ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: JULY 28 – AUGUST 4, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr Demands Early Elections, Rejects Calls For Dialogue As Followers Occupy Parliament; Counter-Protests By Rivals Raise Fear Of Violence – On August 3, Muqtada al-Sadr called for the dissolution of Parliament and early elections, but said he hasn’t decided whether he would participate in those. Sadr also asked his followers who stormed the Parliament building on July 30 for the second time in a week to remain there and continue their sit-in. Sadr said dialogue with his rivals was useless, and in the past “brought only corruption and destruction.” Hadi al-Amiri said that he supports the proposal for early elections but said it requires “comprehensive national dialogue to set the dates, mechanisms and requirements.” Earlier, Sadr described the occupation of Parliament as a “great opportunity to radically change the political system.” The Coordination Framework said Sadr’s actions constitute “a call for a coup.” The Framework organized counter-protests “in defense of legitimacy” and to demand a speedy government formation. Security forces were placed on high alert in anticipation of potential violence. The UN Secretary-General, U.S. embassy, and the Arab League issued calls for dialogue and urged Iraqi political leaders to remain calm and avoid escalation. Meanwhile, PM Kadhimi warned that tension could lead to “grave consequences” and called on all parties to come to the negotiating table to find a political solution. In other developments, on August 2, a group of 11 opposition political parties called for UN intervention in Iraq’s political crisis, arguing that Parliament has failed to fulfill its constitutional duty and that political deadlock has become a threat to communal peace. more…
  • Explosions Kill Eight Iraqis, Including Four Children; Drone Strike Targets Vehicle In Sulaymaniyah – Between July 29 – August 3, the explosions of seven IEDs and two remnants of war in Diyala, Ninewa, Salah ad-Din, and Dhi-Qar, killed at least eight Iraqis, including four children, and wounded ten. On August 1, an armed drone attacked a vehicle in the Ranya district of Sulaymaniyah province. The airstrike reportedly injured two fighters from the PKK. In other development, between July 28 – August 1, Iraqi airstrikes and ground troops killed at least 13 ISIS militants during operations in Ninewa, Diyala, and Salah ad-Din provinces. Between July 28 – August 3, militant attacks using mortars and small arms fire in Basra, Diyala, and Kirkuk killed two members of the security forces and injured two. more…
  • Power Generation Reaches New Record; Oil Exports And Revenue Dropped In July – On July 30, Iraq’s Electricity Ministry said it achieved a new record generation level at 22,680 megawatts. A ministry spokesman said generation could reach 25,000 megawatts as additional units come online, including the 250 megawatt Akkaz power plant and a 650 megawatt unit at the Salah ad-Din thermal power plant. On August 1, the Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports in July averaged 3.3 million bpd, about 67,000 bpd lower than June, and generated $10.6 billion in revenue, nearly $900 million lower than the record $11.5 billion achieved in the previous month. In other developments, on July 30, the agriculture ministers of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon discussed plans to form a joint trading company for the purpose of marketing agricultural products among the four nations. On August 4, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,449,440, an increase of 9,026 from the 2,440,414 reported on July 28. Hospitalization decreased by 11,489 to 22,125, and the daily average for new cases decreased to 1,289/day during the last seven days from 2,671/day during the previous reporting period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 11,003,776 including 7,443 who received their shots on August 4. 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.


Sadr Demands Early Elections, Rejects Calls For Dialogue As Followers Occupy Parliament; Counter-Protests By Rivals Raise Fear Of Violence

On July 29, supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr attacked and ransacked several offices belonging to the Hikma party and al-Forat TV of Ammar al-Hakim in Baghdad and Basra. Footage showed crowd’s of Sadr’s followers vandalizing offices affiliated with Hakim while security forces looked on without interfering. The escalation in political violence came after Hakim made a public speech before a large crowd in central Baghdad, in which he affirmed his support, and that of the Coordination Framework, for Mohammed Shya al-Sudani, who was declared the Framework’s candidate for prime minister on July 25. 

