ISHM: January 26 – February 1, 2018


Key Takeaways:

  • Demonstrators, KRG Condemn Turkish Action Against Syrian Kurds – Thousands of Kurdish protesters in Sulaimania called on the Kurdistan Regional Government and the international community to take action to stop Turkish military campaigns against U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeast Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Turkish units will move toward Syria’s eastern border with Iraq as they attempt to gain control of the region from Kurdish factions, who Turkey considers terrorists and a threat to Turkish sovereignty. The Kurdish Parliament has condemned the operations and called on the UN to intervene. Meanwhile, the U.S. has not yet articulated a clear policy of support or condemnation for either side. more…
  • Political Alliances Develop Ahead of Election; Dep Sec Sullivan Visits Iraq – Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with senior Iraqi government officials this week in Baghdad where he congratulated Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Iraq’s victory over ISIS and pledged continued military and redevelopment assistance for the country. Sullivan also visited Erbil, where he met with Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani and reaffirmed U.S. support for a unified Iraq. Meanwhile, Abadi’s recent short-lived political alignment with Iran-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Unit leadership came under scrutiny as Abadi seeks and tests alliance support ahead of May elections. more…
  • Federal Budget Stalls Without Kurdish Support – A scheduled vote on Iraq’s federal budget was postponed following the withdrawal of Kurdish Members of Parliament from budget sessions. Kurdish factions are demanding an allocation of 17 percent for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, up from the proposed 12.67 percent. Despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s pledges to expedite the payment of outstanding salary obligations to workers in the KRI and maintain funding levels for the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, the political impasse continued with further talks scheduled for next week. more…
  • Coalition Airstrike Blamed for Friendly Fire Fatalities – Iraqi Security Forces mistakenly requested an airstrike against a local police force in Baghdadi, a small town approximately 110 kilometers northwest of Ramadi in Anbar Province on January 27. An Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement that the police group hit by the requested U.S.-led international coalition airstrike was thought to be a contingent of ISIS militants, and was operating in the area without the knowledge of the Iraqi Army detachment sent to clear the area. At least 10 members of the police unit were killed, including District Police Chief of Anbar Province, Colonel Abdul-Salam al-Obeidi. Influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took advantage of the incident to condemn the U.S. military presence in Iraq. more…
  • Sistani’s Representative Attacked in Karbala – On January 26, the official representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbali, was attacked shortly before Friday prayers in Karbala by a single unnamed individual. Karbalai sustained minor injuries, but was protected by others attending the sermon and is reported to be in good health. No group or association claimed responsibility for the assault on the Shia cleric. more…
  • Disappointed at Davos, Abadi Looks Ahead to Kuwait Pledging Conference – During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi acknowledged that Iraq’s financial need of at least US$ 100 billion for redevelopment assistance will not be met through donations and pledges alone, and will require private sector investment over the long-term. Abadi did not meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at Davos, having been excluded from Trump’s first round of meetings and prompting Abadi’s early departure from Switzerland. The Prime Minister has gathered in recent days with ambassadors from the G7, European Union, and representatives of the UN and World Bank to strategize ahead of the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, taking place in Kuwait February 12-14. 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.

Demonstrators, KRG Condemn Turkish Action Against Syrian Kurds

On January 26, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara has expanded the scope of the current military operation, “Operation Olive Branch,” from northwest Syria to the eastern border of Iraq.The Turkish government announced the start of the offensive on 19 January 2018. The offensive is against the Kurdish-led Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD), its armed wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), all considered terrorist organizations by the Turkish government. Erdogan said that “the Olive Branch will continue in order to achieve its objectives. We shall clear terrorists in Manbij … Our fight will continue until there are no terrorists along our borders with Iraq.” And any movement of Turkish forces towards Manbij, located in an area controlled by the Kurds approximately 100 kilometers east of the town of Afrin, could threaten US counter terrorism efforts in northeastern Syria. Ankara is targeting the YPG units in Manbij and sees them as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an armed rebellion in Turkey for three decades. The U.S. has acknowledged the support of the YPG in battling ISIS militants in the region.

