ISHM: October 19 – 25, 2018

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This week’s headlines:

  • Adel Abdul Mahdi Confirmed as the New Prime Minister of Iraq, 14 Ministers Approved to Form the New Cabinet – On October 24, the Council of Ministers confirmed Adel Abdul Mahdi as the next Prime Minister of Iraq. Reuters reported that 14 Ministers were also sworn amidst disagreements with many political parties and international concerns about the lack of female representation. Most notably, Thamer Ghadhban became the Oil Minister and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s candidate for the presidency, Fuad Hussein, was confirmed as the Minister of Finance. Ghadban will replace Jabar al-Luaibi, who was appointed as the head of the Iraqi National Oil Company. Members from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance, Vice President Ayad Allawi’s National Coalition, and several Sunni Muslim blocs left Parliament over the remaining eight ministerial positions. According to Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi, parliament will reconvene on November 6 to vote on the remaining eight positions, even though the deadline to form the next government is on November 2nd. Kurdistan 24 News reported on the preliminary list of confirmed ministerial positions:

    Agriculture: Salih al-Hassani
    Communications: Naim al-Rubaye
    Electricity: Luay al-Khatteeb
    Finance: Fuad Hussein
    Foreign Affairs: Mohammed Ali al-Hakim
    Housing and Reconstruction: Bangin Rekani
    Health: Alaa Al-Awani
    Industry: Abdullah al-Jubouri
    Labour and Social Affairs: Bassem al-Rubaye
    Oil: Thamer al-Ghadhban
    Trade: Mohammad Hashim
    Transport: Abdullah Luaibi
    Water Resources: Jamal al-Adil
    Youth and Sports: Ahmed Obeidi

    Of all the appointed ministers, Alaa Alwani, Thamer al-Ghadhban and Abdullah Luaibi previously held ministerial positions in the Iraqi government. The other candidates do not appear to have served as ministers before, though most of them seem to have worked for several ministries and the government, including Mohammed Ali al-Hakim, who served as the Iraq ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2010 to 2013.
    more…

  • New Security Measures Ahead of Arba’een Pilgrimage, Suicide Car Bomb Attack Kills 6 and Injures 30 in Mosul – On October 20, an anonymous security source reported that Iraqi Minister of the Interior Qasim al-Araji will oversee the security plans in Babil Province for the Arba’een pilgrimage. On October 20, Minister al-Araji announced increased security measures to protect the Arba’een pilgrimage. Araji stated that “we have been instructed to step up efforts to secure the path of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him.” On October 23, Adel Husseini, spokesperson for the Babil Police Command, released a statement announcing that motorcycles will be prevented from circulating in Babil Province during the Arba’een pilgrimage, which begins October 30 and ends on October 31.On October 23, a suicide car bomb attack in the town of Qayyara, Ninewa Province about 77 kilometers south of Mosul killed at least six people, including two soldiers, and wounded 30. The car exploded near a restaurant in a crowded market area. Though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, top military commander in Mosul, Major General Najim al-Jabouri, said that “we are positive the car bomb attack was carried out by [ISIS] terrorists and we will bring them to justice.” more…
  • FIDH and Kinyat Publish Report on Sexual Violence Perpetrated by ISIS Against the Yazidi Community, NRC Warns of Potential Health Crisis in Basra – On October 23, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published an article on the health crisis facing children in Basra Province. The deteriorating water and sanitation facilities have put nearly 277,000 children at risk of contracting water-borne diseases in schools that have just reopened in Basra. Teachers told NRC that they have already seen a significant rise in diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, and scabies cases. Throughout Basra Province, nearly 110,000 people have already been poisoned over the past three months, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights. On October 23, the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) posted a report discussing local planning and urban development projects in Iraq. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is collaborating with UN-Habitat, the Ministries of Planning (MOP) and The Local Area Development Program (LADP) to execute a plan funded by the European Union (EU). On October 25, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Kinyat Organization for Documentation (Kinyat) published a report on genocide and sexual violence perpetrated by ISIS against members of the Yezidi community. The report analyzes ISIS’ ideology and practices toward enslavement, and the experiences of Yazidi women sold and trafficked. more…
  • KDP Wins Elections in the KRI, Barzani Meets with Macron and Yildiz – On October 20, the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) announced the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) had won the September 30, 2018 parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The KDP won 45 seats while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) attained 21 seats, securing a healthy majority of the 111 seats for the Kurdistan Region’s two traditional ruling parties. According to Reuters, the results were delayed for three weeks after the elections commission received 1,045 complaints of potential fraud and other electoral violations. The main opposition party, Gorran, received only 12 seats, down from the 24 seats previously won in 2013. The KRI’s other leading opposition party, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, also lost seats. On October 20, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron. According to Shafaaq News, “the two sides discussed the latest developments in Iraq’s political process and the formation of the new Iraqi government.” On October 24, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, met with Turkey’s Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz. According to Shafaaq News, the two sides “stressed the strengthening of relations between Erbil and Ankara on all levels, especially in commerce and economics.” 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.


