- IHEC Releases Final Election Results; Sadr Insists On A Majority Government After Meeting Rivals; Student Protests Rock Sulaymaniyah – On November 30, IHEC released the final results of the October election after the electoral judicial panel had looked into all appeals, which resulted in changes affecting five seats in Baghdad, Ninewa, Erbil, Kirkuk, and Basra. Kataib Hezbollah called the results “illegitimate,” while the KDP said that two seats were taken away from the party in an illegitimate manner, and accused President Salih of pressuring IHEC to manipulate results. On December 2, Muqtada al-Sadr and the coordination framework for Shia parties issued contradicting statements after meeting to discuss government formation. Sadr reiterated his vision for a government of “national majority,” while sources from the other parties claimed there was an agreement to select the next PM through consensus. On November 23, thousands of protesting students in Sulaymaniyah clashed with security forces who used teargas and bullets to disperse them, leaving ten injured. The students demanded payment of their delayed stipends and better conditions at dormitories. The protests spread quickly to other towns, and subsided after the KRG answered some of their demands. In other developments, on November 29, Iraq’s National Security Advisor said that the investigations into the November 7 assassination attempt on PM Kadhimi requires more time, and that no individuals or groups have been indicted so far. He added that the investigation committee placed the bomb squad that disposed of an unexploded projectile used in the attack in jail for destroying evidence. On November 30, Kadhimi met with the Russian special envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, who invited Kadhimi to visit Moscow. more…
- Militia Threatens NYE Violence; IEDs Leave 8 Dead, Attacks On Supply Convoys Increase – On November 19, the leader of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia said that a “decisive and historic confrontation” with U.S. forces in Iraq will begin after midnight on December 31, 2021. The militia leader urged all “resistance factions” to “elevate their readiness” in preparation for action. Between November 19 – December 2, the explosions of 15 IEDs killed at least eight Iraqis and wounded 15 more in Diyala, Babylon, Ninewa, Dhi-Qar, Diwaniyah, and Maysan. The deadliest of these explosions struck a Peshmerga vehicle in northern Diyala, killing five. Six of the 15 IEDs targeted convoys transporting supplies for security forces along highways in southern provinces. In other developments, between November 19 – 25, six attacks by gunmen in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, and Sulaymaniyah killed four Iraqis, wounded another four, and left two missing. On November 24, an Iraqi military spokesman said that foreign combat forces were on track to leave Iraq within 15 days, ahead of the established deadline of December 31. more…
- 2,000 Migrants Return From Belarus; Baghdad To Sue Tehran Over Water Sharing As Shortage Intensifies – On November 26, Iraq began organizing additional flights to repatriate Iraqi migrants who had been stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. In total, five flights brought 1,894 Iraqis back to the country, while 150 returned on their own. On November 29, Iraq’s Water Resources Minister said he asked the Foreign Ministry to file a complaint against Iran at the International Court of Justice over Tehran’s policy of reducing water flows to Iraq from shared rivers. The Water Resources Ministry earlier said that water reserves were in steady decline, with Diyala being the most affected province. Meanwhile, PM Kadhimi instructed the Interior Ministry to work with the Water Resources Ministry to block illegally dug canals and remove illegally installed water pumps to help address the water shortage. On December 2, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,082,774. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 23,859 while hospitalizations decreased to 11,649. The daily average for new cases during the last 14-day period was 735/day, compared to 796/day during the 7-day period ending November 18. The total number of vaccinated people reached 7,599,844 including 97,371 who received their shots on December 2. This week, the Ministry approved booster shots for high-risk individuals. more…