On January 29, thousands of Kurdish citizens demonstrated in Sulaimania, calling for an end to Turkish aggression against Syrian Kurds near Afrin in Syria. No Kurdish political parties reportedly participated in the demonstration.

On January 29, a witnesses named Sardar Mustafa said that Turkish warplanes targeting PKK positions in the mountains of Asus bombed the border areas of the Sulaimania Province which led to power outages and an outbreak of fires in the area. Another witness said Turkish planes bombed the village of Abu Bakr, located in the Qandil area, and damaged electricity service. The head of the Turkish General Staff made a statement that the “destructive targets are located in the regions of the Qandil Mountains and Asus, the fighters destroyed fortifications and shelters and weapons sites, as well as the targeting of terrorists who were preparing to launch an attack on police stations and military sites on the Turkish border.” Earlier the same day, the head of the Turkish General Staff announced that Turkish fighter jets destroyed 11 PKK targets in the regions of the Qandil mountains and Asus in northern Iraq.

On January 26, Mohamed al-Dulaimi, a member of the Anbar Provincial Council, said that ISIS militants still pose a threat to Iraq, by maintaining their presence on the Syrian border. He added that ISIS still controls some of the Syrian frontier regions, from where it launches suicide attackers to penetrate the Iraqi territory in western Anbar Province. He said that military presence has been reinforced to target ISIS locations.

On January 28, Farhan Mohammed al-Dulaimi, member of the Anbar Provincial Council, announced that they have received intelligence confirming ISIS presence in the Syrian region of Bukamal. Dulaimi said the ISIS militants are preparing to launch attacks against Qa’im, approximately 40 kilometers south of Bukamal in Iraq, targeting military units deployed on the border between Syria and Iraq.

On January 30, the Kurdistan Regional Parliament met to discuss the military campaign led by Turkey against Syrian Kurds in Afrin, Syria. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) MP Khalaf Ahmad said that Parliament agreed to: 1. condemn Turkish attacks in northern Syria; 2. call on the international community to condemn the Turkish attacks; 3. call for UN assistance to aid the displaced from Afrin and surrounding regions; 4. invite the UN Security Council to show its position on the Turkish attack on the city of Afrin; and 5. open the border with northern Syria and supply material aid to the region.

On January 31,  the New Arab newspaper confirmed the existence of volunteer campaigns in Iraqi Kurdistan to support the fight in Afrin. The paper quoted a Kurdish official from Islamic group in Sulaimania, saying that “large numbers of Kurdish youth in Iraq went to Afrin with regret, and there are those who were killed at the hands of the Turkish army during the clashes and guardians along the territory.” Some of the youths sneaked across the border with Syria from the point of Dohuk, leading to Fishkhabour, then across a Syrian town controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces to Afrin. The officials refused to comment, saying the volunteer campaigns are stirred by feelings of patriotism.

Political Alliances Develop Ahead of Election; Dep Sec Sullivan Visits Iraq

On January 26, an anonymous source reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had set the conditions to accept candidates to his coalition, the Victory Alliance. The Victory Alliance was formed by Abadi in December 2017 in order to be “cross-sectarian” and overcome divisions within Iraq. Abadi had briefly invited some Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) leaders into his coalition but backtracked due to widespread outcry. The source disclosed that Abadi would not focus on party or faction quotas. Additionally, Abadi stressed that the coalition would be comprised of people with different backgrounds and experiences, in order to have candidates with good reputations and integrity.

On January 27, the US Embassy in Baghdad announced that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan would visit Iraq for a joint delegation the following day. According to the statement, “the Deputy Secretary intends to focus on expanding economic relations between the United States and Iraq and increasing foreign investment to facilitate the reconstruction of Iraq after 14 years of war and the fight against terrorism.”

