- Fatah Insists On Rejecting Results As Recount Shows Little Changes; Sadr Wants Majority Government; Court Convicts Journalist Killer; Independent MPs Form Bloc – On October 29, the ruling AKP party in Turkey said that military operations against the PKK in Iraq and Syria were necessary to prevent the emergence of “terrorist statelets.” On October 31, Muqtada al-Sadr said Iraq should have a “national majority government,” formed by a ruling coalition, and an opposition coalition “whose advice would be binding and won’t be marginalized.” On October 30, the coordination framework for Shia powers reiterated its rejection of election results, saying IHEC didn’t not following the law during the recount. Meanwhile, Fatah supporters threatened to escalate after “one last peaceful protest” planned for Friday. On November 1, the Fatah Coalition urged election winners to provide guarantees that there will be no attempts to “dismantle” the PMF. On November 1, an Iraqi court sentenced the convicted killer of journalists Ahmed Abdul-Samad and Safaa Ghali to death under article 13 of Iraq’s counter-terrorism law. The killer confessed that a Kataib Hezbollah commander ordered the murder. On November 1, PM Kadhimi appointed a new chief for Iraq’s National Security Service. On November 2, the Taqaddum party urged PM Kadhimi to take immediate action to address worsening security conditions in Diyala. On November 3, a group of independent lawmakers announced the formation of a new parliamentary bloc called “The Popular Independent Bloc.” On November 2, IHEC officials said that most of the objections they received were without evidence, resulting in little to no changes in results, as IHEC performed a manual recount of ballots from 2,000 stations. more…
- Mortars Pummel Diyala Villages; Rockets Hit Baghdad After Hiatus; Erbil And Baghdad Inch Closer To Forming Joint Brigades – Between October 28 – November 1, five militant attacks killed at least six Iraqis, wounded one person, and left another person missing. Between October 28 – 30, several attacks with mortars targeted villages in Muqdadiyah as tensions continued in the district in the aftermath of an ISIS attack on October 26 that killed 11 civilians. Between October 30 – November 4, the explosions of four IEDs and remnants of war wounded at least seven Iraqis in Ninewa, Diyala, and Baghdad. A fifth IED killed a Turkish soldier in the Kurdistan region. On November 1, Iraqi airstrikes killed five ISIS militants in northern Salah ad-Din province. On October 31, three Katyusha rockets struck the al-Mansour and al-Harthiyah neighborhoods of Baghdad. Iraqi officials think the rockets were targeting the U.S. embassy. On November 1, a Peshmerga commander said that federal Ministry of Defense and KRG Ministry of Peshmerga have finalized “most of the steps” towards establishing two joint brigades intended to operate in the disputed territories. more…
- Funding Hinders Aid Delivery To 700,000 In Need; Diyala Violence And Erbil Floods Destroy Homes, Displace Thousands – On October 31, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) reached 780,000 of the 1.5 million people it targeted. Donors have provided $264 million in funding, only 43% of the $607 million required. Aid organizations identified insufficient funds as the main reason behind the gaps in response. On November 1, the governor of Erbil said that heavy rainfall caused flash floods that destroyed 500 homes, reportedly displacing more than 3,000 people. On November 2, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration said that more than 300 families had been displaced from villages in the Muqdadiyah district of Diyala in the aftermath of recent violent incidents that struck the area. Officials said a total of 57 homes were destroyed by arson. On November 4, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,060,066. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 23,271 while hospitalizations decreased to 26,874. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 1,135/day from 1,429/day during the previous reporting period. The total number of vaccinated people reached 6,117,038 including 90,833 who received their shots on November 4. On November 1, Iraq made vaccines available to people 12 years and older. more…
- Oil Revenue Rises Sharply; Central Bank Increase Funding To Housing Initiatives; Baghdad Sends Erbil More Cash For Salaries – On November 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that oil exports in October averaged 3.119 million bpd and generated $7.68 billion in revenue, nearly 15% higher than September, as oil prices continued to improve. On November 1, Iraqi officials said that Baghdad has recently paid $490 million to Kuwait in Gulf War reparations, leaving a balance of only $629 million. On November 2, the Central Bank of Iraq said it has decided to allocate IQD2.6 trillion in new funding to support national housing initiatives. On November 2, a KRG spokesman said that Baghdad has decided to send Erbil a new payment of IQD200 billion to pay the salaries of its civil servants. On November 4, the Iraqi Drilling Company said it signed a contract with the North Oil Company to rework ten oil wells in the Khabbaz oil field in Kirkuk province. 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 October 29, the Kurdistan Islamic Union and New Generation parties said in separate statements that they will not get involved in the formation of the next Iraqi government and will not pursue any executive positions.