- Iraq And Turkey Seek New Border Crossings, Expand Banking Ties; Oil Export Rise In November – On November 19, the Turkish Trade Minister said that Ankara wants to open two new border crossings with Iraq at Faysh Khabur-Ovakoy and Mergasur-Derecik. Meanwhile, Iraq’s Trade Minister said that he agreed with his Turkish counterpart to make it easier for business representatives from both countries to obtain multi entry visas for up to five years. On November 25, the chiefs of Iraq’s and Turkey’s central banks discussed efforts to open branches for Iraqi banks in Turkey to facilitate trade and money transfers. On December 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports during November averaged 3.273 million bpd, 154,000 bpd higher than October. The exports generated $7.59 billion in revenue, slightly lower than October’s $7.68 billion on lower average sale prices. In other developments, on November 30, Iraq’s Oil Minister said that the ministerial council for energy will present a project to establish a sovereign fund to finance long-term investments in energy projects. 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 19, Muqtada al-Sadr said he would disband the Promised Day Brigade, a branch of his militias he had established in 2008 to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. Sadr added that any of the militia members who still have their weapons must hand them over within 48 hours, claiming that most of these weapons had already been handed over to the Peace Brigades, his main militia organization. Sadr, who made the remarks a day after he had called on other militias to give up weapons, described his move as a “message of peace and safety to the people.” In response to Sadr’s message, a spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah said the group will disband the Popular Defense Brigades, an obscure formation within the Iran-backed militia. The spokesman said the disbanded unit’s members would be attached to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) “on the condition” that the PMF leadership pays them similar to other PMF fighters.
On November 19, the coordination framework for Shia parties, the umbrella group for parties that rejected election results, said in a statement that they have “evidence…of significant irregularities” during the October 10 election. The statement said that the group presented some of the evidence to the head of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, at a meeting on November 18. Naem al-Aboudi, a senior member of the Hikma Movement that is part of the coordination framework claimed that the UN envoy was “shocked to learn that the coordination framework possesses evidence that could overturn the results,” adding that Hennis-Plasschaert “promised to relay this [information] to the UN and Security Council.” The UNAMI chief’s remarks while briefing the Security Council on November 23 debunked these claims (details below).
On November 21, as many as 3,000 contract lecturers demonstrated in Nasiriyah and blocked access to the building of the Dhi-Qar education directorate to demand better pay. The lecturers complain that they receive only IQD230,000 a month after deduction, which they said was lower than what the government pays the unemployed through the social safety net.
On November 22, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said in a statement that the electoral judicial panel had rejected 1,415 out of the 1,436 appeals that had been submitted to the panel. The statement added that the panel overturned 21 verdicts issued earlier by IHEC’s board of commissioners. In 15 cases, the panel has required IHEC to conduct a manual recount of ballots from voting stations where the results were appealed, and in the other six cases, the panel accepted the appeals “for legal and technical reasons” leading to the voiding of results from an unspecified number of voting stations. An IHEC spokesperson explained later that the manual recount would include 870 stations from five provinces: 398 from Dhi-Qar, 217 from Ninewa, 49 from Muthanna, 31 from Najaf, and 184 from Baghdad.
On November 22, Fatah Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri said he expected the electoral judicial panel to void the results from up to 10,000 voting stations across Iraq, representing 18% of all stations. Amiri argued that results from 4,000 stations will be voided because of duplicate voter fingerprints, and that results from another 6,000 stations will be voided because the ballots failed to close at the 6pm official deadline.
On November 22, the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Ann Linde, visited Iraq and met with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. A statement by Kadhimi’s office said the discussions revolved around improving bilateral relations in security and business, and building on the outcomes of the Baghdad Conference for Partnership and Cooperation, which Iraq hosted last August. Kadhimi and Linde also discussed efforts to hold ISIS militants accountable for the crimes they committed during their occupation of parts of Iraq, and the reconstruction of these areas. The Swedish minister later met with President Barham Salih, before traveling to Erbil to meet with KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss bilateral relations and the humanitarian conditions of Iraqi migrants stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland.
On November 22, Ninewa governor Najm al-Jubouri said that a plan to create a brigade of security forces from the people of Sinajr has not made any progress since it was first announced last year as part of the normalization agreement between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Jubouri attributed the delay to the continued absence of a local administration, as well as lack of funding for the planned force.
