ISHM: September 30 - October 7, 2021

News and Press Release
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Key Takeaways:

  • Final Preparations Underway For Sunday Election; PMF Excluded From Special Voting; PM Launches Reconstruction Fund For Dhi-Qar – On October 1, Iraqis gathered at Tahrir Square to mark the second anniversary of the anti-government protests that began on October 1, 2019 and demand justice for the hundreds of protesters killed by government forces and militias. On October 2, IHEC revealed that PMF fighters won’t be able to vote during the special voting process that precedes the general election day because the PMF Commission failed to share personnel records with IHEC. On October 4, PM Kadhimi announced the launch of a reconstruction fund for Dhi-Qar province worth IQD1.3 trillion (approximately $900 million), along with plans to expand 20 of Dhi-Qar’s towns. On October 4, Masrour Barzani addressed Iraqis outside Kurdistan in a rare message in Arabic in which he asked them to vote for KDP candidates everywhere to “bring Kurdistan’s successful experience to the rest of Iraq.” On October 5, UNAMI’s chief affirmed that “the technical aspects of the electoral process are fully on track,” adding that the “large UN electoral presence [of 900 people] is fully deployed” ahead of the October 10 vote. On October 5, IHEC said it has begun logistical preparations at 8,273 voting centers to allow special and general voting can commence as planned on October 8 and 10, respectively. Meanwhile, IHEC conducted a final election day simulation and disqualified at least two candidates from different parties. On October 6, Speaker Halbousi announced that Parliament will dissolve itself on October 7, thereby ending the fourth legislative term ahead of the October 10 general vote. more…

  • Rare Suicide Bombing Strikes Ramadi; Turkey Intensifies Anti-PKK Operations Inside Iraq; Election Rally Attack Kills A Child – Between September 30 – October 6, eight militant attacks killed at least seven Iraqi civilians and members of the security forces and wounded eight others. Between October 1 – 5, Iraqi security forces killed at least 12 ISIS militants in operations in Kirkuk, Diyala, and Ninewa. On October 1, unidentified gunmen attacked the home of a local activist with several hand grenades. Between October 2 – 6, Turkey said its forces killed 15 PKK members in the Kurdistan region and seized a camp used by the group. On October 3, a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle-borne IED near a police station in Ramadi. Iraqi sources said the attack didn’t cause casualties, but ISIS claimed it killed or wounded eight policemen. Between October 2 – 4, the explosions of three other IEDs injured at least two Iraqi soldiers and four civilians. On October 7, a grenade attack on an election rally killed one person and injured five more. more…

  • COVID-19 Spread Slows Down, But Vaccination Rates Drop Too – On October 7, Iraq’s Health Ministry said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 2,018,667. Deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 22,473 while hospitalizations decreased to 60,923. The daily average for new cases during the last 7-day period dropped to 2,195/day from 2,279/day during the previous reporting period. The total number vaccinated people reached 4,951,021 including 41,088 who received their shots on October 7. more…

  • Oil Exports And Revenue Edge Up; Iraq Eyes Hydrocarbon Exploration Deals In Anbar And Dhi-Qar; Train Service To Mosul Resumes – On October 1, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said that September oil exports averaged 3.081 million bpd, which is 33,000 higher than in August. The September exports generated $6.711 billion in revenue, about $180 million more than August. On October 4, Reuters reported that Iraq is pursuing negotiations with Chevron to develop four hydrocarbon exploration blocks in Dhi-Qar province. On the following day, Iraq’s Oil Minister revealed that Iraq is talking to “one of the largest international companies” about exploring for natural gas in Anbar province. On October 4, Iraq’s Transportation Ministry reported that a freight train has arrived in Mosul for the first time in a decade after the railroad company repaired the war-damaged Baghdad-Mosul line. On October 5, Argus, citing sources in the oil trade industry, reported that Iraq may stop offering its Basra Light grade of crude oil next year. 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.