ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: JULY 22 – AUGUST 5, 2021

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Key Takeaways:

  • Kadhimi In Washington As Strategic Dialogue Resumes; U.S. To End “Combat” Mission By Year End; Kadhimi Says “White Paper” Reforms Will Commence – On July 23, Iraq and the U.S. launched a new round of strategic dialogue talks in Washington D.C., during which the U.S. pledged additional support for Iraq in several sectors, including public health, humanitarian assistance, clean energy initiatives, education, and the October elections. On July 26, PM Kadhimi met with President Biden at the White House and the two leaders agreed to end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year. Biden said that the 2,500 American troops currently in Iraq will “be available to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.” On July 26, Iraq’s Parliament said that it will form a committee to temporarily run the Iraqi High Commission For Human Rights until a new board of commissioners is appointed, citing the “expiration of the current commissioners’ term,” but the Federal Supreme Court said the move was unconstitutional. On August 2, PM Kadhimi said his government will begin implementing the “administrative and executive mechanisms” of the economic reform plans included in the “white paper” his Cabinet released last October. more…
  • ISIS Intensifies Power Grid Bombings And Attacks On ISF And Civilians; Activists Targeted In New Attacks In Iraq’s South; Senior Militia Commander Assassinated – Between July 25 – 28, unknown gunmen murdered the son of a prominent activist in Basra, and three IEDs targeted civilian residences in Dhi-Qar, including that of a local activist. Between July 29 – August 4, at least five IEDs targeted convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition, and two rockets struck near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Between August 1 – 5, numerous IED explosions damaged nearly two dozen high voltage transmission towers across several provinces in northern and central Iraq, causing widespread power outages. Between July 26 – August 4, seven other explosions killed four Iraqis and injured at least five. Between July 23 – August 5, attacks by ISIS militants killed at least 24 Iraqis and wounded at least another 34, including many civilians. The deadliest incident occurred on July 30, when militants killed seven civilians at a funeral in Salah ad-Din. On August 2, unidentified gunmen assassinated the commander of the PMF’s 9th brigade, Abu Sadiq al-Khashkhashi, in Babylon province. more…

  • Officials Say Hospitals Are Full As COVID-19 Cases Continue To Rise, But Vaccinations Rise Too; UN Report Says Torture Remains A problem In Iraq’s Justice System – On July 23, the U.S. promised additional humanitarian aid to Iraq, including 500,000 vaccines and almost $155 in additional humanitarian funding. On July 29, a UNHCR factsheet on IDPs in Iraq said more than six million people represent “population of concern,” including 1,198,940 IDPs and 4,867,050 returnees. On July 30, the EU announced that it will provide €7 million to support the UN Mine Action Service in clearing mines and explosive remnants of war left behind from the war with ISIS. On August 1, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that donors have provided $172 million in humanitarian funding as of August 1, which represents only 28.3% of the $607.2 million needed for its 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq. On August 3, Iraq received over 17,000 looted artifacts recovered from the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy. On August 3, a new UN report about Iraq’s justice system described numerous accounts of torture, mistreatment, disregard for due process, and neglect that detainees encountered while in detention. The report urges Iraqi authorities to put the existing anti-torture legal measures into action to put an end to the atrocities. On August 5, Iraq’s Health Ministry said confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iraq reached 1,684,955 and deaths reached 19,000. Daily averages for new cases significantly increased to 11,595 new cases per day this week, up from 8,606 per day reported during the week ending July 22. Last week, Iraqi health officials said that all specialized COVID-19 care facilities were almost full. warning that if cases continued to rise rise, hospitals may be forced to deny care to incoming patients. more…

  • July Oil Revenue Exceeds $6 Billion; KRG To End Salary Cuts; Cabinet Supports Major Energy Deal With France’s Total – On July 24, Iraq and Lebanon signed an agreement to trade one million tons of Iraqi fuel for Lebanon’s services in support of Iraq’s health and agriculture sectors. On July 24, Iraq’s Cabinet authorized the Oil Ministry to continue the negotiations with French energy company TotalEnergies (Total) concerning a multi-project deal focusing on natural gas production, seawater treatment, and solar energy. On July 25, KRG PM Masrour Barzani announced that the KRG will end the 21% salary deductions imposed last year on civil service employees. On July 29, a spokesman for Iraq’s Electricity Ministry said the Ministry has not yet received “a single dollar” from its allocation under the 2021 federal budget. On August 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that crude oil exports during July averaged 2.918 million bpd and generated $6.514 billion in revenue. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.


