ISHM: February 1-7, 2019

ISHM LOGO

Key Takeaways:

  • Controversy Over U.S. Military Presence in Iraq and Relations with Iran – On February 1, the Sairoon electoral coalition in the Iraqi Parliament gathered signatures to pass a law to end the security agreement between Iraq and the United States. On February 3, United States President, Donald Trump mentioned in an interview to CBS that he plans to keep American troops in Iraq so they can offer rapid response to events in the region as well as to monitor Iran. Following President Trump’s remarks, a delegate from Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah threatened forceful actions against American troops if they move to invade either Iran or Syria. On February 5, the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi held a press conference in which he spoke about the American military presence in Iraq and the relationship between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi military. Mahdi dismissed the idea of using United States military presence in Iraq to monitor Iran. On February 6, Ammar Hakim, the head of the Iraqi political coalition, the National Wisdom Movement, rebuked President Trump’s remarks during a meeting with the Special Assistant to the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The same day, the most senior Iraqi Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani rebuked the statement recently made by the United States President, Donald Trump, stating that Iraq will not be a place for troops to station themselves in order to commit violence against another country. On February 6, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with the Governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Abdul Naser Hemmati. During this meeting, Abdul-Mahdi stated that Iraq will not take part in sanctions against Iran. more…
  • Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts to Discuss Foreign Ties, Trade, Reconstruction – On February 2, The Iraqi government agreed to provide Jordan with 10,000 barrels of oil per day at a reduced price. On February 3, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu  announced that the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Iraq after the elections in Turkey next month. On February 4, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov arrived in Baghdad for a two-day visit. In a meeting with Bogdanov, the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (HMI), Hamam Hamoudi stated that,”the era of American hegemony in the Middle East has ended.” On February 4, Shafaaq News reported that French President, Emmanuel Macaron plans to visit Iraq soon. Macaron intends to visit Iraq to discuss security and political matters. On February 5, the Speaker of Jordan’s House of Representatives, Atef Tarawneh met with Iraqi Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi in Baghdad. On February 6, Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte met with Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad. more…
  • KRG and Baghdad Discuss Relations; Negotiations Continue over Formation of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Government; Federal Budget Officially Approved – On February 3, Deputy Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Qubad Talabani met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to discuss improving relations between the two governments. On February 4, Iraqi president, Barham Saleh approved the federal budget for the current year. On February 5, the two most powerful parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held a meeting in Erbil to discuss the formation of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the election of the next governor of Kirkuk. On February 5, the Iraqi government issued several resolutions on the newly passed budget. On February 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani for the first time since Abdul-Mahdi assumed the post of Prime Minister. more…
  • Militant Attacks Persist Throughout Iraq; Disputed Areas Between KRG and Iraq Receive Political and Humanitarian Attention; Sarzir Border Crossing Reopens Between KRI and Turkey – On February 1, two children were killed with four others injured in an IED attack in the Makhoul Mountains in the north of the Salah ad-Din province. On February 2, Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud, a popular writer and documentary filmmaker, was assassinated outside of his home in Karbala. On February 3, international coalition jets bombed positions of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the Makhoul and Hamrin mountains. On February 3, a terrorist attack occurred on the side of a road south of Balad targeting a bus of Iranian pilgrims bound for Shia religious sites wounding seven individuals. On February 4, the Iraqi military claimed to have stopped three separate attempts to fire rockets on the Ayn al-Asad air base in Anbar province. This base is the second largest in Iraq and is used by Iraqi, American, and British forces. On February 4, the Sarzir border crossing between Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Turkey reopened after being shut down for thirteen days. On February 5, a contingent of officials from the United Nations Assistance Mission of Iraq (UNAMI) visited Tuz Khurmatu in the Salah al-Din province along with a member of the provincial council to review challenges and disputes in the region. more…
  • Humanitarian Organizations Provide Assistance to Impoverished and Displaced Iraqis; Work Continues to Clear Mines Across Iraq – On February 1, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) provided food and other services to more than 80,000 poor families in Babylon and Muthana. On February 3, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society affirmed their push to help families affected by torrential rains in the Najaf province, an area 200km south of Baghdad, by working with local governments to help families salvage their homes and by sending more relief materials to the affected areas. On February 6, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pete Mauer, announced that 1.8 million Iraqis remain displaced more than a year after the conclusion of the intensive fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). On February 7, UNICEF reported supplying winter clothes to more than 160,000 refugee and internally displaced children and mothers. On February 7, Reuters reported that the United Nations cleared more than 17,000 explosive hazards in Iraq last year, including nearly 2,000 IEDs. 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.


