- Lawmakers Arrested In Kurdistan Protests; Sadr Gives The Judiciary A Week To Dissolve Parliament; Baghdad Braces For Framework, Sadrist Demonstrations; Kurdistan Election Delayed – On August 6, protests demanding jobs and payment of delayed public servants’ salaries erupted in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil. Security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, resulting in injuries. The New Generation party said security forces arrested six of its lawmakers who participated in the protests, among 600 people arrested across the region, while a press freedom group said 11 journalists were also arrested. On August 10, Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council to intervene in the country’s political deadlock by dissolving Parliament within a week to pave the way for new elections. Meanwhile, a senior aide to Sadr called on his followers to launch mass rallies in several provinces to pressure the judiciary to dissolve parliament. The call coincided with reports that the Coordination Framework plans to hold demonstrations of their own “at the walls of the Green Zone” to support its government formation ambitions and counter Sadr’s pressure on the legislative and judicial authorities. On August 10, Kurdistan election officials said the region was unlikely to organize parliamentary elections this year, originally planned for October, due to ongoing disputes among the political parties over the election law. In other developments, on August 6, protests erupted in several, mostly southern Iraqi provinces over blackouts during an intense heat wave in which temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius. more…
- Court Sentences Rocket Attack Cell To Life In Prison; Deadly Explosion Destroys Militia Camp In Najaf – On August 7, a court in Baghdad issued four life sentences against individuals who were found guilty of launching rockets at Baghdad airport. The January 28 attack, in which Iran-backed militias were suspect, involved six Katyusha-type rockets and damaged two aircraft on the airport’s runway. On August 8, an explosion occurred at a camp used by Muqtada al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam militia in Najaf. Reports indicated that at least five people were killed and eight were injured, and security sources said more victims could be trapped under the rubble. The militia claimed the incident was caused by a fire that reached medical oxygen tanks, but images from the site showed a complete collapse of the building, suggesting an explosion of great force. In other developments, between August 4 – 11, the explosions of five IEDs and one remnant of war in Kirkuk, Baghdad, and Diyala killed two Iraqis and wounded one. In one of the incidents, security forces intercepted and killed a militant who attempted to use a suicide explosive vest to attack Shia Muslim pilgrims. Between August 7 – 10, four attacks by gunmen in Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din killed one Iraqi and wounded at least eight. more…
- New Group Of Al-Hol Refugees To Return To Iraq Soon; Cholera Cases Rise Further – On August 10, Iraq’s Migration Ministry said that its will transport a new group of 150 households of Iraqis with perceived ties to ISIS from the al-Hol camp in Syria to the Jedaa IDP camp in Ninewa in the next few days. The group is part of 500 households Iraq plans to repatriate from al-Hol this year. On August 10, a spokesman for Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed cholera infections nationwide increased to 819 (up from 548 reported on July 28), four of which were fatal. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed hemorrhagic fever cases increased slightly to 289 (up from 279 reported on July 28). more…
- Oil Companies Face Legal Action In Kurdistan Oil Dispute; Iraq Rebuilds Mosul’s Airport – On August 8, an Iraqi commercial court in Baghdad ordered two oil and gas companies operating in the Kurdistan region to appear as defendants in a lawsuit that Iraq’s Oil Ministry filed against them. The lawsuit, targeting Gazprom and Dana Gas, is part of the federal Oil Ministry’s efforts to take control of the region’s oil and gas operations. On August 10, PM Kadhimi laid the cornerstone for a project to rebuild Mosul’s war-damaged international airport, a day after Ninewa’s governor signed contracts with two unnamed international companies to undertake the work. In other developments, on August 11, an Iraqi government spokesman said that Baghdad has agreed to extend the duration of a 2021 deal with Lebanon under which Iraq provides 1 million tons of fuel oil in exchange for Lebanese goods and services. more…
For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.
