ISHM: August 6 - August 13, 2020

News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • PM Kadhimi In Washington Next Week; Parties Say Elections In June Will Be Difficult; Former Electricity Minister Under Investigation; Tensions Rise With Turkey After Deadly Raid -- On August 8, PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced plans to visit Washington and meet President Trump on August 20, where they will resume the strategic dialogue talks launched in June. On August 8, the Saeroun Alliance said that holding early elections will be difficult, citing the "incomplete quorum" of the Supreme Federal Court, and missing elements of the election law. Iraqiya Alliance leader, Iyad Allawi said Iraq needs a new election commission, new election law, and a biometric system before it can hold credible elections. On August 10, 20 members of the KRG Parliament criticized salary cuts enforced by the KRG as illegal, saying the KRG must reach an agreement with the federal government to secure the financial interests of its people. On August 11, the Iraqi government officially recognized Iraqis killed in protests since October 2019 as "martyrs," and pledged to provide treatment for the wounded, including facilitating travel for treatment abroad. On August 10, former Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb said that a security force acting PM Kadhimi's orders raided his residence and confiscated computer servers. Iraq's Integrity Commission said it banned Khateeb from travel pending investigation of alleged violations concerning the hiring of 82,555 daily workers. On August 11, President Barham Salih condemned a Turkish airstrike in the Kurdistan region that killed 15 people, including Iraqi officers as a "serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty." Turkey's Foreign Ministry ignored Iraq's demands to freeze operations, warning that Ankara was "determined to take the measures it deems necessary for its border security no matter where it may be." more...

  • Bombings Escalate Against Coalition Contractors; Iraqi Officers Killed In Turkish Raids Against The PKK -- Between August 9 -- 12, at least three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exploded targeting civilian contractors transporting supplies for the U.S.-led International Coalition against ISIS near Baghdad and Nasiriyah, damaging equipment but leaving no casualties. On August 11, the Iraqi military said a Turkish airstrike in the Kurdistan region struck an Iraqi border guards vehicle, killing five of them, including a brigade commander and other officers. A spokesman for the Iraqi Commander in Chief said the fallen officers were on a reconnaissance mission 4 kilometers from the border. The spokesman condemned the Turkish airstrike, warning that Iraq "will not forgive the shedding of Iraqi blood." On August 11, a rocket struck near an entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad without causing casualties. Between August 10 -- 13, three IEDs killed a civilin, injured another, and wounded two members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Anbar, Ninewa and Diyala. Between August 6 -- 13, other attacks by ISIS militants killed two civilians and three members of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), while injuring eight civilians and four ISF members in Diyala and Kirkuk. more...

  • Government Extends Partial Curfew As COVID-19 Cases Exceed 164,000; Iraq Seeks Return Of Thousands Of Stolen Artifacts; 1,439 Displaced Families Return To Diyala -- On August 8, the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety in Iraq extended the nationwide Sunday-Wednesday partial curfew until August 15, while enforcing a total curfew Thursday- Saturday. On August 9, Iraq's Minister of Culture said that Iraq has reached a $15 million settlement with Hobby Lobby over the company's possession of thousands of artifacts that were stolen from Iraq. The minister and Iraq's archaeology commission are working on the legal and technical arrangements for the return of these artifacts, as well as more than 5000 artifacts thought to be stolen and are currently in the possession of Cornell University. On August 9, UNHCR said it received $41 million in new funding from the U.S. to support its efforts to provide aid for Iraq's estimated 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and more than 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers. On August 10, Diyala politician Salim al-Jubouri said that security forces have given security approvals to 1,439 IDP families to return to their home districts in Diyala this week. On August 13, the Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 164,277. More than 3,800 cases were reported on August 13, representing a new daily peak. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 5,641 while a total of 117,208 patients have recovered. To date, Iraq has tested 1,224,909 samples for COVID-19. more...

  • Iraq To Cut Oil Output By 400,000 BPD; Politicians Sue To Block Renewal Of Mobile Network Operator Licences; Iraq Concludes Plentiful Wheat Harvest -- On August 7, Iraq's Oil Ministry said it will reduce oil production by an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to compensate for exceeding the production limits Iraq had agreed to as part of the OPEC+ deal signed in April. On August 7, Iraq's Ministry of Electricity said the national grid generated a record 19,200 megawatts of power, promising improved electrical service and shorter blackouts. On August 11, an influential member of parliament said he has filed a civil lawsuit to suspend the license renewals for the three major mobile network operators in Iraq, Asia Cell, Korek and Zain, citing legal violations. On August 12, Iraq's Trade Ministry announced the conclusion of the summer wheat harvest and marketing season, during which farmers across Iraq delivered just over five million tons of wheat. 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.