- Tensions Rise As Alleged Election Fraud Protests Turn Deadly; Iraqi And Foreign Leaders Condemn Attempt On Kadhimi’s Life; Fatah Leaders Threaten Withdrawal From Politics – On November 5, Fatah coalition supporters protesting the election results clashed with security forces as they attempted to storm the Green Zone. The violence reportedly injured 125 people and killed three, including a senior commander in Asaib Ahl al-Haq. The coordination committee for Shia powers demanded an investigation and held the government responsible. On November 7, the Ministerial Council for National Security called the overnight assassination attempt that targeted PM Kadhimi “a dangerous attack on the Iraqi state,” and vowed to “expose, arrest, and put on trial those responsible.” Kadhimi, who was unhurt, received calls and messages from many regional and world leaders who condemned the attack and expressed solidarity. The UN Security Council also condemned the attack. On November 7, President Biden offered “all appropriate assistance to Iraq’s security forces as they investigate this attack,” which the head of CENTCOM blamed on Iran-backed militias. On November 7, various Iraqi leaders condemned the attempt on Kadhimi’s life, but the leaders of Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq accused Kadhimi of “playing victim” and questioned whether the attack was “real.” On November 8, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq said Iranian general Esmail Qaani met with Kadhimi and other Iraqi leaders to condemn the assassination attempt and convey Tehran’s support for legal solutions to disputes over election results. Qaani said those responsible for the attack should be punished. On November 9, Qais al-Khazali and Hadi al-Amiri threatened to boycott the political process unless their objections to election results were “addressed in a serious manner.” In other developments, on November 8, IHEC said it finished looking into all objections to the election results and declared that manual recount showed no discrepancies. On November 11, 15 independent incoming lawmakers formed a new parliamentary bloc called “The Independent Iraq Alliance.” more…
- Drones Attack Kadhimi’s Residence; Explosion Targets Election Winner; Rockets Strike Turkish Base In Ninewa – On November 7, PM Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt when armed drones tagted his residence inside Baghdad’s Green Zone. The attack damaged the building and injured six of Kadhimi’s guards. Iraq’s Interior Ministry said the attack involved three drones, one of which struck the residence, while security forces downed the other two. Iraqi security forces deployed on the streets of the capital in large numbers backed by armored vehicles and airplanes. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Between November 6 – 8, the explosions of five IEDs and one grenade killed three Iraqis and wounded nine more in Babylon, Kirkuk, Diwaniyah, Baghdad, and Ninewa. One of the IEDs targeted the home of a newly elected independent lawmaker in Diwaniyah. On November 7, up to six rockets targeted a Turkish military base near Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. In other developments, between November 6 – 9, Iraqi security forces killed five ISIS militants near Rutba and Tarmiyah, including a suspect in a car bombing that targeted a police station in Ramadi on October 3. Between November 7 – 9, five attacks by ISIS militants in Diyala, Salah ad-Din, and Ninewa, killed seven Iraqis and wounded another seven. more…
- Iraq Launches Campaign To Vaccinate 12 Million People; Authorities To Close The Last IDP Camp In Anbar; COVID-19 Spread Continues To Slow Down- On November 8, Iraq’s Ministry of Health and the WHO inaugurated a new campaign to inoculate 12 million people, 12 and older, against COVID-19, in all 18 provinces. The 7-week campaign involves establishing 100 “external mass vaccination sites” backed by 225 mobile teams. On November 8, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration said that it has returned 120 IDPs from the Amiriyah camp to their home districts in Anbar, adding that this will allow the Ministry to shut down the camp within days. On November 11, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,066,905. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 23,445 while hospitalizations decreased to 22,604. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 977/day from 1,135/day during the previous reporting period. The total number of vaccinated people reached 6,475,583 including 103,020 who received their shots on November 11. more…