On January 28, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan traveled to Iraq to meet with senior Iraqi government officials and participate in the fifth US-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee. Sullivan first met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Sullivan congratulated Abadi on his victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and added that the US would continue to work with Iraq “to ensure the scourge of ISIS is never repeated and support a secure, prosperous, and democratic future for all Iraqis.” Sullivan also noted the need for continued dialogue between the Iraqi federal government and the KRI. He then joined Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar Khairullah in convening the fifth meeting of the US-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee, which was designed to oversee the implementation of the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement on the political, economic, cultural, and security cooperation between the United States and Iraq. Sullivan and Khairullah discussed a multi-dimensional relationship, notably in trade and finance, and the two agreed on steps to address visa and residency issues.

On January 28, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri. The two discussed ways to continue coordination between Iraq and the US on counterterrorism measures. Sullivan and Jabouri also discussed political developments in Iraq, including the upcoming elections.

On January 29, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan visited Erbil and met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Sullivan reaffirmed the US stance on a unified Iraq but noted that he was encouraged by recent developments. He and Barzani also discussed reforms in order to attract private-sector investment in the KRI.

On January 29, the director of Baghdad Operations Command Media Office, Qasim Atiya said that work is undergoing to remove the remaining security checkpoints in Baghdad. He added that 600 more streets will open up in Baghdad and the concrete blocks will be removed, in an effort to reduce the traffic jams in the Iraqi capital. Atiya also revealed that the removed concrete blocks will be reused to build a security wall around Baghdad to prevent the terrorists from accessing the city.

On January 30, The New York Times published an article about the Iraqi elections and current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s chances of reelection. Previously, Abadi had invited the Shia Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) to join his coalition believing that this would demonstrate his willingness to work outside his own base. However, Sunni and Kurdish leaders responded angrily, as many believe that certain PMUs have been responsible for sectarian violence. Other Shias were angered by the alliance, with influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr calling it “abhorrent.” Abadi reversed his decision within 24 hours. Renad Mansour, an Iraq analyst at Chatham House, said, “Abadi has a narrow line to walk…He is popular among many types of Iraqis, but he also has serious enemies. Politics is about shared power in Iraq.” Despite Abadi’s position as Prime Minister, he is not the leader of his own party, the Islamic Dawa. That position is currently held by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who many believe to be attempting to regain his former position. Consequently, Maliki has blocked Abadi from using Dawa resources for his campaign. Abadi currently has his own coalition, the Victory Alliance, which has drawn supporters from across sectarian lines. However, in order to win reelection, Abadi will need support from one of the other major Shia coalitions. Abadi’s options are Maliki, the PMUs, and Sadr. While some analysts believe that Abadi’s attempt to join with the PMUs has permanently tarnished his reputation, others believe it is too soon to tell.

On January 30, Foreign Policy published an article about the US response to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi temporarily aligning his coalition with Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs). The move reportedly alarmed US leaders who saw it as Iran gaining influence in Iraq. Ryan Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said, “I tend to see this through the lens of what I assume to be Iran’s grand strategy for the region…You create, fund, organize, and train nonstate actors that will follow your direction and not that of those ostensibly running the country.” Now that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has been defeated in Iraq, the question of how to demobilize the PMUs has come to focus. Opinions vary throughout the US government. A congressional foreign-policy aide involved in Iraq policy said, “Most of the decisions made in Iraq and Syria over the past several years were driven by the directive to defeat ISIS…While we have been successful in that aim, our choices then and now have not yet shifted to take into account how we defeat the idea of ISIS in a meaningful way.”

On January 31, Al-Arab newspaper reported that three Shia parties would be participating in the upcoming elections. It reported the parties as the State Law Coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki, the Fatah Coalition led by Hadi al-Ameri, and the Victory Alliance led by current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The newspaper also alleged that the PMUs “do not hide their ambitions to take over the post of prime minister.”

Federal Budget Stalls Without Kurdish Support

On January 27, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) advisor, Aref Rushdie, noted that his party had put out a list of unified Kurdish parties participating in the upcoming national elections. Rushdie noted that the list would ensure that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) had a united front in Baghdad. He said, “if the Kurdish parties can form a political alliance [before] the elections, they can play an effective role.” According to Rushdie, the list excludes “some Kurdish parties [that] have not been able to overcome their narrow interests.”

