ISHM: November 18 - December 2, 2021

News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • IHEC Releases Final Election Results; Sadr Insists On A Majority Government After Meeting Rivals; Student Protests Rock Sulaymaniyah – On November 30, IHEC released the final results of the October election after the electoral judicial panel had looked into all appeals, which resulted in changes affecting five seats in Baghdad, Ninewa, Erbil, Kirkuk, and Basra. Kataib Hezbollah called the results “illegitimate,” while the KDP said that two seats were taken away from the party in an illegitimate manner, and accused President Salih of pressuring IHEC to manipulate results. On December 2, Muqtada al-Sadr and the coordination framework for Shia parties issued contradicting statements after meeting to discuss government formation. Sadr reiterated his vision for a government of “national majority,” while sources from the other parties claimed there was an agreement to select the next PM through consensus. On November 23, thousands of protesting students in Sulaymaniyah clashed with security forces who used teargas and bullets to disperse them, leaving ten injured. The students demanded payment of their delayed stipends and better conditions at dormitories. The protests spread quickly to other towns, and subsided after the KRG answered some of their demands. In other developments, on November 29, Iraq’s National Security Advisor said that the investigations into the November 7 assassination attempt on PM Kadhimi requires more time, and that no individuals or groups have been indicted so far. He added that the investigation committee placed the bomb squad that disposed of an unexploded projectile used in the attack in jail for destroying evidence. On November 30, Kadhimi met with the Russian special envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, who invited Kadhimi to visit Moscow. more…

  • Militia Threatens NYE Violence; IEDs Leave 8 Dead, Attacks On Supply Convoys Increase – On November 19, the leader of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia said that a “decisive and historic confrontation” with U.S. forces in Iraq will begin after midnight on December 31, 2021. The militia leader urged all “resistance factions” to “elevate their readiness” in preparation for action. Between November 19 – December 2, the explosions of 15 IEDs killed at least eight Iraqis and wounded 15 more in Diyala, Babylon, Ninewa, Dhi-Qar, Diwaniyah, and Maysan. The deadliest of these explosions struck a Peshmerga vehicle in northern Diyala, killing five. Six of the 15 IEDs targeted convoys transporting supplies for security forces along highways in southern provinces. In other developments, between November 19 – 25, six attacks by gunmen in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, and Sulaymaniyah killed four Iraqis, wounded another four, and left two missing. On November 24, an Iraqi military spokesman said that foreign combat forces were on track to leave Iraq within 15 days, ahead of the established deadline of December 31. more…

  • 2,000 Migrants Return From Belarus; Baghdad To Sue Tehran Over Water Sharing As Shortage Intensifies – On November 26, Iraq began organizing additional flights to repatriate Iraqi migrants who had been stranded on the border between Belarus and Poland. In total, five flights brought 1,894 Iraqis back to the country, while 150 returned on their own. On November 29, Iraq’s Water Resources Minister said he asked the Foreign Ministry to file a complaint against Iran at the International Court of Justice over Tehran’s policy of reducing water flows to Iraq from shared rivers. The Water Resources Ministry earlier said that water reserves were in steady decline, with Diyala being the most affected province. Meanwhile, PM Kadhimi instructed the Interior Ministry to work with the Water Resources Ministry to block illegally dug canals and remove illegally installed water pumps to help address the water shortage. On December 2, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,082,774. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 23,859 while hospitalizations decreased to 11,649. The daily average for new cases during the last 14-day period was 735/day, compared to 796/day during the 7-day period ending November 18. The total number of vaccinated people reached 7,599,844 including 97,371 who received their shots on December 2. This week, the Ministry approved booster shots for high-risk individuals. more…

  • Iraq And Turkey Seek New Border Crossings, Expand Banking Ties; Oil Export Rise In November – On November 19, the Turkish Trade Minister said that Ankara wants to open two new border crossings with Iraq at Faysh Khabur-Ovakoy and Mergasur-Derecik. Meanwhile, Iraq’s Trade Minister said that he agreed with his Turkish counterpart to make it easier for business representatives from both countries to obtain multi entry visas for up to five years. On November 25, the chiefs of Iraq’s and Turkey’s central banks discussed efforts to open branches for Iraqi banks in Turkey to facilitate trade and money transfers. On December 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that crude oil exports during November averaged 3.273 million bpd, 154,000 bpd higher than October. The exports generated $7.59 billion in revenue, slightly lower than October’s $7.68 billion on lower average sale prices. In other developments, on November 30, Iraq’s Oil Minister said that the ministerial council for energy will present a project to establish a sovereign fund to finance long-term investments in energy projects. 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.