- UNAMI “Deeply Concerned” By Political Violence; Imtidad Faces Defections; Qaani Pushes Compromise Between Sadr And Rivals – On January 28, UNAMI said it was “deeply concerned” by the escalation in political violence in Iraq, warning that “the perpetrators…appear to enjoy impunity…exposing the country to disastrous consequences.” UNAMI urged Iraqi parties to “swiftly” expose those behind recent attacks. On January 29, a senior member of the Imtidad Movement said that he was resigning from the party over Imtidad’s alleged decision to vote in favor of Mohammed al-Halbousi becoming Speaker of Parliament. A few days later, two other prominent members of Imtidad announced their resignations. On January 31, Mohammed al-Halbousi, Nechirvan Barzani, and Khamis al-Khanjar visited Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf to mediate an end to the post-election political deadlock between Sadr and his rivals in the coordination framework for Shia parties (CF). The meetings were suggested by KDP leaders Masoud Barzani at the behest of Iranian general Esmail Qaani. After the meeting, CF sources said the bloc was “cohesive, and completely rejects” the condition set by Muqtada al-Sadr for joining the government, namely the is to exclusion on Nouri al-Maliki. In other developments, On January 31, Parliament announced that 25 individuals had submitted their candidate statements to run for the office of President of the Republic of Iraq. On February 3, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court rejected a case filed by two CF lawmakers asking the Court to determine which parliamentary coalition represents the largest bloc in Parliament. more…
- Rockets Hit Baghdad Airport; Iraqi Forces Intensify Anti-ISIS Operations; Turkey Launches Deadly Airstrikes On Makhmour; ISIS Leader Killed In Syria – On January 28, six rockets struck Baghdad International Airport, damaging two aircraft parked on its runways. PM Kadhimi’s office said that security forces had identified “some of the terrorists” involved, pledging to arrest and prosecute them “without exception.” Between January 29 – February 3, Iraqi forces killed at least 30 ISIS militants, mostly in airstrikes against targets in Diyala, Ninewa, and Salah ad-Din provinces. The killed militants include three Lebanese nationals and a militant responsible for the January 21 attack that killed 11 Iraqi soldiers in Diyala. Late on February 1, Turkish military aircraft conducted airstrikes against suspected PKK targets in Sinjar and at the Makhmour camp, which hosts refugees from Turkey. The airstrikes killed between two and eight and wounded “tens.” The strikes are part of a new Turkish operation against PKK positions in Iraq and Syria. On February 3, U.S. President Joe Biden said that a raid by American special forces in northwestern Syria killed ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. In other developments, between January 28 – 31, the explosions of six IEDs and one remnant of war in Babylon, Ninewa, Dhi-Qar, and Muthanna provinces killed at least five Iraqis and wounded four, most of whom were children. On February 3, at least ten rockets targeted a Turkish military base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. more…
- UNICEF Urges Action To Protect Children From Remnants Of War; Iraq, WHO Launch Country’s First Gender-Based Violence Strategic Plan – On February 2, UNICEF called for “Stronger concerted efforts” to mitigate the risk that unexploded remnants of war (ERW) pose to children’s safety. The statement underscored that incidents involving ERW killed 52 children and seriously injured 73 last year. On February 2, the WHO and Iraqi Health Ministry announced the launch of Iraq’s first gender-based violence strategic plan. The plan, which covers a five-year period, aims to provide “strategic vision and operational directions” for organizing and executing the health system’s efforts to mitigate the health consequences of gender-based violence. The plan will gradually cover all of Iraq’s provinces, including the Kurdistan region. In other developments, On February 3, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,233,725, an increase of 50,323 from the 2,183,402 reported on January 27. Hospitalizations increased from 68,257 to 79,382, and the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period reached 7,189/day, up from 6,590/day during the 7-day period ending January 27. Total vaccinations reached 9,352,827 including 47,297 people who received their shots on February 3. more…
