Iraq + 4 more

ISHM: May 13 - May 20, 2021

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News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • Three Million Won’t Be Able To Vote; Diplomats Push KRG To Address Press Freedom Concerns; PM Eyes Cabinet Reshuffle; Activists Brace For More Assassinations – On May 13, Iraqi PM al-Kadhimi said his government will not spare an effort to hold fair and honest elections in October, as several political parties casted doubt on its integrity. On May 18, IHEC said three million eligible voters who missed the registration deadline won’t be able to vote. On May 15, thousands took part in demonstrations across Iraq to express support for the Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas conflict. On May 16, U.S. officials discussed press freedom conditions in Kurdistan with regional PM Barzani. On May 16, a lawmaker said that Kadhimi was negotiating a cabinet reshuffle with major blocs in the Parliament. On May 16, activists in Karbala began implementing self-protecting measures, fearing lethal militia retaliation. On May 19, KRG officials said they will begin drafting an inclusive regional constitution. UNAMI’s Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, voiced her support for a regional constitution, but said it must be about the people, and complement the federal constitution. On May 19, Fatah Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri called on the government to take control of Iraqi airspace, and take back Ain al-Assad and al-Harir air bases. more…
  • Kadhimi Removes Senior Commander From His Post; IEDs Target Coalition Convoys In Southern Provinces; ISF And Peshmerga Join Forces – On May 13, Kadhimi appointed General Ali al-Majedi as Basra Operations Commander, replacing General Akram Saddam. On May 14 and 18, three IEDs targeted International Coalition supply convoys in Dhi-Qar and Diwaniya, without causing casualties or damage. On May 14 and 16, four IEDs planted by ISIS damaged four power supply towers in Kirkuk and Diyala. On May 16, a grenade killed three children and injured two others near Tikrit. On May 17, Iraqi F-16 warplanes struck ISIS hideouts in Hamam al-Alil, south east of Mosul. The strike killed eight militants. On May 19, a legacy IED explosion in the Atshana mountain range of Ninewa injured a senior officer in the Iraqi army and his orderly. On May 20, KRG and federal security officials commissioned a joint command center in Khanaqin as part of a joint effort to quell ISIS resurgence in disputed areas in Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salah ad-Din, and Diyala. more…
  • Only 2% Of Iraqis Have Been Vaccinated; COVID-19 Cases Continue Downward Trend – On May 15, UAE launched the first phase of a medical assistance program to provide COVID-19 vaccines for 15,000 Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region. On May 18, the Health Ministry said that only 2% of Iraq’s population has received a COVID-19 vaccine, and that achieving herd immunity against the virus will require vaccinating 60-70% of the population. On May 20, government data showed that the rate of COVID-19 infections continued to decline, with an average of 3,435 cases per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 4,843 per day during the 7-day period ending May 13. The Health Ministry also reported a decrease of 14,934 in hospitalizations. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 512,164. more…
  • Government Says Dried Tigris River Bed Is Intentional; Iraq’s GDP Per Capita Plunged 30% In 2020 – On May 16, the Transportation Ministry said it expects the construction of al-Faw port project south of Basra to generate 10,000 – 15,000 job opportunities. On May 16, Iraqi officials said the talks with Iran regarding a railroad project that would connect the two countries are in final stages. The line, the first between the two neighboring countries, would run for only 18 miles and cost around $150 million. On May 16, the Water Resources ministry said concerns about a water crisis after images showed significant drop in the Tigris River levels, are unfounded. On May 18, officials in the Kurdistan Region inaugurated a steel factory in Erbil with the capacity to produce 350,000 tons of metal annually. On May 19, the Ministry of Planning said that Iraq’s GDP per capita plunged 30.3% last year. 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.