ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: SEPTEMBER 22 – 29, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • New Political Coalition Emerges; Sadrists Attempt To Storm Parliament As It Meets For The First Time Since July; Iraq, UN, U.S. Condemn Iranian Missile Strikes – On September 25, sources from the Coordination Framework said they finalized an agreement with the major Sunni and Kurdish blocs to form a new coalition called Idarat al-Dawla. Although KDP and PUK officials confirmed the news, sources within the Framework said that a formal declaration of the new coalition’s formation awaits new understandings with Muqtada al-Sadr, in order to avoid further escalation with him. On September 28, Iraq’s parliament met for the first time since late July, when supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the Green Zone and occupied the legislature’s building. During the meeting, parliament voted to reject the resignation that Speaker Halbousi had submitted two days earlier, which was seen by some as a stunt meant to demonstrate his indispensability to the Framework’s plan to form a government against Muqtada al-Sadr’s opposition. Parliament also elected Diyala representative Mohsin al-Mandalawi as the new first deputy speaker, replacing the resigned Sadrist Hakim al-Zamili. Meanwhile, Sadr’s supporters, who oppose the resumption of parliament meetings, attempted to storm the Green Zone again. They managed, using a bulldozer, to break through one set of security barriers on the Jumhouriyah bridge that leads to the Green Zone, but failed to breach the second barrier. Clashes between the two sides injured as many as 122 security personnel and 11 civilians. On September 28, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, the KRG, UNAMI, and U.S. State Department condemned Iranian missile and drone attacks on the Kurdistan region that killed 13 people and injured dozens. Iran claimed it targeted opposition bases fomenting “chaos” in Iran, referring to the anti-government protests that have swept dozens of Iranian cities. more…
  • Iranian Missiles And Drones Kill And Wound Dozens In Kurdistan; Rockets Strike The Green Zone As Parliament Reconvenes – On September 28, Iran’s military launched deadly attacks into the Kurdistan region targeting Kurdish Iranian opposition groups. Up to 70 Iranian missiles and explosive drones struck schools, party offices, clinics, homes, and a refugee camp, in the towns of Koy Sanjaq in Erbil, Zargawelah in Sulaymaniyah, and Altun Kupri in Kirkuk. Officials said the attacks left 13 killed and 58 injured, mostly civilians. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted to using Fateh-360 guided missiles and explosive drones in the attacks. On September 28, at least three Katyusha-type rockets struck inside the Green Zone while parliament was holding its first meeting in two months. The attack injured seven members of the security forces who were in the area. In other developments, on September 26, Iraq’s military activated a new long-range GM-403 air defense radar system made by Thales. The radar is the second of four units ordered by Iraq and has been deployed at Iraq’s 2nd air defense sector in Diwaniyah. Between September 24 – 29, the explosions of three IEDs and one remnant of war in Kirkuk, Diyala, and Ninewa, injured four members of the Iraqi federal police and three civilians, including a child. more…
  • KRG Oil Exports Down In Q2; New Major Refinery Begins Operations; Iraq Expects Driest Fall In 90 Years – On September 24, a new report by Deloitte about the Kurdistan region’s oil exports showed that the region sold a total of 37.6 million barrels during the second quarter of 2022, down from the 39 million barrels exported in the first quarter. On September 25, Iraq began pumping crude oil to the newly built Karbala refinery to commence trial operations at the 140,000 bpd facility. Ministry officials expect gasoline production from the new refinery, estimated at 9 million liters/day, to significantly reduce Iraq’s gasoline imports of 15 million liters/day. On September 27, Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry warned that an analysis of meteorological data points to a dry fall season with limited rainfall, predicting another season of drought that could be the worst “since 1930.” The ministry urged government agencies with high water demand to rationalize their consumption to help mitigate the deepening water shortage that threatens to ruin winter crops. 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.


