Iraq + 2 more

ISHM: January 21 - January 28, 2021

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Key Takeaways:

  • Command Changes Raise Tension Between Kadhimi And Militias; Erdogan Threatens Action In Sinjar; 113 Lawmakers Demand Changes To 2021 Budget; Jordan’s PM In Baghdad For Trade Talks – On January 21, PM Kadhimi replaced five senior security officials following the deadly January 21 suicide bombings. Kataib Hezbollah condemned Kadhimi’s orders as political score settling, calling for Kadhimi’s dismissal. On January 22, Turkey’s president warned that Ankara might launch a sudden military operation against the PKK to expel its fighters from Sinjar. On January 24, Deputy Speaker Hassan al-Kaabi instructed two parliamentary committees to summon the Oil and Electricity Ministers, threatening to sack the ministers if the electricity situation continued to deteriorate. On January 25, Speaker al-Halbousi visited Kuwait and met with Kuwait’s Emir and PM to discuss reconstruction aid. On January 25, an Iraqi court sentenced a former director of the Trade Bank of Iraq in absentia to five years in prison for loan fraud and wasting public funds. On January 25, KRG deputy PM Qubad Talabani led a delegation to Baghdad to discuss the KRG’s share of the 2021 budget. On January 26, 113 lawmakers demanded several changes to the 2021 budget. The amendments seek reduced spending and borrowing, and require the KRG to deliver a minimum of 460,000 bpd to the federal government. On January 28, Jordanian PM Bishr al-Khasawneh visited Baghdad and met with PM Kadhimi to discuss trade and economic cooperation. They agreed, among other things, to simplify transit procedures at the border, extend Iraqi crude exports to Jordan, and build a 300 kilometer electric transmission line Iraq’s and Jordan’s grids. more…

  • ISIS Increases Attacks On The Electric Grid; Deadly ISIS Attack Kills 11 Militiamen; New Rockets Target Baghdad Airport – Between January 21 – 28, the explosions of 16 IEDs and a remnant of war in various provinces killed one Iraqi and injured at least eight more. Six of the explosions targeted power lines and repair crews in and around Ninewa and Kirkuk, causing widespread disruptions to power supplies. Another two devices targeted civilian contractors transporting supplies for the International Coalition, while one IED and one grenade attack targeted activists in Dhi-Qar and Najaf, respectively. On January 22, Turkish airstrikes targeting the PKK injured three civilians in Duhok province. On January 23, the U.S. announced $20 million in new security aid to Baghdad to enhance security measures at the Green Zone. On January 23, three rockets targeted Baghdad’s Airport, landing outside the airport and damaging a civilian residence. On January 24, ISIS militants killed 11 PMF fighters, including the commander of a PMF regiment, in a major attack in Salah ad-Din province. The attack also injured at least eight PMF fighters. On January 26, gunmen assassinated the campaign manager of a Diyala member of Parliament and another civilian near Baquba. Between January 23 – 27, International Coalition airstrikes killed at least 17 ISIS militants in the Qara Chogh mountains and the Kirkuk area. more…

  • Report Says 3.2 Million Kids Didn’t Get Formal Education In 2020; Calls to Expedite Executions Raise Concerns About Due Process; COVID-19 Infections Slightly Up – On January 24, UNAMI published a report about the difficulties that Iraqi girls face in receiving adequate education. The report points out that 3.2 million Iraqi kids did not enjoy “formal public education” in 2020, and warns that security concerns disproportionately affect girls’ ability to access education. On January 25, Iraqi authorities executed three Iraqis convicted on terrorism charges after a January 21 double suicide bombing provoked new calls for carrying out executions of inmates on death row. A disputed statement attributed to Iraq’s presidency said Iraq approved the executions of 340 inmates convicted on terrorism charges. On January 28, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 617,202. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 13,024 while the number of patients currently in hospitals decreased to 15,918. To date, 588,260 patients have recovered from the virus, and Iraq has tested 5,520,056 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases increased from 809/day during the 7-day period ending January 21 to 943/day over the last 7-day period. more…

  • Iraq Signs MoU For New Refinery; Baghdad Seeks Up To $6 Billion From IMF; French Firm To Rebuild Mosul Airport; EU, World Bank Support Public Financial Management Initiative – On January 21, Iraq signed an initial agreement with an international consortium to build a 100,000 bpd refinery in Dhi-Qar. On January 23, Iraq’s Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) said Iraq exported 1,096,345,000 barrels of oil in 2020 at an average price of $38.86 per barrel, generating $41.755 billion in revenue. On January 25, Iraq’s Finance Minister announced talks with the IMF to secure an aid package totaling $6 billion. On January 25, Iraqi officials said Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aeroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPI) of France to rebuild the Mosul International Airport. On January 25, Iraq signed an agreement with the World Bank and the EU for a $12.5 million public financial management grant to promote financial oversight. The project aims to optimize state institution payroll through IT programs, increase transparency in the oil sector, and strengthen anti-corruption measures in state-owned enterprises. On January 25, officials from the Dhi-Qar Oil Company claimed that demonstrations threaten to disrupt 80,000 bpd in oil production. On January 27, Zain al-Iraq Telecom Company said it has launched test 4G-LTE services across all of Iraq’s provinces. On January 27, Iraq’s Ministry of Oil said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with French Oil Company Total to develop new projects in the oil and natural gas sectors. 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.