ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: JANUARY 23 – JANUARY 30, 2020

ISHM LOGO

Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr And Militias Organize Anti-U.S. March; Hundreds Of Civilians Killed And Injured In New Crackdown; President Salih Gives Parties Three Days To Select A New PM – On January 24, supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr and several militia groups turned out for a mass protest against American presence in Iraq. Sadr demanded the closure of all “American bases” and offices of American security firms in Iraq, and closing Iraq’s airspace to U.S. combat and intelligence aircraft. On January 25, government forces launched a new crackdown and used live bullets, pellet guns and tear gas against protesters to forcibly reopen key roads and squares in Baghdad. In Nasiriyah, unidentified gunmen set fire to protesters’ tents and used live ammunition to disperse protesters. At least 12 protesters were killed and 230 were injured over two days during the crackdown that was also heavy in Basra. The crackdown followed a statement by Muqtada al-Sadr in which he withdrew his support for the anti-government protests. On January 27, following a new mortar attack on the American embassy in Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced his frustration with Baghdad’s inability to stop these incidents. On January 27, the ambassadors of 16 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the U.S., condemned the latest killing and injuring of protesters by Iraqi security forces and militias. On January 27, the PUK elected Iraqi President Barham Salih as the party’s new secretary general, and elected Bafel Talaban and Lahore Janki as his two deputies. On January 29, Iraqi President Barham Salih gave political blocs until February 1 to nominate a new prime minister who is acceptable to the Iraqi public. Salih warned that if the blocs fail to reach an agreement by this deadline, he would use his constitutional powers to choose a candidate whom he deems qualified and acceptable to the Parliament and the people. more…
  • U.S. Embassy In Baghdad Attacked Again; Germany Resumes Training Operations In The KRI; Iraq Asks Pakistan To Help Train Pilots – On January 26, Germany resumed its mission of training Iraqi security forces through its 90-person mission in Erbil, but Germany’s personnel who were evacuated from central Iraq have not returned yet. On January 26, five mortar shells targeted the American embassy in Baghdad. One shell struck an embassy dining facility, injuring at least one person. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. On January 27, an IED killed a policeman in northeastern Diyala. On January 28, an under-vehicle IED injured two people in Mosul. On January 29, an IED killed one man and injured three children south of Mosul. On January 27, Western security officials attributed a series of 2018-2019 cyber attacks on Iraq’s national security adviser to state-backed Turkish operations. On January 28, ISIS militants killed one fisherman and injured another near the Tigris river in civilian in Salah ad-Din. On January 29, an ISIS sniper killed an Iraqi soldier in Diyala. On January 29, ISIS militants killed two Iraqi soldiers on the road between Kirkuk and Baghdad. On January 28, the commander of the Iraqi air force met with a visiting Pakistani delegation and discussed potential collaboration, including Pakistan’s training Iraqi pilots and logistical support for Iraq’s air force. more…
  • UN Humanitarian Plan Targets 1.7 Million People In 2020; UN Report Identifies Serious Problems With Terrorism Trials In Iraq; Report Points To Continuing “Grave Violations” Against Children – On January 24, one Iraqi and three French nationals working for a French Christian Charity were reported missing in Baghdad. On January 25, Pope Francis met with President Salih and called for open dialogue and peaceful coexistence between Iraqi Christians and Muslims. On January 27, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020 needs $519.8 million to provide assistance to 1.77 million people in need. The plan’s “priorities will include vulnerable IDPs who have not been able to achieve durable solutions…returnees living in areas of high severity and people with critical protection needs.” On January 28, Iraqi government forces raided and closed down the Baghdad office of Dijlah TV following a January 20 interview that ended in an on-air shouting match between a Dijlah news anchor and a government spokesman about the number of protesters killed by security forces. On January 28, UNAMI and the UNHCR released an evaluation of the Iraqi justice system’s performance with regard to terrorism related trials in Iraq. The report identified several serious shortcomings, and urged Iraqi authorities to seek improvements in trial standards to avoid recreating the injustices that helped the rise of ISIS. On January 29, the IHCHR said that there were at least “49 assassinations or attempted assassinations, and 72 kidnappings of demonstrators, activists and bloggers,” since October 1. On January 29, a report by the UN Office for Children and Armed Conflict documented 2,114 cases of severe violations of children’s rights, mostly dating back to the 2015-2016 period. It mentions that 1,722 children died or were seriously injured as a result of military operations or post-conflict explosions of remnants of war, while government forces were holding 778 children in custody for alleged links to ISIS. more…
  • Nasiriyah Oil Field Faces New Shutdown; Iraq Approves New Gas Contracts; Fuel Oil Revenue Rises; EASA Relaxes Flight Restrictions – On January 23, Iraq was forced again to suspend production at the Nasiriyah oil field for several days as protesters cut roads across the province, including those which oil workers use to reach the field. On January 23, the Iraqi government agreed to approve contracts initialed in 2018 for the development of multiple gas fields in Diyala province. The government expects the fields to produce at least 750 million cubic feet/day of gas within 36 months. On January 28, the Oil Ministry said it generated more than $174 million from selling four spot shipments of fuel oil in December and January under a new mechanism designed to boost revenue from the byproduct fuel. On January 29, the European Aviation Safety Agency reduced restrictions on overflights through Iraqi airspace by European airlines that were put in place earlier this month. 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.


