ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: JUNE 16 – 30, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Parliament Swears In 64 New MPs; Coordination Framework Divided Over Government Formation; Kadhimi Visits Saudi Arabia And Iran – On June 23, Iraq’s Parliament convened an extraordinary session in which 64 new MPs were sworn to replace MPs loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr who had resigned on June 12. On June 24, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, said it was difficult to form a stable government without the Sadrists, and called for “a political agreement on redoing the elections” under a new law and electoral commission. Khazali’s position is at odds with that of Nouri al-Maliki, who wants to take the lead on government formation regardless of Sadr’s participation. Press reports say Maliki has a strong interest in becoming PM again and believes that the risks of excluding Sadr are exaggerated. On June 25 and 26, PM Kadhimi visited Saudi Arabia and Iran, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and President Ibrahim Raisi to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments. Kadhimi’s office said the talks focused on “efforts to establish peace and calm in the region.” Speaking from Tehran, Kadhimi said he and Raisi agreed to support a truce in Yemen, while a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said that Kadhimi related that Riyadh was “ready to resume talks on the diplomatic level in Baghdad.” On June 24, Salah ad-Din politician Ahmed al-Jubouri (aka Abu Mazin) said he and his party left the Siyada Coalition of Speaker Halbousi and rejoined their previous parent bloc, the Azm Coalition. more…
  • Rockets Target Key Kurdistan Gas Field; Iraq’s T-50 Jets Take To The Sky; KRG To Enforce Gun Controls – Between June 22 – 25, five Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in Sulaymaniyah on three separate occasions. The attacks, which originated from inside the Kurdistan region, did not disrupt production at the field, which is a vital source of fuel for power plants, but prompted the operator, Dana Gas, to halt an expansion project at the field. The attacks came shortly after two rockets fired from Bashiqa targeted Peshmerga forces in Shaikhan. On June 22, Iraq’s Defense Ministry said the air force’s T-50 jets made their first flight that day from an air base in Baghdad. The aircraft had been grounded since their arrival in 2017 due to financial problems that delayed contracts for essential maintenance, logistics, and training services. On June 30, after a series of high-profile gun murders, KRG PM Masrour Barzani ordered his interior ministry to shut down “all places selling weapons” and to confiscate “any unlicensed weapons.” In other developments, on June 17, a Turkish armed drone struck a vehicle transporting PKK militants in Kalar, more than 160 miles from the Turkish border, killing four people. On June 19, Iraqi airstrikes killed “Abu Mansoor,” the so-called Wali of Anbar, and three of his associates. Between June 18 – 28, the explosions of seven IEDs in Diyala, Baghdad, Ninewa, Basra, and Babylon, injured at least seven Iraqis. On June 23, the ministries of Defense and Peshmerga reached an agreement under which the Defense Ministry will provide training to Peshmerga forces and allow residents of Kurdistan region to enroll in the Defense Ministry’s military academy and staff college. more…
  • Cholera Outbreak Confirmed; New Project Aims To Build Climate Change Resilience; Iraq In New Wave Of COVID-19 Spread – On June 19, Iraq’s Health Ministry said that lab tests confirmed 13 cases of the cholera in Sulaymaniyah, Muthanna, and Kirkuk. The results confirmed the suspected outbreak, first reported in Sulaymaniyah, where large numbers of people fell sick with relevant symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting. In response to the outbreak, the WHO sent “an urgent consignment of medicines and medical supplies” to help local health authorities deal with the situation. On June 29, the UNDP said it launched a new project with funding from the UK and Canada to help Iraq speed up its response to climate change. The Catalytic Climate Action in Iraq is a partnership with the Ministry of Environment designed to build Iraq’s capacity to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change by “managing natural resources, developing renewable resources, and increasing resilience to climate-induced hazards.” On June 30, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,348,662, an increase of 17,514 from the 2,331,148 reported on June 16. Hospitalizations increased more than 680%, from 2,146 to 14,662 and the daily average for new cases jumped to 1,251/day during the last 14-day period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,860,930 including 13,125 who received their shots on June 30. As the spread accelerated, the Ministry warned that the spike in infections and hospitalizations indicated that Iraq was in a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry urged Iraqis to get vaccinated and go back to using preventative measures on the individual and community levels. more…
  • Iraq Cracks Down On Smuggling Amid Fuel Shortages; Oil Services Companies Respond To Baghdad’s “Blacklist” Threat – On June 26, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said that PM Kadhimi ordered a new crackdown on fuel smugglers, as the country deals with widespread fuel shortages. As of June 29, raids across several provinces resulted in 42 arrests, the recovery of 700,000 liters of smuggled fuels, and penalties against eight complicit gas stations. Iraq’s Oil Ministry attributed the shortage to a price differential between the Kurdistan region and adjacent provinces, which created new incentives for smuggling. On June 27, Schlumberger told Iraq’s Oil Ministry that it will comply with the February 15 ruling by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court and subsequent letters sent by Iraq’s National Oil Company concerning operations in the Kurdistan region. Schlumberger agreed to refrain from competing for future contracts in Kurdistan, and said it will “make all the necessary efforts to resolve issues concerning current contracts.” Baker Hughes and Halliburton made similar commitments. In other developments, on June 20, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that the Basra Gas Company exported its inaugural cargo of “semi-refrigerated liquid [petroleum] gas” from the port of Umm Qasr. On June 28, Iraq’s Central Bank said it decided to increase funding available for private sector development initiatives to IQD18 trillion. 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.


