- Iraq’s Judiciary Prosecutes Senior Sadrists Over Alleged Threats; Militia Leader Calls For Killing Kadhimi – On August 23, crowds of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers surrounded the Supreme Judicial Council’s complex in Baghdad to pressure the judiciary to dissolves parliament. The judiciary accused the Sadrists of sending threatening phone messages to members of the Federal Supreme Court and issued arrest warrants and travel ban orders against three of Sadr’s senior aides. Although Sadr soon withdrew his supporters, he warned that another “surprise” step could be coming soon. PM Kadhimi cut short a trip to Egypt, where he was attending a regional summit, and returned to Baghdad to address the situation, calling for dialogue, and stressing that demonstrations must not disrupt the functions of state institutions. Meanwhile, Sadr’s rivals in the Coordination Framework condemned Sadr’s actions and said they would not engage in direct talks unless Sadr ends “the occupation of state institutions.” On August 23, the leader of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia, Abu Ala al-Walaie, accused PM Kadhimi of being complicit in Sadr’s escalation against the judiciary and made an implicit call to kill Kadhimi “before it’s too late.” In other developments, on August 21, an Iraqi court summoned the former minister of industry for questioning after a video surfaced in which the former minister is seen taking an oath to place the ministry under the control of his party leader. On August 24, an Iraqi court in Baghdad issued an arrest warrant for the former governor of Salah ad-Din, Ammar Jabr al-Jubouri, along with other provincial officials, on corruption charges. more…
- U.S. Says Drone Attack On Coalition Forces In Syria Came From Iraq – On August 24, the U.S. Central Command said it conducted strikes against militias affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in eastern Syria in response to an August 15 drone attack on Coalition Forces, which it said utilized Iranian drones launched from an area in Babylon province. In other developments, between August 19 – 23, the explosions of five IEDs and one remnant of war in Kirkuk, Salah ad-Din, Ninewa, and Baghdad killed two Iraqi children, wounded three soldiers, and destroyed a high-voltage pylon. Two of the IEDs had targeted convoy transporting supplies for the anti-ISIS International Coalition. Between August 20 – 25, Iraqi airstrikes and group troops killed at least 11 ISIS militants, including senior local commanders in Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk, Anbar, and Ninewa. On August 25, security sources in the Kurdistan region said that an attack with nine “Grad” rockets targeted the Turkish military base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. more…
- UN, Iraq Meet To Discuss Decommissioning Al-Hol; Humanitarian Response Faces Persistent Funding Gap – On August 22, Iraq’s National Security Advisor said that the Iraqi government and United Nations formed a joint working group tasked with repatriating Iraqis displaced in northeast Syria and the future decommissioning of the al-Hol camp. To this end, the official said Iraq and the UN created four sub groups to work on child protection, rehabilitation, security and accountability for adult camp residents, and reintegration and services. On August 22, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a serious funding gap affecting the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). OCHA said that donors have provided $105 million in funding through the month of July, just over 26% of the $400 million needed to reach nearly a million people with acute humanitarian needs. In other developments, on August 22, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that between August 14 – 22, there were 2,342 new infections with COVID-19, 5 new fatalities, and 60,377 people received their vaccines. The average number of new cases during the last reporting period dropped to 335 per day, compared to 434 per day during the 7-day period ending August 14. 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 21, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that the Central Criminal Court summoned the former minister of industry for questioning on charges that he willfully violated his duties by taking orders from a member of parliament for the benefit of certain individuals. The court order came after a video surfaced on social media showing the former minister, Salih Abdullah al-Jubouri, taking an oath to follow the orders of his party leader, Ahmed al-Jubouri (aka Abu Mazin) and place the ministry under his control.
On August 22, Prime Minister Kadhimi arrived in Egypt to participate in a meeting with regional leaders to discuss regional cooperation on security, energy, investment, and combating the effects of climate change. In addition to Kadhimi and the Egyptian president, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain were expected to attend the meeting. On August 23, Kadhimi was forced to cut his trip short and return to Baghdad to address the escalation between Muqtada al-Sadr and the judicial authority.
