- EU Agrees To Send Election Monitors; U.S. Seizes Websites Of Iran-Backed Iraqi Channels – On June 19, Iraq’s Foreign Minister met with his Ukrainian counterpart to discuss trade, transportation links, cooperation in agriculture, and student exchange programs. On June 20, IHEC said that candidates with alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s regime have until June 30 to appeal a recent decision to disqualify them. On June 20, the PUK and Gorran signed an agreement formalizing a political coalition they announced last month. On June 21, the European Union approved a request from Baghdad to send observers to monitor Iraq’s upcoming election. On June 22, the U.S. Department of Justice seized three websites affiliated with the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, and 33 other websites affiliated with the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU), including websites for TV stations al-Forat and Afaq, affiliated respectively with Ammar al-Hakim and Nouri al-Maliki. On June 23, KRG President Nechirvan Barzani met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman to discuss bilateral relations. more…
- A New String Of Bombings Target The Power Grid Near Kirkuk, Himrin, And Baghdad – Between June 17 – 24, the explosions of at least 12 IEDs and one remnant of war killed three Iraqis and wounded 11 more. Several of the explosions damaged electricity towers near Kirkuk, Salah ad-Din and Baghdad. Between June 18 – 23, eight other militant attacks killed at least six Iraqis and wounded at least 13 others in various provinces. On June 20, a Katyusha rocket targeted Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province without causing casualties or damage. On June 21, local sources said that Turkish warplanes bombed a village in Duhok province, setting fires in the area. more…
- Families Of Murdered Activists Demand Justice; Average Daily COVID-19 Infections Rise Above 5,000 – On June 20, the Iraqi Migration and Displacement Minister urged world governments on World Refugee Day to fulfill their responsibilities toward refugees and asylum seekers under international law. On June 20, dozens joined Samira al Wazni, mother of assassinated activist Ehab al-Wazni, to protest in front of a Karbala court to demand justice for crimes against activists. Security forces attempted to forcefully disperse the sit-in. On June 24, the UN Special Representative in Iraq met with Wazni’s family, who asked the UN to pressure Iraqi authorities to expose the killers. On June 21, the Migration and Displacement Ministry said it returned 960 IDPs from the Al-Jadaa camp to their home towns in Ninewa and Salah ad-Din provinces. On June 24, Iraq’s Ministry of Health said the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,311,093 while deaths approached 17,000. The average number of new cases was 5,209 per day during the last 7-day period, up from an average of 4,584 per day during the 7-day period ending June 10. The number of vaccinated people reached 751,164. more…
- Iraq to Drill 96 New Oil Wells At West Qurna; Lack Of Funds Further Delays Census Plans – On June 17, the Basra Oil Company signed a contract with ExxonMobil and Schlumberger to drill 96 oil wells at the West Qurna 1 field to increase production capacity by 200,000 barrels per day (bpd). On June 17, Iraq’s Oil Ministry inaugurated a new upgrade to the gas separation plant at the Abu Gharb oil field in Maysan province. On June 22, Iraq’s Planning Ministry said that conducting a census this year was unlikely due to lack of allocations for the nation-wide program in the 2021 budget 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 18, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon was in the process of removing Patriot anti-missile batteries it had deployed to Iraq following the killing of the Iranian general Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad last year. U.S. officials told WSJ that the military was also planning to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, which stands at 2,500.
On June 19, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) issued a set of campaigning rules ahead of the October elections. The rules prohibit the use of the state emblem, government and public buildings, as well as places of worship, for campaigning purposes. The commission also barred public servants from exploiting their positions or government resources, including promising services to voters, for electoral gain. The rules also prohibit the use of misinformation and slander to undermine opponents. The statement did not discuss enforcement measures.
On June 19, hundreds of residents blocked access to the provisional government building and piled trash in front of a municipal building in Nasiriyah, in central Dhi-Qar province, to protest lack of employment opportunities in the oil sector and poor public services. On June 21, residents in Amara of Maysan province, torched tires in front of a local power management office, to express their frustration with increasing power disruptions.
On June 19, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called newly elected Iranian president Ibrahim Reisi, and discussed strengthening economic and security cooperation. Reisi highlighted the “historic” ties between the two countries, and invited Kadhimi to visit Iran.
