ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: JULY 21 – 28, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadrists Responds To Rivals’ PM Pick By Storming The Parliament Building; Iraq Asks Security Council To Press For Turkish Withdrawal – On July 25, the Coordination Framework (CF) officially nominated Mohammed Shya al-Sudani as its PM candidate. Sudani, a former minister in Nouri al-Maliki’s second cabinet (2010-2014) and former PM hopeful in 2019, is widely viewed as a close associate of Maliki and his Dawa Party. Maliki’s coalition said the “unanimous” support for Sudani’s nomination was proof of CF’s cohesion. On July 27, large numbers of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers marched on the Green Zone in Baghdad to express their opposition to Sudani’s nomination and quickly managed to storm the Parliament’s building, without signs of violence between them and security forces. An aide to Sadr described the display of force as a “pull on the ear” that involved a small portion of Sadr’s base, warning rivals that the next rally could become “a revolution for reform” utilizing the full weight of the Sadr’s popular base. On July 27, Iraq’s Foreign Minister addressed the UN Security Council during an urgent meeting requested by Baghdad to discuss the July 20 Turkish artillery attack that killed nine Iraqi civilians. The official said evidence confirmed Turkey’s involvement in the attack, the latest among 22,742 Turkish violations since 2003, and urged the Council to issue a binding resolution that obligates Turkey to withdraw its “occupation forces from all Iraqi territory.” Earlier this week, the Iraqi army’s chief of staff told lawmakers that responding to Turkish incursions necessitates the deployment of the Iraqi army and Peshmerga troops to replace the border guards and “compel Turkish forces to leave” their 100 outposts and five larger bases. more…
  • Kurdistan Gas Field Attacked; Rockets Target Turkish Interests; Explosions Target The Power Grid – On July 25, an attack with three rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in the Chemchemal district, causing a fire. The field’s operator, Dana Gas, said the attack did not cause casualties or disrupt production. On July 28, security forces said they disrupted a further attack on Khor-Mor. Between July 22 – 28, two Turkish military bases in Ninewa and Duhok provinces were attacked with rockets, drones, and other projectiles on four different occasions. On July 27, Turkey’s consulate in Mosul was also attacked with mortar fire. There were no reports of casualties. On July 26, four pylons on a high-voltage transmission line near Hawija, west of Kirkuk collapsed after the line was attacked with explosive devices. The attack cut power supplies to the North Oil and North Gas companies. In other developments, between July 21 – 26, multiple militant attacks in Diyala, Baghdad, and Salah ad-Din killed at least 11 Iraqis and wounded 14. On July 23 – 24, the explosions of three IEDs in Ninewa, Dhi-Qar, and Kirkuk injured three Iraqis. more…
  • 300 Families From Al-Hol Return Home; Iraq Reports More Hemorrhagic Fever, Cholera Cases – On July 26, Iraq’s Migration Ministry said that 300 households returned from the Jedaa IDP camp to their home districts after undergoing security checks. The returnees are part of 603 households that had arrived at Jedaa from the al-Hol camp in Syria. On July 28, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed hemorrhagic fever cases in the country reached 279, up from 230 in the previous update on July 3, with 49 fatalities. Meanwhile, the ministry said the number of confirmed cholera infections nationwide increased to 548, four of which were fatal. In other developments, on July 28, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,440,414, an increase of 18,698 from the 2,421,716 reported on July 21. Hospitalization decreased by 2,402 to 33,614, and the daily average for new cases decreased to 2,671/day during the last seven days from 3,573/day during the previous reporting period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,983,419 including 11,904 who received their shots on July 28. more…
  • Iraq Launches New Major Power Plant, Eyes More In Disputed Territories; Ministry Outlines White Paper “Accomplishments” – On July 27, PM Kadhimi laid the cornerstone for a project to build a new 1,640 megawatt combined cycle power plant in Anbar province. Construction on the facility is expected to take three years. Earlier, Kadhimi’s Electricity Minister announced during a visit to the Kurdistan region that Iraq plans to build two new power plants in the disputed territories, without providing details about their capacities or exact locations. On July 27, Iraq’s Finance Ministry issued a statement listing “25 accomplishments” in implementing the government’s white paper for economic reforms, which Baghdad released in 2020. The list mentions various levels of progress in economic and management initiatives concerning budget planning, national debt strategy, tax automation, deposit insurance, private banking automation, housing and renewable energy funds, social security reforms, and school building programs, among others. In other developments, on July 24, the Iraqi Drilling Company (IDC) said it completed 26 drilling and 66 workover operations on oil wells in various locations so far this year, including wells in the Majnoon and Zubair fields. 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.


