- Kadhimi Says Government Ready For Showdown As Militias Issue Brazen Threats; Parliament To Discuss 2021 Budget On Saturday; Fatah Calls For Removing U.S. Forces – On December 25, PM Kadhimi warned “outlaw” militias that his government was “ready for a decisive confrontation if necessary” while stressing that he had called for de-escalation after a tense standoff in Baghdad. Kadhimi’s Defense Minister warned that a continuation of militia attacks on diplomatic missions could “lead the country into civil war.” On December 26, a senior member of Kataib Hezbollah threatened to “cut off the ears” of the Iraqi PM, warned him not to “test the resistance’s patience.” On December 29, Parliament received the draft 2021 budget, which the Cabinet approved on December 21. The budget includes IQD164 trillion in spending with an estimated deficit of IQD71 trillion. Parliament is set to begin discussing the draft budget on January 9. On January 3, Fatah Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri said that the Iraqi government “must meet its commitments to remove all foreign forces, starting with American forces, according to a timetable.” On January 6, the KRG Parliament voted to approve the appointment of Kamal Atroushi as the next KRG Minister of Natural Resources. more…
- Militias Increase Attacks On Coalition Contractors; ISIS Attacks Concentrate On Diyala; Security Forces Foil Mine Attack On Oil Tanker – Between December 25 – January 7, the explosions of 14 IEDs and three remnants of war killed at least seven Iraqis and wounded 19 across several provinces. Seven of the IEDs targeted contractors transporting supplies for the International Coalition. Between December 24 – January 5, at least 12 other militant attacks killed nine Iraqis and wounded 14 more. Most of the attacks occurred in Diyala province. On January 1, the Ministry of Interior announced the discovery of a mine attached to an oil tanker carrying Iraqi oil in the Persian Gulf. The mine was defused without incidents. more…
- Activists Say Domestic Violence Worse Than Figures Imply; Iraq Among Most Dangerous Places For Journalists; Iraq Sees Fewer New COVID-19 Cases – On December 27, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said it recorded 15,000 instances of domestic violence in 2020. Activists from the Iraqi Feminist groups say that the numbers of women who suffer abuse but do not seek medical treatment or file a report are much higher. On December 29, Reporters Without Borders ranked Iraq in the top five most dangerous places to be a journalist, pointing that journalists face intimidation, harassment, and deadly attacks by unidentified militias for exposing government corruption or highlighting the demands of the protesters. On January 5, the Public Health chief in Iraq’s Ministry of Health said that Iraq expects to receive the first batch of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during the first quarter of 2021. On January 7, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 600,775. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 12,869 while the number of patients currently in hospitals decreased to 36,759. To date, 551,127 patients have recovered from the virus and Iraq has tested 4,774,142 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases decreased to 885/day over the last 14-day period. more…
- Iran Reduces Gas Supplies To Iraq; Daewoo Signs Faw Port Construction Deal; Iraq’s Oil Revenue Rises Sharply In December; Washington Issues New Sanctions Waiver – On December 28, Iran’s national gas company said it reduced gas supplies to Iraq because of outstanding bills in excess of $5 billion. On December 29, Iraq’s Border Ports Authority said customs revenue in 2020 amounted to IQD1.147 trillion, up from IQD1.122 trillion in 2019. On December 30, Iraq signed agreements worth $2.6 billion with Daewoo Engineering & Construction to build the first phase of Iraq’s planned Faw Port. On December 31, Iraq’s Central Statistics Office said GDP dropped by 21.5% during the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019. On January 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that oil exports during December averaged 2.846 million bpd, generating $4.213 billion in revenue, which is more than $800 million higher than November’s $3.394 billion. On January 4, Washington issued a three-month sanctions waiver for Iraq, allowing Baghdad to continue to purchase natural gas and electricity from Iran. On January 6, Iraq’s Minister of Agriculture said that Iraq began exporting “limited volumes” of several crops to Saudi Arabia. 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.
