- Halbousi And Barzani Ignore Sadr’s Call To Withdraw From Parliament; Coordination Framework Makes New Push To Form Government – On September 11, Masoud Barzani, Mohammed al-Halbousi, and Khamis al-Khanjar said that the current parliament must be able to function until a new election could be held and emphasized that early elections should take place under a new government “that has full powers and the confidence of everyone.” The statement came a few days after Muqtada al-Sadr had called on his allies to “delegitimize parliament and dissolve it immediately.” The Coordination Framework lauded the statements by the KDP and Sunni leaders, adding that it would “do everything possible…to guarantee everyone’s participation [in the future government].” On September 13, a member of the Fatah coalition, the leading party in the Framework, said that parliament may reconvene next week after the conclusion of the Arbaeen pilgrimage, expecting a new government to be formed by early October. The Fatah member claimed the Framework reached a new understanding with the KDP and Siyada coalition, adding that the Framework now plans to dispatch a delegation to Najaf to reach similar understandings with the Sadrists. In other developments, on September 13, parliament filed a case before the Federal Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael as acting Finance Minister. more…
- Turkey Strikes New PKK Targets Near Sinjar; PMF Cracks Down On “Deviant” Religious Groups – On September 11, Turkish armed drones struck a vehicle used by PKK fighters near the villages of Para and Bahrava, north of Sinjar, killing two PKK members. Meanwhile, Turkey said that four of its soldiers were killed in clashes with PKK fighters in an unspecified location of northern Iraq. On September 15, the PMF commission said that its forces arrested 44 individuals who are members of “deviant religious groups” across seven different provinces. The PMF statement accused the detainees of spreading pamphlets attacking traditional religious practices and senior clerics. In other developments, between September 10 – 15, the explosions of five IEDs in Salah ad-Din, Baghdad, and Ninewa injured eight Iraqis, including at least one child. Between September 10 – 14, Iraqi security forces killed at least 14 ISIS militants during operations in Diyala and Ninewa. more…
- CENTCOM Calls For Expediting The Return And Reintegration Of Al-Hol Residents; Civil Documentation Crisis Continues To Impact A Million People – On September 12, the chief of the U.S. Central Command called for expedited efforts to return and reintegrate thousands of displaced persons with perceived ties to ISIS from al-Hol camp in Syria to their home countries. The commander said the rate at which Iraq has been repatriating it nationals (125-150 households/month) was too slow and could take four years to complete the process. On September 14, a report by seven international aid organizations shed light on the challenges facing nearly one million people displaced by the war with ISIS who remain without civil documentation. The report warns that IDPs and returnees missing critical documents, like house deeds, marriage licenses, and birth certificates, face “continued risk of exclusion from key public services,” including healthcare and education. In other developments, on September 12, the WFP said the Korean government will provide $1 million to help farmers in southern Iraq deal with excessive salinization of water and soil by providing access to “climate-smart agricultural practices such as solar-powered water pumps and hydroponics.” more…
- Banks Report Growth In Financial Inclusion; TotalEnergies Exits Kurdistan Oil Field – On September 11, the association of private banks in Iraq said that the level of financial inclusion in the country has increased to 33.5% in 2022, a 49% increase from 2020, when it was estimated to be at 22.5%. The increase is attributed to central bank policies supporting digitization, the expansion of direct deposits for government employees, and the opening of new branches and ATMs. On September 15, French energy giant TotalEnergies said it has sold its 18% share of the Kurdistan region’s Sarsang oil field to ShaMaran Petroleum for $155 million. In other developments, on September 14, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that it will obtain three modern ships equipped to provide logistical support and advanced maintenance operations on the country’s offshore oil export installations. The first of the three vessels has recently entered service, while the other two are expected within the next six months. 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 September 11, Shafaq reported, citing informed political sources, that Turkey’s intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, visited Baghdad for three meetings with Prime Minister Kadhimi, Sunni politician Khamis al-Khanjar, and Falih al-Fayadh, the chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) commission. According to the unnamed sources, Fidan discussed his country’s war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), water disputes between Iraq and Turkey, and a possible delivery of Turkish military equipment to Iraq. The intelligence chief also reportedly discussed the possibility of Turkey mediating between rival political groups in Iraq to resolve the 11 month long political deadlock.
On September 11, Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), said that the current parliament must be able to function until a new election could be held. Barzani made the statement after a meeting in Erbil with the leaders of the Siyada coalition, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and Khamis al-Khanjar. Barzani’s office said the KDP and Siyada leaders also emphasized the need for early elections that should take place according to constitutional frameworks and after the formation of a new government “that has full powers and the confidence of everyone.” The Sunni and Kurdish leaders also expressed their readiness to help the other parties (meaning Muqtada al-Sadr and his rivals in the Coordination Framework) reach common ground. On the following day, Khanjar confirmed the statement, saying that Siyada supports “free and fair early elections, under a strong government acceptable to all parties,” adding that his coalition’s goal was to “formulate a vision agreeable to everyone without any one side prevailing over the others.” The statements in favor of reconvening parliament and forming a government came a few days after Sadr had called on his Sunni and Kurdish allies to resign to “delegitimize parliament and dissolve it immediately.”
