ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: MAY 5 – 12, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Independent MPs Mull Overtures By Sadr And CF; Halbousi Bans Prominent Independent MP From Speaking; Iraq Plans Census In 2023 – On May 9, 45 independent MPs met to discuss two proposals by Muqtada al-Sadr and his rivals in the Coordination Framework (CF) in which both sides sought the independents’ help in forming a government. Reports after the meeting described a divided scene in which 16 independent MPs were in favor of Sadr’s proposal, 13 preferred the CF proposal, while another 23 remained undecided. On May 11, Speaker Halbousi called a vote on a motion to ban MP Basim Khashan from joining any parliamentary committee. The motion, which passed instantly, also bans the Muthanna province MP from presenting any arguments in Parliament for the remainder of the legislative term. The move is reportedly linked to recent remarks by Khashan, in which he accused Halbousi of financial misconduct and constitutional violations. On May 12, Iraq’s Planning Ministry said it set October 2023 as a tentative timeframe for conducting a long-delayed nationwide population census. A ministry spokesman sid a final date could be decided within weeks. In other developments, on May 9, PM Kadhimi met with a delegation from Sinjar district to discuss security and economic conditions following clashes in the district. According to a government statement, Kadhimi gave instructions to “expedite” procedures to establish a reconstruction fund for Sinjar, and to fund jobs for locals in the security forces. On May 11, Parliament resumed its meetings after a nearly six-week break. During the Wednesday session, lawmakers completed the formation of 25 committees to oversee various policy areas. more…
  • Iraq Buys New Artillery From France And U.S.; Iran Shells Targets Near Erbil – On May 8, a senior Iraqi officer said that Baghdad has signed new deals with the U.S. and France to import an unspecified number of new long-range artillery systems for the country’s armed forces. On May 11, Iranian news agencies said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shelled the positions of “terrorist groups” in the Sedikan subdistrict of Erbil province. Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the shelling, which was reportedly targeting buildings occupied by the dissident Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran. In other developments, between May 5 – 12, the explosions of six IEDs in Duhok, Ninewa, Diwaniyah, and Salah ad-Din killed a Danish tourist and wounded four Iraqis. Between May 7 – 12, Iraqi troops and airstrikes in Ninewa and Kirkuk killed at least 21 ISIS militants. Another airstrike in Ninewa reportedly killed two local camel herders who were misidentified as ISIS militants. more…
  • Iraq Reports Dozens Of Hemorrhagic Fever Infections; Hundreds Return To Sinjar As Clashes Subside – On May 10, Iraq’s Agriculture Ministry said it formed a joint committee with the Health Ministry to deal with an outbreak of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. This week, Iraq recorded 55 infections among humans and 12 fatalities, with Dhi-Qar province being the most affected. On May 10, Ninewa governor Najm al-Jubouri said that more than 300 families that were displaced by recent clashes in Sinjar have returned to the district. The 300 returning families represent less than half of some 700 families (1,800 by other counts) that left Sinjar during the fighting. In other developments, on May 12, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,326,162, an increase of just 765 in from the 2,325,397 reported on May 5. Hospitalizations decreased from 1,468 to 1,278, but the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period increased to 109/day from 79/day during the 7-day period ending May 5. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,575,775 including 15,933 who received their shots on May 12. 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.


Independent MPs Mull Overtures By Sadr And CF; Halbousi Bans Prominent Independent MP From Speaking; Iraq Plans Census In 2023

On May 9, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met with a delegation of community leaders from the Sinjar district to discuss security and economic conditions in the contested district, which was recently the scene of clashes between army forces and militiamen affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). According to a government statement, Kadhimi gave instructions to “expedite” procedures to establish a reconstruction fund for Sinjar, and to provide financial allocations in the next federal budget to enlist an unspecified number of locals in security forces. 

On May 9, the leaders of the trilateral alliance involving the Sadrists, Siyada coalition, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), met in Erbil to resume discussions regarding government formation. The meetings were attended by Mohammed al-Halbousi and Khamis al-Khanjar from Siyada, Nassar al-Rubaie and Hassan al-Ithari representing the Sadrists, and KDP leader Masoud Barzani. According to a KDP lawmaker, the goal of the talks was to “end the political deadlock, [call a] vote on important bills, and support Muqtada al-Sadr’s initiative for government formation by the inclusion of independents.” The lawmaker was referring to Sadr’s May 5 message to independent lawmakers in which he urged them to create a bloc of some 40 members to join his trilateral alliance and form a government that excludes his rivals in the Coordination Framework.