On January 29, the Iraqi Parliament held a reading of the Budget Law. An anonymous source reported that the Parliament voted on a number of issues regarding the law. However, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri postponed the rest of the discussion on the Budget Law for two days.

On January 29, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed his plan to expedite the payment of salaries to workers and the reopening of airports and border crossings in the KRI. In a meeting with Barham Salih, the former Prime Minister of the KRG, Abadi discussed the developments between the Iraqi federal government and the KRI and the resolutions of the existing problems.

On January 29, the Iraqi Parliament voted to double the fine for the absence of a Member of Parliament (MP). After the vote, the fine for an absence became one million Iraqi Dinar (approximately US$ 840).

On January 29, Kurdish MPs in the Iraqi federal Parliament withdrew from the session after the inclusion of a vote on the federal budget. According to Deputy Head of the KDP, Hakhuan Abdullah, the Kurdish MPs withdrew in order to break a quorum so that the vote could not be held.

On January 31, Gorran Party Member of Parliament in Baghdad (MP) Hoshyar Abdullah called the January 29 parliamentary session reading of the budget “illegitimate.” Abdullah asserted that a proper quorum was not present for the session and that Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri had an “unacceptable approach in conducting meetings.”

On January 31, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attended a Parliament session to discuss the federal budget. In his weekly address, Abadi had highlighted his readiness to pass the budget. However, Kurdish MPs have been vehemently opposed to the plan, which has changed the budget allocated for the KRI from 17 percent to 12.67 percent.

On January 31, the Kurdish MPs in the Iraqi Parliament declared that they would boycott every session devoted the the budget for the coming year. MPs reiterated the need for a 17 percent allocation for the KRI and called the current budget a “disaster.” Later that day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that he would meet with the Kurds to discuss the budget.

On January 31, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hamam Hamoudi reported that there would be a discussion of the budget in his office the next day. The meeting was set to include Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and leaders of coalitions that are opposed to the budget, particularly the Kurdish factions. Hamoudi said, “We have seen positive positions by the Prime Minister and the deputies concerned to reach solutions that will speed up the adoption of the budget as soon as possible.”

On February 1, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that the 17 percent of the budget that had been previously allocated to the KRG was “just a political agreement.” Abadi explained that when the proportions were first determined, Iraq had no data on employees in the KRI. Abadi noted that the reduction was in all provinces in Iraq and not just the KRI. He also emphasized that the portion allocated for the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga in the budget was unchanged.

On February 1, Al-Hayat newspaper reported that, after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the leaders of coalitions against the budget, the budget still had no resolution. In the meeting, Abadi explained that giving the KRI 17 percent of the budget would come at the expense of other provinces, particularly the oil-producing ones. A second meeting to discuss the issue was agreed upon.

On February 1, Spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Sven Dzei, reported that Erbil and Baghdad had reached a “principled” agreement on six points. Dzei said, “a copy of the minutes of the agreement has been sent to the federal capital to be handed over to Mr. Abadi in order to ratify it.” However, Dzei confirmed that no date had been set to lift the embargo on the airports.

Coalition Airstrike Blamed for Friendly Fire Fatalities

On January 27, the Joint Operations Command’s Military Media Cell released a statement announcing that U.S.-led international coalition warplanes bombarded an armed group in Baghdadi, approximately 110 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, in Anbar Province. According to Reuters, the Iraqi forces called in an airstrike against a local police force assuming that they were militants. An Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement that the local police group hit by the strike had come to the area without coordinating with the Iraqi army detachment that was sent there to fight ISIS militants, adding that the airstrike was called in after the army detachment arrested the suspect and cleared the area. The friendly fire killed 10 members of the Iraqi Security Forces and a local official. U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF- OIR), said in a tweet that “any and all support comes at request/approval of Iraq; NO unilateral coalition operations in Iraq.”