On August 23, crowds of Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers surrounded the Supreme Judicial Council’s complex in the Green Zone and began erecting tents in preparation for a prolonged sit-in. Sadr’s followers carried signs listing their demands, which included:
- dissolving parliament
- Designating the largest bloc (appears inconsistent with dissolving parliament)
- Separating the general prosecution from the judiciary
- Tackling corruption and corrupt politicians
- Depoliticizing the judiciary
A senior aide to Sadr and the director of his Baghdad office added that the demands also include the resignation of Faeq Zeidan, the president of the Supreme Judicial Council whom Sadr accuses of collaborating with his political rivals in the Coordination Framework. The judiciary condemned the new pressure applied by Sadr to dissolve parliament, and accused the Sadrists of sending threatening phone messages to members of the Federal Supreme Court. In a statement, the judicial authority said it decided to suspend its work in protest of Sadr’s actions, and held him and the government responsible for the consequences. By the end of the day, Sadr instructed his followers to withdraw from the area outside the Supreme Judicial Council’s building to “protect the reputation of the revolution and avoid harming the people.” Sadr, however, told his followers to keep the tents they built at the site “to encourage the judiciary to support reforms and fight the corrupt,” but those were reportedly removed by the end of August 24. In response to the withdrawal of Sadr’s followers, the Supreme Judicial Council decided to resume normal operations at all of its courts. Reflecting on the episode, Mohammed Salih al-Iraqi, the so-called Sadr’s “vizier,” said that “whether the move [against the judiciary] was a failure or success, it means that we will take another surprise step they won’t be expecting.”
On August 23, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi cut short a trip to Egypt, where he was attending a regional summit, and returned to Baghdad to address the escalation between Muqtada al-Sadr and the judicial authority. In a brief statement, Kadhimi warned that hampering the work of the judiciary “exposes the country to real danger,” and stressed that demonstrations must not disrupt the functions of state institutions. The prime minister issued a new call for dialogue among the political rivals to resolve the ongoing crisis. President Barham Salih and Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi both issued statements echoing Kadhimi’s message. Meanwhile, the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) said that the right to peaceful protest and respect for state institutions were equally important, and stressed that these institutions, including the judiciary, “must operate unimpeded.” For its part, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said it was “closely monitoring” the situation and urged all parties “to remain calm, abstain from violence, and resolve any political differences through a peaceful process guided by the Iraqi constitution.”
On August 23, the Coordination Framework condemned the escalation by Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers against the judicial authority, calling it a “dangerous violation” and alleging that the Sadrists made “threats of physical liquidation” against the president of the country’s top court. The Framework said it would not receive any messages from the Sadrists and would not accept any invitations for direct talks unless Sadr “ends the occupation of state institutions.” In its statement, the Framework added that the Iraqi people “should be ready for the next step to have their say against those who hijacked the state and restore its authority.”
On August 23, an Iraqi court in Baghdad issued arrest warrants and travel ban orders against three senior aides of Muqtada al-Sadr for their role in organizing Sadrist protests outside the Supreme Judicial Council’s complex and making alleged threats against top judicial officials. The judiciary’s action, which also included freezing financial assets, targeted Sabah al-Saidi, Ghayib al-Omeiri, and Mohammed al-Saidi.
On August 23, the leader of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia, Abu Ala al-Walaie, accused Prime Minister Kadhimi of being complicit in “violating the constitution and disrespecting [state] institutions,” in reference to Muqtada al-Sadr’s escalation against the judiciary. Addressing Tuesday’s developments, the militia leader suggested that his allies in the Coordination Framework should not expect anything good from Kadhimi “when the shepherd is complicit and weak.” Walaie’s message concluded with an implicit call to kill Kadhimi “before it’s too late for regret.”