On September 12, the Coordination Framework lauded the statements made on the previous day by the KDP and Siyada coalition leaders concerning the formation of a government with full powers. In a statement, the Framework said it “greatly appreciates the patriotic and constitutional views” expressed by the KDP and Siyada after their meeting in Erbil regarding early elections, adding that it would “do everything possible to expedite the preparation of favorable conditions to guarantee everyone’s participation [in the future government].” Earlier, Nouri al-Maliki, who’s a senior figure in the Framework, had stressed that there would be no early elections unless parliament reconvenes and a new, fully empowered government is formed.
On September 13, a member of the Fatah coalition, the leading party in the Coordination Framework, said that parliament may reconvene next week after the conclusion of the Arbaeen pilgrimage, expecting a new government to be formed by early October. Another Framework representative from the State of Law coalition, Thaer Mukhief, said that Speaker Halbousi has been handed a letter endorsed by 180 members of parliament demanding that he sets a date for the legislature’s next meeting. The Fatah member, Ali a-Zubaidi, pointed to a newly achieved understanding between the Framework and the KDP and Siyada coalition following “a long marathon of talks.” The Framework now plans to dispatch a delegation to Najaf “within the next few days” to reach similar understandings with the Sadrists, Zubaidi added. In related remarks, a member of the State of Law coalition, another Framework faction, said the Framework remains committed to nominating Mohammed Shya al-Sudai to be the next prime minister when parliament reconvenes. Meanwhile, the head of the KDP bloc in parliament, Vyan Dakhiel, said on September 14 that a committee has been formed by her party, unnamed Shi parties, the Siyada coalition, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to start drafting a program for the anticipated new government.
On September 13, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said that ambassador Alina Romanowski convened a meeting of representatives from 11 other embassies and international organizations to “focus our efforts on increasing trade and investment in Iraq.” The embassy said the meeting was part of its mission to support economic reforms in Iraq and a “strong private sector that creates more Iraqi jobs.” Afterwards, in a rather unusual move by a U.S. envoy, ambassador Romanowski toured a shopping mall in Baghdad, where she visited franchises of American businesses and talked to civilians about jobs and investments.
On September 13, Rudaw reported that parliament had filed a case before the Federal Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael as acting Finance Minister. The case, according to lawmaker Nermin Marouf of the parliamentary finance committee, argues that the Oil Minister cannot also serve as Finance Minister when the latter is entrusted with oversight over revenue generated by the former. Prime Minister Kadhimi had appointed Ismail as acting Finance Minister on August 16 following the resignation of Finance Minister Ali Allawi.
Sources cited in this section include: Shafaq, Rudaw, ISHM archives, al-Sumaria, U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Nas News, NINA.
On September 10, security sources in Salah ad-Din province said that an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated targeting Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) fighters in the al-Sayniyah region of the province. The explosion injured four PMF fighters.
On September 10, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) said that Iraqi aircraft and ground forces killed a total of 11 ISIS militants during airstrikes and operations against two ISIS hideouts in the Anbar desert and near lake Himrin in Diyala. On September 14, Ninewa police said that security forces killed three other ISIS militants during clashes south of Mosul. The fighting in al-Hadhar district in southern Ninewa also injured four PMF fighters from the PMF 44th brigade. Finally, on September 15, Iraqi army helicopters struck and destroyed a building in western Ninewa where three ISIS militants were spotted hiding.
On September 11, the counterterrorism service of the Kurdistan region said that armed drones of the Turkish military attacked a vehicle used by fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the villages of Para and Bahrava, north of Sinjar. The airstrike killed two PKK members and seriously injured a third. On the following day, Turkey said that four of its soldiers were killed in clashes with PKK fighters in an unspecified location of northern Iraq.
On September 13, security sources in Baghdad said that a homemade IED exploded at a car showroom in the al-Nahdha neighborhood of east Baghdad. The explosion caused minor material damage but there were no reports of casualties. On the following day, another IED exploded near shops in the Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, injuring three people. A day later, on September 15, a similar IED exploded near shops in the al-Dura district of south Baghdad without leaving casualties. To the north, NInewa police said that a legacy IED exploded near a rubble yard in Mosul, causing severe injuries to a six year old child.