On January 27, the Iraqi Ministry of the Defense explained the nature of the U.S. presence in Iraqi territory following the events that took place earlier in the morning in Baghdadi. The spokesman for the Ministry of the Defense, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, said that the American presence is limited to training and logistical support. He added that there is an exchange of intelligence information with the U.S. forces and that they provide air cover for Iraqi troops when necessary.

On January 27, influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr condemned the United States for the bombing of the Baghdadi neighborhood. Sadr claimed that the attack encroached on the sovereignty of Iraq and demanded retribution and accountability. In a tweet, he stated, “Once again, the American occupation proves its tyranny, its arrogance and its blatant aggression against the government of Iraq, its independence and sovereignty.” Sheikh Jawad al-Khalisi of the National Foundation Congress also castigated the US for the bombing, saying, “We condemn this crime and call for condemnation of all brutal practices and public and private interference in Iraq’s political, security, economic and military affairs.” Numerous other Iraqi politicians also responded sharply.

On January 30, the media office of the Governor of Anbar Province, Mohammed Albusi, released a statement saying Albusi offered to compensate the families of the victims of the Baghdadi airstrike. The statement added that Albusi confirmed that the investigations on the accident will continue through committees formed by the Joint Operations Command and the Anbar Police Command.

On January 30, an anonymous security source announced that the District Police Chief of Anbar Province, Colonel Abdul-Salam al-Obaidi had died. His death was caused by the injuries he sustained during the U.S.-led coalition airstrike on January 27. According to the Iraqi Military Command, the airstrike targeted a “gathering of gunmen” that the army had detected when pulling back after finishing recovering evidence of the first airstrike, “without coordination with the assigned force.”

On January 30, the U.S.-led coalition conducted an airstrike against some Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) locations. The target area were some ISIS locations in Qayyarah, approximately 80 kilometers south of Mosul.

On February 1, U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve, released a statement saying a service member died. It appeared the death was caused by a non-combat related accident. The statement read “A service member with Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve died Jan. 31 in what appears to be a non-combat related incident.”

On February 1, the Military Media Cell announced the official end of its mission. Its statement read “After the end of the military operations, which culminated in the great victory and the liberation of all our land from the profanation of terrorism, we announce the termination of the work of the Military Information Cell, which made an outstanding effort during the period of war against the groups of ISIS terrorists”. The statement added that a security information center will be created to provide the media with security information and facilitate their task.

Sistani’s Representative Attacked in Karbala

On January 26, the official representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, was assaulted during the Friday sermon in Karbala. The attempted attack failed as Karbalai was protected by the citizens attending the function.

On January 27, Governor of Karbala Province Aqeel Turaihi released a statement condemning the attempted attack of January 26 on Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, the official representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In the statement, Turaihi said that “the deviant groups will not reach their despicable goal”. He added that these acts aim at inflaming the conflicts, but they will fail because of the unity of the citizens and their willing to keep their city safe and secure.

On January 28, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, official representative for the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who was assaulted on January 26 during the Friday sermon in Karbala. According to his media office statement, Abadi wished him continued health and safety.

On January 30, the Iraqi Minister of the Interior Qasim al-Araji visited Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, official representative of the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who was assaulted on January 26 during the Friday sermon in Karbala. Araji’s office released a statement saying that he was reassured about Karbalai’s health and vowed that all the security and legal measures about the incident would be taken.

Disappointed at Davos, Abadi Looks Ahead to Kuwait Pledging Conference

On January 26, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi left the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland earlier than expected, disappointed by few global commitments to attend the coming Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, according to one media account. Abadi had hoped to meet US President Donald Trump, but was informed that Trump did not include him in his first round of meetings, prompting Abadi’s early departure. Abadi stressed in his speech at Davos that Iraq needs approximately US$ 100 billion to repair infrastructure devastated by the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), and he called on foreign investors to help with the reconstruction and reunification of Iraq.