On June 19, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met with his Ukranian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum and discussed trade and agriculture investment opportunities. Hussein and Kuleba also discussed student exchange programs, facilitating visa processing, and establishing direct flights between Iraq and Ukraine. Kuleba said that Kyiv is seeking Baghdad’s assistance in returning Ukrainian women and children from a refugee camp in Syria.
On June 20, IHEC said that candidates with alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s regime have until June 30 to appeal a recent decision to disqualify them. Last week, the Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice sent IHEC a list of 226 candidates who allegedly had ties to the former regime. On June 21, IHEC reversed a decision to disqualify seven candidates following their successful appeals.
On June 20, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran signed an agreement forming the Kurdistan Alliance, formalizing their plans to compete in the upcoming election as one list. The two parties initially announced the agreement in May.
On June 21, the European Union (EU) agreed to send observers to monitor the Iraqi October elections, in response to a request from Baghdad. The decision followed a meeting between the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council and Iraqi foreign minister Fuad Hussein in Luxembourg, in which he briefed his European counterparts on the current situation in Iraq, and discussed the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
On June 22, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seized three websites affiliated with the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah (KH) militia, and 33 websites affiliated with the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU). Websites for Iraqi satellite TV networks al-Forat and Afaq, affiliated respectively with Ammar al-Hakim and Nouri al-Maliki, were among the seized domains. The DOJ said it seized the websites for spreading disinformation, adding that these domains were owned by a U.S. company and were being used without proper licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. On June 23, a spokesperson for the Dawa party said the seizure of the websites amounts to a “violation of sovereignty” and an “infringement on principles of freedom of speech and opinion.”
On June 23, the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Nechirvan Barzani met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman to discuss bilateral relations, economic cooperation, and other regional issues. Barzani said that he “looked forward to strengthening Iraq’s deeply-rooted ties with Jordan.”
On June 23, the Strategic Center for Human Rights in Iraq said that only 120,000 out of 1.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) would be eligible to vote in October’s elections. Article 39 of the election law limited IDP voting to those able to obtain biometric voter IDs.
On June 23, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi met with the French Senate leader Gerard Larcher in Paris and discussed strategic cooperation between Iraq and France in economic and security sectors. Halbousi called on French companies to expand their investments in Iraq. Larcher said Paris was ready to offer additional support and expertise for Iraq’s political, legislative, economic and security needs.
On June 17, a security source said that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded near a passing Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) patrol, injuring three PMF fighters in the al-Dur district in Salah ad-Din province.
On June 18, gunmen assassinated a police captain in al-Amara in central Maysan province. A security source said that the slain officer was in charge of local anti corruption investigations.
On June 18, a security source said that suspected ISIS gunmen attacked a house in the al-Tarmiyah district in northern Baghdad, injuring a civilian.
On June 18, ISIS militants attacked a police station in the village of Bazoul in al-Muqdadiyah district in Diyala province. The attack didn’t cause any casualties, but damaged a thermal surveillance camera.
On June 19, a security source said an IED exploded near an Iraqi army vehicle in the Wadi al-Shai area of Daquq district, in southern Kirkuk province. The explosion injured three soldiers.
On June 20, a Katyusha rocket targeted Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province. Iraq’s Security Media Cell said that the rocket, which militants launched from the adjacent al-Baghdadi subdistrict, didn’t explode. Later that day, the Iraqi army arrested four individuals suspected of launching the rocket. A security source said two of the individuals were members of a local tribal force.
On June 20, ISIS snipers attacked a PMF checkpoint and nearby homes in the village of Albu-Bakr in the al-Udheim subdistrict in Diyala province. Security sources said the attacks killed three civilians and injured another two. Two PMF fighters also suffered injuries.
On June 20, a security source said an IED exploded near a house in the Koresh area, on the southern outskirts of Baghdad, killing two civilians from the same family.
On June 21, a security source said that an IED exploded targeting the home of a local official in the al-Gharraf district, in northern Dhi-Qar province. The source added that the blast didn’t cause any casualties, but inflicted serious material damage.
