- Militias Push To Prosecute Former PM; Sudani Appoints Militia-Affiliated Advisors, Cancels A Year’s Worth Of Kadhimi’s Decisions – On October 27, the Sadiqoun bloc in parliament, which represents the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, said it sent a letter to the speaker demanding that he instructs the Integrity Commission to obtain a court order to ban former PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi and his ministers from travel. The letter also demands placing an asset freeze on Kadhimi and his ministers. Sadiqoun’s effort is supported by Kataib Hezbollah, whose spokesman called for “doubling the efforts” to prosecute “Kadhimi and his spy team.” On October 28, Iraq’s new PM, Mohammed al-Sudani, officially assumed office during a handover ceremony in Baghdad. Upon taking office, Sudani appointed lieutenant general Abdul-Karim al-Sudani as secretary of the commander in chief, and Rabea Nadir, a journalist with Asaib Ahl al-Haq’s al-Ahad TV, as director of his press office. On November 1, Sudani decided to cancel all appointments of senior officials made by Kadhimi since October 8, 2021. The sweeping changes in senior government positions included the head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, the commander of the Special Division, the mayor of Baghdad, and four governors. Political sources say Sudani’s decision will impact an estimated 800 mid-level and senior government positions. In other developments, on November 1, President Abdul-Latif Rashid appeared to contradict the commitment made last week by PM Sudani to hold early elections within a year, saying there was no decision to hold early elections, arguing that “the political crisis is over.” more…
- Energy Police Chief Arrested As Iraq Says It Disrupted Major Oil Smuggling Network – On November 1, Iraq’s new Interior Minister appointed major general Ali Helayel as temporary chief of the country’s Energy Police after ordering the arrest of the force’s chief, major general Ghanim al-Ankoushi, and other senior Energy Police officers. The news was followed by an announcement by Iraq’s National Security Service that it dismantled a major crude oil smuggling network in Basra and arrested several senior officers allegedly involved in the criminal operation. ISHM could not confirm whether the two developments were related. In other developments, on October 28, an airstrike by a Turkish armed drone targeted a vehicle transporting PKK militants in the Sinjar district, killing two of them and wounding three. On October 29 – 30, the explosions of two IEDs in Ninewa and Kirkuk injured at least eight Iraqis, including children. Meanwhile, nine people were killed and at least 12 were injured on October 29 when a CO2 gas tanker exploded in northeast Baghdad. Authorities said the explosion was accidental. more…
- Iraq Suspends Returns From Al-Hol; Number Of Returnees Living In High Severity Conditions Increases – On November 2, Iraq’s new Minister of Migration and the Displaced issued instructions to suspend the repatriation of nearly 27,000 Iraqis from al-Hol camp in Syria until the ministry prepares a “new mechanism” for their return and reintegration, without providing more details. On November 3, the International Organization for Migration provided new data on the patterns of return among internally displaced persons to their home districts during the third quarter of 2022. The update shows that more than 598,578 returnees are living in “high severity” conditions relating to housing, livelihoods, basic services, security, and social cohesion. This represents an increase of more than 17,400 people experiencing sever conditions since the previous assessment, released in April. Another 1.96 million are experiencing “medium severity” conditions. In other developments, on November 3, there were protests in the al-Islah district of Dhi-Qar demanding that authorities provide water for the district after reduced water flow in nearby rivers forced the district’s water plant to shut down. more…
- Government Begins Preparing 2023 Budget; October Oil Revenue Topped $9 Billion – On October 31, Iraq’s Finance Ministry said it had begun preparing the federal budget bill for next year. A spokesperson said the ministry seeks to submit the draft bill to the Council of Ministers as soon as possible, adding that the bill will not include proposals to adjust the dinar’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar. A member of parliament’s finance committee said the budget is expected to be one of the largest in Iraq’s history, reaching between $120-$130 billion in size. On November 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports during October averaged 3.382 million bpd and generated $9.258 billion in revenue, almost $500 million above the $8.773 billion achieved in September. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of $88.31 per barrel. In other developments, on November 1, the Bank of Jordan announced that it has commenced its operations in Iraq with the opening of its first branch in Baghdad. 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 October 27, a member of the Sadiqoun bloc in parliament, which represents the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, said it had sent an official letter to the speaker of parliament, demanding that instructs the Integrity Commission to obtain a court order to ban former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and his cabinet members from travel. The letter, according to Sadiqoun lawmaker Uday Awad, also demands placing an asset freeze on Kadhimi and his ministers. Sadiqoun’s effort to prosecute Kadhimi is supported by the Kataib Hezbollah militia, whose spokesman issued a statement on November 3 calling for “doubling the efforts” to prosecute “Kadhimi and his spy team.”
On October 27, lawmaker Alaa al-Rikabi, the head of the Emtidad party, said that and his colleague, Falah al-Khazali, were physically assaulted and beaten by fellow lawmakers from the Coordination Framework and their guards assaulted. Rikabi also said his assailants, who he did not specify by name, also threatened to kill him, adding that security forces took him and his colleague into a secure room for their safety. According to a recorded video message by a visibly rattled Rikabi, the assault occurred at the entrance to the parliament building, as lawmakers were entering the building to vote on the cabinet of Mohammed Shya al-Sudani.
