- Najaf, Dhi-Qar Governors Resign; Parliament To Meet Jan 9 After Court Ratifies Election Results; Amiri, Sadr Set Conditions For Future U.S. Presence – On December 23, the governor of Dhi-Qar submitted his resignation to PM Kadhimi after the latter ordered an investigation into the use of force by security forces in Nasiriyah that injured several protesters a day earlier. On December 24, the governor of Najaf submitted his resignation too, two days after Muqtada al-Sadr had called for his sacking amid fresh protests demanding better services in the province. The resignations sparked alarm among other Shia parties, who implicitly accused Sadr of forcing the resignations to benefit his party. On December 27, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court ratified the results of the October 10 election and rejected the appeals filed by the Fatah Coalition. Muqtada al-Sadr welcomed the news and reiterated his plan to form a majority government. The leaders of the coordination framework for Shia parties said they accepted the Court’s decision but claimed it was made under pressure. They also asked their supporters to end their demonstrations against the results. On December 30, President Salih announced that he signed a presidential decree asking the new Parliament to convene on January 9. On December 28, Hadi al-Amiri said that International Coalition forces must hand over the Harir base in Erbil and Ain al-Assad base in Anbar “or any parts of Iraqi bases they occupy” to Iraqi forces, insisting that foreign combat forces “of any type” must leave by December 31, adding that the future need for foreign advisors must be assessed, justified, and described in detail by the Iraqi commanders and then agreed on in writing. Muqtada al-Sadr largely echoed Amiri’s position in a statement released on December 30. more…
- Attacks On Supply Convoys Escalate; ISF Ramp Up Anti-ISIS Operations; Oil Company Attacked; Militias Threaten More Attacks After Dec 31 – Between December 18 – 29, the explosions of 17 IEDs and one remnant of war killed one Iraqi and injured at least 12. Twelve of these IEDs targeted convoys transporting equipment for the International Coalition forces along highways in central and southern Iraq. Between December 19 – 30, Iraqi troops and military aircraft killed at least 22 ISIS militants in a series of ground operations and airstrikes in Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, and Anbar. On December 27, unidentified gunmen attacked the facilities of a Chinese oil services company operating at the Gharraf oil field in Dhi-Qar. The attack, which involved small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, did not cause casualties. On December 28, anti-U.S. militias said that Washington was “not serious” about withdrawing from Iraq and threatened fresh attacks if any U.S. forces were to remain in the country after December 31. In other developments, between December 16 – 29, seven militants attacks in Salah ad-Din and Diyala killed 12 Iraqis and wounded 12 more. On December 19, two Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Green Zone in Baghdad without causing casualties. more…
- Flash Floods Ravage Erbil; UN Report Slams Unfair Trials Of Kurdistan Dissidents; Diyala Displacement Crisis Continues – On December 17, officials said that flash floods caused by heavy rainfall killed at least 11 people in Erbil, forced many to abandon their homes, and caused extensive damage to public infrastructure and thousands of houses. On December 22, a new UN report on the state of freedom of expression in the KRI exposed shortcomings in the legal proceedings of trials involving people who criticized authorities. The report says authorities ignored reports of torture, and describes a “consistent lack of respect for the legal conditions…necessary to guarantee fair judicial proceedings.” On December 27, news reports said that nearly 300 families from the village of Nahr al-Imam remain in displacement, two months after they had to leave their village amid a wave of retaliatory actions sparked by an ISIS attack. In Other developments, on December 30, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,093,436. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 24,154 while hospitalizations decreased to 4,755. The daily average for new cases during the last 14-day period was 269/day, down from 424/day during the 7-day period ending December 16. The total number of vaccinated people reached 8,531,055 including 53,328 who received their shots on December 30. more…
- Iraq Pays Off Kuwait War Reparations; Land Distribution In Major Housing Program Begins; Iraq Resumes Sulfur Exports – On December 21, Iraq’s Central Bank said Baghdad has made the last and final payment of war reparations that the UN Security Council obligated Iraq to pay Kuwait in connection with its 1990 invasion of the country. On December 21, PM Kadhimi said the government will distribute 84,000 land deeds to Iraqis under the first stage of the “Dari” housing initiative. On December 27, Iraq’s General Ports Company said that the country has shipped its first cargo of 6,500 tons of sulfur for export after a long pause in sales. In Other developments, on December 20, the KRG Finance Ministry said it had received a new payment of IQD200 billion from the federal government to pay the salaries of its civil servants. On December 28, the head of Iraq’s General Commission for Customs instructed the regional managers of customs departments to prepare to establish customs offices along the internal borders with the Kurdistan region to “prevent smuggling and collect differences in tariffs.” 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 December 21, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that an investigation court in Ninewa issued an arrest warrant for a former member of parliament from the province on corruption charges. In a statement, the Commission said the defendant is accused of collecting the salaries of their security detail members even though they had gone missing in the aftermath of the ISIS occupation of the province in 2014. The defendant faces up to seven years in prison in accordance with article 340 of the penal code, if found guilty.
