- Despite a tenuous security and public health situation, 965 IDPs have returned to Qayyarah in Ninewa Province from the overcrowded Debaga Camp in Erbil Province, and several hundred families will begin returning to central Fallujah within the next few days. Despite some effort, the preparedness of these locales to welcome returnees is uncertain at best. Qayyarah was only recently cleared of ISIS militants after the so-called Islamic State held control of the town for the past two years. The presence of hidden IEDs is very likely and access to electricity and water is absent or very limited. The Provincial Council of Kirkuk is denying admittance of 2,400 IDPs from Salah ad-Din who are seeking to transit Kirkuk en route to their homes in Diyala, despite an agreement in July to comply with the constitutional right of citizens to free movement. Delays at provincial border crossings and overcrowded camps are motivating factors which contribute to IDP interest in returning to their places of origin despite continued dangers of IEDs, inadequate security, and a lack of services.
- U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes and ground advances by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga have intensified in recent weeks as preparations for the impending operation to clear Mosul of ISIS militants continues. Operations have successfully killed ISIS field commanders and dozens of militants, destroyed weapons depots and IED factories, cut ISIS off from the Qayarra oil refinery which had been a major source of the group’s revenue, and on September 14, U.S. Central Command in Iraq reported that airstrikes successfully destroyed a significant chemical weapons factory in Mosul. U.S. Army Lt. General Stephen Townsend commented on September 10 that the invasion of Mosul itself will begin “in early October.” Despite these gains, Iraqi Security Forces and PMUs operating near Hawija, in Kirkuk Province, reported that ISIS is becoming “more aggressive and arbitrary” as forces prepared to expel ISIS militants from that city. There were reports that up to 250 “young” IDPs have left IDP camps near Hawija in order to join PMUs in their efforts. As previously reported in ISHM, certain PMUs have been accused of actively recruiting children into their ranks, accusations which those units have denied.
- Although Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi toured security checkpoints throughout Baghdad, was briefed on security screening plans, and formed a committee to investigate security, violence in Baghdad and random terrorist acts have increased in recent weeks. On September 6, an estimated 29 people died and 39 were wounded in a vehicle based IED attack at the Abdul Majid hospital in the Karradah neighborhood of central Baghdad and on September 9, 13 people were killed and 31 wounded when two suicide bombers targeted that al-Nakheel Mall in east Baghdad. A week prior, the Interior Ministry arrested one of Baghdad’s top security officials on charges of corruption. (For a complete list of IED attacks and casualties, see the map at the end of this full report.)
- As Iraqi Security Forces and their allies concentrate on operations in Ninewa Province near Mosul and in western Anbar Province in efforts to secure the border with Syria, ISIS militants are reappearing in Ramadi and Hit. Ramadi was cleared of ISIS militants in December, 2015 and despite being “90% destroyed” in that assault, has since encouraged the return of the majority of its citizens. On September 8, U.S. airstrikes killed seven ISIS militants and a cache of weapons and ammunition in Hit. On September 9, six ISIS militants were killed when security forces attacked a “gathering” of militants in Ramadi and another three were killed the following day.
- Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri issued a list of candidates being considered for the vacant Defense Minister position. They are:
- Badr Mahmoud Hafl al-Jabouri: Member of the Jamahira political bloc from the Salah ad-Din Province
- Kamil Karim Abbas Dulaimi: Former member of the Sunni National Movement for Development and Reform bloc, and
- Ahmed Abdulla al-Jabouri: Former Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and member of the Shia National Alliance.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is expected to nominate one of the candidates after the Eid al-Adha holiday. Embattled Minister of Finance Hoshyar Zebari may face a vote of no confidence after Parliament reconvenes on September 20. On September 15, however, the KDP submitted a petition to Speaker of Parliament al-Jabouri requesting a re-vote on Parliament’s decision to not accept Minister Zebari’s August 25 testimony.
- The Iraqi Government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil reached a tentative agreement over the export and sale of Kirkuk oil in northern Iraq via the KRG-owned pipeline system through Turkey. The tentative deal will split oil revenues over Kirkuk oil 50/50 between Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) and the KRG. The deal comes despite objections from the PUK, which requested greater transparency and fairness in the sharing of revenues.
- Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki conceded the presidency of Parliament’s largest political bloc, the National Iraqi Alliance, to fellow MP Ammar al-Hakim after two years of highly publicized political tensions. al-Hakim vowed to mobilize the public to “reunify and reorganize” Iraq’s political organizations. Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi publicly congratulated al-Hakim.
Return of IDPs Encouraged Despite Security Concerns
On September 5, Anbar Operations Command of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) announced the successful dismantling of about 100 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) left behind by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the Hallabsa and Nasaf districts approximately 20 kilometers west of Fallujah in Anbar Province. The progress is part of an ongoing effort to secure the area for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
On September 6, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 400 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been stranded at the Maktab Khalid checkpoint since September 1 while awaiting approval to enter Kirkuk. Many have fled from violence in Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City. Kirkuk had previously agreed to allow IDPs to enter the Province, but has since delayed the settlement of IDPs into camps which are now unsustainably crowded. The province has received 650,000 IDPs since June 2014.
On September 6, the UNHCR reported that over 200 IDPs fled ongoing fighting between ISIS and ISF in the Albu Thiyab district in northern Ramadi, 3 kilometers northwest of the city center, and arrived in Khalidiyah Camp on September 3.
On September 6, the UNHCR reported that the number of IDPs from Sharqat, Qayyarah and surrounding areas has increased to 88,500 since fighting in the area intensified in June. The number is a 5,500 jump up from the 83,000 reported on August 27. The number of IDPs from from Mosul and nearby surrounding areas has grown to 53,700 IDPs since March, a 3,900 increase from the 49,800 reported August 27.
On September 6, the Anbar Provincial Council declared that nine districts of Fallujah have been cleared of IEDs. The speed of the operations indicates the urgency with which the government and security forces are acting in order to return IDPs to areas recently cleared of ISIS militants.
On September 6, the Anbar Provincial Council announced the return of 250 families to areas around the city of Fallujah, which was cleared of ISIS militants on June 26, 2016, and stated that the return of hundreds more displaced families to the area would take place in “the days to come”. This news comes despite the fact that the areas had only been cleared of IEDs that day and services such as water and electricity had not been restored. The Anbar Provincial Council had previously anticipated the start of returns to areas surrounding Fallujah to begin after Eid al-Adha, or September 12, and had warned against the premature return of IDPs.
On September 6, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 965 IDPs departed the Debaga Camp in Erbil Province on September 1 and returned to Qayyarah, 60 kilometres south of Mosul, despite an uncertain security situation in the city. Qayyarah has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks due to its strategic importance for ISF advancing to clear ISIS militants who have controlled the city for the past two years. Qayyarah was cleared on August 28, but according to a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report on September 13, the retreating ISIS militants opened up oil pipes running through the town, leaving the streets flowing with oil, much of which had been set on fire. Corpses litter the streets, and the safety of returnees is threatened by the presence of IEDs.