- New Turkish Dam Raises Alarm In Iraq; Baghdad Negotiates New Energy Projects With Chevron; Head of Tax Commission Faces Prison – On November 8, Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources said Turkish plans to build a new irrigation dam on the Tigris river could significantly exacerbate water scarcity in Iraq. On November 9, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that the Council of Ministers authorized direct negotiations with Chevron for the development of four oil and gas blocs in the Dhi-Qar province. On November 11, an anti-corruption court in Baghdad sentenced the director general of Iraq’s tax commission to two years in prison. The court found the defendant guilty of causing severe harm to public interest by neglecting to collect taxes from Qi Card, an electronic payment company. In Other developments, on November 8, Iraq’s Finance Ministry said that the department of state-owned real estate succeeded in reclaiming 1,000 properties, inside Iraq and abroad, that were occupied by squatters and violators. 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 November 5, security sources in Baghdad said that Fatah coalition supporters who have been protesting the election results for two weeks clashed with security forces outside the Green Zone on Friday. The sources reported that both security forces and demonstrators used live fire against each other. Footage from outside the Green Zone showed a chaotic scene in which supporters of Fatah and allied militias were throwing stones at security forces while gunfire could be heard. Last week, Fatah supporters called for “one last peaceful protest” on Friday, adding a warning that “another phase of escalation” could follow to “reclaim our stolen votes.” Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that the violence injured 125 people, of whom 27 were civilians and the remainder were members of the security forces. The Ministry said none of the injuries involved bullet wounds, but Kataib Hezbollah claimed the violence killed three people. News outlets close to the militias identified one of the dead as a deputy commander in the 42nd brigade in the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) which is part of Asaib Ahl al-Haq. President Salih called the clashes “regrettable” adding that protest is a constitutional right that must remain peaceful, and calling on all sides to show restraint. Prime Minister Kadhimi echoed the president’s position, and ordered an investigation into the incident. In a statement, Fatah leader Hadi al-Amiri expressed “extreme anger at the ugly repression of peaceful protesters by government forces.” Amiri called on the judiciary to punish those who ordered the use of live fire and urged restraint. The coordination committee for Shia powers, which includes Fatah and other parties that rejected the election result, issued a similar statement demanding an investigation and holding the government responsible for the violence. Later that evening, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazali and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada leader Abu Ala al-Walaie arrived at the protest site to show solidarity with their supporters. On November 10, sources in the Baghdad Operations Command said that militia supporters made a new attempt to breach the security barrier of Green Zone but were prevented by security forces.
On November 7, a statement by the Ministerial Council for National Security called the assassination attempt that targeted Prime Minister Kadhimi “a dangerous attack on the Iraqi state.” The statement accused “criminal armed factions that have misread the restraint and professionalism of our security forces for weakness” of being responsible. The statement vowed to “expose, arrest, and put on trial those responsible for this terrorist act.” On the same day, President Barham Salih called the attack a “heinous crime” that requires “unity in confronting the evildoers targeting Iraq’s safety.” Salih stressed that Iraq must not be “dragged into chaos and coups against the constitutional order.” Kadhimi, who was unhurt in the explosive drone attack, received calls and messages from many regional and world leaders who condemned the attack and expressed solidarity, including from France, Qatar, the UK, Kuwait, the U.S., the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab leaders.
On November 7, the White House issued a statement in which President Joe Biden condemned the “terrorist attack” on Kadhimi’s residence. The statement added that Biden has ordered his national security team to “offer all appropriate assistance to Iraq’s security forces as they investigate this attack and identify those responsible.” Biden affirmed that Washington “stands firmly with the government and people of Iraq as they strive to uphold Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.” Meanwhile, the head of the U.S. Central Command, general Kenneth McKenzie, accused Iran-backed militias of planning the “criminal” attack. The CENTCOM chief said these groups have chosen to use violence after they realized that they can’t hold power through legal means.
On November 7, the Iranian government condemned the drone attack that targeted Prime minister Kadhimi, saying it supports Iraq’s “stability, peace and security.” A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said the assassination attempt was “in line with the interests of parties that have violated the stability, security, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq over the past 18 years.”
