U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq Unrelated to Combat

On January 9, the Pentagon reported that a U.S. soldier was killed in Anbar Province, Iraq in a non-combat situation. According to a release by the Pentagon, 24-year-old Spc. Javion Shavonte Sullivan of Fort Mill, South Carolina, died January 8. Sullivan was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. He was taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve, an effort to combat the Islamic State in Iraq. Sullivan’s death is under investigation. Sullivan is the first U.S. service member to die in Iraq this year, and the 22nd since Operation Inherent Resolve began in the fall of 2014.

IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

01/18/2018Doura, south of Baghdad12
01/17/2018Terfaya Region, Jawala, northeast of Diyala Province27
01/17/2018Mada'in District, south of Baghdad14
01/17/2018Tarmiyah, northern Baghdad03
01/16/2018Tobji, western Baghdad10
01/15/2018Tayaran Square, Baghdad2695
01/15/2018Diyala Bridge, southeastern Baghdad03
01/14/2018Twaisa, Basra Province00
01/13/2018Husseiniya Rashidiya, northern Baghdad 13
01/13/2018Aden Square, Baghdad24
01/12/2018Alwa Jamila District, Sadr City, eastern Baghdad13
01/11/2018Hit, Anbar Province07
01/10/2018Southeastern Muqdadiya, Diyala Province01
01/10/2018Mada'in District, 40km south of Baghdad15
01/10/2018Nahrawan District, southeastern Baghdad03
01/08/2018Elounda Basin, 55km east of Baqubah20
01/06/2018Saary Tapah, south of Qarah Tapah00
01/06/2018Al-Risaala, 35km northeast of Baqubah01
01/06/2018Shanshaal, Qarah Tapah, 120km northeast of Baqubah02


Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.

Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center.

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