On December 25, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi warned “outlaw” militias that his government was “ready for a decisive confrontation if necessary” while stressing that he had called for de-escalation to spare Iraq “another mischievous adventure.” Kadhimi’s remarks followed a tense evening in Baghdad. That evening, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) militiamen deployed on the streets in several districts after government forces reportedly arrested Husam al-Izerjawi, an AAH member implicated in the December 20 rocket attack that targeted the Green Zone. The two sides resolved the situation quickly. On December 26, AAH leader Qasi al-Khazali said that the arrest “of a Popular Mobilization member on false charges has been addressed reasonably and wisely.” Khazali added that he supports the right of “resistance” factions to “end U.S. military presence” in Iraq “without targeting diplomatic missions.” Iraq’s Interior Ministry denied rumors that it released the detained AAH member in question as part of a deal between the government and AAH.
On December 26, a senior member of Kataib Hezbollah threatened on social media to “cut off the ears” of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. The militia commander, known as Abu Ali al-Askari, warned Kadhimi in his brazen message not to “test the resistance’s patience.” Commenting on the December 20 rocket attack on the Green Zone, Askari said that such attacks “only serve the interests of our stupid enemy, [U.S. President] Trump, and must not be repeated.” Askari, however, asserted that his militia’s “alliance with resistance factions, local and foreign, is strong,” warning that “what harms them harms us, and we are committed to defending them.” The following day, al-Hurra reported citing Iraqi security sources an Iraqi court issued arrest warrants against four individuals with connections to militias involved in recent rocket attacks. Three of these individuals are reportedly Kataib Hezbollah members, including Askari, a claim that the Popular Mobilization Commission soon denied.
On December 28, al-Mada reported that Iran’s Foreign Ministry said that an Iraqi delegation led by Mohammed (Abu Jihad) al-Hashimi arrived in Tehran with a letter from Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Iranian news agencies said Hashimi was expected to meet with “senior Iranian political and military leaders to discuss bilateral cooperation and recent regional developments.”
On December 29, a spokesman for Moqtada al-Sadr proposed that the next provincial elections should happen on the same date as the general election, currently scheduled for June 6, 2021. Muqdad al-Sharifi, a former chief of Iraq’s High Electoral Commission (IHEC) argued that the Commission won’t be able to accomplish the task of holding both elections at the same time, expecting provincial elections to take place in late October instead.
On December 29, Deputy Parliament Speaker Hassan al-Kaabi said the legislature has received the draft 2021 budget, which the Cabinet approved on December 21. Later, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi announced that Parliament will extend the current legislative by a month to allow lawmakers to finalize important bills, including the budget. The draft budget includes IQD164 trillion in spending (approximately $113 billion following the recent currency devaluation) with operational expenses of IQD120 trillion and an estimated deficit of IQD71 trillion, representing 43% of the budget. The anticipated revenue of IQD93 trillion is based on 3.25 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports at $42/barrel, including 250,000 bpd from the Kurdistan region. Anticipated revenue also includes IQD20 trillion in non-oil revenue. The budget imposes 20% taxes on tobacco, alcohol, internet and cellphone services, new taxes on airline tickets, and escalating taxes on the salaries of government employees receiving more than IQD500,000/month. Among other provisions, the budget places a hiring freeze on most government agencies and requires the federal government and the KRG to reconcile the entitlements and actual expenditures of the latter since 2004. A government spokesman reassured the public that payment of public sector salaries for the first few months of 2021 will proceed regardless of delays in approving the budget. Parliament is set to begin discussing the draft budget on Saturday, January 9.
On december 31, Nechirvan Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said the Iraqi government must compensate the region for the “financial entitlements it was denied in 2020.” In a new year address, Barzani blamed the federal government for the KRG’s inability to pay its employees. He described the policies of major parties in the Iraqi Parliament towards the KRG as “very unfair….full of hostility, seeking to disrupt services and starve the people of Kurdistan.”
On January 3, Fatah Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri said that the Iraqi government “must meet its commitments to remove all foreign forces, starting with American forces, according to a timetable.” Amiri was addressing crowds of demonstrators marking the first anniversary of the death of Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian General Qasim Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad Airport. Amiri also urged the government to “return to the Chinese treaty,” in reference to an “oil for reconstruction” agreement that former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi reached with Beijing in September 2019. Amiri said the arrangement with China was “most needed today.”