Adel Abdul Mahdi Confirmed as the New Prime Minister of Iraq, 14 Ministers Approved to Form the New Cabinet

On October 19, outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi released a statement affirming that the current government still has the constitutional powers to exercise its functions as he sees fit. The statement from Abadi’s office read that, “based on the constitutional rule and the legal protections, the Council of Ministers and various ministries each according to its competence, continue to do its role.” The office also refuted claims made by Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi on October 18, which accused many ministry officials on signing contracts and making appointments before the transition of power. The office stated, “there is no truth to the rumors about the existence of illegal transactions and all actions carried out by the current government within the administration are legal.”

On October 20, an anonymous political source told Alsumaria News that Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi was planning on a “large-scale campaign” to change the structure of the Council of Ministers. The source stated, “Mahdi directed his own team to prepare a new structure for the work of the Council of Ministers,” and, “he’s likely to reduce the number of advisers and workers and dispense the services of department managers linked to the Council of Ministers.”

On October 20, French President Emmanuel Macron called Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi to congratulate him on his appointment to form the next government. Macron wished Mahdi and his government success and expressed France’s commitment to Iraq during the formation of the government and in relations moving forward. According to Shafaaq News, “during the call, they discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the future and the means of enhancing them in various fields.”

On October 20, an anonymous political source warned of the potential boycotting of the next federal government by a number of Kurdish political parties if their demands are not met. The Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), “raised the ceiling of its demands” as the source stated, “the [KDP] called for the formation of institutions that ensure balance in the administration of the Iraqi state, as well as obtaining guarantees on the non-exclusion of Kurdish forces.” The source also stated, “the party [KDP] is engaged in intensive contacts with other Kurdish forces to persuade them to support its position.”

On October 21, General Electric (GE) and Siemens announced that both companies reached separate agreements to supply Iraq with power. GE announced that it had signed principles of co-operation in a deal that will supply 14 gigawatts of power with an immediate order of 1.5 gigawatts by the start of next summer. In a tweet from the Media Office of outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the office confirmed Abadi had received a delegation from Siemens in an effort to also reach a deal with the German-based company. Siemens was able to sign a smaller agreement which will supply Iraq with 11 gigawatts of power over the next four years. According to Financial Times, “neither agreement is a binding contract, but both companies hope they will lead to large deals in the future, once Iraq’s new government is sworn in.” An anonymous electricity ministry official stated, “we received key offers from Siemens and General Electric to revamp Iraq’s power sector, but the pressure by the Americans was heavy.” CNN News also reported on the groundbreaking deal for both companies as GE further increases its business in Iraq. The company currently employs 300 people in Iraq with offices in Basra, Erbil, and Baghdad as GE estimates its technologies contribute to more than 50% of Iraq’s electricity production.

On October 21, the leader of the State of Law Coalition, Nouri al-Maliki, held an emergency meeting with Ayad Allawi, leader of the National Coalition, to discuss the current political situation in Iraq. The two urged parliament to accelerate the formation of the next government and to create a “strong government capable of achieving the aspirations of all Iraqis.” A statement from Maliki’s office read that, “during the meeting, [the two] discussed the current political situation in the country, the region, and discussed the prospects of forming the next government.”

