ISHM: September 10 - September 17, 2020

News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • Sistani Backs Reforms And Early Elections; Kadhimi Replaces 16 Senior Officials; Security Forces Make Anti-Corruption Arrests – On September 10 – 11, PM Kadhimi met with KRG President Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil for talks, visited Halabja, met with IDPs in Duhok, and inspected Border crossings in Sulaymaniyah. On September 13, Nouri al-Maliki arrived in Iran then met with Ali Shamkhani of Iran’s National Security Council. On September 13, Ayatollah Sistani met with the UNAMI chief and articulated his position on several key issues. Sistani called for credible early elections free of political pressures, urged Kadhimi’s government to bring the perpetrators of violence against protesters to justice, and encouraged the government to combat corruption, establish state monopoly on arms, and preserve Iraq’s sovereignty. On September 14, Iraq’s Foreign Minister met his German counterpart in Berlin. The minister will go to Paris next to set a date for a visit by Kadhimi. On September 14, PM Kadhimi made changes in 16 senior government positions, including eight deputy ministers. Kadhimi notably placed former Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi as Chief of Operations at the National Intelligence Service and replaced the heads of the Central Bank and Trade Bank of Iraq. On September 16 – 17, security forces arrested the former head of the National Board of Pensions and the head of Baghdad’s Investment Commission, amid unconfirmed reports of additional arrests ordered by an anti-corruption committee Kadhimi established on August 27. more…

  • ISIS Escalates Bombing Attacks; More Rockets Fired At U.S. Embassy While IEDs Target UK Diplomats And Coalition Contractors – Between September 10 – 14, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Coalition airstrikes killed at least 14 ISIS militants in Ninewa, Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk, Anbar and Diyala. Between September 12 – 16, ISIS attacks in Diyala and Kirkuk killed an Iraqi soldier, a civilian and wounded five others. Between September 12 – 17, nine IEDs in Ninewa, Diyala and Kirkuk killed at least five Iraqis and wounded eight others. Between September 12 – 15, four other IEDs targeted civilian contractors transporting supplies for the U.S.-led Coalition in Salah ad-Din, Diwaniyah and Babylon, injuring at least one Iraqi. On September 15, two IEDs exploded near the Green Zone, one of which targeted British diplomats, without causing casualties. Between September 15 – 16, three rockets were fired at the Green Zone, two of which were intercepted by the U.S. Embassy’s defense systems. more…

  • Security Forces Developing Plan for Return Of Kirkuk IDPs; UN Supports Iraq Climate Change Assessment; COVID-19 Cases Surpass 300,000 – On September 13, Kirkuk Operations Command formed a civil-military committee to facilitate the return of thousands of IDPs currently in Kirkuk City, starting with those displaced from the volatile Hawija and Daquq districts. On September 16, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) announced a $25 million partnership with the Iraqi government to develop a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to assess the country’s preparedness for climate change and outline its process for combating its effects. On September 17, the Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 307,385. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 8,332 while a total of 241,100 patients have recovered. To date, Iraq has tested 1,998,295 samples for COVID-19. more…

  • Iraq Eyes Additional Borrowing To Plug Deficit; Oil Minister To Head National Oil Co.; Iraq Seeks Hydroelectric Power From 20 Dams – On September 12, a member of the Parliament’s Finance Committee said Finance Minister Ali Allawi will submit a new borrowing law to the legislature to address Iraq’s cash shortage and pay public sector salaries and other benefits. Iraq’s 2020 budget is expected to have a $64 billion deficit. On September 14, Oil Ministry documents circulating on social media indicated that Iraqi Minister of Oil Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar issued orders based on recent Cabinet instructions that appoint the minister as chairman of the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC). On September 15, the Ministry of Water Resources said it has identified 20 dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries for potential use to generate clean hydroelectric energy. more…