ISHM: October 26 - November 9 - 15, 2018

News and Press Release
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This week’s headlines:

  • U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Hezbollah-Affiliated Individuals, Iraq to Trade Food for Iranian Energy and Gas – On November 11, Iraqi President Barham Salih called on the United States (U.S.) to rethink its sanctions against Iran, voicing concerns about how the decision will affect Iraq’s relations with Iran. On November 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on four individuals who are affiliated with Lebanese Hezbollah. The four individuals are Shibl Muhsin Ubayd al-Zaydi, from Iraq, Yusuf Hashim, Adnan Hussein Kawtharani and Muhammad Abd-Al-Hadi, from Lebanon. On November 14, an Iraqi senior official and a member of Iraq’s ministerial energy committee stated that Iraq agreed to exchange food for Iranian gas and energy supplies. The first source stated that “the American deadline of 45 days to stop importing Iranian gas is not enough at all for Iraq to find an alternative source.” Baghdad will seek U.S. approval to continue to import Iranian gas for power stations. The second official stated that “stopping Iranian gas after the deadline will create a real power crisis. We need more time and the Americans are completely aware of how desperately we need Iranian gas.” more…

  • Council of Representatives Reduces Number of Parliamentary Committees, Discussion on Federal Budget for 2019 Postponed to November 20 – On November 10, the Council of Representatives voted to reduce the number of parliamentary committees from 27 to 22. An anonymous political source told Alsumaria News that “the Council of Representatives decided to reduce the number of committees from 27 to 22 through the integration of the committees of Culture and Media, Tourism and Antiquities. The committee on Affairs of Members and Parliamentary Development will be integrated with the committee on Institutions of Civil Society. In addition, the Human Rights with Martyrs and Prisoners will be integrated with the committees on Labor and Social Affairs and the committee on Displaced Persons. On November 12, the Iraqi Minister of Finance, Fuad Hussein, stated that the 2019 Federal Budget still can not be enacted by the Council of Representatives. Hussein stated that “the budget was prepared by the previous government,” and that “the vision of the current government is different from what exists in the current budget.” On November 13, the Iraqi Parliament postponed discussions on the 2019 Federal Budget until November 20 after failing to reach an agreement in Tuesday’s session of Parliament. On November 14, the Iraqi Parliament announced its decision to investigate how bills amounting to $7 billion Iraqi dinars (US $6 million) were damaged by rainwater that entered the Rafidain Central Bank in 2013. On November 14, the Iraqi Commission of Integrity (COI) announced it had seized property that was given to the wife of an ex-government official. more…

  • Car Bomb Kills Four and Injures 12 in Mosul, Security Measures Strengthened in Ninewa Province to Prevent Escalation of Violence – On November 8, a car bomb exploded near the Abu Layla restaurant on Baghdad Street, in Mosul, Ninewa Province. The blast killed four people and injured 12. On November 9, Bashir Haddad, the second Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, condemned the car bomb attack that killed four civilians and injured 12 in Mosul, Ninewa Province, on November 8, 2018. Haddad urged Iraqi forces from the army, police, and security committee to review the security procedures and take necessary security measures to protect the lives of citizens and infrastructures. On November 9, former governor of Ninewa Province, Atheel al-Nujaifi, warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has returned to Ninewa Province and the rest of the liberated areas, urging the ruling political parties to cooperate with “the Sunni and Kurdish leaders” to avoid the “escalation of the danger.” On November 10, Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, Chief of Ninewa Operations, released a statement saying that Iraqi forces bolstered security measures is Mosul, anticipating increased violence in the area.more…

  • USAID, Sanad and NRC Release Reports Concerning IDPs and Humanitarian Developments in Iraq, ICRC Launches Awareness Campaign on Violence Against Medical Personnel in Iraq – On September 30, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) published a report providing information concerning humanitarian developments in Iraq. As of September 30, 2018, 4.08 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their homes areas since 2014, and 8.7 million people are in need of assistance in Iraq. Approximately 1.89 million people remain displaced in Iraq, with 591,354 of the IDPs residing in Ninewa province. On November 11, Sanad for Peacebuilding announced that 1000 displaced families, both internally and internationally, returned to their homes in Al-Ayadhiya, a sub-district of Tal Afar, Ninewa Province, adding that “many of these families have come from Turkey or from camps across Iraq, including Kirkuk and Mosul. Tal Afar, a city west of Mosul, has struggled with sectarian violence since 2003.” On November 12, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a public awareness campaign in Iraq during a ceremony at the Ministry of Health in Baghdad, titled ‘Health Care in Danger’, which will last until November 21, 2018. This campaign addresses violence against medical personnel and facilities, and its negative impact on the provision of health care. On November 13, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published a report on the internally displaced persons (IDPs) among the Yazidi community in Iraq. Although ISIS forces have been driven out of the area of Sinjar, where most of the community used to reside, three years later, approximately 200,000 Yazidi remain displaced in northern Iraq. 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.