ISHM: July 28 – August 3, 2017

ISHM LOGO

Key Takeaways:

  • Civilians Flee Tal Afar as Security Forces Prepare to Clear the City – Commander of Ninewa Operations in the fight against ISIS, Iraqi Army Major General Najm al-Jabouri, said on July 31 that he anticipates the order for security forces to enter the city of Tal Afar, 80 kilometers west of Mosul, within the next few days. He characterized ISIS as “worn out and demoralized,” and expects the effort to clear the city of ISIS militants to be relatively swift given that the vast majority of civilians have already fled. Jabouri estimates that 1500 to 2000 ISIS militants remain in Tal Afar, which the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, and Popular Mobilization Units have surrounded. Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq, commended security force efforts to “put civilian protection and assistance to IDPs at the center of the battle plan for Mosul” and urged care for innocent civilians in the next phase of operations. According to the UNHCR, a steady flow of IDPs have continued to enter displacement camps from Tal Afar. more…
  • Orphaned Children and IEDs in Mosul’s Aftermath – UNICEF issued a report this week indicating that at least 3,800 children have been separated from their families or orphaned in Mosul. UNICEF reports that some of these children are not being accepted by communities in displacement camps due to perceptions of ISIS affiliation, leaving hundreds roaming the streets of Mosul and at risk for child exploitation. The UNHCR reports that less than 2% of the nearly 850,000 civilians displaced from Mosul have returned to their places of origin, due to the prevalence of IEDs and a lack of available resources. more…
  • HRW, UNHCR Condemn Abuse of Civilians – On July 27, Human Rights Watch issued a scathing report of the Iraqi Army’s 16th Division, citing numerous examples of extrajudicial killings and abuse conducted during operations to clear Mosul of ISIS militants. HRW suggested that under the Leahy Law, the U.S. Government is prohibited from “providing military assistance to any unit of foreign security forces if there is credible evidence that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights.” The UNHCR reported several instances of female-headed households who are no longer being accepted into government-run displacement camps due to suspicions of family affiliations with ISIS. The UNHCR and other advocacy groups actively condemn this policy. more…
  • Security Operations, Airstrikes Ramp Up in Anbar – Iraqi Army Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah arrived in Anbar to initiate plans to clear Qa’im, Annah, and Rawa, three border towns in Anbar Province still under ISIS control. Iraqi Defense Minister Erfan al-Hayali, announced that the Iraqi Army will accept 500 additional recruits to join the Army’s 7th Division and 200 recruits to join the police force in the province. The decision came after Hyali met with community leaders in western Anbar, who feel too many resources have been dedicated to Ninewa and Kirkuk Provinces, at Anbar’s expense. more…
  • Saudi Rapprochement Continues with Sadr Visit; Baghdad Strikes Oil Deal with Iran – Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the formation of a committee to “strengthen economic investment relations with Saudi Arabia” to be led by Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji. Days prior, influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Sadr’s first visit to the Sunni-dominated nation in over a decade. During the visit, Sadr pressed for greater economic cooperation to help counter Iranian influence in Iraq. On the same day, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Ali al-Luaibi met with his Iranian counterpart and agreed to commission a feasibility study on the construction of a pipeline to export Kirkuk oil to Iran. Many in Kirkuk speculate that the agreement between Baghdad and Tehran is in retribution for the impending September referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. more…
  • State Department Urges KRG to Postpone Independence Referendum – On July 31, the U.S. State Department urged the Kurdistan Regional Government to postpone the impending September referendum on independence until Iraq’s parliamentary and provincial elections, currently set for April 2018, citing concerns over security and political instability that may result from the referendum’s outcome. KRG representative Falah Mustafa responded that “we respect the assessment of the U.S. administration, but this is a decision taken by the nation of Kurdistan.” 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.


Civilians Flee Tal Afar as Security Forces Prepare to Clear the City

On July 28, a series of five coordinated blasts detonated in Tal Afar, approximately 80 kilometers west of Mosul in Ninewa Province, apparently intended to target Islamic State of Iraq and al- Sham (ISIS) fighters of Arab nationalities. While no casualties were reported, the attack highlights the tensions within ISIS in Tal Afar, where morale is reportedly low and the lack of centralized leadership has led to power struggles and attacks between different factions. The Arab identities of the victims suggests a potential struggle between local fighters and those from outside the region, a fissure that has reportedly flared up in the past in Hawija and Tal Afar.

