Iraq + 1 more

ISHM 226: October 17 - October 24, 2019

News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • Bina, KRG Defend A Beleaguered Abdul-Mahdi; New Protests Expected Oct 25; Iraq Says U.S. Forces Redeployed From Syria Must Leave; Investigation Of Violence Against Protesters Misses Key Questions – On October 20, the Bina coalition and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reaffirmed their support for PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who faces mounting pressure from popular protests, the Najaf clergy, and former political partners. Bina leader Hadi al-Ameri blamed Iraq’s problems on the previous government of former PM Abadi and on “plots” by the U.S. and Israel, while the Speaker of the KRG Parliament stated ousting Abdul-Mahdi was not in KRG interest. On October 20, Sadr encouraged his supporters to participate in new anti-government protests, expected to resume on October 25, while activists and protest organizers appeared wary of Sadr’s attempt to identify with their so far independent movement. On October 23, the U.S. Secretary of Defense met his Iraqi counterpart to discuss the redeployment of U.S. troops recently withdrawn from Syria into Iraq. The Iraqi minister said the force has four weeks to leave Iraq. On October 22, the committee investigating the recent deaths of demonstrators released its findings in a report that overlooked important questions about the root causes of the abuses. The report acknowledged the use of excessive force and recommended the sacking of several security officials, but failed to hold militias and senior political leaderships accountable for the violence. more…

  • Iraq Closes Border Crossings With Syria; Several IEDs Strike Kirkuk; Division Commander Killed in ISIS Attack; String Of Assassinations Strikes Diyala Town – On October 18, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration said that Baghdad has closed border crossings with Syria to prevent potential infiltration by ISIS militants. On October 19, an IED injured a civilian in Kirkuk’s Taza region. On October 19, an IED injured a policeman south of Kirkuk city. On October 21, an IED injured two civilians in central Kirkuk, and another IED exploded in Kirkuk city without causing injuries. On October 23, an IED killed three civilians and injured a fourth in Riyadh, west of Kirkuk. On October 24, an IED killed two civilians and injured two others in the Khazir area, northwest of Kirkuk. On October 22, ISIS militants killed the commander of the 4th division in the Iraqi federal police, another senior officer, and four members of their security detail while on a reconnaissance mission in Salah ad-Din. Also in Salah ad-Din, a complex ISIS attack near the Allas oil field killed at least two ISF members and injured three more. On October 24, over the course of several hours, unidentified gunmen assassinated three local officials and at least one other civilian in the Abu Saida subdistrict in Diyala. Earlier, on October 19, local sources in Diyala reported that 20 families from a village near Khanaqin have abandoned the area due to growing ISIS activity. more…

  • Amnesty Calls On Baghdad To Stop Abuses Against Activists; More than 7,100 Syrian Refugees Cross Into Iraq; UNAMI Report Says Government Forces Committed Serious Human Rights Violations – On October 18, Amnesty International called on Iraq’s government to end its series of violations against activists, particularly forced disappearances. On October 22, the UN High Commission for Refugees announced that over 7,100 Syrian refugees have arrived in Iraq since October 14 to escape the Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurds in northeast Syria. On October 22, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released a report covering the major human rights violations committed by ISF during the recent protests. UNAMI’s report argued that ISF had violated “the right to life, the right to liberty and security of persons, as well as the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.” On October 23, the Ministry of Displacement said that 317 Iraqi refugees have returned to Iraq from Turkey under the free return initiative sponsored by the International Organization for Migration. On October 23, the director of the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCCC) said the KRG had requested financial and humanitarian aid from donor countries, UN agencies, and other humanitarian organizations to cope with the new influx of Syrian refugees. more…

  • Ministries Attempt To Create New Jobs; Iraq Extends Cooperation Agreement With Norway; Iraq And World Bank Sign Memorandum On Economic, Financial Reforms – On October 19, in an attempt to address demands for jobs, Iraqi officials said that the Ministry of Defense will hire 3,000-4,000 college graduates, while the Ministry of Oil said it will create 450 new positions for graduates of engineering and natural science colleges. On October 21, Iraq and Norway signed a three year extension of the Oil for Development program, which aims at creating a fair legal structure for crude oil production in Iraq and ensuring transparency in state-run oil projects. On October 22, Iraq’s Minister of Finance signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank to establish a framework for future long-term partnership focusing on financial sector reforms, better economic governance and attracting foreign investments. 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.