On September 6, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) announced that it has installed medical detachments to provide relief to families displaced from Saqlawiyah and Garma, 12 and 27 kilometers northeast of Fallujah respectively. The IRCS’s team provides medical and relief assistance to more than 230 families in camps in the Anbar and Baghdad provinces.
On September 6, the Education Committee of the Council of Diyala announced the secure return of more than 30,000 displaced students to school. The Committee sees continuing education for students as essential to the revitalization of areas cleared of ISIS control.
On September 6, The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) distributed food for more than 30,000 people in and around Qayyarah, 60 kilometres south of Mosul. The city had previously been under siege and inaccessible to aid workers for over two years while it was controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Qayyarah was cleared on August 28.
On September 6, the UNHCR reported that armed groups attacked a water station 20 kilometres east of Rutbah in Anbar Province on September 3, resulting in a shutdown of the water supply in the district, hindering the return of IDPs. Security forces had already been struggling to restore water and electricity to the city 317 kilometers west of Ramadi as thousands of IDPs return to their homes after the clearing of ISIS militants on May 17. The town is of strategic value as it sits on key transit routes between Iraq and Jordan.
On September 7, the Electoral Commission extended the date for voter registration updates to help citizens who have been displaced and unable to visit a registration center. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been aiding the reorganization by opening 683 registration centers in 13 provinces. The updates and registration centers are in preparation for next year’s provincial elections.
On September 7, the Director of Education for Diyala, Sinan Rubaie, announced the opening of four schools to receive more than 1,000 displaced students returning to the province. The Director also confirmed the existence of an intensive action plan to restore schools in the cleared areas of the province, which stipulates the provision of furniture, textbooks, and supplies as well as the creation of a teaching staff.
On September 7, the Anbar Provincial Council confirmed the continued detention of over 1,500 IDPs in Amiriyat al-Fallujah who have been held in poor humanitarian conditions for more than four months based on suspicions of their involvement with ISIS. The Council condemned the ISF for their failure to release innocent detainees despite their having what they termed a complete database of persons involved in ISIS in the Anbar province, and called on leaders to accelerate the investigation and release those known to be innocent.
On September 8, 2016, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi directed relevant authorities to expedite the provision of supplies and services required for the return of IDPs to Fallujah. He also noted the commitment of international aid group Al-Azrikih Water Project to provide clean drinking water to the city. The Minister of Displacement and Migration Jassim Mohammed stated in August that the process of relocating IDPs to Fallujah would take three months due to the current degradation of the city. Thousands of families have been displaced from Fallujah since the beginning of 2014 due to fighting between ISF and ISIS, and since being cleared on June 26, 2016, the city has seen the return of hundreds of families despite insecure conditions.
On September 8, the Anbar Provincial Council announced the return of electric power to Garma, 27 kilometers northeast of Fallujah. Engineering and service personnel from the Energy Committee were able to restore electricity after the delivery of power cords to the city. Working electricity is a prerequisite for the return of IDPs to Garma after the clearing of ISIS militants in May 2016.
On September 8, the Mayor of Ramadi, Ibrahim Al-Awsaj, declared a plan for the immediate rehabilitation of four neighborhoods in Ramadi to prepare for the return of IDPs to their homes. Ramadi has been cleared of ISIS militants since December 28, 2015, but security forces and local government have struggled to restore water and electricity to the city.
On September 8, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced a new grant of cash assistance to more than 140 thousand displaced families. The grants are part of the Ministry’s efforts to ease the burden of IDPs as they return to areas that have been cleared of ISIS militants.
On September 8, the Anbar Provincial Council announced the return of 300 displaced families to their homes on the outskirts of Fallujah. The local government is working in coordination with security forces to restore families to their homes in the recently cleared city, and relief committees have been formed to distribute food and supplies.
On September 8, 2016, Alsumaria News reported the transfer of 1,150 Iraqis stranded in the Hol Refugee Camp in Syria to IDP camps in Salah ad-Din Province in Iraq. The displaced Iraqis are from the Ninewa Province and have been trapped in the camp in Syria’s Hasaka Governorate. The move was approved by the former Iraqi Defense Minister and authorities in the Kurdistan Regional Government about two months ago after four Iraqis died in the Hol Camp in June 2016. The transfer was facilitated by provincial governments and the World Organization for Human Rights in Syria. The displaced Iraqis will be processed by security forces in the camps in Salah ad-Din. As of June 30, 2016 more than 7,000 Iraqis have arrived at the Syrian camp of Hol, 14 km from the Iraqi border, after fleeing the escalating violence around the city of Mosul. On June 30 more than 5,000 Iraqis were still in the camp.
On September 10, the Baghdad Operations Command announced the continued reception of IDPs returning to the city of Fallujah and its environs in the Anbar Province during Eid al-Adha. The security forces will continue their work to relocate IDPs “non-stop” despite the holiday.
On September 10, the Director of the city of Jalawla in Diyala Province, 153 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, announced the return of 930 displaced families to the area. The IDPs were displaced to IDP camps throughout Baghdad Province, and completed security screenings by security authorities in to identify potential ISIS sympathizers prior to their return. The Director estimated that about 1,500 IDPs have not yet returned and are mostly staying in camps in the Wahda district in Baghdad where they await security screenings.
On September 10, the Ministry of Oil announced its commitment to provide oil and gas to aid in the restoration of cities cleared of ISIS militants and prepare for the return of displaced families. The Minister of Oil Jabbar Laibi stressed the need for coordination between provincial authorities and the government in order to distribute these products. The Ministry is currently working to provide the city of Fallujah in the Anbar province with all its oil and gas needs.
On September 10, the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works directed its municipal services departments in the Anbar Province to contribute to the rehabilitation of the city of Fallujah. About 60 municipal services departments will enter Fallujah soon to initiate the restoration of services. This comes after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s order, on September 8, for all relevant authorities to expedite the provision of supplies and services needed in Fallujah.
On September 11, United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) revealed the 2016-2017 Regional Winter Assistance Plan for Syria and Iraq. The plan is part of UNHCR’s continued efforts to put in place measures to support vulnerable Syrian and Iraqi IDPs and refugees in the Middle East to cope during the harsh winter months, particularly between November and February. For the coming winter, UNHCR plans to provide integrated winter assistance to 4.57 million vulnerable Syrian and Iraqi IDPs and refugees with an overall budget of US$ 343 million.
On September 11, Diyala Provincial Council member Hakki al-Jabouri called on security forces to expedite the return of IDPs from Diyala Province who have been stranded at security checkpoints awaiting admittance into Kirkuk. Al-Jabouri condemned the inhumane conditions that more than 2,400 IDPs are being held in as authorities in Kirkuk delay decisions about accepting them. He also emphasized the need for displaced families to return so as to protect and defend the land from those who would seize it, despite the risks involved in doing so.