On July 29, an airstrike outside Tal Afar killed four ISIS members and destroyed a mobile broadcasting station for Amaq, a news outlet linked to ISIS. The organizers of the strike were not named, but the attack comes as Iraqi and coalition forces increase their ground and air operations in preparation for the upcoming operation to clear Tal Afar.

On July 31, Iraqi Army Major General Najm al-Jabouri said that he expected the fight to clear Tal Afar to be considerably less difficult than the battle in Mosul, which he helped lead in his current role as Commander of Ninewa Operations. Jabouri is the senior Iraqi commander in the fight against ISIS in the Ninewa province, where Tal Afar is located, and is anticipating the order to clear Tal Afar to come in the coming days. He said that ISIS is “worn out and demoralized” in the city, and that the vast majority of civilians have left, which will allow Iraqi forces to move quicker through the city. Jabouri estimates that between 1,500- 2,000 militants remain in Tal Afar. The Iraqi Army, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, and Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) forces have surrounded the city for months, and with the operation to clear Mosul completed, it will be the next major operation undertaken by the military.

On August 1, the United Nations Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reported that a total of 241 Iraqi civilians were killed, while another 247 were injured in attacks of violence, armed conflict, or terrorism in the month of July alone. Of these figures, the highest recorded number of casualties took place in Ninewa Province, followed by Baghdad. The Special Representative of the Secretary- General for the United Nations Mission for Iraq, Jan Kubis, condemned the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which caused massive suffering to civilians during the final stages of the battle for Mosul. Kubis reiterated his call upon the protection of civilians across Iraq, as Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) prepare to liberate Tal Afar and remaining ISIS held territories. “As we commend the Iraqi forces’ humanitarian concept of operations that has put civilian protection and assistance to IDPs at the center of the battle plan for Mosul, it is imperative that the protection of civilians continues to be the top priority in the conduct of military operations going forward,” said Kubis.

On August 1, the UNHCR released another report regarding the small trend in IDPs entering displacement camps, most arriving from Tal Afar. The report also stated that a number of IDPs who had previously left displacement camps to return back to their places of origins, are now once again returning back to displacement sites,  due to lack of services and economic hardships in their places of origin. The UNHCR later reported on the overall steady flow of IDPs that have continued to flee Tal Afar and  the town of Sharqat, in the Salah ad- Din governorate. Following Iraqi Air Force and coalition forces attacking extremist forces in the city of Sharqat, a number of new IDPs have been created, fleeing government controlled areas in search of refuge.

On August 2, a loud explosion was heard, followed by intense gunfire within Tal Afar. The perpetrators of the attack were not known, but Iraqi forces have not yet moved into the city. ISIS has reportedly struggled to maintain control over the Tal Afar in recent weeks, and has imposed a strict curfew on residents.

On August 2, PMU forces announced that they cleared 11 villages southeast of Tal Afar in preparation for the upcoming battle to retake the city from ISIS militants. The operations were intended to locate ISIS equipment stockpiles and “nests” of militants, and to secure the road from Tal Afar to Mosul.


Orphaned Children and IEDs in Mosul’s Aftermath

On July 28, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that thousands of children continue to be found in Mosul, often wandering alone among debris and rubble. Many of whom had been forced to partake in acts of violence and physically fend for themselves, while others were even subjected to sexual exploitation. Child protection agencies estimate that about 3,000 children have been separated from their families and over 800 children remain unaccompanied.  UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations consider the protection of these lost children to be their top priority moving forward.  Relief agencies have begun the daunting task of trying to reunite these 3,800 children to their families. Registration points and checkpoints have been set up in strategic areas where children have been fleeing, working in conjunction with a number of Mobile Child Protection teams. If children make their way to a displacement camp, they are usually placed with other families on a temporary basis, until relatives or legal guardians can be reached. “These children are extremely vulnerable…Our primary focus is care and protection for them. We try to make sure that they are provided immediate care” said Mariyampillai Mariyaselvam, a child protection specialist with UNICEF. Providing immediate care to these children has become an increasingly more difficult task. Mariyaselvam said: “The situation we are seeing is that some children are not being accepted by the community because of their affiliation,” which is in reference to children who may have been supporters of, or child soldiers for, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Many children are being denied care due to suspected affiliations with ISIS, leaving hundreds of roaming children on the streets, some being forced into child labor. As the war against ISIS continues and an anticipated military offensive on Tal Afar, a new wave of lost children is expected.  

