Iraq + 1 more

ISHM: May 20 - May 27, 2021

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News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • New Crisis Looms Following The Arrest Of A Militia Commander; Protests Demanding Justice For Slain Activists Take A Deadly Turn; Iraqi President Says The Country Lost $150 Billion To Corruption – On May 26, the arrest of a PMF commander on terrorism charges sparked a tense armed standoff inside the fortified Green Zone. On May 25, violent clashes erupted between security forces and protestors who flocked to Baghdad to demand justice for slain activists, and to end impunity for the perpetrators. Two protestors died and 150 civilians and security personnels suffered injuries. On May 25, the Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers can’t use immunity to shield themselves from civil and criminal proceedings. On May 23, President Salih said that $150 billion had been smuggled out of Iraq due to corruption, and introduced a draft act to recover corruption assets. On May 23, dozens of angry protestors stormed the Dhi-Qar government building in Nasiriyah following an assassination attempt against, a prominent activist. On May 22, Iranian-backed militias threatened to escalate attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq to force a withdrawal. Meanwhile, CENTCOM’s Gen. McKenzie said small drone attacks represented a rising threat in Iraq. more…
  • Armed Standoff Between ISF and PMF Fighters In The Green Zone; Attacks Target Tribal Leader, Two Activists; Seven IEDs Target International Coalition Convoys – On May 21, gunmen shot and killed Hisham al-Hijazi, a local activist and a member of the al-Azm political alliance in northern Baghdad. On May 21, local officials said that Turkish warplanes bombarded five villages in Duhok. On May 22, ISIS militants killed Majid al-Obeidi, a tribal leader in Salah ad-Din. Between May 23-27, seven IED attacks targeted International Coalition supply convoys in southern provinces and Anbar. On May 23, an IED explosion targeted activist Imad al-Ogaili Nasiriyah. On May 24, a rocket struck Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar. On May 25, a special force from Baghdad seized drones and arrested members of a “drone cell” in Dhi-Qar. On May 25, an IED attached to a pick-up truck exploded in Haditha, in northern Anbar province, injuring ten people.On May 26, a special security force detained Qassim Musleh, the PMF Operations Commander in Anbar, on terrorism charges. In response, armed PMF fighters surrounded vital government buildings inside the Green Zone, sparking a standoff with security forces. more…
  • Families With Perceived Ties To ISIS Return From Syrian IDP Camp; Iraq Records Significant Jump In Average Daily Virus Cases – On May 24, OCHA reported a sharp decrease in the number of access restrictions affecting the work of aid organizations in Iraq. In April, there were 14 reports of access restrictions, down from 28 reports in March. On May 26, Iraq repatriated 94 families, mainly women and children, from al-Hol IDP camp in Syria to the al-Jadaa IDP camp south of Mosul. On May 27, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 1,186,309. The average number of new cases jumped to 4,310 per day during the last 7-day period, compared to an average of 3,435 per day during the 7-day period ending May 20. The total number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine reached 573,659. more…
  • Iraq Rejects Sale Of Exxon’s Share Basra Oil Field To Chinese Companies; KRG Must Comply With Four Conditions To Receive Federal Budget Allocations – On May 20, the state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) rejected ExxonMobil’s proposal to sell its stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field to two Chinese companies. Iraq had formally offered to acquire Exxon’s share. On May 24, the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources said that the Tigris and Euphrates’s water levels have returned back to normal after dropping significantly earlier this month. On May 24, the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said that the poor transportation infrastructure and lack of traffic safety enforcement, killed 1,500 Iraqis and injured 10,000 more in 2020. On May 26, the Parliament Finance committee said that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) must comply with four conditions set by the 2021 budget law in order to receive its share of the budget. 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.