On September 11, the Salah ad-Din Provincial Council reached an agreement with the Kirkuk Provincial Council to postpone the deportation of IDPs seeking refuge in Kirkuk until after Eid al-Adha. According to the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Kirkuk has received 650,000 IDPs since ISIS took control of Mosul on June 10, 2014 and caused mass displacement from the Mosul corridor. The agreement comes amid continued reports that the Kirkuk Province is forcing IDPs to return to the Salah ad-Din Province, despite an announcement from the Ministry of Immigration and Displacement on July 23 that the forced return of IDPs by provinces is illegal under the 44th article of the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of residence. Kirkuk had previously agreed to allow IDPs to enter the Province, but has since delayed the settlement of IDPs into camps which are now unsustainably crowded.
On September 13, the District Council of Fallujah announced that the first return of a group of IDPs to the city center of Fallujah would occur on September 17 and include 500 families. Families have been returning to the outskirts of Fallujah in since September 6, but this would be the first return of IDPs to the city center.
On September 13, the Joint Special Operations Command of the Iraqi Security Forces announced the return of more than 70,000 displaced families to their places of origin in the Salah ad-Din and Anbar provinces. Further details concerning the reporting period and where the IDPs were previously displaced to were not available.
On September 13, authorities in Baquba, 70 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, announced the transfer of a team of engineers and technical staff to the city of Fallujah in the Anbar Province to aid in the restoration of the city. They will be working to clear rubble from the city and open roads.
On September 13, the Director of the Fallujah Hospital for Women and Children, Allawi al-Dulaimi, announced the reopening of the hospital’s emergency room in order to accommodate the influx of returned IDPs to the city of Fallujah. The director stated that the emergency room will be running 24 hours a day.
On September 13, the Anbar Provincial Council announced that destruction caused by ISIS militants in Ramadi, 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, has devastated 90% of the city’s infrastructure and it will require more than US$10 billion to reconstruct the city. Since the local government is unable to provide that money, the Council has called for “substantial international support” in order to restore electricity, water and sewage, roads and bridges, and communications networks in the city.
On September 14, the U.S. Department of State announced that it would provide US$181 million for humanitarian support of the more than 1 million people expected to be displaced by the upcoming operations to clear Mosul of ISIS militants.
Coalition Airstrikes Intensify as Military Forces Progress Toward Mosul
On September 2, ISIS militants executed a villager from the Mokhtari villages, 4 kilometers northwest of Fallujah, named Zidane Khalaf Hussein al-Obeidi in Rashad, 45 kilometers south of Kirkuk. ISIS militants claimed that he was in possession of an Iraqi flag and was working with Iraqi Security Forces.
On September 2, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS militants in Hawija killed seven ISIS militants after repelling their attack near the Zerga Bridge region, 80 kilometers west of Tuz Khurmatu in the Kirkuk Province. The commander of the operation reported that the delay in clearing Hawija has allowed ISIS to launch several attacks on the peshmerga forces.
On September 3, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) reported that ISIS executed 17 of their own militants in the city center of Mosul by firing squad after those militants had fled from battles in Qayyarah, which was cleared of ISIS militants on 24 August 2016. Sources later reported that ISIS was requiring the families of those executed to leave Mosul within 72 hours except those who were forgiven by ISIS “leaders.”
On September 3, the PUK reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike killed an ISIS Ninewa field commander in the city of Mosul. The airstrikes targeted a convoy in an industrial area in the west of Mosul that killed a dozen ISIS militants.
On September 3, police and Popular Mobilization Units announced that they had recovered a cache of weapons, ammunition containing mortar rounds and rockets, and 155 mm artillery shells that belonged to ISIS. The security forces found the cache when searching in a subsidiary of Buhriz, eight kilometers southeast of Baquba.
On September 4, the PUK reported that U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed about a dozen ISIS militants and destroyed a regulation site south of Mosul.
On September 4, the PUK reported that U.S. -led coalition airstrikes that targeted ISIS headquarters in central Mosul killed seven ISIS militants. PUK Kurdish official, Ghyath Alsurja, reported that a house had been targeted at the ISIS headquarters which was completely destroyed in the operation.
On September 4, the PUK announced that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeting an ISIS convoy killed seven ISIS militants in the Alsomer neighborhood in central Mosul. The airstrike also led to the destruction of the ISIS convoy.
On September 4, the PUK reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted an IED factory in the Tal Afar district, 90 kilometers west of Mosul. During the attack, seven ISIS militants were killed and the factory was destroyed.
On September 4, a source in Salah ad-Din Province reported that security forces killed an ISIS group “commander” who had attacked an Army and Police Headquarters in the Dhuluiya district, 100 kilometers south of Tikrit, resulting in 28 casualties among Iraqi Security Forces.
On September 4, Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) leaders in Ninewa Province reacted to an August 30 report by Human Rights Watch that accused certain PMUs of recruiting underage boys and young men from displacement camps in the Mosul area to fight Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. The leaders denied the accusations, calling them “baseless,” and denounced the exploitation of children in war. Among those responding to the claim was Hadi al-Ameri, the Secretary General of the Badr Political Bloc, who asserted that the abundance of volunteers willing to fight for the PMU made it unnecessary to recruit children.
On September 7, an anonymous source reported that a U.S.-led internaternational coalition airstrike killed an ISIS leader and five other ISIS militants of the Abu Suleiman “regimen” in Tal Afar, 90 kilometers west of Mosul. U.S. led international coalition airstrikes destroyed the entire office building during the operation.
On September 7, the PUK reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted an IED factory in the Alshaji area, 20 kilometers east of Mosul. The airstrikes killed six ISIS militants and destroyed the entire factory.
On September 7, the PUK reported that U.S.-led coalition international airstrikes killed Abdurrahman Muhammad Sleman and “several of his bodyguards” in the village of Hamam al-Alil, 24 kilometers south of Mosul. The PUK claimed that Suleiman was digging trenches to inhibit security forces from advancing.
On September 7, the PUK reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted an ISIS headquarters in Mosul. The airstrikes killed 15 ISIS militants and destroyed 12 VBIEDs.
On September 7, three ISIS militants were killed in the Villages of Tal-Rim and Asky-Mosul, 72 kilometers from Mosul.
On September 7, the International Organization for Migration reported that since June 16, the start of the Mosul Liberation Operations in Salah ad-Din and Ninewa, there have been: 90,006 individuals displaced from the Mosul corridor, 7,400 non-food item kits distributed, 7,341 individuals transported, and 50,670 primary health consultations provided. Over 67,800 of the IDPs are displaced within Salah al-Din Province with others travelling to the Debaga camp in Erbil Province, the Nazrawah camp in Kirkuk Province, or camps in Ninewa Province.
On September 8 the leader of the Parliamentary Arab Bloc Mohammad Tamim warned of the humanitarian crisis in Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City, and called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to delay military operations no longer. Tamim, the former Minister of Education, emphasized the need for security leaders and armed forces to clear the city of ISIS militants, who have occupied Hawija for the past two years and caused mass displacement of families to IDP camps surrounding areas, especially Kirkuk.
On September 8, ISIS was allegedly reported banning the burka in buildings in Mosul after a group of women wearing burkas attacked ISIS commanders. ISIS has mandated that women must wear gloves and gauze to cover their eyes when they enter buildings in Mosul. ISIS “morality police” will still require women to wear the burka outside of the city of Mosul.