On June 21, an Explosive Remnant of War (ERW) explosion in the al-Shalamjah area in Basra province killed a civilian and injured two others.
On June 21, local sources said that Turkish warplanes bombed the village of Qomari in the Kani Masi subdistrict of Duhok province. Eyewitnesses said the attack caused a massive fire in the village. The Turkish military has been conducting a large-scale operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq since late April.
On June 21, a security source said that gunmen shot and seriously injured a tribal militia leader in the al-Beijiya area in southern Baghdad.
On June 22, a security source said that ISIS militants kidnapped and killed two civilians in a village near the al-Muqdadiyah district in Diyala province.
On June 22, an Iraqi police source said that an IED exploded near a bridge in the al-Khadra neighborhood in the city of Kirkuk. The explosion caused no casualties.
On June 22, ISIS militants attacked the village of Abu-Sekhoul on the outskirts of al-Mansuriyah subdistrict in Diyala province. The attack injured a civilian.
On June 22, an IED explosion damaged a power tower in the Safra area north of al-Udheim subdistrict in Diyala province, causing a power outage in the southern Kirkuk region. On the same day, a second IED explosion toppled a power tower in the al-Tarmiyah district in northern Baghdad. On June 24, a security source said that IED blasts damaged two towers near the Himrin region of Salah ad-Din province. These explosions follow a series of attacks on power towers around Iraq that occurred last week. Iraq’s Interior Ministry revealed plans to deploy drones to protect electricity lines and infrastructure. Electricity Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Moussa said that the Ministry also intends to deploy thermal surveillance cameras along the path of power lines.
On June 23, a security source said that an IED exploded near a house in the Kufa district of Najaf province. The attack injured a civilian.
On June 23, a local source said that an IED exploded inside an abandoned house while ISIS militants were attempting to booby-trap it in the village of al-Mukhaisa, near Abi Saida subdistrict in Diyala province. The source added that the house belonged to a local who had cooperated with security forces, but was forced to leave due to continued threats. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
On June 23, ISIS militants attacked a Federal Police checkpoint between the villages of Tel Khadija and Mulla Nassir in the Rashad subdistrict in southern Kirkuk province. The attack injured six policemen.
On June 24, a security source said that an IED exploded in Zammar subdistrict in Ninewa province, injuring a civilian and a policeman.
On June 24, local officials in Qaladze said that PKK fighters opened fire on a group of civilians outside the town, in Kurdistan region. The clash, which injured two civilians, happened after the PKK fighters demanded payment for passage, and the locals refused to pay.
On June 18, Reuters said that the U.S. has been investigating alleged fraud schemes by Iraqi refugee applicants. According to State Department internal reports, the investigation is targeting 4,000 potentially fraudulent applications from Iraqi would-be-refugees. Authorities have already accused 500 Iraqis in the U.S. of fraud which could result in loss of refugee status and possibly deportation if convicted. The State Department also froze the review of 40,000 applications, involving more than 104,000 people, pending a review. According to Reuters, the fraud scheme involved applications submitted between February 2016 and April 2019.
On June 20, the Iraqi Migration and Displacement Minister Evan Jabro released a statement on World Refugee Day calling on world governments to fulfill their responsibilities toward refugees and asylum seekers under international law. She also affirmed Iraq’s willingness to cooperate to meet the needs of refugees globally. Meanwhile, Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said that the KRI currently hosts 928,674 refugees and IDPs. He added that the KRG needs $869 million annually from the international community to care for them. According to the statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq said that there were 1.2 million IDPs and 300,000 refugees in Iraq, “the majority of whom live in the Kurdistan Region.”