- Airport Attack Raises Aviation Safey Concern; Oil Revenue Jumps To $8.2 Billion; Iraq Exported 600,000 Tons Of Dates In 2021 – On January 30, Kuwaiti aviation authorities halted flights to Iraqi airports for a week due to rising security concerns following the January 28 rocket attack that damaged two aircraft at Baghdad International Airport. On February 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude exports during January averaged 3.203 million bpd and generated $8.27 billion in revenue, more than $1 billion higher than December. On February 3, Iraq’s Agriculture Ministry reported that Iraqi date farmers exported 600,000 tons of date during 2021, citing high demand from the Arab Gulf states. In other developments, on February 2, Iraq’s Integrity Commission reported that courts had sentenced the former head of the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) and the former chief of the Baghdad Investment Commission to seven and four years in prison, respectively. Both were convicted on corruption charges. 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 January 28, the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) issued a statement in which it warned about the consequences of the escalation in politically-motivated violence in Iraq, including the rocket attack that targeted Baghdad International Airport earlier that day. UNAMI said it was “deeply concerned” by violence, whose recent targets also included the offices of major political parties. The UN mission condemned these “despicable attacks,” which it said caused harm to ordinary civilians. UNAMI warned that “the perpetrators and rogue groups behind these callous attacks appear to enjoy impunity, acting recklessly and exposing the country to disastrous consequences.” The statement urged “all stakeholders” to “swiftly pull together to expose those behind it,” stressing that “all stakeholders must “exercise restraint and avoid falling into the trap of creating chaos amid a critical yet delicate transitional period.”
On January 29, a senior member of the Imtidad Movement, Ghassan Nadhum al-Shibib, said that he was resigning all his roles in the party, which had won nine seats in the October 2021 election. Shibib said the resignation was a response to Imtidad’s decision to vote in favor of Mohammed al-Halbousi becoming Speaker of Parliament. Shibib criticized what he described as a “abandonment of principles and betrayal of trust,” and claimed that the bylaws approved by Imtidad’s founding conference are being ignored “by those who want to create a dictatorship inside the party,” without naming anyone specific. A few days later, Fatima al-Issawi, a founding member of Imtidad, also announced her resignation from the party. In a brief statement, Issawi urged civic political movements to “adhere to the political programs they promised their constituents” and avoid the lure of political ambitions. On the same day, Ala al-Yasiria, another Imtidad member and a former candidate in the October 2021 election, also said she was resigning from the party. In response to the resignation, the head of Imtidad’s bloc in Parliament, Mohammed Nouri, insisted that the party “did not and will not be part of the hateful muhasasa,” adding that Imtidad was facing a smear campaign aimed at shaking the confidence of its constituents.
On January 31, the general secretariat of the Iraqi Parliament announced that 25 individuals had submitted their candidate statements to run for the office of President of the Republic of Iraq. The list of the 25 approved candidate statements includes the incumbent Barham Salih, his main rival, Hoshyar Zebari, and 23 other individuals whose names can be found here.
On January 31, key Sunni and Kurdish political leaders arrived in Najaf to meet with Muqtada al-Sadr and negotiate an end to the post-election political deadlock. Sadr’s visitors included Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, the president of the Kurdistan region, Nechirvan Barzani, and Khamis al-Khanjar. The meetings are part of an initiative by Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) aimed at finding a compromise between Sadr and his rivals in the coordination framework for Shia parties (CF). According to an adviser to Barzani, the KDP leader’s proposal involves an arrangement that grants the vice president position to senior CF figure and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Last week, Sadr had explicitly voiced his objection to including Nouri al-Maliki in the next government. Political sources told Shafaq News that the next step in Barzani’s initiative would be a meeting in Baghdad between the so-called trilateral alliance that includes the Sadrists, KDP, and the Siyada coalition of Halbousi and Khanjar, and the leaders of the coordination framework. The meeting is expected to take place before Parliament meets on February 7 to elect a new president. A spokesman for the KDP explained that Barzani’s intervention to push for compromise between Sadr and the CF came at the behest of Iranian general Esmail Qaani, who, according to the spokesman, has been in Baghdad “for a while” and visited Barzani in Erbil as well. After his meeting with Halbousi, Barzani, and Khanjar, Sadr issued a very brief comment in which he called for an end to political violence, reaffirmed his plan to form a majority government, but said he welcomed negotiations with opposition.
