Iraq + 2 more

ISHM 230: November 14 - November 21, 2019

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Key Takeaways:

  • Defense Minister Blames Violence On A “Third Party”; Iran Cables Leak Embarrasses Iraqi Politicians; U.S. Threatens Sanctions; Political Leaders Sign Reform Agreement; Death Toll Rises to 330 – On November 14, Iraq’s Minister of Defense blamed a “third party” for the deaths of protesters. On November 18, The New York Times and The Intercept published reports based on 700 pages worth of leaked Iranian intelligence cables detailing Iran’s deep infiltration of the Iraqi government. On November 18, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. will impose sanctions on “corrupt individuals that are stealing Iraqis’ wealth” as well as “those killing and wounding peaceful protesters.” On November 18, leaders from twelve major political parties and coalitions signed a set of likely unattainable measures to address the political crisis, which they said the cabinet and Parliament must meet within 45 days or face a collective statement of no confidence and/or early elections. Several leaders distanced themselves from the document, which was met with widespread skepticism. On November 19, Iraq’s Parliament performed a first reading of new drafts for the parliamentary election law and election commission law, and approved a legislation to slash financial privileges for senior officials. On November 21, government forces shot and killed four protesters with live fire and military-grade tear gas canisters in Baghdad, bringing the death toll to at least 330 since October 1. more…
  • Bombs Target Protesters In Baghdad And Nasiriya; Villagers Flee ISIS Violence in Diyala; Iraqi Commander Warns Of ISIS Jailbreak Plans; New Turkish Airstrikes In Sinjar – On November 15, an improvised explosive device (IED) killed three protesters and injured 18 in Baghdad. Another IED at a protest tent injured 18 people in Nassiriya. On November 17, local sources in Diyala said that 55 families have fled the Abu Karma village, northeast of Baqubah, due to increased ISIS activity. On November 18, the chief of Iraq’s military intelligence warned that ISIS leaders, who have escaped from Syria to Turkey, are organizing prison escapes to liberate fellow terrorists in Iraq and Syria. On November 19, Turkish airstrikes bombed a Sinjar Resistance Unit (YBS) base in the predominantly-Yazidi region of Khana Sor, northwest of Sinjar in Ninewa province. The airstrike injured at least five YBS fighters. more…
  • Four Million Iraqis Still Need Humanitarian Aid; Flow Of Syrian Refugees Slows Down; 2.9 Million Iraqis Face Civil Documentation Challenges – On November 17, a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found that 4.1 million people in Iraq are in need of some type of humanitarian aid, 1.77 million of whom are in acute need, or those whose needs “meet extreme and catastrophic thresholds.” On November 17, an update by UNHCR on the movement of Syrian refugees into Iraq indicates that fewer than 40 refugees arrived into Iraq between November 14-17, suggesting that the flow of refugees has nearly stopped. On November 20, a UNHCR assessment on civil documentation challenges in Iraq found that roughly 2.9 million individuals, many of whom are IDPs, were missing one or more of their civil documents. On November 21, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said the government has released 2,400 protesters from detention since protests started on October 1, without stating the number of protesters who remain in government custody. more…
  • Iraq Reaches Self-Sufficiency In 22 Products; Protests Continue To Disrupt Ports, Other Facilities But Oil Exports Unaffected – On November 15, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that Iraq reached self-sufficiency in seventeen vegetable crops as well as wheat, barley, eggs, chicken, and fish. On November 15, protesters resumed their demonstrations at Umm Qasr port in Basra, reducing operations at the port by half. The Khor al-Zubair port was also inaccessible for at least two days. On November 20, S&P Global Platts said that Iraq’s total oil exports have not been impacted by the protests. On November 17, the Saudi Shura Council, approved multiple memorandums of understanding (MoU) regarding the supply of Saudi electricity to Iraq. On November 21, Rudaw reported that the ongoing protests are harming the automobile and real estate markets in the Kurdistan region. 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.