On October 29, a spokesman for the ruling party in Turkey, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that the continuation of Turkish military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Iraq and Syria was necessary to prevent the emergence of “terrorist statelets” on Turkey’s borders. The spokesman, Omer Celik, made the remarks after attending a 90-minute meeting of the AKP’s leadership, headed by president Erdogan. The Turkish Parliament recently approved a request by Erdogan to extend its authorization for the Turkish military to conduct military operations inside Iraq and Syria until October 30, 2023.
On October 29, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official said that consensus among the main political parties was still necessary in government formation. The official, Majid Shingali, argued that democracy in Iraq “remains in a sensitive phase” that requires “maintaining consensus and participation in the next government without any party excluding another.” Shingali emphasized that the political system “has not reached a degree of maturity” to allow a group to form a majority government and relegate other parties to an opposition role. Masoud Haider, another KDP official, later told Shafaq that the Kurdish parties cannot afford to align themselves with either one of the rival parties in the Shia political establishment, pointing out that being with Sadr against the coordination committee or vice versa would further complicate the political problems.
On October 30, Muqtada al-Sadr said that he has seen evidence of regional interference in the Iraqi election and of foreign pressure seeking to influence some political parties. Sadr called on “all the states that have obvious interference to stop immediately,” and called on Iraqi parties to “not seek their help or involve them in our internal affairs.” On the following day, Sadr expressed his position on the shape of the next government, arguing that Iraq should have a “national majority government.” Sadr added that Parliament should have a ruling coalition that forms the government, and an opposition coalition “whose advice would be binding to us and won’t be marginalized by us.” Sadr claimed that he would not mind being “in either of these two coalitions,” adding that this was part of “the principles of democracy.”
On October 30, the coordination framework for Shia powers reiterated its rejection of the October 10 election results. The entity, which is an umbrella for Shia parties that lost ground in the election, claimed in a statement that the manual count process that IHEC started after receiving objections has not been in accordance with the law. The IHEC procedures, the statement argued, “used electronic measures instead of visual measures…this violates the election law which stated that manual count, not electronic measures, must be used when there are objections.” Meanwhile, supporters of losing parties have continued a multi-day sit-in outside the Green Zone to voice their rejection of the election results. And on November 4, a statement attributed to the sit-in organizers called for “one last peaceful protest” on Friday, adding warning that “another phase of escalation” could follow to “reclaim our stolen votes.”
On October 31, political sources told Shafaq that the coordination framework for Shia powers informed Muqtada al-Sadr that the leaders of Shia political parties are in agreement on refusing to offer Mustafa al-Kadhimi a second term in office. According to these reports, the leaders insist that the next prime minister must be chosen “through consensus from within the Shia house.”
On November 1, a senior member of the Fatah Coalition, Ahmed al-Kinani, urged the political parties that won in the elections to provide guarantees that there will be no attempts to “dismantle or merge” the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) into other security forces. Kinani argued that resolving the country’s political crisis requires concessions from some of the political blocs, adding that Iraq still needs the PMF because security remains vulnerable, citing the recent deadly incidents in Muqdadiyah.
On November 1, an Iraqi court in Basra sentenced the convicted killer of Iraqi journalists Ahmed Abdul-Samad and Safaa Ghali to death under article 13 of Iraq’s counter-terrorism law. According to remarks by Ghali’s brother, the killer confessed in court that a Kataib Hezbollah commander ordered the murder based on a fatwaw (religious edict) issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Unidentified gunmen had shot and killed the Dijla TV journalists on January 10, 2020 while they were covering protests in Basra. Prime Minister Kadhimi lauded the verdict, adding that the government “will continue to pursue all the killers.” Two days later, on November 2, the courts in Basra issued death sentences against two other men convicted in the murder of a protester in Basra.
On November 1, Rudaw reported that Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi appointed Hamid al-Shatri, the deputy chief of Iraq’s National Security Service, as the agency’s new leader. Shatri will replace Abdul-Ghani al-Asadi, who has served at the top of the National Security Service since July 2020.
On November 2, the Taqaddum party urged Prime Minister Kadhimi to convene an emergency meeting of the ministerial council for national security in Diyala to address the deteriorating security conditions in the province. Taqaddum representative Raad al-Dahlaki warned that the deadly incidents in the Muqdadiyah district, which killed many civilians and displaced hundreds of villagers, require “quick and serious action to contain the crisis.” Dahlaki added that Diyala has been “stolen by Daesh and the rogue militias” and called on the prime minister to show “strong presence and take charge…to avoid dangerous consequences.”
