- IHEC Reverses Rule, Allows Candidates To Withdraw; Officials Flock To Sunni Shrine Following Threat; Fatah Attacks Budget Deal Between Baghdad And Erbil – On June 10, Kataib Hezbollah militia threatened retaliation if Iraqi PM al-Kadhimi ordered another arrest of a PMF commander. On June 11, IHEC said it disqualified only five candidates for being active military members while running for office, correcting a previous statement that it disqualified 135 candidates. IHEC also reversed a regulation that prohibited parties and candidates from withdrawing. On June 13, several political and religious figures in Iraq visited the Sunni shrine of Imam Abu Hanifa al-Numan to project unity following calls on social media to demolish the shrine. On June 14, the G7 leaders expressed their support for international monitoring of Iraq’s elections. On June 15, Iraq’s FM Fuad Hussein said that Baghdad wants to host a meeting to ease regional tensions, and asked the Arab League to send election monitors. On June 15, the White House said congressional efforts to appeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force would “likely have minimal impact” on current military operations. On June 15, the federal government in Baghdad agreed to release the 2021 budget allocations for the KRG. The Fatah Coalition objected to the agreement, calling it a constitutional violation, and threatening legal action to block its implementation. more…
- Thirteen IED Attacks Target Power Infrastructure, Coalition Supply Convoys; Explosives-Laden Drone Targets Baghdad Airport – Between June 13-16, six IED attacks targeted power towers in Ninewa, Kirkuk and Diyala, causing major power disruptions. Meanwhile, seven IED explosions targeted International Coalition supply convoys in Salah ad-Din, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Dhi-Qar, Baghdad and Anbar provinces. One of these attacks injured three contractors. On June 14, an explosives-laden drone targeted the military base within the perimeter of Baghdad International Airport. A day later, Iraqi security forces shot down two explosives-laden drones near Baghdad. On June 15, a security source said that an IED explosion near a military vehicle killed three Iraqi army soldiers in Diyala. On June 15-16, two remnants of war killed four civilians in Muthanna and Karbala. more…
- FAO Says 2.4 Million Face Acute Humanitarian Needs In Iraq; Watchdog Slams KRG’s “Ruthless Crackdown” On Freedoms; COVID Infections Trending Upward – On June 11, the FAO said that drought, unstable oil prices, and an ongoing pandemic, have exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Iraq, where 2.4 million people have acute needs. On June 13, Iraqi authorities began identifying human remains found in a mass grave of victims of the 2014 Badush Prison massacre. On June 15, Amnesty said that the KRG is exerting a “ruthless crackdown” on freedoms of expression in the KRI, citing the arrests of dozens of activists, journalists and protestors between March 2020 and April 2021. On June 17, official data showed that the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,274,629. The average number of new cases was 4,584 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 4,025 per day during the 7-day period ending June 10. The number of vaccinated people reached 751,164. more…
- CBI Pumps $1.3 Billion Into Housing Funds; Iraq Eyes New Gas Field Developments Contracts; Drought Shrinks Iraq’s Grain Harvest – On June 10, the Central Bank of Iraq said that it would forgo interest on state-financed mortgages, and pump additional funds to revive the real estate market. On June 11, the Oil Minister said that Iraq is negotiating with international energy companies to develop three gas fields to increase gas production capacity by three billion cubic feet per day. On June 11, BP indicated that it might move its shares in the Rumaila oil field to a new, stand alone company. On June 11, FAO said that drought had a severe impact on the production of the rainfed wheat and barley crops in northern Iraq, reducing wheat production by more than 70% in Ninewa. On June 12, officials said new upgrades to the al-Dora refinery in Baghdad, are expected to boost its gasoline production by 25%, to reach four million liters a day. On June 12, the Nasiriyah combined cycle power plant entered service with an initial generation capacity of 500 megawatts. 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 June 10, the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia threatened retaliation if Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered another arrest of a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) commander. The militia’s head of security Abu Ali al-Askari said that the militia would “place aggressors behind bars” if security forces made another arrest. This threat followed the arrest and subsequent release of PMF commander Qassim Musleh.
On June 11, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said it disqualified only five candidates for being active military members while running for office, correcting a previous statement by its spokesperson that it disqualified 135 candidates. On June 12, IHEC also reversed a regulation that prohibited parties and candidates from withdrawing after the end of registration period. The commission said that candidates had between June 13 – 20 to submit withdrawal requests. IHEC added that parties cannot replace withdrawn candidates with ones not already registered. Parties are not obligated to replace withdrawn candidates, provided that the withdrawal does not affect women representation. On the same day, IHEC spokesperson Nebras Abu Soda said that more than 30 candidates had requested to withdraw from the upcoming election since the end of the registration period on May 1. Several candidates said last month that they requested to withdraw after receiving death threats.
