ISHM: February 25 - March 4, 2021

News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • Several Killed In New Dhi-Qar Protests; Militias Lash Out After U.S. Strikes Target Them In Syria; Iraq’s Foreign Minister In Tehran To Control Fallout – **On February 25, protesters calling for the dismissal of Dhi-Qar’s governor clashed with security forces in Nasiriyah. Iraq’s Human Rights Commission said that five days of clashes left five protesters deas and injured 247 people, but activists said as many as ten died. On February 26, PM Kadhimi appointed National Security chief Abdul Ghani al-Asadi as interim Dhi-Qar governor. On February 27, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazali condemned the February 26 U.S. airstrikes on Iraqi militias in Syria, calling for the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Kataeb Hezbollah accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of assisting the U.S. operation. Other militia affiliates accused PM Kadhimi of giving the U.S. targeting information. On February 27, Iraq’s Foreign Minister visited Tehran, where he emphasized the need for joint efforts to reduce tensions, and stressed that actions that undermine Iraq’s security distract from the mission of fighting ISIS. Between March 2 – 4, demonstrators in Hilla and Samawah demanded the resignations of the Babylon and Muthanna governors. On March 3, PM Kadhimi threatened retaliation for a March 3 rocket attack on Ain al-Asad air base, stressing that Iraqi forces “have clear directions to take decisive action.” On March 3, KRG security officials revealed information that implicate the Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada militia in conducting the February 15 rocket attack on Erbil. more…
  • U.S. And Militias Exchange New Strikes; Deadly Car Bomb Kills Seven In Anbar – **On February 25, U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes against Iran-backed militias on the Syrian border, in retaliation for the February 15 rocket attack on Erbil airport. The strike killed at least one militiaman and destroyed nine buildings. Between February 25 – March 3, nine attacks in different parts of Iraq killed at least six Iraqis and injured two others, including a member of Parliament. Between February 25 – March 4, 14 explosion killed at least 12 Iraqis and wounded 13 others. Five of the IEDs targeted convoys supplying International Coalition forces. Most of the casualties resulted from one explosion (a car bomb) in Anbar province. On March 3, ten Iranian-made 122mm rockets struck Ain al-Asad air base in western Anbar province. One contractor died of a heart attack. The attack marks the fourth rocket attack on U.S. targets in Iraq since February 15. Between February 25 – March 3, Iraqi and Coalition airstrikes killed at least 20 ISIS militants in Diyala, Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din provinces. more…
  • New Law Benefits Survivors Of ISIS Genocide; KRG Restricts Travel As COVID-19 Infections Rise; Iraq Begins Vaccine Distribution – **On March 1, Iraq’s Parliament voted to approve the Yazidi Survivors Law to recognize ISIS crimes against Yazidis and other minority communities as genocide and crimes against humanity. The new law aims to “grant female survivors the rights to which they are entitled…reintegrate them into society.” On March 2, KRG health authorities issued orders restricting travel with other Iraqi provinces as positivity rates increased more than fourfold during last week. On March 2, Iraqi health authorities began COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Baghdad after the country received its first shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine. Iraq also launch of an electronic registration platform where Iraqis can register to receive the vaccine. On March 4, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 713,994. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 13,507 while the number of patients currently in hospitals jumped to 50,472. To date, 650,015 patients have recovered from the virus, and Iraq has tested 7,008,505 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases continued to rise, from 3,389/day over the last 14-day period to 4,233/day during the last 7-day period. more…
  • Iraq To Halt Gas Flaring At Three Major Oil Fields By 2024; Oil Export Revenue Exceeds $5 Billion For The First Time In A Year – **On February 25, Iraq’s National Investment Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with an Egyptian company to develop a 5 square kilometer integrated industrial zone in Baghdad. On February 25, Iraq’s Oil Minister announced a project to increase the capacity of the Qayyarah oil refinery from 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 70,000 bpd. On February 28, the Ministry of Oil opened a new gas compressor station in the North Rumaila oil field to add 60 million cubic feet of gas per day. Iraq’s Oil Minister said the investment plans for natural gas resources will allow the country to halt gas flaring at Rumaila, Zubair, and West Qurna 2 by 2024. On March 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said crude oil exports during February averaged 2.96 million bpd, and generated $5 billion in revenue, more than $250 million higher than January. 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.