ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: SEPTEMBER 1 – 8, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • Sadr Calls On Sunni And Kurdish Allies To Withdraw From Parliament After Court Rejects His Demand To Dissolve It – On September 7, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court rejected a case filed by the Sadrist bloc in which they demanded the Court’s intervention to dissolve parliament. The Court said this was not among the powers given to it by the constitution. On September 8, a spokesperson for Sadr called a legal effort by an allegedly independent lawyer to return resigned Sadrist MPs to parliament as the work of “some of our well-wishers,” but stressed that such return was “totally and absolutely forbidden.” Instead, Sadr’s Sunni and Kurdish allies in parliament should resign too to “delegitimize parliament and dissolve it immediately,” Sadr’s aide argued. That approach, he added, would make dissolving parliament and preparing for early elections “a national solution” instead of a Sadrist solution. In other developments, on September 5, PM Kadhimi convened a new meeting of Iraq’s political leaders to discuss possible solutions to the country’s deepening political deadlock. The discussions, boycotted again by Sadr, failed to produce a political breakthrough. On September 7, Iraq’s Foreign Minister met with France’s ambassador to Baghdad to discuss plans to hold a second edition of last year’s Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership with France’s support. more…
  • IEDs Target Security Forces As They Pursue ISIS Militants In Northern Provinces – Between September 2 – 8, the explosions of seven IEDs and one remnant of war in Diyala, Kirkuk, Baghdad, and Basra killed at least one Iraqi and wounded at least 13. Most of the casualties were among members of the security forces conducting anti-ISIS operations in Kirkuk and Diyala. Between September 3 – 7, Iraqi airstrikes and ground forces killed at least ten ISIS militants during operations in Kirkuk, Salah ad-Din, and Diyala. In other developments, between September 4 – 5, militant attacks in Sulaymaniyah, Diyala, and Maysan killed two Iraqis and wounded ten, mostly members of the security forces. On September 5, a suspected Turkish armed drone fired four rockets at PKK fighters in the Khleifan subdistrict of Erbil, killing two and wounding two. more…
  • New Report Warns Of The Detrimental Impact Of Repeated Displacement On Thousands Of Children – On September 6, the Norwegian Refugee Council published an assessment of the psychological impact of repeated displacement on children, which found that a third of them have “developed fear for their safety and trauma.” The data illustrates the impact of protracted displacement on nearly 1.2 million people who remain displaced in Iraq, of whom more than 100,000 reside in informal sites. The study describes how fear and trauma produced stress that prevented children from basic activities, including going to school, with girls being subjected to additional risks. In other developments, on September 5, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that between August 8 – September 4, there were 638 new infections with COVID-19, two new fatalities, and 37,277 people who received vaccines. The average number of new cases during the last reporting period dropped to 91 per day, compared to 335 per day during the 7-day period ending August 28. On September 7, Iraqi officials said that Iraqi pilgrims were allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia in private vehicles through the recently reopened Arar border crossing for the first time in more than three decades. 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 Calls On Sunni And Kurdish Allies To Withdraw From Parliament After Court Rejects His Demand To Dissolve It

On September 4, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court said that an attorney has filed a case before the Court challenging the decision by Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi to accept the resignations of lawmakers from the Sadrist bloc who had submitted their resignations on June 12. The attorney who filed the case, Dhiaulddin al-Bdeiri, argued that the bylaws of the legislature do not grant the speaker the power to accept lawmaker resignations. Bdeiri’s case also challenged the process by which replacement representatives were confirmed, citing consistencies with law no. 6 of 2006 for the replacement of members of parliament. Bdeiri claimed that he did not submit his case under influence from the Sadrists or any other political party. The Court is scheduled to look into the case on September 28. On September 8, a spokesperson for Muqtada al-Sadr, Salih Mohammed al-Iraqi, commented on the legal effort to return former Sadrist lawmakers to parliament, describing the people behind it as “some of our well-wishers.” Sadr’s shadowy aide, however, stressed that such return was “totally and absolutely forbidden” and could not be allowed “under any pretexts.” Instead, Sadr’s Sunni and Kurdish allies in parliament should resign too to “delegitimize parliament and dissolve it immediately,” Sadr’s aide argued. That approach, he added, would make the process of dissolving parliament and preparing for early elections “a national solution” instead of a Sadrist solution.  