On October 21, Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, urged all leaders in the Iraqi federal government to support Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi and to cooperate with him in forming the next government. After several meetings with political leaders, Kubis expressed his confidence that leaders will abide by the constitutional timelines, “throughout my meetings with Iraqi leaders, including President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammed Halbousi, Prime Minister-Designate Adel Abdel-Mahdi and various political and civil society leaders and representatives, I sensed the urgency and determination to expedite the process, to be guided by the best interest of the country and its people.” Kubis also called on the new government to give women meaningful representation in ministerial positions while also fully respecting the rights of minorities.

On October 21, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Envoy for Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, to discuss bilateral relations between Iraq and the U.S. According to Shafaaq News, “for his part, McGurk stressed his country’s determination to enhance the prospects of cooperation between the two countries.” The statement from Salih’s office read that “Salih stressed the need to strengthen relations, especially in economics, trade, and a strategic framework agreement between the two countries.”  

On October 23, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hassan al-Kaabi to discuss setting a timetable for the implementation of important laws needed to further strengthen the country. During the meeting, both sides discussed “the importance of cooperation between the executive and legislative branches to accelerate the adoption of laws and to monitor the performance of the government and reducing debts.”

On October 23, the Political Bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held a meeting under First Deputy for the Secretary General of the PUK, Kosrat Rasul Ali. According to an anonymous source, “The Political Bureau, discussed at its meeting, a series of issues dealing with the current situation in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq,” and, “the meeting discussed the formation of the federal government and the unification of the Kurdish people.”

On October 23, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) refuted reports that the party had submitted the names of candidates for ministerial positions in the next government. A statement from the KDP office read that, “the news and information is not correct, the [KDP] has not yet made its final decision on the names of any candidate for ministerial positions in Baghdad.”

On October 23, Iraqi Member of Parliament (MP) Muthanna Abdul Samad al-Samarrai, urged Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi to submit his Cabinet list in full citing concerns that several parties could boycott the government if all positions were not named. Samarrai stated, “the experience of providing the government’s cabinet with the vacancy of a number of ministries, especially security, is unacceptable and will not pass most of the deputies who are not subject to the will of the heads of political blocs.” He further added, “the move to provide an incomplete Cabinet will harm the process of granting confidence to the government of [Adel Abdul Mahdi] and may lead to boycott.”

On October 23, Iraqi Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi met with Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Envoy for Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman. The statement from Halbousi’s office read that, “the meeting discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries and the international efforts to support Iraq.” The office further added, “parliament is keen to adhere to the constitutional provisions on the formation of the new cabinet.”

On October 23, Iraqi state media announced that Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi  will formally present his Cabinet to the House of Representatives on October 24, 2018. The announcement read that “the Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi will formally introduce his government to the House of Representatives in the meeting that will be held tomorrow, at 6:00pm.”.  

On October 24, Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sairoon Alliance, posted a statement before Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi released his names for ministerial positions in front of the Council of Representatives. Sadr urged political leaders to “avoid sectarian and ethnic quotas,” and stated, “our government is an Iraqi government, not Eastern or Western.” Sadr also viewed the security ministries as the most important as he added, “these two ministries will restore Iraq’s prestige.”  

On October 24, Mohammed al-Husseini, a member of the National Wisdom Movement, announced the party would not participate in the formation of the new government and did not nominate any members to fill ministerial positions in the next Council of Ministers. Husseini said that “the stream of wisdom will not have any participation in the new government, and it will not provide any minister,” and added that every candidate nominated by Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi from the National Wisdom Movement will reject the nomination.

On October 24, Reuters reported that the Qarar Alliance, a Sunni political bloc in the Iraqi parliament, has pulled out of all talks in the formation process of the next Iraqi government. Qarar Alliance leader Osama al-Nujaifi told reporters that his party would abandon talks as he claimed ministries “had been awarded to only one bloc representing the sect.” The decision could potentially prolong the formation process, as the alliance holds 14 seats in the Iraqi parliament.

