ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: OCTOBER 24 – OCTOBER 31, 2019

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Key Takeaways:

  • At Least 100 Killed In Violence Against Anti-Government Protesters; Pressure Mounts On Abdul-Mahdi To Resign; President Salih Pushes Electoral Reforms – On October 25, anti-government protests resumed, with thousands of Iraqis taking to the streets in Baghdad, Nasiriya, Basra, Samawa, and other cities to express frustration with poor services, corruption, unemployment, and foreign interference. Militias and Iraqi security forces (ISF) used violence, including tear gas, rubber bullets, sound bombs, and even live fire to disrupt the protests. Reports indicate that at least 100 Iraqis have been killed and roughly 5,500 injured since October 25. On October 26, Moqtada al-Sadr increased the political pressure on Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi with a demand for his resignation and a call for early elections under UN supervision. Sadr’s followers in Parliament joined the al-Hikma and Nasr blocs to form a joint opposition alliance against the prime minister. On October 28, former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation and for establishing an interim government to prepare for early elections. On October 26, Parliament initiated a series of measures in response to continuing pressure from protests. The measures included a vote to dissolve the provincial, district, and sub-district councils, a special committee to present recommendations for constitutional amendments, and a vote to eliminate financial benefits allocated to senior government officials. On October 31, President Barham Salih announced in a televised statement that he supports the demands of the protests, acknowledging that “the current status quo is no longer sustainable,” and calling for the passage of a new electoral law to pave the way for early elections. more…
  • U.S. Raid In Syria Kills ISIS Leader; Militant Attacks Focus On Diyala; Mortar Attacks Strike Near U.S. Embassy, Major Military Base – On October 26, the U.S. Army Delta Forces raided a compound near Idlib city in Syria, resulting in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Syrian Kurds and Iraqi intelligence organizations played important roles in identifying Baghdadi’s location. On October 24, ISIS militants killed a civilian and wounded two in an attack on a village near Khanaqin in Diyala. On October 25, gunmen killed one civilian in the village of Abu Saida, also in Diyala. On October 25, ISIS snipers killed two members of the federal police and injured three near Taza, south of Kirkuk. On October 27, ISIS militants wounded four members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in an attack on their outpost in Diyala. ISIS militants also attacked an oil field near Naft Khana, but PMF forces repelled them, killing three ISIS members. On October 28, an IED killed two civilians near Muqdadiyah in Diyala. On October 30, mortar shells struck outside the provincial government building in Baqubah, without causing casualties. On October 28, mortar shells struck near Camp Taji north of Baghdad without causing casualties. On October 30, mortar shells struck near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, killing one Iraqi and injuring two. more…
  • UN Representative Visits Protesters, Urges Dialogue; More Than 13,000 Syrian Refugees Cross Into Iraq; Report Attributes Deaths To Use Of Military-Grade Tear Gas Grenades – On October 30, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, visited protesters in Tahrir Square and called for a substantive dialogue with the government. On October 31, the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCCC) reported that the KRI has admitted a total of 13,572 Syrian refugees since October 14. On October 31, Amnesty International reported that security forces in Iraq are using heavy, military-grade tear gas grenades to disperse protesters, resulting in several deaths among civilians. more…
  • World Bank Tells Iraq To Focus On Agriculture; Protesters Shut Down Main Port; Iraq Postpones Major Trade Fair – On October 25, the World Bank published the Iraq Economic Monitor for the fall of 2019, which focuses on the need to diversify the economy and create more private sector jobs to maintain growth. The report highlighted the potential of the agricultural sector in particular as a path toward economic diversification and real job creation. On October 29, operations at Umm Qasr port in Basra decreased to just a fifth of their usual levels due to protesters blocking the port’s entrance. On October 29, the General Company for Trade Fairs postponed the 46th edition of the Baghdad International Fair, originally scheduled for Friday, November 1. On October 28, Iraq’s Ministry of Oil announced that crude oil exports in September averaged 3.575 million barrels per day and generated over $6 billion in revenue. 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.