On June 11, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) presence in the region is responsible for the displacement of residents from hundreds of villages along the borders with Turkey and Iran over the years. The KRG also accused the PKK of attempting to exploit and mobilize the Kurdish diaspora in Europe to “destabilize” the Kurdistan region. The statement comes amidst escalating tensions between the KRG and the PKK, particularly after an ambush that killed five Peshmerga fighters last week.
On June 12, KRG President Nechirvan Barzani visited the United Arab Emirates and met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed. The two officials discussed strengthening political, economic and humanitarian relations, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the Kurdistan Region.
On June 12, Iraqi security forces arrested Najat Hussein al-Jubori, an election candidate in Ninewa province. A security source said that she was facing eight counts of fraud, forgery, and terrorism charges. Authorities had arrested al-Jubori during the 2018 election cycle on similar charges, but released her after political intervention.
On June 13, prominent political and religious figures in Iraq strongly condemned calls that originated on social media to demolish the shrine of Imam Abu Hanifa al-Numan, a site in Baghdad sacred to Sunni Muslims. It’s unclear who is behind the call, which appeared to aim at reigniting sectarian tensions, but sources point to extremist Shia groups and Iran-backed militias. Iraqi National Security Advisor Qasim al-Araji, visited the shrine, as Shia and Sunni religious figures held a joint prayer in the shrine, while Shiaa activists visited to express their support for unity. On June 16, Iraqi President Barham Saleh visited the shrines of Abu Hanifa and Musa al-Kadhum, sending a message that those trying to inflame sectarian strife will not succeed. This follows another call by the same groups to remove the statue of Baghdad’s founder, Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur, for his alleged role in the death of a Shia Imam some 1,200 years ago.
On June 14, the Group of Seven (G7) countries expressed their support for resolution 2576, which authorizes sending international monitors for Iraq’s October elections. The G7 leaders also encouraged all Iraqis to participate in the elections, and welcomed Iraq’s government efforts to rein in “illegal” armed groups.
On June 15, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said during a meeting of the Arab League in Qatar, that Baghdad is preparing to host a meeting to ease tensions in the region. He asked Iraq’s neighbors, the Gulf states, and Egypt to attend. Hussein also asked the Arab League to send election monitors.
On June 15, U.S. President Joe Biden said he would support congressional efforts to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that granted the President war powers. The White House said that the repeal of the AUMF would “likely have minimal impact” on current U.S. military operations in Iraq.
On June 15, Prime Minister Kadhimi acknowledged complaints that officials in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs were using social welfare funds for political campaigning. He condemned government officials exploiting social programs and funding for election purposes. Al-Kadhimi said his office would investigate the complaints.
On June 15, Shafaq reported that Iraq’s Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice sent IHEC a list of 226 candidates it wanted to disqualify from running for office for alleged ties to the Ba’ath party and Saddam Hussein’s regime.
On June 15, the federal government in Baghdad agreed to release the 2021 budget allocations for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), following weeks of negotiations to implement prerequisites set in the budget law. KRG’s Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani, said that Baghdad would release the funds retroactively, starting from January 2021. The KRG said that the federal government would release IQD200 billion ($137 million) to the KRG on a monthly basis. The Fatah bloc in Parliament objected to the agreement, and said that it’s a clear violation of the budget law because the KRG hasn’t met the prerequisites set forth in the law. Similarly, the Parliament’s Financial Affairs Committee said that it plans to appeal the agreement before the Federal Supreme Court. The KRG’s share of the federal budget is about $7.84 billion.
On June 10, a mortar attack targeted Iraqi army barracks on the international highway near the al-Rutbah district in western Anbar province. A security source said that two mortar shells landed in the barracks without causing casualties.
On June 12, a security source said that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion injured a civilian in the al-Abbara subdistrict in Diyala province.
On June 12, ISIS militants attacked a Federal Police checkpoint in the Riyadh subdistrict in western Kirkuk province. The attack killed a police captain and injured a policeman.
On June 12, local sources said intense clashes erupted between the Turkish military and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters near the village of Hiror in the Kani Masi subdistrict of northern Duhok. The Turkish military later bombed the village and the surrounding areas, causing fires but no casualties. The Turkish military has been conducting a large-scale operation against the PKK in Iraq since late April.
On June 13, a security source said that IED attacks damaged two power towers in the al-Namrud subdistrict in eastern Ninewa province. A third IED exploded near a security patrol on the road leading to the towers. On the same day, a fourth IED explosion toppled a power tower in the al-Riyadh subdistrict of Kirkuk province, causing a service disruption in the region. None of these attacks caused any casualties. On June 16, IED explosions damaged two towers on the Mirsad-Diyala power line in the al-Saadia subdistrict in Diyala province. The attacks caused a major power outage in the region.