On January 3, Kataib Hezbollah (KH) leader, Abu Hussein al-Mohammedawi defended his militia’s actions in a statement marking the anniversary of the death of KH former leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Mohammedawi described his militia’s weaponry as “more disciplined and organized than the best armies in history…and the most legitimate and rational,” threatening that he would not allow “anyone, whomever they may be” to take these weapons away. The militia leader claimed that his faction “won’t break into the embassy of evil, and won’t overthrow this government, as there’s still time,” in a reference to the possibility of military confrontation with the U.S. and Prime minister Kadhimi’s government.
On January 6, the Parliament of the Kurdistan region voted to approve the appointment of Kamal Atroushi as the next KRG Minister of Natural Resources. The position, long held by former Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami, has been vacant in the current KRG Cabinet. Atroushi has worked as an adviser to several oil and gas companies in the past, and more recently served as energy advisor to KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. The vote, which was supported by 81 representatives, saw an altercation between members of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and three representatives of the New Generation opposition group, resulting in physical injuries among the latter.
On January 6, Iraq’s Defense Minister, Juma Inad warned that a continuation of militia attacks on diplomatic missions and the Green Zone could “lead the country into civil war.” The Minister, speaking on the Iraqi Army’s Centennial, pointed that the Iraqi military “still needs the support of the [U.S.-led] International Coalition,” pledging to pursue the factions responsible for rocket attacks targeting diplomatic missions. Inad argued that these rocket attacks “hurt the country…fall on soldiers and civilians,” explaining that politicians “have been told to put the country’s interest first, because if [conflict] happens, everyone will lose.” Earlier in the week, the prime minister’s military spokesman, Yahya Rasoul, cautioned that military escalation involving Iran and the U.S. would be “catastrophic” for Iraq, urging the rival powers to “respect Iraq’s sovereignty.”
On January 6, IHEC announced that political parties and coalitions that want to compete in the next parliamentary election can register with the Commission between January 9 – 16, 2021. IHEC added in a statement that the window for receiving the lists of candidates who want to compete in the election will be January 9 – 28, 2021.
On December 24, ISIS militants clashed with fighters from Brigade 47 of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) near Jurf al-Sakhr, in Babylon province. The attack killed one PMF fighter.
On December 25, two Iraqi Army soldiers were injured in an incident involving small arms fire in the Tarmiyah area north of Baghdad. Reports did not provide more details about the circumstances of the incident.
On December 25, an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted trucks belonging to local contractors transporting supplies for the U.S.-led International Coalition. The bombing occurred along the main highway through Diwaniyah province and injured a truck driver. A second bombing targeted another convoy later on the same day along the highway in Dhi-Qar province without reports of casualties. At least five more similar bombing occurred since then. On December 27, an IED targeted a convoy transporting supplies for the Coalition in Babylon province without causing casualties. This was followed by an IED attack in Diwaniyah on December 28, and another in the same province on December 29 that injured a member of Iraq’s Security Forces (ISF). The sixth IED attack targeted a convoy in the Yusufiyah area south of Baghdad on December 31. On January 4, another IED targeted a similar convoy near Samarra in Salah ad-Din province. The attack damaged several trucks but caused no casualties.
On December 25, security sources in Diyala said an IED exploded next to a liquor store in the Sarray area of central Baquba. The explosion caused property damages but no casualties.
On December 26, suspected ISIS militants killed one civilian and injured another in an attack on a local business in the Abu Sayda subdistrict in Diyala. To the south, gunmen killed another civilian and wounded his brother in an attack on December 28 in the Kenaan subdistrict, east of Baquba.
On December 27, an IED exploded targeting an Iraqi Army patrol during a search operation near Sargaran, northwest of Kirkuk. The explosion wounded five ISF members, including the commander of the 1st battalion, 51st brigade, 8th Iraqi Army division.
On December 27, a roadside IED exploded against a civilian vehicle in the village of Athba, in the Shoura subdistrict south of Mosul. The explosion wounded two civilians.
On December 26, the Iraqi Federal Police Command said its forces killed two ISIS militants in Wadi Abu Shahma, near Rashad, west of Kirkuk. The next day, the Security Media Cell reported that airstrikes by International Coalition aircraft killed two ISIS members in the same area.
On December 27, an under-vehicle IED (UVIED) exploded underneath a civilian vehicle in Amara, the capital of Maysan province. The explosion caused damage but no casualties.