On May 9, political sources in Baghdad said that 45 independent lawmakers held a meeting to discuss two proposals presented by Muqtada al-Sadr and his rivals in the Coordination Framework (CF) in which both sides sought the independents’ help in breaking the political deadlock and forming a government. CF proposed to form “the largest bloc” comprising Shia parties, including Sadr’s, and endorse a prime ministerial candidate to be presented by the independents. Meanwhile, Sadr wants independents to join his trilateral alliance and form a government that excludes CF. After the Monday meeting, a report by al-Mada described a divided scene in which independent lawmakers appear to express widely divergent positions. The report estimates that 16 independent lawmakers were in favor of Sadr’s proposal, while 13 appeared to prefer the CF proposal. Another 23, more than half, remained undecided. Meanwhile, the For the People coalition, comprising Emtidad and New Generation parties, said on May 9 that it would support any group of independent lawmakers that chooses to take on the task of forming a government, maintaining that the coalition itself would not be part of any government. 

On May 9, al-Mada reported that hundreds of unemployed college graduates in Dhi-Qar province demonstrated in front of the offices of the province’s oil company and education department to renew their demands for jobs. An official with the Dhi-Qar Oil Company said the angry protesters blocked the entrances to the company’s building with burning tires, preventing employees from coming to work. The demonstrations continued on the following day, with protesters demanding the sacking of the Dhi-Qar Oil Company’s chief, accusing him of unfair hiring practices that serve partisan interests.

On May 11, Iraq’s Parliament resumed its meetings after a nearly six-week break over Ramadan and the Eid holiday. During the Wednesday session, lawmakers finalized the membership of the legislature’s finance and legal committees, confirming five and eight members to the two committees, respectively. With these confirmations, Parliament has completed the formation of 25 different committees in charge of various policy areas. A list with the members of each of the 25 committees can be found here. During the meeting, Parliament also conducted a first reading of a bill that criminalizes normalization or establishing relations with the state of Israel, which was put forward by the trilateral alliance of Muqtada al-Sadr and his allies in Speaker Halbousi’s Siyada coalition and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Last week, Speaker Halbousi and his two deputies decided to extend Parliament’s current four-mont legislative term, which began in January, by one month. 

On May 11, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi called a vote on a motion to ban lawmaker Basim Khashan from being a member of any parliamentary committee. The motion, which passed almost instantly, also bans the Muthanna province representative from presenting any arguments in parliament for the remainder of the legislative term. A visibly irate Halbousi said that Khashan, an outspoken independent lawmaker, must present a written apology to him before the ban could be lifted. The conflict between Halbousi and Khashan is reportedly linked to recent remarks by the latter, in which he accused Halbousi of financial misconduct and constitutional violations. In an audio statement (poor quality) Khashan appeared to also link the to Halbousi’s desire to prevent Khashan from becoming a member of Parliament’s legal committee.   

On May 11, representative Ahmed al-Jubouri said that he secured signatures from “more than 105” lawmakers for a letter addressed to Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi demanding the sacking of the MInister of Industry and his deputy over allegations of corruption. Jubouri said he delivered documents describing the alleged corruption to the Integrity Commission, adding that the latter has opened an investigation into the matter. Jubouri did not provide details about the specifics of the alleged acts of corruption. 

On May 12, Iraq’s Planning Ministry said it set October 2023 as a tentative timeframe for conducting a long-delayed nationwide population census. A ministry spokesman added that a final date could be announced within a few weeks. The spokesman said that in addition to delays in passing a federal budget, several non-political considerations prevent conducting the census in 2022. The list of logistical preparations includes setting up 400 census management offices across 18 provinces, recruiting and training 125,000 census workers, developing aerial maps and an index for administrative units, and procuring the devices and infrastructure needed to conduct the census electronically. Prior plans to conduct a census were put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic and lack of funding. 


Iraq Buys New Artillery From France And U.S.; Iran Shells Targets Near Erbil

On May 5, security sources in Diyala said that ISIS militants attacked Iraqi army troops in the Jalawla subdistrict using sniper fire. The attack killed one soldier and wounded two. Elsewhere in Diyala, unidentified gunmen attacked the residence of the police chief in the Abu Sayda subdistrict on May 7 and exchanged small arms fire with security forces in the area. There were no reports of casualties. On the following day, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a civilian vehicle on the road between Baladruz and Mandili, killing one person and wounding another. 

On May 5, the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED) killed a Danish tourist near the town of Amadiyah, according to a statement by the Duhok police. The roadside IED went off on the road between the villages of Barokhi and Kamberki, gravely wounding the victim, who was traveling on a bicycle, and was pronounced dead hours later at the hospital. The Duhok police accused members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of planting the bomb to “undermine the stability” of the Kurdistan region. 

On May 7, the Ninewa police said that an IED exploded at the Qayyara junction south of Mosul, injuring three civilians. 

On May 7, the Security Media Cell said that Iraqi army helicopters struck a group of ISIS militants in a remote area in the al-Hadhar district of Ninewa province, killing two suspected militants and destroying their vehicle. But unnamed security sources in the province contradicted the official story, saying that the strike instead killed two camel herders who were searching for water sources in the desert area. 

