May 17, 2019

Weekly Iraqi Security and Humanitarian Report for the Week Ending May 16, 2019

Key Takeaways:

  • Escalating Tensions Between the U.S. and Iran Affect Presence of Foreigners in Iraq – On May 12, the United States Embassy in Baghdad released a statement advising “all U.S. citizens of the heightened tensions in Iraq” and telling them to “remain vigilant.” On May 14, during a briefing to the press, U.K. Major General Chris Ghika, the Deputy Commander of the anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve stated that “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” thus contradicting claims made by U.S. government officials. On May 16, in a move contradicting the earlier briefing, the U.K. raised the threat level for U.K. forces and diplomats stationed in Iraq, stemming from “increased likelihood of Iran or its proxies taking action against British, US or other allied interests in the region in a way that can be plausibly denied so as to avoid triggering an all-out war.” On May 15, the United States Embassy in Baghdad “ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.” On May 15, Major General Tahseen al-Khafaji, the Media Director of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense denied earlier reports that Germany, the Netherlands and the United States are suspending their military training of Iraqi and Kurdish forces due to threats from Iran. On May 15, oil prices jumped by $2 per barrel after unconfirmed reports that the American oil company, ExxonMobil is pulling its employees from Basra, southern Iraq. more…
  • Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts; New Governor Elected in Ninewa – On May 11, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim arrived in Kuwait for the seventh meeting of the Kuwait-Iraq Joint Committee. Five agreements were reached between the two nations concerning bolstering their relations in various spheres. On May 13, Mansour al-Mareed was elected as the new governor of Ninewa province. On May 14, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi reported that he made three phone calls to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while Pompeo was in Iraq last week that were not previously publicized. On May 15, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim spoke with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed to discuss how to foster the relationship between the two nations. On May 15, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Ankara and met with Turkish President Tayyip Erodğan. On May 16, Iraqi Airways announced they will resume flight to Damascus, Syria, after halting such flights to the war-torn neighbor eight years ago. more…
  • Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq; Iraq Asks for Millions to Construct New Prison for ISIS Detainees – On May 11, a roadside IED exploded in the neighborhood of Jisr Diyala in southeast Baghdad. Killing a child and injuring two others. This is one of the first bombings in Baghdad in recent months. On May 12, a mortar exploded near Halabja, northeastern Iraq, killing one Peshmerga fighter and injuring others. OOn May 13, an IED exploded in the village of Umm al-Masayed in western Ninewa province, near Telafar, killing one Iraqi soldier and injuring three of them. On May 14, Iraqi security forces opened fire on protesters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, killing two and injuring 12 others. On May 15, Rudaw reported that ISIS cells operating in the Qarachogh Mountains of Makhmour, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, torched several fields at the base of the mountains after locals refused to pay extortion money to the militants. On May 15, NRT TV reported that Iraq is asking the U.S. government for $100 million to construct a new prison to hold ISIS fighters ahead of the expected handover of about 1,000 ISIS prisoners currently held by the Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria for trials in Iraq. On May 15 and May 16, in two separate incidents, seven members of the Iraqi security forces were killed in hit-and-run attacks in Kirkuk, northeastern Iraq. The attacks were apparently carried out by ISIS; among those killed were four federal police officers. more…
  • New Statistics on Yazidis Kidnapped by ISIS; WHO Opens New Facility in Ninewa; Water Continues to be Wasted in KRI – On May 12, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Coordinator for International Advocacy Dindar Zebari announced that 2,913 of the 6,284 Yazidis kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in 2014 are still missing. On May 12, eight mass graves of Yazidis were exhumed in the village of Kocho in Sinjar province. The remains of 137 individuals were found within the grave. On May 12, the Danish Refugee Council and the International Organization for Migration published the Returns Working Group (RWG) Annual Progress Report for 2018. On May 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported opening a health care facility in Ninewa province, to provide care for up to 150,000 people. On May 16, Director for Dams and Water Resources at the KRG, Akram Mohammed, stated that 30 billion cubic meters of freshwater was wasted this year due to the lack of dams throughout the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). 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.