On December 21, al-Mada reported that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) reached an agreement to enter into government formation negotiations with other Iraqi parties as a unified bloc guided by a unified policy paper. Speaking to the paper, KDP member Imad Bajlan noted that his party “does not deal with partners in the Kurdistan region on the basis of election results” but instead focuses on forming a “solid Kurdish bloc that can go to Baghdad to resolve disputes [with the federal government].” Bajlan added that the KDP is considering the possibility of reviving the strategic agreement under which it had shared power in the region with the PUK in the past. Bajlan asserted that nominating the next president of Iraq will proceed through “consensus” among the Kurdish parties and that it won’t become a source of new disputes.
On December 22, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, arrived in Tehran on an official visit to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues with Iranian leaders. After meeting his Iranina counterpart, Hussein Amir Abdullahian, the Iraqi minister said the two sides discussed the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces and the plans for U.S. military advisors to remain in the country. For his part, Abdullahian lauded Iraq’s role in facilitating dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia, adding that a new round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia would take place in Baghdad in the near future.
On December 22, a senior member of the coordination framework for Shia pirates offered a summary of the outcome of meetings that a delegation from the framework had with the KDP and PUK in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, respectively. The spokesperson, Mohammed al-Ghabban, said the delegation found agreement with the Kurdish parties on the importance of consensus in forming the next government. Ghabban added that the Kurish parties shared the view that the concepts of majority government and opposition remained “distant from reality in Iraq” and that a party “cannot be forced” to be in the opposition.
On December 22, medical sources in Dhi-Qar province said that five demonstrators were wounded with live bullets fired by security forces. Protesters had gathered near the local government building in central Nasiriyah to demand that authorities drop “malicious” charges that were filed against them for participation in previous anti-government protests. The injuries happened after security forces opened fire to disperse the protesters, according to eyewitnesses. After the incidents, Prime Minister Kadhimi ordered an investigation into the use of force and instructed his Interior Minister to reachout to the protesters and hear their demands.
On December 23, the governor of Dhi-Qar province, Ahmed Ghani al-Khafaji, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Kadhimi, according to a statement by Khafaji’s spokesman. In a subsequent statement, Khafaji said he resigned because he could no longer “work in the presence of a system that targets civilians.” The resignation came after Kadhimi had ordered an investigation into the use of force by security forces in Nasiriyah that led to injuries among peaceful protesters a day earlier. On the same day, local sources said that Khafaji’s first deputy, Mohammed Hadi, would serve as acting governor until the federal government appoints a successor for Khafaji. But on December 25, Khafaji announced at a press conference that Mohammed al-Ghazi had officially succeeded him as governor.
On December 24, the governor of Najaf province, Luay al-Yasiri, said he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Kadhimi. Yasiri said his resignation was not made under pressure from anyone. The resignation came two days after Muqtada al-Sadr had called for Yasiri to be sacked “through legal means” amid fresh protests demanding better services in the province. At the press conference in which Yasiri announced his resignation, the resigned governor confirmed that he had a meeting with Sadr about the state of public services in Najaf, and insisted that Sadr did not ask him to step down.
On December 23, Italy’s Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, arrived in Baghdad for meetings with Iraqi leaders, starting with Prime Minister Kadhimi. The meeting with Kadhimi focused on NATO’s mission to train Iraq’s security forces, economic relations, and cooperation between Iraqi and Italian universities, according to a statement by Kadhimi’s office. The Italian minister later visited Erbil, where he met with the president of the Kurdistan region, Nechirvan Barzani. Di Maio and Barzani discussed the war on ISIS, expanding economic and cultural ties, and plans for a future visit by Barzani to Italy.
On December 26, the coordination framework for Shia parties expressed concerns about the recent resignations of the governors of Najaf and Dhi-Qar, saying it rejected the “illegal pressure and threats” against governors, government officials, and their families. In a statement, the framework claimed that pressure and threats are being used to illegally force these officials to resign, and called on the prime minister to “protect” these officials and “refuse to accept resignations made under duress.”
