ISHM: November 2 -8, 2018

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This week’s headlines:

  • Iraq Is Granted Exemptions From Iran Sanctions, Protests Resume in Basra Province – On November 2, three Iraqi officials stated that the United States (U.S.) exempted Iraq from sanctions concerning the import of gas, food, and energy supplies from Iran after Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil sector. On November 2, protests in Basra Province resumed as demonstrators demanded that the Iraqi federal government provide job opportunities and services to the province. On November 3, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced a recent Tweet from the U.S. Embassy that called on Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and to allow the demobilization of Iranian-backed Shia militias. According to Reuters, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it “rejects interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, especially domestic security reform and demanded the Twitter post be removed.” On November 7, the U.S. Department of State provided an update on the waivers granted to Iraq with regards to the sanctions placed on Iran. Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, told reporters that “we granted Iraq a waiver to allow it to continue to pay for its electricity imports from Iran. We are confident that this will help Iraq limit electricity shortages in the south. Iraq is a friend and a partner, and we are committed to its stability and prosperity.” more…
  • General Fortin Appointed as New Commander for NATO Training Mission in Iraq, Bombing Attacks in Baghdad Province Kill 8 and Injure 14 – On November 4, the Canadian Embassy in Iraq announced that Canadian General Danny Fortin was appointed as the Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Training and Capacity-Building Mission in Iraq. On November 5, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited the headquarters of the Baghdad Operations Command. On November 4, an anonymous security source told Reuters that eight people were killed and 14 were injured following a series of bombing attacks in Baghdad Province.On November 4, Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, condemned the bombing attacks that took place in Baghdad and Sadr City, approximately 15 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Kubis statement read“these heinous acts aim to break the spirit of the Iraqis, in particular Baghdadis who have started to enjoy the fruits of peace, and derail their country’s steady progress towards stability, but the unity of the people and the decisive efforts of the security forces are certain to foil the terrorists’ evil designs.” more…
  • Council of Ministers Approves Increase of Salary for PMUs, Discussions Concerning 2019 Federal Budget Continue – On November 6, the Spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) and member of the Fatah Alliance, Ahmed al-Asadi, called on the Iraqi government to increase the salaries for the PMUs in the 2019 Federal Budget. On November 6, the Council of Ministers approved an increase in the salaries provided to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs). Rudaw News reported that “the council decided to transfer just under 197.9 billion dinars (USD $166 million) from the 2018 budget to the paramilitary forces.” On November 6, Member of Parliament (MP) of the Sairoon Alliance, Burhan Al-Mamouri, stated that the Council of Representatives was likely to reject the 2019 Federal Budget and send it back to the Council of Ministers. On November 6, a number of deputies from Ninewa Province objected to the most recent 2019 Federal Budget draft over a lack of funds allocated for post-ISIS reconstruction of the province. On November 6, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with his Cabinet to discuss the 2019 Federal Budget. On November 7, second Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Bashir Haddad, of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), urged Kurdish parties to meet and present a unified decision on an acceptable 2019 Federal Budget. more…
  • KDP To Confirm Nechirvan Barzani As KRG Prime Minister, KRSC Warned of Unchecked ISIS Attacks and Assassinations – On November 6, Fazil Mirani, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Committee Secretary argued that Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was the logical choice to continue to lead the region. Mirani told Rudaw News that “Mr. Nechirvan is a prominent candidate of not only the KDP, but I imagine for other political forces as well, and even among the populace.” On November 4, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) warned that in October 2018, some of the attacks carried out by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) members in the disputed areas of Iraq were not preventedby Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The KRSC wrote on Twitter that “tracked security incidents from October signal a reemergence of VBIED-based attacks in Kirkuk and Mosul. Targeted assassinations against mokhtars and attacks on electricity infrastructure continued unabated.” On November 7, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani met with U.S. Major General Patrick Roberson, Deputy Commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), to examine the progress of the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria. more…
  • WHO Examines Gastrointestinal Illnesses in Basra Province, UNAMI Reports of 202 Mass Grave Sites Found in Iraq – On November 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report examining the outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses that first occurred on August 12, 2018, in Basra Province. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, and nausea, gas/bloating, diarrhea, and fever, were reported. The Ministry of Health (MOH), Directorate of Health (DOH) in Basra, and the WHO responded by conducting studies and taking precautions to prevent waterborne and foodborne diseases. MOH has tested more than 10,000 stool samples and reported that cholera was not detected. On November 6, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report identifying 202 mass grave sites that have been located in Iraq. Most of the gravesites were found in Ninewa Province (95 sites), Kirkuk (37), and Salah ad-Din (36). The majority of the bodies that were discovered, 1,283 of which have already been identified, appeared to have been thrown in mass graves after being murdered by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). On November 7, the German Ambassador to Iraq, Dr. Cyrill Nunn, met with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Iraq Country Office and Higher Judicial Council representatives, the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the National Security Advisor at the German Embassy. 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.


