Iraq

ISHM: December 9 - 16, 2021

Key Takeaways:

  • Court Postpones Hearing In Fatah’s Demand To Annul Elections; Imtidad, New Generation, Independents Form Opposition Coalition; Khanjar And Halbousi Join Forces – On December 13, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court decided to postpone hearings in the case filed by the Fatah Coalition demanding the annulment of the October election results until December 22. On December 15, Imtidad, New Generation, and a group of independent election winners formed a new parliamentary alliance called “For the People.” The new alliance of 28 lawmakers said it will act as parliamentary opposition and will not join a government based on ethno-sectarian power-sharing. On December 15, the Taqaddum Coalition of Mohammed al-Halbousi and Azm Coalition of Khamis al-Khanjar agreed to form a joint negotiating delegation and joint policy positions before entering government formation talks with other parties. In other developments, on December 9, the leader of Harakat al-Nujaba militia said that “resistance” factions would keep their weapons and continue to operate inside Iraq and abroad despite the ending of the International Coalition’s combat role. On December 13, six independent election winners reportedly join Halbousi’s Taqaddum Coalition. more…

  • New IEDs Target Supply Convoys; Turkish Strikes Raise Tension In Sinjar; France To Train CTS Fighters; Attemped Bombing Of Gas Pipeline Foiled – Between December 11 – 16, the explosions of seven IEDs and one remnant of war in Ninewa, Babylon, Dhi-Qar, and Diwaniyah killed at least two Iraqis and wounded seven others, most of whom were children. Four of these IEDs were targeting convoys transporting supplies for the International Coalition or security forces. On December 12, security forces opened an investigation into an attack with gunfire and Molotov cocktails on an Iraqi army vehicle in the Sinuny area of Sinjar. The vehicle was part of an army force providing protection for demonstrators protesting recent Turkish airstrikes in the area. On December 12, senior Iraqi and French generals discussed creating special operations training programs for CTS fighters in France. On December 15, security forces foiled an attempt to sabotage a pipeline that carries natural gas from Basra to Baghdad with explosives in the Jarbouiyah region of Muthanna province. In other developments, on December 12, Peshmerga officials and Iraq’s Defense Minister discussed joint development of military teaching courses and holding joint military exercises. On December 13, ISIS militants kidnapped four civilians from Lake Himrin in Diyala. The Diyala police chief said that this was the fifth such kidnapping within the past 45 days. Between December 10 – 15, the Turkish military said that its forces killed 20 PKK fighters in operations in the Kurdistan region. more…

  • New Data Highlights Drought-Induced Displacement, Hunger; Iraq Shuts Down Last IDP Camp In Ninewa; Kadhimi Signs Contracts To Build 1,000 Schools – On December 9, new IOM data on climate-induced displacement in southern Iraq showed that more than 3,000 families were experiencing displacement due to drought conditions in five provinces. Almost half of the displaced are from Dhi-Qar. Meanwhile, new survey data released by the Norwegian Refugee Council shows that half the families in areas impacted by drought need food assistance, and 20% of families don’t have enough to feed all their members. The data also showed that losses due to crop failures have resulted in average monthly incomes dropping below “survival threshold” in six provinces. On December 15, Iraq’s Migration Ministry said that it will close down al-Jadaa, the last remaining IDP camp in Ninewa province (and last IDP camp outside the Kurdistan region) before the end of the month. On December 16, PM Kadhimi signed contracts with two Chinese companies to build 1,000 schools across Iraq. On December 16, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,089,669. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 24,030 while hospitalizations decreased to 7,333. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period was 424/day, down from 561/day during the 7-day period ending December 9. The total number of vaccinated people reached 8,157,221 including 89,253 who received their shots on December 16. more…

  • KRG Faces Arbitration Over Gas Field Dispute; Iraq Negotiates Electricity Prices With Riyadh; Foreign Currency Reserves Rise – On December 10, UK energy firm Genel Energy said that it will seek international arbitration in London, seeking compensation from the KRG over a decision in August to terminate Genel’s development of the Miran and Bina Bawi gas prospects. On December 12, Iraq’s Electricity Minister said that Baghdad entered negotiations with Saudi Arabia over the prices at which the country will purchase electricity from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries under a grid connection deal. On December 14, Iraq’s Central Bank said that the country’s foreign currency reserves had increased by as much as $16 billion over the last 12 months as a result of better oil prices and currency devalutation. In other developments, on December 11, Iraq’s Oil Minister said that construction will begin on new 155 million cubic feet/day gas processing facility at the Majnoon oil field, and inaugurated new gas separation and water injection facilities at the Bazurgan and Fakka oil fields. more…

Attention readers! ISHM will take a break for the holidays next week, but it will be back the week after, with comprehensive coverage of the week we missed!

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.