On December 27, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court ratified the final results of the October 10 general election and rejected the case filed by the Fatah Coalition leader, Hadi al-Amiri, in which he demanded the annulment of the election results. The Court had initiated hearings in Amiri’s case on December 22. During the hearing, Amiri demanded that all results calculated by the “C1000” ballot counting device be considered void, insisting that “C900” devices must be used to do a recount. Amiri also reportedly demanded a manual recount in four electoral districts. After the Court issued its verdict, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) wrote to President Barham Salih requesting that he sign off on the list of the 329 election winners and move forward to call the new Parliament into session. And on December 30, President Salih announced that he had signed a presidential decree asking the new Parliament to convene on January 9, 2022.
On December 27, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose party won the highest number of seats in the next parliament, welcomed the Supreme Federal Court’s decision to ratify the election results. In a message shared on Twitter, Sadr expressed gratitude to the Court, IHEC, the chief of the judiciary, and UNAMI’s Jennine Hennis-Plasschaert for the outcome. Sadr once again reiterated his plan to form a majority government he described as “national, neither eastern or western.” Sadr reaffirmed his position on government formation after a December 29 meeting with Fatah Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri, who visited Sadr at his residence in Najaf.
On December 27, key leaders of the coordination framework for Shia parties said they accepted the Supreme Federal Court’s decision to ratify the election results and reject the case filed by the Fatah Coalition leader, Hadi al-Amiri, demanding the annulment of the election results. Hadi al-Amiri himself said that he accepted the Court’s verdict “out of concern for Iraq’s security and political stability.” Amiri, however, said he still “deeply believed that the election involved much fraud and manipulation,” adding that the Court made its decision under “great external and internal pressure.” Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, echoed Amiri’s position. Khazali said that he accepted the Court’s decision even though he was “fully convinced” that the decision was “not professional…and came as a result of great pressure on the judiciary.” Khazali added that he would continue to pursue “political and social and other peaceful measures” to “correct the path [of the political process].” Meanwhile, Ammar al-Hakim said that he accepted the Court’s decision, adding that his party won’t participate in the next government. Nasr Coalition leader Haider al-Abadi also said that he accepted the Court’s verdict.
On December 28, the coordination framework for Shia parties called on its supporters who had been protesting the election results since October to withdraw from the streets. In a message on social media, a spokesman for Nouri al-Maliki, whose State of Law coalition is part of the framework, said the group “reserves the right” to renew the demonstrations in the future.
On December 28, Fatah Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri said that International Coalition forces must hand over the Harir base in Erbil and Ain al-Assad base in Anbar “or any parts of Iraqi bases they occupy” to Iraqi security forces before the end of the year. Amiri insisted that foreign combat forces “of any type” must withdraw from Iraq by December 31, adding that “any combat related presence under any guises or any titles would not be tolerated.” Amiri also demanded that the future need for any foreign advisors or trainers must be assessed, justified, and described in detail by the Iraqi military commanders and then agreed on in writing between the Iraqi and U.S. government. Amiri’s remarks came a week after Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced the departure of Coalition combat forces from the Harir base, and that remaining Coalition advisers would be stationed at Harir and Ain al-Assad. Muqtada al-Sadr largely echoed Amiri’s position in a statement released on December 30.
On December 29, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi officially announced the end of the International Coalition’s combat role and the exit of “all combat forces and equipment from Iraq.” Kadhimi added that going forward, the Coalition’s role shall be limited to providing “advice and support in accordance with the outcomes of strategic dialogue [with the U.S.].” The prime minister concluded by thanking the Coalition and other partners in the war against ISIS, stressing that Iraqi forces were prepared to defend the country.
On December 16, security sources in Diyala province said that Iraqi army troops clashed with a group of ISIS militants in the Himrin mountains, northeast of Baquba. Initial reports said the clashes killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded two more. Subsequent reports said the fighting left three Iraqi soldiers dead and injured three more. Two days later, ISIS militants attacked the director of a public health center in the Waqf region, also northeast of Baquba, killing the official and setting his vehicle on fire.
On December 18, security sources in Babylon province said that an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) checkpoint in the Jurf al-Sakhr subdistrict. The explosion injured one PMF fighter.
