Iraq + 2 more

ISHM: January 28 - February 4, 2021

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Key Takeaways:

  • U.S. And Iraq To Resume Strategic Dialogue; Committee Revises 2021 Budget; KRG In Tense Negotiations For Its Share; Minister Discusses Energy, Banking And Regional Tensions In Tehran – On January 28, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Iraq’s Foreign Minister discussed resuming their bilateral strategic dialogue talks. On January 28, Cardinal Louis Sako said that Pope Francis will meet with Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf when he visits Iraq in March. On January 29, hundreds of protesters in Nasiriyah demanded the release of civil activist Sajjad al-Iraqi who was kidnapped in September. On January 29, Parliament’s Finance Committee revised the assumed price of oil in the draft 2021 budget from $42/barrel to $45/barrel, and decreased total expenses from IQD164 trillion to under IQD130 trillion, potentially reducing the deficit to IQD30 trillion. On January 31, a KRG delegation resumed negotiations in Baghdad for the KRG share of the 2021 budget. KRG representatives said they were ready to deliver 250,000 bpd of oil to Baghdad, but complained that some Shia parties insist on full federal control over oil. On February 3, a State of Law Coalition representative accused KRG negotiators of stalling, calling on Parliament to approve the budget regardless of Kurdish participation. On February 3, Iraq’s Foreign Minister led a delegation to Tehran for meetings with Iran’s leaders that focused on energy, commerce, railway projects, and banking. The delegation also discussed the state of U.S.-Iraq strategic dialogue and Washington’s decreasing military presence. more…

  • Iraqi Forces Kill Senior ISIS Leaders; Militias Resume Bombing Attacks On Businesses; Peshmerga Denies Advancing Into Disputed Territories – On January 28, PM Kadhimi said Iraqi security forces (ISF) backed by Coalition airstrikes killed the top ISIS leader in Iraq, Jabbar Salman Ali Farhan al-Issawi and nine other senior militants in operations in Kirkuk. Between January 29 – February 4, ISF and Coalition airstrikes killed at least 11 other ISIS militants, including the commanders for southern Iraq, the western desert and northern Baghdad. Between January 29 – February 3, the explosions of 15 IEDs and remnants of war killed at least three Iraqis and wounded eight others. Seven of the IEDs targeted businesses in the Baghdad area, while three targeted contractors transporting supplies for the International Coalition. Between January 29 – February 2, ten other attacks killed at least nine Iraqis and wounded seven others. On January 31, reports said that Peshmerga forces advanced seven kilometers into the the Sargaran subdistrict in Kirkuk province. The Peshmerga Ministry denied the reports, stating that Peshmerga units were merely on high alert due to increased ISIS movements in the area. more…

  • Iraq Seeks Expedited Vaccine Shipments; Authorities Moves To Evict IDPs From Jedaa Camp; COVID-19 Cases On The Rise Again – On January 31, PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to use Iraq’s embassies to urge pharmaceutical companies and countries manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines to expedite vaccine shipments to Iraq. On February 1, Iraqi security forces began closing the Jadaa 5 camp for internally displaced peoples (IDPs). Iraqi authorities reportedly told residents to leave voluntarily or face forcible eviction. On February 4, Iraq’s Health Ministry reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 624,222. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 13,091 while the number of patients currently in hospitals decreased to 14,172. To date, 596,959 patients have recovered from the virus, and Iraq has tested 5,803,603 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases increased from 943/day during the 7-day period ending January 28 to 1,150/day over the last 7-day period. more…
  • Oil Revenue Jumps In January; Iraq Says It’s Respecting OPEC Quota; Iraq Asks GCC To Expedite Electricity Connection – On February 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said oil exports in January averaged 2.868 million bpd, and generated $4.739 billion in revenue, more than $500 million higher than December’s $4.213 billion. Iraq’s oil marketer (SOMO) said that Iraq, including the Kurdistan region, produced a total of 3.807 million bpd in January, well under Iraq’s 3.857 million bpd quota for January-March. On February 1, President Salih and PM Kadhimi met with the visiting Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef Falah al-Hajraf. Kadhimi called for expanding commercial ties, and urged the visiting GCC official to expedite the grid connection project signed between Iraq and the GCC, which has been facing delays due to the pandemic. On February 3, Japan’s ambassador to Iraq announced that Tokyo will give $50 million to fund “11 major projects” through the UN and other international organizations. 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.