- PM Kadhimi Appoints New Acting Finance Minister; Sudani To Present His Cabinet Next Week – On October 15, PM Kadhimi’s cabinet agreed to terminate the appointment of Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael as acting finance minister and tasked State Minister Hiyam Nimat with the finance portfolio until the new government is formed. On October 18, the State Administration Alliance, comprising the parties supporting PM designate Mohammed al-Sudani, said it intends to call a parliament meeting on Saturday to vote on Sudani’s cabinet. But political sources said Sudani may need more time to finalize his cabinet picks, potentially delaying a vote until the end of next week. Earlier this week, a spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr condemned Sudani’s nomination, saying his government will be one of “militias and subservience [to Iran].” Sadr banned anyone affiliated with him directly or indirectly from joining the new government. In other developments, on October 15, a group of opposition political parties announced the formation of a new coalition called the Democratic Change Forces, and called on the international community to discontinue its support for the system of ethno-sectarian power sharing. more…
- New Airstrike Hits Sinjar; Bombs Target Kurdish Security Forces And Turkish Interests In Sulaymaniyah – On October 18, a Turkish drone strike targeted a vehicle in the Sinjar district, killing one person and injuring two. On October 19, a lieutenant in the Kurdistan region’s special forces was killed and eight other members of the force were injured when their unit was struck by “multiple” IEDs while conducting anti-ISIS operations in the Garmyan region. On October 20, a sticky bomb explosion injured two Turkish individuals working at a Turkish “security and relations” office in Sulaymaniyah. In other developments, on October 18, a remnant of war exploded near playing children in the village of al-Adiliyah, west of Kirkuk, killing one and injuring two. On October 19, unidentified gunmen attacked the worksite of a development company building a housing project in Nasiriyah with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. more…
- A New Batch Of Al-Hol Residents Return To Iraq – On October 18, Iraqi officials said a group of 154 households of Iraqis with perceived ties to ISIS were scheduled to arrive that day from the al-Hol camp in Syria. The returnees will spend time at he Jedaa IDP camp in Ninewa to undergo security checks and “rehabilitation” before returning to their home districts. Nearly 27,000 Iraqis remain at al-Hol in Syria. In other developments, on October 17, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that, between October 10 – 16, there were 193 new infections with COVID-19, a single new fatality, and 31,891 people who received their vaccines. This week, the ministry began offering a fourth dose (2nd booster) of the COVID-19 vaccine. more…
- Iraq Investigates The Theft Of $2.5 Billion From Government Accounts; Flights Commence From Kirkuk’s New Airport – On October 15, Iraq’s oil minister and former acting finance minister revealed that approximately $2.5 billion of tax money was stolen from the tax commission’s account at the state-owned Rafidain Bank. A tax commission document leaked to the press says the funds were stolen between September 9, 2021 and August 11, 2022 through 247 checks that were cashed by five private shell companies. Iraq’s judiciary said an anti-corruption court has been investigating the reports about a powerful embezzlement network since late August, and had issued arrest warrants for a number of suspects. On October 16, Iraq’s Transportation Minister announced the opening of a new international airport in Kirkuk. The airport saw its first civilian commercial flight on October 20, which carried passengers from Baghdad. News of the airport’s opening met with objections from Iraqi Kurdish officials, who said they would not allow the airport to operate. 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.
PM Kadhimi Appoints New Acting Finance Minister; Sudani To Present His Cabinet Next Week
On October 13, the U.S. Department of State welcomed the election of Abdul-Latif Rashid as Iraq’s new president and the nomination of Mohammed Shya al-Sudani as prime minister designate, calling on all political parties to “refrain from violence.” On the following day, after meeting with Sudani, U.S. ambassador to Baghdad Alina Romanowski said she welcomed Sudani’s “pledge to fight corruption,” and to form a government that defends Iraq’s sovereignty and provides services. The ambassador said that Washington was “committed to supporting and partnering” with Sudani’s new government towards achieving these “shared goals.”
On October 15, a spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr condemned the emerging government of prime minister designate, Mohammed Shya al-Sudani, as a government of “militias and subservience [to Iran]” that will not meet the expectations of the people. The Sadrist spokesman known as Mohammed Salih al-Iraqi stressed that Sadr refuses to have anyone affiliated with him directly or indirectly become part of this government, vowing to “disown” anyone who violates this ban.
On October 15, a group of opposition political parties called on the international community to discontinue its support for the current political system based on muhasasa, the ethno-sectarian power sharing that has dominated Iraqi politics since 2003. The statement came at the conclusion of a large conference in Baghdad that was organized by protestor support and anti-establishment groups, including al-Bayt al-Watani, al-Bayt al-Iraqi, the Iraqi Communist Party, the Tishreen Democratic Movement, Nzil Akhoth Haqi, and the Democratic Trend. The participants agreed to form a coalition under the title: the Democratic Change Forces.