On October 28, Iraq’s new prime minister, Mohammed Shya al-Sudani, officially assumed office during a handover ceremony in Baghdad, which was attended by the former prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Upon taking office, Sudani appointed lieutenant general Abdul-Karim al-Sudani as secretary of the commander in chief, replacing lieutenant general Mohammed al-Bayati, who had served in this capacity under three successive prime ministers. Sudani also appointed Rabea Nadir as director of his press office. Nadir is a journalist who previously worked as news director at al-Ahad TV, a news channel that belongs to the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia. The new prime minister reportedly appointed Moayad al-Saidi as his office director. On his second day in office, Sudani met with the ambassadors of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. He also visited the integrity commission and joint operations command and had meetings with the president of the supreme judicial council and central bank governor.
On November 1, Iraq’s new prime minister, Mohammed Shya al-Sudani, chaired a meeting of his cabinet after which the government decided to cancel all appointments of senior officials made by the former cabinet after it became a caretaker administration on October 8, 2021. The sweeping changes in senior government positions included removing the head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, Raed Johi, relieving the commander of the Special Division, charged with Green Zone security, of duty, and removing the deputy minister for foreign affairs. The prime minister also removed the mayor of Baghdad and the governors of Salah ad-Din, Najaf, Dhi-Qar and Babylon from office (the Najaf governor was reinstated on November 3). Sudani also canceled the appointment of Othman al-Jiheishi as head of the Sunni endowment office. According to a report by al-Mada, citing unnamed Shia political sources, Sudani’s decision will vacate an estimated 800 mid-level and senior government positions.
On November 1, Iraqi President Abdul-Latif Rashid appeared to contradict the commitment voiced last week by Prime Minister Mohammed Shya al-Sudani to hold early elections within a year. Speaking from Algeria, where he was attending a meeting of the Arab League, Rashid said there was no decision to hold early elections, arguing that “the political crisis is over.” Earlier, a lawmaker from the Coordination Framework also questioned whether new elections would be necessary, saying the issue would depend on the level of public pressure and the performance of Sudani’s government. The lawmaker, Thair Mukhief, argued that if Sudani succeeds in his mission and wins the public’s approval, then his government may continue for a full four-year term.
On November 1, the Kurdistan Islamic Union party said it had submitted the resignations of its representatives in the Kurdistan region’s parliament. A spokesperson for the party, which has five seats in the 111-seat regional legislature, said the group made the decision to express its objection to the extension of the current parliament’s term and the indefinite postponement of elections, saying the party considers the extension illegal.
On November 3, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) reelected Masoud Barzani as its president during the party’s 14th conference. The KDP also elected Nechirvan Barzani and Masrour Barzani as first and second deputy presidents of the party. According to Rudaw, the party also decided to add 25 new members to its leadership council.
Sources cited in this section include: NINA, al-Sumaria, Shafaq, Iraqi prime minister’s office, ISHM archives, INA, 1001 Iraqi Thoughts, Nas News, al-Monitor, al-Mada, al-Mirbad, Rudaw.
On October 27, Iraq’s counter-terrorism service said its troops conducted a successful ambush operation in which they killed the top ISIS militant in the al-Waqf region of Diyala province.
On October 28, the counter-terrorism service of the Kurdistan region said that an airstrike by a Turkish armed drone targeted a vehicle transporting militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Sinjar district, west of Mosul. The airstrike killed two PKK members and wounded three others.
On October 28, Najaf police said that unidentified gunmen opened fire from silenced weapons at a civil society activist near the 1920 Revolution Square in central Najaf. The police sources said the targeted activist, Yacoub al-Fatlawi, was not harmed in the attempted assassination.
On October 29, security sources in Baghdad said that nine people were killed and at least 12 were injured when a gas tanker carrying CO2 used in beverage making exploded in the al-Binoog neighborhood of northeast Baghdad. Reports indicate the casualties were caused by parts of the tanker that were thrust into nearby homes and a soccer field by the force of the explosion. The Security Media Cell said On October 31 that investigations showed that the explosion was accidental and resulted from a mechanical failure that caused the tanker to rupture.
On October 29, security sources in Ninewa said that a legacy improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the al-Qadisiyah neighborhood of the Tal-Afar district, west of Mosul. The explosion wounded two civilians, according to the sources.
On October 30, security sources in Kirkuk said that an IED exploded outside an apartment building in the northern parts of the city and injured six civilians, including several children. Other reports said the explosion was caused by a grenade that was tossed from a moving vehicle, noting that security forces arrested the driver.
On November 1, Iraq’s new interior minister, Abdul-Amir al-Shamari, appointed a new temporary chief for the country’s energy police force. News reports said the temporary chief, major general Ali Helayel, will take over the force after the minister ordered the arrest of the former chief, major general Ghanim al-Ankoushi. Other reports said Shamari also ordered the arrest of the officer in charge of the South Oil police.