On February 2, a member of the State of Law Coalition (SoL) said the coordination framework for Shia parties (CF) was “cohesive, and completely rejects” the condition set by Muqtada al-Sadr for joining the government, which is to exclude SoL leader Nouri al-Maliki. The SoL representative insisted that CF would only participate in government if all of its factions were included. He added that CF was considering alternatives, including boycotting the political process, and acting as an “impeding third” to block the passage of certain legislations in Parliament that could target the “Islamic resistance” factions. Meanwhile, unnamed CF sources told Shafaq News that CF has three main demands in negotiations with Sadr: giving Nouri al-Maliki the vice president position, guarantees that the next government will not restructure the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and protections for the leaders of armed factions from prosecution. Earlier, Hadi al-Amiri said he rejected Sadr’s call to exclude Maliki, arguing on January 28 that opposition and government alike should have Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish parties, but that the exclusion of a specific Shia party was unacceptable. Amiri said that political parties should “stop being stubborn,” warning that the Iraqi people would be the only loser” if political deadlock persists.
On February 2, Iraq’s Integrity Commission reported that the Central Anti-Corruption Court had sentenced a former governor of Dhi-Qar province (unnamed) to one year in prison. According to the Commission, the Court found the official guilty on charges of sending unqualified staff members on foreign trips unrelated to their positions to generate personal financial gain.
On February 3, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court rejected a case filed in late January by two CF lawmakers in which they asked the Court to determine which parliamentary coalition represents the largest bloc in Parliament. A ruling document shows that the Court rejected the case because, in the Court’s view, the presentation and verification of the largest bloc can only happen after Parliament had elected a new president, and that parliamentary blocs may continue to negotiate and make alliances with one another to become the largest bloc until that point.
On January 27, security sources in Diyala said that an attack involving several mortar rounds targeted the village of Sadraniyah, northeast of the Muqdadiyah district. To the northeast, security sources in Ninewa said on January 30 that ISIS militants launched an attack with mortars on the Sahaji area, west of Mosul. There were nor reports of damage or casualties in either attack.
On January 28, Iraq’s Ministry of Defense said it has activated a contract with Korea’s KAI to provide logistical support for Iraq’s fleet of T-50 advanced training/light attack aircraft. Iraq owns 24 of the supersonic T-50 aircraft purchased last decade, but the aircraft have seen little action in recent years due to maintenance and spare part issues.
On January 28, security sources in Baghdad said that two unidentified gunmen attacked the home of an officer in the border guards with a hand grenade. The attack, which occurred in the Zafaraniyah district in southern Baghdad, wounded two members of the targeted officer’s family. To the south, in Maysan province, unidentified gunmen assassinated a Ministry of Interior officer in central Amara. The victim, Major Husam al-Ilayawi, is said to have had links to Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
On January 28, the Security Media Cell reported that six Katyusha-type rockets struck Baghdad International Airport, damaging two aircraft parked on one of the airport’s runways. The statement blamed the attack on “anti-state terrorist gangs” that are trying to “undermine the government effort to restore Iraq’s regional role.” The statement added that Iraqi security forces later discovered and disposed of three additional rockets loaded on a launchpad near an irrigation canal in the Abu Ghraib district, west of Baghdad. On February 1, Prime Minister Kadhimi’s office said that security forces had identified “some of the terrorists” involved in the attack, affirming that they will be arrested and prosecuted “without exception.” The statement sought to assure the public that “no entity whatsoever” will be able to “protect the criminals or help them escape.”
On January 28, police sources in Babylon province said that an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded on a farm in the Jbala subdistrict, killing three civilians from the same family.
On January 29, security sources in Baghdad said that an unexploded remnant of war (ERW) detonated at a waste dump in the Mahmoudiyah district, south of the capital. The explosion killed two children and wounded a third.
On January 30, security sources in Dhi-Qar said that an IED exploded targeting a convoy transporting equipment for the International Coalition that was traveling along a main highway through the province. Within hours, a second IED targeted another supply convoy on a main highway in Muthanna province. On the following day, a third IED struck an Iraqi police patrol that was escorting a supply convoy on the highway between Muthanna and Dhi-Qar provinces. The explosion damaged a police vehicle but there were no reports of casualties in any of the attacks.