On August 5, a source involved in organizing the Sadrist sit-in inside Iraq’s Parliament said that all Sadrist protesters had left the building in accordance with Sadr’s instructions to end the occupation of the seat of Iraq’s legislature, which had begun on July 30. The source told Shafaq that the building had been cleaned from debris and trash and closed down at the end of the 72-hour deadline Sadr had issued for his followers. Images posted on August 7 showed the halls of Parliament to be largely empty. The source added that Sadr’s followers continued their sit-in outside the Parliament building, and did not withdraw from the area. Images from inside the Green Zone showed that large numbers of Sadr’s followers were still camped outside Parliament throughout this week. Those crowds were joined by thousands more on Friday for a mass prayer inside the Green Zone where Sadr’s representatives reiterated his demands to block the formation of a government by his rivals, dissolve Parliament, and hold early elections.
On August 6, protests erupted in several, mostly southern Iraqi provinces over lack of electricity during an intense heat wave in which temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius were recorded. Protesters in Basra used burning tires to block roads leading to the provincial government building. In Maysan, the local police said that 18 of its personnel were injured while attempting to disperse protesters who tried to storm a power plant in the al-Kahla district. The protesters were allegedly armed with sticks and knives, and threatened foreign staff working at the facility. In Wasit, protesters blocked the entrance to the main electricity distribution department in the provincial capital of al-Kut. To the north, protesters in Diyala gathered at the provincial electricity department demanding the replacement of the local electricity chief. Electricity officials in Basra said on August 8 that the complete blackout that has impacted the province and its neighbors for three days was a result of high demand and extreme temperatures and humidity, which caused a fire at a key power plant, which in turn caused a wider shutdown.
On August 6, protests erupted in several districts of Sulaymaniyah province, and in the city of Erbil, demanding jobs and payment of delayed public servants salaries. News reports said security forces used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters, resulting in a number of injuries. The Metro Center for Journalists Rights said that security forces arrested 11 journalists in Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, and Duhok in connection with the protests, but the governor of Erbil denied making any arrests against journalists. Meanwhile, security authorities in Sulaymaniyah claimed they had released everyone they arrested earlier that day, insisting that no journalists or lawmakers remained in their custody. The head of the New Generation party’s bloc in Parliament, Sarwa Abdul-Wahid, said that security forces arrested several senior party members and six of its lawmakers who participated in the protests. Abdul-Wahid, whose party was involved in organizing the protests, also claimed that security forces raided the office of a lawmaker from the party in Erbil, confiscated computers, and forced staff to leave the building. In total, security forces arrested 600 people across the Kurdistan region, according to Abdul-Wahid. On August 8, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said it was “concerned by reports of the use of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets…and the detention of journalists, civil society activists, and members of parliament in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.” The embassy urged the regional authorities to “review these actions and reaffirm the vital roles that a free press, peaceful assembly, and the rule of law play in democracy.”
On August 8, the leader of the State of Law coalition, Nouri al-Maliki said he opposed proposals to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections so long as the legislature could not reconvene. Last week, in the aftermath of the occupation of Parliament by Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers, several parties joined Sadr in calling for an early election to resolve Iraq’s political deadlock, ten months after the October 2021 election. Hadi al-Amiri, Maliki’s ally in the Coordination Framework, did not object to the idea of early elections, but said the proposal requires “comprehensive national dialogue to set the dates, mechanisms and requirements.”
On August 10, election officials in the Kurdistan region said the region was unlikely to be able to organize parliamentary elections this year, due to ongoing disputes among the political parties over the election law. In February, the regional government had declared its intention to hold the election in October, but with two months to go, head of Kurdistan’s Independent High Electoral Commission said adhering to that timeframe was technically impossible.
On August 10, Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council to intervene in the country’s political deadlock by dissolving Parliament to pave the way for new elections. Reflecting a sense of urgency, Sadr said the judiciary must dissolve Parliament by “no later than the end of next week,” and then instruct President Salih to set a date for early elections. Sadr argued that the judiciary’s intervention has become necessary in light of the expiration of the constitutional timeframe for electing a new president and designation of a new prime minister to form a government. Sadr urged his followers to continue their sit-ins in the meantime and to join him in applying pressure on the judiciary by filing lawsuits in support of his plan. According to Iraq’s constitution, article 64, Parliament can be dissolved by an “absolute majority of its members” following a request by either one third of lawmakers, or by the prime minister, with the president’s approval. The constitution does not explicitly give the judiciary the power to dissolve Parliament.