Controversy Over U.S. Military Presence in Iraq and Relations with Iran

On February 1, the Sairoon electoral coalition in the Iraqi Parliament gathered signatures to pass a law to end the security agreement between Iraq and the United States. This Sairoon coalition and Fath Alliance, both Iraqi Shi’ite parties, are calling for an end of U.S. presence in Iraq. Shiite military factions have worked to remove U.S. troops from Iraq in recent years. These factions argue that there is no need for continued troops in Iraq following the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

On February 1, United States forces were patrolling streets in Mosul, causing increased tensions with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) in the area. The PMUs  stated that this U.S. activity was a “deliberate provocation.” Video of the patrol shows the U.S. troops walking casually through the streets without their weapons raised. In addition, there is video of the troops passing directly by PMU forces without any incident. The United States has not made any statement in relation to this occurrence.

On February 3, United States President, Donald Trump mentioned in an interview to CBS that he plans to keep American troops in Iraq so they can offer rapid response to events in the region as well as to monitor Iran. This statement encountered a backlash from Iraqi officials. On February 4, Iraqi president, Barham Salih rejected President Trump’s plan, saying that “Iraq will not allow this.” Salih explained that, “Iraq does not want to be a party or axis to any conflict between multiple countries.” According to Shafaaq News, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, Hassan Karim al-Kaabi stated that Trump has “once again gone beyond the legal and constitutional custom of the Iraqi state.” On February 4, Former Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi rejected Trump’s comments and asked the United States to reconsider these controversial comments, which he described as “destabilizing.”

On February 3, following President Trump’s remarks about keeping an eye on Iran from Iraqi territory, The Arab Weekly reported that some political parties in Iraq continue to support the presence of US troops because they counteract Iranian influence on the government. A member of the Anbar provincial council also stressed that the presence of American troops continues to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS); however, militia leaders backed by Iran expressed their support for a quick departure of U.S. troops from Iraq due to recent sanctions against Tehran by the United States. On February 4, a delegate from Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah threatened forceful actions against American troops if they move to invade either Iran or Syria. On February 6, Ammar Hakim, the head of the Iraqi political coalition, the National Wisdom Movement, rebuked President Trump’s remarks during a meeting with the Special Assistant to the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

On February 5, the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi held a press conference in which he spoke about the American military presence in Iraq and the relationship between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi military. Mahdi dismissed the idea of using United States military presence in Iraq to monitor Iran. He added, “Iraq is a country that has friendly relations with everyone.” In regards to the Peshmerga and the Iraqi military, Mahdi stated that they do not need an agreement to work together as they defend the same country. He also insisted that if they had not already cooperated in the past, the two forces would not have been able to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

On February 5, the commander of US Central Command, Joseph Votel stated that the mission in Iraq to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS) has not changed. In a recent interview, United States President, Donald Trump revealed that he would be keeping US troops in Iraq to monitor Iran. General Votel stated before Congress that the US military in Iraq will not shift its focus to watching Iran.He goes on to say that, “the government of Iraq understands the relationship, the view that we have on Iran and understands our concerns with Iran.”

On February 6, an Iraqi Parliament member, Sarkut Shamseddin announced that a meeting will be held between parliament, the government, and high-ranking officials to discuss the presence of American troops in Iraq and recent statements by U.S. officials regarding the use of Iraqi territory to monitor Iran. Based on the Strategic Framework Agreement, which was signed in 2008 by the United States and Iraqi governments, Iraqi officials argue that “there is a paragraph prohibiting the use of Iraqi land, sky and water to attack any other country.”

On February 6, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with the Governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Abdul Naser Hemmati. During this meeting, Abdul-Mahdi stated that Iraq will not take part in sanctions against Iran because Iraq has “suffered from embargo and realizes the damage that people incur from its consequences.” Hemmati also met with the Governor of Iraq’s Central Bank, Ali al-Aalaq; they agreed on a deal that will allow Iranian banks to open dinar-denominated accounts in Iraqi banks. This will permit Iranians exporters to do business using Iraqi banks, which will help facilitate trade between the two countries.

On February 6, Ayatollah Sistani vocalized his stance on the future of Iraqi security. He stated that Iraq will not be a place for troops to station themselves in order to commit violence against another country, alluding to the statement made by United States President Trump. Sistani also asserted that Iraq wants to have good relations with other peaceful countries without unwanted interference by these other nations. Finally, he addressed the destruction that impacted Iraq during the fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the need to put efforts into rebuilding and creating civil and social harmony.


Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts to Discuss Foreign Ties, Trade, Reconstruction

On February 2, The Iraqi government agreed to provide Jordan with 10,000 barrels of oil per day at a reduced price, in part due to lower transportation costs. Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the Prime Minister of Jordan, Omar Razzaz, attended a ceremony in the border region between the two countries to launch a joint industrial zone. The deal also stipulated the extension of an oil pipeline from Basra to the port of Aqaba Jordan will also provide Iraq with electricity and  exempt Baghdad of the majority of taxes on imports through Jordan’s Aqaba port. The Iraqi government anticipates an augmentation of oil and port exports due to the deal. On February 3, the Shi’ite Bina Coalition in the Iraqi Parliament deemed this Iraq and Jordan deal unacceptable because they believe that only Jordan will benefit from the deal.

On February 3, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu  announced that the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Iraq after the elections in Turkey next month. Cavusoglu has stated that officials in Turkey have been following the latest developments in Iraq and are focused on “reconstruction and the formation of a comprehensive government.” The Turkish president is also set to discuss sharing the water resources of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and the presence of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. The Turkish foreign minister also stated Ankara has pledged to provide Baghdad with a loan of $5 billion for reconstruction projects.

On February 4, President Barham Salih met the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jenin Hennis Plaschaert. In the meeting, Blachkart affirmed the UN’s support for rehabilitation projects and assistance programs for internally displaced persons in Iraq.  

On February 4, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov arrived in Baghdad for a two-day visit. In a meeting with Bogdanov, the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (HMI), Hamam Hamoudi stated that,”the era of American hegemony in the Middle East has ended.” Hamoudi also went on to applaud Iraqi-Russian relations and the continuing improvement in relations.

On February 4, Shafaaq News reported that French President, Emmanuel Macaron plans to visit Iraq soon. Macaron intends to visit Iraq to discuss security and political matters. The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Iraq last month.

On February 5, the Speaker of Jordan’s House of Representatives, Atef Tarawneh met with Iraqi Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi in Baghdad. During the meeting, the two discussed the importance of improving the parliamentary relationship between the two countries. Tarawneh also met with the State of Law Coalition Leader, Nouri al-Maliki to discuss building better relations between Amman and Baghdad.

On February 6, Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte met with Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad. Prime Minister Giuseppe stated that his government will be working with UNESCO and the World Bank  to contribute to upcoming reconstruction projects in Iraq. He also stated that Italian troops will continue to train Iraqi security forces. Prime Minister Conte also met with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil. They discussed political and economic issues, as well as counter-terrorism efforts.


KRG and Baghdad Discuss Relations; Negotiations Continue over Formation of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Government; Federal Budget Officially Approved

On February 3, Deputy Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Qubad Talabani met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to discuss improving relations between the two governments. Talabani tweeted that him and Mahdi discussed “priorities for governance, reform, and the need for increased coordination and cooperation between Kurdistan Region and the Government of Iraq.”

On February 4, Iraqi president, Barham Saleh approved the federal budget for the current year. In a statement from the president’s office, Saleh stressed the need to provide basic services to the iraqi people and start the reconstruction phase. This new budget increased by 45% from last year’s and is one of the largest budgets in the country’s history.

On February 5, the two most powerful parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held a meeting in Erbil to discuss the formation of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the election of the next governor of Kirkuk. During this meeting, the participants decided to hold another session of the KRG parliament on February 18 and convene the Kirkuk Provincial Council to elect a new governor of Kirkuk. The KDP also announced that the next session of the Kurdistan Parliament will include the election of a new president of the Parliament, ahead of the naming of the President of the region.

On February 5, the Iraqi government issued several resolutions on the newly passed budget. Some of these resolutions included the Council of Ministers approving the establishment of the World Bank’s Fund for Recovery and Reconstruction of Iraq. The Council of Ministers decided to propose once again a memorandum of understanding between the Iraqi Ministry of Commerce and the United States’ Embassy in Baghdad regarding the purchase and processing of wheat.

On February 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani for the first time since Abdul-Mahdi became Prime Minister. The two governments are scheduled to discuss political and economic affairs in Iraq and Kurdistan.


Militant Attacks Persist Throughout Iraq; Disputed Areas Between KRG and Iraq Receive Political and Humanitarian Attention; Sarzir Border Crossing Reopens Between KRI and Turkey

On February 1, two children were killed with four others injured in an IED attack in the Makhoul Mountains in the north of the Salah ad-Din province. All of the victims were from the same family, who were outside picnicking. Responsibility for the attack has not yet been claimed, but the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has been active in that region for years.