On December 28, security sources said that two rocket propelled grenades targeted the al-Kahla power plant in the Maysan province. One projectile struck inside the facility while the second fell nearby The attack caused no damage or casualties.
On December 28, the Turkish Defense Ministry said its forces killed eight members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in airstrikes in northern Iraq. On December 30, Turkish aircraft conducted multiple airstrikes in the Barwari Bala and Karish mountain areas north of Duhok, resulting in property damages.
On December 29, security sources in Diyala said that ISIS militants attacked four villages in the area between Jalawla and Khanaqin using snipers and mortar fire. The attacks killed one civilian and injured three Iraqi soldiers and PMF fighters. Iraqi Army helicopters later killed an ISIS militant in subsequent operations targeting suspected ISIS positions in the region.
On December 30, security sources in Diyala said an Iraqi intelligence unit killed a suspected suicide bomber in the Hashimiyat area, northwest of Baquba. The militant was reportedly planning an attack during new years celebrations in central Baquba.
On December 29, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad announced that Washington has supplied the Iraqi forces in charge of providing security for the Green Zone with 30 armored vehicles. According to the embassy statement, the vehicles will enhance the ability of Iraq’s Special Command Division to conduct patrols and secure the vital area, where key government offices are located.
On December 31, security sources in Ninewa said that unidentified gunmen attacked and killed the mukhtar of the town of Badush, northwest of Mosul. The attackers used small arms fire and drove in an unmarked vehicle.
On January 1, the Ministry of Interior announced the discovery of a mine attached to the oil tanker “Pola” in the Persian Gulf, nearly 28 nautical miles from Iraqi ports. The ministry stated that an explosives disposal team was airlifted to evacuate the ship, which had been transferring its oil cargo to another vessel in international waters under the directive of Iraq’s state oil-marketing company (SOMO). The Ministry of Oil later confirmed that security forces successfully defused the mine without an incident and without disrupting export operations. Security sources said authorities have opened an investigation into the attempted mine attack. No party has claimed responsibility for placing the mine, but the incident appears to resemble previous attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, for which the U.S. had blamed Iran.
On January 1, an IED explosion killed three Iraqi Army personnel, including a lieutenant, and wounded a fourth, according to a security source. The IED struck a Hummer vehicle belonging to the 45th brigade in the Iraqi Army’s 11th division in the Daquq district, south of Kirkuk.
On January 1, security sources in Diyala said that three mortar rounds struck near residential areas in the Abbara subdistrict, northeast of Baquba. The attack did not cause casualties.
On January 2, the explosion of a landmine, believed to be leftover from the Iraq-Iran war period, killed two civilians and injured a third in the Teeb area of Maysan province, near the Iranian border. To the north, another old landmine from the 1980s exploded on January 4 in Diyala’s Mandili subdistrict, near the Iranian border, killing a local sheepherder. Near Baghdad, security sources said the explosion of a “foreign object” wounded three children in the Iwayreej area, south of the capital.
On January 2, an IED explosion injured two members of the KRG Asayish forces near Sayid Sadiq in Sulaymaniyah province. The explosion occurred while the Asayish members attempted to remove an ISIS flag that was planted on nearby hills.
On January 3, the Security Media Cell reported that airstrikes by International Coalition aircraft based on Iraqi intelligence killed two ISIS members in the Wadi al-Kor area in Kirkuk province.
On January 4, security sources said an attack by ISIS militants killed one Iraqi soldier in the village of Murooj, near Radhwaniyah, south of Baghdad.
On January 5, security sources said that ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi Army checkpoint near the northern entrance to the Jalawla subdistrict in Diyala province. The attack killed two soldiers and wounded a third.
On January 7, a legacy IED explosion killed one demining specialist and wounded three others while they were attempting to remove IEDs leftover by ISIS in the Ayadhiyah subdistrict west of Mosul. The victims are locals working for the Mine Action Group.
On December 27, The Director of Family and Child Protection from Domestic Violence in Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, Brigadier General Ali Mohammad Salem, said the ministry recorded 15,000 instances of domestic violence in 2020. Activists from the Iraqi Feminist group “Sama” countered the official statistics, stating that the number of women who suffer abuse but do not seek medical treatment or file a report are much higher. The group recorded more than 250 cases in Baghdad alone of abused women refusing to file a complaint with the authorities. Activist Mohammad Shukr also stated that children suffered from an increase in domestic violence during 2020 because of the current economic crisis and the pressures of quarantining due to the coronavirus.
