ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: OCTOBER 6 – 13, 2022

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Key Takeaways:

  • After Elected President, Rashid Tasks Sudani With Forming A New Government – On October 13, Iraq’s parliament elected Abdul-Latif Rashid, a former minister with PUK ties but backed by the KDP, as the country’s next president in a runoff election in which he defeated the incumbent Barham Salih. After an inconclusive first round, Rashid eventually won with 162 votes in the decisive second round, beating Salih, who received 99. After getting sworn in, Rashid announced Mohammed Shya al-Sudani as the new PM designate. Sudani, the candidate of the Coordination Framework, said he would present his proposed cabinet “as soon as possible.” Rashid’s election marks the first time since 2006 in which the Iraqi president is not presented and endorsed by the PUK. The KDP managed to rally support for Rashid after it withdrew its initial and more controversial candidate, Reber Ahmed, from the race. In other developments, on October 11, Iraq’s parliament decided to terminate the appointment of the Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael, as acting finance minister. The decision cited conflict of interest and transparency issues arising from the finance ministry’s role in overseeing the revenue collected by the oil ministry. more…
  • Rockets Strike Gas Fields And The Green Zone Ahead Of Key Parliament Meeting – On October 12, an attack with eight rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in the Chemchemal district, causing minor material damage and no impact on gas production. On October 13, nine rockets struck areas in and around the Green Zone in Baghdad, injuring three members of the security forces and causing damage to vehicles and buildings. The attack occurred while Iraqi lawmakers were preparing to hold a critical parliamentary session to elect a new president. In other developments, between October 6 – 13, the explosions of eight IEDs and two remnants of war in Dhi-Qar, Babylon, Basra, Baghdad, Erbil, and Anbar, killed five people and injured at least 19. The rare deadly IED in KDP-dominated Erbil, which killed a counter-terrorism officer, was allegedly perpetrated by a rival security agency from the PUK-dominated Sulaymaniyah. On October 9, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reportedly suspended its attacks against Iranian Kurdish opposition groups inside Iraq’s Kurdistan region. more…
  • The Number Of People Displaced By Drought In Southern Iraq Tripled Since March – On October 10, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published new data on the scale of climate-induced displacement affecting communities in southern Iraq. The data shows that as of mid-September, more than 62,700 individuals (comprising 10,464 families) were experiencing displacement from their areas due to water shortages impacting ten provinces. The new data indicate that the number of individuals displaced by water scarcity has tripled since March, when the number stood at 20,000. Almost a third of the displaced families (3,387) are from Dhi-Qar province, followed by Maysan (2,912 families), Diwaniyah (1,438 families) and Muthanna (1,131 families). In other developments, on October 10, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that between October 3 – 10 there were 670 new infections with COVID-19, a single new fatality, and 29,486 people who received their vaccines. Average new cases remained stable at 96 per day. 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.


After Elected President, Rashid Tasks Sudani With Forming A New Government

On October 11, Iraq’s parliament decided to terminate the appointment of Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael, as acting finance minister. A document detailing parliament’s decision cited conflict of interest and transparency requirements related to the finance ministry’s role in overseeing the revenue collected by the oil ministry. Parliament’s decision said that any actions that Ismael takes as acting finance minister will be deemed illegal. The legislature also required Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to appoint another member of his cabinet to take on the responsibilities of the finance minister. Last month, parliament had filed a case before the Federal Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Ismael as acting finance minister. The case argued that the oil minister cannot also serve as finance minister when the latter is entrusted with oversight over revenue generated by the former. 

On October 11, Iraqi judiciary sources said Nouri al-Maliki appeared in court after he was summoned for questioning in connection with leaked audio recordings in which Maliki allegedly made violent threats against Muqtada al-Sadr. The judge in charge reportedly released Maliki on bail pending further investigation and trial. Shortly after the recordings were leaked in July, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said that the Karkh investigation court in Baghdad received a request that was presented to the prosecutor general to look into the recordings and take the appropriate legal measures. The Council did not reveal the identity of the individual or entity that submitted the request at the time.