On August 11, a senior aide to Muqtada al-Sadr called on Sadr’s followers to prepare to launch mass rallies in several provinces on Friday. The aide, Salih Mohammed al-Iraqi, said the purpose of the rallies is to fill out forms for lawsuits to demand dissolving parliament, and to “taunt the corrupt.” He added that Sadr’s followers should rally in their own provinces at five in the evening, with the exception of Najaf, where there will be no demonstrations. The call coincided with reports that the Coordination Framework plans to hold demonstrations of their own “at the walls of the Green Zone,” specifically from the direction of the suspension bridge leading into the government complex. The Framework plans to launch its demonstrations under the slogan “the people protect the state” to support its government formation ambitions and show solidarity with the legislative and judicial authorities as they face pressure from Muqtada al-Sadr.
Sources cited in this section include: AP, INA, Shafaq, al-Sumaria, Nas News, al-Hurra, Iraq Ultra, NINA, ISHM archives, Rudaw, al-Mirbad, U.S. embassy Baghdad, social media, Iraq’s Parliament, Bas News.
On August 4, security sources in Kirkuk province said that an improvised explosive device (IED) struck a federal police vehicle near the al-Hawijah district in western Kirkuk. The explosion damaged the vehicle without causing casualties.
On August 5, security sources in Baghdad said that a homemade IED exploded in front of Maxi Mall, a shopping center in the Zayouna neighborhood of the capital. The explosion caused extensive material damage to the building but there were reports of casualties.
On August 7, Kirkuk police said that unidentified gunmen opened fire from a moving unmarked vehicle on a member of the Kurdish security forces (Asayish) in the al-Faylaq neighborhood in central Kirkuk. The attack killed the targeted individual and injured his son.
On August 7, the al-Karkh criminal court in Baghdad issued four life sentences against individuals who were found guilty of launching rockets at Baghdad airport. The attack, which occurred on January 28, 2022 involved six Katyusha-type rockets and damaged two aircraft on the airport’s runway. The court statement did not reveal the identities or affiliations of the four convicts. On the same day, a criminal court in Babylon province sentenced three police officers to 15 years in prison after finding them responsible for the deaths of 20 civilians during a botched police raid in the town of Jbala. The court also found ten other members of the police force that were involved in the massacre to be not guilty.
On August 8, an explosion occurred at a camp used by the Saraya al-Salam militia of Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf. There were conflicting reports about what caused the explosion. A security official speaking on condition of anonymity told Shafaq that the facility was used to manufacture IEDs, and attributed the explosion to environmental conditions and poor storage. The militia, however, claimed the incident was caused by a fire that reached medical oxygen tanks that in turn exploded. Footage from the site shows a complete collapse of the building, suggesting an explosion of great force. Initial reports said that at least three people died and two were injured, including first responders, during the attempts to control the fire at the site. Subsequent reports indicated that at least five people were killed and eight were injured. Security sources said the tally could increase further as more victims appeared to be trapped under the building’s rubble.
On August 8, security sources in Diyala said that a “sticky IED” detonated under a vehicle belonging to a member of the Diyala police SWAT team in the al-Furosiyah neighborhood in northern Baquba. The explosion seriously injured the targeted individual and destroyed the vehicle. The victim later died in the hospital as a result of his injuries.
On August 8, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi police outpost in the al-Treisha region near the al-Mu’tasim subdistrict, southeast of Tikrit. The attack injured at least three policemen.
On August 9, Iraqi army sources said troops intercepted a militant who was planning to use a suicide explosive vest to attack Shia Muslim pilgrims in the village of al-Mayah in Diyala province. The troops killed the would-be attacker without losses among pilgrims or security forces.