On November 23, NRT reported an escalation in student protests that had been going on for three days in Sulaymaniyah. The college students clashed with security forces who used teargas to disperse them. The students have been demanding payment of their delayed monthly stipends and protesting shortages of fuel and electricity at their dormitories during a cold wave. The protests, which footage suggested were attended by thousands of students, spread quickly from Sulaymaniyah to the towns of Kalar and Halabja, and also to Erbil. The protests also spread to Chemchemal, Koy-Sanjaq, Ranya, and Khanaqin. News reports indicated that at least ten students were injured in Sulaymaniyah, as security forces fired teargas canisters, beat up some students, and fired live bullets in the air to disperse them. Meanwhile, footage on social media appeared to show protesters setting fire to offices belonging to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the dominant political party in Sulaymaniyah. In response to the protests, authorities in Sulaymaniyah suspended classes at the province’s universities for a whole week. On November 24, the KRG decided to resume payment of the student stipends, which had been suspended since 2014.
On November 23, UNAMI chief, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, briefed the UN Security Council on the post-election situation in Iraq and tensions between winning and losing parties as they awaited release of the final results. Hennis-Plasschaert called on all parties to exercise patience while the elections judicial panel studied the appeals submitted by objectors. She affirmed that the elections were “technically well-managed” and may help rebuild Iraqis’ confidence in elections down the road. Hennis-Plasschaert added that there was “no evidence of systemic fraud” stressing that objections must be addressed through legal means only. The UN envoy reminded political parties that Iraq “desperately needs” a government that can address Iraq’s problems, and that it was their responsibility to begin this process. She warned that any “unlawful attempts” to delay, discredit, or manipulate the election results through “intimidation and pressure, can only backfire” and urged all parties “not to go down that path.”
On November 24, Muqtada al-Sadr met with a group of independent incoming members of Parliament and reiterated that he intends to form a government of “national majority.” Sadr told the independent representatives that he would not be part of a coalition or consensus government, and stressed that his decision was “Iraqi, and we never receive orders from beyond the borders.” In a clear reference to the Fatah coalition, Sadr told his guests that those who lost the election may be trying to co-opt or coerce the independents “ and might resort to murder” to change the outcome of the election.
On November 29, Iraq’s National Security Advisor, Qassim al-Araji, revealed preliminary findings of investigations into the November 7 assassination attempt on Prime Minister Kadhimi. Araji said the attack used two drones only, instead of three as initial reports suggested, and that one of the drones was locally manufactured. Araji added that the drones dropped two bombs, one of which exploded in the front yard of the premier’s residence while the second was found intact on the roof. He added that investigators know exactly the locations where the drones took off and landed, indicating that none of the drones were shot down, as initial reports said. The national security chief said he was “surprised” when explosives experts disposed of the second bomb before it could be searched for fingerprints, and that the investigation committee has placed those responsible for the decision in jail. Araji said the investigation committee requires more time to finish its work, and that no individuals or groups have been indicted so far.
On November 30, Prime Minister Kadhimi met in Baghdad with the Russian President’s special envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov. A statement by Kadhimi’s office said they discussed security and military cooperation, the war on ISIS, and the situation in Syria. Kadhimi also expressed Iraq’s interest in expanding Russian investments in Iraq. The Russian envoy also invited Kadhimi to visit Moscow, and had a meeting with Iraq’s Oil Minister, accompanied by representatives of Gazprom and Soyuzneftgaz.
On November 30, IHEC released the final results of the October 10 election after the electoral judicial panel had looked into all appeals and ratified the results. According to IHEC, the appeals eventually resulted in changes affecting five parliamentary seats in Baghdad, Ninewa, Erbil, Kirkuk, and Basra. An infographic published by IHEC shows that the final numbers of seats won by various parties are as in the table below. A breakdown of the winners by province can be found here.