Parliament Swears In 64 New MPs; Coordination Framework Divided Over Government Formation; Kadhimi Visits Saudi Arabia And Iran

On June 17, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms” the June 15 Turkish airstrike that targeted “government buildings and homes” in Sinuni, near the Sinjar district. The Ministry said the attack was “a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty,” adding that Baghdad would “take the decided upon measures after completing necessary investigations into this aggression.”

On June 23, Iraq’s Parliament convened an extraordinary session for the swearing in of 73 new members to replace the lawmakers loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr who had resigned on June 12. The extraordinary session was convened during recess based on a request submitted earlier by lawmakers from the Coordination Framework (CF). During the session, which was attended by 202 representatives, a total of 64 out of the 73 replacements were sworn in. Ahead of the session, sources close to Muqtada al-Sadr reaffirmed that any replacements affiliated with the Sadrist bloc were going to relinquish their seats as well, in compliance with Sadr’s instructions. The manner in which replacements were expected to be divided among the other political parties and independents can be found here

On June 23, Parliament voted to amend its bylaws to abolish the term “the [parliamentary] presidency committee” and replace it with “the president (speaker) and his two deputies.” The terms had been a source of friction between Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and his resigned first deputy, Sadirist politician Hakim al-Zamili. 

On June 23, Hussein Monis, the leader of the Huqooq Movement (the political arm of Kataib Hezbollah), said that his party had decided to pull out of Parliament and relinquish the seats it was entitled to take over from resigning Sadrist lawmaker. Monis, whose group stood to gain five new seats and expand its foothold in Parliament to six seats, said his group “support government formation” but would not “replace our brothers in the Sadrist block.”

On June 24, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, Qais al-Khazali, said it was difficult to form a stable new government in light of the recent decision by Muqtada al-Sadr to withdraw his followers from Parliament. Speaking to a group of analysts, Khazali, a powerful figure in the Coordination Framework (CF) called for “a political agreement on redoing the elections.” Khazali added that future elections should happen under certain conditions, including a different election law, canceling electronic voting, and “making important changes with the [election] commission.” Khazali’s remarks support earlier statements by members of the Fatah Coalition, which stressed that Fatah “does not aspire to form a weak government,” and that the party was “working sincerely” to convince the Sadrists to participate in the next government. Khazali’s position appears to be at odds with that of Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition (SoL), another key CF faction. On June 26, SoL member Kadhim al-Haydari said that SoL wants to take the lead on government formation since it represents the largest party within CF. Haydari argued that the stability of the next government would depend solely on its ability to provide services and jobs, not on whether the Sadrists were part of it or not. According to a report by al-Mada, citing unnamed “senior sources within CF,” Maliki is driven by a strong interest in becoming prime minister again and believes that the risks facing a government that excludes the Sadrists are exaggerated. 

On June 24, Salah ad-Din politician Ahmed al-Jubouri (aka Abu Mazin) announced his departure from the Siyada Coalition of Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi. Jubouri cited Muqtada al-Sadr’s decision to pull his followers from Parliament as the reason that pushed him to reconsider being part of Siyada and the latter’s alliance with Sadr. Abu Mazin added that he and his party, al-Jamaheer al-Wataniyah, have rejoined their previous parent bloc, the Azm Coalition. Two days later, Jubouri attended a meeting of Azm, after which the coalition issued a statement underscoring its readiness to negotiate with “all political powers” to advance government formation.