On October 15, Prime Minister Kadhimi’s cabinet agreed to terminate the appointment of Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael as acting finance minister and tasked State Minister Hiyam Nimat with the finance portfolio until the new government is formed. Last week, parliament issued a resolution to terminate Ismael’s appointment as acting finance minister citing conflict of interest and transparency requirements related to the finance ministry’s role in overseeing the revenue collected by the oil ministry.
On October 16, Iraq’s newly elected president, Abdul-Latif Rashid, officially assumed office in a ceremony at the al-Salam palace in Baghdad. Former president Barham Salih was notably absent at the event. Although both Rashid and Barham Salih from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the two competed for the office, and Rashid, who secured the backing of other political parties, won in a runoff election on October 13.
On October 18, the State Administration Alliance, comprising the parties taking the lead on government formation, announced that it intends to call a parliament meeting on Saturday, October 22 to vote on the incoming cabinet of prime minister designate Mohammed Shya al-Sudani. The announcement came after a meeting among the parties that make up the Alliance: the Coordination Framework, the two major Kurdish parties, along with Siyada, Azm, and Babylon. But sources from the Fatah coalition, a core faction within the Framework, said Sudani may need more time to finalize his cabinet picks, potentially delaying a vote until the end of next week. Sudani, who was named prime minister designate last week, is expected to present a complete cabinet for parliament to vote on.
On October 18, news reports said that the Huqooq bloc in parliament, which is affiliated with the Kataib Hezbollah militia, sent a letter to an anti-corruption court in Baghdad demanding it places a travel ban on Prime Minister Kadhimi, his chief of staff, and the financial director of the prime minister’s office. The letter accused Kadhimi and his staff of embezzling IQD70 billion from public funds through his office. A Federal Supreme Court document shows that the Court has ordered to freeze all further funds earmarked for the prime minister’s office until the case is settled. The news coincided with threats made by another militia, Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, to put the outgoing prime minister behind bars.
On October 18, al-Mada reported that there were fresh protests in the southern city of Nasiriyah after authorities arrested more than 20 activists accused of burning the local government building during recent protests marking the anniversary of the 2019 October protests. Protests and tension in the city continued for a third day after a student was seriously injured by bullets fired by security forces to disperse the demonstrations.
Sources cited in this section include: INA, Nas News, social media, al-Mirbad, NINA, ISHM archives, Kurdistan24, al-Mada, Shafaq.
New Airstrike Hits Sinjar; Bombs Target Kurdish Security Forces And Turkish Interests In Sulaymaniyah
On October 15, security sources in Baghdad said that two people were killed and a third person was injured when unidentified militants attacked a house with hand grenades in the Ur neighborhood in north Baghdad. On the same day, a small bomb exploded at a liquor store on Abu Nawas street in central Baghdad without causing casualties. Another attack with grenades targeted a house in al-Kamaliyah, in east Baghdad, wounding two people and damaging the building.
On October 15, Iraq’s Ministry of Health said its hospitals and clinics were treating “dozens” of people injured with stray bullets each day across the country, calling on authorities to enforce the law on violators who fire weapons into the air at celebrations or tribal conflicts. A ministry official said stray bullets present a big challenge to the ministry, as many of the victims have head and neck injuries that require complex surgical interventions.
On October 16, local officials in the Sedikan subdistrict of Erbil said that Turkish artillery fire struck a village in the Baradost region, and injured a local woman who was hit with shrapnel.
On October 18, Kirkuk police said that a remnant of war exploded near playing children in the village of al-Adiliyah in the Yayji subdistrict, west of Kirkuk. The explosion killed one of the children and injured two others.
On October 18, security sources in Diyala said that three mortar rounds struck in the perimeter of a private college in west Baquba. The mortar attack did not result in casualties or serious damage.
On October 18, security sources in Ninewa said that an airstrike targeted a vehicle in the al-Shuhada neighborhood of the Sinjar district. The attack, which the sources believe was conducted by drones, killed one person and injured two.
On October 19, PUKMedia reported that a lieutenant in the Kurdistan region’s special forces was killed and eight other members of the force were injured when their unit was struck by multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The special forces fighters were conducting anti-ISIS security operations in the Pulkhana and Zenanah areas of the Garmyan region. The injured included Akam Omar, the commander of the “Commando” special forces.
On October 19, security sources in Dhi-Qar said that unidentified gunmen attacked the worksite of a development company building a housing project in Nasiriyah with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. There were no reports of casualties in the attack.