- Muqtada al-Sadr’s bloc: 73
- Taqaddum (Halbousi): 37
- Nour al-Maliki’s State of Law: 33 (down 1 from early results)
- KDP: 31 (down 2 from early results)
- Fatah Coalition: 17 (up 1 from early results)
- PUK: 17 (up 1 from early results)
- Azm (Khamis al-Khanjar): 14 (up 2 from early results)
- New Generation: 9
- Imtidad: 9
- Ishraqat Kanoon (affiliated with the Najaf clergy): 6
- Al-aqd al-Watani (Fayyadh): 4
- Babylioun: 4 (down 1 from early results)
- Tasmim: 5
- National State Forces Alliance (Hakim/Abadi): 4
- Hasm: 3
- Jamaherona Hawiyatona: 3
- Parties that won 1 seat each: 16
- Independent individuals: 43
On December 1, the Huqooq Movement, which is affiliated with Kataib Hezbollah, issued a statement rejecting the final election results released by IHEC on November 30. The group said the results were “illegitimate due to the extent of manipulation and fraud that impacted the votes and the will of Iraqi voters.” Huqooq said the results will yield a Parliament that “lacks legitimacy and does not at all reflect the views of the Iraqi people.” The statement warned that the election represents a “deviation from the constitutional democratic path…and risks pushing the country into dark and dangerous paths.”
On December 2, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), whose seats dropped from 33 to 31 in the final election results, said that the two seats it lost in Ninewa and Erbil provinces were taken away from the party in an illegitimate manner. The KDP accused President Salih and the electoral judicial panel of pressuring IHEC to extend the appeals deadline to benefit other parties. The party said in a statement that it will use legal channels to reclaim the “confiscated rights.” In a statement, IHEC said that there was no decision to extend the appeals deadline, and denied any interference by the president and judiciary in its work. The IHEC statement added that those with objections were given three days to present their evidence as “addendums” as provided by the law.
On December 2, Muqtada al-Sadr met with the leaders of the coordination framework for Shia parties, which includes the major Shia parties that have rejected the election results, to discuss government formation. The two sides issued contradicting statements after the meeting. In a short tweet, Sadr reiterated his vision for a government of “national majority” that is not aligned with either Iran or the West. But a senior member of the Hikma movement said the leaders who attended the meeting agreed that the next prime minister should be selected through consensus, and that cabinet appointments should be based on electoral entitlements. An official statement by the coordination framework included only generalities, talking about the departure of foreign troops, rejecting normalization with Israel, supporting the PMF, and economic and anti-corruption reforms.
On November 19, the leader of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia, Abu Ala’ al-Walaie, said that a “decisive and historic confrontation with the American occupation” will begin after midnight on December 31, 2021. The militia leader urged all “resistance factions” to “elevate their readiness” in preparation for action.
On November 19, security sources in Diyala said that an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the al-Muradiyah area southwest of Baquba. The explosion killed one civilian and injured another person.
On November 19, security sources said that a roadside IED exploded targeting a convoy transporting supplies for the International Coalition along a major highway in Dhi-Qar province. On November 21, another roadside IED explosion targeted a similar convoy while traveling along the main highway through Diwaniyah province. On the following day, a third IED targeted another convoy that was traveling on the main highway between Baghdad and Babylon province. On November 28, another IED targeted a convoy transporting equipment for Iraqi security forces while moving through Diwaniyah, damaging one of the convoy trucks and its cargo. On the same day a fifth IED targeted another logistics convoy on the highway in Babylon province. A sixth IED explosion struck one more convoy while moving through Babylon province two days later on November 30. None of the explosions resulted in casualties.
On November 19, Iraq’s military intelligence agency said its forces located and seized a dump truck that was modified to include rocket launchers. The statement said the truck was found at a quarry in the Msherfa area and was carrying three rockets that were aimed at an unspecified target within the province. Based on images of the captured truck, the rockets in question appeared to be 122mm Katyusha -type rockets. There were conflicting reports about the circumstances of the find. One source said a number of rockets targeted the Turkish military base at Zelikan from Msherifa but missed their target and landed harmlessly near the Mor Mattai monastery, northeast of Mosul. Other sources, however, reported that a “technical malfunction” caused four rockets to explode inside the launch truck.