Sadrists Responds To Rivals’ PM Pick By Storming The Parliament Building; Iraq Asks Security Council To Press For Turkish Withdrawal

On July 23, Iraq’s Parliament began its new legislative term with a session that focused on discussing Iraq’s response to the July 20 Turkish artillery strike that killed nine civilians near Zakho. The session hosted Iraq’s Foreign Affairs and Defense ministers, as well as the Iraqi army’s chief of staff. The top commander, lieutenant general Abdul-Amir Yarallah, told the legislature that responding to the increased presence of Turkish forces deeper inside Iraq necessitates the deployment of federal security forces. Yarallah noted that Turkish forces have expanded their presence inside the Kurdistan region to as many as 100 outposts and five major bases that include an estimated 4,000 personnel. The commander underscored that 370 kilometers of territory separating his forces from Turkish forces were in the Kurdistan region and outside the jurisdictions of the Ministry of Defense. The general said that Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces need to take over the border regions from the border guards to “compel the Turkish forces to leave their outposts and impose our control.” For his part, Foreign Affairs Minister Fuad Hussein told lawmakers that his ministry had recorded “more than 22,700” violations of Iraqi territory and airspace by Turkish forces since 2003. Hussein stressed that Turkish forces must leave Iraq, adding that Iraq should reassure Turkey that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) would leave Iraq too. On the same day, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that Iraq sent a complaint about the Turkish attack to the UN Security Council and asked the Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. 

On July 23, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met in Baghdad with the visiting prime minister of the Kurdistan regional government (KRG), Masrour Barzani. According to Kadhimi’s office, the two premiers discussed last week’s Turkish attack near Zakho and emphasized the “need for a unified vision for dealing with this aggression.” Kadhimi and Barzani called for “deeper discussions” between the federal oil ministry and the KRG natural resources ministry to resolve disputes concerning the management of oil and gas. The two prime ministers also discussed economic cooperation, food security, and coordination between their security forces against “ISIS and other terrorist organizations.” 

On July 25, the Coordination Framework (CF) announced that it had decided to officially nominate Mohammed Shya al-Sudani as its candidate for prime minister. Sudani, who competed in the 2021 election with his own group, Tayyar al-Furatain, had served as human rights minister in Nouri al-Maliki’s second cabinet (2010-2014) and as a lawmaker in the previous parliamentary cycle. He is widely viewed as a close associate of the former premier and his Dawa Party. In late 2019, Sudani was also briefly considered as the front-runner for replacing resigned Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Maliki’s State of Law coalition said the “unanimous” support for Sudani’s nomination was proof of CF’s cohesion. Maliki’s faction called on the two leading Kurdish parties to “quickly agree” on their candidate for the presidency to allow government formation to move forward. In a statement, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which has aligned itself with CF, said it “warmly welcomes” Sudani’s nomination. 

On July 25, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement in which its members “condemned in the strongest terms” the bombardment that killed nine civilians at a tourist resort near Zakho. The Council’s statement avoided naming the entity responsible for the deadly attack, which Iraqi officials believe was the work of Turkish artillery. Instead, the statement urged other UN members to “cooperate actively” with authorities in Iraq and other stakeholders to support investigations into the attack. The statement added that the members of the Security Council “reiterated their support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, democratic process and prosperity of Iraq.”  

On July 26, the governor of Ninewa and French ambassador to Iraq announced at a joint press conference in Mosul that Paris has appointed a consul general who will arrive to assume his responsibilities at the recently established consulate “soon.” According to the French envoy, the new consul will be the first to represent France in Mosul in several decades. 

On July 27, Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Fuad Hussein, addressed the UN Security Council during an urgent meeting requested by Iraq to discuss the July 20 Turkish artillery attack that killed nine Iraqi civilians. Hussein said that shrapnel found at the attack site confirmed the use of heavy 155mm artillery shells, which are commonly used by the Turkish army in northern Iraq. The Iraqi minister told the Council that his ministry had sent Turkey 296 official memoranda objecting to 22,742 Turkish violations of Iraqi territory and airspace by Turkish forces since 2003, and urged the Council to issue a binding resolution that obligates Turkey to withdraw its “occupation forces from all Iraqi territory.” Hussein said Turkey was exporting its internal problems to Iraq and is therefore the party to blame for this situation, citing a 2013 initiative by Ankara that called for the removal of the PKK from Turkish to Iraqi territory “with disregard for Iraq’s sovereignty.” Hussein urged the Council to condemn Turkish aggression, force Turkey to pay compensation, and to form an independent international team to investigate the circumstances of the attack. 