On June 27, Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan regional government (KRG), said the rocket attacks that targeted the Khor-Mor gas field on June 22-25 were carried out by “cowards…who lost the sympathy of public opinion in the rest of the country,” stressing that these attacks “will not shake our resolve.” Barzani said he spoke about the attacks with “our key partners in the Kurdistan region and Iraq, and with our friends abroad.” He added that during a call with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, he emphasized the need to create a joint force of Iraqi and Peshmerga troops to “fill any vacuum in disputed territories that outlaw factions exploit to destabilize the country.” Barzani added that he ordered more KRG troops to increase security measures around vital installations and oil and gas fields, and that he urged Kadhimi to take “public and practical measures to rein in those factions.” Meanwhile, President Barham Salih condemned the June 22-25 rocket attacks on the Khor-Mor gas field in Sulaymaniyah, calling them an “attack on the nation’s stability and economy.”

On June 25, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi visited Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments. A statement by Kadhimi’s office said the talks in Saudi Arabia focused on “efforts to establish peace and calm in the region.” The visit and talks were part of efforts to advance talks between Riyadh and Tehran meant to reduce regional tension and hostilities. Baghdad has mediated at least five rounds of talks between Iranian and Saudi officials, most recently in April 2022. On the following day, Kadhimi traveled to Tehran, where he met with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi. Speaking at a joint press conference with Raisi, Kadhimi said he and the Iranian leader agreed to support a truce in Yemen and reduce tensions in the region. A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said that Kadhimi told Tehran that Riyadh was “ready to resume talks on the diplomatic level in Baghdad.” Kadhimi and Raisi also discussed accelerating the construction of a railroad between Basra and Shalamcheh, and discussed cooperation on food security.

On June 27, the Court of Administrative Adjudication rejected an appeal filed by the former governor of Salah ad-Din province, Ammar Jabr al-Jubouri, regarding his sacking by Parliament. Iraq’s Parliament had voted on May 19 to sack Jubouri, who was accused of soliciting bribes from a contractor implementing projects in Salah ad-Din. Jubouri had contested the vote and insisted on remaining in office until the court had reviewed his appeal. 

On June 28, Muqtada al-Sadr issued a strongly-worded statement criticizing President Barham Salih for allegedly refusing to sign a law criminalizing ties with Israel that was recently passed by Parliament. In his statement, Sadr said it was “very very shameful that the so-called president, Barham, refuses to sign the law,” using the president’s first name only. Sadr went on to call Salih “unpatriotic, and a follower” of foreign interests. A member of Salih’s PUK party, Ghazi Kakai, criticized Sadr’s statement, arguing that it further complicates the political situation as the parties seek understandings leading to government formation. Kakai said Sadr’s attack on Salih was also unfair, because “there are other presidential candidates suspected of dealing directly with Israel, and evidence of that has been presented to Mr. Sadr,” a clear reference to the KDP and its candidate, Reber Ahmed. Meanwhile, a statement by Salih’s office said the president remains “supportive of the Palestianian cause…and the liberation of [Palestinian] land from Zionist occupation.” The statement said Salih had instructed to “deal with the bill as sent by Parliament, without reservations, to be published in the official gazette.” 

On June 28, the leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Coordination Framework (CF), and the Azm Coalition met in Baghdad to discuss their options regarding government formation following the withdrawal of Muqtada al-Sadr from Parliament. The parties reportedly agreed to increase their efforts to form a government quickly. To this end, the parties agreed that the PUK should negotiate with its rival, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to agree on a mutually acceptable candidate for the presidency, according to a senior member of the State of Law bloc, a major part of CF. A KDP lawmaker confirmed that his party too is seeking an agreement with the PUK on a joint candidate for the presidency as a first step to reach a deal with CF and other parties on government formation. The lawmaker, Sherwan Doberdani, said however that the KDP remains committed to supporting its candidate, Reber Ahmed, for the presidency. Doberdani mentioned that KDP leader Masoud Barzani believes that the position belongs to the KDP as the Kurdish party with the most seats (33) in the national Parliament.  

Sources cited above include: Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iraq’s Parliament, ISHM archives, Shafaq, INA, al-Sumaria, Rudaw, NINA, al-Mada, al-Hurra, AP, Nas News.


Rockets Target Key Kurdistan Gas Field; Iraq’s T-50 Jets Take To The Sky; KRG To Enforce Gun Controls

On June 16, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi army outpost in the village of Dabj, east of the Tuzkhormatu district. The attack killed one soldier from the army’s 52nd brigade and destroyed a thermal surveillance camera. 