At Least 100 Killed In Violence Against Anti-Government Protesters; Pressure Mounts On Abdul-Mahdi To Resign; President Salih Pushes Electroal Reforms

On October 25, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi addressed Iraqis in the early hours of the morning in an attempt to absorb popular anger ahead of renewed protests. He promised to respond to protesters’ grievances over unemployment, corruption, and accountability for violence against demonstrators since October 1. Abdul-Mahdi warned that chaos would ensue if the current government resigned, promising gradual reforms starting with a cabinet reshuffle followed by constitutional amendments to meet the requests of the protesters. Later that morning, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most influential Shia cleric, released a statement criticizing government investigations into the violence against protesters, saying they did not provide sufficient information on who was responsible. Sistani also urged both security forces and demonstrators to avoid violence during protests that were set to resume that day. 

On October 25, anti-government protests resumed, with thousands of Iraqis taking to the streets in Baghdad, Nasiriya, Basra, Samawa, and other cities south of the capital. Protesters expressed frustration with poor services, government corruption, high unemployment, and foreign interference — grievances that have fueled bloody demonstrations since early October. Protesters also condemned the violence government and militia forces used to suppress earlier demonstrations, which according to the government’s own investigations, killed at least 149 civilians and injured thousands. Once again, militia groups and Iraqi security forces (ISF) used tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs to disperse protesters. Violence against protesters escalated over the week. Videos circulating on social media showed tear gas canisters being aimed directly at protesters. Over the first two days of demonstrations, at least 67 protesters were killed and hundreds were injured. Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) accused the Ministry of Health of withholding information on casualties among the protesters. In defiance of curfews imposed in Dhi-Qar, Basra, Wasit, Baghdad, Diwaniyah, and Muthanna provinces, protesters camped out overnight, particularly at Tahrir Square. On October 25, Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service (CTS) deployed its forces to Baghdad to allegedly protect government buildings from damage, and a security source claimed that members of the CTS were directed to “use all necessary measures” to do so. On October 27, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the de-facto leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), threatened that the paramilitary force would intervene to defeat what he described as a foreign connected conspiracy exploiting the protests to plot against Iraq. The IHCHR reported that 90 government, party, and private buildings had been burned or damaged. In Dhi-Qar, a source told al-Mada that security forces stood by as militants from Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a powerful PMF faction, shot and killed protesters over a period of four hours after protesters torched the militia’s office. On October 27 and 28, thousands of university and highschool students skipped school to join the protests in Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriya, Najaf, Maysan, and al-Qadisiyah, ignoring Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s orders for schools and offices to run uninterrupted. The ISF reportedly beat high school students in Baghdad and aimed tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads. In Karbala, on October 30, the BBC reported that masked gunmen opened fire and killed eighteen people and injured hundreds more in an overnight attack that sources say was unprovoked and excessive. Karbala’s governor and police chief, however, denied that any protesters were shot. Also on October 30, in an effort to secure the Green Zone, ISF clashed with protesters on Jumhouriya Bridge, killing two demonstrators with tear gas canisters. On October 31, protesters approached the Green Zone from the direction of the Sinak Bridge, where ISF killed a protester and injured over fifty. Protests seemed to sustain their momentum into Thursday, particularly in Baghdad, with social media showing great numbers of demonstrators continuing to fill Tahrir Square. As of writing, the IHCHR reported that at least 100 Iraqis have been killed and roughly 5,500 injured during the protests since October 25.

On October 26, Moqtada al-Sadr increased the pressure on Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi with a series of statements, starting with a demand for Abdul-Mahdi and his government to “resign or be dismissed,” and later calling on Abdul-Mahdi to go to Parliament and initiate early elections under UN supervision. Sadr argued that these elections should not include any political parties currently in government unless they were deemed “accepted by the people,” a statement likely designed to justify the inclusion of Sadr’s own followers. Abdul-Mahdi responded to Sadr with a letter in which he argued that early elections require specific constitutional procedures involving the president and Parliament. He also questioned how Sadr, or anyone else, could determine what parties were “accepted by the people.” Abdul-Mahdi threw the ball back in Sadr’s court by suggesting the latter should meet with Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr organization and leader of the Bina coalition, to agree on nominating a new prime minister. Sadr continued the back and forth with another message on Twitter, urging Abdul-Mahdi to replace the election commission and present radical amendments to the constitution. Sadr also said that if Abdul-Mahdi refused to call for new elections, he would coordinate with al-Amiri to immediately withdraw confidence from the cabinet. Amiri responded with a vague, brief statement, offering to “work together to serve the interests of the Iraqi people and save the country,” without explicitly agreeing to replace the prime minister. On October 30, Sadr contradicted his original statement by saying he would no longer “join alliances with you,” implying his unwillingness to coordinate with Amiri and the Bina coalition. Sadr warned that Iraq might descend into chaos, similar to Syria or Yemen, should Abdul-Mahdi insist on staying in power. 