On November 3, a group of independent incoming lawmakers announced the formation of a new parliamentary bloc called “The Popular Independent Bloc.” The new group, whose size remains unclear, said in a statement that it welcomes any representatives as members regardless of their ethnic or sectarian background. The bloc said its core mission is to “build a state of citizenship (mowatana), reject muhasasa, perform effective legislative oversight…fight corruption, and defend the independence of national decision.” The bloc appointed representatives Mohammed Anouz as its coordinator and Sajjad Salim as its spokesman.
On November 4, IHEC officials said the Commission began looking into addendums to objections submitted by losing election candidates after it had completed a manual recount of ballots from 2,000 stations facing objections in multiple provinces. An IHEC spokesman said the process will take up to ten days, after which IHEC will announce the final results. Throughout the week, IHEC provided updates on the manual recount process. On October 28, IHEC completed the recount in Babylon, followed on October 29 by Maysan, Diyala, and east Baghdad. By October 31, IHEC was finishing the recount in Erbil, Salah ad-Din, Muthanna, Diwaniyah, and Anbar. Kirkuk and Basra followed on November 3. Many of the provinces had few stations where results were in question, while a few like Dhi-Qar, had up to 600 stations involved in the recount. IHEC officials said that most of the objections were not supported by evidence, resulting in little to no changes in the results.
On October 28, local sources in Diyala said that unidentified gunmen kidnapped a civilian after breaking into his home in the Abbara subdistrict, northeast of Baquba.
On October 28, Iraq’s Interior Minister relieved the Diyala police commander, lieutenant general Hamid Khalil Yacoub, of duty following a violent week in which an ISIS attack and subsequent acts of retaliation killed at least 18 people and displaced hundreds of villagers. Lieutenant general Abbas al-Jubouri from the Interior Ministry’s Quick Response Division replaced the departing Yacoub.
On October 28, security sources in Kirkuk said that ISIS militants attacked federal police forces in the Daquq district, south of Kirkuk City. The attack killed one federal police member.
On October 28, security sources in Diyala said that four mortar rounds struck near the village of Huroub, northeast of the Muqdadiyah district. Two similar attacks with multiple rounds later struck near the Abbara and Shawk al-Reem villages near Muqdadiyah. On October 30, there was another attack with five mortar rounds on the village of Jadida. On the same day, another salvo of mortar rounds targeted the village of Shawk al-Reem again. None of the attacks caused casualties. This week, security authorities in Muqdadiyah extended a nighttime curfew that has been in place in the troubled district in the aftermath of an October 26 ISIS attack and subsequent retaliatory violence that struck the villages of Rashad and Nahr al-Imam, respectively.
On October 29, the Turkish Defense Ministry said that an improvised explosive device (IED) killed a Turkish soldier in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI). Two days later, Turkey said that another one of its soldiers died as a result of injuries he sustained during earlier clashes with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the Hakurk area of the KRI.
On October 30, security sources in the Kurdistan region said that ISIS militants attacked Peshmerga forces positions in the Zarga Zaraw region in northern Kirkuk. The attack killed two Peshmerga fighters from the 2nd battalion, 10th brigade.
On October 30, the Security Media Cell said that ISIS militants attacked a group of civilians who were making charcoal near the Abbasi subdistrict, southwest of Kirkuk City. The attack killed two civilians and injured a third.
On October 30, Ninewa police sources said that a legacy IED exploded in the town of Badush, northwest of Mosul, severely injuring two civilians.
On October 31, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) said that federal police forces killed an ISIS militant and wounded two others in an ambush near the Riyadh subdistrict of Kirkuk province. On the following day, JOC said that F-16 jets of Iraq’s air force killed five more ISIS militants in airstrikes against targets in al-Eith region in northern Salah ad-Din province.
On October 31, security sources in Baghdad said that three Katyusha rockets struck in different locations in the upscale al-Mansour and al-Harthiyah neighborhoods of west Baghdad. The rocket impacts lightly damaged civilian vehicles and buildings, without causing casualties. Some Iraqi security officials think the rockets were targeting the United States embassy in the Green Zone. Other security sources, however, argue that the rockets were targeting the headquarters of Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, where Prime Minister Kadhimi was supposedly having a meeting.
On October 31, security sources in Diyala said that the explosion of a remnant of war, an old mortar round, wounded two farmers in the Had al-Akhdar village near the Abbara subdistrict.
On November 1, a senior commander in the Ministry of Peshmerga said that his ministry and the federal Ministry of Defense have finalized “most of the steps” towards establishing two joint brigades intended to operate in the disputed territories. The officer, lieutenant general Qarman Kamal, said the large area of the disputed territories, extending from Khanaqin to Kirkuk and from Makhmour to the Ninewa plain, require four joint army-Peshmerga brigades instead of the two under consideration.
On November 1, security sources in Diyala said that ISIS militants attacked a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) checkpoint in the Kabashi region, between Sadiyah and Khanaqin. The attack destroyed a thermal surveillance camera and killed one PMF fighter.