On December 19, security sources said that an IED struck a convoy transporting supplies for the International Coalition forces on a main highway through Anbar province. The attack caused minor damage to one of the convoy’s trucks. Earlier on the same day, an Iraqi military spokesman said that security forces defused two other IEDs that were prepared to target military supply convoys in two locations in Babylon province. The spokesman said one of the IEDs was “anti-amor.” On December 21, an IED explosion targeted another supply convoy in Basra province, causing minor damage to one of its vehicles. Hours later a similar IED attack targeted a convoy transporting supplies for the Coalition forces as it was passing through Diwaniyah. On December 22, two new IEDs targeted military supply convoys. The first exploded along a highway in the Shula district in northwest Baghdad, causing minor damage, and the second struck near the main highway passing through Babylon province. Two similar IED attacks happened on December 23. The first was reported in Babylon province, while the second occurred near Balad, in Salah ad-Din province. There were three more attacks on December 26, one between Babylon and Diwaniyah, another near Yusufiyah, south of Baghdad, and the third in Anbar province. An additional attack struck a convoy evacuating equipment belonging to Coalition forces leaving Iraq on its way to Kuwait on December 27, causing minor damage. Finally, security forces reported one more IED attack on a supply convoy along a highway in Anbar province on December 29. There were no reports of casualties in any of the attacks.
On December 19, the Security Media Cell said that two Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Green Zone in Baghdad. The C-RAM defense systems of the U.S. embassy in the area succeeded in intercepting one of the rockets. The other rocket impacted near the Parade Grounds, damaging civilian vehicles, without reports of casualties. Security forces later discovered the platform the attackers used to launch the rockets in the Palestine Street area in east Baghdad.
On December 18, the Turkish military said that its forces killed three members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in two locations in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Two days later, the Turkish military said its forces killed two more PKK members during operations in Iraqi Kurdistan. On December 29, the Turkish press reported that Turkey’s military forces killed nine PKK fighters during military operations in the Gara area of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
On December 19, the Security Media Cell said that Iraqi F-16 fighters conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS positions near the Sadiyah subdistrict of Diyala province. The airstrike killed two suspected ISIS militants.
On December 20, Ninewa police sources said that a legacy IED exploded in the village of Lazagah, near Qayyara, south of Mosul. The explosion wounded one woman who was taken to the hospital for treatment.
On December 21, the Erbil police said that an unexploded remnant of war detonated at a steel factory while workers were processing scrap metal. The explosion killed one of the workers and injured another person.
On December 22, security sources said that ISIS militants attacked a PMF patrol in the Fatha region in eastern Salah ad-Din province. The attack killed two PMF fighters and wounded four, all from the PMF 88th brigade. On the following day, in nearby Diyala, unidentified gunmen opened fire from small arms at two farmers near the Salam subdistrict, northeast of Diyala, killing one and wounding the other.
On December 23, an Iraqi military spokesman said that a force from the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) killed three ISIS militants during operations in the Wadi Zghaytoun area of Kirkuk province. Later on December 26, the Iraqi federal police said its troops killed two more ISIS militants in an ambush in an unspecified location in Kirkuk province. In nearby Diyala, Iraqi military sources said CTS forces killed two ISIS militants during reconnaissance operations in the Himrin mountains on December 27. The CTS troops also found the body of a man who had been kidnapped by the militants two weeks earlier, and another kidnap victim who was injured. On the following day, a unit from the Iraqi army’s 9th division killed four ISIS militants during another reconnaissance mission in the Himrin mountains. Later, on December 29, the Security Media Cell said that army troops in Anbar killed three ISIS militants who were in two armed vehicles preparing to attack the headquarters of an army battalion east of Rutba. To the northeast, army troops and helicopters killed six ISIS militants during operations in the Qara Chogh mountains on December 30.
On December 26, security sources in Ninewa reported that a legacy IED exploded in the Haj Ali village, near the Qayyara subdistrict, south of Mosul, injuring one civilian.
On December 27, security sources in Ninewa said that two rockets struck near a base occupied by the Turkish military at Zelikan, near Bashiqa, without causing casualties.. Security forces later discovered the launchers used in the attack in an area near Baweza, north of Mosul.
On December 27, Iraqi oil officials said that unidentified gunmen attacked the facilities of a Chinese oil services company operating at the Gharraf oil field in Dhi-Qar province. The attack, which involved small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades caused minor material damages to a trailer but did not result in casualties.