On June 13, security sources said that three IED attacks targeted International Coalition supply convoys in Salah ad-Din, Diwaniya and Muthanna provinces, without causing casualties or damage. On the same day, a security source said that a similar attack injured three contractors in Dhi-Qar province, including a foreign national. On June 14, a fifth IED exploded near an international Coalition supply convoy in the al-Latifiya neighborhood in southern Baghdad. On June 16, another IED exploded near a Coalition supply convoy traveling on the international highway near the al-Saqlawia city in eastern Anbar province. Hours later, another IED exploded in a similar convoy traveling through Diwaniya. There were no reports of casualties following the last three incidents.
On June 14, a security source said an explosives-laden drone targeted the military base within the perimeter of Baghdad International Airport. The attack did not cause casualties, but damaged the fencing around one facility. A day later, Iraqi security forces shot down an explosives-laden drone over the southeast outskirts of Baghdad. Shortly thereafter, authorities downed a second drone in the al-Gurtan area in southern Baghdad.
On June 15, an Explosive Remnant of War (ERW) killed three civilians in the al-Shagra area in the Samawah desert in Muthanna province. On June 16, another ERW exploded near a cement factory close to the Karbala-Anbar provincial borders. The explosion killed one civilian and injured another according to preliminary reports.
On June 15, an IED explosion seriously injured a bomb disposal expert while attempting to disarm it in the Baiji district in northern Salah ad-Din province.
On June 15, a security source said that gunmen assassinated a tribal leader in Amara city in the Maysan province.
On June 15, a security source said that an IED explosion near a military vehicle killed three Iraqi army soldiers. The incident occurred in the village of Muradiyat al-Zahawi, southwest of Baquba, in Diyala Province. To the north, ISIS militants attacked a security checkpoint near al-Abbara subdistrict. A security source said the attack killed a policeman.
On June 16, a legacy IED exploded in the al-Shora subdistrict in eastern Ninewa province. The blast seriously injured a civilian.
On June 17, a security source said that an IED exploded in the al-Muqdadiyah district in Diyala province. The blast injured a civilian and severely damaged his car.
On June 10, the Iraqi government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. The MoU seeks to assist the government’s Central Statistical Organization in establishing an e-platform to “facilitate the flow of reliable, gender-specific data across different institutions” in Iraq, to ultimately help mould government policies and improve inclusivity.
On June 11, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that drought-induced poor crop production in northern Iraq, along with unstable oil prices and an ongoing pandemic, have exacerbated humanitarian needs in the country. In its Humanitarian Needs Overview for Iraq, FAO identified 4.1 million people who were in humanitarian need in 2021, of whom 2.4 million have acute needs. While the number of people in need has remained stable since 2020, those of acute needs increased by 35%, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of the individuals in need are concentrated in Ninewa and Anbar provinces. The FAO estimated the number of severely food insecure people to be 435,000, while 731,000 are vulnerable to food insecurity, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees.
On June 13, Iraqi authorities exhumed 123 remains of victims of the Badush Prison massacre committed by ISIS in Ninewa province in 2014, in a bid to identify them via DNA analysis. Dozens of family members of likely ISIS victims have given blood samples in recent weeks, in hopes of identifying their yet-to-be-found relatives. Iraqi officials expect the mass grave site to contain remains of about 600 ISIS victims.
On June 13, UNESCO, with funding from the European Union, announced the completion of a two-week training program to strengthen the Education Ministry’s ability to cope with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, by equipping 30 master trainers with information and communication technology (ICT) competencies. The skills focused on teaching and creating online, assessing students in an online environment, and employing blended learning in a remote educational setting. UNESCO said that these master trainers will train 4000 teachers in Baghdad’s Rasafa district, Basra, Diwaniya and Dhi-Qar provinces
On June 15, Amnesty International said that the KRG is exerting a “ruthless crackdown” on freedoms of expression in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), especially following the anti corruption protests in August of 2020, when authorities launched a “mass campaign of arrests… under the pretext of preserving national security.” The watchdog added that between March 2020 and April 2021, security forces arrested more than 100 people in Duhok alone, of whom 30 remain in custody, including five journalists and activists who were sentenced to six years in prison in February based on forced confessions. Amnesty’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa, Lynn Maalouf said that the KRG has “rounded up activists and journalists and prosecuted them on trumped-up charges in unfair trials and harassed or intimidated family members who were kept in the dark about the status of their loved ones.”