On May 8, a senior Iraqi military spokesman said that a force from the Iraqi army’s 14th division ambushed and killed three ISIS militants in the Karaw mountains region in Ninewa province. Two days later, on May 10, the Security Media Cell said army troops used explosives to destroy a tunnel in the same area in which nine ISIS militants had been hiding, killing all of them. 

On May 7, a security source in Maysan province said that unidentified gunmen opened fire from small arms on a member of the Saraya al-Salam militia, which is loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, killing the targeted individual. The attack, which occurred in central Amara, came after a pause in assassinations that targeted members of Saray al-Salam and its rival Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Maysan earlier this year. 

On May 7, the Security Media Cell said that a suspect in the April 20 killing of a senior intelligence officer during an armed tribal conflict in Dhi-Qar province died in an explosion as Iraqi forces attempted to arrest him. The Cell said the suspect, Hakim Karim Hamidi, detonated a grenade after he was cornered inside his house, killing himself and wounding two officers. The raiding force reportedly found small and medium arms, along with grenades, in the suspect’s home.

On May 8, security sources in Baghdad said that unidentified gunmen on motorcycles attacked an employee in Iraq’s Interior Ministry with small arms fire. The attack, which occurred in the Baladiyat neighborhood of east Baghdad, wounded the targeted individual. 

On May 8, a senior Iraqi officer said that Baghdad has signed new deals with the United States and France to import new weapons systems for the country’s artillery force. Major general Abd al-Ardawi, the chief of the artillery service, said that the government has given priority to acquiring accurate long-range artillery systems because they proved effective in the war with ISIS. The officer did not provide details about the specifics of these planned purchases. 

On May 8, security sources in Ninewa province said that a roadside IED explosion struck a construction vehicle in the Dokri area of Sinjar. The explosion damaged the vehicle without causing casualties. On May 11, another IED exploded in the Sinuni subdistrict near Sinjar, causing serious injuries to an elderly local resident. 

On May 11, Iranian news agencies said that the artillery of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shelled the positions of “terrorist groups” in the Sedikan subdistrict of Iraq’s Erbil province. Local officials said the shelling has been intermittent, and has not resulted in casualties. Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the shelling, which was reportedly targeting buildings occupied by the dissident Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran.  

On May 11, Iraq’s Defense ministry said that F-16 jets, with help from the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), conducted airstrikes against tunnels used by ISIS militants near Mosul, killing eight militants who had been hiding inside. On the following day, CTS troops killed one ISIS militant and arrested another during operations in southern Kirkuk.

On May 11, security sources said that an IED explosion targeted a convoy transporting supplies for the International Coalition forces on a main highway in Diwaniyah province. There were no reports of casualties.  

On May 12, security sources in Sulaymaniyah said that an IED explosion struck the vehicle of the deputy commander of a Peshmerga brigade while his unit was conducting a joint operation with federal forces near Tuzkhormatu in Salah ad-Din province. According to the sources, the explosion did not result in casualties. 


Iraq Reports Dozens Of Hemorrhagic Fever Infections; Hundreds Return To Sinjar As Clashes Subside

On May 10, Iraq’s Agriculture Ministry said it formed a joint committee with the Health Ministry to deal with an outbreak of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. A spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry said authorities have begun taking measures to control the spread of the disease, fighting the ticks that transmit the virus, and injecting animals with antivirals. As of May 10, Iraq had recorded 55 infections among humans, and 12 fatalities. Dhi-Qar province has been the most affected location, reporting more than half of all infections. 

On May 10, Ninewa governor Najm al-Jubouri said that more than 300 families that were displaced by recent clashes in Sinjar have returned to the district from nearby Duhok, citing the “withdrawal of armed factions and deployment of security forces.” The 300 returning families represent less than half of some 700 families (1,800 by other counts) that left Sinjar during the fighting. 

On May 12, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,326,162, an increase of just 765 in cases from the 2,325,397 reported on May 5. Of these cases, 1,278 are currently under treatment, including 14 being treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 190 in hospitalizations and an increase of one in ICU admissions since May 5. Ministry data indicated that there were four new COVID-19 deaths since May 5, bringing the total from 25,212 to 25,216. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day period increased to 109 per day from 79 per day during the 7-day period ending May 12. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 42 cases and Sulaymaniyah with 18 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 18,517,002 samples for COVID-19. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,575,775 including 15,933 who received their shots on May 12.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from May 5, 2022 - May 12, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
5/5/22 Amadiyah, Duhok province10
5/7/22 Qayyara, Ninewa province03
5/8/22 Sinjar, Ninewa province00
5/11/22 Sinjar, Ninewa province01
5/11/22 Diwaniyah province00
5/12/22 Tuzkhormatu, Salah ad-Din province00

 

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.


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