On November 19, security sources in Anbar said that ISIS militants kidnapped three shepherds in a desert area west of the remote Rutba district. On the following day, the kidnappers reportedly released one of the shepherds but continued to hold the other two captive. It remains unclear whether the release involved the payment of ransom money.
On November 20, security sources in Baghdad said that gunmen opened fire from small arms on a Ministry of Interior employee while he was in a taxi in the Rashad area of east Baghdad. The attack killed the government employee and wounded the taxi driver. On the following day, a gunman in the Zafaraniyah area of southeast Baghdad killed a policeman with small arms fire. In east Baghdad’s Kamaliyah area, gunmen attacked the home of an employee in the Iraqi Justice Ministry with small arms fire and grenades, without causing casualties.
On November 22, security sources in Ninewa reported two incidents involving legacy IEDs. The first IED exploded in the town of Badush, northwest of Mosul, injuring one civilian. The second device detonated in the Sinjar district, west of Mosul, and injured a civilian woman.
On November 22, security sources in Diyala said that ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi security forces checkpoint in the Buhruz subdistrict using sniper fire. The attack killed one Iraqi soldier and wounded three other security personnel.
On November 23, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced the beginning of operation “Sky Lightning,” a new security operation in pursuit of ISIS militants across “all areas of responsibility.” According to JOC, the operation involves armed reconnaissance missions by the scout battalions of “all divisions and commands” in the Iraqi army, in addition to the scouts and special forces of the federal police and other Interior Ministry formations. The operations will be supported by the Iraqi air force, army aviation, and Coalition aircraft.
On November 24, JOC spokesman Tahsin al-Khafaji said that foreign combat forces were on track to leave Iraq within 15 days, ahead of the established deadlines. Khafaji explained that most combat forces had already left Iraq, leaving only small numbers that will depart within 15 days, in addition to personnel whose tasks are limited to intelligence, training, and advisory roles.
On November 25, security sources in Diyala said that ISIS militants attacked a house in the village of Ra’aya near the Abbara subdistrict. The attack killed a PMF fighter and wounded a civilian. On the following day, an IED exploded in the same area, wounding eight members of the security forces, including two officers, one of them with the rank of brigadier general. Two of the wounded died later as a result of their injuries. Another IED reportedly exploded in the nearby village of Zaghniyah on November 28, causing material damage but no casualties.
On November 25, security sources in the Kurdistan region said that unknown gunmen assassinated a colonel in the Peshmerga forces after they opened fire on his car from small arms. The attack occurred in the Ranya district of Sulaymaniyah province.
On November 25, Turkey said that its forces killed six members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Qandi and Gara areas of the Kurdistan region. Those killed include a senior foreign relations official in the PKK, according to the Turkish statement. On December 2, Turkey said its forces killed two more PKK members during operations in the Gara region.
On November 27, security sources in the Kurdistan region said that an IED explosion killed five Peshmerga fighters and wounded four others in the Koljo area of the Garmyan district. A senior Peshmerga official explained that the victims were on their way to reinforce a Peshmerga outpost that was under attack by ISIS militants when the explosion struck their vehicle.
On November 28, security sources in Maysan province said that an IED exploded targeting the home of a Christian family in the city of Amara without causing casualties. A police source said the attack was likely connected to commercial disputes, noting that the family has a business selling alcoholic beverages.
On December 1, security sources in Diyala said that an IED exploded under a vehicle belonging to a member of the security forces in the Gatoun al-Razi area. The explosion injured the targeted individual and a civilian passerby.
On December 2, security sources in Maysan province said that an IED exploded under a vehicle belonging to a civilian in the al-Majidiyah district of Amara City. The explosion left material damage but no casualties.