On February 2, Dr. Alaa Mashthob Abboud, a popular writer and documentary filmmaker, was killed outside of his home in Karbala, 100 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, by gunmen. He was shot 13 times. His work includes novels such as “The Chaos of the Nation,” documentaries like “Doors and Windows,” as well as articles in many newspapers including al-Sahab and al-Mada. The police of the Karbala province formed a specialized team to investigate Dr. Mashthob’s murder and arrest those responsible. On February 3, his funeral took place in a main road in Karbala and was attended by dozens of people. His coffin was wrapped in an Iraqi flag.

On February 2, Kurdistan24 reported that since Iraqi forces took control of disputed lands in the Kurdistan region following the independence referendum in 2017, many families remain displaced, causing the closure of several Kurdish-language schools. Families from the city of Khanaqin are particularly affected by the ongoing presence of Iraqi forces there. The head of the Khanaqin city council, Samir Nour, disclosed that Iraqi forces have allowed more than 50 families not originally from Khanaqin move to the city while Kurdish families are blocked.

On February 3, international coalition jets bombed positions of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the Makhoul and Hamrin mountains, which cover the northern portion of the Salah ad-Din province and southern Kirkuk province.

On February 3, a terrorist attack occurred on the side of a road south of Balad, located in Salah ad-Din province, 50 kilometers north of Baghdad, targeting a bus of Iranian pilgrims bound for Shia religious sites. Unidentified gunmen targeted the bus wounding seven individuals.

On February 3, more troops from the Iraqi army were arriving in Kirkuk province in order to replace the anti-terrorism forces that have been in control of the area since October 2017 when the Iraqi government took control of the city and surrounding areas from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

On February 4, the Iraqi military claimed to have stopped three separate attempts to fire rockets on the Ayn al-Asad air base in Anbar province. This base is the second largest in Iraq and is used by Iraqi, American, and British forces. Yahya Rasoul, the Spokesperson for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, did not specify what force is suspected to be behind the attack attempts.

On February 4, the Sarzir border crossing between Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Turkey reopened after being shut down for thirteen days. The border, in Amadiya of northern Iraqi Kurdistan, was closed by Turkey afterfighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) kidnapped four civilians on the Turkish side of the border. The Sarzir border usually has about 1,000 people cross it daily along with goods and other trade items. Both the KRI and Turkey endured financial losses due to the closure of the border crossing.

On February 4, delegations from the Ministry of Peshmerga and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense met to examine the security situations of the areas still disputed between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government, such as the Ninewa and Kirkuk provinces. This is only the beginning of meetings of this kind as smaller sub-committees have been formed to work on this issue and will meet again next week. The Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces have been attempting to normalize their relationship since the tensions caused by the Kurdistan independence referendum.

On February 4, Kurdistan24 reported that due to the damage to the city of Mosul from years of combat and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) abandoned their homes again to live in camps in the Kurdistan region. The PMF continue to extort bribes from returning IDPs and hinder daily activities, according to the Kurdish outlet.

On February 4, the Pentagon released a report stating the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) continues to pose a threat in the Middle East. The report cautions that ISIS could regain territory and influence in only six to twelve months with the withdrawal of United States forces. It claims that ISIS remains in control of rural portions of Iraq and that the organization is strengthening faster in Iraq than in Syria. The Pentagon’s report also asserts that ISIS gains about 50 new fighters every month.

On February 5, a contingent of officials from the United Nations Assistance Mission of Iraq (UNAMI) visited Tuz Khurmatu in the Salah al-Din province along with a member of the provincial council to review challenges and disputes in the region. After seeing the Armani and Sulaiman Bek areas, and some Kurdish neighborhoods, UNAMI confirmed their aim to provide assistance and reimburse those affected by the battle between Iraqi Security Forces and the Peshmerga on October 16, 2017 following the Kurdish independence referendum. The Iraqi government advanced into the Kirkuk region when the Peshmerga failed to withdraw from the region by the given deadline, October 15. The UN reported that over 150 houses were either burned down or blown up in the days following the conflict in Tuz Khurmatu, and many of those who supported Kurdish independence were attacked. Due to the continued conflicts and destruction, many Kurdish families fled the region and have still not returned.

On February 5, the Iraqi National Security Council met to discuss security conditions in multiple provinces. The Anbar and Kirkuk provinces were assessed at length and the Council provided a report of conclusions to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.