On July 31, the World Food Programme (WFP) assured that food security of fleeing families in western Mosul has improved recently. However, every neighborhood in western Mosul , and 43% of neighborhoods in eastern Mosul, continue to face severe challenges to accessing food. Limited finances and physical constraints remains a large obstacle for people trying to access food in western Mosul.

On July 31, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released a report revealing that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mosul has decreased from 848,238 to 837,450. The majority of those that have left displacement camps have left from sites based outside of eastern Mosul. Insufficient protection from hot weather at the camps and improved access to areas of origins are cited as the main reason for these departures.  

On August 1, an ISIS militant attacked a security checkpoint west of Mosul, killing one police officer before being killed by police. Two women that were with the militant were subsequently arrested.

On August 1, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on the continued humanitarian crisis in Iraq and the expanded risks civilians face. Civilians risks are caused by widespread contamination of complex explosive devices, pockets of instability and sporadic violence throughout the country. The report also indicated that the fear of retributive acts have hindered the ability for communities to restart their lives. In addition, due to the sizeable amount of explosive devices within Iraq has been deemed one of the most contaminated countries in the world. The risk of improvised explosive devices (IED), unexploded artillery, and pressurized bombs throughout worn torn , such as Mosul, pose a large obstacle and threat to rebuilding programs. Urban areas not only have been booby trapped with explosives, but also rural and agricultural regions, hindering the ability for farmers to produce food. Estimates indicate that it could take up to a decade alone to clear Mosul of all explosives. Sporadic attacks by ISIS continue to put civilians at risk from targeted IED attacks and vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). Civilians continue to face severe hardships and risks as continuously are caught in small arms crossfire and IED attacks.

On August 2, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations implemented a cash for work programme aimed at rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure and land, that would significantly aid and assist vulnerable rural families in conflict affected civilians. The program is expected to support 12,000 people in Kirkuk, Anbar, Salah ad- Din and the Ninewa governorates. The program encourages farmers by encouraging them to restart farming activities with “rehabilitated infrastructure,” providing livelihood opportunities to returning displaced people. The cash for work program will provide short term employment opportunities to poor or vulnerable displaced people, specifically targeting women who are the sole breadwinners of their household and the disabled.

On August 3, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joined forces in the adoption of a child-centric advocacy program that would work to promote school-based preparedness for children along the Tigris River flood path. The program also works with children from the area to build resilience among their communities and maximize future emergency preparation. The program engages with both children and school administrators in preparing school based “safety preparedness programs,” allowing schools to be designated as temporary evacuation and safety centers.


HRW, UNHCR Condemn Abuse of Civilians

On July 27, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report linking a division of the U.S.-trained Iraqi forces to war crimes committed in Mosul. The 16th Division of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are accused of executing several dozen prisoners in Mosul’s Old City, and to numerous summary killings. International observers witnessed soldiers of the 16th Division lead a group of four naked men down an alleyway, after which they heard numerous gunshots. Bystanders who were at the scene reported that the men were affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al- Sham (ISIS). Another international observer peaked through a doorway of a destroyed building, exposing a number of deceased naked men lying near the entrance. One of the men still had his hands pinned behind his back and a rope tied around his legs. The observer told HRW that the building was adjacent to the 16th Division’s base in the area, and that they were the only Iraqi military force controlling the area. Observers also witnessed the body of boy, appearing to be about 14, lying in the rubble near the Division’s base. The deceased child was only wearing underwear, with his hands tied behind his back and a gunshot wound to the head. A 16th Division soldier told an observer that his fellow soldier executed the boy, claiming that he had been an ISIS fighter. 16th Division soldiers even escorted one of the observers to an area of rubble where he flaunted the decapitated head of what he claims was an American female ISIS sniper. The soldier then led the observer to an area exhibiting 25 bodies lying on rubble, proudly informing the observer that the deceased had been ISIS fighters that another fellow soldier had executed. HRW calls upon the U.S. government to suspend all assistance and support to the 16th Division of the ISF, pending a full investigation into the reported war crimes.  Despite the acknowledgment of the atrocities committed by Iraqi troops, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to exhibit that government officials are holding soldiers accountable for the war crimes being committed. “The U.S. military should find out why a force that it trained and supported is committing ghastly war crimes…U.S. taxpayer dollars should be helping to curtail abuses, not enable them” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at HRW. Under the “Leahy Law” the US is prohibited from “providing military assistance to any unit of foreign security forces if there is credible evidence that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights and no “effective measures” are being taken to bring those responsible to justice.”