On October 11, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that a Diyala court summoned the head of one of the religious endowment offices for questioning in connection with the embezzlement of IQD1.82 billion from funds allocated to assist displaced persons in the province. The Commission said that local endowment officials testified that their superior used lists of fake payee names to embezzle the funds. The Commission did not reveal the identity of the official targeted by the investigation. On the following day, the Commission also said that a Baghdad court summoned a former chairman of the Salah ad-Din provincial council in connection with his suspected embezzlement of IQD8.2 billion that was allocated to pay bonuses to government employees.  

On October 13, Fuad Hussein, the chief negotiator of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), announced that his party had decided to withdraw the nomination of its presidential candidate Reber Ahmed. Hussein added that the KDP and “most other Kurdish and Iraqi parties” would vote for former minister Abdul-Latif Rashid instead. The KDP said it made the decision in order to end the political impasse after negotiations with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) failed to cement a tentative agreement on supporting Rashid as a compromise candidate. A day earlier, there was news of an agreement between the two parties to withdraw their respective presidential candidates, Reber Ahmed and the incumbent Barham Salih, and jointly endorse Abdul-Latif Rashid as a compromise. Reports of the deal came after a visit by a high-level political delegation comprising Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and senior Coordination Framework figures, including Falih al-Fayadh and Mohammed Shya al-Sudani, to Erbil for talks with KDP leader Masoud Barzani. The PUK, however, reaffirmed its support for Barham Salih as its official presidential candidate. 

On October 13, Iraq’s parliament elected Kurdish politician and former minister Abdul-Latif Rashid as the country’s next president in a runoff election in which he competed with the incumbent Barham Salih. Abdul-Latif Rashid came first in the first round of voting, winning 157 votes out of 277. His competitor, the incumbent Barham Salih, won 99 votes. Since neither candidate won the required two thirds majority, parliament held a runoff election to determine the winner based on who got the most votes between the two frontrunners. The runoff election commenced with 269 lawmakers present, after the New Generation bloc walked out of the session. Rashid, 78, eventually won with 162 the votes in the second round, beating Salih, who once again got 99 votes. The vote took place amid tight security and bridge closures around the Green Zone, and the meeting took place despite a salvo of nine rockets that peppered the area around the legislature’s complex on Thursday morning. After getting sworn in, Rashid announced Mohammed Shya al-Sudani as the new prime minister designate. Sudani, who was nominated by the Coordination Framework, said he would present his proposed cabinet “as soon as possible.” The election of Rashid, an independent with former PUK affiliation, marks the first time since 2006 that the Iraqi president is not presented and endorsed by the PUK.

Sources cited in this section include: INA, ISHM archives, al-Hurra, al-Sumaria, PUKMedia, Rudaw, Kurdistan24, NAS News.


Rockets Strike Gas Fields And The Green Zone Ahead Of Key Parliament Meeting

On October 6, Dhi-Qar police said that an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated outside a house in the Ur subdistrict, east of Nasiriyah, killing one of the building’s residents. 

On October 6, the Security Media Cell reported that an Iraqi airstrike killed three ISIS militants when it hit their hideout in the Wadi Zghaytoun area in the southern parts of Kirkuk. One of the killed militants served as the ISIS deputy commander in the area. Later, on October 10, the Cell said that Iraqi ground forces from the army’s 5th division killed two ISIS militants and freed a kidnap victim during operations in an unspecified location in Anbar province. 

On October 7, a bomb exploded under a vehicle in the Park 32 neighborhood of Erbil, killing its driver and injuring four other people, including two children, according to the Kurdistan region’s counter-terrorism service. The governor of Erbil said the victim was, Hawkar Abdullah, a colonel in the counter-terrorism force of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) assigned to the Kurdistan region’s security council. A statement by the KDP-affiliated Kurdistan region’s security council, accompanied by a video showing “confessions” by suspects arrested in connection with the bombing, said the perpetrators were acting on orders from the head of PUK’s counter-terrorism force, Wahab Halabjaiy.

On October 7, Babylon police said that a roadside IED exploded near a restaurant in the al-Musayab district, north of Hilla, injuring two civilians. To the south, security sources said that a remnant of war exploded in the town of al-Zubair, south of Basra, killing a woman. 