On October 24, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi announced the government’s move to abolish the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq. Mahdi spoke to Parliament stating, “we have decided to abolish the post of deputy prime minister and decided to terminate the work of the agency.”

On October 24, as part of his speech to Parliament, Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi stated his government would work to open the Green Zone. According to Mahdi, “we will reduce the controls on the main streets and limit the weapons to the state.” He confirmed his commitment to security and stated security forces will “prevent attacks on embassies and consulates and prevent the launching of any aggression from Iraqi territory and abroad.”

On October 24, Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi met with leaders of several political blocs in Parliament to discuss confidence building during a break in the session to vote on members of Mahdi’s Cabinet. A parliamentary source stated that, “the Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi held a meeting with political blocs in the office of the first deputy speaker of parliament within the Council of Representatives,” and ,”the meeting came to discuss the confidence-building session for the new government.”

On October 24, the Council of Ministers confirmed Adel Abdul Mahdi as the next Prime Minister of Iraq. Reuters reported that 14 Ministers were also sworn in among disagreements with many political parties. Most notably, Thamer Ghadhban became the Oil Minister and the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP’s) candidate for the presidency, Fuad Hussein, was confirmed as the Minister of Finance. Ghadban will replace Jabar al-Luaibi, who was appointed as the head of the Iraqi National Oil Company. Members from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance, Vice President Ayad Allawi’s National Coalition, and several Sunni Muslim blocs left Parliament over the remaining eight ministerial positions. According to Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi, parliament will reconvene on November 6 to vote on the remaining eight positions, even though the deadline to form the next government is on November 2nd. Kurdistan 24 News reported on the preliminary list of confirmed ministerial positions:

  1. Agriculture- Salih al-Hosni
  2. Communications- Naim al-Rubaye
  3. Electricity- Luay al-Khatteeb
  4. Finance- Fuad Hussein
  5. Foreign Affairs- Mohammed al-Hakim
  6. Housing and Reconstruction- Bangin Rekani
  7. Health- Alaa Alwani
  8. Industry- Abdullah al-Jubouri
  9. Labour and Social Affairs- Bassem al-Rubaye
  10. Oil- Thamer al-Ghadhban
  11. Trade- Mohammad Hashim
  12. Transport- Abdullah Luaibi
  13. Water Resources- Jamal al-Adil
  14. Youth and Sports- Ahmed Obeidi

On October 24, Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Envoy for Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, congratulated Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and several of his cabinet members for their confirmation to form the next federal government. McGurk wrote on Twitter, “congratulations to the new PM of Iraq, @AdilAbdAlMahdi, sworn in tonight w/13 new ministers including Oil Thamer Ghadhban, Electricity @Al_Khatteeb, Finance Fuad Hussein, and Foreign Affairs @maalhakim. Exceptional candidates to help Iraq accelerate it recovery from ISIS.”

On October 25, outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi held a ceremony finalizing the peaceful transfer of power to new Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. The Government of Iraq wrote on Twitter, “at a ceremony in Baghdad, PM @AdilAbdAlMahdi receives the seal of office from outgoing PM @HaiderAlAbadi, thanks him for his distinguished services, says this orderly transfer of power is a proud moment for Iraqis as they build a peaceful & prosperous future for all.”

On October 25, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Envoy for Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. McGurk wrote on Twitter, “substantive meeting with new Iraq Prime Minister @AdilAbdAlMahdi on his first morning on the job in Baghdad. We look forward to working closely with Iraq’s new government under PM Mahdi’s leadership and strengthening our partnership under the Strategic Framework Agreement.”

On October 25, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad released a statement congratulating newly elected Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his cabinet members. The statement read that, “the U.S. embassy congratulates Dr. [Adel Abdul Mahdi] on becoming Iraq’s new Prime Minister. We also offer our congratulations to the new members of his cabinet. We continue to encourage the completion of the government formation process in order to provide all Iraqis with strong, independent and effective governance fully able to provide all Iraqis the services that they deserve.”