New Political Coalition Emerges; Sadrists Attempt To Storm Parliament As It Meets For The First Time Since July; UN, Iraq, And U.S. React To Iranian Missile Strikes

On September 25, news reports citing sources from the Coordination Framework said the latter has finalized an agreement with the major Sunni and Kurdish blocs to form a new coalition called Idarat al-Dawla (the State Administration Coalition). According to Hikma movement official, Fadi al-Shammari, the new coalition includes the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Siyada and Azm coalitions, and the militia-backed Christian party Babylon. A KDP official confirmed his party’s involvement in the new coalition. The official added that the KDP’s conditions for joining Isarat al-Dawla focused on selecting a prime minister who wouldn’t antagonize the Kurdistan region and its budget entitlements. The official, Sherwan Doberdani, reiterated that the KDP remains determined to support Reber Ahmed as its candidate for the presidency. According to Rudaw, a PUK spokesman also confirmed that her party has signed the agreement to form the new coalition. But a member of the Nasr coalition, one of the smaller factions within the Framework, contradicted these statements, insisting that the discussions among the parties were yet to produce a formal agreement on the new coalition. Similarly, Shafaq reported that an unnamed source close to senior Framework figure Hadi al-Amiri, said that a formal declaration of the new coalition’s formation awaits new understandings with Muqtada al-Sadr, in order to avoid further escalation with his supporters. 

On September 27, news reports indicated that the Emtidad party had decided to dismiss four of its representatives in parliament from its ranks, and accepted the resignation of a fifth lawmaker from the party. A letter from Emtidad addressed to the speaker of parliament on September 26 says the four lawmakers in question were dismissed because they refused to sign a party document that governs the relationship between the party and its representatives in parliament.

On September 28, Iraq’s parliament met for the first time since late July, when supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the Green Zone and occupied the legislature’s building. During Wednesday’s meeting, which was attended by 240 lawmakers, parliament voted to reject the resignation that Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi had submitted two days earlier. The resignation was viewed by some as a stunt meant to demonstrate Halbousi’s indispensability to the Coordination Framework’s plan to form a government against Muqtada al-Sadr’s opposition. Out of 235 votes cast, 222 lawmakers rejected the resignation, and effectively renewed confidence in Halbousi. Only 13 voted to accept the resignation, including seven lawmakers from the Ishraqat Kanoon bloc. The Emtidad bloc and about a dozen independent lawmakers said they decided to boycott the meeting. On the eve of the anticipated meeting, news reports said that gunmen in several SUVs raided the homes of two lawmakers in Baghdad and Diwaniyah, and threatened them with violence if they were to attend the session. Parliament also elected Mohsin al-Mandalawi, with 203 votes, as the new first deputy speaker, replacing the resigned Sadrist Hakim al-Zamili. Mandalawi, a Fayli Kurdish representative from Diyala, was one of three candidates, who also included Yasir Hashim al-Husseini, and the independent Basim Khashan. Here is a suggested reading for more on Mandalawi’s background. 

On September 28, supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr attempted to storm the Green Zone again to demonstrate their opposition to the resumption of parliament meetings. Sadr’s followers managed to break through one set of barriers that security forces had erected on the Jumhouriyah bridge that leads to the Green Zone, but failed to breach the second barrier as security forces blocked their advance. Footage from the scene showed what appeared to be a convoy of Sadr’s followers escorting an armored bulldozer through Tahrir square towards the bridge to ram the security barricades. Clashes between the two sides, during which security forces used batons, tear gas, and fired in the air to disperse the protesters, injured as many as 122 security personnel and 11 civilians, but there were no reports of fatalities. On the same day, there were reports that Sadrist protesters also broke into the provincial government building in the southern city of Basra. 

On September 28, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms” the rocket, artillery, and drone attacks by Iran on four areas in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The ministry said the attacks, which killed 13 people and injured dozens (details below) represented a “dangerous development that threatens Iraq’s security and sovereignty.” The ministry said in a further statement that it summoned Iran’s ambassador to deliver a “strongly worded objection.” Similarly, the government of the Kurdistan region said it “strongly condemns” the attacks and “repeated violations” on its territory. The KRG said the bombardment, which targeted Iranian opposition groups, was “incorrect” under any pretexts.” 