On September 4, the deputy assistant secretary of state for near east affairs, Barbara Leaf, began a visit to Iraq for meetings with Iraqi leaders, starting with Prime Minister Kadhimi. According to a statement by Kadhimi’s office, the meeting with Leaf addressed the recent escalation in Baghdad and efforts to contain Iraq’s political crisis, as well as Baghdad’s diplomatic efforts to reduce regional tensions. Leaf also discussed bilateral relations and the troubling developments in Iraq with Speaker Halbousi, President Salih, and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein. She also met with Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael for talks concerning oil and energy. Speaking to reporters, the U.S. official said that Washington was carefully watching the situation in Iraq after the events of last week indicated the political situation was on the brink of collapse. Leaf insisted that the political rivalries could only be solved through dialogue, and urged political leaders to sit together and agree on a solution, “whether through a transitional government, early elections, or new government.” The American diplomat also visited Erbil, where she met with the president of the Kurdistan region, Nechirvan Barzni, and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani. The elder Barzani told Leaf that he did not oppose holding early elections so long as the political and legal requirements were in place, and all stakeholders were ready to respect the outcome. Meanwhile, Nechirvan Barzani emphasized that equitable sharing of oil and gas revenue in accordance with the law was the key to solving Iraq’s problems. 

On September 5, Prime Minister Kadhimi convened a new meeting of Iraq’s political leaders at the government complex to discuss possible solutions to the country’s deepening political deadlock. The discussions, which were boycotted by representatives of Muqtada al-Sadr, were attended by the leaders of major political blocs, President Salih, and the head of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI). The meeting, which follows a similar one Kadhimi organized in August, failed to produce a political breakthrough. The talks, instead, resulted in a statement about an agreement to form a working group to develop a roadmap for resolving the crisis that includes a review of the electoral law and commission leading to early elections. The participants also invited the Sadrists once again to join the political talks.

On September 6, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that a criminal court in Babylon province issued five prison sentences totaling 18 years against a former governor of the province. The former governor, whose identity was not revealed, was found guilty on charges of extortion and corruption in the handling of public property and contracts. On the following day, the Commission said that an investigation court in Ninewa issued a warrant summoning a former governor of the northern province for questioning in connection with suspected abuse of IQD63 million public funds in a construction contract. Then on September 8, the Commission said that an investigation court in Diwaniyah issued a warrant summoning a former governor of the province. The former official, also unnamed, is a suspect in corruption charges in a contract worth IQD10 billion allocated for the construction of temporary housing for internally displaced persons. 

On September 7, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court issued a decision rejecting a case filed by the Sadrist bloc in which they demanded the Court’s intervention to dissolve parliament. In a statement announcing the ruling, the Court argued that the constitution explained the mechanism for dissolving parliament in article (64. First), while the powers of the Federal Supreme Court were listed in article (93) of the constitution and article (4) of the Curt’s law, concluding that dissolving parliament was not among those powers. Previously, on August 14, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council had declared that it did not possess the authority to dissolve parliament. That statement was in response to the August 10 remarks by Muqtada al-Sadr in which he demanded the judiciary’s intervention to dissolve the legislature within a week. 

On September 7, a spokesman for Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the Republic of Austria has decided to reopen its embassy in the Iraqi capital as of September of this year. 

On September 7, Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Fuad Hussein, met with France’s ambassador to Baghdad, Eric Chevalier, and discussed plans to hold the second meeting of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership with France’s support. Last year, Baghdad hosted leaders and top diplomats from nine nations to attend the first edition of the conference. Participants included Iraq’s immediate neighbors: Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as other regional states and organizations: Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. French President Emmanuel Macron, also attended. Addressing the conference, Prime Minister Kadhimi said Iraq aspired to become a “pillar of regional stability,” stressing that realizing this vision depended on “refusing to use Iraq as a battleground for regional or international conflicts.” Kadhimi also highlighted Iraq’s desire to expand economic ties and cooperation with all neighbors. At the time, President Macron described the meeting as “historic,” for Iraq’s regional role while President Joe Biden congratulated Iraqi leaders on hosting a “ground-breaking regional summit.”

On September 8, al-Mada reported that the Coordination Framework was making new efforts to convene parliament and resume the stalled government formation process, starting with the election of a new president. The report cites members of parties that are part of the Framework saying that they have so far collected the signatures of 180 lawmakers in support of the motion to reconvene the legislature. The number is smaller than the two thirds majority required to establish a quorum for the election of a new president, but the Framework members cited in the report expressed confidence that the Framework will “comfortably” have the numbers needed to elect a president. The sources, however, said the Framework would prefer to have the Sadrists be part of the new government formation.

Sources cited in this section include: al-Sumaria, Rudaw, ISHM archives, Iraq’s prime minister’s office, INA, Nas News, AP, al-Mada.


IEDs Target Security Forces As They Pursue ISIS Militants In Northern Provinces

On September 2, security sources in Diyala province said that a remnant of war exploded near civilians working in a scrap metal yard in the Gaziz area, near Diyala’s border with the Kurdistan region. The explosion wounded two civilians, a man and his son. 

On September 2, security sources in Basra said that unidentified militants placed an improvised explosive device (IED) outside the home of a civilian working for Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry in the al-Jamiyat neighborhood. The IED exploded causing material damage to the building but there were no reports of casualties. 