On November 7, various Iraqi political leaders condemned the drone attack on Prime Minister Kadhimi’s residence. Fatah leader Hadi al-Amiri said he condemned the attack, and called for an investigation to expose the culprits. Amiri warned that there could be “a third party” behind the attack, whose goal is to muddy the waters and “sow discord.” Former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki called the attack “unacceptable and contemptible,” urging everyone to give “wise politicians” the space to address the situation “without knee jerk reactions.” Former prime minister Haider al-Abadi said restraint was necessary at this “critical juncture,” stressing that dialogue and understanding have become “existential” needs. “Yesterday peaceful protesters were killed and today the prime minister is targeted…we are not on a battlefield, gentlemen!” Abadi exclaimed. Nechirvan Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also condemned the attack and called for calm. Barzani warned that the assasination attempt was “a dangerous development that threatens serious repercussions.” Meanwhile, a Kataib Hezbollah spokesman accused Prime Minister Kadhimi of “playing victim.” The spokesman, Abu Ali a-Askari, ridiculed Kadhimi whom he called a “Facebook creature,” adding that there were “more inexpensive and more guaranteed ways” to harm him than the armed drones used in the attack. Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, questioned whether the attack was “real,” asserting that in case it was then it must have been an attempt to muddy the waters “because it happened a day after the obvious crime of killing protesters.” Khazali speculated that foreign intelligence agencies were trying to frame “resistance factions” and blame them for the attack.
On November 8, the United National Security Council issued a statement in which it “condemned in the strongest terms” the drone attack that targeted Prime minister Kadhimi. The statement said the Security Council members stressed that those responsible for the attack must be held accountable and brought to justice, calling on all nations to cooperate with such efforts. The statement reiterated the Council members’ support for the “independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, democratic process and prosperity of Iraq.”
On November 8, Iranian news agencies reported that Esmail Qaani, the head of the Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, visited Iraq for meetings with Prime Minister Kadhimi and other Iraqi leaders following the attempted assassination Iraqi prime minister. Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjidi, confirmed the visit took place, and said Qaani conveyed Tehran’s support for pursuing the legal pathways in disputes over election results. Qaani also said that those responsible for the attack should be punished, whoever they may be, according to the Iranian envoy. Masjidi said Qaani urged calm, called on Iraqi officials to study objections to election results within the legal frameworks, and stressed that the final results must be respected. For his part, Masjidi “strongly condemned” the attempted assassination and said those who had objections to the results should cooperate [with other parties] after final results are announced. Iraqi sources familiar with Qaani’s visit said the meeting between Qaani and militia leaders was tense, and that the Iranian general discouraged escalation and called for a united Shia position on government formation.
On November 8, Iraq’s High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced that it has completed the process of looking into all objections and addendums to objections submitted by political parties concerning the October 10 election result. In total, IHEC said it performed a manual recount of ballots from 2,188 stations during the initial investigation of objections, and another 2,136 while investigating addendums to the objections. IHEC confirmed that “the results matched” the original results, with the exception of a “very small number” of invalid ballots that visual inspection proved to be valid. On the same day, the Electoral Judicial Committee began reviewing the objections and addendums referred to it by IHEC, a process that must be completed within ten days according to the law.
On November 9, the coordination committee for Shia powers said it convened a meeting with the president, prime minister, and head of the judicial authority to discuss the attack on the prime minister’s residence, objections to election results, and violence against “peaceful protesters.” The committee, which includes Fatah and other parties that rejected the election result, said in a statement that the meeting produced five points: 1) it condemned the crime of targeting protesters and called for investigations to hold the culprits accountable, 2) it condemned the crime of attacking the prime minister’s residence and called for an investigation into the circumstances to bring those responsible to justice, 3) it called for reducing tension, ending the escalation in the media by all parties, and removing all forms of provocation from the streets to reassure the people, 4) it called for finding legal solutions to the crisis caused by the unobjective election results to restore the severely shaken confidence in the electoral process, 5) it stressed the preservation of peace and the need to address disputes through the applicable legal and political frameworks. The content of the statement was neither confirmed nor denied by the prime minister, president, or head of the judiciary.
On November 9, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, reiterated his rejection of the October 10 election results. Khazali said the election must be repeated, and threatened to otherwise “completely boycott the political process.” On the following day, Fatah leader Hadi al-Amiri echoed Khazali’s position, threatening to withdraw from the political process “unless objections are addressed in a serious manner.” Amiri, who made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), accused the head of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UANMI) of “controlling IHEC…and overstepping her role.”
On November 10, Iraq’s Defense Minister, Juma Inad, visited Saudi Arabia on an invitation from the crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman. A brief statement by the Ministry of Defense said Juma and Bin Salman discussed defense cooperation and other issues of bilateral interest. Earlier, Bin Salman spoke with Prime Minister Kadhimi by phone following the drone attack that targeted the latter, and expressed Riyadh’s solidarity with Baghdad in confronting challenges to its security and stability.