On September 8, the PUK reported that one person was killed and three wounded in a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike on ISIS headquarters in the villages of Tel al-Shaer in Tal Afar, 90 kilometers west of Mosul. Sources indicate that the bombing destroyed the entire headquarters.
On September 8, an ISF member announced that they had destroyed a mortar detachment in Qayyarah, 60 kilometers south of Mosul. ISF killed all ISIS militants of the mortar detachment.
On September 8, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reported from London that the plan for the siege by the U.S.-led international coalition against ISIS in Mosul and al-Raqqah will take “several months.” Furthermore, Carter announced that the U.S.-led international coalition “intended to achieve victory over [ISIS].”
On September 8, the Diyala Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council reported that they had arrested an ISIS cell that was intending to assassinate government and security leaders in Diyala. The head of the Security Committee in Diyala, Sadeq al-Husseini, commented that intelligence agencies in Diyala had been successful in “dismantling and arresting” numerous “armed networks” in the last few months.
On September 9, police in the Ninewa Province reported that security forces repelled an attack carried out by ISIS at a security checkpoint south of Mosul. During the engagement, security forces were able to seize an ISIS vehicle and weapons and kill two ISIS militant.
On September 9, the PUK reported that a U.S.-led coalition airstrike targeted a meeting of ISIS militants in the District of Baaj, 120 kilometers west of Mosul. The airstrike killed 12 ISIS militants including ISIS “senior leader” Abu Omar.
On September 10, an anonymous source within the ISF reported that 180 ISIS militants and their families fled Mosul for the city of Raqqa, 40 kilometers from Tikrit. The ISIS militants and their families were traveling in unmarked cars.
On September 10, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense reported that the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will increase from 4000 to 4460 and will act as advisors, intelligence and logistical personnel, and close air support from the recently cleared Qayyarah Air Base. The ISF is expecting to use between eight and 12 brigades for the assault The U.S. also reported that they have obtained intelligence that the number of ISIS militants in Mosul is between 3000 and 4500. U.S. Army Lt. General Stephen Townsend commented that the invasion of Mosul will begin in early October.
On September 11, ISF of Ninewa Operations reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike destroyed a laboratory for creating VBIED in a village, 40 kilometers south of Mosul. Airstrikes also targeted and destroyed a building south of Advice.
On September 11, the Commander for the Liberation of Ninewa reported that a U.S. -led international coalition airstrike destroyed a mortar detachment and ammunition in a villages, 40 kilometers south of Mosul. The airstrike also resulted in the destruction of a rocket launcher in the village of Alahud, 10 kilometers north of Qayyarah.
On September 11, an anonymous local source reported that the “Director of the Marketing” for ISIS, nicknamed Abu Ishaq, was shot in his vehicle in Mosul by a silenced weapon. Ishaq’s propaganda was used by ISIS militants to market ISIS ideology throughout the city of Mosul.
On September 11, an anonymous local source reported that 18 ISIS militants were killed and seven wounded when U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted five “tactical units” and a “heavy cannon” belonging to ISIS in numerous locations in the south of Ninewa Province.
On September 12, the Ninewa Province police headquarters reported that they had killed 100 ISIS militants and wounded “dozens” when ISIS militants attacked the eighth regiment of the local police “near the wilderness” on the road between Baghdad and Mosul in the south of the province. The statement claimed that the attack was the “deadliest” attack since the clearing of Qayyarah on 24 August.
On September 12, the PUK reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes killed 37 ISIS militants, including Abu Ibrahim Hadidi, advisor to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” in Ghazail, 50 kilometers from Mosul; and Aldaasha Wissam Ismail Sabawi, advisor in charge of recruiting child soldiers in Mosul.
On September 12, Alsumaria News reported that Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga in Kirkuk received 1,000 IDPs fleeing ISIS militants in Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City. Alsumaria News’ source added that the majority of the IDPs were women, children, and the elderly. The IDPs have been taken to IDP camps and supplied with food, water, and medicine.
On September 12, the Diyala Security Committee reported that the Iraqi Air force killed six of the most prominent ISIS militants at a secret meeting in Mtaibija, an area between Diyala and Salah ad-Din known for the presence of “scattered pockets” of ISIS militants. Committee Chairman Sadiq al-Husseini claimed that ISIS lost most of its field commanders in the area during the attack.
On September 12, 250 displaced “young” residents of Hawija left IDP camps near Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City, to voluntarily join the Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) fighting to clear Hawija of ISIS militants. The PMU has been battling ISIS militants occupying Hawija for the past two years, and is estimated to have 3,000 fighters in its ranks.
On September 13, the commanders in charge of Ninewa Province liberation reported that 70 ISIS militants were killed when they attacked Iraqi forces in Alahud, 55 kilometers south of Mosul, and in a housing development, 80 kilometers south of Mosul.
On September 13, Iraqi security forces in the Kirkuk Province reported that ISIS was becoming more “aggressive and arbitrary” as security forces prepare to expel ISIS militants from Hawija. ISIS militants kidnapped and cut the legs off of seven civilians from the village of Sedira, 75 kilometers west of Kirkuk, and beat 25 others in Hawija in response to working with security forces and writing slogans critical of ISIS on walls.
On September 13, Almada Press reported that ISIS is instituting new methods to intimidate families who try to escape from the group’s occupation in the northern Salah ad-Din province, 170 km north of Baghdad. The group is reportedly severing nerves in the legs and feet and breaking bones in order to make it impossible for IDPs to travel to safety.
On September 13, CARE warned that over 46,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women in and around Mosul could be affected by violence as military operations to clear the city of ISIS militants intensifies. According to the United Nations, as many as 1.2 million people in Mosul could be affected. CARE and other organizations are preparing to supply water, shelter, and other relief aid to the coming mass influx of displaced people into Northern Iraq.
On September 14, US Central Command in Iraq reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a chemical weapons factory that was producing chlorine and mustard gas near Mosul. U.S. Air Force Central Command Lt. General Jeffrey Harrigian reported that the strikes were successfully able to destroy the facility and “remove the threat of chemical [strikes] that may be suffered by Iraqi citizens.”
Violence in Baghdad Increases with Only Talk of Security Reform
On September 2, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reported numerous casualties when a collection of roadside ammunition was detonated in the Al-Ubaidi District. More information about the incident was not immediately available.
On September 2, an anonymous source from the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two people were killed and eight injured when four mortar shells fell in in the Fudhaliyah neighborhood and arboretum in east Baghdad. The Iraqi Interior Ministry commented that the shells were probably targeting Shia visitors journeying to the shrine of Muhammad al-Jawad in the city of Kadhimiya.
On September 3, an unidentified armed man opened fire on a taxi driver on Canal Street in Eastern Baghdad. The taxi driver was killed during the event and an investigation has been opened to determine who was behind the attack.
On September 3, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two people were killed and two injured when an unidentified armed attacker attacked a furniture store in the Shaab neighborhood of northeast Baghdad. The attacker killed the store owner and his son and injured two store workers.
