Iraq

Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor: March 10 - 17, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • Baghdad And Erbil Condemn Iranian Missile Attack While Militias Applaud It; Parliament To Meet On March 26 To Elect A New President -- On March 13, the Iraqi government called the Sunday Iranian missile attack on Erbil an "aggression...and a violation of international laws and norms," and demanded "clear and frank explanations" from Iran. Iraq's Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest the attack, while the KRG called the attack "cowardly," insisting that Iran's missiles struck civilian sites. President Barham Salih called the attack a "terrorist crime," adding that the timing was "suspicious," and appears aimed at obstructing the process of government formation. Meanwhile, three Iraqi militia groups backed by Iran (Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl anl-Haw, and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba) commended the Iranian missile strike, calling it a justified response to the KRG's alleged decision to host Israeli intelligence agents. On March 14, Iran's ambassador to Iraq claimed that the missile attack was targeting "Zionists and their spying centers," and was not meant to violate Iraqi sovereignty, arguing that its purpose was to avenge attacks on Iranians originating from Iraqi territory. On March 16, Speaker Halbousi announced that the legislature would convene on March 26 to elect a new president for the country from among 40 candidates who met the eligibility criteria. more...

  • Iran Attacks Erbil With Ballistic Missiles; IEDs And Remnants Of War Claim Six Lives -- On March 13, a dozen Fateh-110 ballistic missiles struck Erbil after 1 AM local time. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said targeted an alleged Israeli intelligence facility to avenge the killing of Iranians by an Israeli airstrike that allegedly originated from Iraqi territory. The missiles struck a residential villa owned an influential Kurdish businessman and the offices of a media network affiliated with the KRG prime minister without causing casualties. Between March 10 -- 15, the explosions of eight IEDs and four remnants of war killed six Iraqis and wounded at least six more. Remnants of war in Ninewa, Dhi-Qar, and Basra caused five of the fatalities. Half of the IEDs during this reporting period targeted military supply convoys in southern Iraq. In other developments, on March 10, Reuters reported that ISIS has selected a man named Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi as its new leader after its former chief was killed in Syria last month. Between March 10 -- 13, attacks by ISIS militants in Ninewa and Diyala killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded a third, while Iraqi security forces killed five ISIS militants in Kirkuk. On March 16, the police in Sinjar declared a nighttime curfew in the district. more...

  • COVID-19 Spread Continues To Slow Down -- On March 17, Iraq's Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,315,134, an increase of 3,896 from the 2,311,238 reported on March 10. Hospitalizations decreased from 24,026 to 19,206, and the daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 557/day from 735/day during the 7-day period ending March 10. Total vaccinations reached 10,201,271 including 38,986 who received their shots on March 17. In other developments, on March 15, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) inaugurated a new facility with the capacity to physical rehabilitation care to 6,000 people with disabilities each year, making it the largest of its kind in Iraq. The facility will benefit residents of the Kurdistan region, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Diyala, as well as refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). more...

  • Major Oil Field Resumes Production; New Deal To Import Electricity From Iran; Local Products Protections Suspended; Fuel Shortages Hit Several Provinces -- On March 11, Russian oil company Lukoil said that production resumed at the West Qurna-2 oil field in Basra, after a pause for maintenance and upgrades. On March 15, the Iraqi government approved a new deal to import electricity from Iran. The 5-year agreement is based on a supply rate of at least 1,000 megawatts at a price of $0.034 per kilowatt hour. On March 15, the Iraqi government suspended all prior decisions made to protect domestic products for a period of three months to allow more imports and address food shortages. On March 17, news reports said that several provinces were seeing gasoline shortages, as rising prices in the Kurdistan region spilled over into adjacent provinces, with Ninew and Kirkuk being the most affected. In other developments, on March 15, the federal government decided to send a new payment of IQD200 billion to aid the KRG in paying its civil servants. 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.