Escalating Tensions Between the U.S. and Iran Affect Presence of Foreigners in Iraq
On May 12, the United States Embassy in Baghdad released a statement advising “all U.S. citizens of the heightened tensions in Iraq” and telling them to “remain vigilant.” The security alert advised American citizens not to travel to Iraq, to avoid places known as gathering points for Americans, and to keep a low profile while being aware of your surroundings.
On May 14, during a briefing to the press, U.K. Major General Chris Ghika, the Deputy Commander of the anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) stated that “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” thus contradicting claims made by U.S. government officials. In response, the U.S. Central Command, in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East, issued a statement doubling-down on the allegations of increased threat from Iran: “recent comments from OIR’s deputy commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region,” the statement read. On May 16, in a move contradicting the earlier briefing, the U.K. raised the threat level for U.K. forces and diplomats stationed in Iraq, stemming from “increased likelihood of Iran or its proxies taking action against British, US or other allied interests in the region in a way that can be plausibly denied so as to avoid triggering an all-out war,” according to a U.K. government source speaking to Sky News.
On May 15, the United States Embassy in Baghdad “ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.” The security alert instructed American citizens to take commercial transportation quickly out of Iraq and to avoid American facilities in Iraq while doing so. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry responded by stating that Iraq is secure and stable. According to three U.S. officials who spoke to the New York Times, the intelligence that prompted the heightened alert were “photographs of missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf that were put on board by Iranian paramilitary forces.” In addition, intelligence agencies identified signs of potential attacks by Arab Iranian-backed militias against American forces in Iraq. According to officials who spoke to the Washington Post, the alarm was also raised by “information suggesting an Iranian threat against U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Irbil” as well as a directive from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, to Iran’s armed forces “that some U.S. officials have interpreted as a potential threat to U.S. military and diplomatic personnel.” Intelligence sources speaking to The Guardian said that several weeks ago, the Commander of the Qods Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qasem Soleimani, summoned Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and told them to “prepare for proxy war.”
On May 15, Major General Tahseen al-Khafaji, the Media Director of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense denied earlier reports that Germany, the Netherlands and the United States are suspending their military training of Iraqi and Kurdish forces due to threats from Iran. According to al-Khafaji, “only employees or individuals whose presence was not required were pulled out.” The Dutch embassy in Baghdad also denied reports that it is closing its mission in Iraq.
On May 15, oil prices jumped by $2 per barrel after unconfirmed reports that the American oil company, ExxonMobil is pulling its employees from Basra, southern Iraq. In a prepared statement to S&P Global issued that day, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil made no mention of such an evacuation, writing “we are closely monitoring the situation…ExxonMobil has programs and measures in place to provide security to protect its people, operations and facilities.”
Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts; New Governor Elected in Ninewa
On May 11, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim arrived in Kuwait for the seventh meeting of the Kuwait-Iraq Joint Committee. Five agreements were reached between the two nations concerning bolstering their relations in various spheres. On May 12, leader of the National Wisdom Movement Ammar al-Hakim arrived in Kuwait to meet with Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah to discuss the same topic as well as recent developments in the region.
On May 13, Mansour al-Mareed was elected as the new governor of Ninewa province. Mareed is from southern Ninewa province and has a background in engineering and was a member of the Iraqi Parliament. He is affiliated with the Ataa Movement, a group with ties to the Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi National Security Advisor Falah al-Fayyadh. Due to this relationship, residents of Mosul protested the vote claiming that Mareed had bought his election. He beat Iraqi Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi in this race, splitting the Sunni voting bloc. Mareed replaced Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan who was fired after more than 100 people died in the ferry boat sinking in Mosul on March 21. Sirwan Rozhbayani was elected to the position of first deputy governor as well.
On May 14, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi reported that he made three phone calls to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while Pompeo was in Iraq last week that were not previously publicized. During the phone calls, the two leaders discussed how Iraq could aid the security of the region as a whole.
On May 15, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim spoke with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed to discuss how to foster the relationship between the two nations. The two leaders also discussed the recent happenings in the region and globally.