On July 30, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on, and condemned, the ongoing collective punishment that is developing in some displacement camps in eastern Mosul. Authorities in some camps have declared that female headed households will no longer be accepted into some displacement camps due to suspicions that the husband would either died fighting or fled with ISIS. The UNHCR and other advocacy groups are advocating for the end of this policy as developments continue.


Security Operations, Airstrikes Ramp Up in Anbar

On July 28, a coordinated suicide attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and al- Sham (ISIS) in western Anbar killed six civilians. Five suicide bombers attacked the town of al-Baghdadi, 100 kilometers northwest of Ramadi. Four militants were killed before they could detonate their explosives, yet the fifth successfully infiltrated a home, killing an entire family. Security forces have struggled to maintain stability in western Anbar, where ISIS still controls several towns from which it can organize attacks.

On July 29, a popular mobilization unit (PMU) in the Anbar province released a video imploring Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to accelerate the process of clearing western Anbar of ISIS militants. While most major cities in Anbar, including Fallujah and Ramadi, have been under Iraq’s control for over a year, the situation along the border with Syria remains unstable, and several towns remain under ISIS rule in the west of the province. As forces from Mosul are reassigned to new operations, leaders in Ninewa, Anbar and Kirkuk have all lobbied for more resources to fight ISIS in their respective provinces.

On July 30, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, one of the leaders of the operations to clear Mosul, arrived in Anbar to begin plans to clear Qa’im, Annah, and Rawa; the three major border towns in Anbar still under ISIS control. While the military has indicated that clearing Tal Afar in Ninewa is its top priority, it has been made clear that they intend to conduct  other military operations simultaneously.

On August 2, the Iraqi Minister of Defense, Erfan al-Hayali, announced that the Iraqi Army would accept 500 additional volunteers from Anbar to join the military, and hire an additional 200 police officers in the province. The new Army recruits will be assigned to the Army’s 7th Division, which has been active in the fight against ISIS in Anbar. The decision came after Hayali met with community leaders in western Anbar, and is likely intended to placate residents who believe that too many resources have been dedicated to Ninewa and Kirkuk, at their expense.

On August 2, a series of Iraqi Air Force airstrikes killed 13 ISIS militants in Qa’im and Rawa, in eastern Anbar. Both town are among the last areas ISIS controls in the province, and ISIS reportedly responded by moving its headquarters to residential areas to limit airstrikes. The attacks come just three days after the Iraqi military indicated that it intended to begin clearing Qa’im, Rawa, and other towns in Anbar at the same time as it moved in to Tal Afar in Ninewa.

On August 2, a U.S. Department of Defense delegation visited Anbar to assess the security situation along the international road from Iraq to Jordan, in preparation for the eventual reopening of the Turaibil border crossing, which has been closed since ISIS seized it in June of 2014. The delegation included representatives from the U.S. firm that won the contract to rebuild the road. The visit included meetings with local community leaders and security officials. While the road and border are currently controlled by Anbar’s security forces, they are subject to occasional ISIS raids.