On September 28, The UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) called the recent Iranian attacks on the Kurdistan region “reckless with devastating consequences” and said they must “cease immediately.” Washington condemned the attacks too, calling Iran’s use of ballistic missiles and drones “an unjustified violation of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The U.S. State Department also condemned Iran’s threat to launch “additional attacks against Iraq.” Meanwhile, a senior Iranian military commander said the attacks targeted opposition “bases” that he claimed played a big role in fomenting “chaos” in Iran, referring to the wave of anti-government protests that have swept dozens of Iranian cities. 

On September 28, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court rejected a case that was filed before the court earlier this month to challenge 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. Commenting on the ruling, the presiding judge on the Court said the case was rejected because it was not presented by the resigned lawmakers themselves by parties who legally had no connection to the matter.  

Sources cited in this section include: al-Sumaria, Rudaw, Shafaq, ISHM archives, Iraq’s parliament, Nas News, NINA, INA, al-Hurra, social media, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, UNAMI, the BBC.  


Iranian Missiles And Drones Kill And Wound Dozens In Kurdistan; Rockets Strike The Green Zone As Parliament Reconvenes

On September 23, Iraqi security forces said they killed an ISIS militant who was seen moving into the northern Jazeera region, coming out of a hideout northwest of the Rawa district of Anbar province. To the southeast, the commander of Baghdad operations said on September 24 that security forces killed two ISIS militants during search operations in the Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad. One Iraqi soldier was also killed, and an officer was injured during the operations. 

On September 23, security sources in Baghdad said that unidentified militants attacked a civilian home in the Hay Tariq neighborhood of east Baghdad with a hand grenade. The attack caused material damage to the building but there were no reports of casualties.  

On September 24, security sources in Kirkuk said that an improvised explosive device (IED) struck a federal police vehicle in the village of Gheeda in the Daquq district. The explosion injured a federal police officer and three other personnel.  

On September 24, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps opened artillery fire on suspected positions of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in the Sedikan subdistrict of Erbil province. The mayor of Sedikan said the Iranian shells struck near the villages of Horna, Bin-Briz and Bin-Rashkin as well as surrounding mountains, hitting farms and orchards, but did not cause casualties. Two days later, Rudaw reported that many villagers and animal herders abandoned the area because of the ongoing intermittent shelling, while schools in the three villages closed their doors.

On September 25, the Security Media Cell reported that Iraqi F-16 jets struck an ISIS hideout near lake Hirmin, where two militants were observed by military intelligence earlier. Iraqi army troops that raided the hideout after the airstrike found three dead ISIS militants inside. The troops clashed with a fourth militant who had survived the airstrike, killing him. The fighting also killed one soldier and injured two.  

On September 26, Iraq’s Defense Minister inaugurated a new long-range air defense radar system that Iraq had recently received from French manufacturer Thales. The new radar is the second GM-403 radar procured by Iraq, and has been deployed at Iraq’s 2nd air defense sector, located in the southern province of Diwaniyah. The minister, Juma Inad, said Iraq will receive two more units of the advanced surveillance radar by the first quarter of 2023.

On September 27, security sources in Diyala said that an unexploded remnant of war detonated in the village of Chaqchaq, near the district of al-Muqdadiyah, northeast of Baquba. The explosion injured a child who lost an eye in the incident. 

