Thu. Nov 26th, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • KRG Condemns Borrowing Bill Vote; PM Affirms Commitment To Early Elections; Sinjar Locals Seek Changes To Normalization Agreement; U.S. To Pull 500 Personnel By January – On November 13, KRG PM Masrour Barzani condemned the Iraqi Parliament’s vote on a borrowing bill despite Kurdish objections and warned that “the dangerous precedent” the vote established “must be quickly reconsidered,” but PUK co-president Lahur Talabani blamed the KRG negotiators for failing to protect the region’s rights. On November 14, PM Kadhimi reaffirmed the government’s commitment to holding elections next June and later directed the Ministry of Finance to allocate resources to the election commission to fund necessary technical preparations. On November 15, PM Kadhimi reportedly promised a delegation of Sinjar residents to revise two key elements of an agreement made last month regarding the normalization of conditions in the contested district. On November 16, the White House instructed the Pentagon to prepare to withdraw 500 of the 3,000 remaining U.S. troops in Iraq by January 15. On November 18, Iraq’s Foreign Minister condemned the November 17 rocket attack on the Green Zone as “a blatant attack on the government and the people,” while the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad called on Iraq “to arrest and hold accountable those who continue to perpetrate acts of violence against the Iraqi state.” more…

  • Iraq Sends Reinforcements To Diyala Amid Rise In Violence; Militia Claims Rocket Barrage Targeting The Green Zone That Killed And Wounded Eight Iraqis – Between November 13 – 19, nine explosions in Diyala, Ninewa, Baghdad, Salah ad-Din and Babylon killed three Iraqis and injured at least seven more. On November 13, the Iraqi military said it killed the ISIS militants behind a deadly attack last week that left 11 dead near Baghdad. Between November 13 – 14, four ISIS attacks with small arms fire and mortars in Kirkuk, Diyala, and Ninewa killed three Iraqis and wounded at least 11 others. On November 14, PM Kadhimi ordered reinforcements to Diyala and dispatched his Interior Minister and National Security Advisor to address security conditions in the volatile province. On November 15, a government spokesman said investigators identified two people involved in the killing of journalist and researcher Husham al-Hashimi in July but stated that “unknown parties” had smuggled the two out of Iraq to an unknown country. On November 17, seven 122mm Grad rockets targeted the Green Zone in Baghdad, killing a civilian and injuring seven people, including five civilians. A Shia extremist telegram channel announced that “Islamic resistance” faction Ashab al-Kahf claimed responsibility for the attack. more…

  • U.S.-Affiliated Iraqis Face Growing Threats; UNHCR Seeks More Aid To IDPs To Mitigate Camp Closures; WFP Data Says 1.77 Million Are In “Acute Need”; Increase In COVID-19 Cases Plateaus – On November 12, The Washington Post reported that Iraqi translators are increasingly concerned that Iranian-backed militias have acquired their personal information from compromised individuals in the Iraqi Security Forces. On November 13, UNHCR said it will accelerate its support to Iraqi IDPs to mitigate the effects of recent large scale camp closures across the country. On November 13, the WFP released a new humanitarian dashboard update for Iraq, which pointed out that 1.3 million people remain internally displaced across the country and that 1.77 million people are in a state of acute need of assistance. On November 13, Dutch humanitarian organization PAX for Peace said that between May and September 2020, fires caused by military action burned 300,000 acres across Iraqi Kurdistan. On November 19, Iraq’s Ministry of Health reported that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 529,226. Deaths from confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 11,834 while the number of patients currently in hospitals decreased to 59,902. To date, 457,490 patients have recovered from the virus and Iraq has tested 3,076,646 samples for COVID-19. The daily average for new cases decreased from 3,176 new cases/day last week to 2,488/day this week. more…

  • Baghdad Says Deal With Egypt Won’t Replace Agreements With China; Flights To Europe To Resume In December; Iraq Reopens Border Crossing With Saudi Arabia – On November 15, Iraqi officials urged Siemens to complete its work on a 1,300 megawatt gas-fired power plant in Wasit “before next summer” and invited Siemens to study of technical problems affecting Iraq’s transmission and distribution infrastructure. On November 15, PM Kadhimi’s spokesman stressed the fifteen MoUs Iraq recently signed with Egypt earlier this month won’t be a substitute for MoUs signed by the previous government with China, adding that Iraq had begun to select projects to present to Chinese companies, including one to construct 1,000 schools. On November 17, the general manager of Iraqi Airways said the company will resume direct flights to several European airports beginning December 15. On November 18, the Iraqi Border Ports Authority announced the reopening of the Arar border crossing to commercial traffic from Saudi Arabia, ending nearly 30 years of closure. 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.

By Editor

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