On October 25, Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, released a statement congratulating Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on his confirmation, and urged political leaders to confirm the full Council of Ministers, expressing his concerns over a lack of female representation. Kubis said, “I welcome the partial formation of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, and congratulate the people of Iraq on achieving this important step in their democratic process,” and, “I am disappointed, however, about the lack of representation thus far of women the new Cabinet. There are excellent, well qualified and experienced females active in the political life, professional positions and civil society of Iraq who would be strong candidates form many of the ministerial roles; ignoring their potential is to miss important opportunities for Iraq.”

On October 25, new Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi held his first meeting with his partially confirmed Cabinet. Mahdi’s office stated that, “The Council of Ministers held its first regular session under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in his new place outside the Green Zone.” Alsumaria News also reported that the Mahdi announced the first meeting, “indicating that the meeting will determine the tasks and priorities assigned to the government.”

On October 25, an anonymous source stated that Adel Abdul Mahdi was in talks with Osama al-Nujaifi, leader of  the Qarar Alliance, about giving the party a position in the new Council of Ministers. Shafaaq News quoted the source saying that, “Abdul Mahdi is now seeking to grant the [Qarar Alliance] led by Osama al-Nujaifi, a ministry in his government, in order to prevent him from going to the opposition.” On October 24, members of parliament (MPs) with the Qarar Alliance walked out of the session of parliament to confirm the remaining eight ministers in Mahdi’s new Cabinet.

On October 25, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called new Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mahdi to congratulate him on his confirmation. The PM Media Office wrote on Twitter, “Mr. Pompeo congratulated the Prime Minister on his confirmation in the Council of Representatives and the composition of the government, affirming the support of the United States of America for Iraq and the Iraqi government in all fields.”

On October 25, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called new Foreign Minister of Iraq Mohammed Ali al-Hakim and congratulated him on his appointment. A statement from the U.S. Department of State read that, “the Secretary said he looked forward to working closely with him to help his government deliver, stability, security, and prosperity for all Iraqis and to continue to improve Iraq’s relations with the United States and Iraq’s neighbors in the broader region.”


New Security Measures Ahead of Arba’een Pilgrimage, Suicide Car Bomb Attack Kills 6 and Injures 30 in Mosul

On October 20, an anonymous security source reported that Iraqi Minister of the Interior  Qasim al-Araji will oversee the security plans to be implemented for the Arbaeen pilgrimage, in Babil Province. The source said that “the Minister of the Interior oversees the security plan for the [Arbaeen pilgrimage] in the Babil Province, and will meet with leaders of the police forces.” Arbaeen is a festivity observed by Shia muslims, which occurs 40 days after the day of Ashura. It commemorates the martyrdom of the imam Hussein ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who was killed on the tenth day of Muharram, during the battle of Karbala in 680AD (61 AH). In the occasion of Arbaeen, pilgrims travel on to Karbala, to the Imam Hussein shrine. An estimate of 14 million people participated in the festivity in 2017.

On October 20, Iraqi Minister of the Interior Qasim al-Araji announced that security measures will be increased during the Arba’een pilgrimage. Araji stated that “we have been instructed to step up efforts to secure the path of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him.” Araji also added that “the members of the security services will facilitate and help people with special needs during the performance of the [Arbaeen].”  

On October 22, the Karbala Police Command announced that it had carried out controlled explosions in the desert areas of Karbala Province, to destroy remnants of war. The Command released a statement saying that “a special detachment of the police of explosive experts, under the supervision of the police chief of the [Karbala] Province, Major General Ahmed Ali Zwaini, followed by the [police] Director and after obtaining necessary permissions, carried out a controlled explosion of remnants of war, which were [stored] in the [police] warehouse for a very long time.”  

On October 23, a suicide car bomb  attack in the town of Qayyara, Ninewa Province, about 77 kilometers south of Mosul, killed at least six people, including two soldiers, and wounded 30. The car exploded near a restaurant in a crowded market area. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, Major General Najim al-Jabouri, top military commander in Mosul, said that “we are positive the car bomb attack was carried out by [ISIS] terrorists and we will bring them to justice.” In another statement, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior affirmed that the explosion was “a terrorist attack by a car bomb.”