On July 27, large numbers of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers marched on the Green Zone in Baghdad to express their opposition to the nomination of Mohammed Shya al-Sudani to be the next prime minister. The crowds quickly managed to storm the Iraqi Pariament’s building, without signs or reports of violence between them and security forces. Footage from the halls of Parliament showed protesters chanting the anti-Iran slogan, Iran barra barra (Iran out out). Sadr’s followers began to withdraw from the Parliament complex in the evening, shortly after Sadr posted a message on Twitter calling on them to leave and telling them that their message had been “delivered, and terrified the corrupt ones.” Sadr’s followers organized simultaneous rallies in several southern cities, including Samawa, Kut, and Amara. An aide to Sadr known as Salih Mohammed al-Iraqi, described Wednesday’s display as a “pull on the ear” that involved a small portion of Sadr’s base, warning rivals that the next rally could become “a revolution for reform” utilizing the full weight of the Sadr’s popular base.  

Sources cited in this section include: Iraqi prime minister’s office, INA, al-Mirbad, al-Sumaria, al-Hurra, ISHM archives, Iraqi Parliament, Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Nas, Rudaw, PUKMedia, al-Jazeera, social media, UNSC. 


Kurdistan Gas Field Attacked; Rockets Target Turkish Interests; Explosions Target The Power Grid

On July 21, security sources in Diyala province said that a group of suspected ISIS militants killed four people in an attack in the al-Mansouriyah subdistrict, northeast of Baquba. The three of the victims were siblings and soldiers in the Iraqi army. The fourth victim was reportedly a child. 

On July 22, security sources in Diwaniyah province said that a liquor store in the Sayyid Muheil region was attacked with a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). There were no reports of casualties. 

On July 22, security sources in Baghdad said that suspected ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi army position in the village of al-Thaer, in the Tarmiyah district, using sniper fire. The attack wounded one soldier. On the following day, another small arms attack on army troops in the nearby village of al-Malih wounded two more soldiers. On July 23, a third attack by unidentified gunmen killed two civilians from the same family in the Albu Kadhim village, also in Tarmiyah. 

On July 23, Ninewa police said that an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on the road leading into the Hamma al-Alil subdistrict, south of Mosul, and injured one civilian. 

On July 22, the counter-terrorism service of the Kurdistan region said that three Katyusha-type rockets targeted a base occupied by the Turkish military at Zelikan, north of Mosul. One of the rockets struck the base, while the other two impacted near an adjacent village, without causing casualties. On July 24, the same base was attacked again with a similar rocket. On the same day, two armed drones reportedly targeted another Turkish base at Bamerni, in Duhok province. Turkish troops shot down the drones before reaching their target. According to local sources, the same base was attacked on July 28 with an explosive projectile of unspecified type, causing fire in nearby farms.  

On July 24, security sources in Kirkuk province said that a legacy IED exploded during a search operation by Iraqi security forces in the Daquq district. The explosion reportedly injured two federal police personnel.  

On July 24, local sources in Dhi-Qar province said that an IED placed under a vehicle belonging to a local businessman exploded in the provincial capital of Nasiriyah. The sources said the explosion destroyed the vehicle without causing casualties. 

On July 24, an Iraqi journalist said that unidentified gunmen attacked his family’s residence in the Amin neighborhood of Baghdad with grenades and small arms fire. The journalist, Qusay Shafiq al-Dalwi, said the attack injured his mother and son, and caused extensive damage to the house. Dalwi had previously talked about corruption in Iraqi politics in his televised appearances.  

On July 25, ISIS militants killed two Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) fighters from the Saray al-Salam militia in an attack in the city of Samarra in Salah ad-Din province. To the southeast, ISIS militants reportedly attacked the village of Albu Ali Nasir in the al-Salam subdistrict, northeast of Baquba, with small arms fire. The attack killed one civilian and injured six others. 

On July 25, the Security Media Cell reported that Iraqi security forces intercepted a group of ISIS militants while attempting to move around the Makhoul mountains in Salah ad-Din province, killing one of the militants. 

On July 25, local sources in the Chemchemal district of Sulaymaniyah province said that an attack with three rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in the area. Security sources and footage from the site indicated that the rocket strikes ignited a fire in the facility. The field, which is operated by the UAE-based Dana Gas, was the target of multiple rocket attacks in late June. According to a statement issued by Dana Gas, two of the rockets struck inside the facility. The company said the attack did not cause casualties or disrupt production at the field, which is a vital source of natural gas for power plants in the Kurdistan region. On July 28, security forces in the area discovered a vehicle carrying a launcher loaded with four rockets that were probably intended for another attack on Khor-Mor.

On July 26, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said that four pylons on a high-voltage transmission line near the Hawija district of Kirkuk collapsed completely after the line was attacked with explosive devices overnight. The attack cut power supplies to the North Oil and North Gas companies, as well as residential consumers in the area. 

On July 26, security sources in Diyala province said that unidentified gunmen attacked a civilian vehicle on a road in the Bargha region, southwest of Baquba. The attack wounded three civilians. On the following day, ISIS militants attacked a joint police and PMF position in the Sherween region, northeast of Baquba. The attack wounded a member of the security forces and a civilian passerby, and destroyed a thermal surveillance camera.  