On September 4, a source at the Interior Ministry reported that an employee of the Real Estate Registry Department and his son were killed by an “unidentified armed attacker” in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Ur. The victims were killed in their car when the assailant fired at them with an automatic weapon from a “modern” car.
On September 5, unidentified gunmen attacked the home of the Minister of Construction and Housing Nafaa al-Osai, who has only been in office for 20 days. While no group has claimed responsibility, officials blamed the attack on Osei’s promise to reform the government’s implementation of urban services across the provinces. Osei stressed that this aggression would not deter her from providing citizens with the appropriate services to return to and reconstruct areas cleared of ISIS militants.
On September 5, the Department of Information and Ethical Guidance in the Baghdad Operations Command arrested a suspect on charges of possession of weapons and explosive devices. The Department also reported that numerous explosive devices, including missiles, mortars, rockets, and bombs had been recovered from Fallujah and Baghdad.
On September 5, the Interior Ministry reported that security forces arrested eight suspects charged with terrorism during a security operation to search for “wanted men” in south Baghdad. During the operation two security force operatives were wounded when they were exposed to sniper fire.
On September 5, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of a Baghdad police chief in the al-Rusafa district for paying himself over 1 billion dinar (approximately US$ 846,000) through the use of fictitious names and bank accounts. The office of the Inspector General plans to launch an investigation into the case.
On September 6, the security committee in the Baghdad Provincial Council stated that the National Intelligence Service is “currently working without a budget” and needs immediate funding. The report noted that even though the bomb detecting devices used by police had been proven fraudulent in July 2016, the Intelligent Service’s budget had not been reshaped to reflect those findings.
On September 6, Dr. Abdul Ghani Saadoun reported that 10 people died and 39 were wounded after a vehicle based improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated at the Abdul Majid hospital in the Karradah neighborhood of central Baghdad. While reports are conflicting, it is estimated that between 10 and 29 people are dead and 21 to 39 were wounded in the attack, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. A source at the Interior Ministry revealed the formation of a security committee to investigate the Monday night bombings. The committee will investigate with local police and intelligence which agencies are to be held responsible for the security breach. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi commented in a news conference that the car’s origin and point of entry into the city were still under investigation.
On September 7, an anonymous security source reported that a police officer was killed when an “armed attacked” opened fire on him near his home in Canal Street, eastern Baghdad.
On September 7, the Joint Special Operations Commander, Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, reported that they had foiled an ISIS attempt to detonate a VBIED that targeted visitors of the Imam Muhammad al-Jawad in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad. The Joint Special Operations Command commented to reporters that the Directorate of Military Intelligence was able to identify the truck as coming from the Diyala Province and had been modified to fit “gear, weapons,” and explosives.
On September 8, an anonymous source reported that a security officer’s house was attacked by hand grenades from an “unidentified assailant” in the Ghadeer area, east of Baghdad. The attack resulted in damage to the house, but no casualties.
On September 8, Iraqi Security Forces released a man who had been kidnapped in the al-Za’franiyah neighborhood in southeast Baghdad and arrested his nine captors. A later report claimed that 15 men had been arrested when they attacked security forces after they released the kidnapped man.
On September 8, an “armed group” opened fire on federal police headquarters in the al-Za’franiyah neighborhood in southeast Baghdad. A source claims that many of the attackers had been “arrested and detained.”
On September 8, an “armed group” stole 250 million Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 211,600), killed a policeman at a currency exchange shop in Northern Baghdad, and attacked civilian homes in eastern Baghdad. The exact number of those who participated in the attack are unknown.
On September 8, security sources reported that about 12 gunmen wearing military uniforms stole a car and approximately US$ 200,000, at gunpoint in Madain, 30 kilometers south of Baghdad. A source claimed that security services were distributing a description of the car and gunmen around the city.
On September 8, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that a sniper killed a military officer and wounded another person at a military checkpoint in the Latifiyah neighborhood in southern Baghdad. Security Forces said that raids and search operations were being carried out to find the sniper.
On September 9, an anonymous source from the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that 13 people were killed and 31 wounded when two suicide bombers targeted al-Nakheel Mall in east Baghdad. A later source reported that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and 35 were killed and 41 injured.
On September 9, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that a captain of the traffic police was kidnapped when “unidentified gunmen” forced him into their car in the Abu Ghraib district, 20 kilometers west of Baghdad. Security forces are carrying out search and raid operations to find the officer.
On September 9, an anonymous source reported that two people were killed and four injured when an unknown assailant threw a hand grenade into a barber shop in the city of Saidiya in south Baghdad. Security forces are conducting search and raid operations to find the assailant.
On September 10, an anonymous source from the Interior Ministry reported that a man from the “Awakening” and his wife and two kids were killed when an “unidentified gunmen” attacked his car with a hand grenade in the town of Arab Ejbur in south Baghdad.
On September 10, an anonymous source from the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that security forces were able to foil an attempt by a suicide bomber that targeted Alawi Garage in central Baghdad. Security forces shot the man before he could arrive at his destination.
On September 11, Baghdad Operations reported that Federal Police seized eight explosive belts and 100 detonators in the Garma City, 20 kilometers east of Baghdad. The operation was carried out as a result of information obtained from “arrested terrorists.”
On September 12, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi toured checkpoints throughout Baghdad and was briefed on inspection devices used by police to emphasize his commitment to “protect citizens from terrorism.” Abadi’s briefing comes after the implementation of new security measures for the Eid al-Adha holiday.
On September 13, the federal police headquarters announced that two members of ISIS were arrested in Baghdad and, at the time, were in the possession of eight suicide vests, 8 detonators, and 75 “lighter bombs”.
On September 13, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that “unidentified gunmen” attacked a car carrying a member of the Defense Ministry as his car passed Canal Street in east Baghdad. The “unidentified gunmen” used a silenced pistol during their attack.
On September 13, federal police captain Raed Shakir Jawdat reported that federal police repelled two attacks by ISIS militants that targeted Tharthar, 30 kilometers west of Ramadi, and Kurian village, west of Ramadi. During the attacks, seven militants were killed in Blather and an undisclosed amount in the Kurian village.
On September 14, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that an “unidentified armed attack[er]” killed a banker with a “silenced weapon” in the Ur neighborhood in east Baghdad. The attacker also stole 177 million Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 150,000) during the attack.
On September 15, an anonymous “intelligence source” revealed that ISF had arrested three suicide bombers and three local leaders of ISIS who were planning to conduct suicide based improvised explosive devices (SBIED) during Eid al-Adha in Taji, North of Baghdad. The source reported that the suicide bomber’s ages were less than 20 years old.
Security Forces Prepare to Clear Western Anbar of ISIS
On September 3, The District Council of Hit, 48 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, in Anbar Province announced that three women were killed and three men injured during the shelling of ISIS militants on an island in Hit. The head of the District Council of Hit, Mohammad al-Hiti reported that he made “demands and appeals” to the security leaders and the central government for the elimination of ISIS militants and the safety of innocent civilians.