On October 23, Adel Husseini, spokesperson for the Babil Police Command, released a statement announcing that motorcycles will be prevented from circulating in Babil Province in occasion the Arbaeen pilgrimage, which will start on October 30, 2018, and end on October 31, 2018. Husseini said that “it was decided not to allow the entry of motorcycles in the sections within the responsibility of Babil, starting today,” until the end of Arbaeen. Husseini added that “the decision came in accordance with the directives of the police chief of the province, Major General Ali Hassan Kho al-Zughaibi, the general supervisor of the implementation of the security plan for the [Arbaeen], which were based on on the recommendations of the joint coordination between the security services of the Babil and Karbala provinces, and the leadership of the Middle Euphrates Operations.”

On October 24, the Baghdad Operations Command announced that all roads will remain open for the Arba’een pilgrimage in the city of Karbala, Karbala Province. Baghdad Operations Commander, Major General Jalil al-Rubaie, stated  that “the operations command has taken all appropriate measures to secure the visit,” urging the pilgrims and citizens to “abide by instructions and cooperate with security officials.”


FIDH and Kinyat Publish Report on Sexual Violence Perpetrated by ISIS Against the Yazidi Community, NRC Warns of Potential Health Crisis in Basra

On October 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an infographic on the current state and availability of health consultations and medical procedures. In September 2018, 7.3 million people remained in need of medical care while 3.4 million people are currently being targeted. A little over 2,000,000 people were reached in 2018 – 80% of these people were above the age of five and 61% were female. According to the WHO’s research, most of the medical centers and resources are distributed in Anbar, Ninewa, and Dohuk provinces. The WHO recorded that there were no health consultations in southeast Iraq, excluding Najaf and Basra provinces. Most of the clinics offer reproductive health services, nutrition services, vaccinations, physical rehabilitation, and treatment of common diseases. Mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS) may also be offered, but only 6,559 patients received PHHS care in 2018.

On October 23, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published an article on the health crisis facing children in Basra Province. The deteriorating water and sanitation facilities have put nearly 277,000 children at risk of contracting water-borne diseases in schools which have just reopened in Basra. Teachers told NRC that they have already seen a significant rise in diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, and scabies cases. Throughout Basra Province, nearly 110,000 people have already been poisoned over the last three months, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights. NRC’s Country Director Wolfgang Gressmann said that “With classes just reopening after summer, more than 800 schools are now breeding grounds for an epidemic of water-borne diseases, including cholera, as temperatures drop in the coming weeks. We are extremely concerned that the deteriorating water and sanitation infrastructure of schools and the overcrowded classrooms will catapult the city into a veritable public health disaster.” Gressmann also called on “donor governments to fund the response to this unfolding disaster before it’s too late. As one primary school teacher told us: Everyone is at risk now.”

On October 23, the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) posted a report discussing local planning and urban development projects in Iraq. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is collaborating with UN-Habitat, the Ministries of Planning (MOP) and The Local Area Development Program (LADP) to execute a plan funded by the European Union (EU). Dr. Mona Serageldin, vice-president of the Institute for International Urban Development from 2005-2018 served as head to this sustainable urbanization project that aims to create jobs and recover infrastructure. In addition, a project to conserve and recover the historic quarters of Basra is also in progress.

On October 24, The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) published a report on the workshops they offered in Dohuk, Erbil, and Sulaimania Provinces. These workshops are conducted to teach governmental and non-governmental organizations how to communicate their message effectively. Around 60 humanitarian workers participated to discuss journalism, photography, and strategic branding. UNFPA seeks to expand the workshops to the Central South area of Iraq this December.  