Kadhimi In Washington As Strategic Dialogue Resumes; U.S. To End “Combat” Mission By Year End; Kadhimi Says “White Paper” Reforms Will Commence

On July 23, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met his American counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Washington D.C. to launch the fourth round of strategic dialogue talks between Iraq and the U.S. During the meeting, Secretary Blinken stressed that the relationship between the two countries is “much greater than the war against ISIS.” The two officials discussed U.S. support for Iraq in several sectors, including public health, humanitarian assistance, clean energy initiatives, education, and the October elections. The U.S. intends to give UMANI’s election monitoring team up to $5.2 million, on top of its previous donation of $9.1 million. In terms of economic cooperation, the U.S. said it will help Baghdad implement its economic reform white paper, and pledged to  invest $1 billion in Iraq’s private sector to boost job opportunities through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Addressing security cooperation, Hussein emphasized that Iraq’s forces “still need the programs provided by the United States, related to training, arming, equipping, and capacity-building.” Hussein’s visit came ahead of Prime Minister Kadhimi’s meeting in Washington with President Biden on July 26, which addressed the future U.S. forces in Iraq (details below).

On July 24, angry locals broke into a power station in the al-Tar subdistrict of Dhi-Qar province and burned tires around it to protest ongoing electricity shortages. Elsewhere in Dhi-Qar, protesters demanding employment demonstrated outside of the province’s Oil Company, setting fire to the gate of the company’s complex. Security forces responded by arresting four of the protesters. On July 26, demonstrators in Diyala’s Khanaqin district blocked a major road leading to a border crossing with Iran to protest poor public services and demand the resignation of local water and electricity officials. On the same day, dozens of freelance lecturers demonstrated in front of the Directorate of Education in Maysan province to demand that authorities approve their contracts. 

On July 26, Prime Minister al-Kadhimi met with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington D.C. for the fourth round of U.S.-Iraqi Strategic Dialogue talks. During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year. During the press conference, President Biden said that the 2,500 American troops currently in Iraq will “be available to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.” Biden and Kadhimi also discussed American support for the upcoming elections in Iraq, as well as recent attacks by pro-Iran militias on diplomatic missions and International Coalition forces. Kadhimi said that his government “spoke to Iranians and others in an attempt to put a limit to these attacks, which are undermining Iraq and its role.” After the meeting, the Coalition said that it will remain “committed to work with Iraqi Security Forces to ensure the enduring defeat ISIS mission.” 

On July 26, the United Nations Officer for Project Services signed financing agreements with France and Germany on UNAMI’s behalf to support the upcoming election for €500,000 and €1 million, respectively. On August 2, the United Nations Development Programme signed another agreement with Japan for a contribution of $2 million to support Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). 

On July 26, the Iraqi Parliament said that it will form a committee to temporarily run the Iraqi High Commission For Human Rights until a new board of commissioners is appointed, citing the “expiration of the current commissioners’ term.” The Federal Supreme Court of Iraq, however, ruled on the same day that it is unconstitutional to subordinate the Iraqi High Commission For Human Rights to Parliament. According to a copy of the verdict released by the Court, the Commission must remain an independent body “financially, administratively, and technically.” The Court issued the verdict after the Iraqi Cabinet filed a complaint contesting Parliament’s claim over the Commission.

On July 26, IHEC announced that there are no official limits for how much money candidates running in the October elections are allowed to spend on their campaigns. The Commission also released the final list of 24 coalitions registered to compete in the election. The release comes amid announcements by several groups that they plan to boycott the elections. Iraqi Communist Party, which said in May that it planned to boycott the vote, submitted a formal letter in this regard to IHEC days before the Commission released the list. In July, Muqtada al-Sadr said he was withdrawing his followers from the election too, but his Saeroun Alliance didn’t submit a formal notice of withdrawal. 

On July 30, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met in New York City with the head of the electoral support team for the UN Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs, Craig Jenness to  discuss UN support for the October elections. Jenness reportedly informed Hussein that the UN will deploy 150 international experts to four main centers in Iraq to prepare for the monitoring process. The UN will send an additional 100 experts in mid-September to serve as the actual election monitors. 