Iraq Is Granted Exemptions From Iran Sanctions, Protests Resume in Basra Province

On November 2, three Iraqi officials stated that the United States (U.S.) granted Iraq the ability to import gas, food, and energy supplies from Iran after Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil sector. According to Reuters, “the waiver is conditional on Iraq not paying Iran for the imports in U.S. dollars.” An anonymous official in a ministerial energy committee said that, “Iraq’s finance ministry had set up an account with a state-run bank where Baghdad would deposit in Iraqi dinars the amounts owed to Iran for the imports.”

On November 2, protests in Basra Province resumed as demonstrators demanded that the Iraqi federal government provide job opportunities and services to the province. According to Alsumaria News, “the demonstrators called on the government to implement its commitments to improve services and provide job opportunities for the unemployed, address the crisis of salinity and water pollution, and called for the nomination of ministers from Basra to the government.” Alsumaria also reported that the recent protests were peaceful as dozens of demonstrators stated they would perform sit-ins near the headquarters of the Basra Oil Company if their demands are not met.

On November 3, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with activists from Basra to discuss the current crisis plaguing the province as he dropped several charges filed against them. On November 2, activist Kazem Sahlani told Alsumaria News that, “the Prime Minister [Adel Abdul Mahdi] is scheduled to meet with a number of activists from Basra,” and, “Mahdi wants to identify through activists on the conditions of Basra and listen to their proposals on how to address problems.” Sahlani added, “what we will bring to the Prime Minister is not only to clarify the problems, but also to propose radical solutions to them, including problems of pollution and water salinity, unemployment, poor infrastructure, and the destruction of agricultural land and environmental pollution.”

On November 3, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced a recent Tweet from the U.S. Embassy which called on Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and to allow the demobilization of Iranian-backed Shia militias. According to Reuters, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it “rejects interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, especially domestic security reform and demanded the Twitter post be removed.” A post on October 30, 2018 from the Department of State’s Twitter account read that, “the Iranian regime must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization and reintegration of Shia militias.”

On November 4, leader of the National Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim condemned the United States (U.S.) Government’s actions as it reimposes sanctions against Iran. Hakim stated that, “we express our concern at Washington’s unilateral decisions against Tehran, which represents a dangerous precedent and its unfortunate consequences for the humanitarian and international community. We express our solidarity with the Iranian people who are subjected to this unjust embargo.” On the same day, Hakim met with Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq. Hakim’s office released a statement which read that, “we received today the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Kubis, and discussed with him Iraq’s political, regional, and international developments.”

On November 6, Iraqi Minister of Oil, Thamer al-Ghadhban, stated that Iraq plans to increase its oil production and export capacity in 2019. Ghadhban said the decrease in oil supplies following the U.S. sanctions on Iran has yet to be discussed at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC), which may decide what actions to take in a policy meeting slated for next month. Currently, Iraq is targeting a production capacity of 5 million barrels per day (bpd) for 2019. Ghadhban views that increasing the production capacity in the southern regions of Iraq as “a top priority.” Ghadban stated that, “he wanted to see the actual decrease” before Iraq and OPEC decided on a plan for how to deal with decreases in supplies due to the U.S. sanctions on Iran. Ghadban also viewed that a price of USD $70 per barrel was “fair” and that, “the higher the price, the better it was for Iraq.”

On November 7, Almada Paper reported that Member of Parliament (MP), Rami al-Sakini, from Basra Province, called on Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mahdi to grant amnesty to all peaceful demonstrators arrested during the protests which took place in August and September 2018, in Basra Province. (MP), Sakini, who has received backing from members of the Sairoon Alliance in Basra, stated that, “the arrest warrants exceeded the 300 threshold and is pursuing the leaders of the demonstrations.” Sakini confirmed that the charges are still in effect and dozens of activists and leaders are being targeted. Leaders hope that Mahdi will issue “a general amnesty” to those who have been issued arrest warrants.

