ISHM: August 4 - 10, 2017

Report
from Education for Peace in Iraq Center
Published on 10 Aug 2017 View Original

Key Takeaways:

  • Eastern Mosul “On the Mend,” Though Sporadic Attacks and Retribution Fears Linger – According to the UNHCR, approximately 840 thousand civilians remain displaced from greater Mosul, with many families returning back to displacement camps after attempting to return to their places of origin at least once. Increased costs of living, lack of economic opportunity, scarcity of basic goods and services, and fears of sporadic attacks are causing families to again flee their homes in favor of camps. According to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, “Eastern Mosul is a city that’s recovering. Conditions aren’t great, but it’s a city on the mend.” On August 7, the 9th Division of the Iraqi Army left Mosul in anticipation of operations to clear Tal Afar of ISIS militants, leaving security responsibilities in Mosul to local and Federal Police forces. Grande expressed concern for the protection of families in the region alleged to have ISIS affiliations, calling them “very, very, very vulnerable” to retribution attacks, detention, and summary execution. more…

  • Aid Agencies, Security Forces Shift Attention to Tal Afar – A spokesperson for the Joint Operations Command, Colonel Ahmed al-Jabouri, announced that operations to clear the city of Tal Afar of ISIS militants will begin “in the next few days.” Aid teams have been briefed by military planners regarding evacuation routes and muster points. On August 8, the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division arrived on the outskirts of Tal Afar and the U.S.-led international coalition established a military base nearby the following day. According to UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration, an estimated 10 to 40 thousand civilians are trapped in Tal Afar under ISIS captivity. more…

  • Iranian-Backed PMU Accuses U.S. of Attack, ISIS Claims Responsibility – On August 7, a rocket struck an Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Unit, the Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigade, garrisoned near At Tanf, Syria on the Iraqi-Syrian border. The attack killed 40 PMU fighters and wounded 85 others, including several members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps stationed with the PMU. The PMU accused the U.S. military of the attack, an allegation vehemently denied by a Pentagon spokesman. Two days later, ISIS officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but the PMU continues to blame the U.S. and the international coalition. Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki called for an urgent investigation into the strike, fueling speculation of U.S. involvement despite ISIS’s claim. more…

  • Changes to Election Law Met with Protests – Proposed changes to Iraq’s Election Law were introduced in Parliament this week, including changes to required qualifications of candidates and the distribution of Parliament seats based on vote tallies, party bloc affiliation, and representation quotas. Some of the proposed changes would make it easier for candidates to run for elected office, including lowering the mandatory minimum age for MPs from 30 to 25, and removing a requirement that MPs hold university degrees. Other changes consolidate power among larger, more established party blocs and these amendments were met with massive protests by influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Several smaller political blocs have boycotted the vote on the changes in Parliament. more…

  • Gorran Votes to Reconcile with KDP – On August 10, members of the Gorran (Movements for Change) Party’s governing council voted unanimously to negotiate and eventually reconcile differences with the Kurdish Democratic Party, stressing the need for national unity and the unification of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Gorran has withheld its endorsement of an impending September referendum on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s independence, over the party’s insistence that governing authority be restored to the Kurdish Parliament. Several national and international bodies and governments have pressed the Kurdistan Regional Government to delay the referendum, citing concerns of potential instability and infighting following the outcome. The participation of disputed territories in the vote, particularly Kirkuk Province, has also been controversial as Kirkuk Governor Najim al-Din Karim recently affirmed that Kirkuk will participate, while other local leaders rejected the idea. 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.