On October 26, Parliament initiated a series of measures in response to continuing pressure from anti-government protests demanding political and economic reforms. The measures included a vote to dissolve the provincial, district, and sub-district councils, and assign their authorities to the respective governors. Parliament also urged the judiciary to speed up its prosecution of corrupt officials and security officials who used violence against protesters. On the same day, parliament requested Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s attendance for questioning. On October 28, Moqtada al-Sadr demanded in a tweet that Abdul-Mahdi appear in front of parliament per its request, but also warned that parliament’s recent passage of legislation is a farcical attempt to quell protests. The prime minister hasn’t responded yet. On the same day, the Iraqi parliament voted to establish a special committee to present recommendations for constitutional amendments within four months, a process that was supposed to take place during the term of the first parliament elected in 2005. Parliament also voted to eliminate financial privileges allocated to members of parliament, ministers, senior officials, governors, as well as the speaker, president, and the prime minister. Other measures aimed at reducing wasteful spending included the elimination of double pay for former political prisoners, often associated with ruling Islamist parties, and the preparation of amendments to the retirement law to decrease the retimrement age. On October 29, parliament voted to remove immunity from any deputies accused of corruption. At least four members of parliament, including two from the communist party, resigned so far, citing the government’s inability to respond to protesters demands.

On October 27, the parliamentary blocs of al-Hikma, Saeroun, and Nasr agreed to form a joint opposition alliance against the prime minister to establish accountability for violence against protesters. The new body, which resembles the Islah (Reform) coalition the three blocs formed in 2018 during post-election government formation talks, is said to have 100 MPs. On October 26, Moqtada al-Sadr’s Saeroun bloc announced their opposition to the government of Adil Abdul-Mahdi, after members of Parliament filed requests to question the prime minister on issues of corruption earlier this month. Now, the alliance also seeks to question the prime minister on his potential involvement in delaying reforms and authorizing the excessive force used against protesters. 

On October 28, former prime minister and head of the Nasr Alliance, Haider al-Abadi called for the resignation of the current government and for establishing an interim government to prepare for early elections. Abadi also called for reforming Iraq’s judiciary and amending the country’s constitution. Despite mounting calls for his resignation, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi continues to enjoy the support of influential political figures. On October 27, Humam Hamoudi, a prominent parliamentarian member and leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, warned that forcing the government to resign would create a power vacuum that could plunge the country into civil war and lawlessness. Hamoudi echoed previous claims by other politicians close to the PMF that foreign conspiracies are using protests as a cover for sowing discord in Iraq. Also on October 27, leader of the State of Law coalition, Nuri al-Maliki, urged protesters to give the government “reasonable time” to allow it to meet their demands for reforms. 

On October 28, Jaafar Sadiq Allawi was sworn in as the new Minister of Health. Allawi’s new assignment comes after Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi finally accepted one of Alaa Alwan’s attempts to resign which began early in September. 

On October 28, seven members from Najaf’s provincial council submitted their resignations.  In a letter, the resigning members wrote that they believed the entire provincial council should be discontinued in accordance with demands from protesters. Also on October 28, the head of the education committee from the Dhi-Qar provincial council and a member of the Diwaniya provincial council resigned. Both council members cited the government’s violence against protesters throughout recent demonstrations in their resignations. 

On October 30, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini blamed the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other “Western intelligence services” for provoking the anti-government protests that have escalated within Iraq throughout October. Because of the United States’ supposed involvement, Hossein Shariatmadari, an editor for a conservative Khameini-controlled newspaper, called on Iraqi protesters to “capture” the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. At the same time, Khameini advised protesters to advocate for reform through more restrained, legal channels.  Khamenie’s remarks reflect Iran’s interest in maintaining the political status-quo in Iraq, which favors the hardline political parties and militias under the umbrella of the PMF and Bina coalition. 