On August 2, Prime Minister al-Kadhimi announced that his administration would begin implementing the “administrative and executive mechanisms” of the economic reform plans included in the “white paper” his Cabinet released last year on October 12. Kadhimi said in a statement that the white paper is intended to “restore the strength of the country’s economy  from the decline caused by rampant corruption.” Kadhimi cautioned that there are “no immediate solutions,” and emphasized that the plan focuses on comprehensive, long term reforms that will be “completed within five years.” 

On August 2, Iraqi Speaker of the House Muhammad al-Halbousi traveled to Amman to met with several Jordanian officials, including Speaker of the House Abdel Moneim al-Awdat, King Abdullah II, and Crown Prince al-Hussein bin Abdullah II. al-Halbousi’s office released a statement that said talks with his Jordanian counterpart focused on the “importance of parliamentary work to support the outcomes of the tripartite summit,” such as supporting investors in Iraq and Jordan. Last month, Baghdad hosted a summit between the leaders of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan to discuss economic cooperation and regional security. Jordanian officials also expressed their support for Iraq’s upcoming elections. 

On August 2, former PUK co-President Lahur Talabani announced that he would be taking accusations against him by other party factions to court, citing alleged pressure on him “to leave Kurdistan.” Last month, Lahur Talabani stepped down as PUK co-President after the party claimed it uncovered an alleged spy working for Lahur on a “plot to strike [the PUK’s] strategic interests.” However, Lahur said that he had only “temporarily” handed over his executive powers to PUK co-President Bafel Talabani “on the condition that an investigative committee from the party be formed to reveal the truth regarding the accusations against me.” Talabani decided to seek legal action after the PUK said it was “unable” to form the committee. Bafel Talabani had also accused Lahur of using his party position for “personal gain, including smuggling, extortion, threats, and spying.” Another PUK official referred to the conflict as a family feud. 

On August 5, Iraqi President Barham Salih attended the inauguration of new Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in Tehran. The two presidents also met to discuss bilateral relations. Salih’s spokesperson issued a statement saying the meeting  “discussed the brotherly, bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries and their importance, which are well-established in history, united by close social, religious, cultural, and geographic bonds that benefit the two countries and the whole region.” 


ISIS Intensifies Power Grid Bombings And Attacks On ISF And Civilians; Activists Targeted In New Attacks In Iraq’s South; Senior Militia Commander Assassinated

On July 22, Turkish security forces said they killed a prominent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) member, Haqin Atash, in the Hakurk region of Iraq. Atash was responsible for PKK recruitment and logistical support in the area. On July 26, Turkish airstrikes caused widespread fires in the Brouari Bala area of Amadiyah district in Duhok province, destroying over 166 acres of agricultural land in the villages of Bazi, Haroor and Brefika. On July 30, Turkish operations continued, as helicopters attacked villages in the Deraluk and Jumanki subdistricts, and 15 shells reportedly targeted the Sharanish, Behairi and Setflati villages of the Zakho district in Duhok province. 

On July 23, ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi security forces (ISF) checkpoint in the Rutba district of Anbar province, killing two soldiers and a tribal fighter, and injuring two more soldiers. On July 24, ISIS militants attacked another ISF checkpoint in the Rashad district of Kirkuk province, killing three officers and injuring two others. On July 28, a similar attack in the Muqdadiyah district of Diyala province killed a civilian bystander. On July 30, a security source said ISIS militants attacked an ISF checkpoint in the Halwan area of Diyala province, killing four Iraqis. The attack also injured a soldier and four civilians. On August 1, further ISIS attacks on ISF checkpoints in the Riyadh district of Kirkuk damaged a police thermal camera on August 1, and killed an officer and injured three others on August 2. 

On July 23, unidentified gunmen attacked civilians in the Sadiyah subdistrict of Diyala province. The militants killed one civilian, injured another and kidnapped a third civilian. 

On July 23, a drone struck the Bashur airbase, which is known to house U.S. troops, near the Harir subdistrict in Erbil, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI)’s capital. An Iraqi militia group, the Thaereen Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack. No casualties or damages were reported.

On July 24, the Security Media Cell announced that security forces arrested two militant cells  based out of Anbar and Kirkuk, suspected of involvement in the July 19 Sadr City bombing. On July 25, Kurdistan region’s counterterrorism forces announced the arrest of another suspect in the same bombing inside the KRI.

On July 25, a security source said ISIS militants fired a rocket that struck in an area between two villages in the al-Zab district of Kirkuk. The attack did not cause casualties.  