On July 27, security sources said that four mortar shells struck near the Turkish consulate in the city of Mosul. The attack, which occurred in a residential area, caused damage to nearby homes and vehicles, but there were no reports of casualties. Local sources said there were indications that the attack originated from an area under the control of the PMF’s 30th brigade.

On July 28, the Turkish intelligence service said that its agents assassinated Khadija Hazar, a member of the executive council of the PKK member in an operation in Sulaymaniyah province.

Sources cited in this section include: al-Sumaria, NINA, Shafaq, INA, al-Hurra, ISHM archives, Rudaw, Peregraf, Kurdistan24. 


300 Families From Al-Hol Return Home; Iraq Reports More Hemorrhagic Fever, Cholera Cases

On July 26, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and the Displaced said that 300 households returned from the Jedaa camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their home districts after undergoing security checks. Deputy Minister Karim al-Nouri said the returnees are part of 603 households that had arrived at Jedaa, in Ninewa province, from the al-Hol camp in Syria. According to Nouri, 29,000 Iraqis remain at al-Hol out of a total population of nearly 70,000. 

On July 28, a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Health said the number of confirmed hemorrhagic fever cases recorded in the country since the beginning of the recent outbreak had reached 279 (up from 230 in the previous update). According to the official, 49 of those infected died as a result of the disease (up from 38 as of July 3). The spokesman added that Dhi-Qar province remains the most affected by the disease, accounting for 113 infections and 26 fatalities. Meanwhile, the ministry said the number of confirmed cholera infections nationwide increased to 548, four of which were fatal. 

On July 28, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,440,414, an increase of 18,698 in cases from the 2,421,716 reported on July 21. Of these cases, 33,614 are currently under treatment, including 25 treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 2,402 in hospitalizations, and one in ICU admissions since July 21. Ministry data indicated that there were 28 new COVID-19 deaths since July 21, bringing the total to 25,308. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day period decreased to 2,671 per day, from 3,573 per day during the 7-day period ending July 21. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 968 cases, Basra with 618, and Duhok with 319 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 19,050,920 samples for COVID-19. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,983,419 including 11,904 who received their shots on July 28. 

Sources cited in this section include: Kurdistan24, Iraq’s Health Ministry, ISHM archives, Shafaq. 


Iraq Launches New Major Power Plant, Eyes More In Disputed Territories; Ministry Outlines White Paper “Accomplishments”

On July 24, the director of Iraq’s state-owned drilling company (IDC) said the company had completed drilling and workover operations on 92 oil wells so far this year. The work included drilling 26 new wells and workovers of 66 wells at oil fields in Basra, Maysan, Dhi-Qar, and Kirkuk. The latest of these wells are MJ-136 in the Majnoon oil field (one of 43 that IDC is working on with Halliburton) and ZB-536 in the Zubair oil field, under a contract with the operator, ENI. Future IDC drilling programs include drilling 15 wells in Rumaila, 27 wells in East Baghdad, and workovers for 150 wells in Maysan.

On July 26, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity, Adil Karim, announced that Iraq plans to build two new power plants in the disputed territories, without providing details about the capacities or exact locations of the intended facilities. Speaking at a joint press conference with his counterpart in the Kurdistan regional government (KRG), the minister added that the two sides discussed grid connections between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, as well as the planned grid connections between Iraq and Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC). Karim added that federal authorities were also ready to buy natural gas from the KRG if the latter had a surplus, noting that the KRG produces barely enough gas to meet local demand.

On July 27, Prime Minister Kadhimi laid the cornerstone for a project to build a new combined cycle power plant in the al-Furat subdistrict of Anbar province. The facility is designed to include four gas turbines in the simple cycle, each with a capacity to generate 273 megawatts, and two steam units, with a capacity to add 275 megawatts each through the combined cycle, giving the Combined Cycle Anbar Power Plant a total capacity of 1,640 megawatts. Construction on the facility is expected to take three years. 

On July 27, Iraq’s Finance Ministry issued a statement listing “25 accomplishments” in implementing the government’s white paper for economic reforms, which the Baghdad government had released in October of 2020. The long list mentions various levels of progress in economic and management initiatives concerning budget planning, domestic bonds, national debt strategy, tax automation, deposit insurance, private banking automation, housing funds, surveying state-owned enterprises, renewable energy funds, introducing 4G to Iraq, health insurance law, social security reforms, school building programs, the food distribution system, and many others. The full text of the statement can be found here.        

Sources cited in this section include: Nas, INA, Iraqi prime minister’s office, Rudaw, ISHM archives. 


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from July 21, 2022 - July 28, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
7/23/22 Hammam al-Alil, Ninewa province01
7/24/22 Daquq, Kirkuk province02
7/24/22 Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
7/24/22 Hawijah, Kirkuk 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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