On October 8, local sources in Duhok said that an attack with three rockets targeted a Turkish military base at Zelikan, northeast of Mosul. The rockets reportedly missed their target and struck outside a nearby village. An obscure group called “Liwa Ahrar al-Iraq” claimed responsibility for the attack. 

On October 9, Rudaw reported, citing Iranian news agencies, that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) suspended its offensive operations against Iranian Kurdish opposition groups inside the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The reported suspension came with a warning that it was contingent on local authorities taking action to curtail the activities by these opposition groups. During the past two weeks, the IRGC had launched artillery fire, missiles, and armed drones in a series of attacks that killed at least 13 people and injured dozens more across the Kurdistan region. 

On October 10, security sources in Baghdad said that a homemade IED exploded outside a bank in the Suleikh neighborhood in north Baghdad. The explosion caused material damage to the building. On the following day, another small IED exploded outside a house in the Zayouna neighborhood in east Baghdad. There were no reports of casualties in either incident.  

On October 11, the media organization of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said that an IED explosion injured two of its crew members and a PMF fighter while covering PMF operations near the Syrian border in the western parts of Anbar province. 

On October 12, security sources in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, said that a roadside IED exploded in the district, hitting a civilian vehicle and injuring four people. When security forces arrived at the scene, a second IED detonated, injuring four members of the security forces.

On October 12, the Kurdistan region’s ministry of natural resources said that an attack with eight Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in the Chemchemal district. According to the ministry’s deputy, Ahmed al-Mufti, the rockets left minor material damage and no casualties. The official added that gas production was not affected by the attack.  

On October 13, security sources in Dhi-Qar province said that remnants of war exploded near sheep herders in the Tel al-Laham area south of Nasiriyah. The explosion killed two people and seriously injured two more. 

On October 13, the Security Media Cell said that nine rockets struck areas in and around the Green Zone in Baghdad, injuring three members of the security forces and causing damage to vehicles and buildings. The attack occurred while Iraqi lawmakers were preparing to hold a critical parliamentary session to elect a new president, more than a year after the Iraqi election in October 2021. The incident reportedly delayed the meeting, which eventually commenced with 269 representatives (more than two thirds) in attendance.   

Sources cited in this section include: NINA, Shafaq, Rudaw, INA, ISHM archives, AP, Kurdistan24. 


The Number Of People Displaced By Drought In Southern Iraq Tripled Since March

On October 9, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said it lost 2,500 megawatts of power due to loss of natural gas supplies from Iran. According to the ministry, Iran will be conducting maintenance work on the gas export pipeline for several days between October 10 – 15, which affects gas volumes reaching Iraq’s power plants. Last week, the pipeline suffered a leak that briefly disrupted exports to Iraq. 

On October 10, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published new data on the scale of climate-induced displacement affecting communities in southern Iraq. The data shows that as of mid-September, more than 62,700 individuals (comprising 10,464 families) were experiencing displacement from their areas due to water shortages impacting ten provinces. Of these families, nearly four in ten were in displacement within their home districts. Most of the displaced (more than 7 in 10) had relocated to urban areas because water scarcity and high salinity undermined agriculture and overall livelihoods. Almost a third of the displaced families (3,387) are from Dhi-Qar province, followed by Maysan (2,912 families), Diwaniyah (1,438 families) and Muthanna (1,131 families). The worst affected district is al-Shatra in Dhi-Qar province, which reported 2,162 families displaced. The new data indicate that the number of individuals displaced by water scarcity has tripled since March, when the number stood at 20,000. 

On October 10, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that there were 670 new infections with COVID-19, a single new fatality, and 29,486 people who received their vaccines during the period between October 3 – 10. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,460,868 infections, 25,357 deaths, and 11,195,396 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period remained stable at 96 per day.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs from October 6, 2022 - October 13, 2022

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
10/6/22 Ur subdistrict, Dhi-Qar province10
10/7/22 Park 32, Erbil14
10/7/22 Al-Musayab, Babylon province02
10/10/22 Suleikh, Baghdad00
10/11/22 Zayounah, Baghdad00
10/11/22 Anbar province, near the Syrian border03
10/12/22 Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad08

 

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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