On November 7, the U.S. Department of State provided an update on the waivers granted to Iraq in regards to the sanctions placed on Iran. Brian Hook, leader of the U.S. Department of States’ Iran Action Group, told reporters that “we granted Iraq a waiver to allow it to continue to pay for its electricity imports from Iran. We are confident that this will help Iraq limit electricity shortages in the south. Iraq is a friend and a partner, and we are committed to its stability and prosperity.” However, Hook also confirmed that the ultimate goal of the sanctions is to bring Iranian oil exports to “zero.”


General Fortin Appointed as New Commander for NATO Training Mission in Iraq, Bombing Attacks in Baghdad Province Kill 8 and Injure 14

On November 4, the Canadian Embassy in Iraq announced Canadian General Danny Fortin was appointed as the Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Training and Capacity Building Mission in Iraq. The embassy wrote on Twitter that “@CanadainIraq delighted to welcome Canadian Major-General Dany Fortin to Baghdad as he begins his work as Commander of @NATO Training and Capacity Building Mission in #Iraq. @PaulGibbardCda.”

On November 5, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited the headquarters of the Baghdad Operations Command. A statement released by the Command read that “the commander of Baghdad operations and the [Command] leadership received today, the Prime Minister and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Adel Abdul-Mahdi at the headquarters of the leadership,” noting that “the Commander of operations gave a summary of the work of [the Command] in the security and humanitarian fields and the achievements made during the past years.” During the visit Mahdi said that “before the formation of the [Command], the terrorist gangs managed to achieve important criminal targets and we were making great sacrifices. Perhaps only the Baghdad Operations Command managed to achieve security in Baghdad to this level of stability and a significant reduction in [terrorist] operations and I am very proud of what the [Command] has achieved.”

On November 4, an anonymous security source revealed that eight people were killed and 14 were injured following a series of bombing attacks in Baghdad Province. The first improvised explosive device (IED) killed two people and wounded four in Aden Square near Kadhimiya, approximately 11 kilometers north of Baghdad, while the second IED killed one person and injured two on a bus in Habibiyah, 15 kilometers east of Baghdad. The source added that a third IED exploded in Al-Shuala, approximately 15 kilometers north of Baghdad, and killed two people. Three people were killed after a roadside bomb exploded in Al-Tarath District, approximately 10 kilometers south of Baghdad.Another IED exploded in Sadr City, approximately 15 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, though no further details were released about this attack.

On November 4, Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, condemned the bombing attacks which took place in Baghdad and Sadr City, approximately 15 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Kubis said in a statement that “these heinous acts aim to break the spirit of the Iraqis, in particular Baghdadis who have started to enjoy the fruits of peace, and derail their country’s steady progress towards stability, but the unity of the people and the decisive efforts of the security forces are certain to foil the terrorists’ evil designs.”


Council of Ministers Approves Increase of Salary for PMUs, Discussions Concerning 2019 Federal Budget Continue

On November 2, the Iraqi Turkmen Front demanded that political blocs in Parliament reconsider decisions not to grant the party a ministry position in the new government formation and warned that weakening its position would have “serious consequences” on national cohesion. The statement released by the Turkmen Front read that “regarding the formation of the current government in Baghdad, the party expressed surprise at the lack of clarity of the position of the political blocs for not assigning [the Iraqi Turkmen Front] a ministry in the cabinet of Adel Abdul Mahdi,” and, “the weakening of the Turkmen Front will have serious consequences for national unity and the destruction of the rights of the Turkish people.”

On November 4, Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq met with the leader of the National Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim. A statement on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) read that, “Kubis met today with leader of the [National Wisdom Movement] Ammar al-Hakim. They discussed the current political situations as well as the prospect for the completion of the government formation.”

On November 5, Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mahdi held a meeting at the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) with Deputy Chairman of the PMUs, Jamal Ibrahim. According to Kurdistan 24 PM Mahdi stated that the PMUs “would not be dissolved and that his government would provide full financial support to them.” Mahdi stated that, “[the PMUs] is a big reality; we cannot ignore them. It is our duty to support them.”

On November 5, Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, met with Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi. The the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) wrote on Twitter that “Kubis received by Iraqi PM Abdul Mahdi. Discussions outlined government programme and ways UN can assist the government it its implementation. Efforts to advance investment, stabilization, reconstruction, return of IDPs, and security reform were also discussed.”