On August 9, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that unidentified gunmen injured two civilians in a shooting near the Tigris river in Samarra. To the northeast, in Kirkuk province, the explosion of a remnant of war (mortar round) killed one civilian in the village of al-Sus, near the Taza subdistrict.
On August 10, security sources in Kirkuk said that ISIS militants opened fire on Iraqi army troops at an outpost near Wadi al-Shay in the Daquq district. The attack injured two Iraqi soldiers.
On August 11, security sources in Kirkuk said that an IED detonated against a cargo truck in the village of Chabghan, near the Daquq district. The explosion injured the truck’s driver.
Sources cited in this section include: NINA, Shafaq, al-Sumaria, INA, ISHM archives, Rudaw.
On August 10, Iraq’s Ministry for Migration and the Displaced said that it will transport a new group of 150 households of Iraqis with perceived ties to ISIS from the al-Hol camp in Syria to the Jedaa camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ninewa in the next few days. A ministry spokesman said the repatriated Iraqis would then spend up to six months at Jedaa to undergo security checks and receive social and psychological rehabilitation services before returning to their home districts. In total, the ministry plans to repatriate 500 households from al-Hol this year. Last month, the ministry said 300 households had already returned from the Syrian camp.
On August 10, 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 289 (up from 279 in the previous update). According to the official, 52 of those infected died as a result of the disease (up from 49 as of July 28). The spokesman added that Dhi-Qar province remains the most affected by the disease, accounting for 124 infections and 29 fatalities. Meanwhile, the ministry said the number of confirmed cholera infections nationwide increased to 819 (up from 548 as of July 28), four of which were fatal.
Sources cited in this section include: INA, Kurdistan24, ISHM archives.
On August 8, Iraq’s Finance Ministry said that the value of insurance payments released in connection with car accidents in Iraq during the first half of 2022 totaled IQD4.899 billion, the equivalent of approximately $3.37 million.
On August 10, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi visited Mosul, where he laid the cornerstone for a project to rebuild the city’s war-damaged international airport. A day earlier, the governor of Ninewa province, Najm al-Jubouri, said he signed contracts with two unnamed international companies to undertake the work required to rebuild the airport, without providing additional details. In January of 2021, the Iraqi government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a French company to rebuild the airport after Kadhimi discussed the project with French officials during his trip to Paris in October 2020. Reports at the time indicated that French company Aeroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPI) would perform the reconstruction works.
On August 8, an Iraqi commercial court in Baghdad ordered two oil and gas companies operating in the Kurdistan region to appear as defendants in a lawsuit that Iraq’s Oil Ministry filed against them, according to Iraq Oil Report. The lawsuit, targeting Gazprom and Dana Gas, is part of the federal Oil Ministry’s efforts to take control of the region’s oil and gas operations based on the February ruling by the Federal Supreme Court that declared the region’s energy legislation unconstitutional. Dana Gas operates the vital Khor-Mor gas field, while Gazprom is involved in the Garmyan/Sarqala, Halabja, and Shakal blocks. Gazprom is also part of a consortium that operates the Badra oil field in Iraq’s Wasit province.
On August 11, an Iraqi government spokesman said that Baghdad has agreed to extend the duration of a deal with Lebanon under which Iraq provides fuel oil in exchange for Lebanese goods and services. The deal, signed in April 2021 and amended in June 2021, initially involved the exchange of up to 1,000,000 tons of fuel oil for the services of medical teams and experts to help Iraq manage new medical centers and train Iraqi crews.
Sources cited in this section include: Shafaq, Iraqi prime minister’s office, NINA, Iraq Oil Report, ISHM archives, Kurdistan24, Iraq Business News.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from August 4, 2022 - August 11, 2022
|8/4/22||Al-Hawijah, Kirkuk province||0||0|
|8/8/22||Baquba, Diyala province||1||0|
|8/9/22||Al-Mayah, Diyala province||0||0|
|8/11/22||Near Daquq, Kirkuk province||0||1|
Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.
Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Enabling Peace in Iraq Center.