On December 27, Germany pledged €20 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq for 2020-2024, through its KfW Development Bank. The funding raises Germany’s contributions to €56 million since 2018. A report from IOM, the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently noted that small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which employ a majority of Iraq’s workers, witnessed a 53% drop in productivity in 2020. IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, Gerard Waite, stated that the funding will allow for expanded cooperation with Iraqi authorities to address socio-economic challenges facing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other communities recovering from conflict in nine provinces.
On December 28, Sweden, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), signed a $16.6 million aid deal to support Iraqis in communities facing hardship. The funding would help to develop and maintain vital public infrastructure, employment and economic opportunities, and reconciliation efforts in communities previously under control of ISIS. This aid is essential as more than 1.28 million Iraqis remain displaced after years of fighting. Belgium has also pledged €2 million to further enhance FFS’s programs in five Iraqi provinces. This funding will augment essential programs to provide critical infrastructure development such as housing, water, electricity, and schools.
On December 29, Reporters Without Borders ranked Iraq in the top five most dangerous places to be a journalist in the world. Armed actors have particularly targeted reporters in the country for covering the protests that swept the country starting in 2019. Unidentified gunmen killed at least four journalists while on the ground at the protests. Journalists in Iraq also face intimidation, harassment, or death threats by unidentified militias for exposing government corruption or highlighting the demands of the protesters. The government has taken steps to criminalize reporting that is critical of them, including banning ten major media outlets from covering the protests.
On December 31, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said Canada has provided the organization with CAD 5.5 million to support its aid work in Iraq. The funds will benefit more than 350,000 people in need among Iraqi IDPs and refugees from neighboring Syria as the impact from the global pandemic continues to undermine people’s livelihoods.
On January 5, the Public Health chief in Iraq’s Ministry of Health said that Iraq expects to receive the first batch of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during the first quarter of 2021. The official, Riyadh al-Hilfi, said Iraq expects a second batch to arrive in the second quarter of the year. Hilfi explained that Iraq has an agreement with global vaccine initiative COVAX to procure enough doses to vaccinate eight million Iraqis.
On January 7, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iraq to be 600,775, representing an increase of 11,972 cases from the 588,803 cases reported on December 24. Of these cases, 36,759 patients are currently in Iraqi hospitals, including 141 in the intensive care unit (ICU). This represents a significant decrease of 11,959 patients in Iraqi hospitals from December 24, and a 50 patient decrease in ICU patients. Ministry data indicated that there were 125 new COVID-related deaths since December 24, bringing the total from 12,744 to 12,869. The total number of recoveries increased from 527,341 to 551,127. The daily average for new cases showed another drop, with an average of 855 new cases per day during the last 14 days, down from 1,193 average new cases per day during the week ending on December 24. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 288 cases, Kirkuk with 164, Ninewa with 45, Babylon with 43, and Diyala with 41. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 4,774,142 samples for COVID-19. Earlier this week, Iraqi officials said the country has obtained two new labs capable of detecting the new strain of the coronaviru
On December 25, the Ministry of Oil announced a plan to stop oil derivative imports in 2021 and rely instead on Iraqi production. The Director General of Oil Projects, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that the ministry’s new plan aims to cut Iraq’s $3.5 billion annual spending on fuel imports in half in the first six months of 2021. Abbas also said that several ongoing refinery projects in Basra and Baghdad will be completed next year, after experiencing slowed progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On December 28, Iran’s national gas company said it reduced gas supplies to Iraq because of outstanding bills in excess of $5 billion for prior gas sales. The company said the amount includes $3 billion stuck at the Trade Bank of Iraq and more than $2 billion in other arrears. The following day, Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian arrived in Baghdad for meetings with Iraq’s prime minister, minister of electricity, and the governor of the Central Bank. According to a statement from Prime Minister Kadhimi’s office, Ardakanian pledged to “resume pumping Iranian gas immediately.” Ardakanian, according to a report by Shafaq News citing Iranian new sources, said Iraq made a $700 million payment to Iran, representing about 15% of arrears in question. Despite these statements, a spokesman for Iraq’s electricity ministry said on January 2 that Iran had yet to resume the gas supplies “pending the approval of top authorities in Iran.”