On November 5, Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, met with Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs (FM), Mohammed Ali al-Hakim. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) wrote on Twitter that, “Kubis received by FM Al-Hakim. Discussed gov. Programme, notably its foreign and security policy aspects as well as the UNAMI mandate and its implementation.”

On November 5, Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Fayli Zeidan, the chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council. The PM Media Office wrote on Twitter that, “During the meeting, the importance of cooperation between the executive and judicial branches were emphasized during the next phase and the strengthening of the constitutional understanding of the principles of separation of powers, which includes the independence of each branch and the opening of channels of communication, cooperation, and consultation in an effective manner to serve the people and fulfill their aspirations.”

On November 6, the spokesman for the PMUs and member of the Fatah Alliance, Ahmed al-Asadi, called on the Iraqi government to increase the salaries for the PMUs in the 2019 Federal Budget. Asadi said that “we congratulate the people of the [PMUs] after the vote of the Council of Ministers to increase the salaries of the [PMUs] and equalize them to [the ones of] their counterparts in the armed forces,” and that “we will continue to demand the rights of the [PMUs] and will not abandon our [units] and we hope the current government will continue to support this segment and provide all the requirements for success and will increase the rights of the [PMUs] in the 2019 budget.”

On November 6, the Council of Ministers approved to increase the salary allocated to the PMUs. Rudaw News reported that “the council decided to transfer just under 197. 9 billion dinars ($166 million USD) from the 2018 budget to the paramilitary forces.” The allocated funds will go towards the salaries of more than 122,000 PMU members as Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi commended the force as a “historical accomplishment for Iraq and it should be preserved.” This move comes after a meeting between Mahdi and a delegation from the PMUs on November 5.

On November 6, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced that he was confident the last eight ministerial positions will be confirmed. Mahdi stated that “I am confident that all the names I have put forward are technocrats, and they have a long history in the field and they can lead these ministries.”

On November 6, MP of the Sairoon Alliance, Burhan Al-Mamouri, stated that the Council of Representatives was likely to reject the 2019 Federal Budget and send it back to the Council of Ministers. Mamouri told Alsumaria News that “the [Council] is expected to vote in its meeting today, to re-budget the government in order to modify in a manner that is consistent with the necessities of the implementation of the government programme,” as he indicated the Council of Representatives had the ability to amend the budget as many deputies are trying to have money allocated to their provinces for the purpose of rebuilding after the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

On November 6, former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi refuted allegations that he tried to revoke a decision to increase the amount of funding given to PMUs. The allegations came from members of the pro-Iranian, al-Binaa Alliance, as Ahmed al-Assadi, spokesman for the Binaa bloc stated, “[Haider al-Abadi] cancelled the decision of increasing [PMU] salaries last Tuesday, a day before the formation of the government.”

On November 6, MPs from Basra Province announced they decided to end the suspension of their membership for parliament in a bid to receive a ministerial position in the new Council of Ministers. MP Uday Awad stated that “the deputies of Basra freeze the decision to suspend the membership of the parliament to give way to Abdul Mahdi to choose a minister from the province,” and that “he was supposed to announce the names of ministers in today’s parliament session, but that did not happen because of pressures.”

On November 6, an anonymous political source told Alsumaria News that it was unlikely that political blocs would be able to reach an agreement on confirming the final eight ministerial positions for the new Council of Ministers on Tuesday. The source stated that, “no major agreement has been reached with the main political forces on the names of the ministers who are candidates for the vacant ministries,” and that, “the most prominent of these ministries are defense, interior, and planning because of the intransigence of a number of blocs to refuse to change them.”

On November 6, a number of deputies from Ninewa Province objected to the most recent 2019 Federal Budget draft over a lack of funds allocated for reconstructing the province post-ISIS. Abdul Rahim al-Shammari, a deputy from Ninewa, stated that “we call for the budget of the government to give the province a fair share of the entitlement.”

On November 6, Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, met with former Iraqi Minister of Defence, Khaled al-Obaidi. UNAMI wrote on Twitter that, “during the meeting, political developments were discussed, including the completion of the formation of the Iraqi government.”