On June 17, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,274,629. This is an increase of 32,089 cases from the 1,242,540 reported on June 10. Of these cases, 69,396 are currently in hospitals, including 478 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent an increase of 3,477 in hospitalizations and an increase of 37 in ICU admissions since June 10. Ministry data indicated that there were 163 new COVID-19 deaths since June 10, bringing the total from 16,648 to 16,811. The total number of recoveries increased from 1,159,973 to 1,188,422. The average number of new cases was 4,584 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 4,025 per day during the 7-day period ending June 10. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 1,538 cases, Basra with 781 cases, Wasit with 418 cases, Dhi-Qar with 353 cases, Najaf with 232 cases, and Karbala with 224 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 11,154,463 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 751,164, including 24,014 who received their shots on June 17.
On June 10, the Central Bank of Iraq announced that it would forgo interest on current and new mortgages financed by the state, and provide an additional IQD1 trillion ($678 million to the Real Estate Bank and IQD900 billion ($610 million) to the Housing Fund, to revive the real estate market.
On June 11, Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar said that Iraq is negotiating with international energy companies to develop three gas fields to increase gas production capacity and meet local demand. The gas fields are al-Mansouriyah in Diyala province, the Artawi in Basra province, and Akkaz in Anbar province. According to the Minister, the development of these fields would add three billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2025. According to Jabbar, the most advanced negotiations are between Iraq and Siopec over al-Mansouriyah. The minister said a deal could be signed as early as next month.
On June 11, BP indicated that it might move its shares in the Rumaila oil field -the largest field in Iraq and one of the world’s largest- to a new, stand alone company, as it seeks to divert investments away from oil and gas and into low-carbon energy. The new entity would hold BP’s interest, and would be owned in partnership with the China National Petroleum Corp. To proceed with the move, BP needs the approval of Iraq’s authorities and participating state-owned oil companies.
On June 11, the UN’s FAO said that drought had a severe impact on the production of the rainfed wheat and barley crops in northern Iraq. According to FAO data, local officials projected that Ninewa province would only produce 394,000 tons of wheat in 2021, an over 70% decrease in production from 2020. Barley production was negligible, with harvest forecasted to be only 11,500 tons for the season, down from 1.36 million tons in 2020. Kurdistan authorities forecasted their wheat crop production would be 750,000 tons for 2021, a 50% decrease from 2020’s harvest.
On June 12, the Iraqi cabinet amended a previous agreement made with Lebanon to trade oil for medical services and expertise, doubling the oil exports to Lebanon from 500,000 tons to one million tons annually.
On June 12, the Oil Ministry inaugurated two plants at the al-Dora refinery in Baghdad, to improve hydrogen and gasoline production. These upgrades are expected to boost Dora’s gasoline production by 25%, to reach four million liters (1.56 million gallons) daily
On June 14, Dhi-Qar governor Ahmed al-Khafaji said that the state-run South Refineries Company has signed an initial contract with an Emarati-Chinese construction consortium to develop an oil refinery in the province. The governor said that the refinery would “create thousands of jobs throughout the initial stages of its development and when it enters the service.” The refinery would have a production capacity of 100,000 barrels per day.
On June 12, Prime Minister al-Kadhimi inaugurated the Nasiriyah combined cycle gas-fired power plant. The plant’s basic cycle will produce 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity in Dhi-Qar province. Once the plant’s second stage of development is complete, it will generate an additional 250 MW. On June 16, he announced the completion of the first development stage of the Samara power plant in Salah-ad-Din province. The power plant would add 1200 MW of electricity upon the completion of the project by the end of 2021.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from June 10, 2021 - June 17, 2021The 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.
|06/12/21||al-Abbara Subdistrict, Diyala province||0||1|
|06/13/21||al-Namrud Subdistrict, Ninewa Province||0||0|
|06/13/21||al-Namrud Subdistrict, Ninewa Province||0||0|
|06/13/21||al-Namrud Subdistrict, Ninewa Province||0||0|
|06/13/21||al-Riyadh Subdistrict, Kirkuk province||0||0|
|06/16/21||al-Saadia Subdistrict, Diyala Province||0||0|
|06/13/21||Salah ad-Din Province||0||0|
|06/14/21||al-Latifiya, Baghdad Province||0||0|
|06/16/21||al-Saqlawia, Anbar Province||0||0|
|06/16/21||Diwaniya, Al-Qadisiyyah Province||0||0|
|06/15/21||Baiji District, Salah ad-Din Province||0||1|
|06/15/21||Muradiyat al-Zahawi, Diyala Province||3||0|
|06/16/21||al-Shora Subdistrict, Ninewa province||0||1|
|06/17/21||al-Muqdadiya District, Diyala Province||0||1|
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.