On November 3, security sources said that a legacy IED explosion wounded two PMF explosives clearing specialists during clearing operations in the Himrin mountains in Diyala province.
On November 4, security sources in Kirkuk said that an IED exploded in front of a liquor store in the Badr neighborhood of the city. The explosion injured the store owner and caused extensive material damage.
On October 31, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released an update on the state of the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) through the month of September. The update noted that the HRP has reached 780,000 of the 1.5 million people the plan was intended to help. The population reached by the HRP included 182,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in camps, another 248,000 living outside of camps, and 341,000 former IDPs who had returned to their home districts. OCHA said that donors have provided $264 million in funding, which represents only 43% of the $607 million needed to fully implement the 2021 HRP. In another update on gaps in assistance released on October 28, OCHA noted that aid organizations identified insufficient funds as the main reason behind the gaps in response. This was followed by “lack of partners…COVID-19 restrictions, and reprioritization due to population movements.”
On November 1, the governor of Erbil, Omid Khoshnaw, said that heavy rainfall caused flash floods that resulted in extensive damages to property across the province. According to Khoshnaw, the floods completely destroyed 500 homes, partially damaged 127 homes, and damaged 130 vehicles. Flooding also impacted two school buildings, roadworks, and water and electricity infrastructure. Flooding after the heavy rainfall on October 29-30 has reportedly displaced more than 3,000 people and left two individuals missing. There were no reports of fatalities.
On November 2, a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement said that more than 300 families had been displaced from villages in the Muqdadiyah district of Diyala in the aftermath of recent violent incidents that struck the area. The spokesman added that a total of 57 homes have also been damaged by arson, adding that 227 families have received the cash assistance ordered by the prime minister, while another 75 families were waiting to receive the funds. Meanwhile, the Sunni Waqf (endowment) office said that the prime minister instructed them to form a committee to survey the damage and rebuild the homes of displaced families in the village of Nahr al-Imam.
On November 4, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,060,066, an increase of 7,943 in cases from the 2,052,123 reported on October 28. Of these cases, 26,874 are currently under treatment, including 181 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 6,040 in hospitalizations and 45 in ICU admissions since October 28. Ministry data indicated that there were 188 new COVID-19 deaths since October 28, bringing the total from 23,083 to 23,271. The total number of recoveries increased from 1,996,126 to 2,009,921. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day period was 1,135 per day, down from 1,429 per day during the 7-day period ending October 28. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Erbil with 220 cases, Duhok with 195, Sulaymaniyah with 176, and Baghdad with 137 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 15,889,705 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 6,117,038 including 90,833 who received their shots on November 4. On November 1, Iraq made the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available to anyone 12 years and older.
On November 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that crude oil exports during October totaled 96.708 million barrels, for an average of 3.119 million barrels per day (bpd), which is 38,000 bpd higher than September’s average of 3.081 million bpd. The September exports generated $7.68 billion in revenue, nearly 15% higher than September’s $6.711 billion. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of $79.37 per barrel, almost $6.8 higher than the previous month’s average of $72.6 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 3.012 million bpd in October, while average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk, which were exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, stood at 97,158 bpd. During September, Iraq also exported 9,992 bpd by truck to Jordan.
On November 1, a financial adviser to Prime Minister Kadhimi said that Iraq has recently paid $490 million to Kuwait as reparations for the 1990 invasion of the Gulf country by Saddam Hussein. The adviser, Mudher Mohammed Salih, noted that the remaining balance owed by Iraq now stands at $629 million. According to a statement by the Iraqi embassy in Kuwait, Baghdad intends to make the final payment as early as the first quarter of next year.
On November 2, the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) said it has decided to allocate IQD2.6 trillion in new funding to support national housing initiatives. The CBI will increase funding for the Mortgage Bank by IQD1.5 trillion and increase funding for the Housing Fund by IQD1.1 trillion.
On November 2, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that the federal government has decided to send the KRG a new payment of IQD200 billion to pay the salaries of its civil servants. After weeks of disagreements over the KRG share of the 2021 budget, the federal government and the KRG reached an ad-hoc agreement on June 15 to release IQD200 billion in monthly installments to the KRG. The KRG received its first payment on July 11.
On November 4, the Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC) said it signed a contract with the North Oil Company to rework ten oil wells in the Khabbaz oil field in Kirkuk province. IDC said the contract involves installing new subsurface control valves to bring the wells back into operation and make them less vulnerable to sabotage.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from October 28, 2021 - November 4, 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.
|10/29/21||Unspecified location, Kurdistan region||1||0|
|10/30/21||Badush, Ninewa province||0||2|
|11/3/21||Himrin mountains, Diyala province||0||2|
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.