On November 6, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with his Cabinet to discuss the 2019 Federal Budget. The Government of Iraq wrote that, “The Cabinet discussed the draft 2019 Federal Budget and agreed to form a dedicated budget team liaise and work closely with parliament and its relevant financial and oversight committees.” The meeting also included a briefing from the minister of agriculture and minister of health on the recent deaths of carp in fish farms along the Euphrates River.

On November 7, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Alsumaria News reported that “during the two meetings, they discussed the situations in the region and bilateral relations between Iraq and Qatar.”

On November 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Shafaaq News reported that the two discussed “enhancing the future cooperation between the two countries and the situation in the region.” Merkel “stressed Germany’s support for Iraq at all levels, especially in the economic and military fields as well as energy and the contribution of German companies such as Siemens in solving the problem of electricity in Iraq and other projects.”

On November 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced that 5 of the 14 confirmed ministers were independent candidates chose from the online application process. However, Mahdi did not specify which of the 5 were the supposed independents. He also stated that more than 15,000 curriculum vitae have been sent to the ministries to form a database to be used as a tool to find potential candidates for staff and volunteers needed down the road.

On November 7, second Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Bashir Haddad, of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), urged Kurdish parties to meet and present a unified decision on an acceptable 2019 Federal Budget. Haddad spoke to Rudaw News stating that, “this meeting of ours today is aimed at exploring the opinions and stance of the Kurdistani factions on the topic of the budget.” Haddad expressed that “he hopes the parties will be able to go into Parliament on Thursday and act in union.” This comes as Sunni factions also blasted the federal government for a lack of funds they see going towards war-ravaged Sunni provinces.

On November 7, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the State of Law Coalition, met with Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. Alsumaria News reported that, “during the meeting, they reviewed the future of bilateral relations between the two countries and means of enhancing them and exchanged views on the latest developments in the region.” Maliki stated that, “Iraq is open to all brotherly and friendly countries and to strengthen its relations according to common interests.”

On November 7, Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. PM Mahdi’s office released a statement that read that “during the meeting [the two] discussed the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the two brotherly countries in various sectors, especially in the economic sector in addition to the situation in the region.” Alsumaria News reported that Thani stated, “Iraq has emerged after its victory over terrorism stronger and will rely heavily on the next stage in economic and trade cooperation and in the field of energy.” Mahdi also stated that, “the development of the economy and the investment in job creation is one of the priorities of our ministerial platforms, therefore we are working for good relations with countries and will facilitate investment procedures to contribute to the development of the economy.”

On November 7, Iraqi Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi, met with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. Shafaaq News reported that “during the meeting, they discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries and mean of enhancing joint cooperation in all fields. The meeting also discussed developments in the situation in Iraq and the region.” Halbousi also urged Qatar to help with reconstruction efforts to to invest in Iraq and stressed that the Iraqi Parliament seeks to provide all tools necessary through the rule of law and through legislation that will create a sound investment environment.

On November 8, Iraqi first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hassan al-Kaabi urged New Zealand companies to invest in Iraq and contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq in a meeting with New Zealand Ambassador to Iraq, Bradley Sawden. Kaabi’s office released a statement reading that “Kaabi received New Zealand Ambassador to Iraq, Bradley Sawden and discussed during the meeting the progress of bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them in all areas, especially parliamentary relations.” Kaabi also urged New Zealand to accept more students who want to study abroad in New Zealand in an effort to further the cultural and educational ties between the two countries.

On November 8, Iraqi Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi met with Diyala Province Governor Muthana al-Tamimi to discuss the 2019 Federal Budget. During the meeting, Halbousi stressed the need to increase funding for Diyala Province in order to stabilize the region and increase security. Halbousi said that “the meeting witnessed a review of the reality of security and service, and solutions required to upgrade the level of services provided to citizens in the province, as financial allocations to them in the budget provided by the government were also discussed.” Halbousi’s office released a statement which read that “Halbousi called for the increasing needs of Diyala to be included in the budget before approval.”


KDP To Confirm Nechirvan Barzani As KRG Prime Minister, KRSC Warned of Unchecked ISIS Attacks and Assassinations

On November 6, Fazil Mirani, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Committee secretary argued that Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was the logical choice to continue to lead the region. Mirani told Rudaw News that “Mr. Nechirvan is a prominent candidate of not only the KDP, but I imagine for other political forces as well, and even among the populace.” He further added that “his reign in the past years in the [KRG], whether Mr. Nechirvan was the deputy [prime minister] or the prime minister, isn’t devoid of shortcomings, but it is also filled with achievements.”