On September 3, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said the federal police forces killed an ISIS militant who attempted to attack security forces patrolling the Gheida region near the Daquq district of Kirkuk. On the following day, the ministry’s intelligence agency said that an airstrike by Iraqi F-16 jets killed three ISIS militants and destroyed their hideout in the Chayman region, near the al-Khas dam in Kirkuk province. To the east, a military spokesman said security forces killed two ISIS militants and destroyed tunnels used by the militants in the Himrin mountains in Salah ad-Din province. Later, on September 7, a military spokesman said that Iraqi counter-terrorism troops killed three more ISIS militants during a raid in the Makhoul mountains in Salah ad-Din province. To the southeast, a joint force killed another ISIS militant during operations in the Buhruz subdistrict of Baquba.

On September 3, security sources in Diyala province said that an IED explosion struck an Iraqi army patrol in the Buhruz subdistrict, southeast of Baquba. The explosion killed one soldier and injured three. On the same day, another IED explosion struck an Iraqi army patrol during search operations in the al-Safra region, north of the al-Udheim subdistrict. The explosion wounded two soldiers from the army’s 1st division. 

On September 4, security officials in Sulaymaniyah said that an unidentified militant clashed with security forces in the Qaradagh district, resulting in injuries among eight members of the security forces. A spokesman for the Sulaymaniyah security forces said the militant was killed after he refused to surrender. Officials said the militant was carrying several grenades and had plans to kill a large number of people.  

On September 5, security sources in Diyala province said that ISIS militants killed a sheep herder in a drive-by shooting in the Narin region, between Jalawla and Qara Tappa, northeast of Baquba. 

On September 5, an armed drone fired four rockets at fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Khleifan subdistrict of Erbil province, according to a statement by the Kurdistan region’s counter-terrorism service. The attack killed two PKK fighters and wounded two others, the statement added. 

On September 5, security sources in Kirkuk province said that an IED explosion struck an Iraqi army vehicle from the 8th division in the Wadi al-Shay region, near Daquq. The explosion caused minor injuries among three soldiers. Two days later, on September 7, a second IED explosion struck another army vehicle near Daquq, wounding two soldiers.

On September 5, security sources in Maysan province said that unidentified gunmen attacked three officers from the National Security Service while they were at a restaurant while traveling to the province from Baghdad. The attackers killed one of the officers and wounded the other two. 

On September 5, security sources in Baghdad said that a homemade IED exploded near a building belonging to an internet service provider in the al-Arasat neighborhood of central Baghdad. The explosion damaged the building’s fence without causing casualties. 

On September 8, security sources in Diyala said that an IED exploded on a farm in the al-Ghalibiyah region, southwest of Baquba, severely injuring one farmer. 

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


New Report Warns Of The Detrimental Impact Of Repeated Displacement On Thousands Of Children

On September 5, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that there were 638 new infections with COVID-19, two new fatalities, and 37,277 people received their vaccines during the period between August 28 – September 4. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,431,657 infections, 25,348 deaths, and 111,080,069 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period decreased to 91 per day, down from 188 per day during the 7-day period ending August 28. 

On September 6, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published an assessment of the psychological impact of repeated displacement on children, which found that a third of them have “developed fear for their safety and trauma.” The data illustrates the impact of displacement on nearly 1.2 million people who remain displaced, of whom more than 100,000 reside in informal sites with little, if any, protection or basic necessities like water and health care. According to NRC, children interviewed for the study described how fear for their own safety produced stress that prevented them from basic activities, including going to school. Girls who attend school “are particularly at risk,” the reports said, as those interviewed said harassment on their way to school forced them to discontinue their studies. NRC is urging the donor and INGO community to “prioritize psychosocial support, teacher training, and school infrastructure in informal settlements.” NRC also asked Iraqi authorities to work with aid partners to “adapt reintegration services for children in informal settlements,” and amke it easier for undocumented children to obtain missing civil documents.

On September 7, Iraqi officials said that Iraqi pilgrims were allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia using private vehicles for the first time in more than three decades. The pilgrims used the Arar border crossing, which Iraq and Saudi Arabia had agreed to reopen in November 2020.

Sources cited in this section include: NRC, Reliefweb, ISHM archives, Iraq’s Health Ministry, al-Sumaria.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from September 1, 2022 - September 8, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
9/2/22 Al-Jamiyat, Basra00
9/3/22 Buhruz, Diyala province13
9/3/22 Al-Safra, Diyala province02
9/5/22 Wadi al-Shay, Kirkuk province03
9/5/22 Al-Arasat, Baghdad00
9/7/22 Near Daquq, Kirkuk province02
9/8/22 Al-Ghalbiyah, Diyala01

 

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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