ISHM: April 6 – 12, 2018

Report
from Education for Peace in Iraq Center
Published on 12 Apr 2018 View Original

Key Takeaways:

  • Attack on Political Party Headquarters in Anbar Prompts Conversation on Election Security – On April 8, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest inside the headquarters of the Sunni-affiliated al-Hal party in Hit, Anbar Province. Two policemen were killed and nine civilians injured, including a candidate for the al-Hal party, Zeinab Abdul Hamid. UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Jan Kubis, condemned the bombing and called on the Iraqi authorities “to ensure the security of the political parties, representatives, candidates, and voters.” The following day, Iraqi Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri met with Interior Minister Qassim al-Araji to discuss security and counterterrorism plans during the lead-up to the May 12 elections. more…

  • Diyala Security Chief Transferred to Basra Amid Protests – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the transfer of Diyala Province Police Chief, Major General Jassim al-Saadi, from Diyala to Basra Province. The transfer was denounced by Diyala Provincial Council Chairman Ali al-Daini and several Members of Parliament for the Province, who accused the Prime Minister of ordering the transfer for political reasons ahead of May elections. Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri also called on Abadi to reconsider the transfer. Dozens of protesters demonstrated in front of the Provincial Council in Baquba and blocked portions of the Baghdad-Kirkuk road, demanding that Saadi remain in Diyala. The well-respected Saadi is widely recognized for bringing the tumultuous security situation in Diyala under relative control. His transfer to Basra comes two months after 20 thousand members of the Iraqi Security Forces were redeployed from the Ninewa Plains to Basra, where violent crime and tribal clashes are a concern for the oil and import region’s foreign investors. Major General Faisal al-Abbadi arrived in Diyala on April 9 to take over Saadi’s responsibilities and pledged “zero tolerance for terrorism or organized crime” in his new post. more…

  • Baghdad Security Tightened During Shia Pilgrimage – Baghdad Operations Command has ramped up security in the city’s northern district of Kadhimiya, where hundreds of Shia pilgrims commemorating the death of Imam Musa al-Kadhim in 799 A.D. will gather on April 12 and 13. In 2016, ISIS militants attacked the shrine site during the annual pilgrimage, killing 18 at the time. more…

  • Peshmerga Return to Disputed Areas Remains in Dispute; Trump, Abadi Speak About Syria – Commander of the southern axis of the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, Wasa Rasul Karkuki, said that “all efforts have been made for the return of the Peshmerga forces to the disputed areas because of the re-emergence of armed groups, especially within Kirkuk Province…but the Iraqi government has not requested the return of the Peshmerga yet.” Major General Maan Saadi, head of security in Kirkuk Province, said that “so far we have not been notified and have not received any information in this regard.” Reports indicated that Parliament’s Security Committee is divided on the issue of whether Peshmerga forces should be allowed to deploy outside of the KRI, though Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has indicated in previous weeks that they will not. The Peshmerga were ordered to withdraw from the border areas between Iraqi Kurdistan and greater Iraq following the September 2017 referendum on Kurdish independence and have remained mostly within the KRI since. In other news, Abadi spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump on April 8 about the reported chemical attack in Syria against civilians, and the need to work together to defeat ISIS remnants in eastern Syria. more…

  • UNAMI, UNICEF Issue Humanitarian Response Plans for Iraqi Kurdistan – UNICEF published its 2018-19 Iraq Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The report indicates that Iraq currently hosts more than 250 thousand Syrian refugees, 97 percent of which are located in Iraqi Kurdistan. The report projects only slight decreases in the refugee population over the next two years. The publication coincided with a high-level joint conference among the Kurdistan Regional Government, UN Assistance Mission to Iraq, and regional NGOs about humanitarian needs and conditions in the KRI, held on April 10. 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.