On November 20, Iraq’s Health Ministry said it has received a new shipment of 1.2 million doses of COVID-19. The new shipment of the Pfizer vaccine was obtained through UNICEF and the COVAX facility. This shipment brings the total amount of Pfizer vaccines that Iraq received during November close to 3 million doses. Earlier in November, the Ministry 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%.
On November 23, The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said it received more than $19 million in new contributions from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in support of efforts to provide food security for more than 250,000 people in need. The figure includes 181,000 Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 72,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. USAID officials said that the funds will also “help further digitalize the Public Distribution System (PDS), which is a critical step to strengthening the Government of Iraq’s social protection system to address citizens’ needs.”
On November 26, a spokesperson for Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad was organizing more flights to repatriate Iraqi migrants who had been stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. In total, the official said that five flights would bring 1,894 Iraqis back to the country, a majority of whom had reportedly emigrated from the Kurdistan region. A spokesperson for the KRG said on November 29 that close to 2,000 migrants have returned to Iraq since repatriation flights commenced on November 18. The figure includes around 150 who returned on their own, according to the KRG official.
On November 26, the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) said that the remains of a second group of identified Yazidi victims will return to the town of Kojo on December 9. In the first such ceremony in February 2021, UNITAD helped return the remains of 104 Yazidi victims of ISIS genocidal attacks to be buried in their home districts of Kojo and Sinjar. Officials encouraged Yazidi families who plan to attend the burial ceremony to provide samples of their DNA to enable UNITAD to perform more successful identifications of victims.
On November 29, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that the government of Germany will be providing new funding to support job creation and economy recovery programs in Iraq until 2025. The new funding brings Germany’s total contributions to IOM Iraq since 2018 to €86 million. The IOM statement said the funding will support a new project called “Contribute to the economic recovery of Iraq through employment creation and revitalization of local economies – Phase IV.” The project will primarily benefit “Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and other conflict-affected populations” with a “broad geographical reach to include more diverse Iraqi populations.” IOM said the funding will allow it to provide greater support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a goal to promote “sustainable job creation and private sector revitalization.”
On November 29, Iraq’s Minister of Water Resources, Mahdi al-Hamdani said that his ministry asked the Foreign Ministry to file a complaint against Iran at the International Court of Justice over Tehran’s policy of reducing water flows to Iraq from shared rivers. Hamdani argued that while Turkey has been responsive to Iraq’s calls to discuss the fair sharing of rivers, Tehran has pursued a policy of diverting the waters of shared rivers away from Iraq, causing Iraq to bear the brunt of water shortages. Earlier, officials in Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry said that the country’s water reserves were in steady decline, warning that the Hirmin dam water reservoir in Diyala was nearly depleted. Aoun Thiab, an adviser to the Minister, pointed to two factors behind the severe water shortage affecting Diyala: lower than expected rainfall, and failure to negotiate with Iran for a better share of water from the Serwan river, which flows into Diyala. The official stressed that reducing the area to be planted next season was essential to securing enough water for drinking purposes next year. In October, Iraqi officials said that that country will have to reduce the areas irrigated by surface water in the next growing season by half due to water scarcity, except in Diyala, where the whole grain growing season will be canceled.
On November 30, Prime Minister Kadhimi instructed the Interior Ministry to take several measures to reduce illegal use of water to help address the water shortage Iraq is experiencing. Kadhimi told the Interior Ministry to work with the Water Resources Ministry to block illegally dug canals and remove illegally installed water pumps. The prime minister also issued instructions to stop any entity other than the Water Resources Ministry from interfering with irrigation works.
On November 30, Iraq’s Ministry of Health approved a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to boost the immunity of high-risk individuals. The Ministry said that eligible groups include people with chronic illness, immunocompromised people, those 60 and older, and health workers who had received their second dose at least months prior. The Ministry added that people can receive any of the WHO-approved vaccines regardless of the type of vaccine they received in their first and second doses.