Sadr And Militias Organize Anti-U.S. March; Hundreds Of Civilians Killed And Injured In New Crackdown; President Salih Gives Parties Three Days To Select A New PM

On January 24, followers of Moqtada al-Sadr and supporters of several militia groups turned out for a mass unified peaceful protest against American presence in Iraq. Sadr had called for these protests on January 14, and the call was endorsed by Bina leader Hadi al-Amiri and other militia leaders. Sadr expressed his frustration with the anti-government protesters, with whom Sadr has had an uneasy alliance, because they did not support, and may have even obstructed, the anti-U.S. protests he had called for. Sadr then withdrew his support for the anti-government movement, declaring that he will “try not to interfere in their affairs negatively or positively”. In a later statement, Sadr outlined his vision for ending the “U.S. occupation.” He demanded the closure of all “American bases” and offices of American security firms in Iraq, and closing Iraq’s airspace to U.S. combat and intelligence aircraft. Sadr also demanded that Iraq cancels all security agreements with the U.S. Alongside these demands, Sadr offered a temporary pause in armed action until the last U.S. soldier is out and to punish any party that breaks the truce, urging the Iraqi government to work to protect diplomatic sites. Sadr also made a commitment to the integration of the popular mobilization forces (PMF) into state forces. Sadr said he would stop dealing with the U.S. as a hostile “occupier” if Washington accepted his terms.  Sadr urged neighboring states not to intervene if the U.S. refused to comply so that Iraq may deal with the issue as a sovereign state.

On January 25, Iraqi government forces used excessive force against protesters  in an attempt to forcibly reopen the Ahrar Bridge, Wathba Square, Khalani Square and Mohammed Qassim highway in Baghdad. Government forces fired live bullets, pellet guns and tear gas during the crackdown that was also heavy in Basra and Dhi-Qar, killing at least 12 protesters and injuring another 230 people over two days, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights. In Nasiriyah, the capital of Dhi-Qar, unidentified armed groups  set fire to protestors’ tents and used live ammunition and tear gas abundantly to disperse protesters, killing three of them and wounding 75 others. Footage circulating on social media showed both government forces and what appeared to be armed men in civilian clothes open fire in the direction of protesters. The latest crackdown shortly followed a statement by Muqtada al-Sadr in which he declared that he was withdrawing his support for the anti-government protests. The departure of Sadr’s followers from protest grounds in Baghdad and elsewhere created a temporary vacuum and made the protest movement appear vulnerable as the government crackdown unfolded. The protests organizers appeared able to recover from the setback very quickly. In Nasiriyah, protestors started replacing the burnt tent with new structures built with bricks. Thousands of protesters and students took to the streets in several provinces to express solidarity with Dhi-Qar and press the demands for reforms. In Wasit, there were reports of further violence on January 28, where security forces injured at least 20 and arrested dozens who were released later after signing pledges to not participate in school closures, which have been a regular feature of protests. Footage from January 30 indicated government forces were using live ammunition to scatter renewed protests in al-Wathba square in central Baghdad. Meanwhile, protesters in Diwaniyah appealed to the UN to intervene to stop the “systematic killing” of protesters, accusing the Iraqi government of deliberately ignoring their pleas. 