On September 4, the Federal Police Headquarters announced that they killed 1200 ISIS militants in total during the operations on Khalidiya Island, east of Ramadi in the Anbar province. Federal Police Chief Raed Jawdat announced that the federal police have completed their tasks and cleared the area.
On September 5, a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike destroyed an ISIS convoy west of the Haditha District (170 km west of Ramadi) killing 60 militants. The airstrike killed “prominent ISIS leaders” and a cameraman named Mazhar Abbas, according to the report.
On September 5, Anbar Operations Command reported that it had dismantled roughly 100 improvised explosive devises (IEDs) and landmines in cleared ISIS areas such as Nasaf and Halabsa, 7 kilometers west of Fallujah. Security forces are continuing to comb through the area in search of IEDs in preparation for the return of displaced civilians from the fighting.
On September 6, an anonymous source in the Anbar Operations Command reported that seven ISIS militants were killed when a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike destroyed a laboratory for making IEDs. The U.S.-led coalition also destroyed five cars and equipment to make car bombs that were to be used to target security forces in western Anbar.
On September 7, a source at the the Anbar Operations Command reported that three ISIS militants were killed after being attacked by an unidentified group in a popular market in Rawa (170 km northwest of Ramadi). The source claimed that “clans and families” were carrying out armed attacks against ISIS militants in “western regions.”
On September 7, Iraqi Operations Command reported that four senior ISIS militants were killed when a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted ISIS’s headquarters on the island in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. Commander of the operation to clear the Hit island, Major General Qassim al-Muhammadi, reported that he will be ready to take the island when the army, police and tribal forces are “combat ready.”
On September 7, Operations Command in the Anbar province announced that 12 ISIS militants were killed in U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes in the Alkasirat region (170 km west of Ramadi). The airstrikes also led to the destruction of three ISIS-built trenches and a cache of weapons and missiles.
On September 7, it was announced that two regiments of federal police would be used to reinforce the border port Alwaleed near Syria and to support security forces with clearing ISIS militants from western Anbar. Commander of the Desert Falcons regiment, Shakir Obeid al-Dulaimi, reported that the two regiments will help assist in a large scale military operation to clear the “western cities of Anbar.”
On September 8, U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes killed seven ISIS militants on the island in Hit (70 km west of Ramadi) and the Haditha District, 105 kilometers southwest of Ramadi. Major General Qassim Al-Muhammadi, Iraqi commander of the operation, reported that a large cache of weapons and ammunition were also destroyed in the airstrike.
On September 9, an anonymous source in the Anbar Operations Command reported that six ISIS militants were killed when security forces attacked a “gathering” of militants on an island in Ramadi. During the operation three ISIS monitoring sites were destroyed.
On September 9, the mayor of Rutba (280 kilometer from Ramadi), Imad Meshaal al-Dulaimi reported that Federal Police and the Iraqi army have arrived in order to reinforce the western province in preparation to clear out the western regions of ISIS militants. Al-Dulaimi claimed that security forces will “ensure the safety of civilians” in the operation areas.
On September 9, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that it had killed around 100 ISIS militants through airstrikes by the Iraqi Air Force. Airstrikes were launched in Qa’im, Akashat, Anah (212 kilometer west of Ramadi), Rawa, and Rutba, all in the far west of Anbar.
On September 9, an anonymous source reported that ISIS leader Yusuf al-Dulaimi, also known as Abu Aisha, of the city of Garma, 20 kilometer from Fallujah, was arrested by security forces in the district of Abu Ghraib, 20 kilometers west of Baghdad, with “codes” for special contacts. Al-Dulaimi was arrested after he fled to Abu Ghraib when Garma was cleared during security force operations.
On September 10, an anonymous military source reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes “destroyed and killed” three militants in Ramadi. The source also claimed that security forces killed a “terrorist infiltrator” in Znkurh, 12 kilometers northwest of Ramadi.
On September 10, security forces in Anbar reported that they were able to foil an attack on the federal police headquarters in Rutba. During the attack a “number” of ISIS militants, federal police and “associates” were killed and injured. No specific number of casualties was given.
On September 11, a Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) reported that five federal police officers were killed by ISIS militants at a “secret headquarters of the Federal Police” in the wetlands, 410 kilometers west of Ramadi. Intelligence director Nazim Aljughaifi of the al-Somoud brigade reported that a captain was among those killed by ISIS militants.
On September 11, Anbar Operations Command reported that a U.S -led coalition airstrike targeted a plant that created VBIEDs in the Am Alwaz neighborhood west of Ramadi. During the airstrike, four ISIS militants were killed and the plant was destroyed.
September 11, an anonymous military source reported that two Iraqi soldiers were killed when ISIS militants attacked an Iraqi military headquarters, 130 kilometers west of Ramadi. The ISIS militants were repelled and “numerous [ISIS militants] were killed.”
September 11, Federal Police Captain Raed Shakir Jawdat reported that federal police forces were able to repel an attack by ISIS militant in Rutba, 310 kilometers west of Ramadi. Jawdat claimed that “forces” were able to pursue the militants into the desert “after killing many of them and destroying their vehicles.”
On September 11, an anonymous military source reported that a “number” of ISIS militants were killed when a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted the island of Baghdadi, 90 kilometers west of Ramadi. The airstrikes were conducted in preparation for the launch of an operation to clear Hit of ISIS militants.
On September 12, an anonymous military source reported that federal police foiled an attempted attack on the headquarters of the federal police in Rutba, 280 kilometers from Ramadi. The failed attack ended in security forces killing 11 ISIS militants, including three suicide bombers.
On September 13, an anonymous source at the Anbar Operations Command reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted a gathering of ISIS militants in the Trabshh District, 20 kilometers north of Ramadi. During the attack, eight ISIS militants were killed along with three mortar detachments and a car carrying an anti-aircraft gun.
Defense Minister Vacancy and Finance Minister’s Future to be Decided After Eid al-Adha Holiday
On September 3, political blocs and parties launched early campaigns in anticipation of the 2017 provincial elections and the 2018 parliamentary elections. These campaigns will highlight the political bloc the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq’s request to lower the age of candidacy for Parliament from 30 years old to 25.
On September 4, the Committee of Regions and Provinces in Parliament announced that local provincial elections will be postponed in unstable regions until April 2017 due to the government’s inability to allocate funding and provide safe polling stations. The commission reported that stable provinces will not be affected by these changes.
On September 4, thousands of civil servants loyal to the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr staged a two-day strike to pressure Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to form a technocratic government. This strike continues the months of demonstrations by Sadr loyalists pressuring al-Abadi to unveil a new government “untainted by corruption or sectarian affiliations.” Currently, Iraq is listed 161st out of 168th on Transparency International’s “corruption percentages index.”
On September 4, the office of the Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri issued a list of candidates being considered for the vacant Defense Minister position. A Member of Parliament from the National Alliance bloc said that the three candidates are:
- Badr Mahmoud Hafl al-Jabouri: Member of the Jamahira political bloc from the Sala ad-Din Province.
