ISHM: October 19 - 25, 2018

News and Press Release
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This week’s headlines:

  • Adel Abdul Mahdi Confirmed as the New Prime Minister of Iraq, 14 Ministers Approved to Form the New Cabinet – On October 24, the Council of Ministers confirmed Adel Abdul Mahdi as the next Prime Minister of Iraq. Reuters reported that 14 Ministers were also sworn amidst disagreements with many political parties and international concerns about the lack of female representation. Most notably, Thamer Ghadhban became the Oil Minister and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s candidate for the presidency, Fuad Hussein, was confirmed as the Minister of Finance. Ghadban will replace Jabar al-Luaibi, who was appointed as the head of the Iraqi National Oil Company. Members from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance, Vice President Ayad Allawi’s National Coalition, and several Sunni Muslim blocs left Parliament over the remaining eight ministerial positions. According to Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi, parliament will reconvene on November 6 to vote on the remaining eight positions, even though the deadline to form the next government is on November 2nd. Kurdistan 24 News reported on the preliminary list of confirmed ministerial positions:

Agriculture: Salih al-Hassani
Communications: Naim al-Rubaye
Electricity: Luay al-Khatteeb
Finance: Fuad Hussein
Foreign Affairs: Mohammed Ali al-Hakim
Housing and Reconstruction: Bangin Rekani
Health: Alaa Al-Awani
Industry: Abdullah al-Jubouri
Labour and Social Affairs: Bassem al-Rubaye
Oil: Thamer al-Ghadhban
Trade: Mohammad Hashim
Transport: Abdullah Luaibi
Water Resources: Jamal al-Adil
Youth and Sports: Ahmed Obeidi

Of all the appointed ministers, Alaa Alwani, Thamer al-Ghadhban and Abdullah Luaibi previously held ministerial positions in the Iraqi government. The other candidates do not appear to have served as ministers before, though most of them seem to have worked for several ministries and the government, including Mohammed Ali al-Hakim, who served as the Iraq ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2010 to 2013.


  • New Security Measures Ahead of Arba’een Pilgrimage, Suicide Car Bomb Attack Kills 6 and Injures 30 in Mosul – On October 20, an anonymous security source reported that Iraqi Minister of the Interior Qasim al-Araji will oversee the security plans in Babil Province for the Arba’een pilgrimage. On October 20, Minister al-Araji announced increased security measures to protect the Arba’een pilgrimage. Araji stated that “we have been instructed to step up efforts to secure the path of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him.” On October 23, Adel Husseini, spokesperson for the Babil Police Command, released a statement announcing that motorcycles will be prevented from circulating in Babil Province during the Arba’een pilgrimage, which begins October 30 and ends on October 31.On October 23, a suicide car bomb attack in the town of Qayyara, Ninewa Province about 77 kilometers south of Mosul killed at least six people, including two soldiers, and wounded 30. The car exploded near a restaurant in a crowded market area. Though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, top military commander in Mosul, Major General Najim al-Jabouri, said that “we are positive the car bomb attack was carried out by [ISIS] terrorists and we will bring them to justice.” more…

  • FIDH and Kinyat Publish Report on Sexual Violence Perpetrated by ISIS Against the Yazidi Community, NRC Warns of Potential Health Crisis in Basra – On October 23, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published an article on the health crisis facing children in Basra Province. The deteriorating water and sanitation facilities have put nearly 277,000 children at risk of contracting water-borne diseases in schools that have just reopened in Basra. Teachers told NRC that they have already seen a significant rise in diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, and scabies cases. Throughout Basra Province, nearly 110,000 people have already been poisoned over the past three months, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights. On October 23, the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) posted a report discussing local planning and urban development projects in Iraq. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is collaborating with UN-Habitat, the Ministries of Planning (MOP) and The Local Area Development Program (LADP) to execute a plan funded by the European Union (EU). On October 25, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Kinyat Organization for Documentation (Kinyat) published a report on genocide and sexual violence perpetrated by ISIS against members of the Yezidi community. The report analyzes ISIS’ ideology and practices toward enslavement, and the experiences of Yazidi women sold and trafficked. more…

  • KDP Wins Elections in the KRI, Barzani Meets with Macron and Yildiz – On October 20, the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) announced the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) had won the September 30, 2018 parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The KDP won 45 seats while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) attained 21 seats, securing a healthy majority of the 111 seats for the Kurdistan Region’s two traditional ruling parties. According to Reuters, the results were delayed for three weeks after the elections commission received 1,045 complaints of potential fraud and other electoral violations. The main opposition party, Gorran, received only 12 seats, down from the 24 seats previously won in 2013. The KRI’s other leading opposition party, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, also lost seats. On October 20, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron. According to Shafaaq News, “the two sides discussed the latest developments in Iraq’s political process and the formation of the new Iraqi government.” On October 24, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, met with Turkey’s Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz. According to Shafaaq News, the two sides “stressed the strengthening of relations between Erbil and Ankara on all levels, especially in commerce and economics.” 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.