On October 31, President Barham Salih announced in a televised statement that he supports the demands of the protests, acknowledging that “the current status quo is no longer sustainable.” Salih called for the passage of a new electoral law to pave the way for early elections, adding that work is already underway to prepare a draft bill. Salih also said that  Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi would resign once political powers agree on a replacement, but did not offer a timeline for these measures. Salih has been speaking of electoral law reforms for several days. On October 28, during a meeting with representatives from the United Nations, universities, and trade associations, President Salih stressed the need to establish a time limit for drafting a new electoral law, highlighting its importance as a popular demand and a foundation for political and economic reforms. President Salih also noted that the project, which he said should ensure fair representation of minority communities, would require coordination with the United Nations to gain insight from other nations on how to prevent electoral fraud and foreign manipulation. Salih also emphasized the need to form an Independent Electoral Commission that is free of political party influence to safeguard the legitimacy of future elections.


U.S. Raid In Syria Kills ISIS Leader; Militant Attacks Focus On Diyala; Mortar Attacks Strike Near U.S. Embassy, Major Military Base

On October 24, police sources in Ninewa said that unknown gunmen shot and killed a civilian in the neighborhood of al-Rifai, in northwest Mosul.

On October 24, ISIS militants attacked a village near the district of Khanaqin in Diyala province. The militants killed a fourteen year old boy and injured two other civilians during the attack, according to a local official. 

On October 25, ISIS militants reportedly used sniper fire to attack Iraqi federal police forces near the Taza subdistrict, south of Kirkuk. The attack killed two members of the force and injured three more. 

On October 25, unidentified gunmen killed one civilian in an attack near his home in the village of Abu Saida, northeast of Baqubah in Diyala province. The attack took place despite a government-imposed curfew in the village that was prompted by a series of assassinations last week. 

On October 26, the U.S. Army Delta Forces raided a compound in the area of Barisha, 15 miles north of Idlib city in Syria, resulting in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The attack by U.S. soldiers forced Baghdadi to flee to an underground tunnel where he detonated the suicide vest he was wearing, killing himself and two children he dragged with him. There were no casualties among the U.S. troops. On October 30, head of the U.S. Central Command, Frank McKenzie, said the troops took off from a location within Syria and traveled by helicopter through Syrian airspace. Once inside the compound, U.S. forces killed four females and one male described as “enemy fighters.” The assault team safely removed eleven children from the compound and took two adult men into custody. After Baghdadi killed himself, the troops worked to confirm his identity and collect sensitive material from the complex before it was demolished by a U.S. airstrike. On the morning of October 27, U.S. President Donald Trump announced Baghdadi’s death and thanked Iraq and the Syrian Kurds for “certain support” they gave to the mission as well as “great intelligence professionals” without specifying their nationality. The commander of the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi, tweeted that there was a five month long joint US/SDF/ISF intelligence mission to track Baghdadi. The SDF continued to provide intelligence in spite of the U.S. withdrawal from northeastern Syria. The SDF reportedly sent spies to Baghdadi’s village where they collected evidence for DNA and blood testing in order to confirm his identity before the raid. The SDF also placed an asset inside Baghdadi’s close circle of aides, who organized Baghdadi’s transportation and the construction of his Syrian compound and relayed intelligence for months. This informant was extracted after the raid and is set to receive “some or all of the $25 million U.S. bounty.” Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abul-Mahdi called the mission a “victory for the Iraqi intelligence.” On October 28, a KRG spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) urged the Iraqi government and International Coalition to continue to fight ISIS and prevent its resurgence. On October 29, a spokesperson for the International Coalition against ISIS said Coalition forces would remain in Iraq “at the request” of the Iraqi government. The U.S. buried Baghdadi’s remains at sea, in accordance with U.S. military procedure. 

On October 27, units from the 7th Infantry Division of the Iraqi Army killed three ISIS members and arrested two others traveling by motorcycle in an area west of Lake Tharthar, which lies between Anbar and Salah ad-Din provinces. 