- Kamil Karim Abbas Dulaimi: Former Member of the Sunni National Movement for Development and Reform bloc from the Anbar Province. Dulaimi was an open critic of U.S. operations in Iraq during the Iraq War.
- Ahmed Abdulla al-Jabouri: Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in 2014 through 2015 from the Sala ad-Din province and a member of the Shia National Alliance bloc. Jabouri has a minor criminal record going back to the 1980s which some have argued should make him ineligible to hold public office.
Speaker Salim al-Jabouri noted that while the candidates had been chosen by the Council of Ministers, the final decision will be made by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi after the Eid al-Adha holiday.
On September 5, the Legal Committee within Parliament recognized the amendments made to two paragraphs of the Amnesty Law. The Law states that people unfairly detained on sectarian grounds and convicted between 2003 and the date the law was approved are eligible to apply for amnesty, except those who were convicted of thirteen types of crime including: human trafficking, rape, money laundering, embezzlement, and theft of state funds. Sections of the law have come under question as it was not abundantly clear that charges of terrorism and kidnapping were excluded from the list of eligible crimes. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in the Council’s meeting on September 6 that the amendments were made to correct the “wrong message” the law conveyed regarding terrorism.
On September 6, the Council of Ministers approved the first amendments to the Amnesty Law made on September 2 and forwarded it to Parliament for a final vote. The Council also passed a resolution to compensate the families of the more than 300 victims of the July 3 bombing that took place in the Karradah neighborhood of Baghdad .
On September 6, Member of Parliament and Education Committee member, Mohammed al-Shammari called for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discontinue the implementation of sectarian quotas. Shammari requested that Abadi support his ideas of reform for the political blocs and reject the use of quotas when choosing university presidents. Al-shammari does not believe Iraq will be able to upgrade its global standing academically unless the practice is abolished.
On September 7, an anonymous source in Parliament confirmed that there will be a vote of no confidence for current Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari during a Parliament session on September 8. Back in August, Members of Parliament questioned Zebari over allegations of corruption and mismanagement where a majority voted not to accept his testimony.
On September 8, Parliament scheduled votes on seven laws, including the vote of no confidence of Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari. However, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri postponed the session until after the Eid al-Adha holiday due to a lack of quorum. Only 72 of the 328 representatives were present. An anonymous source within Parliament noted that al-Jabouri intends to release the names of Members of Parliament who did not attend the scheduled session. Parliament is scheduled to reconvene on September 20.
On September 8, Iraqi President Fuad Masum formally approved Parliament’s vote to withdraw confidence from ousted Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi in a presidential decree. Parliament voted to withdraw confidence from al-Obeidi on August 25 after finding him guilty of “corruption and mismanagement” during his interrogation.
On September 15, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) collected 115 signatures to re-vote on fellow Kurd, and current Finance Minister, Hoshyar Zebari’s August 25th testimony. In August, a majority of Members of Parliament voted not to accept Zebari’s answers to questions on corruption charges, which meant that Parliament could move forward with a vote of no confidence. The KDP claims the testimony vote was politically orchestrated by the Shia State of Law political bloc and that they were purposefully kept out of the chamber when the vote was held.
Production and Export of Kurdish Oil Resumes as IMF Deal Reached
On September 7, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) requested that Baghdad continue to suspend the export of oil from Kirkuk less than two weeks before it was to begin selling the oil through the KRG-owned pipelines to Turkey. The PUK cites lack of transparency and fairness in the sharing of oil revenue as the basis for its opposition to the deal. A letter sent from a PUK official to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed the PUK’s stance on the issue and noted that Kirkuk citizens did not receive any of the oil revenue, which negatively impacted the region. However, the PUK has been accused recently by the Kurdistan Regional Government of illegally selling 150,000 barrels of Kirkuk oil to Iran via trucks.
On September 9, Iraq’s Finance Minister, Hoshyar Zebari arrived in Oman, Jordan to finish the international consultation between the Iraqi government and representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF announced in August that it will loan Iraq an estimated US$ 5.34 billion over a three year period. The loan will go towards increasing non-oil revenue, improving public financial policy, and fighting corruption.
On September 10, the Minister of Finance Hoshyar Zebari announced the conclusion of talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Amman, Jordan to review the implementation of the US$ 5.34 billion loan to Iraq. Zebari confirmed the Iraqi government’s intention to continue discussions and consultations through regular, annual meetings with the IMF. The next meeting of the IMF is to take place in Washington D.C. this October.
On September 12, the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reached a tentative agreement over the export and sale of Kirkuk oil in northern Iraq via the KRG-owned pipeline system through Turkey. The tentative deal involves splitting proceeds from sales of the 150,000 barrels produced per day 50/50 between Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization and the KRG. Baghdad warned that they have not ruled out other export route’s of the oil, including trucking it from Kirkuk to Iran if necessary. The decision to resume exporting the Kurdish oil after five-months of disagreement came after the appointment of a new oil minister, Jabar Ali al-Luaibi, who used to head the largest Iraqi crude oil company South Oil, and a visit by KRG Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
On September 14, an anonymous source at the North Oil Company in Kirkuk disclosed that oil had stopped being pumped to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey because of a glitch in the pipeline. The source stressed that work had already begun to fix the issue and that oil should be flowing again within 48 hours. This new delay comes after the end of a tumultuous five-month break in oil production due to disagreements between the Iraqi and Kurdish governments over how to divide oil revenues.
On September 14, the leader of the Kurdistan Islamic Group and Member of Parliament Ali Baber, revealed that the group is considering leaving the Kurdistan Regional Government. Baber noted the group hopes this decision will pressure the government to implement reforms and improve the conditions for citizens in the region.
On September 14, the U.S. State Department announced the arrival of Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Iraq to discuss several “political, economic, humanitarian, and security issues” with Iraqi government officials including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Blinken will visit the Kurdistan region on September 15 to meet with President Massoud Barzani and to continue the discussion on dismantling the so-called Islamic State. Blinken confirmed that the U.S. will provide US$ 181 million for humanitarian support, which brings the total of U.S. government humanitarian assistance for conflicted-affected Iraqis to nearly US$ 1.1 billion since 2014.
Parliament’s Largest Political Bloc Elects New President as Reform Protests Continue
On September 2, 2016, civil rights activists criticized the absence of more frequent public demonstrations in the city of Kut, 180 kilometers south of Baghdad at the center of Wasit Province. The activists in Kut attributed the decline to a lack of mobilizing leadership and an overwhelming sense of despair in the province. Previously, large protests were held every Friday in the city to demand reform, improved social services, and an end to corruption.
On September 3, the head of the National Coalition and Member of Parliament Iyad Allawi emphasized the need for a “road map” for cities who have been cleared of ISIS militants and called for next year’s provincial elections to be postponed. Allawi stressed the need not only to clear these cities, but also the subsequent maintenance of political security in the cities with the help of international allies like the UN.
