Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: August 11 – 18, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • Judiciary Rejects Sadr’s Demand To Dissolve Parliament; Finance Minister Allawi Resigns; Sadr Dismisses Calls For Dialogue Even As Rivals Show Flexibility On Early Elections – On August 14, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said it lacks the authority to dissolve parliament after Muqtada al-Sadr demanded its intervention to dissolve the legislature within a week. On August 16, Iraq’s Finance Minister, Ali Allawi, submitted his resignation to PM Kadhimi to protest the political deadlock that has gripped the country since last year’s election. Kadhimi accepted the resignation and appointed his Oil Minister as acting Finance Minister. On August 17, Kadhimi convened a meeting of Iraq’s political leaders to discuss possible solutions to the country’s deepening political deadlock. The discussions, boycotted by Muqtada al-Sadr, produced an agreement on five points, most notably: to work in good faith to resolve the crisis and preserve the constitutional system; that early elections can be an option when political crises reach a dead-end; to invite the Sadrists to join the dialogue to devise mechanisms for a solution; and to end “all forms of escalation.” A senior aide to Sadr dismissed the meeting’s outcomes as useless. In other developments, on August 16, Sadr said he decided to postpone a mass demonstration initially planned for Saturday August 21 until further notice, citing plots by his rivals to provoke “civil war.” [more..](

  • Lawmaker Says Sadr’s Militia Planned To Assassinate Him; Bombings Target The Power Grid – On August 14, independent lawmaker Basim Khashan claimed he was assaulted by armed members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam militia in Diwaniyah province. Khashan, who represents Muthanna province, said the militiamen, armed with machine guns, intercepted his vehicle in an attempt to “assassinate or cause serious harm.” Between August 13 – 18, the explosions of five IEDs in Kirkuk, Diyala, Ninewa, and Salah ad-Din wounded eight Iraqis and destroyed a high-voltage transmission power between Salah ad-Din and Kirkuk. Security forces also defused more bombs that were planted under another transmission line in the area. In other developments, on August 15, a young man died and two others were wounded when armed protesters seeking employment clashed with the guards at the Akri Bijeel oil field east of Erbil. [more…]

  • More Iraqis Return Home From Al-Hol Camp – On August 12, Ninewa police said that Iraqi security forces escorted 150 households of Iraqis with perceived ties to ISIS from the al-Hol camp in Syria across the border to the Jedaa IDP camp in Ninewa. The group included 620 returnees, mostly women and children, and is part of 500 households Iraq plans to repatriate this year. In other developments, on August 14, Iraq’s Health Ministry shifted to providing weekly, instead of daily, updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. During the August 8 – 14 reporting period, there were 3,035 new infections and 12 deaths, and 41,766 people received their vaccines. The average number of new cases during the last reporting period dropped to 434 per day, compared to 1,289 per day during the 7-day period ending August 4. [more…]

  • Currency Reserves Recover To Pre-ISIS Levels; Corruption, Neglect Ground Most Of Iraqi Airways Planes – On August 11, Iraq’s Central Bank said its foreign currency reserves increased to $82 billion, the level they were at before the beginning of the 2014-2017 war with ISIS. This figure is up from $70 billion in April, suggesting that high oil prices allowed Iraq to add $4 billion/month to reserves during the last three months. On August 18, a correspondence between Iraq’s Transport Minister and the country’s national carrier, Iraqi Airways, pointed to serious deficiencies in the company’s aircraft maintenance programs. The letter, sent by the minister on August 15, accused the airlines of incompetence and corruption, resulting in 20 of its 31 aircraft being inoperable. In other developments, on August 16, Iraq’s Integrity Commission said that a committee formed in 2019 to recover government real estate lost since 2003 has so far succeeded in returning 1,376 properties to government ownership out of 10,393 properties identified as illegally taken over by violators. [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.