On June 20, Samira al Wazni, joined by dozens of activists, organized a sit-in in front of a Karbala court to mark 40 days since the assassination of her son, activist Ehab al-Wazni, and to demand justice. The sit-in continued for three days, during which security forces attempted to forcefully disperse it. Videos circulated on social media showing scuffles between protestors and security forces with commentary demanding the prosecution of al-Wazni’s killers. Meanwhile in Nasiriyah, a court issued arrest warrants against relatives of other murdered activists who became frustrated during a meeting with the head of Dhi Qar Appeals Court. Al-Wazni’s mother also invited the wives and mothers of other murdered activists to join in the sit-ins. She believes Qassim Musleh, who was briefly arrested in May, is responsible for Ehab’s death. On June 22, the United Nations Human Rights Council also called on the Iraqi government to increase efforts to hold those targeting prominent activists accountable. On June 24, the UN Special Representative in Iraq met with al-Wazni’s family. During the meeting, the family asked for the UN to pressure the Iraqi government to reveal the killers of Ehab, as well as other victims.
On June 21, the Migration and Displacement Ministry said it returned 960 IDPs from the Al-Jadaa camp to their home towns in Ninewa and Salah ad-Din provinces. The ministry added that it coordinated with security forces and local authorities to return the IDPs. According to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, IDPs face bigger challenges when they return to their original towns only to find destroyed homes, unemployment opportunities, and poor basic services.
On June 21, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it would launch a program to support the Syriac Heritage Museum in Erbil province. The program will help the museum document, digitize, and preserve the heritage of the Syriac minority in Iraq. The United States has provided $470 million to preserve the history of minorities in Iraq since 2018.
On June 22, the United Nations World Food Program announced that Switzerland would provide $1.1 million in food assistance aid for IDPs and refugees living in Iraq. The aid will also be used to fund the Urban Livelihoods project, which aims to train 135,000 people to provide for themselves after the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 24, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,311,093. This is an increase of 36,464 cases from the 1,274,629 reported on June 17. Of these cases, 76,112 are currently in hospitals, including 518 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent an increase of 6,716 in hospitalizations and an increase of 40 in ICU admissions since June 17. Ministry data indicated that there were 188 new COVID-19 deaths since June 17, bringing the total from 16,811 to 16,999. The total number of recoveries increased from 1,188,422 to 1,217,982. The average number of new cases was 5,209 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 4,584 per day during the 7-day period ending June 17. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 1,416 cases, Basra with 1,135 cases, Wasit with 622 cases, Dhi-Qar with 409 cases, and Najaf with 380 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 11,460,870 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 829,248, including 27,108 who received their shots on June 24.
On June 17, the Basra Oil Company (BOC) signed a contract with ExxonMobil and Schlumberger to drill 96 oil wells in the West Qurna 1 field. Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar said that the new wells could increase production capacity by 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) within five years. The oil field currently produces 380,000 bpd but has the capacity to pump 500,000 bpd. He added that this project could also provide 600 jobs.
On June 17, Iraq’s Oil Ministry inaugurated a new upgrade to the gas separation plant at the Abu Gharb oil field in Maysan province. According to a ministry statement, the unit will be able to process 100,000 bpd of crude oil and boost gas production by more than 20 million cubic feet per day.
On June 20, the Planning Ministry said that the inflation rate increased by 0.04% during the month of May. According to official data, the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages decreased by 0.3%, while the price of clothing increased by 0.2%. Tobacco products also saw an increase by 1.9%, and the price of health department goods increased by 0.1%. The prices of housing and rentals decreased by 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively. The rate of inflation in the last six months increased by 5.6%.
On June 22, the Planning Ministry said that conducting a census this year was unlikely due to lack of allocations for the nation-wide program in the 2021 budget. Ministry spokesperson Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi said that the census would cost IQD130 billion ($89 million).
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from June 17, 2021 - June 24, 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.
Date Location Deaths Injuries 06/17/21 al-Dur district, Salah ad-Din province 0 3 06/19/21 Daquq district, Kirkuk province 0 3 06/20/21 Baghdad province 2 0 06/21/21 al-Gharraf district, Dhi-Qar province 0 0 06/22/21 Kirkuk district, Kirkuk province 0 0 06/22/21 al-Udheim subdistrict, Diyala Province 0 0 06/22/21 al-Tarmiyah district, Salah ad-Din province 0 0 06/23/21 Kufa district, Najaf province 0 1 06/23/21 Abi Saida subdistrict, Diyala province 0 0 06/24/21 Zammar subdistrict, Ninewa province 0 2 06/24/21 Al-Alam district, Salah ad-Din province 0 0
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.