On January 25, Kurdistan 24 reported that Masrour Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdish region of Iraq (KRI), met with Iraq’s Minister of Defense Najah al-Shammari in Erbil to discuss the increasing threat that ISIS poses to disputed territories outside the control of KRI security forces. Barzani reportedly told Shammari that greater cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces was essential for deterring the new ISIS threat. In spite of this demonstration of goodwill at the top, there were signs that relations between federal and KRI forces remained tense on the ground. On January 28, Peshmerga forces in the disputed town of Qara Hanjir, east of Kirkuk city, blocked Iraqi army units, sent ostensibly as reinforcements to boost security in the area, from entering the town. A Peshmerga officer said he told the federal troops that there was “no need for other security units to be stationed [in areas under Peshmerga control], or even visit them.” 

On January 27, following a new mortar attack on the American embassy in Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Iraq to protect U.S. facilities, voicing his frustration with Baghdad’s inability to stop these incidents. Attacks against facilities hosting American personnel in Iraq have been common in recent months, particularly since the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani and PMF commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Care-taker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi condemned the attack, while the head of the Fatah alliance, Hadi al-Amiri stated that such attacks impede the expulsion of foreign forces from Iraq. A senior PMF official denied responsibility. No entity has claimed responsibility.   

On January 27, a European diplomatic source said that NATO members were considering plans  to increase the level of training and military advisory personnel at NATO’s mission in Iraq. NATO’s tentative plan would reassign trainers from the U.S.-led global coalition against ISIS, allowing NATO to expand its Iraq mission’s role–something U.S. President Donald Trump asked NATO to do in early January– without sending new personnel to Iraq. The diplomat said the proposal enjoyed good support among NATO governments and could be voted on next month. 

On January 27, the ambassadors of 16 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the United States, issued a statement condemning the latest killing and injuring of protesters by Iraqi security forces and militia groups. The statement denounced Baghdad’s failure to uphold previous pledges to stop the killings, abductions, acts of intimidation and heavy use of live bullets and military-grade tear gas grenades. In their joint statement, the 16 envoys called on the government to investigate the deaths of these protestors and hold the perpetrators accountable. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, also condemned the latest wave of violence and use of live munitions against protesters in a statement issued on January 30. The UN envoy urged Iraqi politicians to end the political stalemate that created an environment of violence that has resulted in the deaths of 467 protesters and the injuries of over 9,000 protesters since October 1. The envoy noted that “many [Iraqis] have sacrificed everything to have their voices heard. Solutions are urgently needed. Iraq cannot afford the ongoing violent oppression nor the political and economic paralysis.”

On January 29, Iraqi President Barham Salih announced February 1 as the final deadline for political blocs to nominate a new prime minister who is acceptable to the Iraqi public. Salih warned that if the blocs fail to reach an agreement by this deadline, he would use his constitutional powers to choose a candidate whom he deems qualified and acceptable to the Parliament and the people. Salih’s announcement follows assertions by the Fatah alliance that the political parties have agreed in principle on former minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi to serve as interim prime minister. Fatah sources said Allawi met two important conditions: supporting the expulsion of U.S. forces from Iraq, and pushing the implementation of the controversial oil-for-projects deal with China. These two issues were mentioned by key figures within Fatah, like Asaib al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazali, as a condition that the next prime minister must meet. On January 29, political sources claimed that Saeroun and Fatah both endorsed Allawi’s nomination. However, subsequent statements indicated that the parties have not reached an agreement. On January 30, a member of Asaib Ahl al-Haq stated that Allawi did not meet the Asaib’s criteria, while a social media account associated with Moqtada al-Sadr said that Saeroun seeks an interim prime minister who meets the people’s approval, “not the whims of the political blocs.” 


U.S. Embassy In Baghdad Attacked Again; Germany Resumes Training Operations In The KRI; Iraq Asks Pakistan To Help Train Pilots

On January 25, unidentified gunmen shot and wounded a civilian in Shoufah, north Nasiriyah.  On January 27, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a civilian in Zaytoun neighborhood, east Diwaniyah.