On November 2, Iraq’s National Security Service said it dismantled “the largest” crude oil smuggling network in Basra and arrested several senior officers involved in the criminal operation. A government spokesman said the network smuggled an estimated 5-7 tankers on a daily basis, each carrying 50,000 liters, for a monthly average of 7.5 million liters of fuel. ISHM cannot confirm whether the November 1 arrests mentioned above were related.
On October 31, the commander in chief, prime minister Mohammed Shya al-Sudani, appointed lieutenant general Qais Khalaf al-Mohammadawi as deputy chief of Joint Operations Command. Mohammadawi will replace lieutenant general Abdul-Amir al-Shamari who joined Sudani’s cabinet as minister of interior.
Sources cited in this section include: INA, al-Sumaria, Shafaq, NINA, Rudaw, AP.
On October 31, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that there were 237 new infections with COVID-19, zero new fatalities, and 29,894 people who received their vaccines during the period between October 24 – 30. Cumulatively, the ministry reported 2,461,484 infections, 25,358 deaths, and 11,251,115 vaccinations. The average number of new cases during the last 7-day reporting period increased to 34 per day, up from 27 per day during the previous reporting period.
On November 2, Iraq’s new minister of migration and the displaced, Ivan Faeq, issued instructions to suspend the repatriation of Iraqis who are at the al-Hol camp in Syria until the ministry prepares a “new mechanism” for their return and reintegration. There are nearly 27,000 Iraqis at al-Hol, making up half of al-Hol’s occupants. Many of these are women and children with perceived ties to ISIS. The Iraqi government has been repatriating roughly 125-150 households each month, a pace that is considered too slow, as it would take several years to bring all the Iraqis at al-Hol back to Iraq.
On November 3, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided new data on the patterns of return among internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their home districts during the third quarter of 2022. The update shows that a total of 20,700 individuals returned to their districts since March 2022, bringing the total returnee population to 4,976,286 individuals. The update, based on a survey of 2,191 locations across eight provinces, estimates that more than 598,578 people (representing 12% of the returnee population) are living in what qualifies as “high severity” conditions, which represents an increase of more than 17,400 people since the previous assessment, released in April. The survey also found that 2.4 million (48% of the total) live in “low severity” conditions, and the remaining 1.96 million (40%) were experiencing “medium severity” conditions. Most of the returnees living in high severity areas are located in Ninewa (256,584), Salah ad-Din (210,822), followed by Anbar (84,810), and Diyala (38,034). Severity is measured using 16 indicators covering various conditions relating to housing, livelihoods, basic services, security, and social cohesion.
On November 3, al-Mirbad reported new protests in the al-Islah district of Dhi-Qar province demanding that authorities provide water for the district which has been badly affected by drought. Demonstrators said that reduced water flow caused the river that supplies the district’s water plant to go dry, shutting down water supplies to residents.
Sources cited in this section include: Nas News, NINA, ISHM archives, Reliefweb, al-Mirbad.
On October 31, a spokesperson for Iraq’s Ministry of Finance said the ministry has begun preparing the federal budget bill for the year 2023. The spokesperson said the ministry seeks to submit the draft bill to the Council of Ministers as soon as possible, without offering a specific timeline, adding that the bill will not include proposals to adjust the dinar’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar. Lawmaker Jamal Kojar, a member of parliament’s finance committee, said the budget is expected to be one of the largest in the country’s history, reaching between $120-$130 billion in size, possibly including up to $60 billion in investment spending.
On November 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports during October totaled 104.831 million barrels, for an average of 3.382 million barrels per day (bpd), approximately 90,000 bpd higher than in September. The October exports generated $9.258 billion in revenue, almost $500 million higher than the $8.773 billion achieved in September. Iraq sold its crude oil at an average price of approximately $88.31 per barrel, about $0.5 below previous month’s average of $88.83 per barrel. Shipped exports from fields in southern and central Iraq averaged 3.292 million bpd in October, a figure that Basra Oil officials hailed as a new record. Meanwhile, average exports from the northern fields in Kirkuk, which were exported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, averaged slightly more than 77,900 bpd. Exports by tanker trucks to Jordan averaged 11,000 bpd in October.
On November 1, Nas News reported multiple large demonstrations in Baghdad organized by temporary contract workers demanding permanent staff positions in government institutions. According to the report, demonstrators included temporary contractors demanding full time jobs in the Ministry of Electricity, part time lecturers asking for permanent positions in the Ministry of Higher Education, and day laborers seeking full time jobs in the municipality of Baghdad.
On November 1, the Bank of Jordan announced that it has commenced its operations in Iraq with the opening of its first branch in the capital, Baghdad. Established in 1960, the Bank of Jordan is considered the second largest financial institution in Jordan, operating more than 100 branches across Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
Sources cited in this section include: Iraq’s Oil Ministry, ISHM archives, al-Mirbad, Shafaq, Rudaw, Nas News.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
Casualties Due To IEDs from October 27, 2022 - November 3, 2022
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.