Iraq + 1 more

ISHM 228: October 24 - October 31, 2019

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Key Takeaways:

  • At Least 100 Killed In Violence Against Anti-Government Protesters; Pressure Mounts On Abdul-Mahdi To Resign; President Salih Pushes Electroal Reforms – On October 25, anti-government protests resumed, with thousands of Iraqis taking to the streets in Baghdad, Nasiriya, Basra, Samawa, and other cities to express frustration with poor services, corruption, unemployment, and foreign interference. Militias and Iraqi security forces (ISF) used violence, inclding tear gas, rubber bullets, sound bombs and even live fire to disrupt the protests. Reports indicate that at least 100 Iraqis have been killed and roughly 5,500 injured since October 25. On October 26, Moqtada al-Sadr increased the political pressure on Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi with a demand for his resignation and a call for early elections under UN supervision. Sadr’s followers in parlaiment joined the al-Hikma and Nasr blocs to form a joint opposition alliance against the prime minister. On October 28, former prime minister Haider al-Abadi called for Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation and for establishing an interim government to prepare for early elections. On October 26, Parliament initiated a series of measures in response to continuing pressure from protests. The measures included a vote to dissolve the provincial, district, and sub-district councils, a special committee to present recommendations for constitutional amendments, and a voted to eliminate financial benefits allocated to senior government officials. On October 31, President Barham Salih announced in a televised statement that he supports the demands of the protests, acknowledging that “the current status quo is no longer sustainable,” and calling for the passage of a new electoral law to pave the way for early elections. more…

  • U.S. Raid In Syria Kills ISIS Leader; Militant Attacks Focus On Diyala; Mortar Attacks Strike Near U.S. Embassy, Major Military Base – On October 26, the U.S. Army Delta Forces raided a compound near Idlib city in Syria, resulting in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Syrian Kurds and Iraqi intelligence organizations played important roles in identifying Baghdadi’s location. On October 24, ISIS militants killed a civilian and wounded two in an attack on a village near Khanaqin in Diyala. On October 25, gunmen killed one civilian in the village of Abu Saida, also in Diyala. On October 25, ISIS snipers killed two members of the federal polic and injured three near Taza, south of Kirkuk. On October 27, ISIS militants wounded four members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in an attack on their outpost in Diyala. ISIS militants also attacked an oil field near Naft Khana, but PMF forces repelled them, killing three ISIS members. On October 28, an IED killed two civilians near Muqdadiyah in Diyala. On October 30, mortar shells struck outside the provincial government building in Baqubah, without causing causalties. On October 28, mortar shells struck near Camp Taji north of Baghdad without causing casualties. On October 30, mortar shells struck near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, killing one Iraqi and injuring two. more…

  • UN Representative Visits Protesters, Urges Dialogue; More Than 13,000 Syrian Refugees Cross Into Iraq; Report Attributes Deaths To Use Of Military-Grade Teargas Grenades – On October 30, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, visited protesters in Tahrir Square and called for a substantive dialogue between with the government. On October 31, the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCCC) reported that the KRI has admitted a total of 13,572 Syrian refugees since October 14. On October 31, Amnesty International reported that security forces in Iraq are using heavy, military-grade tear gas grenades to disperse protesters, resulting in several deaths among civilians. more…

  • World Bank Tells Iraq To Focus On Agriculture; Protesters Shut Down Main Port; Iraq Postpones Major Trade Fair – On October 25, the World Bank published the Iraq Economic Monitor for the fall of 2019, which focuses on the need to diversify the economy and create more private sector jobs to maintain growth. The report highlighted the potential of the agricultural sector in particular as a path toward economic diversification and real job creation. On October 29, operations at Umm Qasr port in Basra decreased to just a fifth of their usual levels due to protesters blocking the port’s entrance. On October 29, the General Company for Trade Fairs postponed the 46th edition of the Baghdad International Fair, originally scheduled for Friday, November 1. On October 28, Iraq’s Ministry of Oil announced that crude oil exports in September averaged 3.575 million barrels per day and generated over $6 billion in revenue. 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.