On November 4, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) warned that in October 2018, some of the attacks carried out by  Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) members in the disputed areas of Iraq were not checked by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).The KRSC wrote on Twitter that “tracked security incidents from October signal a reemergence of VBIED-based attacks in Kirkuk and Mosul. Targeted assassinations against mokhtars and attacks on electricity infrastructure continued unabated. #ISIS.” Another tweet  by the KRSC stated that “at least 5 VBIED attacks targeted security forces and civilians, and 2 others defused. On 13th, in Mamdouha neighborhood, Kirkuk, a VBIED injured 6 individuals. On 23rd, a VBIED struck in Gayyara, killing more than 10 and injuring up to 30 others.” The KRSC also reported on mokthars assassinations in Hawija, Kirkuk Province, Khanaqin and Jasmiya, Diyala Province, and wrote that “on 2nd, ISIS carried out a multi-pronged attack in Rabza village, Hawija, killing the village chief. On 10th, ISIS fighters assassinated the mokhtar of Jasmiya village in his home. On 20th, the mokhtar in Karim Daoud village, Khanaqin, was also killed.”

On November 6, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi stated that the Iraqi federal government needed to find an equitable solution for the 2019 budget’s allocation to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Mahdi stated that “we will discuss the issue of Article 140 and the budget of the Kurdistan Region. I cannot make a final decision.” Mahdi added that “the Council of Representatives, the Council of Ministers, and concerned parties will discuss the subject as the committee formed to discuss the issue of the budget will also discuss this issue with the Council of Representatives.” Mahdi urged political leaders and members of Parliament (MPs) that its their duty to reach an agreement that meets all legal justifications and is fair for all provinces and the people of Iraq.

On November 7, Chancellor of the KRSC Masrour Barzani met with United States (U.S.) Major General Patrick Roberson, Deputy Commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), to examine the progress of the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria. Barzani and Roberson discussed the relationship between Kurdistan and its bordering neighbors, in addition to expectations concerning Iraq’s new government. According to the KRSC’s website, Barzani “expressed hope Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi begins a new chapter in Erbil-Baghdad relations based on mutual respect and cooperation and in line with rights afforded to the Kurdistan Region in the Constitution. On Syria, they also discussed mechanisms to deescalate regional tensions.”


WHO Examines Gastrointestinal Illnesses in Basra Province, UNAMI Reports of 202 Mass Grave Sites Found in Iraq

On October 29, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society reported that a number of villages in Rawandiz District,in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), flooded, following heavy rains, which destroyed 102 homes in the Warti area of Rawandiz District. Hawri Ehsan, Head of Erbil branch of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, stated that “more than 398 families in Rawandiz District have been forced to leave their houses because of the torrents that swept some of the villages and caused to a material damages without civilian casualties. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has rushed to implement a relief campaign which includes distributing urgent assistance such as food and relief materials for the citizens to continue to provide the assistance in order to meet the needs of the citizens , by the time that the families have returned to their relatives which did not call for the installation of camps to shelter them.”

On November 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report examining the outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses that first occurred on August 12, 2018, in Basra Province. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, and nausea, gas/bloating, diarrhea, and fever, were reported. The Ministry of Health (MOH), Directorate of Health (DOH) in Basra, and the WHO responded by conducting investigations and taking precautions to prevent waterborne and foodborne diseases. MOH has tested more than 10,000 stool samples and reported that cholera was not detected. The report read that “The number of cases increased over the first three weeks of the outbreak, peaking at the end of August 2018, and thereafter has declined significantly to slightly higher than normal levels by at mid-October 2018. This decline is a result of immediate public health interventions put in place by Basra Directorate of Health with the support of MOH, WHO and other partners.” MOH, WHO, and DOH provided free treatment and medical supplies to patients, deployed additional health workers, and educated communities on safe water practices. As of October 15, the MOH reported over 104,599 cumulative cases of gastrointestinal illnesses, 10,842 provided samples for the investigation.