On August 23, the Natural Resources Ministry of the Kurdistan region moved to appeal a decision made by a Baghdad court last month to invalidate four oil field development deals between the region and international oil companies. The decision made on July 4 reportedly affected Western Zagros, DNO, HKN Energy, and Genel Energy. The court found the contracts in question to be in violation of the February 15 ruling by the Federal Supreme Court against oil operations in the Kurdistan region, according to an unnamed senior Iraqi oil official. According to Iraq Oil Report, the Karkh Commercial Court confirmed that summons had been dispatched to the four companies to appear at an appellate hearing. Meanwhile, Iraq’s oil marketing company (SOMO) threatened to take legal action against buyers of oil from the Kurdistan regional government (KRG). In a statement, SOMO said that it reserves the right to take action against anyone trading or buying “smuggled crude oil that was loaded from the Turkish oil terminal at Ceyhan, without explicit authorization from SOMO.”
On August 24, an Iraqi court in Baghdad issued an arrest warrant for the former governor of Salah ad-Din, Ammar Jabr al-Jubouri, along with other provincial officials on corruption charges. Back in April, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said it suspected that Jabr solicited bribes from a contractor in exchange for approving funds for a project the contractor was implementing in Salah ad-Din. If convicted, the governor may face up to ten years in prison. The former governor was sacked by parliament in May.
Sources cited in this section include: NINA, Nas News, Iraqi prime minister’s office, INA, al-Mirbad, Rudaw, al-Hurra, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, al-Sumaria, U.S. embassy, UNAMI, Shafaq, ISHM archives, Iraq Oil Report.
On August 19, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said that ISIS militants attacked a PMF checkpoint (PMF 61st brigade) in the village of Khabaza, near the Hawijah district of Kirkuk province. The attack injured one PMF fighter.
On August 19, the Ministry of Electricity said that an attack with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) destroyed a pylon on the Mulla Abdullah-North Samarra-Dur high voltage transmission line in Kirkuk province.
On August 19, security sources said that Wafa al-Shimary, a lawmaker from Wasit province survived an assassination attempt in the al-Swerah district, southeast of Baghdad. According to the sources, gunmen in two vehicles opened fire from small and medium weapons on the lawmaker’s convoy but failed to hit their target.
On August 20, the Security Media Cell reported that Iraqi air force planes struck a group of “important ISIS leaders” in the Himrin mountains area in Salah ad-Din province. According to a subsequent statement by the counter-terrorism service, the airstrikes killed the top ISIS administrator in the “Wilayat Salah ad-Din” region and five other ISIS militants. On August 23, the Cell reported that another Iraqi airstrike killed two more ISIS militants in the Mama mountains region of Kirkuk province. On the following day, the Cell said that special forces conducted an air assault on five targets south of the Rutba district in Anbar after Iraqi aircraft had conducted six strikes against the same suspected militant hideouts. Finally, on August 25, the counter-terrorism service said killed three senior ISIS militant in an ambush near the Makhmour silo in southeastern Ninewa.
On August 21, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that an IED exploded targeting a convoy transporting supplies for the anti-ISIS International Coalition in an unspecified location in the province. A militant group called “Liwa Thar al-Muhandis” claimed responsibility for the attack. Two days later, a second IED explosion targeted another supply convoy near the city of Samarra in southern Salah ad-Din. There were no reports of casualties in either attack.
On August 21, security sources in Babylon province said that gunfire from an unknown source wounded two PMF fighters while on foot patrol in the al-Rowaiyah area in the Jurf al-Sakhr subdistrict.
On August 22, security sources in Baghdad said that a roadside IED exploded near an Iraqi army patrol in the Sheik Hamad area in the Taji district, north of the capital. There were no reports of casualties.
On August 22, local officials in the Tal-Afar district of Ninewa province said that an unexploded remnant of war (mortar round) detonated among playing children in the town’s center, killing two of them instantly.
On August 23, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that an IED explosion struck a security forces vehicle near the village of Zenjili, west of the Tuzkhormatu district. The explosion wounded three Iraqi soldiers.