On July 25, medical sources reported that Ali Kareem, the son of prominent Basra activist Fatima al-Bahaldi, was found dead with gunshot wounds in the Zubayr district of Basra. Kareem  had been missing for two days before his murder was discovered. In an interview with The National, al-Bahaldi accused Asaib Ahl al-Haq of murdering her son. On July 27, the Security Media Cell announced that security forces arrested a suspect in Kareem’s murder with the help of Kurdistan’s Counterterrorism unit. 

On July 26, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in front of activist Ibrahim Qasid’s home in the Shuhada neighborhood of Nasiriyah in Dhi-Qar province. A similar explosion targeted another civilian’s home in the same area. In northern Dhi-Qar, another IED targeted the al-Rifai mayor, Ammar al-Rakibi’s home. Al-Rakibi was not home when the incident occurred. On July 28, a fourth IED struck another civilian’s home in southern Nasiriyah. The incidents resulted in material damages only.  

On July 26, two explosions damaged ammunition depots in Najaf province. The depots belonged to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Imam Ali Division. There are conflicting reports on the cause of the explosions. A spokesman for the unit said hostile drone strikes were behind the explosions, which he said injured three of the group’s fighters. However, the Security Media Cell attributed the explosions to poor storage conditions and high temperatures.   

On July 26, a homemade explosive device exploded in the Hay Ur neighborhood of Baghdad, injuring a pedestrian. 

On July 26, unidentified gunmen shot a civilian in the Madaen district south of Baghdad. On July 30, ISIS militants killed two civilians in the Tarmiyah district north of Baghdad.

On July 26, ISIS militants shot and killed two civilians in the Abu Saidi subdistrict in Diyala province. On July 27, a similar shooting killed a construction worker in the Abu Saidi subdistrict in Diyala.

On July 29, an IED targeted a International Coalition logistical support convoy as it drove on a highway in Babylon province. No damage was reported. In Dhi-Qar, another IED blast struck a similar convoy as it traveled through Nasiriyah, damaging it. On July 30, another IED blast struck another convoy as it passed on the international highway in Babylon, without damaging the convoy. On August 1, another IED hit a similar convoy traveling along the main highway through Diwaniyah. No damage was reported. On August 4, a fifth IED struck a similar convoy on the Nasiriyah highway in Dhi-Qar, without damaging it. None of the incidents resulted in casualties. 

On July 29, a roadside IED exploded as an oil tanker drove by it in Nasiriyah in Dhi-Qar. The blast injured the driver. 

On July 29, two Katyusha rockets struck residential areas near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Footage posted in local media appeared to show damage to civilian vehicles in the impact area in Baghdad’s Ameerat neighborhood. 

On July 30, a security source said a group of ISIS militants attacked civilians attending a funeral in the Yathrib district of Salah ad-Din province. The attack killed seven and injured 17 individuals, including civilians and security forces. 

On July 30, a security source said that a missile struck an oil refinery belonging to Northern Oil Company in the Beiji district of Salah ad-Din province. The missile caused no material damage or casualties. 

On July 31, a security source said that an IED targeted a PMFvehicle in the al-Zarga subdistrict in Salah ad-Din province, killing one PMF fighter and wounding three others. 

On August 1, a roadside IED exploded as a civilian vehicle passed by it in the Baaj district of Ninewa province, killing a civilian and injuring another.  

On August 1, a security source said that an under vehicle IED (UVIED) exploded under a lawyer’s vehicle near the mayor’s office in the Khanaqin district of Diyala province. The explosion only damaged the vehicle.  

On August 1, four IEDs damaged four transmission towers on the Mirsad-Diyala power line which imports electricity from Iran. The explosions occurred near the Khanaqin district of Diyala province. On August 2, IEDs toppled two additional towers in the al-Salaam subdistrict of Diyala, causing widespread power outages. On August 3, an IED toppled a high voltage transmission tower on the Qayyarah – Kirkuk power line in the Shirqat district of Salah ad-Din province, causing power shortages. On August 4, IEDs toppled five power towers on the Kirkuk – Qayyarah line in Ninewa province, causing power shortages in the province. Meanwhile in Salah ad-Din, IEDs also brought down two towers and damaged three more on the Shaheed Abdullah – East Tikrit line, cutting off electricity in the province. Later in the evening, an IED targeted another tower on the Samara – South Tikrit power line in Salah ad-Din province. That day, IEDs also damaged a power tower on the Salah ad-Din – West Baghdad power line in the Nebai area of Salah ad-Din province, and another on the Nasr – Quds power line in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad. The damage caused widespread power outages. On August 5, IEDs damaged three towers on the Haditha-Qaem power line in Anbar province.