On January 26, unidentified gunmen with silenced weapons killed a policeman in Sadr City in east Baghdad. On January 28, groups of unidentified gunmen using silencers shot and killed a retired army general in Dora, in south Baghdad, assassinated Dr. Muhammad Hussein Alwan of al-Mustansiriyah University in al-Bunuk, in north Baghdad, and killed a civilian in al-Madaen, southeast of Baghdad. On January 29, unidentified gunmen using silenced weapons killed a soldier in Dora, in south Baghdad.

On January 26, Germany resumed its mission of training Iraqi security forces through its 90-person mission in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Germany had suspended all security activities as part of the U.S.-led International Coalition in Iraq on January 3 in light of security concerns following the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani and PMF commnader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Another group of 35 German personnel were also evacuated from central Iraq as part of security measures connected with the suspension, and this contingent has not returned to Iraq yet.

On January 26, five 120-millimeter mortar shells targeted the American embassy in Baghdad. One shell struck an embassy dining facility, injuring at least one person and causing limited structural damage. The other four rounds are believed to have fallen short of the embassy. A preliminary Iraqi investigation identified Buaytha, a south Baghdad neighborhood that used to be an al-Qaeda stronghold during 2007-2008, as the launch site. An Iraqi security official responsible for the investigation said the generic nature of the mortars made it difficult to rule out any perpetrators, even if the launch site pointed to the possible involvement of ISIS.

On January 27, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded and killed a policeman in the Abu Saida subdistrict in northeastern Diyala. On January 27, an IED exploded near a vehicle belonging to the Iraqi army in the Daquq district south Kirkuk, without causing injuries. On January 28, an under-vehicle IED (UVIED) exploded and injured two people in the neighborhood of al-Rifai, in west Mosul. On January 29, an IED exploded and killed one man and injured three children from the same family in the village of Hammad, in al-Hadhar region, south of Mosul.

On January 27, Reuters reported that three Western security officials attributed a series of 2018-2019 cyberattacks on Iraq’s national security adviser, among other international targets, to state-backed Turkish operations. Iraq’s national security adviser, Falih al-Fayadh, also serves as the chairman on the PMF committee. The Turkish and Iraqi governments have not commented.

On January 28, ISIS militants killed one fisherman and injured another civilian near the Tigris river in al-Dour district, central Salah ad-Din province. On January 29, an ISIS sniper killed an Iraqi soldier in the Buhruz region, south of Baquba in Diyala province. On January 29, ISIS militants killed two Iraqi soldiers in an assault on an army post on the road between Kirkuk and Baghdad. 

On January 28, the commander of the Iraqi air force met with a visiting Pakistani delegation led by the deputy commander of Pakistan’s air force. The two sides discussed potential collaboration, including Pakistan’s training Iraqi pilots and logistical support for Iraq’s air force. The meetings coincided with unconfirmed reports suggesting that the U.S. government has suspended the provision of munitions for Iraq’s F-16 fleet until further notice due to security concerns.


UN Humanitarian Plan Targets 1.7 Million People In 2020; UN Report Identifies Serious Problems With Terrorism Trials In Iraq; Report Points To Continuing “Grave Violations” Against Children

On January 24, one Iraqi and three French nationals working for a French Christian Charity in Iraq were reported missing during a work trip that involved visiting government agencies in Baghdad. The charity, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient said that they have not received any demands for ransom demands, adding that the Iraqi and French governments were working together to investigate the circumstances of the four men’s disappearance. The disappearance occurred amidst rising fears of retribution by militias against Western personnel in light of the escalation in hostilities between the U.S. and Iran-backed militias. 

On January 25, President Salih met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Conversation centered around the need for open dialogue and peaceful coexistence between Iraqi Christians and Muslims. In June 2019, the UN reported that the number of Christians living in Iraq had dropped by 80%, from 1.2 million in 2003 to 250,000. Conversations with members of Christian, Yazidi and other minorities point to continued security, economic and political representation problems, that have obstructed the return large segments of minority communities to their lands following their occupation by ISIS in 2014. 