Saudi Rapprochement Continues with Sadr Visit; Baghdad Strikes Oil Deal with Iran

On July 30, influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, met with with Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned prince Mohammed bin Salman. During this unscheduled meeting, which is Sadr’s first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade, Sadr advocated for a greater Saudi presence in Iraq’s economy in order to counter the growing influence of Iran. In the past, Sadr has been critical of some Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), and the meeting agenda included what the official Saudi news agency called “issues of mutual interest.” Saudi-Iraqi relations improved in 2015 when Riyadh reopened its embassy in Baghdad after 25 years of suspended diplomatic ties. Ibrahim al-Marie, a security analyst based in Riyadh, commented that these meetings indicate “significant improvements in Saudi-Iraqi relations, official and nonofficial, [although it] doesn’t mean that Iran’s domination of Iraq has decreased or will decrease.”

On July 30, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Ali al-Luaibi met with his Iranian counterpart, Bijan Zangeneh, to discuss the strengthening of ties within the energy-sector. They agreed to commission a feasibility study on the construction of a pipeline to export Kirkuk’s crude oil to refineries in Iran. This February, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) concerning the exportation of Kirkuk’s oil to Iran. The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, with two of its oil fields under control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and three others run by Iraq’s North Oil Company (NOC), whose offices were briefly taken over by the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk in February. Kirkuk’s oil is particularly important to Baghdad, since Iraq’s Oil Ministry announced that in July, Iraq’s oil exports fell dramatically from their June rates, and no shipments from oil fields in Kirkuk to Baghdad were recorded.  

On July 31, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced that an agreement has been reached with Iraq to construct a pipeline to export crude oil from Kirkuk into Iran. The new deal has re-instigated tension between Erbil and Baghdad over the profitable Kirkuk oil fields, which lie within the disputed areas. The most recent chapter of the oil conflict dates back to when Kurdistan began independently exporting oil to Turkey’s Ceyhan port, openly exceeding Iraq’s oil export quota as stipulated by an OPEC agreement. In response, in 2013 Baghdad withheld the KRG’s share of Kirkuk oil revenues, and the next year completely froze the KRG’s share of the national budget, severely crippling the Kurdish economy. When Baghdad continued to demand the KRG to shut down the pipeline, Kurdish Peshmerga forces seized the three NOC fields, briefly suspending Iraq’s oil revenue in February 2017. This forced a new agreement allowing the pipeline to remain open. Tensions remain high, and the new deal has provoked outcries from Kirkuk’s politicians.

On August 1, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the establishment of a committee chaired by Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji, which will seek to “strengthen economic and investment relations with Saudi Arabia.” In the past year, their relations have improved between the often formally contentious governments, including a recent security cooperation agreement regarding the shared 900 kilometer border.

On August 2, Rebwar Talabani, acting head of Kirkuk’s Provincial Council, rejected Baghdad and Tehran’s recent oil deal as unconstitutional. “Baghdad continuously brokers these agreements without informing the province which produces the oil. And this is contrary to Article 112 of the constitution,” he said. Talabani further commented that “I do not know to what extent this is related to the referendum,” insinuating that it could be a  means of retaliation to the Kurdish regions.  

On August 2, Dilshad Shaaban, deputy chairman of the Kurdish Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee, stated that “in order to raise more legal problems in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Tehran have been trying for a long time to work on a pipeline to transport crude oil from the province to the Iranian territories.” He cited this deal as another attempt from Baghdad and Iran to disrupt the upcoming Kurdish referendum on independence, which is set for September 25.


State Department Urges KRG to Postpone Independence Referendum

On July 30, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Referendum Council convened to begin preparations to activate Parliament before August 10, as demanded by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). However the meeting did not include representatives from the Movement for Change (Gorran) opposition party, who have yet to respond to the KDP’s offer to reopen Parliament without conditions.

 

On July 31, the U.S. State Department urged the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to postpone the upcoming referendum on independence until after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has secured his second term. The KRG referendum is currently slated for August 2017; Iraq’s parliamentary and provincial elections are set for April 2018. Since the ruling Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) announced the date of the Kurdish referendum on independence, the U.S. has advocated that the vote be postponed, until security and political stability is achieved in Iraq. In response, KRG representative Falah Mustafa told U.S. officials that “we respect the assessment of the U.S. administration, but this is a decision taken by the nation of Kurdistan.”