On August 2, unidentified gunmen assassinated the commander of the PMF’s 9th brigade, Abu Sadiq al-Khashkhashi, in Babylon province. Khashkhashi was in his vehicle near his home during the attack, which also killed one of his guards and injured his driver. The PMF’s 9th brigade is affiliated with the Iranian-backed Badr Organization. 

On August 2, a remnant of war exploded at a scrap metal yard in the al-Wahda neighborhood of Baghdad, killing two civilians as they were taking it apart. 

On August 2, armed ISIS militants targeted a home in the al-Dhuloiyah district of Salah ad-Din, killing two civilians and injuring five others. 

On August 4, a security source said that unidentified gunmen kidnapped a civilian in Altun Kupri in Kirkuk province. 

On August 4, a UVIED exploded in the Karada neighborhood in central Baghdad, damaging a vehicle belonging to the Euphrates River Security Company. No casualties were reported.

On August 5, three mortar shells struck a village within the Qaraj subdistrict of Ninewa province. The attack did not cause damages or casualties. 


Officials Say Hospitals Are Full As COVID-19 Cases Continue To Rise, But Vaccinations Rise Too; UN Report Says Torture Remains A problem In Iraq’s Justice System

On July 23, the U.S. promised additional humanitarian aid to Iraq during the fourth round of strategic dialogue between the two countries in Washington D.C. First, the U.S. will support Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by donating 500,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and $800,000 to improve Iraq’s medical safety procedures. Second, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will train Iraqi public health employees to improve coordination of public health emergency responses and infection prevention protocols. Third, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. will provide almost $155 in additional humanitarian assistance for Iraq to secure basic needs, such as shelter, food, and water, as well as healthcare, legal services and access to education to Iraqi communities in need. 

On July 24, Prime Minister Kadhimi’s Cabinet issued a decision to approve the draft of the first amendment to the Law of Welfare of People with Disabilities and Special Needs (Law No. 38 of 2013). Following approval, the Cabinet referred the draft amendment to Iraq’s Parliament for a vote. 

On July 29, Norway donated approximately $2.35 million towards UN Population Fund (UNFPA) initiatives in Iraq to improve the capacity to prevent and respond to incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) among vulnerable communities in Iraq. A UNFPA statement said Norway’s funding will help improve safe spaces and community centers, and make them more suitable for women with disabilities. UNFPA will also use the funding to “support male engagement in GBV interventions” and raise awareness about women’s rights in IDP camps and areas hosting returned IDPs.

On July 29, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released a factsheet containing updated data on IDPs in Iraq for July 2021. UNHCR said 6,396,414 people represent the “population of concern” in Iraq. This includes 1,198,940 IDPs, 4,867,050 returnees, 245,952 Syrian refugees, 37,472 other-state refugees, and 47,000 stateless individuals. According to the UNHCR, as of June 30, 2021, 27 camps in Iraq hosted over 182,600 IDPs. Most of the camps are in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, with only three operating in federal Iraq. As of July 27, 2021, UNHCR received only 37% of the $421 million needed to sustain its operations in Iraq this year.

On July 30, the European Union announced that it will provide €7 million (approximately $8 million) to support the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in clearing Iraqi regions of mines and explosive remnants of war left behind from the war with ISIS. The effort, which is underway and will continue for another year, will help prepare newly-cleared regions for housing development and agricultural and economic activities. The funding will also support explosive ordnance risk education efforts and UNMAS training of Iraqi stakeholders  to improve Iraq’s nationwide coordination of explosive ordnance disposal. 

On July 31, Iraq’s Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Saif al-Bader said that all specialized COVID-19 care facilities across Iraq are almost full. He added that if cases continue rising, hospitals may be forced to deny care to incoming patients. Iraq is also facing problems in securing enough oxygen to meet the needs of COVID-19 patients. Acting Health Minister, Hani al-Iqabi, said that oxygen supplies are dwindling, warning that “oxygen laboratories are incapable of meeting demand as cases continue to rise.” 