On December 27, security sources said that an IED struck a unit of the Quick Response Division during reconnaissance operations in the Himrin mountains, northeast of Baquba, injuring five members of the force. Medical sources in Diyala province later reported that a total of eight military personnel were injured in that explosion.
On December 27, security sources reported that ISIS militants attacked a police checkpoint on the Sayniyah-Haditha road in Salah ad-Din province. The attackers then ambushed police reinforcements that were enroute to assist the checkpoint, hitting a police vehicle with a rocket propelled grenade. The ambush killed three members of the force and wounded four.
On December 28, the “Tanseeqiyah,” a group that claims to represent armed “resistance” factions said that the United States was “not serious” about withdrawing from Iraq and appeared determined to keep its “occupation forces” in Iraq. The group added in a statement posted online that the “Iraqi resistance” will “force these arrogant forces to leave defeated” if any U.S. forces were to remain in Iraq after the December 31 deadline.
On December 29, security sources in Diyala reported that unidentified gunmen assassinated two people in different areas of the province. In the first incident, gunmen killed a civilian in the Abu Saida subdistrict with small arms fire. In the second attack, gunmen opened fire on a policeman in the Muqdadiyah district, northeast of Baquba, resulting in his death.
On December 29, security sources in Basra said that a homemade IED exploded next to a butcher’s shop in the Shatt al-Arab district, east of Basra. The Explosion caused material damage but did not lead to casualties.
On December 17, a spokesperson for Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad had organized a new flight from Minsk to repatriate “more than 400” Iraqi migrants who had been stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. The head of Iraq’s national airline said that a total of ten repatriation flights organized by the Iraqi government to date had brought 3,814 Iraqi nationals back from the border between Belarus and Poland.
On December 17, the mayor of Erbil said that flash floods resulting from heavy rainfall killed at least 11 people, including two foreigners. Officials in Erbil said that rescuers were searching for missing persons, adding that the floods forced a lot of people to abandon their homes. The mayor, Nabz Abdul-Hamid, said the floods also caused extensive material damage to buildings and infrastructure, especially in the Qosh Tapa and Darto districts. Footage from Erbil showed flooded streets and destroyed vehicles, while the water flooded the ground floors of many houses, damaging as many as 2,500 of them. The floods also destroyed a bridge at Gwer, southwest of Erbil, as they moved downstream. In a statement on December 29, Erbil governor, Omid Khoshnaw said the floods caused an estimated IQD21 billion in damages to private property. The governor said 3,276 households filed damage claims, including 2,717 households that reported losing all the contents of their homes. The governor called on the federal government to reconsider the IQD2 billion it had offered to help the province deal with the damage.
On December 19, 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 November. The update noted that the HRP has reached approximately 900,000 of the 1.5 million people the plan was intended to help in 2021. The population reached by the HRP included 182,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in camps, another 297,000 IDPs living outside of camps, and 419,000 former IDPs who had returned to their home districts. OCHA said that donors have provided $340 million in funding, which represents only 56% of the $607 million needed to fully implement the 2021 HRP.
On December 22, the UN Human Rights Office and UN Assistance Mission for Iraq released a report on the state of human rights violations and freedom of expression in Iraqi Kurdistan that focuses on recent trials of dissidents in the region. The report shed light on shortcomings in the legal proceedings of four particular cases involving people who criticized authorities and faced charges before the Erbil Criminal Court. The report notes that the four cases were characterized by a “consistent lack of respect for the legal conditions…necessary to guarantee fair judicial proceedings before an independent and impartial tribunal.” The report mentions that several defendants told judges that interrogators had used torture to extract confessions from them, but the court dismissed their argument without further investigation. The document also argues that the criminal code provisions authorities used in these cases were “formulated in broad and imprecise terms, leading to inconsistent interpretation…and a lack of clarity relating to the specific charges.” Other shortcomings observed by the report authors included violations of defendants’ right to know and examine people who testified against them. Additionally, the report says that “systematic barriers” denied the defendants’ lawyers the opportunity to prepare an adequate defence of their clients. The report includes recommendations for the Kurdsitan region to isolate legal proceedings from political interference, and for amending legal provisions to reduce ambiguity about what actions constitute criminal behavior.
On December 27, a report by al-Mada, citing local sources in Diyala, indicated that nearly 300 families from the village of Nahr al-Imam remain in displacement, two months after they had to leave their village amid a wave of violence. According to the local sources, some politicians attempted to intervene and broker the return of the displaced villagers but unnamed armed factions blocked the efforts. The sources also mentioned that the families of those killed in an ISIS attack on the nearby village of Rashad (the incident that provoked retaliation against Nahr al-Imam due to suspected collusion) were demanding exorbitant diyya (blood money), further complicating efforts to resolve the crisis.