On January 25, the Basra Operations commander said security forces in the province released all demonstrators who had been detained over the previous 24 hours which saw an escalation between protesters and government forces. The Iraq High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) praised authorities for their cooperation in “protecting the legal and humanitarian rights” of demonstrators in the province. On January 28, the Bar Association of Diwaniyah offered free legal representation to detained protesters, citing concerns over unjust and “inhumane” legal proceedings.

On January 26, France contributed $670,000 to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for the removal of improvised explosive devices. On January 29, Germany pledged another $2.2 million to support the same effort. UNMAS initiatives are critical to the continued safe return of Iraqi IDPs to their home districts that had seen heavy combat during the war with ISIS. 

On January 27, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided an update on the status of Syrian refugees in Iraq. The document showed that 19,861 individuals entered the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) since October 9. Of this total, 8,519 gained clearance to reside outside of refugee camps, and many of them were reunited with relatives. The update also mentioned that 809 individuals have returned to Syria. The newly arrived refugees who are in camps are distributed between Bardarash (7,831) and Gawilan(1,955). The report identified ongoing needs and obstacles in several areas including refugees’ ability to obtain residency cards, limitations on extended family reunification, poor livelihood prospects, access to formal schools, and hygiene services. The report put the total number of Syrian refugees in Iraq, including arrivals since Turkish military operations in northeast Syria began in October and previous refugees from the Syrian civil war at 244,810.

On January 27, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020, which seeks to address ongoing needs associated with the war with ISIS. The document points out a decline in the number of people in need from 6.7 million in 2019 to 4.1 million. The document also puts the number of internally displaced people (IDP) at 1.4 million, pointing to a decline in formal camp population against an increase in out-of-camp cases, as the Iraqi government continues its policy of closing and consolidating IDP camps. The plan aims to provide assistance to 1.77 million people, for which $519.8 million will be needed for 2020, down from $701.15 million last year. Most of the population in need is located in the provinces of the KRI, as well as Ninewa, Salah ad-Din, Baghdad, Kirkuk and Diyala. The plan’s “priorities will include vulnerable IDPs who have not been able to achieve durable solutions and continue to have acute humanitarian needs, returnees living in areas of high severity and people with critical protection needs.” 

On January 27, security forces in the KRI wounded two protesters in Said Sadiq, east of Sulaimaniya. The protesters were demanding better basic services, including longer electricity hours from the national grid, and better kerosene supplies, which locals rely on for heating during winter. Security forces also briefly arrested two NRT reporters who were covering the events and confiscated their equipment. The march’s organizer, Zana Ali, reported that government authorities sent him death threats for his role in the protest.

On January 28, Iraqi government forces raided and closed down the Baghdad office of Dijlah TV. The Jordanian Media Commission also suspended the station’s operations in Amman for one month, citing violations of the terms of their license. The station is known for its extensive coverage of protests in Iraq and its offices were ransacked on October 5 and was punished as part of a larger government-ordered shutdown in November. Dijlah’s staff, among other members of the press, have also been targeted individually bv government forces and armed groups. On January 10, unidentified gunmen killed Dijlah reporter Ahmed Abdul-Samad and cameraman Safa Ghali in Basra. The latest closure followed a January 20 interview that ended in an on-air shouting match between a Dijlah news anchor and government spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who claimed that no protesters had been killed by live ammunition fired by security forces. 

On January 28, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) released a report of their evaluation of the Iraqi justice system’s performance with regard to terrorism related trials in Iraq. The report looked into 794 trials in nine Iraqi provinces, out of a total of 20,000 held in Iraq from May 2018 to October 2019. Although the report observed that the hearing processes were generally organized and took place in good order, it identified several serious shortcomings. Primary concerns were poor legal representation, time constraints on defense planning, the heavy reliance on confessions by courts that ignore allegations of coercion, the vagueness of the anit-terror law that governs these trials, and the adoption of the death penalty for various offenses that do not merit harsh punishment. The report urged Iraqi authorities to seek improvements in trial standards as a means to avoid recreating the injustices “both real and perceived” that pushed many people to resort to violence and created the conditions for the rise of ISIS. 