On August 1, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released an overview of 2021 humanitarian funding in Iraq. OCHA said that donors have provided $172 million as of August 1, which represents only 28.3% of the $607.2 million needed for its 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Last month, the USAID-funded research group Humanitarian Outcomes, published a report on its Survey on the Coverage, Operational Reach, and Effectiveness of Humanitarian Aid (SCORE) in Iraq. The SCORE report said that the HRP was only able to target 1.5 out of 4 million Iraqis in need of humanitarian assistance, directly supporting 0.6 million of them as of June. The report found that Iraq’s governmental relations with the international community, conflicting reconstruction priorities, operational expenses, and continued risk aversion in Iraq currently constrains humanitarian access. Surveying Iraqis across areas with high IDP concentration, the group found that 71% of respondents needed assistance, but only 19% had received it, indicating for Iraqis a declining aid presence. Respondents also indicated that governmental restrictions and lack of focus on the most affected areas further hindered humanitarian response efforts, recommending that aid actors work more closely with communities and local authorities. 

On August 3, Iraq’s Foreign Affairs and Culture Ministries received over 17,000 looted artifacts recovered from the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy. Most of the artifacts date back to Ancient Mesopotamia from around 2000 B.C. The Culture Ministry said that the significant pieces will be publicly featured in Iraq’s National Museum. In a press conference with Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Culture Minister Hassan Nadhim described the return of these artifacts as the “largest in Iraq’s history.”

On August 3, the UN Human Rights Office and UNAMI released a report about mistreatment and torture in Iraq’s justice system. The document’s findings are based on information derived from interviews with more than 200 people, including detainees, their relatives and attorneys, as well as government officials. The report, which covers a period of nearly two years from 2019 to 2021, documents numerous accounts of torture, mistreatment, disregard for due process, and neglect that detainees encountered while in detention. The report urges Iraqi authorities to put the existing anti-torture legal measures into action to put an end to the atrocities. 

On August 5, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iraq reached 1,684,955, representing a biweekly increase of 158,012 cases from the 1,526,943 cases reported on July 22. Of these cases, 163,734 patients are currently in hospitals, including 933 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent an increase of 41,223 in hospitalizations and an increase of 201 in ICU admissions since July 22. Ministry data indicated that there were 899 new COVID-related deaths since July 22, bringing the total from 18,101 to 19,000. The total number of recoveries increased from 1,386,331 to 1,502,221. The daily average for new cases significantly increased with an average of 11,595 new cases per day this week, up from 8,606 average new cases per day reported on July 22. On July 28, Iraq recorded a new peak in daily cases when it reported 13,515 new infections. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 2,426 cases, Duhok with 1,400 cases, Basra with 1,188 cases, Sulaymaniyah with 1,066 cases, and Erbil with 754 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 13,330,624 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 2,030,548 including 92,866 who received their shots on August 5.


July Oil Revenue Exceeds $6 Billion; KRG To End Salary Cuts; Cabinet Supports Major Energy Deal With France’s Total

On July 24, Iraq’s Finance Minister, Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi, signed an agreement with Lebanon’s   Energy and Water Minister, Raymond Ghagar, under which Iraq will sell Lebanon one million tons of Iraqi fuel in exchange for Lebanese services and goods in support of Iraq’s health and agriculture sectors. While Lebanon cannot use Iraq’s fuel in its own power plants, it will resell the fuel to companies in exchange for usable fuel. Ghajar estimates that the exchange values at $300-400 million. Prime Minister Kadhimi attended the signing ceremony in Baghdad. Iraq and Lebanon had initially signed an agreement in early April to trade 500,000 tons of Iraqi fuel oil for Lebanese health services. 

On July 24, the Iraqi government issued a decision to raise the capital of three state-owned enterprises based on the provisions of the Public Companies Act (Law No. 22 of 1997). The Iraqi Tanker’s Company will see its capital increase by IQD131 billion (approximately $90 million). The capital of the Industry and Minerals Ministry’s Diyala enterprise will increase by nearly IQD41.4 billion (approximately $28.3 million). Finally, the Industry and Mineral Ministry’s Ur General Co. will see its capital increase by IQD46 billion (approximately $31.5 million).

On July 24, Iraq’s Cabinet authorized the Oil Ministry to continue the negotiations with French energy company TotalEnergies (Total) concerning a multi-project deal focusing on natural gas and renewables. A government statement gave the Oil Ministry the green light to “proceed to sign with Total…and expedite forming the administrative and technical entities [required] to implement the project.” The deal, which Total and Iraq announced in April, involves a project to harness gas at the Ratawi, West Qurna 2, Majnoon, Tuba, and Luhais oil fields. Total also plans to increase oil production at Ratawi from 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) to 200,000 bpd, build a 2.5 million bpd seawater reprocessing plant, and develop a 1,000 megawatt solar energy plant. 