On December 29, Iraq’s Border Ports Authority announced that revenue from all border ports in 2020 amounted to IQD1.147 trillion, up from IQD1.122 trillion in 2019. Omar Al-Waili, the head of the authority called this relative increase in revenue “a victory” against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said forced Iraq to close 80% of the ports at some point. Waeli also also noted the “elimination of customs duties for food, agricultural, health and medical items,” as further proof of his claims of increased efficiency at the border ports.
On December 30, Iraq signed agreements worth $2.6 billion with Daewoo Engineering & Construction concerning the first phase of infrastructure construction at Iraq’s planned Faw Port. the director of Iraq’s General Ports Company, Farhan al-Fartousi, said the agreement covers a 14 kilometer navigational channel, a harbor 19.8 meters deep, and an underwater tunnel and roads connecting Faw to the nearby Khor al-Zubair port. News of the signing invited a forceful attack from Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, who accused unnamed “corrupt” officials of supporting the agreement. Khazali threatened to do all he can to overturn the deal, which he denounced as the “grandest crime.” Members of the Fatah Coalition, to which Khazali belongs, have recently expressed preference for contracting Chinese companies to undertake the project.
On December 30, the Ministry of Electricity in the Kurdistan region said it was negotiating a power purchase agreement to buy electricity from Turkey. A spokesman for the ministry said the region was awaiting the Turkish government’s response to an agreement the ministry had prepared for the transaction, without providing more details about its scope.
On December 31, Iraq’s Central Statistics Office reported that Iraq’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 21.5% during the third quarter of 2020 when compared with the same period of the previous year. The third quarter figure, IQD53.2 trillion, was also up 31% from the second quarter of 2020, during the strictest phase of COVID-19 lockdowns.
On January1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil announced that crude oil exports during December totaled 88.211 million barrels, for an average of 2.846 million barrels per day (bpd), which is 137,000 bpd higher than November’s average of 2.709 bpd million bpd. The December exports generated $4.213 billion in revenue, more than $800 million higher than November’s $3.394 billion. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of $47.765, almost $6 up from November’s average of $41.77 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 2.748 million bpd in December, while average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan were 97,200 bpd.
On January 3, SOMO, Iraq’s national oil marketing firm (SOMO), chose Chinese company ZenHua Oil, as a partner in a multi-billion dollar deal meant to stimulate Iraq’s struggling economy in the midst of the COVID-19pandemic and a crash in energy prices.The deal includes an estimated upfront payment of $2 billion from the Chinese company in exchange for flexibility in where ZenHua Oil Co. wishes to ship the oil for a year. SOMO is to offer around 130,000 barrels of oil a day for five years. The Iraqi government faces multiple economic hardships and its economy is expected to shrink by 11% according to the IMF.
On January 4, Washington issued a three-month sanctions waiver for Iraq, allowing Baghdad to continue to purchase natural gas and electricity from Iran. The waiver covers a period twice as long as the previous waiver the U.S. issued on November 19.
On January 6, Iraq’s Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed al-Khafaji, said that Iraq began exporting “limited volumes” of crops to Saudi Arabia. According to the minister, the exports include tomatoes, dates, eggplants, peppers and barley. Iraq and Saudi Arabia reopened the Arar border crossing to commercial traffic on November 18, after nearly 30 years of closure.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
|12/25/20||Main highway through Diwaniyah||0||1|
|12/25/20||Main highway through Dhi-Qar||0||0|
|12/27/20||Sargaran, west of Kirkuk||0||5|
|12/27/20||Near Shoura, Ninewa||0||2|
|12/28/20||Main highway through Diwaniyah||0||0|
|12/29/20||Main highway through Diwaniyah||0||1|
|12/31/20||Yusufiyah, south of Baghdad||0||0|
|1/1/21||Daquq, south of Kirkuk||3||1|
|1/2/21||Sayid Sadiq, Sulaymaniyah||0||2|
|1/4/21||Samarra, Salah ad-Din||0||0|
|1/7/21||Ayadhiyah, west of Mosul.||1||3|
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.