Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: 16 – 30 June 2022 – Iraq

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  • Parliament swears in 64 new deputies; Divided coordination framework on government formation; Kadhimi visits Saudi Arabia and Iran – On June 23, the Iraqi parliament convened an extraordinary session in which 64 new MPs were sworn in to replace MPs loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr who had resigned on June 12. On June 24, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazali said it was difficult to form a stable government without the Sadrists and called for “a political agreement on the resumption of elections” as part of a new law and a new electoral commission. Khazali’s position is at odds with that of Nouri al-Maliki, who wants to lead the formation of the government regardless of Sadr’s participation. According to press reports, Maliki has every interest in becoming prime minister again and believes that the risks of Sadr’s exclusion are exaggerated. On June 25-26, Prime Minister Kadhimi traveled to Saudi Arabia and Iran, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and President Ibrahim Raisi to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments. Kadhimi’s office said the talks focused on “efforts to establish peace and calm in the region”. Speaking from Tehran, Kadhimi said he and Raisi had agreed to support a truce in Yemen, while an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Kadhimi had told Riyadh was “ready to resume talks at the diplomatic level in Baghdad”. On June 24, politician Salah ad-Din Ahmed al-Jubouri (aka Abu Mazin) said he and his party had left President Halbousi’s Siyada coalition and joined their former parent bloc, the Azm coalition. After…

  • Rockets target key gas field in Kurdistan; Iraqi T-50 jets take off; ARK will enforce gun control– Between June 22 and 25, five Katyusha-type rockets targeted the Khor-Mor gas field in Sulaymaniyah three times. The attacks, which originated from within the Kurdistan region, did not disrupt operations or production at the field, which is a vital source of fuel for power plants, but prompted the operator, Dana Gas, to to halt a field expansion project. The attacks came shortly after two rockets fired from Bashiqa targeted peshmerga forces in Shaikhan. On June 22, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said the air force’s T-50 jets made their first flight that day from an air base in Baghdad. The aircraft had been grounded since its arrival in 2017 due to financial issues that delayed contracts for essential maintenance, logistics and training services. On June 30, after a series of high-profile gun killings, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani ordered his Interior Ministry to close “all places selling weapons” and confiscate “any weapons unlicensed”. In other developments, on June 17, a Turkish armed drone struck a vehicle carrying a PKK militant in Kalar, more than 250 km from the Turkish border, killing four people. On June 19, Iraqi airstrikes killed “Abu Mansoor”, the self-styled Wali of Anbar, and three of his associates. Between June 18 and 28, explosions of seven IEDs in Diyala, Baghdad, Nineveh, Basra and Babylon injured at least seven Iraqis. On June 23, the Defense and Peshmerga Ministries reached an agreement under which the Defense Ministry will provide training to the Peshmerga forces and allow residents of the Kurdistan region to enroll in the military academy and the Ministry of Defence’s staff college. After…

  • Cholera outbreak confirmed; A new project aims to build resilience to climate change; Iraq in a new wave of the spread of COVID-19 – On June 19, the Iraqi Health Ministry said laboratory tests had confirmed 13 cases of cholera in Sulaymaniyah, Muthanna and Kirkuk. The results confirmed the suspected outbreak, first reported in Sulaymaniyah, where large numbers of people fell ill with relevant symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting. In response to the outbreak, the WHO sent “an urgent shipment of medicines and medical supplies” to help local health authorities deal with the situation. On June 29, the UNDP announced that it had launched a new project funded by the UK and Canada to help Iraq accelerate its response to climate change. Catalytic Climate Action Iraq is a partnership with the Ministry of Environment designed to strengthen Iraq’s ability to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change by “managing natural resources, developing renewable resources and increasing resilience to climate-induced hazards”. On June 30, the Iraqi Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 2,348,662, an increase of 17,514 from the 2,331,148 reported on June 16. Hospitalizations increased by more than 580%, from 2,146 to 12,516, and the daily average of new cases. jumped to 1,251/day in the last 14 day period. The number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 10,860,930 including 13,125 who received their vaccines on June 30. As the spread accelerated, the ministry warned that surging infections and hospitalizations indicated Iraq was in a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry urged Iraqis to get vaccinated and resume preventive measures at individual and community levels. After…

  • Iraq cracks down on smuggling due to fuel shortages; Oil Service Companies Respond to Baghdad ‘Blacklist’ Threat – On June 26, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said Prime Minister Kadhimi had ordered a new crackdown on fuel smugglers, as the country faces widespread fuel shortages. As of June 29, raids in several provinces have resulted in 42 arrests, the recovery of 700,000 liters of contraband fuel and the punishment of eight complicit gas stations. Iraq’s oil ministry attributed the shortage to a price differential between the Kurdistan region and adjacent provinces, which created new incentives for smuggling. On June 27, Schlumberger told the Iraqi Oil Ministry that he would comply with the February 15 ruling of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court and subsequent letters sent by the Iraqi national oil company regarding operations in the Kurdistan region. Schlumberger agreed to refrain from competing for future contracts in Kurdistan and said it “will make every effort to resolve issues regarding ongoing contracts.” Baker Hughes and Halliburton made similar pledges. In other developments, on June 20, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said the Basra Gas Company had exported its inaugural shipment of “semi-refrigerated liquids”. [petroleum] gas” from the port of Umm Qasr. On June 28, the Central Bank of Iraq said it had decided to increase the funding available for private sector development initiatives to IQD 18 trillion. After…

  • For more information on most of the institutions, key players, political parties and places mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.

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