On November 1, Voice of America (VoA) interviewed Iraqi refugees in Al-Hawl refugee camp in Al-Hasaka Province, Syria, and reported on their concerns anout returning to Iraq. According to information gathered by VoA, Iraqi refugees living in Al-Hawl are concerned with the lack of resources and the uncertainty of life in Iraq. One of the Iraqi refugees who was interviewed also pointed out that  “I have no money to move back to Iraq. I don’t have family left in Iraq. I only have some women relatives at the camp. It would be very difficult to go back and resettle in Iraq while there is no guarantee for the livelihood.” . Another female refugee who spoke to VoA, said that “I have a disabled daughter who needs constant medical attention. At least I can get her some medicine for free through aid organizations. But life in Iraq is very expensive. If I go back I wouldn’t even afford to take her for a doctor visit.”. Al-Hawl camp was established in April 2015 and it currently hosts approximately 10,000 Iraqi refugees, while a few thousand Iraqi refugees are settled in two other camps in Syria.

On November 4, Iraq’s Ministry of Health warned the public not to buy fish after thousands of dead carp were discovered floating in the Euphrates river sections located approximately 80 km south of Baghdad. Nazek Al-Fatlawi, Director General of the Department of Health, stated that “the ministry department fears that if infected fish are sold in the markets then thousands of citizens are at risk of disease. This is why we sent a letter to the authorities to prevent the entry of the fish into Baghdad.” Fatlawi also said that the ministry has been directed to investigate and find out if this occurred as a result of polluted water or environmental contamination. An investigation was conducted using samples of water, fish, and fodder. The Ministry of Agriculture discovered that the cause of death was a bacterial infection, not toxic contamination, and could not find scientific evidence that the disease could be transferred to humans.

On November 6, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report documenting that 202 mass grave sites were located in Iraq. Most of the grave sites were found in Ninewa Province (95 sites), Kirkuk (37), and Salah ad-Din (36). The majority of the bodies that were discovered, 1,283 of which have already been identified, appeared to have been thrown in the mass grave sites after being murdered by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). UNAMI, OHCHR, and the Mass Grave Directorate are collecting evidence to support investigations, prosecutions and convictions in accordance with international due process standards. Special Representative for Iraq of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (U.N.) Jan Kubis released a statement saying that “the mass grave sites documented in our report are a testament to harrowing human loss, profound suffering and shocking cruelty. Determining the circumstances surrounding the significant loss of life will be an important step in the mourning process for families and their journey to secure their rights to truth and justice.” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also commented stating, “[ISIS] horrific crimes in Iraq have left the headlines but the trauma of the victims’ families endures, with thousands of women, men and children still unaccounted for. These graves contain the remains of those mercilessly killed for not conforming to [ISIS] twisted ideology and rule, including ethnic and religious minorities. Their families have the right to know what happened to their loved ones. Truth, justice and reparations are critical to ensuring a full reckoning for the atrocities committed by [ISIS].”

On November 7, the German Ambassador to Iraq, Dr. Cyrill Nunn, met with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Iraq Country Office and Higher Judicial Council representatives, the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the National Security Advisor at the German Embassy.  Iraqi officials included in the discussions are part of the Iraqi Criminal Justice Working Group, and have been working for over a year on reviewing the criminal investigation process conducted by police officials in Iraq. The Iraqi working group produced a draft on ‘Standard Operating Procedures for Criminal Investigations’ to implement a more reliable and effective way of conducting criminal investigations in Iraq. The delegation previously met in Berlin with several criminal justice experts from the Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the German Federal Investigation Agency, and senior police detectives and administrators. Nunn expressed the hope that the visit to Berlin provided the Iraqi criminal justice workers “with ideas and the right stimulus to identify appropriate mechanisms to advance the criminal investigative process in Iraq.” Acting UNDP-Iraq Country Director Gerardo Noto stated that “UNDP will continue facilitating the working group meetings for the finalization of the procedural guidelines so that they could be adopted by the Government of Iraq, as well as supporting their implementation to strengthen the criminal justice system in Iraq.”


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
11/8/2018 Mosul 211
11/4/2018 Sadr City, 16 kilometers north east of Baghdad35
11/4/2018 al-Shirqat, 114 kilometers south of Mosul05
11/4/2018 Miqdadiyah, 112 kilometers north east of Baghdad02
11/4/2018 Mashtal, 16 kilometers east of Baghdad12
11/4/2018 Habibiya, 11 kilometers east of Baghdad04
11/4/2018 Aden Square, 7 kilometers north of Baghdad24
11/4/2018 Baghdad03
11/3/2018 Adhaim, 116 kilometers north of Baghdad30

 

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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