On June 17, security sources in Ninewa province said that two rockets targeted the Turkish military’s base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. One of the projectiles struck within the base’s perimeter while the other hit near the adjacent village of al-Samaqyah, without reports of casualties. The attack came hours after the commander of the Iran-backed Kataib al-Imam Ali militia, Shibl al-Zaidi, posted a message on social media declaring that “Turkey and its interests are hostile targets.” Meanwhile, an unknown group called “Ahrar al-Iraq” claimed responsibility for four rocket and two drone attacks against the Zelikan base. The group, in a statement posted by Iran’s Fars News Agency, said the attacks were a response to the “terrorism activities of the Turkish occupation and its threat to Iraq’s and regional security.” A second attack involving two more rockets targeted the base later on June 26. The rockets missed the base and instead struck close to a nearby headquarters of a Peshmerga battalion affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), according to a local PUK official. Security forces later found the two launchers used in the attack in the Kolan Tappa area, between Mosul and Bashiqa.  

On June 17, the counter-terrorism service of the Kurdistan region of Iraq said that a Turkish armed drone struck a vehicle transporting armed members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kalar district of Sulaymaniyah province, more than 160 miles from the Turkish border. The airstrike killed four of the vehicle’s occupants and injured a fifth passenger. 

On June 18, security sources in Diyala province said that an improvised explosive device (IED) struck an Iraqi army patrol that was conducting search operations in the Hawi al-Udheim region. The explosion resulted in injuries among two soldiers.

On June 19, the intelligence arm of Iraq’s Interior Ministry said that airstrikes based on targeting data it provided to the Joint Operations Command led to the killing of “Abu Mansoor,” the so-called Wali of Anbar, and three of his associates. The militants, who were responsible for attacks along the international highway in the Rutba region, were killed in an airstrike that hit their vehicle while moving through the western Anbar desert, according to the statement. 

On June 19, security sources in Baghdad said that two IEDs exploded at the wall of a security compound belonging to Iraq’s National Intelligence Service on al-Masbah street in central Baghdad. The explosions caused material damage without resulting in any casualties. 

On June 20, security sources in Diyala province said that unidentified gunmen opened fire on an individual working for the Iraqi military intelligence near the Abu Saida subdistrict, northeast of Baquba, killing him instantly. On the following day, ISIS militants attacked a quarry in the village of Najm al-Abdallah, northeast of Baquba, setting four excavators and a power generator on fire. There were no reports of casualties. 

On June 21, two rockets targeted Peshmerga forces in the Shaikhan district in the northeastern part of Ninewa province, according to a statement by the counter-terrorism service of the Kurdistan region. The statement accused “outlaw factions” of firing the rockets, which hit an empty space, from an area south of Bashiqa, adding that the attack did not result in casualties. 

On June 22, Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced that the air force’s T-50 jets made their first flight that day from the Shaheed Mohammed Ala’ air base. The statement did not specify the number of the airframes that participated in the maiden flight. Iraq had signed a deal to purchase 24 of the Korean-made supersonic advanced training and light attack aircraft back in 2013, and the jets began arriving in Iraq in 2017. Since then, however, the aircraft had been grounded due to financial problems that delayed the signing of contracts for essential maintenance, logistics, and training services until November of last year. In January, the Defense Ministry said the contract with Korea’s KAI to provide logistical support for Iraq’s fleet of T-50 advanced training/light attack aircraft had been activated. 

On June 22, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that ISIS militants attacked troops from the Iraqi army’s 91st brigade while the latter were setting up an ambush in the Tlul al-Baj area between Salah ad-Din and Ninewa. The ensuing clashes injured three Iraqi soldiers. 

Between June 22 – 25, a total of five Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in Sulaymaniyah province on three separate occasions. The first attack struck on June 22 near the field’s installations, which are operated by the UAE-based Dana Gas. The second attack occurred on June 24, and reportedly involved a single rocket. A third attack occured the next day on June 25, according to the counter-terrorism service of the Kurdistan region. According to a statement issued by Dana Gas, the attacks have not disrupted operations or production at the field, which is a vital source of natural gas for power plants in the Kurdistan region. The company, however, mentioned that work on a project to expand production at the field has been temporarily suspended. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources in the Kurdistan region said the attacks did not result in any casualties of material damage. On June 30, a joint investigation by the Peshmerga and Iraqi army concluded that the rockets originated from an area inside the Kurdistan region and were fired in an east-west trajectory from behind the lines of the Peshmerga’s 16th brigade. 