On December 30, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,093,436, an increase of 3,767 in cases from the 2,089,669 reported on December 16. Of these cases, 4,755 are currently under treatment, including 86 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 2,578 in hospitalizations and 11 in ICU admissions since December 16. Ministry data indicated that there were 124 new COVID-19 deaths since December 16, bringing the total from 24,030 to 24,154. The total number of recoveries increased from 2,058,306 to 2,064,527. The average number of new cases during the last 14-day period was 269 per day, down from 424 per day during the 7-day period ending December 16. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Sulaymaniyah with 65 cases, Baghdad with 60, Kirkuk with 38, and Erbil with 29 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 16,817,837 samples for COVID-19. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 8,531,055 including 53,328 who received their shots on December 30.
On December 20, the Finance Ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said it had received a new payment of IQD200 billion from the federal government to pay the salaries of its civil servants. The KRG received the last payment of this kind in early November.
On December 21, Iraq’s Finance Ministry said it had instructed the Central Bank to prepare a second issue of the “Bina” certificates of deposit (CDs) in two denominations: a 2-year version worth IQD500,000 with an annual yield of 6%, and a 4-year version worth IQD1 million with an annual yield of 7%. In November, the Ministry reported generating more than IQD1 trillion from the first issue of the CDs, which was released in September.
On December 21, Prime Minister Kadhimi said the Iraqi government has begun distributing land deeds to Iraqis who are to receive land under the “Dari” housing initiative. According to a government statement, 84,000 people who had registered for the program, which the government started in July, will receive deeds as a first stage.
On December 21, Iraq’s Central Bank announced that Baghdad has made the last and final payment of the war reparations that the United Nations Security Council obligated Iraq to pay to Kuwait in connection with its 1990 invasion of the Gulf country. In total, Iraq paid $52.5 billion in reparations, including the $44 million included in this last payment.
On December 21, the Iraqi government authorized the Ministry of Electricity to enter into a contract with a consortium led by Norwegian firm SCATEC to build and operate two solar power stations in Karbala and Babylon provinces. According to a government statement, the two facilities will have a generation capacity of 300 and 225 megawatts, respectively. Iraq plans to purchase power from the BOOT project (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) at a rate of $40.7 per megawatt hour for a period of 25 years, and will require SCATEC to maintain power deliveries at a minimum 75% of design capacity. Iraq had previously announced an initial deal with SCATEC in October 2021.
On December 22, Iraq’s General Directorate for Customs announced that the Safwan border crossing with Kuwait had reopened to the movement of passengers in both directions. The border crossing had been shut down to passenger traffic since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On December 23, the head of Iraq’s National Investment Commission, Suha al-Najjar, said the Commission had revoked the licenses previously granted to 40 investment projects in several provinces for failing to show progress. Najjar said the Commission is working to assess the status of licensed investment projects in the rest of Iraq’s provinces to decide whether more licenses should be revoked, adding that the projects whose licenses are revoked would be offered to other capable companies. Najjar explained that projects where implementation is under 35% would be subject to license revocation.
On December 27, Iraq’s General Ports Company said that the country has shipped its first cargo of sulfur for export after a “long pause” in sales. The company chief, Farhan al-Fartousi, said the shipment out of the South Umm Qasr port involved 6,500 tons of sulfur. He did provide details about the destination or value of the export shipment.
On December 28, the head of Iraq’s General Commission for Customs instructed the regional managers of customs to prepare to establish customs offices along the internal borders with the Kurdistan region. The purpose of the new offices is to “prevent smuggling and collect differences in tariffs,” according to Shakir al-Zubeidai, the head of the Commission.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from December 16, 2021 - December 30, 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.
|12/18/21||Jurf al-Sakhr, Babylon province||0||1|
|12/20/21||Qayyara, Ninewa province||0||1|
|12/23/21||Balad, Salah ad-Din province||0||0|
|12/26/21||Between Babylon and Diwaniyah||0||0|
|12/26/21||Yusufiyah, south of Baghdad||0||0|
|12/26/21||Qayyara, Ninewa province||0||1|
|12/27/21||Himrin Mountains, Diyala province||0||8|
|12/29/21||Shatt al-Arab, Basra 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.