On November 11, a group of independent incoming lawmakers announced the formation of a new parliamentary bloc called “The Independent Iraq Alliance.” The new bloc reportedly includes 15 representatives from Iraq’s central and southern provinces. Representative Hussein Arab, who is part of the new bloc, said the group intends to engage the other blocs in negotiations “with no redlines on alliances.”
On November 6, security sources in Babylon province said that a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the Abd Wees area near Jurf al-Sakhr. The explosion struck a popular mobilization forces (PMF) vehicle, killing one PMF fighter.
On November 6, security sources in Diwaniyah province said that an IED exploded in front of the home of Nadhum al-Shibli, an independent election winner in the Ghammas district. The explosion caused material damage to the building and nearby vehicles without inflicting casualties.
On November 6, Iraq’s federal intelligence agency said its forces killed three ISIS militants during operations in the desert of Anbar province. According to a statement by the agency, one of the militants was in charge of building car bombs in the province, including the vehicle that targeted a police station in Ramadi on October 3. Two days later, an Iraqi military spokesman said the agency tracked and killed another senior ISIS militant in an operation near Rutba, in the western part of Anbar. On November 9, the Baghdad Operations Command said that its forces intercepted and killed an ISIS militant wearing a suicide vest in the Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad.
On November 6, Ninewa police said that the explosion of a legacy IED wounded two civilians in the Hammam al-Alil subdistrict south of Mosul.
On November 7, security sources reported that six Katyusha rockets struck near a Turkish military base near the town of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. Other reports said the attack involved only two rockets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
On November 7, a security source in Baghdad said that a grenade exploded near a school in the Dora district in southern Baghdad, wounding two civilians.
On November 7, Iraq’s state news agency said that armed drones targeted Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s residence inside Baghdad’s Green Zone. The attack caused damage to the building and injured at least six members of Kadhimi’s security detail. Kadhimi, who survived the assassination attempt, confirmed the news in a video message he released that night. He said that “cowardly” attacks like this “don’t build nations” and called for “calm and constructive dialogue for Iraq’s future.” Iraq’s Interior Ministry said the attack involved three drones, one of which struck Kadhimi’s residence, while security forces downed the other two. Another military spokesman said the drones launched from an area 12 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, adding that they followed a low altitude path to avoid detection by radar. Images released by the government showed unexploded munitions that were found on the residence’s roof and appeared to be custom-made for launch from drones. After the attack, Iraqi security forces deployed on the streets of the capital in large numbers backed by armored vehicles and airplanes. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came amid tension with Iran-backed militias that have threatened violence day after their follower attempted to storm the Green Zone to demand overturning election results.
On November 7, security sources in Diyala said that ISIS snipers attacked a checkpoint near the Abbara subdistrict, northeast of Baquba, injuring two members of the security forces. On the following day, ISIS militants attacked another checkpoint near the Udheim subdistrict, north of Baquba, injuring one Iraqi soldier.
On November 8, security sources in Kirkuk province said that an IED explosion targeted a group of PMF fighters in the Turkalan subdistrict, southwest of Kirkuk city. The attack killed two PMF fighters and injured five others.
On November 8, security sources said that an IED explosion targeted a convoy transporting supplies for the International Coalition forces along a major highway in Diwaniyah province. The attack did not cause casualties.
On November 9, local officials in Salah ad-Din province said that ISIS militants attacked a group of fishermen while working on the Zarga river near the Amerli district, killing two of them. On the following day, a force of PMF fighters and locals clashed with ISIS militants when they attempted to retrieve the bodies of the dead fishermen. These clashes killed two PMF fighters, two of the locals, and injured four others. Security sources said the clashes ended after Iraqi military planes began attacking the militants’ positions.
On November 9, security sources in Diyala said that authorities have approved a plan to recruit 500 locals from the villages of Rashad and Nahr al-Imam in the Muqdadiyah district to form a local security force to defend against ISIS incursions. The source said the plan is meant to reassure the villagers and contain the security crisis that followed the late October ISIS attack and acts of retaliation that killed at least 18 people and displaced hundreds.