On January 29, the IHCHR released updated figures about targeted attacks against protesters, activists and members of the press since October 1. According to the new statistics, there were at least “49 assassinations or attempted assassinations, and 72 kidnappings of demonstrators, activists and bloggers.” The IHCHR also said it counted at least 50 other violations against journalists and the media since October 1. These included beatings, intimidation, destruction of equipment or obstruction of coverage. Commission member Fadhil al-Gharawi called on security forces to protect protesters and journalists and prosecute the culprits behind the violence and the attempts to silence dissent.

On January 29, the UN Office for Children and Armed Conflict reported their findings on the impact of the conflict with ISIS on Iraqi children during the four-year period between July 2015 and July 2019. The report documents 2,114 total cases of severe violations of children’s rights, mostly dating back to the 2015-2016 period. The report notes the Iraqi government has made sginificant policy actions, including finalizing the National Child Protection Policy in December 2017 and taking initial steps towards registering children born of rape for equal access to education and other services. However, the document warns that serious violations continue to affect children. In particular, it mentions that ISIS and the popular mobilization forces recruited 296 children to fight, while government forces were holding 778 children in custody for alleged links to ISIS as of June 2019. The report also says that a total of 1,722 children died or were seriously injured as a result of military operations or post-conflict explosions of remnants of war. The report also listed 86 abductions, ten cases of rape or sexual violence and seven incidents of denial of humanitarian access. The report cautions that  available numbers of sexual abuse cases vastly underestimate the true extent of violations due to fear of retribution, victims’ inability to report, and social stigma.


Nasiriyah Oil Field Faces New Shutdown; Iraq Approves New Gas Contracts; Fuel Oil Revenue Rises; EASA Relaxes Flight Restrictions

On January 23, the Dhi-Qar oil company said it was forced to continue to suspend production at the Nasiriyah oil field as protesters cut roads across the province, including those which oil workers use to reach the field. The 80,000 bpd Nasiriyah has suffered other disruptions due to protest activity in the surrounding area, including a December 29 shutdown. The field workers were reportedly able to go back to work and restart operations in the field by January 25. 

On January 23, the Iraqi government agreed to approve a group of contracts initialed during the country’s fifth bidding round for oil and gas exploration blocks in 2018. The contracts in question  involve the Gilabat/Qumar, and Khashim Ahmar fields, to be developed by the UAE-based Crescent Petroleum, and the Naft Khana field, to be developed by GeoJade Petroleum, a Chinese company. All three licenses are located in Diyala province. The Iraqi government expects the fields to produce at least 750 million cubic feet/day of natural gas within 36 months, and help reduce Iraq’s dependence on natural gas and electricity imported from Iran. Currently, Iraq imports three million cubic meters/day (MMcm/d) of natural gas from Iran, a reduced volume from the contracted 25 MMcm/d due to rising domestic demand inside Iran amid winter conditions. This energy dependency on Iran has become a point of concern, as Washington may deny Iraq new sanctions waivers that have so far allowed Baghdad to import energy from Iran. The current waiver will expire in February. In a bid to secure other sources of energy, on January 3, Iraq signed an agreement with the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council members to import 500 megawatts of electricity by the summer of 2020. 

On January 28, the Oil Ministry announced that it generated more than $174 million in revenues from selling four spot shipments of fuel oil in December and January. A ministry official said the shipments benefited from a new mechanism, approved on November 13, which authorized the State Organization for Marketing Oil (SOMO) to directly market the surplus fuel and assign all loading, storage, and transport operations to the Iraqi Oil Tankers Company. According to the SOMO director, adopting the new mechanism allowed the ministry to generate an additional $81 million in revenue when compared with sales executed under the previous mechanism. 

On January 29, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reduced restrictions on overflights through Iraqi airspace by European airlines. The restrictions were put in place as a precaution amid hostilities between Iran and the U.S. in Iraq, and the shooting down of a Ukranian passenger jet by Iran’s military on January 8. The EASA also restated its recommendation for airlines to only utilize two predetermined air routes through Iraqi space. 


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from January 23 - January 30, 2020

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
01/27/20Daquq, Kirkuk00
01/27/20Abu Saida, Diyala10
01/28/20Al-Rifai, Ninewa02
01/29/20Al-Hadhar, Ninewah13

 

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.


Subscribe to our weekly ISHM and have the latest developments in Iraq sent straight to your inbox every Thursday and follow EPIC on Twitter to receive updates throughout the week.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email