Iraq

ISHM: October 21 – 28, 2021

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News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • **UNSC Praises “Technically Sound” Election; Sadr And Rivals Name Potential PM Candidates; IHEC Begins Recount Of 2,000 Stations – **On October 22, the UN Security Council congratulated Iraq on conducting a “technically sound election” and condemned threats of violence against IHEC and UNAMI staff. On October 24, political parties that rejected the election results reiterated their position while their supporters attempted to break into the Green Zone. On October 25, PM Kadhimi met with his visiting Lebanese counterpart and discussed “strengthening the bonds of economic cooperation and commercial exchanges.” On October 25, Kadhimi received a phone call from his Spanish counterpart and discussed economic cooperation, counter-terrorism, and counter-extremism. On October 25, Imtidad said its priority in Parliament will be to “expose the killers of protesters.” On October 27, an independent election winner from Wasit claimed that big political parties were using huge financial incentives to persuade independent lawmakers to join them. On October 27, political sources said the Sadrists and their rivals in the “coordination framework for Shia powers” are discussing seven potential candidates for the premiership. The Sadrists reportedly presented Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Faeq Zeidan, Nassar al-Rubaie, and Hamid al-Ghazi, while the other side presented Mohammed al-Sudani, Asaad al-Idani, and Tareq Najm. On October 27, IHEC began a manual recount of ballots from 2,000 voting stations where there have been objections to results. On October 28, UNAMI condemned the “heinous attacks” that killed at least 18 people in Diyala, urging Iraqi authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and take necessary measures to protect civilians. more…
  • **Deadly Attacks In Diyala Kill At Least 18 And Displace Hundreds Amid Fear Of More violence – **On October 26, ISIS militants attacked a group of civilians in the village of Rashad in Diyala province, killing 11 people and wounding several. After the attack, a group of gunmen believed to be related to the victims reportedly attacked the nearby village of Nhar al-Imam, where they killed seven people and set homes, farms, and vehicles on fire in what appears to be an act of revenge. On October 28, the Minister of Migration and Displacement confirmed that 227 families from Nahr al-Imam abandoned their village amid fear of more violence. Between October 23 – 27, seven other militant attacks killed at least eight people and wounded six more. Between October 23 – 28, the explosions of seven IEDs and one remnant of war killed at least five Iraqis and wounded seven others. Another IED explosion killed a Turkish soldier and wounded another in the Kurdistan region. Between October 21 – 27, Iraqi security forces killed four ISIS militants in Rutba, Kahmour, and Tarmiyah. Between October 22 – 26, Turkey said that its military forces killed 11 members of the PKK in various locations in the Kurdistan region. more…
  • **HStudy Reveals Hardships Of Climate-Induced Migration; “Unprecedented” Water Shortage Threatens Diyala; Health Officials Warn Of New COVID-19 Wave – **On October 21, IOM released a study on the effects of climate-induced migration in southern Iraq, which says that worsening environmental conditions have rendered the agricultural sector unable to sustain livelihoods, accelerating migrations from rural to urban areas with inadequate resources and opportunities. On October 25, officials in Udheim-Diyala urged the Iraqi government to reconsider a decision to cancel the winter farming plan in the area, warning that it would “starve 50,000 people.” On October 26, Iraqi officials expressed growing concern about an “unprecedented” decline in water levels at the Serwan river, which flows from Iran into the Diyala river. On October 28, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,052,123. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 23,083 while hospitalizations decreased to 32,914. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 1,429/day from 1,660/day during the previous reporting period. The total number of vaccinated people reached 5,792,162 including 81,803 who received their shots on October 28. Earlier, the Ministry warned that a “fourth wave” of COVID-19 was likely as an increase in cases in several countries point to the possible emergence of a new viral strain. The Ministry said that poor compliance with preventive guidelines and low vaccination rates expose Iraq to a new spike in infections that could challenge the health system. more…
  • **Baghdad Pursues New Energy Deals With Riyadh; Iraq Aims To End Gas Flaring By 2025 – **On October 23, Iraq’s Planning Ministry reported that inflation levels in September were up 7.3% from the same month in 2020. On October 24, the Iraqi-Saudi committee for energy and industries held a meeting in Riyadh to discuss power grid connections, gas field development projects, and potential Saudi participation in the Nibras Petrochemicals project, which Iraq is pursuing with Shell. Iraq’s acting Electricity Minister also said that Iraq was close to signing a contract with a Saudi firm to build a 1,000 megawatt solar farm. On October 25, Iraq’s Finance Minister said the country plans to stop flaring associated gas by the year 2025. The effort requires $3 billion in annual investments over the next four years. On October 25, Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad announced that Iranian visitors can now travel to Iraq by air without having to obtain an entry visa in advance. 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.