Humanitarian Organizations Provide Assistance to Impoverished and Displaced Iraqis; Work Continues to Clear Mines Across Iraq

On February 1, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) provided food and other services to more than 80,000 poor families in Babylon and Muthana, regions south and southeast of Baghdad, respectively. IRCS teams in Muthana governorate have also drained flood water due to torrential rains and provided medical support to affected families.

On February 3, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pete Mauer, joined President Barham Salih at the Peace Palace in Baghdad to discuss the organization’s efforts to assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). In the meeting, Mauer mentioned Iraq’s obligation to search for missing people, stressing the emotional unrest on the part of Iraqi families who do not know the fate of some family members. Salih applauded the achievements of NGOs and other volunteer organizations in aiding IDPs and reiterated the need for health and psychological support for IDP families, and the removal of explosives that still threaten the lives of citizens. The ICRC addressed these concerns in a report released on February 4, which identified several areas requiring more assistance, such as rebuilding adequate housing, and providing drinking water and health care.

On February 3, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society affirmed their push to help families affected by torrential rains in the Najaf province, an area 200km south of Baghdad, by working with local governments to help families salvage their homes and by sending more relief materials to the affected areas.

On February 3, Kurdistan24 reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) completed a four-day visit to Iraq to evaluate food safety and provided suggestions to improve overall food safety upon the request from the Ministry of Health and Environment. The WHO team visited health and other public facilities to conduct lab tests and sampling. food safety infrastructure struggles to maintain and enforce adequate standards, resulting in food-borne diseases affecting many Iraqis. WHO recommendations aim to regulate and consolidate food safety policies, and improve coordination between different regions.

On February 4, Reuters reported that due to the absence of machinery to remove debris and fraud accusations against the governor, Nawful Hammadi al-Sultan, the reconstruction of Mosul remains desultory and disorganized. The governor maintains that the allegations against him are false and that the gradual progress is due to inadequate funds, though the municipal governor confirms reports of the misuse of funds. According to some locals, companies and individuals hired by Hammadi al-Sultan to clear debris purposefully work slowly.

All of this occurs while many families attempt to rebuild their homes, without the help of loans or other government aid. Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) and families hesitate returning to Mosul due to the continued lack of services and the high level of destruction in the city.

On February 5, a group of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) members of the Kurdish parliament arrived at the Nazrawa for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Kirkuk to investigate conditions following a tent fire the night that killed four children. Fires such as this one occur frequently and have resulted in several deaths, mostly of children.

On February 6, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) warned the Iraqi government of the cancer-causing conditions of the environmental pollution caused by oil extraction in Basra and pressed the government to give compensation to those affected by harmful conditions. A correlation exists between the surge in cancer patients and the augmentation of oil extraction in the southern region of Basra. The hazardous pollution also comes from various bomb sites of depleted uranium from the second Gulf War, which pollute the local water sources. The director of the office, Mahdi al-Tamimi, also echoed a previous demand by OHCHR for the Iraqi government to identify steps to end the dangerous pollution in the region.

On February 6, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pete Mauer, announced that 1.8 million Iraqis remain displaced more than a year after the conclusion of the intensive fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Mauer also stressed the unseen consequences of the war on Iraqi citizens and that the government needs to guarantee a safe return home for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Discovering the fate of the hundreds of missing Iraqis remains a necessary step in the rehabilitation of society as well, he argued.

On February 7, UNICEF reported supplying winter clothes to more than 160,000 refugee and internally displaced children and mothers. Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, explained that without adequate clothes and protection from harsh winter conditions, 30% of displaced children in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees are in danger of illness. Among other locations, UNICEF’s donations were distributed to camps in mountainous regions, such as Sinjar, where sub-freezing temperatures are more common.

On February 7, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) introduced the 2019 Mine Action Strategy that calls for clearing all of the mines in Iraq by 2023, a project that is estimated to cost approximately $265 million. Only a quarter of the project has been funded to date. Following the years of conflict, UNICEF reported that roughly 59 mines remain per square-mile in Iraq, which pose constant threats to citizens.

On February 7, Reuters reported that the United Nations cleared more than 17,000 explosive hazards in Iraq last year, including nearly 2,000 IEDs. Several bombshells dropped during airstrikes failed to detonate. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) educated roughly 500,000 people last year to detect signs of explosives.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs February 1- February 7, 2019

The following table includes both civilian and security forces who were either injured or killed due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), or suicide attacks.
DateLocationDeathsInjuries
02/07/19Kirkuk, Kirkuk Province00
02/04/19Jalawla, Khanaqin Province00
02/01/19Makhoul Mountains, Salah ad-Din Province24

 

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


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


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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email