On July 30, large crowds of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers stormed the building of Iraq’s Parliament for the second time in a week. The crowds began assembling the night before at Tahrir square in central Baghdad amid expectations of a repeat of the previous Wednesday’s show of force. On Saturday, the crowds managed to remove security concrete barriers and reach their target in the Green Zone after a brief encounter with security forces, who attempted to block the advance using water cannons. Iraq’s Health Ministry said that 100 civilians and 25 security personnel were injured in the skirmish. Once inside Parliament, Sadr’s followers declared an open-ended sit-in until their demands were met, while trucks brought large amounts of food, water, cooking equipment and other supplies to sustain the crowds. The demands included holding early parliamentary elections, the introduction of unspecified constitutional amendments, and the overthrow of Sadr’s rivals. Many of Sadr’s followers arrived from other provinces to join the sit-in inside the Parliament. With Parliament occupied, Sadr’s aide, Mohammed Salih al-Iraq, told the crowds to “bring your voice to the judiciary,” then quickly issued instructions to stand down after the crowds marched on the nearby headquarters of the judiciary, raising fear of an attack on top judicial officials. On July 31, Sadr described the occupation of Parliament by his followers as a “peaceful spontaneous revolution…a great opportunity to radically change the political system, the constitution, and the elections.” Sadr said he hoped that the “tragedy of missing the first golden opportunity in 2016 would not be repeated,” referring to similar events instigated by Sadr during the administration of Haider al-Abadi. On August 1, the Sadrists organized simultaneous rallies in several southern provinces in solidarity with the sit-in in Baghdad. But by August 2, the Sadrist occupation of Parliament appeared to wind down, at least temporarily. On Wednesday, Salih Mohammed al-Iraqi, the so-called Sadr’s “vizier/minister” issued instructions to vacate Parliament “within 72 hours” and move the sit-in to spaces outside but near the legislature’s building. The message said the sit-in had accomplished its purpose by turning Parliament into the “people’s” house, but stressed that it was critical to sustain the sit-in in the new locations “until your demands, of which you will be informed soon, are answered.” Smaller numbers of Sadr’s followers remain inside the Parliament building as of reporting and more are expected to join a mass prayer at the Green Zone’s parade grounds on Friday.

On July 31, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi announced that Parliament sessions would be suspended until further notice in response to the occupation of its building by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr. Halbousi urged Prime Minister Kadhimi to “take the necessary measures to protect institutions and protesters, whom I ask to remain peaceful.” The Speaker also invited political leaders to hold “an urgent national meeting” to find an exit from the political crisis. 

On July 31, the Coordination Framework warned that the call by Muqtada al-Sadr for overhauling the political system and the occupation of Parliament by his followers constitute “a call for a coup against the state, its institutions…and constitutional legitimacy.” The Framework added that it will defend the political process “in every way we can,” stressing that any suggestions for amending the constitution must go through the established constitutional frameworks. The Framework also said it established a committee to organize their own protests “for the defense of legitimacy.” 

On July 31, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the quarreling political parties in Iraq to “take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, avoid any further violence, and ensure the protection of peaceful protesters and State institutions.” The Secretary General, concerned by the opposing protests staged by the Coordination Framework and Muqtada al-Sadr, asked Iraqi politicians to “rise above their differences” and to form “an effective national government” through “peaceful and inclusive dialogue.” The U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the Arab League issued similar calls for dialogue and urged Iraqi political leaders to remain calm and avoid escalation. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said that the recent developments in Iraq were “an internal affair,” adding that Iran was carefully monitoring the situation as “security for Iraq is security for Iran and the region.”

On August 1, large numbers of Coordination Framework supporters approached the July 14th Bridge in Baghdad, which leads to the Green Zone, in response to the occupation of Parliament by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr. In a statement on July 30, the Framework called on its supporters to rally “in defense of the state, its legitimacy and institutions, especially the judiciary and legislature.” The Framework said that their supporters were demonstrating to demand a speedy government formation and are asking political parties to ignore “obstructionist efforts and sabotage.” Security forces were placed on high alert in anticipation of potential violence. They used water cannons in an attempt to block the advance of the crowd, who could be seen waving Iraqi flags and others representing Iran-backed militias. But Framework leaders, including Nouri al-Maliki, issued strict instructions to their supporters to not cross the bridge, stay outside the green Zone, and avoid clashes with security forces. The instructions also asserted that demonstrations were “not directed against a specific person or faction.” After several hours of tense standoff, Qais al-Khazali, another Framework leader, told the demonstrators to withdraw from the areas around the Green Zone and go home, thanking them for their discipline and declaring that “the message has been delivered.”

On August 1, Fatah coalition leader and senior Coordination Framework figure Hadi al-Amiri appealed to his allies in the Framework and to Muqtada al-Sadr to engage in dialogue to find solutions for their disputes and contain the ongoing political crisis. Amiri warned that escalatory rhetoric and mobilization of protests and counter-protests could go out of control and lead to violence. Amiri’s message followed other calls for talks issued by other Framework leaders, including Nouri al-Maliki, Haider al-Abadi, and Ammar al-Hakim. The Sadrists responded to these calls dismissively, with Sadr’s spokesman Salah al-Obaidi calling them “new attempts at treachery.” Sadr’s aides used a slightly softer tone with Hadi al-Amiri, with the head of the Sadr’s political office, Ahmed al-Mtairi telling Amiri that Sadr “thinks well of you…but how can you ask us to talk to someone who threatened [to kill Sadr]?.” Mtairi argued that Amiri should either leave the Framework or otherwise be considered part of “the strife they seek.” The Sadrist spokesman chided Amiri and other Framework leaders for failing to condemn the threats that Maliki made against Sadr in the audio tapes that were recently leaked.