On January 27, Saudi Arabia revealed their intention to allocate financial assistance to Iraq at the coming Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq on certain conditions, particularly limits to Iranian influence in Iraqi politics. A member of the Advisory Committee for the Saudi Council of Ministers stressed that Saudi Arabia was willing to allocate financial aid for the reconstruction of Iraq, but was awaiting assurances from Baghdad before finalizing commitments.

On January 29, Oil Minister Jabbar Allaibi addressed the annual energy conference of the Middle East and North Africa, saying that Iraq was working to attract international investment to develop its oil industry and stressing the importance of Iraq’s role in the stability of world energy markets. Allaibi said earlier that Iraq has promising investment opportunities in the oil and energy sector, pointing out that his ministry had called for international companies to invest in liquidation, extraction, drilling and infrastructure projects in Iraq.

On January 29, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that Iraq was working with the World Economic Forum to coordinate a “mini Davos” conference in Iraq. Moreover, Abadi’s office released a statement saying that he met with the G7 ambassadors, the European Union ambassador and the representative of the World Bank. The statement added that during the meeting they discussed strengthening Iraq’s relations with major industrialized countries and recognized that Iraq was taking correct steps towards economic reforms and development. On their part, the G7 ambassadors, the European Union ambassador and the representative of the World Bank expressed their continued support for Iraq’s economic reforms and welcomed the initiatives taken by Iraq in order to attract new investors during the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.  

On January 29, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan confirmed during a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that the United States would participate in the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, including the presence of 100 US investment companies. Jaafari expressed “the aspiration of Baghdad to encourage America’s active role in the planned donor conference to be held in Kuwait next month through US companies, and other friendly countries to attend and contribute to the restoration of infrastructure in Iraqi cities.” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also expected to attend the conference.

On January 31, Iraqi Minister of Planning Salman al-Jumaili met with Turkish Ambassador to Iraq, Fatih Yildiz, and discussed Turkish commitments for the upcoming Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq. The Ministry’s media office made a statement saying that Jumaili “stressed Turkey’s pivotal role to ensuring the success of the conference.” The statement quoted the Turkish ambassador saying that Turkey continued to support the Iraqi government’s efforts for reconstruction. He added that his country “will take part in the Kuwait donors conference, where it will announce the size of the support it shall provide to Iraq, be it a grant, a soft loan or investment contributions.”

On January 31, the UK Government donated an additional GB£ 1 million (approximately US$ 1.3 million) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), increasing the UK total contribution to GB£ 14.2 million (approximately US$ 20 million). The additional funding will boost UNMAS support to stabilization efforts by increasing surveyance and clearance of critical infrastructure in liberated areas. This effort is important before rehabilitation can commence and crucial for the safe, dignified and voluntary returns of displaced people.

On January 31, representatives of the UN and World Bank met with the Ministry of Planning to discuss strategy in preparation for the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq to be held in February. World Bank representative Yara Salem said that recommendations would be prepared and presented to donor countries and the World Bank following the meeting. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Jan Kubiš, stressed that the Kuwait conference is not a donors conference in a traditional sense, but would open the door for investors from the private sectors to take part in the reconstruction and revitalization of Iraq in the long term.

IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

01/31/2018Rashad, 46 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk12
01/31/2018Taji, 35 kilometers north of Baghdad12
01/31/2018Yusufiyah, 40 kilometers south of Baghdad 04
01/30/2018Hammam al-Alil, 35 kilometers south of Mosul10
01/30/2018Rashdiya, 20 kilometers north of Baghdad12
01/30/2018Pasmaya, 40 kilometers southeast of Baghdad10
01/28/2018Arab Ejbur, 17 kilometers south of Baghdad03
01/28/2018Radwaniyah, 19 kilometers southwest of Baghdad13
01/27/2018Rashidiya, 20 kilometers north of Baghdad04
01/27/2018Al-Wahda, 10 kilometers southeast of Baghdad01
01/26/2018Babil, 8 kilometers south of Baghdad11
01/26/2018Qurret Tabah, northeast of Baquba01
01/26/2018Taji, 35 kilometers north of Baghdad04
01/26/2018Tarmiyah, 57 kilometers north of Baghdad25


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.

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