On October 24, United Nations Iraq released a statement concerning the celebration of World Food Day 2018, which took place in Iraq on on October 16, under the theme of “Our Actions Are Our Future, Ending World Hunger by 2030 is Possible.” The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture  collaborated with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations(U.N.) and the World Food Program (WFP) in an effort to address how the international community can improve food security, implement effective food systems, and end world hunger by 2030. Dr. Mahdi al-Qaisi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, stated that “I would like to express my pleasure in joining the celebration of World Food Day. On this occasion, we would like to invite the international community, and specifically Arab organizations, to focus their efforts on improving food security. We would also like to emphasize the role of FAO that supports our projects that have contributed in introducing technology for a number of agricultural activities in order to provide more support to improve the efficiency of agricultural production, both animal and farming. This aims to achieve national food security that harmonizes with the aspirations of FAO to achieve global food security.” FAO Iraq Representative Fadel El Zubi said that “Today, FAO celebrates World Food Day to send a clear message to the world about hunger. It is the worst kind of malnutrition mankind can face, but SDG 2, Zero Hunger, does not entail the battle against hunger only, but also deals with all forms of malnutrition as well as sustainable agricultural development. We call on the international community to work together in order to benefit from capacities and available mechanisms, as it is still possible to achieve zero hunger if the efforts are unified through all countries, continents, sectors and cities during the few remaining years to 2030.” WFP Iraq Deputy Country Director, Marianne Ward, also released a statement saying that “World Food Day brings us together to focus our attention and efforts on SDG 2, which aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030, in Iraq and around the world. Thanks to the work of leading Iraqi experts and the international community, Iraq knows what needs to be done to ensure that Iraq meets the goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. But we can’t do any of this alone—we need partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Ministry of Agriculture and Civil Society– everyone has a role to play.”  

On October 25, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Kinyat Organization for Documentation (Kinyat) published a report on genocide and sexual violence perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) against the members of the Yezidi community. The report analyzes ISIS’ ideology and practices toward enslavement, and the experiences of Yazidi women sold and trafficked. The report reads that, on August 3, 2014, ISIS fighters attacked Sinjar District, forcing 130,000 Yazidis to flee to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). According to the report, more than 6,800 Yazidis were held captive, 4,300 of whom appear to have escaped or were bought back by their families. ISIS used slave markets and messaging apps, like Telegram and Signal, to sell women or children, cars, and weapons. The report found that 2,500 Yezidis remain missing. Kinyat has been documenting cases since 2014 and have interviewed many Yezidis concerning the crimes they experienced during captivity. Announcing the publication of the report, “FIDH and Kinyat call on national authorities to broaden prosecutions to include charges that recognize the reality of the crimes committed by ISIS members as well as guarantee victims access to justice. In addition, they call on the [International Criminal Court] Prosecutor to open a preliminary examination based on the fact that the – often high ranking – perpetrators of the crimes are nationals of States Parties to the ICC Statute.”


KDP Wins Elections in the KRI, Barzani Meets with Macron and Yildiz

On October 20, the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) announced the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) had won the September 30, 2018 parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The party won 45 seats while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) attained 21 seats. According to Reuters, the results were delayed for three weeks after the elections commission received 1,045 complaints of potential fraud and other electoral violations. The main opposition party, Gorran, received 12 seats, which secured a strong majority for the KDP and the PUK.

On October 20, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron. According to Shafaaq News, “the two sides discussed the latest developments in IRaq’s political process and the formation of the new Iraqi government.” A statement from Barzani’s office added that Macron, “stressed the need for the participation of all Iraqi parties, especially Kurdish parties in the political process and in the formation of the new Iraqi government.” Barzani stated, “the Kurdistan region will participate in the political process and in the formation of the next Iraqi government,” and, “the hope of the continuation of French relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.”

On October 24, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, met with Fatih Yildiz, the Turkish Ambassador to Iraq. According to Shafaaq News, the two sides “stressed the strengthening of relations between Erbil and Ankara on all levels, especially in commerce and economics.” Yildiz expressed his hope that Barzani and the KRG would be active in the political process and the Iraqi government formation process. Finally, Barzani confirmed his government’s commitment to the federal political process and highlighted the successes of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s (KRI’s) parliamentary elections.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
10/20/2018 Abu Ghraib, 43 kilometers west of Baghdad10
10/21/2018 al-Rashad, 45 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk20
10/23/2018 Qayyara, 76 kilometers south of Mosul630
10/25/2018 Baghdad01
10/23/2018 Fallujah, 70 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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