On September 5, Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki conceded the presidency of the National Alliance, the largest Iraqi political bloc, to fellow MP Ammar al-Hakim after two years of highly publicized political disputes. The Alliance said that with Hakim as President, it hopes to focus on the rules of procedures for political blocs and the nomination of political bloc’s representatives.
On September 6, Ammar al-Hakim, the newly elected president of the Iraqi National Alliance political bloc vowed to mobilize the public and political bodies of the Alliance in order to implement the Alliance’s goal of reunifying and reorganizing Iraq’s political organizations. Hakim acknowledges that while the Alliance’s goal is difficult, it is not impossible with the support of the Iraqi people.
On September 7, President of the Shia political bloc the National Reform Movement and Member of Parliament, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, congratulated Ammar al-Hakim on becoming the new president of the National Alliance. Jaafari commended the National Alliance on its work to ensure the equilibrium of political blocs in government decision making and considers it a positive step in the march for reform in Iraqi politics. In addition, Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Abadi congratulated Hakim on his ascension to President of the Alliance. Masum’s office released an official statement noting the importance of the role of the Alliance “in protecting the political life” and working together “to build a democratic Iraq.”
On September 8, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that he was ready to send additional troops to reinforce the security services in the Maysan Province, which has seen a significant uptick in protests and demonstrations since August 2015. Al-Abadi noted that there needed to be more coordination between the level of security in the provinces and the Iraqi government in general to combat destabilization in the region.
On September 8, Parliament Finance officials revealed that 2016 saw the highest number of deputies who did not disclose their financial records. A deputy from the Liberal bloc of Parliament commented that he hoped more Members of Parliament would release their records this month indicating that it is the “duty of everyone in a developed country.”
On September 9, Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and hundreds of followers of the Sadr movement started a three-day hunger strike in 15 mosques and churches throughout the Kirkuk Province to pressure the government to implement anti-corruption reforms the people have been demanding for months. One of the activists commented that the protest represents “the whole of Iraq” and not just one specific party.
On September 10, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) announced that it had formed a unified coalition with the Gorran’s Movement, an Iraqi/Kurdish political bloc, in Parliament. The PUK leader, Jalal Talabani stated that the coalition is working to claim the rights of Kurdish people in Baghdad and that other political blocs are welcome to join.
|09/14/16||Tarmiya, North of Baghdad||2||10|
|09/013/16||Baghdad Al Jadeeda, Eastern Baghdad||1||8|
|09/013/16||Dora, Southern Baghdad||2||6|
|09/13/16||Adhamiya, Northern Baghdad||1||7|
|09/13/16||Mahmudiya, South of Baghdad||2||8|
|09/12/16||Hosseinia, Northeast of Baghdad||1||7|
|09/12/16||Bakri, Western Baghdad||2||9|
|09/12/16||Hawija, Western Kirkuk||3||2|
|09/12/16||Hawija, Western Kirkuk||3||2|
|09/12/16||Hawija, Western Kirkuk||4||2|
|09/12/16||Nahrawan, Southeast of Baghdad||2||7|
|09/12/16||Mondain Southeast of Baghdad||1||4|
|09/11/16||Hawija, Southwest of Kirkuk||0||4|
|09/11/16||Abu Ghraid, West of Baghdad||1||4|
|09/11/16||Furat, Southwest Baghdad||1||8|
|09/11/16||Madain, South of Baghdad||2||5|
|09/11/16||Shaab, Northeastern Baghdad||2||4|
|09/10/16||Arab Ejbur, Southern Baghdad||4||0|
|09/10/16||Bayaa, Southwest Baghdad||1||5|
|09/10/16||Mashtal, Eastern Baghdad||1||0|
|09/10/16||Hawija, Southwest Kirkuk||3||0|
|09/10/16||Hosseinia, Northeast of Baghdad||2||7|
|09/10/16||Taji, Northern Baghdad||2||11|
|09/09/16||Peace hand, East of Baquba||0||0|
|09/09/16||Maqdadiya, Northeast of Baquba||0||0|
|09/09/16||Mullah Abdullah, Western Kirkuk||0||2|
|09/09/16||Between Daquq and Rashad, Southern Kirkuk||2||4|
|09/09/16||Abu Dshir, Southern Baghdad||2||7|
|09/09/16||Madain, Southern Baghdad||1||7|
|09/09/16||Al-Nakheel Mall, Eastern Baghdad||15||31|
|09/08/16||Furat, Southwest Baghdad||2||5|
|09/08/16||Bour Area, Northern Baghdad||1||8|
|09/08/16||Radwaniyah, Southwestern Baghdad||1||4|
|09/08/16||Taji, Northern Baghdad||2||3|
|09/08/16||al-Za’franiyah, Southeastern Baghdad||1||2|
|09/07/16||Mahmudiya, Southern Baghdad||2||6|
|09/07/16||Dora, Southern Baghdad||1||4|
|09/06/16||4000 Market Shaab District, Northeast Baghdad||2||7|
|09/06/16||Karrada, Abdul Majid, Central Baghdad||10||39|
|09/06/16||Azwai, North of Tikrit||4||8|
|09/05/16||Husseiniya, North Baghdad||2||5|
|09/05/16||Amil, Southwest Baghdad||1||7|
|09/05/16||Tarmiya, North Baghdad||1||4|
|09/05/16||Abu Dshir, South Baghdad||2||8|
|09/04/16||Hamamiyat, North Bagdad||2||8|
|09/04/16||Amiriyah, West Baghdad||1||0|
|09/04/16||Madain, South Baghdad||1||7|
|09/03/16||al-Duloiya, south Kirkuk||1||5|
|09/03/16||Ameria, West Baghdad||2||7|
|09/03/16||Gherai'at, North Baghdad||1||9|
|09/03/16||Shah Siwan, West of Tuz Khurmatu||7||6|
|09/03/16||Taji, North Baghdad||1||4|
|09/03/16||Abu Dshir, South Baghdad||2||7|
|09/03/16||Jisr Diyala, South Baghdad||1||6|
|09/03/16||Chahtan area, Southwest of Tuz Khurmatu||3||5|
|09/03/16||Chahtan area, Southwest of Tuz Khurmatu||3||4|
|09/02/16||al-Za’franiyah, Southeast Baghdad||2||8|
|09/02/16||Zerga, West of Tuz Khurmat||2||3|
|09/02/16||Hurriya, Northwest Baghdad||1||5|
|09/02/16||Ghazaliya, West Baghdad||1||5|
|09/02/16||Manali, East of Baquba||0||1|
|09/02/16||Yusufiyah, South Baghdad||3||10|
|09/02/16||Ur, Northeast Baghdad||1||7|
|09/15/16||Nasaf, West of Fallujah||1||0|
|09/15/16||Abu Dshir, South Baghdad||2||9|
|09/15/16||Ameria, West Baghdad||1||6|
|09/15/16||Arab Ejour, Southern Baghdad||2||5|
|09/15/16||4000 Market Shaab District, Northeast Baghdad||1||7|
|09/15/16||Madain, South Baghdad||0||8|
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. ISHM’s research methodology was developed by EPIC’s Senior Visiting Fellow Ahmed Ali.