Iraq

ISHM: October 26 - November 1, 2018

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This week’s headlines:

International Leaders Congratulate Mahdi on His Election to Prime Minister, Council of Representatives Rejects Federal Budget for 2019 – On October 26, Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, released a statement congratulating newly confirmed Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. On October 26, Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi received a congratulatory phone call from British Prime Minister Theresa May. On October 28, the Iraqi Council of Ministers submitted a draft of Iraq’s 2019 Federal Budget to the Council of Representatives. On October 29, leader of the Iraqi Decision Coalition and former Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi called on leaders to more equitably allocate funds for Ninewa Province. On October 31, the Iraqi Council of Representatives rejected the 2019 Federal Budget, effectively sending it back to the Council of Ministers. On November 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to congratulate him on his confirmation as Iraq’s new Prime Minister. more…

KRG Judicial Council Ratifies Elections Results, the KDP Announces It Will Nominate a Candidate for KRG Presidency Next Week – On October 28, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to discuss the tensions between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK and ways the tensions can be alleviated to build a government that is cohesive and serves the needs of all people living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). On October 30, the Judicial Council of the KRG approved the results of the September 30, 2018 parliamentary elections. The approval solidifies the ability of the parties to begin government formation talks as the first session of the new Parliament is slated to take place on November 6 and will be presided over by the oldest Member of Parliament (MP). On October 30, leaders for the KDP announced they would nominate a candidate for the Presidency of the KRG by next week. Aras Hasso Mirkhan, a member of the KDP’s leadership council, stated that “after the approval of the Judicial Council on the final results of the Kurdistan parliamentary elections, it is decided that the party’s leadership council will hold a meeting early next week.” more…

PMUs Strengthen Security in Anbar following ISIS Attack near the Iraqi Border, Saudi-American Citizen Freed After 13 Months of Prison in Iraq – On October 28, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to discuss the tensions between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK and ways the tensions can be alleviated to build a government that is cohesive and serves the needs of all people living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). On October 30, the Judicial Council of the KRG approved the results of the September 30, 2018 parliamentary elections. The approval solidifies the ability of the parties to begin government formation talks as the first session of the new Parliament is slated to take place on November 6 and will be presided over by the oldest Member of Parliament (MP). On October 30, leaders for the KDP announced they would nominate a candidate for the Presidency of the KRG by next week. Aras Hasso Mirkhan, a member of the KDP’s leadership council, stated that “after the approval of the Judicial Council on the final results of the Kurdistan parliamentary elections, it is decided that the party’s leadership council will hold a meeting early next week.” more…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Denounces U.S. Transfer of Detainees from Syria to Iraq, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Publishes Report on Impact of Water Salinity on Livelihoods in Basra Province – On October 29, UN Deputy Special Representative for Iraq Alice Walpole met with members of the Yazidi community in Sinjar District, Ninewa Province. On October 31, Shafaaq News reported on an investigation by Human Right Watch (HRW) condemning the U.S. military’s transfer of foreign national detainees from northern Syria to Iraq. The detainees are suspected of belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), and HRW warned that they are at risk of being tortured by Iraqi security forces. HRW analyzed four recent terrorism trials that took place in Baghdad. According to Nadim Houry of HRW: “Prosecuting ISIS suspects is crucial for their countless victims to obtain justice, but that won’t be achieved by transferring detainees to abusive situations. The U.S. should not be transferring ISIS suspects from Syria to Iraq or elsewhere if they will be at risk of torture or an unfair trial.” In particular, HRW is condemning the breach of international human rights and humanitarian law which prohibits transferring detainees to countries that engage in the use of mistreatment or torture. On October 21, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published findings on “the impact of water salinity and other shocks on the livelihoods of Basra’s residents” with recommendations for livelihood and market-based interventions. Rising water salinity has led to reduced crop yields and other adverse effects on agricultural livelihoods and the sustainability of farmlands in Iraq’s southern agricultural districts that depend entirely on the river Tigris as the primary source of irrigation. Crops that require higher levels of irrigation, such as wheat and barley, have been most adversely affected. “In [interviews] with the Directorate of Agriculture, mukhtars and the Al-Fares Group, respondents reported that any effort to improve the level of water in the marshes would require the Iraqi government to develop an agreement with Iran and Turkey.” 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.