On November 9, Ninewa police said that ISIS militants clashed with a force of tribal mobilization fighters near the al-Hadhar junction, south of Mosul. The fighting killed one tribal fighter and led to the capture of ISIS militants.
On November 9, local officials in the Kani Masi subdistrict of Duhok province said that Turkish warplanes performed three airstrikes against areas near the village of Shiladze. The airstrikes resulted in material damage without causing casualties. The Turkish military later said its airstrikes killed five members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including a senior figure in the insurgent group.
On November 8, Iraq’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) inaugurated a new campaign to inoculate people against COVID-19 in all of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The 7-week campaign has a goal of vaccinating 12 million people, including children aged 12 and older, to bring vaccination levels across the country to 40%. The campaign involves establishing at least 100 “external mass vaccination sites” that will be distributed among the 18 provinces based on populations, need, and capacity. An additional 225 vaccination and registration teams will deploy in support of the mass vaccination sites. The head of WHO mission in Iraq said the vaccines “will be delivered in easy-to-access sites, open for long working hours extending to the evening,” adding that the campaign will provide “a lifesaving dose of immunity against this vicious disease for every Iraqi, no one should be left behind.”
On November 8, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement said that it has returned 120 internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their home districts in Anbar province. A Ministry official in Anbar said the returnees voluntary departure from the Amiriyah camp for IDPs will allow the Ministry to shut down the camp, which is the last remaining IDP camp in the province, within days.
On November 11, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,066,905, an increase of 6,839 in cases from the 2,060,066 reported on November 4. Of these cases, 22,604 are currently under treatment, including 154 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 4,270 in hospitalizations and 27 in ICU admissions since November 4. Ministry data indicated that there were 174 new COVID-19 deaths since November 4, bringing the total from 23,271 to 23,445. The total number of recoveries increased from 2,009,921 to 2,020,856. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day period was 977 per day, down from 1,135 per day during the 7-day period ending November 4. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Duhik with 165 cases, Erbil with 140, Sulaymaniyah with 122, and Baghdad with 111 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 16,014,876 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 6,475,583 including 103,020 who received their shots on November 11.
On November 8, Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources said it was concerned that Turkey may be planning to build a new dam on the Tigris river that could exacerbate water scarcity in Iraq. The Ministry’s director for dams and reservoirs said the new al-Jazra dam would be more harmful for Iraq than the Ilisu dam, whose construction triggered concerns among Iraqi officials due to its impact on Iraq’s water share of the Tigris. The Iraqi official pointed out that unlike the electricity-focused Ilisu, the al-Jazra dam is designed as an irrigation reservoir, which could lead to much smaller water volumes released downriver.
On November 8, Iraq’s Finance Ministry said that the department of state-owned real estate succeeded in reclaiming 1,000 properties that belong to the state but were occupied by squatters and violators. According to the Ministry, some of the reclaimed properties are located in foreign countries. The Ministry said these measures are part of the economic reforms prescribed in the government’s white paper, and aim to increase state revenue and combat the exploitation of state resources.
On November 9, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that the Council of Ministers decided at a meeting that day to authorize the Ministry to enter direct negotiations with Chevron for the development of four oil and gas blocs in the Dhi-Qar province. The Ministry added that the plan for Dhi-Qar involves a series of oil, gas, and water injection projects to achieve a production capacity of 600,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) within seven years of its launch.
On November 11, an anti-corruption court in Baghdad sentenced the director general of Iraq’s tax commission and a number of his subordinates to two years in prison. A statement by the Supreme Judicial Council said the court found the defendant guilty of causing severe harm to public interest by neglecting to collect taxes from Qi Card, an electronic payment company. In September of last year, security forces arrested the head of Qi Card, Bahaa Abdul-Hussein, at Baghdad International Airport on orders from the High Committee for Combating Corruption, which the prime minister had established in August 2020.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from November 4, 2021 - November 11, 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.
|11/06/21||Jurf al-Sakhr, Babylon province||1||0|
|11/06/21||Ghammas district, Diwaniyah province||0||0|
|11/06/21||Hammam al-Alil, Ninewa province||0||2|
|11/08/21||Turkalan subdistrict, Kirkuk province||2||5|
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.