On October 27, members of the PMF clashed with ISIS militants in multiple areas within Diyala province. ISIS fighters wounded four members of the PMF 1st Brigade in an attack on their outpost in Khanaqin district. ISIS militants also attempted to attack an oil field in the Naft Khana region, southeast of Khanaqin, but PMF forces repelled the attack, killing three of the attackers. Additionally, an ISIS sniper injured two policemen at a security outpost outside Baqubah. 

On October 27, the senior Iraqi military commander in Kirkuk said that an airstrike by the International Coalition killed five ISIS militants in the Altun Kupri area between Kirkuk and Erbil. 

On October 27, a U.S. soldier based in Iraq as part of the International Coalition’s effort against ISIS died in what was described as a “non-combat incident” at Camp Taji, a major Iraqi military base that also houses U.S. military personnel north of Baghdad. A Pentagon official said the death is under investigation. 

On October 28, three mortar shells (another source mentioned a single rocket, and a third source mentioned two rockets) struck near Camp Taji north of Baghdad. Iraqi Defense Minister, Najah al-Shammari, said the attack did not compromise the security of the complex nor cause any casualties. 

On October 28, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded and killed a Ministry of Commerce employee and his daughter outside Muqdadiyah, northeast of Baqubah in Diyala province. 

On October 29, an IED exploded at the entrance to Musala Cemetery in Kirkuk City. On the same day, the ISF defused another IED in Kirkuk. There were no reports of casualties.

On October 30, an IED exploded outside the Basra office of the Iraqi Communist Party headquarters in the neighborhood of al-Tahsiniya. There were no reports of casualties. 

On October 30, two mortar shells landed outside the provincial government building in Baqubah, in Diyala province. Mortar fire was also reported in the village of Islah, northeast of Baqubah. Neither incident caused casualties.

On October 30, two mortar shells struck outside a restaurant near the U.S. embassy within the Green Zone in Baghdad. The attack killed one member of the ISF and injured one civilian and another member of the ISF. 

On October 31, a roadside IED exploded and injured two civilians in Badush, northwest of Mosul in Ninewa province.

On October 31, an IED targeting a security patrol exploded west of Baqubah in Diyala province. The attack caused no casualties.


UN Representative Visits Protesters, Urges Dialogue; More Than 13,000 Syrian Refugees Cross Into Iraq; Report Attributes Deaths To Use Of Military-Grade Teargas Grenades

On October 29, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned a draft law prepared by the government of Greece that would dramatically reduce protections for Iraqi asylum seekers in the country. The bill increases the amount of time an asylum seeker can be interned, removes a number of protections for children, and narrows the qualifying conditions that an asylum seeker can use to claim asylum. 

On October 30, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, visited protesters in Tahrir Square to discuss ways to address their demands. She called for a substantive and productive dialogue between demonstrators and the government. Throughout the week, the Special Representative released a series of statements regarding the protests. She urged the government to support peaceful protests, expressed concern about armed groups using violence to suppress protesters, and denounced the use of live fire against demonstrators in Karbala, where militiamen reportedly killed 18 protesters on October 29.  

On October 31, the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCCC) reported that the KRI has admitted a total of 13,572 Syrian refugees since October 14. The head of the JCCC had previously warned that 250,000 people could flee to the KRI from Syria due to hostilities between the SDF and Turkish military. As of October 26, the Bardarash camp had reached capacity with 11,000 residents on site, forcing hundreds of other refugees to travel to the Gawilan camp in Ninewa province. A spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said the organization was helping the KRG prepare additional camp locations. Peace Winds Japan, a UNHCR affiliate, is working to provide more than 2,000 new tents at Bardarash, where infrastructure deteriorated over at least two years of vacancy. UNHCR is also working to provide services and security to both Bardarash and Gawilan. Medecins Sans Frotieres (MSF) is at Bardarash camp, working to identify individuals with the greatest need for mental health support. According to the MSF mental health manager, 50% of the people the organization assessed had symptoms “linked to depression and anxiety, as well as Medically Unexplained Symptoms,” such as muscle stiffness or intense and persistent headaches. The influx of refugees is increasingly concerning as winter approaches and temperatures continue to drop, especially overnight.

