ISHM: August 10 – 16

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This week’s headlines:

  • IHEC Announces Results of Recount, Negotiations for the Formation of the New Government Begin – After announcing the end of the ballot recount process, on August 10, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) revealed the results of manual recount. With the Sairoon Alliance led by Muqtada al-Sadr retaining the lead, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory party’s negotiating team leader, Khalid al-Obeidi, outlined an agreement with the parties led by Moqtada al-Sadr, and other major leaders, to form the largest bloc in the formation of a new government. On August 14, the IHEC announced that the period to submit appeals had terminated. more…
  • Abadi Pays Official Visit to Turkey, Erdogan Ensures Water Supplies to Iraq – On August 14, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. The two leaders discussed oil exports from Kirkuk into Turkey, and Iraq requested the opening of Turkish consulates in Basra and Ninewa provinces, as well as increased Turkish investment. On August 14, Erdogan ensured water supplies to Iraq, while on August 16, Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Falah Hassan Zaidan told reporters that Turkey has promised to delay work on the Ilisu Dam, allowing water discharge to increase in the coming months. more…
  • Tensions Increase between Iraq and Iran, Abadi Cancels Visit to Iran – After an Iranian Member of Parliament (MP) demanded Iraq pay war reparations for the 1980s Iran – Iraq war, on August 10, Iraqi Member of Parliament (MP) Haider Mullah addressed the calls, saying they are attempts to put pressure on Iraq. On August 12, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi canceled his visit to Iraq amid tensions between the two countries, though Iranian officials claim the visit was never scheduled. On August 12, a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Mujtaba al-Husseini, condemned Iraq’s position on sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States. more…
  • Security Operations against ISIS Continue, Reports of a Change of Leadership in ISIS Surface – On August 10, Center for Security Information Brigadier Yahya Rasool reported that border guards killed five Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants and arrested two more. On August 11, the spokesman for the Iraqi Center for Security Information, Brigadier Yahya Rasool, announced the killing of two ISIS militants in the Makhoul Mountains, 245 kilometers north of Baghdad. On August 14, reports surfaced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “clinically dead,” and that Abu Othman al-Tunisi, a Tunisian national, had been nominated as the new leader of the terrorist group. more…
  • Protests Continue in Najaf Province and Baghdad, One Protester Arrested and Killed in Basra – Protests resumed on August 10 in Najaf Province, with hundreds taking to the streets to demand improved government services and an end corruption. On August 10, demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, to continue protesting to demand improved government services. On August 15, OHCHR in Iraq announced the death of one protester, who had been arrested in the city of Basra. On August 15, during a sit-in organized in memory of the protester killed, demonstrators clashed with the police in Basra. On August 15, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the cabinet’s approval to the resolution for responding protesters’ demands. 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.


IHEC Announces Results of Recount, Negotiations for the Formation of the New Government Begin

On August 10, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced the results of the manual recount. The result was unchanged from the initial ballot count. Influential Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance retained the lead with the same number of seats (54).

On August 10, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory party’s negotiating team leader, Khalid al-Obeidi, outlined an agreement with the parties led by Moqtada al-Sadr, and other major leaders, to form the largest bloc in the formation of a new government. Obeidi noted the inclusion of the Kurdish Democratic Party in the discussions.

On August 11, following the conclusion of the manual recount of ballots from the May parliamentary election, IHEC announced that it would accept further appeals to the elections results for a three day period until Tuesday, August 14. The recently completed months long recount of ballots came in response to appeals of the elections results due to allegations of fraud.

On August 14, IHEC announced that it had finalized the receipt of appeals, consistent with the three day period that commenced on August 11. This three day period was the last opportunity to submit appeals regarding the May parliamentary elections count.

On August 15, Shafaaq reported that 240 appeals were made during the final appeals period granted by IHEC for parliamentary elections results. The judicial led IHEC board will review the appeals.


Abadi Pays Official Visit to Turkey, Erdogan Ensures Water Supplies to Iraq

On August 14, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. The two leaders will discuss improving cooperation, and issues related to water and electricity, security, and investment.

On August 14, Shafaaq reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made progress in discussions on oil exports from Kirkuk through Turkey. Additionally, Iraq requested increased investment from Turkey, and the opening of consulates in Basra and Ninewa provinces. The report also noted that the leaders rejected aggression at their borders, or with any of their neighbors.

On August 14, Alsumaria reported statements by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which both leaders supported cooperation between Iraq and Iran. Erdogan made assurances that Iraq will have a “full share” of water. Iraq’s water supply depends largely on rivers that flow downstream through Turkish Dams.

On August 16, Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Falah Hassan Zaidan told reporters that Turkey has promised to delay work on the Ilisu Dam, allowing water discharge to increase in the coming months. Turkey will also direct an additional 400 MW of electricity to Iraq. He also claimed that there is potential for an additional agreement for a partnership on Dams built on transboundary rivers. These developments come following discussion by Iraqi and Turkish leadership.


Tensions Increase between Iraq and Iran, Abadi Cancels Visit to Iran

On August 10, Iraqi Member of Parliament (MP) Haider Mullah addressed calls by Iranian officials for Iraq to pay war reparations for the 1980s Iraq-Iran War. This response comes following statements made by Iranian (MP) Mahmoud Sadeghi demanding US$1.1 trillion in reparations. Mullah called these demands an attempt to put pressure on Iraq not to enforce sanctions.