On August 1, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi warned that political tension in Iraq could lead to “grave consequences” unless “wise people intervene…and we all take steps to control the situation…and prevent bloodshed.” Kadhimi called on all parties involved in the crisis to come to the negotiating table to find a political solution for the crisis. Kadhimi made three specific requests in his statement. He asked protesters to cooperate with security forces and respect government institutions. He stressed that security forces must do their job and defend public and private property. Kadhimi also called for establishing a committee with representatives from all key political parties to find a roadmap for resolving the crisis. The president of the Kurdistan region, Nechirvan Barzani, issued a similar call for restraint and caution on July 31. Barzani offered to host the political rivals for talks in Erbil, stressing that there are no problems that can’t be solved through negotiations. Iraq’s President Barham Salih too had made a call for dialogue, stressing that it was essential for political rivals to address “the roots of the crisis” and find solutions to avoid escalation and conflict. 

On August 2, a group of 11 political parties and movements issued a joint statement demanding UN intervention in Iraq’s protracted political crisis. The statement argued that Parliament has failed to fulfill its constitutional duty even though ten months have passed since the election, leading to a political deadlock that has become a threat to communal peace. The main demands raised by the statement, signed by Emtidad, the Communst party, al-Bayt al-Watani, Nazil Akhoth Haqqi, and seven other anti-establishment groups, were dissolving Parliament and organizing free and fair early elections to form a new government empowered to carry out reforms. The statement emphasized the importance of enforcing Iraq’s political parties law to prevent parties that maintain armed factions from competing in elections. 

On August 3, Muqtada al-Sadr made a speech in which he called for the dissolution of Parliament and early elections. Sadr, however, said he hasn’t decided whether he would participate in future elections. Sadr also asked his followers who stormed the Parliament building on July 30 to remain there and continue their sit-in. Sadr said he was not against dialogue with his rivals in principle, but argued that dialogue was useless and “brought only corruption and destruction on ourselves and on the nation,” adding that there was “no point of that dialogue, especially after the people have spoken their free and spontaneous word.” In response to Sadr’s speech, Hadi al-Amiri said that he supports the proposal for early elections “especially since the last election was tainted by many suspicions and objections.” Amiri added that holding new elections requires “comprehensive national dialogue to set the dates, mechanisms and requirements.”

Sources cited in this section include: Rudaw, NINA, ISHM archives, INA, al-Sumaria, AP, social media, UN, US embassy Baghdad, Nas News, Shafaq, al-Hurra, Kurdistan24, INA, Iraqi prime minister’s office.


Explosions Kill Eight Iraqis, Including Four Children; Drone Strike Targets Vehicle In Sulaymaniyah

On July 28, security sources in Basra province said that unidentified gunmen in the al-Hartha district, north of the city of Basra, opened fire from small arms on an individual who works for the Defense Ministry, killing him with four gunshots to the head. 

On July 28, the Security Media Cell reported that Iraqi F-16 jets struck a cave used by ISIS militants as a position in the Adayah mountains in western Ninewa. Ground troops that searched the airstrike location confirmed the killing of eight ISIS militants. On July 30, the Cell reported that another F-16 airstrike killed three ISIS militants when it destroyed their hideout in the al-Mukheisa region of Diyala province. To the east, the Iraqi federal police said on August 1 that its forces killed two ISIS militants during preemptive operations in the al-Qadiriyah region near Samarra in Salah ad-Din province. 

On July 29, security sources in Diyala province said that an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated against a tractor in the village of al-Dawaleeb, near the al-Mansouriyah subdistrict, northeast of Baquba. The explosion wounded one civilian who was driving the tractor.  

On July 30, security sources in Ninewa province said that an IED explosion struck a civilian vehicle in the Zumar subdistrict, north of Mosul, injuring two civilians. 

On July 30, security sources in Dhi-Qar province said that a homemade IED exploded next to an office belonging to the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia in central Nasiriyah. The explosion caused minor damage to the building, according to the sources.  

On July 31, security sources in Diyala province said that an IED detonated near a group of animal herders in the village of Arab Faraj in the Jalawla subdistrict, northeast of Baquba. The explosion killed four of the shepherds and injured a fifth person. All of the victims were boys aged 16 and younger. 