On June 23, security sources in Babylon province said that an IED explosion struck a military vehicle belonging to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in the Jurf al-Sakhr subdistrict. The explosion wounded four PMF fighters. To the northwest, in Anbar province, another IED struck a group of Iraqi army engineers, injuring two soldiers, one of them seriously. 

On June 23, a spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) said that the ministries of Defense and Peshmerga agreed during a meeting held that day to provide new opportunities for the residents of the Kurdistan region to enroll in the Defense Ministry’s military academy and staff college. The two sides also reached an agreement under which the Defense Ministry will provide training to Peshmerga forces. The spokesman did not provide details about the scope, timeframe, or nature of the intended training.

On June 25, Ninewa police said that a legacy IED exploded in the al-Sheikh region of the Gwer subdistrict, southeast of Mosul. The explosion injured a civilian woman who was passing by. 

On June 25, security sources in Diyala province said that ISIS militants attacked a police checkpoint in the village of al-Ashmiyat, near the Hibhib subdistrict, northeast of Baquba. One policeman was injured with small arms fire. 

On June 25, security sources in Basra province said that an IED explosion targeted a convoy transporting supplies for the International Coalition forces in the southern parts of the province. There were no reports of casualties. 

On June 26, security sources in Babylon province said that ISIS sniper fire injured two PMF fighters in the Jurf al-Sakhr subdistrict. 

On June 26, Ninewa police said that unidentified gunmen opened fire from small arms on a young Yazidi man outside his home in the Qahtaniyah area of the Sinjar district, killing him instantly. 

On June 28, security sources in Baghdad said that an IED attack targeted the offices of a local construction company in the Karrada area of central Baghdad. The explosion caused material damage but there were no reports of casualties. 

On June 29, security sources in Sulaymaniyah said that an attack with two grenades targeted the residence of a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Sulaymaniyah. Early reports said the attack injured a member of the targeted individual’s family. 

On June 30, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani ordered his interior ministry to shut down “all places selling weapons” and to confiscate “any unlicensed weapons.” The orders came after a series of gun murders struck the Kurdistan region. Most recently, on June 28, a college student shot and killed two college professors in the University of Salah ad-Din in Erbil. 

Sources cited above include: Shafaq News, NINA, al-Sumaria, Fars News, Rudaw, INA, al-Mada, ISHM archives, PUKMedia. 


Cholera Outbreak Confirmed; New Project Aims To Build Climate Change Resilience; Iraq In New Wave Of COVID-19 Spread

On June 19, Iraq’s Health Ministry said that its Central Public Health Laboratory had confirmed 13 cases of the cholera in the provinces of Sulaymaniyah, Muthanna, and Kirkuk. The results confirmed the suspected outbreak, first reported in Sulaymaniyah, where large numbers of people had relevant symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting. According to the Sulaymaniyah health director, the number of patients presenting with these symptoms had exceeded available hospital bed capacity as of June 16. In a bid to contain the water-borne illness, the Ministry issued reminders to wash fruit and vegetables, increase sanitation measures in kitchens and bathrooms, boil water when quality is uncertain, and avoid raw foods. In response to the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on June 20 that it sent “an urgent consignment of medicines and medical supplies” to Sulaymaniyah to help local health authorities deal with the sudden cholera outbreak. The shipment included “4 pallets of medicines and medical supplies, including infusion sets, antibiotics, and intravenous fluid.” The supplies are designed to meet the needs of 5,000 patients for up to 90 days.

On June 29, the UNDP said it launched a new project with funding from the UK and Canada to help Iraq speed up its response to climate change. The Catalytic Climate Action in Iraq is a partnership with the Ministry of Environment project is designed to build Iraq’s capacity to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change by “managing natural resources, developing renewable resources, and increasing resilience to climate-induced hazards.” Activities under the $6.8 million project are aimed at providing “technical assistance, knowledge building and operational support…to Iraq to help implement its Nationally Determined Contributions, with a strong focus on renewable energy, transboundary water resources management, and preparedness for drought and other disasters.” According to the project’s factsheet, activities will focus on six of Iraq’s provinces: Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Ninewa, Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk, and Diyala. Iraq is experiencing worsening water shortages, and the country ranks fifth among countries most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Just this week, news reports said that Chibayish, one of Iraq’s celebrated southern marshes, has lost much of its water, threatening the livelihoods of an estimated 150,000 people who depend on it for fishing, hunting, and raising their water buffaloes. 