On July 25, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani announced that the KRG will end salary deductions affecting civil service employees. The decision came after  the KRG recently received an IQD200 million payment from the federal government. In June of 2020, the KRG imposed a 21% deduction on the salaries of  the region’s civil service to cope with the region’s financial difficulties. 

On July 26, the KRG Agriculture and Water Minister, Bergard Talabani, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dutch Consul-General Hans Akerboom on advancing local agriculture. The MoU will allow Dutch experts to advise KRG officials in implementing a strategy to strengthen the region’s sustainable agriculture and overall economic development. 

On July 27, Prime Minister Kadhimi said he wanted an American company to replace ExxonMobil after its impending exit from operating Iraq’s West Qurna 1 oil field. After meeting with President Biden in Washington D.C., Kadhimi told reporters that Iraq will only accept an American company to take ExxonMobil’s place once it sells its 32.7% share in West Qurna 1. On July 31, however, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, said that the state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) still intends to acquire ExxonMobil’s stake. Abdul Jabbar added that the Russian company Lukoil reversed its initial decision to sell its interest in the adjacent West Qurna 2 to Chinese companies. In late May, BOC rejected ExxonMobil’s proposal to sell its stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field to two Chinese companies. 

On July 29, Iraq’s Electricity Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Mousa, said that the Ministry has not yet received “a single dollar” from its allocation under the 2021 federal budget. Moussa added that budgetary delays are one of the biggest obstacles facing the Ministry as it tries to implement projects and service power stations. 

On August 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that crude oil exports during July totaled 90.468 million barrels, for an average of 2.918 million bpd, which is 26,000 more than June’s average of 2.899 million bpd. The July exports generated $6.514 billion in revenue, slightly more than June’s $6.141 billion. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of $72 per barrel, approximately $1.23 up from June’s average of $70.77 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 2.821 million bpd in July, while average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk, which were exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, stood at 97,275 bpd.  

On August 1, the Ministry of Planning said that Iraq imported a total of $15.4 billion in petroleum products and other non-oil goods in 2020. This represents approximately 26% and 58% decrease in imports compared with 2019 and 2018, respectively. Non-oil based commodities comprised almost 90% of those imports. A ministry spokesman noted that Iraq’s imports of petroleum products dropped from $2.8 billion in 2019 to $1.6 billion in 2020.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from July 22, 2021 - August 05, 2021

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
07/26/21 Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
07/26/21Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
07/26/21Al-Rifai district, Dhi-Qar00
07/28/21Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
07/29/21Babylon province00
07/29/21Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
07/29/21Nasiryah, Dhi-Qar province01
07/30/21Babylon province00
07/31/21Al-Zarga subdistrict, Salah ad-Din province13
08/01/21Diwaniyah province00
08/01/21Baaj district, Ninewa Province11
08/01/21Khanaqin district, Diyala province00
08/01/21Khanaqin district, Diyala province00
08/01/21Khanaqin district, Diyala province00
08/01/21Khanaqin district, Diyala province00
08/01/21Khanaqin district, Diyala province00
08/02/21Al-Salaam subdistrict, Diyala province00
08/02/21Al-Salaam subdistrict, Diyala province00
08/02/21Karada district, Baghdad province20
08/04/21Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
08/03/21Al-Shirqat District, Salah ad-Din province
Damaged 1 power tower on the Qayyrah - Kirkuk power line
00
08/04/21Tarmiyah, Baghdad province00
08/04/21Nebai, Salah ad-Din province00
08/04/21Karada district, Baghdad province00
08/04/21 Ninewa Province
Toppled 5 towers on the Kirkuk - Qayyarah al Ghazia power line
00
08/04/21Salah ad-Din province
Damaged 5 power towers on the Shaheed Abdul 5 - East Tikrit - Shaheed Abdullah - Al Dur power line
00
08/04/21Salah ad-Din province
Damaged 1 power tower on the Samara - South Tikrit power line
00
08/05/21 Haditha district, Anbar Province
Damaged 3 power towers on the Haditha - Qaem power line
00

 

Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.


Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Enabling Peace in Iraq Center.


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