On September 28, the Iranian military launched new deadly attacks into the Kurdistan region targeting three Kurdish Iranian opposition groups. According to Kurdistan24, Iranian missiles and explosive drones struck buildings belonging to the KDP-I group in the Koy Sanjaq district of Erbil, the Komali group in the town of Zargawelah in Sulaymaniyah, and the Kurdistan Azadi group in the Altun Kupri subdistrict in Kirkuk. The health minister in the Kurdistan regional government said initial reports confirmed that nine people were killed and 32 were injured as a result of the Iranian strikes across the region. The minister, Saman Barzanji, said the toll was likely to increase as rescuers have been unable to reach some of the attacked locations. A subsequent statement by the Kurdistan counter-terrorism service raised the toll to 13 killed and 58 injured, most of whom civilians, as up to 70 missiles and drones hit public areas, including schools, clinics, and residential buildings. housing Iranian Kurdish dissidents. According to the UNHCR, missiles struck a refugee camp for Iranians in Koy Sanjaq, resulting in casualties, and UNICEF confirmed that at least two children were injured when a school was hit. A statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said that IRGC forces used Fateh-360 guided missiles and explosive drones launched from a base in Urmia in the attacks against the Kurdish opposition groups. The U.S. Central Command said its forces had shot down one of the Iranian drones (Mohajer-6 type) while en-route to Erbil. 

On September 28, security sources in Baghdad said that three Katyusha-type rockets struck inside the Green Zone. Footage on social media appeared to show individuals in civilian clothes, whose identity is unclear, firing the rockets from an unspecified location in central Baghdad. One of the rockets landed near the parliament building, while the legislature was holding its first meeting in two months. The Security Media Cell said the attack injured seven members of the security forces who were in the area. Unconfirmed reports said that a fourth rocket struck near the prime minister’s office complex later in the day, without indications of casualties.

On September 29, Ninewa police said that a legacy IED exploded in the village of al-Harmat, on the western outskirts of Mosul, injuring one civilian. To the southeast, another IED exploded in an orchard in the village of al-Dorieen in al-Abbara subdistrict, northeast of Baquba, seriously injuring a farmer. 

Sources cited in this section include: NINA, Shafaq, Rudaw, Kurdistan24, INA, al-Sumaria, al-Hurra, Iraq Ultra, Reliefweb, CENTCOM.


KRG Oil Exports Down In Q2; New Major Refinery Begins Operations; Iraq Expects Driest Fall In 90 Years

On September 24, a new report by Deloitte about the Kurdistan region’s oil exports showed that the region sold a total of just over 37.6 million barrels of oil during the second quarter of 2022, slightly less than the 39 million barrels exported in the first quarter. The sales generated gross revenue of $3.7 billion at an average price of $100.38 per barrel. Net revenue to the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) was $1.57 billion, after deducting payments to oil companies (at $1.63 billion), and pipeline tariffs and other export costs (at $584 million).  

On September 25, Iraq began pumping crude oil to the newly built Karbala refinery to commence trial operations at the 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) facility. The ministry’s deputy for refining affairs, Hamid Younis, said he expects the first stage of actual production to commence before the end of the year, with the second stage following during the first quarter of 2023. The official added that production from the second stage would cover a “large portion” of domestic demand for refined fuel, without specifying the processing capacities associated with each stage. Another ministry official said the expected gasoline production from the new refinery, at 9 million liters/day, would significantly reduce Iraq’s gasoline imports, which stand at 15 million liters/day.  

On September 25, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that there were 733 new infections with COVID-19, three new fatalities, and 37,024 people who received their vaccines during the period between September 19 – 25. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,459,982 infections, 25,355 deaths, and 11,162,756 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period increased to 105 per day, up from 47 per day during the 7-day period ending September 19. 

On September 27, Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry warned that an analysis of meteorological data points to a dry fall season with limited rainfall, predicting another season of drought that could be the worst “since 1930.” The ministry urged government agencies with high water demand to rationalize their consumption to help mitigate the deepening water shortage that threatens winter crops.. Specifically, the ministry asked the ministries of agriculture, construction and housing, municipalities and public works, the Baghdad municipality, as well as provincial governments and farmer unions to make a “serious effort” to rationalize their water use. 

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


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from September 22, 2022 - September 29, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
9/24/22 Near Daquq, Kirkuk province04
9/29/22 Al-Harmat, west of Mosul01
9/29/22 Al-Abbara subdistrict, Diyala province01

 

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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