On August 23, security sources in Kirkuk said that ISIS militants attacked the village of al-Batatkha, near the western subdistrict of al-Riyadh. The attack killed the village mukhtar and a member of the security forces, and wounded two members of the slain mukhtar’s family.
On August 23, local sources in the al-Fuhood district of Dhi-Qar province said that security forces recovered a crashed drone that was carrying explosives and a container full of ball bearings (often added to explosives for greater anti-personnel effect). The district’s mayor said the piston engine aircraft was nearly two meters in length and did not bear any identifying markings, adding that security forces were conducting an investigation to identify the aircraft’s source and intended destination.
On August 24, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said it conducted strikes against facilities used by militias affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in eastern Syria. CENTCOM said the strikes were “necessary to protect & defend our forces & deter future attacks…like those conducted against Coalition personnel & our partner forces Aug. 15.” CENTCOM blamed Iran-backed militias for the August 15 drone attack on Coalition Forces in Syria, which it said utilized Iranian KAS-04 drones. A map published by CENTCOM shows that the drones were launched from an area in Babylon province. (editor’s note: Kataib Hezbollah is believed to have an exclusive base in the Jurf al-Sakhr area in Babylon. The location may have been used to launch long-range drone attacks against Saudi oil installations back in 2019.)
On August 25, security sources in the Kurdistan region said that an attack with nine “Grad” rockets targeted the Turkish military base at Zelikan, north of Mosul. According to the Kurdistan counter-terrorism service, the perptrators used a cargo truck to lauch the rockets from an area between the villages of Kanona and al-Fadhliyah, in the Basiqa district. The rockets struck outside the target location, without causing casualties.
Sources cited in this section include: NINA, Shafaq, al-Sumaria, INA, Security Media Cell, CENTCOM, @CJTFOIR, The National, Rudaw.
On August 22, Iraq’s National Security Advisor, Qasim al-Aaraji, said that the Iraqi government and United Nations formed a joint working group tasked with repatriating Iraqis displaced in northeast Syria and the future decommissioning of the al-Hol camp. According to the Iraqi official, Iraq and the UN created four sub groups to work on child protection, rehabilitation, security and accountability for adult camp residents, and reintegration and services. This summer, the Iraqi government has moved at least two groups involving hundreds of Iraqis with perceived ties to ISIS from al-Hol to the Jedaa camp in Ninewa where they are to undergo security checks and receive social and psychological rehabilitation services before returning to their home districts.
On August 22, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) provided an update on the state of funding for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), which points to a large gap between requirements and available resources. OCHA said that donors have provided $105 million in funding through the month of July, which represents just over 26% of the $400 million needed to fully implement the 2022 HRP. The 2022 HRP had identified a population of 2.5 million who need assistance, of whom 961,000 are considered to be in acute need reaching “extreme or catastrophic levels.” The HRP aims to help 991,000 people from this population. These include 180,000 IDPs living in camps, 234,000 IDPs staying in places other than camps, and 577,000 returnees “with life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to meet their most critical humanitarian needs.” As of July, the HRP had reached 90% of that target population.
On August 22, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that during the August 14 – 22 reporting period, there were 2,342 new infections with COVID-19, 5 new fatalities, and 60,377people received their vaccines. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,456,555 infections, 25,343 deaths, and 11,060,651 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period decreased to 335 per day, from 434 per day during the 7-day period ending August 14.
Sources cited in this section include: Reliefweb, ISHM archives, INA, Iraq’s Health Ministry.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from August 18, 2022 - August 25, 2022
|8/19/22||Western Kirkuk province||0||0|
|8/21/22||Unspecified location, Salah ad-Din province||0||0|
|8/22/22||Taji, north of Baghdad||0||0|
|8/23/22||Near Samarra, Salah ad-Din province||0||0|
|8/23/22||Near Tuzkhormatu, Salah ad-Din province||0||3|
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.