On January 29, the Security Media Cell said that Iraqi F-16 jets conducted three airstrikes targeting the positions of an ISIS cell that Iraqi forces believe was responsible for the January 21 attack that killed 11 Iraqi soldiers in Diyala. The airstrikes killed nine ISIS militants, according to the Cell, and an Iraqi security spokesman said later that three of the nine militants were Lebanese nationals. The spokesman identified the three slain militants as Omar, Bakr, and Anas Saif, all from the Wadi Nahla region in northern Lebanon.
On January 30, the Cell Security Media reported that Iraqi F-16 jets conducted an airstrike on an ISIS position near the village of Sheik Younis in Ninewa province, killing six militants that were present at the time. On February 2, the Cell reported that Iraqi F-16 conducted another airstrike in Ninewa that killed five ISIS militants. According to the statement, the airstrike had targeted a cave in al-Hadhar district, south of Mosul, based on intelligence reports provided by the Interior Ministry’s Falcons Cell.
On January 30, security sources in Kirkuk said that suspected ISIS militants attacked a federal police checkpoint near the village of Ahmed al-Tayyar in the Riyadh subdistrict. The attack, which reportedly involved sniper fire, killed two federal police members and injured a third.
On January 31, security sources in Ninewa said that an IED explosion targeted army forces in the Sahaji area west of Mosul, injuring two Iraqi soldiers. On the following day, another IED injured a tribal mobilization fighter when it detonated near the village of Sultan Abdullah, near Qayyara, south of Mosul.
On February 2, Rudaw reported that Turkish military aircraft conducted six airstrikes overnight against the Makhmour camp, which is located southwest of Erbil and hosts refugees from Turkey. According to Rudaw, the airstrikes killed eight people and wounded 17, but camp officials said the attack killed two and wounded “tens.” A local KDP official said the casualties include civilians and fighters affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Earlier on February 1, security sources in Ninewa said that Turkish warplanes also struck PKK positions near Sinjar, without providing further details. In a subsequent statement, the Turkish Defense Ministry said its forces have launched a new operation dubbed “Winter Eagle” against PKK positions in Iraq and Syria, specifically in the regions of Malikiyah, Deraluk, Sinjar, and Qara-Chogh. In total, 60 aircraft struck 80 targets during the operation.
On February 2, the Security Media Cell said that Iraqi army troops backed by helicopters killed seven ISIS militants during an armed reconnaissance operation in the Mtaybeijah area in Salah ad-Din province. On the following day, Iraqi security forces killed three more ISIS militants in the nearby Haw al-Udheim region, according to a senior Iraqi military spokesman.
On February 3, security sources in Ninewa said that an attack with at least ten Katyusha type rockets targeted a Turkish military base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. Security forces later found the launch vehicle, which was rigged to carry 17 rockets, near the Sihha neighborhood on the western side of Mosul. An unknown group called “Ahrar Sinjar” claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on social media.
On February 3, U.S. President Joe Biden said that a raid by American special forces in an unspecified location in northwestern Syria killed ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. The operation killed a total of 13 individuals, some of whom were children, but there were no losses among the raiding force, the Washington Post reported, citing U.S. officials.
On January 31, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a summary of the results of the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) through the month of December. The update noted that the HRP has reached approximately 1 million of the 1.5 million people the plan was intended to help in 2021. The population reached by the HRP included 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in camps, another 325,000 IDPs living outside of camps, and 493,000 former IDPs who had returned to their home districts. OCHA said that donors have provided $377 million in funding, which represents only 62% of the $607 million that was needed to fully implement the 2021 HRP.
On February 2, UNICEF issued a statement calling for “Stronger concerted efforts” to mitigate the risk that unexploded remnants of war (ERW) pose to children’s safety. The statement stressed that recent deaths and injuries from ERW (see above) were not isolated incidents, reminding that incidents involving ERW killed 52 children and seriously injured 73 over the course of last year. The statement noted that recent deaths and injuries occurred “while children were doing daily chores, such as collecting wood,” and urged all stakeholders to “accelerate every effort to clear existing mines and unexploded ordnance and promote victim assistance, and to uphold children’s right to a safe and protective environment.” The UNICEF statement also urged donors and Iraqi authorities to help provide more Explosive Ordnance Risk Education to give children and community members the knowledge needed to identify and avoid risks in regions affected by the presence of ERW.