On December 2, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,082,774, an increase of 10,296 in cases from the 2,072,478 reported on November 18. Of these cases, 11,649 are currently under treatment, including 107 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 7,134 in hospitalizations and 32 in ICU admissions since November 18. Ministry data indicated that there were 252 new COVID-19 deaths since November 18, bringing the total from 23,607 to 23,859. The total number of recoveries increased from 2,030,088 to 2,047,266. The average number of new cases during the last 14-day period was 735 per day, compared to 796 per day during the 7-day period ending November 18. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Erbil with 117 cases, Duhok with 115, Kirkuk with 103, and Baghdad with 95 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 16,384,117 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 7,599,844 including 97,371 who received their shots on December 2.
On November 19, Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Mus said that his country would like to see two new border crossings open between Iraq and Turkey to facilitate the movement of Turkish goods to all parts of Iraq. The border crossings in question include one at Faysh Khabur- Ovakoy between Turkey and Ninewa province, and Mergasur-Derecik between Turkey and Erbil province. The Turkish official said that Iraq was the fourth largest buyer of Turkish goods in 2020 at $20.7 billion. Meanwhile, Iraqi Trade Minister Ala’ Abdul-Hussein said that he agreed with his Turkish counterpart to make it easier for business representatives from both countries to obtain multi entry visas for up to five years to encourage bilateral business and trade. The announcements were made during an Iraqi-Turkish business forum in Istanbul.
On November 22, a senior official in Iraq’s Oil Ministry said the country may achieve the goal of ending the wasteful and polluting practice of flaring nearly half the amount of natural gas that accompanies oil production operations “in 2026-2027.” The timeline is slightly longer than the one described by Iraq’s Finance Minister, Ali Allawi, who recently said that Baghdad plans to put a stop to the flaring of associated gas by the year 2025.
On November 23, the state-owned Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC) signed a contract with oil services company Schlumberger to help drill 37 new wells at the Zubeir oil field in Basra. IDC officials said the contract will utilize two drilling rigs to support plans by Zubeir’s operator, the Italian energy firm ENI, to achieve higher production levels from the field.
On November 25, the chief of Iraq’s Central Bank, Mustafa Ghalib, met with his Turkish counterpart, Shihab Oglu, in Istanbul on an invitation from Turkey to discuss developing financial and banking relations between the neighboring countries. The Iraqi official said the discussions focused on supporting the efforts to open branches for Iraqi banks in Turkey and corresponding accounts to facilitate trade and money transfers. In a later statement, the Iraqi Central Bank said that the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing agencies in Iraq and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the exchange of information regarding such transactions.
On November 30, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael, said that the ministerial council for energy has discussed a project to establish a sovereign fund to finance long-term investments in energy projects. The minister said he hopes the incoming Parliament will give priority to passing a law to approve the plan. He added that the ministerial energy council also discussed a draft bill to regulate the renewable energy sector in the country, which remains in its infancy.
On December 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that crude oil exports during November totaled 98.192 million barrels, for an average of 3.273 million barrels per day (bpd), which is 154,000 bpd higher than October’s average of 3.119 million bpd. The November exports generated $7.59 billion in revenue, slightly lower than October’s $7.68 billion. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of $77.333 per barrel, about $2 below the previous month’s average of $79.37 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 3.195 million bpd in November, while average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk, which were exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, dropped by a third to 67,756 bpd. During November, Iraq also exported an average of 10,000 bpd to Jordan by trucks at a discounted price of $65.4 per barrel.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from November 18, 2021 - December 2, 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.
|11/19/21||Muradiyah, Diyala province||1||1|
|11/22/21||South of Baghdad||0||0|
|11/22/21||Badush, Ninewa province||0||1|
|11/22/21||Sinjar, Ninewa province||0||1|
|11/26/21||Abbara, Diyala province||2||6|
|11/27/21||Koljo, Garmiyan district||5||4|
|11/28/21||Zaghniyah, Diyala province||0||0|
|11/28/21||Amara, Maysan province||0||0|
|12/01/21||Gatoun al-Razi, Diyala province||0||2|
|12/02/21||Amara, Maysan 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.