On August 10, Iraqi MP Faiq Sheikh Ali claimed in a tweet that Iran is responsible for US$11 Million in compensation for victims of terrorism, blaming Iran for Al-Qaeda’s entrance into Iraq. This tweet was a response to demands by Iranian officials for Iraq-Iran War reparations.

On August 12, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi canceled a visit to Iran scheduled for Wednesday, August 15. Earlier that week Iraqi officials announced visits to Turkey and Iran in the coming week, though the latter meeting has been canceled “because of [Abadi’s] busy schedule.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry claims that the visit was never scheduled.

On August 12, a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Mujtaba al-Husseini, condemned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s position on United States (U.S.) imposed sanctions against Iran. Husseini called Abadi’s stance, “irresponsible and a psychological commitment to America.”

On August 12, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the National Security Council met to discuss relations with Iran amidst pressure to enforce U.S. imposed sanctions. The council reinforced the depth of Iraqi-Iranian relations, and discussed the importance of the shared interests that bind the two countries.

On August 13, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters that Iraq would follow ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Iran, but that it would not commit to enforcing all U.S. sanctions against Iran. Reports from the week before claimed Abadi did not support sanctions but would enforce them. He walked back on these comments, claiming he never said he would support the entire sanctions regime.


Security Operations against ISIS Continue, Reports of a Change of Leadership in ISIS Surface

On August 10, Center for Security Information Brigadier Yahya Rasool reported that border guards killed five Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)  militants and arrested two more. The militants were attempting to cross the Iraqi-Syrian border in Qa’im district, Anbar Province when they were intercepted by border police.

On August 10, gunmen attacked a football stadium in Salah ad-Din, wounding seven people. Security forces responded at the scene of the shooting and searched for the perpetrators, but no arrests were made.

On August 11, the spokesman for the Iraqi Center for Security Information, Brigadier Yahya Rasool, announced the killing of two ISIS militants in the Makhoul Mountains, 245 kilometers north of Baghdad. The militants were dressed in Afghan uniforms.

On August 12, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced the killing of two ISIS militants in western Mosul who were involved in the killing of an explosives expert the week prior as he attempted to dismantle an IED. The militants were shot as police pursued their vehicle amidst an arrest attempt.

On August 13, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced the dismantling of a motorcycle bomb placed outside of a restaurant in Fallujah, Anbar Province. Intelligence agencies detected the explosive, and Iraqi Security Forces successfully dismantled the bomb.

On August 14, reports surfaced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “clinically dead,” and that Abu Othman al-Tunisi, a Tunisian national,  had been nominated as the new leader of the terrorist group. Russian officials had previously reported the death of Baghdadi during a airstrike in Syria on May 28, 2017, though ISIS had denied the information, releasing an audio record of his voice in September 2017, with Baghdadi referring to events that were current at the time.

 

On August 16, Iraqi Security Forces conducted an airstrike on an ISIS meeting in Syria. The bombing destroyed the operations room in which the militants were meeting. Security Forces claim that they possess intelligence that shows that in the meeting ISIS was laying plans to conduct suicide bombings in Iraq within the following days.


Protests Continue in Najaf Province and Baghdad, One Protester Arrested and Killed in Basra

On August 10, protests resumed in Najaf Province, as hundreds protest for improved government services and ending corruption. The demonstrators carried banners with messages such as “get out corruption.” These protests have been ongoing since early July.

On August 10, protests resumed in Baghdad, with dozens of demonstrating in Tahrir Square. Protests have been ongoing since early july, organizing weekly to demand improved government services. Police cut off roads leading to Tahrir square to control the demonstrations which remained peaceful.

On August 12, protestors in Basra Province blocked the road to the Safwan border crossing with Kuwait. The protestors threatened a sit in if their demands were not met. Protests for improved government services have been ongoing since early july. Basra’s borders account for 95% of Iraqi exports.

On August 15, OHCHR in Iraq announced the death of one protestor, who had been arrested in the city of Basra. The commision received reports of over 20 “arbitrary” arrests of demonstrators, including two wounded, in addition to the individual killed. The commission has sent a fact finding team to investigate further.

On August 15, Shafaaq reported that clashes occurred in Basra during a sit-in organized for the protester who was killed earlier in the day. Security Forces reinforcements came to the scene, finally disbursing the crowd. Protests continue, demanding improved government services.

On August 15, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the cabinet’s approval to the resolution for responding protesters’ demands. The resolution attempts to meet demands of protestors while emphasizing the importance of foreign investment and combating corruption.

On August 15, the Director of Police in Najaf issued a statement saying that no demonstrators have been arrested in the province. The statement urged caution by police, and emphasized the use of legal and constitutional enforcement of the law.

On August 16, Shafaaq reported that clashes in Basra continued overnight. Heavy gunfire occurred, and an explosion occurred near the house of a Lieutenant Colonel, however no casualties occurred. OHCHR will conduct an emergency session to discuss the protests in Basra.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
08/10/2018 Shati al-Jidr, Shirqat District00
8/10/2018 Nimrud, 39 kilometers south of Mosul210
8/10/2018 Karbala00
8/14/2018 Sadr City, 17 kilometers northeast of Baghdad34
8/14/2018 Bani Sad, 28 kilometers south of Baqubah01
8/14/2018 Abu Dshir, 17 kilometers south of Baghdad02
8/15/2018 Wasiti, 9 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk12
8/15/2018 Abu Ghraib, 44 kilometers west of Baghdad03

 

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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