On September 15, the PMF commission said that its forces arrested 44 individuals who are members of “deviant religious groups.” The commission said the arrests were made across seven different provinces: Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Babylon, and Diyala. The PMF statement said it captured pamphlets and publications containing material attacking religious rites and marjiyas (senior clergy), and “threatening social peace and the security of the Arbaeen pilgrimage.”
Sources cited in this section include: INA, Shafaq, NINA, Daily Sabah, al-Sumaria.
On September 12, the chief of the U.S. Central Command, general Michael Corella called for more expedited efforts to return and reintegrate thousands of displaced persons with perceived ties to ISIS from the al-Hol camp in Syria to their home countries. The commander said that dealing with the conditions and future of these people, who are mostly women and children, requires a sympathetic eye, stressing that there’s no military solution to this situation. The American general noted that the rate at which the Iraqi government has been repatriating al-Hol residents (roughly 125-150 households each month) was too slow, as it would take several years to return the nearly 27,000 Iraqis who make up half of al-Hol’s occupants.
On September 12, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that there were 413 new infections with COVID-19, three new fatalities, and 42,562 people received their vaccines during the period between September 4 – 12. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,458,932 infections, 25,351 deaths, and 11,131,108 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period decreased to 59 per day, down from 91 per day during the 7-day period ending September 4.
On September 12, the UN World Food Program (WFP) said that the government of Korea will provide $1 million to support “improving sustainable agricultural production” in areas dealing with excessive salinization of water sources in Iraq’s southern provinces. According to the WFP statement, the funds will help up to 4,000 farmers with small land holdings to adapt to water scarcity and higher salinity levels in water and soil and employ “climate-smart agricultural practices such as solar-powered water pumps and hydroponics.” Iraq is one of the most affected countries by climate change. Extreme temperatures and reduced river flows have caused severe water shortages and increased salinity, threatening farmlands and animal life on which large parts of southern communities depend for their livelihoods, forcing thousands to migrate and seek jobs elsewhere.
On September 14, seven international aid organizations published a report that sheds light on the challenges facing nearly one million displaced people who remain without official civil documentation, five years after the liberation of territory once occupied by ISIS. The report warns that those internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees who haven’t been able to replace lost or destroyed critical basic documents, such as house deeds, marriage licenses, and birth certificates, among others, face “continued risk of exclusion from key public services, including access to healthcare and education.” The report lists “bureaucratic and administrative barriers, a lack of capacity within the Civil Affairs Directorates… and security clearance requirements” due to perceived affiliation with ISIS among the factors preventing these IDPs and returnees from obtaining these essential documents. For instance, less than half of the Civil Affairs Directorate offices in Ninewa have resumed operations since the war. The report urges the Iraqi government and the donor and aid community to do more to ensure that affected people get the documents they need and protect the most vulnerable among them from exposure to security risks and harassment as they travel to obtain those documents.
Sources cited in this section include: Nas News, Al-Hurra, ISHM archives, ReliefWeb.
On September 11, the association of private banks in Iraq said that the level of financial inclusion in the country has increased to 33.5% in 2022. This represents a 49% increase from 2020, when financial inclusion was estimated to be at 22.5%. The chief executive of the association attributed the increase to central bank policies supporting the digitization of operations, expansion of direct deposits for government employees, and the opening of new branches and ATMs. According to the World Bank, financial inclusion means “that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.”
On September 14, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that it will obtain three ships equipped with modern equipment and technology to perform service and advanced maintenance operations on the country’s offshore oil export installations, including the single point moorings (SPMs). Hamid Younis, a senior official in Iraq’s National Oil Company (INOC), said the first of the three vessels, Abu al-Fadhl, has recently entered service, and is tasked with providing maintenance and dealing with oil spills. A second ship, Safwan, is scheduled to arrive at Iraqi ports within days, will be supporting the main export platform and SPM maintenance operations, fight fires, process waste water from offshore facilities, and generate emergency power. The third and largest ship, Shanashil, is expected to enter service next March. This ship will be capable of performing major maintenance works and provide offshore lodging for crews.
On September 15, French energy giant TotalEnergies said it has sold its share of the Kurdistan region’s Sarsang oil field to ShaMaran Petroleum, a Canadian energy company that also owns interest in Kurdistan’s Atrush oil field. TotalEnergies sold its 18% stake for an immediate sum of $155 million and $15 million in future contingent payments.
Sources cited in this section include: Shafaq, World Bank, INA, TotalEnergies, ShaMaran Petroleum.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from September 8, 2022 - September 15, 2022
|9/10/22||Al-Sayniyah, Salah ad-Din province||0||4|
|9/13/22||Al-Nahdha, east Baghdad||0||0|
|9/14/22||Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad||0||3|
|9/14/22||Al-Dura, south Baghdad||0||0|
|9/15/22||Unspecified location, Mosul||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.