On August 1, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani met with the Yonadam Yusuf Kana, leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), in order to discuss the Christian minority’s rights and demands for security and political representation in Kurdistan.  During the meeting, Barzani called on all Christian political parties in Kurdistan to jointly meet and present their concerns and requests to the KRG.  Assyrians are an ethno-religious and linguistic minority in the region, and have repeatedly been the victims of genocides, the most recent of which was perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) starting in 2014. Tensions between the Assyrians and the Kurds have been high, with the former accusing the latter of forcibly disarming their people and thereby allowing the genocide to happen. More recently, there has been conflict over the forced resignation of the Assyrian mayor of Alqosh, a town located in the Ninewa Province. The mayor was replaced by a local Assyrian KDP member, in a move many Alqosh residents feel was an undemocratic effort to consolidate KDP control over the Nineveh plains, which lie outside of Kurdistan’s formally recognized borders.

On August 2, a spokesman for the Assyrian Democratic Movement commented on the meeting between the ADM delegation and Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, which occurred the previous day, stating that “it is necessary to ensure the rights of our people at all levels.”  Sargon stressed that “this time is not suitable for referendum in the Nineveh Plains.” The KRG has made the controversial move to hold the independence referendum in contested territories beyond its formal borders, including the Nineveh Plains, in a move many local non-Kurds have protested.

On August 2, Vice President Nouri al-Maliki spoke about the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections, saying that they will “be difficult” and that “external forces” may seek to interfere. In addition, he addressed a variety of security and humanitarian concerns facing Iraq, including the complete clearing of the ISIS from the region, rebuilding of destroyed communities and cities, and supporting and rehabilitating those caught in, and forced to flee from, the war.  In addition, he stressed the need for political unity and the importance to “accommodate all components of the nation” in the process.

On August 3, influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on his supporters to congregate in a “mass demonstration in Tahrir Square on Friday,” August 4, in Baghdad and other provinces in protest of the draft election bill, which he calls, “a great injustice.” On Tuesday, Parliament began negotiating terms of the draft provincial and district council election laws, which added several preconditions for potential candidates, including restrictions based on age and education level.. A number of political blocs raised objections to the changes, and several politicians walked out of the session. They argue that it is harmful to hopeful local politicians, and that it is designed to limit the power of several political groups, including the Sadrist bloc.

On August 3, Ali Hussein, a member of the KDP leadership council, commented that the KDP is still waiting for Gorran to accept the deal to reopen Parliament without conditions. While the major Kurdish parties all support the upcoming referendum, there are disagreements over the implementations, with Gorran accusing the ruling KDP of using the vote as a means to consolidate political power. If Gorran accepts, it will be a significant step towards reconciliation between the political parties.  

On August 3, a spokesman for the Babylon Movement, stated that they “will not allow the inclusion of the Nineveh Plains” in the upcoming Kurdistan referendum, even though the KRG plans to conduct the vote in their region. The Babylon Movement is a Christian Chaldean militia located in the Nineveh Plains. The statement said that the vote “should not be imposed on the Christians and the residents of the Nineveh Plains” and insinuated that people were intimidated into supporting the KRG. in addition, he accused several unnamed Christian politicians in Erbil of “having now ignored the words of the Nineveh Plains residents, pursuing their own personal and political interests.”


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
08/02/17Al-Bawi neighborhood, southern Baghdad03
08/01/17Kara Tepe, 100 km northeast of Baqubah 02
08/01/17Hit, 70 km west of Ramadi00
08/01/17Sharwein Basin, 45 km east of Baqubah03
07/31/17Tawakul village, 40 km east of Baqubah12
07/30/17Ras al-Jadda, southwest Mosul34
07/30/17Western Anbar, highway to Jordanian border20
07/29/17Al-Doura neighborhood, southern Baghdad02
07/29/17Nimroud area, 35 km southeast of Mosul37
07/28/17Al-Baghdadi town, 90 km west of Ramadi60

 

Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.


Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center.


Subscribe to our weekly ISHM and have the latest developments in Iraq sent straight to your inbox every Thursday and follow EPIC on Twitter to receive updates throughout the week.