On October 20, security sources in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, said that ISIS militants attacked Iraqi army troops in the area, killing one soldier and wounded two.
On October 20, sources in Sulaymaniyah said that a sticky bomb exploded under the vehicle of Turkish individuals working at a Turkish “security and relations” office in the Ashti neighborhood of the city. Initial reports said the explosion wounded two of the vehicle’s occupants.
Sources cited in this section include: NINA, INA, al-Sumaria, Shafaq, Rudaw, Nas News, PUKMedia.
A New Batch Of Al-Hol Residents Return To Iraq
On October 17, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that there were 193 new infections with COVID-19, a single new fatality, and 31,891 people who received their vaccines during the period between October 10 – 16. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,461,061 infections, 25,358 deaths, and 11,213,264 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period dropped to 18 per day from 96 per day during the previous reporting period. This week, the ministry began offering a fourth dose (2nd booster) of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to spokesman Saif al-Badr.
On October 18, a Ninewa representative in parliament said that 154 households of Iraqis with perceived ties to ISIS were scheduled to arrive that day from the al-Hol camp in Syria. Iraqi authorities plan to bring the returnees to the Jedaa camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ninewa to undergo security checks and “rehabilitation” before returning to their home districts. Last month, the chief of the U.S. Central Command general Michael Corella, said 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.
Sources cited in this section include: Nas News, Rudaw, ISHM archives.
Iraq Investigates The Theft Of $2.5 Billion From Government Accounts; Flights Commence From Kirkuk’s New Airport
On October 15, Iraq’s oil minister and former acting finance minister, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismael, revealed that approximately $2.5 billion of tax money was stolen from the tax commission’s account at the state-owned Rafidain Bank. Ismael said that in September, he had ordered an investigation into the massive theft of IQD3.7 trillion, and handed the results of that investigation to the relevant authorities before leaving his post. A tax commission document leaked to the press says the funds were stolen over a period of almost a year, between September 9, 2021 and August 11, 2022 through 247 checks that were cashed by five private companies. The companies are thought to be shell companies, with three of them having been formed two months before the scheme began. The head of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UANMI) urged the international community to help Iraq investigate the crime, retrieve the stolen funds, and hold the culprits accountable. Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said an anti-corruption court in Baghdad has been investigating the reports about a powerful embezzlement network since late August, and had issued arrest warrants for a number of suspects. A further statement by the judiciary on October 18 said a Baghdad court has also summoned the director general of the tax commission and several of his aides for questioning in connection with the theft. The statement said the Karkh investigation court also issued arrest warrants targeting the owners of the companies that withdrew the funds and froze the companies’ accounts.
On October 16, Iraq’s Transportation Minister, Nasir al-Shibli, announced the opening of a new international airport in Kirkuk. Shibli, who arrived at the airport aboard the special presidential aircraft, said the new facility would start running flights to and from Iraq right away. On October 20, the airport saw its first civilian commercial flight, carrying passengers from Baghdad to Kirkuk. According to Iraqi Airways officials, the airport will operate international flights to six cities in Turkey and Saudi Arabia as a first stage. News of the airport’s opening met with objections from Iraqi Kurdish officials. On October 17, the deputy speaker of parliament, Shakhwan Abdullah, said the Kurdish parties would not allow the airport to operate, citing allegations of corruption in its management. Abdullah, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) also argued that the airport was not “technically ready.”The timing of the airport’s opening is politically sensitive, as it coincided with the anniversary of the ouster of the Peshmerga from Kirkuk by government forces following the independence referendum of September 2017.
On October 17, Iraq’s Oil Ministry signed an agreement with Chinese oil company CNOOC to conduct two dimensional seismic studies of the onshore section of the “Gulf Block,” a prospective hydrocarbon exploration zone that includes onshore and offshore sections. According to a statement by the ministry, the studies will be performed jointly between CNOOC and Iraq’s state-owned Oil Exploration Company.
On October 18, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity opened a new power plant at Akkaz, near the border with Syria in Anbar province. The new gas-fired power plant was designed to generate 250 megawatts of electricity.
Sources cited in this section include: Rudaw, Iraq’s Oil Ministry, Iraq’s Electricity Ministry, Nas News, Shafaq, al-Hurra, al-Sumaria, social media, The National.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from October 13, 2022 - October 20, 2022
|10/15/22||Abu Nawas, Baghdad||0||0|
|10/19/22||Near Pulkhana, Garmyan||1||8|
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.
Subscribe to our weekly ISHM and have the latest developments in Iraq sent straight to your inbox every Thursday and follow EPIC on Twitter to receive updates throughout the week.