On February 2, the World Health Organization and Iraqi Health Ministry announced the launch of Iraq’s first gender-based violence strategic plan. The plan, which covers a five-year period (2022–2026), aims to provide “strategic vision and operational directions” for organizing and executing “sustainable interventions” that are part of the health system’s efforts to mitigate the health consequences of gender-based violence. A WHO official in Iraq said the plan “also intends to increase community awareness on its prevention and strives to fight stigmatization while strengthening the integration of gender-based violence services into the humanitarian and emergency health response.” The plan will gradually cover all of Iraq’s provinces, including the Kurdistan region, in a manner customized to address each province’s needs and conditions. According to the WHO statement, more than 1.3 million Iraqis face the risk of gender-based violence, three out of four of whom are women and girls.
On February 3, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,233,725, an increase of 50,323 in cases from the 2,183,402 reported on January 27. Of these cases, 79,382 are currently under treatment, including 176 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent an increase of 11,125 in hospitalizations and 56 in ICU admissions since January 27. Ministry data indicated that there were 125 new COVID-19 deaths since January 27, bringing the total from 24,330 to 24,455. Total recoveries increased from 2,090,815 to 2,129,888. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day period increased to 7,189 per day from 6,590 per day during the 7-day period ending January 27. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 1,808 cases, Wasit with 897, Basra with 811, Erbil with 686, and Duhok with 383 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 17,508,637 samples for COVID-19. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 9,352,827 including 47,297 who received their shots on February 3.
On January 30, Kuwaiti aviation authorities decided to halt flights to Iraqi airports due to rising security concerns following the January 28 rocket attack that damaged two aircraft at Baghdad International Airport. The suspension is set to last until February 6, according to a statement by Kuwait Airways, according to a report by AP. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, which also damaged a runway, Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) had warned that the rocket attack undermined Iraq’s reputation and its ability to meet the safety requirements of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO). In its statement, the ICAA said it expects the fallout from the attack to cause Iraq to endure more restrictions, penalties, and financial costs.
On February 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that crude oil exports during January totaled 99.286 million barrels, for an average of 3.203 million barrels per day (bpd), slightly down from December’s average of 3.277 million bpd. The January exports generated $8.27 billion in revenue, more than $1 billion higher than December’s $7.037 billion. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of approximately $83.24 per barrel, about $10 above the previous month’s average of $72 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 3.11 million bpd in January, while average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk, which were exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, bounced to just over 82,100 bpd.
On February 2, Iraq’s Integrity Commission reported that a Baghdad court specialized in countering money laundering and financial crimes had sentenced the former head of the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) to seven years in prison. The court issued the in-absentia sentence after finding the accused (former TBI chief Hamdiyah al-Jaf) guilty of abusing her position to offer $25 million in credit to an unnamed company without providing the requisite collaterals. The former TBI chief had been convicted of other financial crimes in the past, and in 2021 the Integrity Commission had challenged a court decision that ordered Jaf released. On the same day, the Commission said the Central Anti-Corruption Court sentenced the former chief of the Baghdad Investment Commission to four years in prison. The former official was found guilty of abusing his position to charge an investor an illegal commission in exchange for approving a project license.
On February 3, Iraq’s Agriculture Ministry reported that Iraqi date farmers exported a total of 600,000 tons of date during 2021, citing high demand for some of the rare types of dates Iraq produces, especially by consumers in the Arab Gulf states. With regard to other products, a ministry spokesman said that Iraqi farmers also exported 30,000 tons of potatoes in 2021, adding that poultry and egg production increased to cover 80% of domestic demand in 2021, up from 70%.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from January 27, 2022 - February 3, 2022The 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.
|1/28/22||Jbala, Babylon province||3||0|
|1/31/22||Highway between Dhi-Qar and Muthanna||0||0|
|1/31/22||Sahaji, west of Mosul||0||2|
|2/1/22||Qayyara, south of Mosul||0||1|
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.