On October 31, Amnesty International (AI) reported that security forces in Iraq are using military-grade tear gas grenades to disperse protesters. AI found, through their own investigation, that the two types of grenades being used, manufactured in Bulgaria and Serbia, are “up to 10 times as heavy as standard tear gas canisters.” When fired, these projectiles strike their target with enough force to cause serious injuries, or even death. Since October 25, these gas canisters have penetrated the skulls of Iraqi protesters and have caused several deaths. According to the AI report, these weapons are made exclusively for combat situations and are not intended for use by anti-riot forces. AI called on Iraqi authorities to immediately cease using these grenades against demonstrators.


World Bank Tells Iraq To Focus On Agriculture; Protesters Shut Down Main Port; Iraq Postpones Major Trade Fair

On October 25, the World Bank published the Iraq Economic Monitor for the fall of 2019, which focuses on the need to diversify the economy and create more private sector jobs to maintain growth. The World Bank’s study found that Iraq’s economy has grown by 4.8% this year, due to higher oil output, growing spending on public wages, and above average rainfall. The World Bank warned, however, that the recovery may be short-lived without undertaking fundamental reforms. The report underscored the fact that Iraq’s economic outlook faces several destabilizing factors, including limited private sector job creation, huge subsidies, corruption, and poor basic services. The report outlined recommendations for financial and public sector reforms, urged Baghdad to take measures to create a more business and investment-friendly environment, and encouraged Iraq to revise its social programs to be increasingly equitable and sustainable. The report highlighted the potential of the agricultural sector in particular as a path toward economic diversification and real job creation. 

On October 25, activist groups in Sulaymaniyah launched a campaign to boycott Turkish goods in opposition of Turkey’s military incursion into northeastern Syria. The campaign organizers hope that boycotting Turkish imports into Iraq through the KRI, valued at close to $6 billion per year, will push Turkish leaders to reconsider military operations against Kurds in Syria. The groups also hope the boycott will force KRG leaders to take a stronger stance against Turkey’s attacks on fellow Kurds in Syria. The boycott organizers have grown their online presence, including instructions on how to avoid Turkish products through barcode and brand name recognition. 

On October 28, Iraq’s Ministry of Oil announced that crude oil exports for the month of September exceeded 107.276 million barrels, for an average of 3.575 million barrels per day (bpd). These exports generated over $6 billion in revenue. Exports from the southern ports of Basra stood at 3.433 million bpd, while northern fields around Kirkuk exported an average of 105,000 bpd via the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Exports from the Qayyarah field in Ninewa exceeded 29,000 bpd, while trucks to Jordan delivered an average 7,400 bpd. The ministry added that Iraq sold its oil at an average price of $58.92. This month saw a slight decline from August averages, which were reported to be 3.603 million bpd.

On October 29, operations at Umm Qasr port in Basra decreased to just a fifth of their usual levels due to protesters blocking the port’s entrance. A port official told Reuters that protests prevented shift workers from reaching the site, and that officials had approached protesters about the issue to allow the port to resume normal operations. By October 30, however, the port was reportedly completely inaccessible as protesters sealed its entrance. Although Iraq does not use Umm Qasr for oil exports–these are handled through offshore platforms extending from al-Faw peninsula–the port is vital for key imports, such as essential food staples.

On October 29, the General Company for Trade Fairs announced that the 46th edition of the Baghdad International Fair, originally scheduled for Friday, November 1, will be postponed until November 11, without providing further details. The decision to postpone the event is most likely connected to the ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad. The fair organizers originally expected to bring in over 800 local and international companies from a total of 23 countries interested in conducting business with Iraq.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from October 24-October 31, 2019

The following table includes both civilian and security forces who were either injured or killed due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), or suicide attacks.
DateLocationDeathsInjuries
10/31/19West of Baqubah, Diyala00
10/31/19Mosul, Ninewa02
10/30/19Basra City, Basra00
10/29/19Kirkuk City, Kirkuk00
10/28/19Muqdadiya, Diyala20

 

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 Enabling Peace in Iraq Center.


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