On July 31, security sources in Basra said that unidentified gunmen driving two trucks opened fire from small arms on the office of Mustafa Sanad, a member of Parliament affiliated with the Coordination Framework. The attack, which took place in central Basra, caused damage to the building without resulting in casualties. 

On July 31, security sources in Salah ad-Din 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 or damage, but a group called “Liwa Thar al-Muhandis” claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging it burned an unspecified number of the convoy’s vehicles. 

On August 1, local sources in the Kurdistan region said that an armed drone attacked a vehicle on a road near the Chwar-Qorna region of the Ranya district, in the northern parts of Sulaymaniyah province. The airstrike reportedly injured two individuals, thought to be fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who were inside the vehicle. One of the two individuals escaped the scene while the other is in the hospital for treatment. 

On August 2, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that an explosion of an unidentified remnant of war seriously injured three children who were swimming in a canal in the village of Maftoul, southwest of the Amerli district. One of the three children died in the hospital later as a result of his injuries. To the north, in Ninewa province, the explosion of another remnant of war on August 3 injured a nine-year old child in the village of al-Nazara near the al-Muhalabiyah subdistrict. 

On August 2, security sources in Diyala province said that ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi army position in the village of Saif near the Qara-Tappa subdistrict. Initial reports said the attack killed one soldier and injured another. Subsequent reports put total casualties at four killed and four wounded. The additional casualties happened after the attackers ambushed Iraqi reinforcements on their way to support the position with an IED and sniper fire. 

On August 3, security sources in Kirkuk said that a mortar round struck near Iraqi army troops while they were conducting operations in the Wadi al-Shay region in southern Kirkuk, injuring one soldier. 

On August 3, Kurdistan24 reported that an under-vehicle IED explosion targeted a vehicle belonging to the deputy commander of the Ezidxan Protection Force, a Yazidi militia aligned with the Kurdistan regional government. The attack, which occurred in the Dohela region of Sinjar, destroyed the vehicle without inflicting casualties. 

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


Power Generation Reaches New Record; Oil Exports And Revenue Dropped In July

On July 30, the agriculture ministers of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon discussed plans to form a joint trading company for the purpose of marketing agricultural products among the four nations. The ministers, who met in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, agreed to take initial steps towards standardizing health certificates for plant and animal products to facilitate the movement of these products across their borders. 

On July 30, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said that it has achieved a new record generation level at 22,680 megawatts. The ministry said this level was “highly stable,” adding that it expects generation to rise further “in the next few days.” A ministry spokesman explained that generation could reach 25,000 megawatts as additional generation units come online, including the 250 megawatt Akkaz power plant and a 650 megawatt unit at the Salah ad-Din thermal power plant. The latter is expected to enter service in two weeks, according to the spokesman. 

On August 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that crude oil exports during July totaled 102.38 million barrels, for an average of 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd), about 67,000 bpd lower than in June. The July exports generated $10.6 billion in revenue, nearly $900 million lower than the record $11.5 billion achieved in June. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of approximately $103.6 per barrel, about $10 below previous month’s average of $113.7 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 3.22 million bpd in June, while average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk, which were exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, dropped to just over 75,600 bpd. Meanwhile, oil esports by trucks to Jordan averaged less than 2,500 bpd in July. 

On August 4, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 2,449,440, an increase of 9,026 in cases from the 2,440,414 reported on July 28. Of these cases, 22,125 are currently under treatment, including 28 treated in ICUs. These numbers represent a decrease of 11,489 in hospitalizations, and an increase of three in ICU admissions since July 28. Ministry data indicated that there were 14 new COVID-19 deaths since July 28, bringing the total to 25,322. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day period decreased to 1,289 per day, from 2,671 per day during the 7-day period ending July 28. In the past 24 hours, the areas with the highest case counts were Baghdad with 219 cases, Basra with 137, and Sulaymaniyah with 103 cases. To date, Iraq has tested a total of 19,096,631 samples for COVID-19. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 11,003,776 including 7,443 who received their shots on August 4. 

Sources cited in this section include: NINA, Nas News, al-Mada, Iraq’s Oil Ministry, ISHM archives, Shafaq, Iraq’s Health Ministry.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from July 28, 2022 - August 4, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
7/29/22 Al-Mansouriyah, Diyala province01
7/30/22 Zumar, Ninewa province02
7/30/22 Nasiriyah, Dhi-Qar province00
7/31/22 Jalawla, Diyala province41
7/31/22 Unspecified location, southern Salah ad-Din province00
8/2/22 Qara-Tappa, Diyala province33
8/3/22 Sinjar, Ninewa 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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