ISHM: August 8 – August 15, 2019

Key Takeaways:

Abdul-Mahdi Defends Pace Of PMF Reforms; Unidentified Bodies Spark Sectarian Recriminations; Election Law May Harm IDPs � On August 10, PM Abdul-Mahdi defended his stumbling measures to replace the PMF brigade 30 with regular troops in Ninewa. He affirmed that there was no confusion from our end about regulating the PMF and that implementing his fixed, clear policy must be gradual. On August 12, Sunni political groups called on the PM to open an investigation into the discovery of 31 unidentified bodies in Babyoln, arguing that that the bodies belonged to Sunni victims of sectarian violence. On August 13, IHEC’s deputy director warned that the new election law might prevent many IDPs from voting in the next provincial councils because it requires voters to go to the ballots in their original city of residence using biometrically updated voter cards. On August 14, the PMF distanced itself from derogatory remarks against the Iraqi army made by a senior leader of PMF faction Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, who said the PMF should replace the mercenary Iraqi Army. On August 12, KDP leader Masoud Barzani said that the KRG was working to stop Turkish and Iranian shelling and airstrikes in the KRI in a manner that avoids Kurdish infighting.

PMF Weapons Depot Explodes In Baghdad; Iraq Reopens BIAB Road To Civilian Traffic; Militant Attacks Focus on Kirkuk And Diyala � On August 12, a munitions depot used by the PMF and Interior Ministry exploded in southern Baghdad, killing one person and injuring 29 others. On August 15, PM Abdul-Mahdi ordered a full investigation and issued instructions to prepare plans to transfer all camps and weapons depots to areas outside cities. On August 11, the Iraqi government decided to reopen the road to Baghdad’s Airport to civilian traffic for the first time since 2003. On August 11 and 14, 3 IEDs exploded in Kirkuk and Diyala. On August 12, Iraq’s CTS killed ten ISIS militants in Anbar. On August 8, unknown militants attacked two villages in Diyala with mortars, killing two civilians and wounding two more. On August 10, the Pentagon said that a U.S. Marine died in Ninewa.

31 Yezidis Arrive In France; Three Yezidi Survivors Found; Sinjar Mayor Says Syria Safe Zone Proposal Endangers Yezidis � On August 8, 31 Yazidi women and their children arrived in France as part of a program to resettle 100 Yazidi families. On August 13, the head of the Yazidi Rescue Office announced the rescue of three Yazidi survivors. On August 13, the Mayor of Sinjar said that proposals to establish a safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border would push ISIS sleeper cells into Ninewa and endanger Yazidis living in northwest Iraq.

Iraq Considers Solar Panel Production Venture; BP/ENI To Build New Subsea Oil Pipelines; New Steel Plant Planned In Najaf � On August 8, the Ministry of Industry and Minerals said it discussed with Hyundai the development of solar power technology in Iraq. On August 8, the Iraqi Government signaled that it was close to finalizing a $400 million oil infrastructure deal with BP and Italy’s ENI that involves constructing two seabed oil pipelines to carry Iraqi oil to export platforms on the Gulf. On August 15, the authorities in charge of the Najaf shrines signed a deal with a local company to establish a new steel plant in the city with an annual capacity of 300,000 tons.

Source: Education for Peace in Iraq Center