On June 30, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,348,662, an increase of 17,514 in cases from the 2,331,148 reported on June 16. Of these cases, 14,662 are currently under treatment, including 16 treated in ICUs. These numbers represent an increase of 12,516 in hospitalizations (> 680%) and five in ICU admissions since June 16. Ministry data indicated that there were 16 new COVID-19 deaths since June 16, bringing the total to 25,241. The average number of new cases during the last 14-day period increased sharply to 1,251 per day compared with 262 per day during the 7-day period ending June 16. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 1,234 cases, Erbil with 220, Duhok with 219, and Basra with 141 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 18,773,762 samples for COVID-19. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,860,930 including 13,125 who received their shots on June 30. As of June 20, the Ministry warned that Iraq was experiencing a spike in infections and hospitalizations, indicative of a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry urged Iraqis to get vaccinated and go back to using preventative measures on the individual and community levels.

Sources cited above include: Iraq’s Health Ministry, ISHM archives, WHO, UNDP, Rudaw, al-Sumaria.


Iraq Cracks Down On Smuggling Amid Fuel Shortages; Oil Services Companies Respond To Baghdad’s “Blacklist” Threat

On June 19, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) said the KRG was working to establish two oil companies: an oil exploration company called KROC, and an oil marketing organization called KOMO. Commenting on the news, the Oil Minister of Iraq, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, said his ministry had yet to receive an official communication from the KRG regarding these companies, adding that he would evaluate such a proposal when it arrives through the proper channels. The Minister affirmed that the federal Oil Ministry will continue to “move forward to implement the Federal Supreme Court’s decision regarding the unconstitutional oil and gas law in the region.”

On June 20, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that the Basra Gas Company (BGC) exported its inaugural cargo of “semi-refrigerated liquid [petroleum] gas” from the port of Umm Qasr.  According to a Ministry statement, BGC’s top executive Malcolm Mayes said this achievement gives BGC flexibility   and the potential to “increase our exports by tankers three fold, doubles the size of each cargo, and gives access to markets that deal exclusively with semi-refrigerated gas.”

On June 26, a spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) said that Prime Minister Kadhimi issued orders to intensify security measures to crack down on fuel smuggling operations, as the country deals with widespread fuel shortages. As of June 29, Iraq’s National Security Service said that raids across several provinces resulted in 42 arrests of suspected smugglers, the recovery of 700,000 liters of smuggled fuels in 474 tankers, and penalties against eight complicit gas stations. Iraq’s Oil Ministry has attributed the fuel shortage to a price differential between the Kurdistan region and the adjacent provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Ninewa, which created incentives for smugglers to take gasoline from these provinces to sell in Kurdistan. 

On June 27, American oil services company Schlumberger told Iraq’s Oil Ministry that it will comply with the February 15 ruling by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court and subsequent letters sent by Iraq’s National Oil Company (INOC) concerning oil and gas operations in the Kurdistan region. A copy of Schlumberger’s letter to Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar shows the company agreed to refrain from competing for any future contracts in the oil and gas sector in Kurdistan. The letter also says Schlumberger will “make all the necessary efforts to resolve issues concerning current contracts in Kurdistan, should any exist.” Another American oil services company, Baker Hughes, reportedly made a similar commitment to the Ministry of Oil in recent days. According to Iraq Oil Report, Halliburton followed suit on June 28 with a similar letter pledging to refrain from signing new deals or competing for new tenders in the Kurdistan region without approval from federal authorities.

On June 28, Iraq’s Central Bank said it had decided to raise the funds allocated to supporting development initiatives to reach IQD18 trillion. In a statement, the bank said the increase was prompted by “the success of development initiatives…funding various private sector projects and mortgages. The statement did not mention the amount of funding that was previously available to support development initiatives.

Sources cited above include: al-Hurra, Shafaq, Iraq’s Oil Ministry, Iraq Oil Report, al-Mada, al-Sumaria, Rudaw, ISHM archives, Social Media. 


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from June 16, 2022 - June 29, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
6/18/22 Hawi al-Udheim, Diyala province02
6/19/22 Al-Masbah, central Baghdad00
6/23/22 Jurf al-Sakhr, Babylon province04
6/23/22 Unspecified location, Anbar province02
6/25/22 Gwer, Ninewa province 01
6/25/22 Unspecified location, Basra province 00
6/28/22 Karrada, central Baghdad00

 

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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