On May 15, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Ankara and met with Turkish President Tayyip Erodğan. Abdul-Mahdi stressed that “the strength, well-being and progress” of both nations are interconnected. He also highlighted his hope to begin joint investment projects to aid their agricultural and industrial sectors as well as the construction of a railway from Basra province to Turkey. Abdul-Mahdi also commented on the need to reach an agreement concerning sharing water resources that would benefit both Iraq and Turkey as well as the region as a whole. Erodğan pointed outthe need to restore the Iraq-Turkey Crude Oil Pipeline, which stretches from Kirkuk province to Ceyhan. The two leaders agreed to revive a 2008 agreement concerning security cooperation between the two nations. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated Iraq’s rejection of using its territory to target Turkey in any way in a reference to PKK presence in northern Iraq.
On May 16, Iraqi Airways announced they will resume flight to Damascus, Syria, after halting such flights to the war-torn neighbor eight years ago. This marks another step of normalization of the Syrian regime in the Arab world.
Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq; Iraq Asks for Millions to Construct New Prison for ISIS Detainees; Protesters Killed in Baghdad and Najaf
On May 9, conflicting reports emerged regarding an explosion in Sadr City, Baghdad. ISIS claimed that a suicide bomber detonated himself, killing eight people and wounding ten, and initial statements by Iraqi security forces confirmed the account. Later, Police Colonel Jamal Hameed refuted the original reporting, telling Reuters that a parcel had been found in Sader City and detonated in a controlled explosion, causing no damage.
On May 11, a roadside IED exploded in the neighborhood of Jisr Diyala in southeast Baghdad. Killing a child and injuring two others. This is one of the first bombings in Baghdad in recent months.
On May 12, a mortar exploded near Halabja, northeastern Iraq, killing one Peshmerga fighter and injuring others. The injured were taken to the Suleimania hospital and authorities launched an investigation into the attack.
On May 13, an IED exploded in the village of Umm al-Masayed in western Ninewa province, near Telafar, killing one Iraqi soldier and injuring three of them.
On May 14, Iraqi security forces opened fire on protesters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, killing two and injuring 12 others. On May 15, guards at a mall in Najaf opened fire against protesters affiliated with the Sadrist movement, killing four of them and injuring 17. The protest was held in front of a mall owned by Jawad al-Garawi who was recently expelled from the Sadrist movement based on allegations of corruption.
On May 15, Rudaw reported that ISIS cells operating in the Qarachogh Mountains of Makhmour, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, torched several fields at the base of the mountains after locals refused to pay extortion money to the militants. According to a local Peshmerga commander, ISIS “asked for 15 percent from the people. They have asked for $4,000 for each combine harvester working in the fields.”
On May 15, Turkish jets carried out airstrikes in the Dohuk district of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a few hours after a Turkish surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle crashed in the area. Turkey has been conducting strikes in the region for years against hideouts of the Kurdish guerilla group operating in Turkey, the PKK.
On May 15, NRT TV reported that Iraq is asking the U.S. government for $100 million to construct a new prison to hold ISIS fighters ahead of the expected handover of about 1,000 ISIS prisoners currently held by the Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria for trials in Iraq. The security source speaking to NRT did not disclose whether the U.S. government agreed to the request.
On May 15 and May 16, in two separate incidents, seven members of the Iraqi security forces were killed in hit-and-run attacks in Kirkuk, northeastern Iraq. The attacks were apparently carried out by ISIS; among those killed were four federal police officers.
New Statistics on Yazidis Kidnapped by ISIS; WHO Opens New Facility in Ninewa; Water Continues to be Wasted in KRI
On May 12, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Coordinator for International Advocacy Dindar Zebari announced that 2,913 of the 6,284 Yazidis kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in 2014 are still missing. The KRG has offered monetary rewards for information and help given to Yazidi women and developed psychological rehabilitation programs for them as well.
On May 12, eight mass graves of Yazidis were exhumed in the village of Kocho in Sinjar province. The remains of 137 individuals were found within the grave. It is estimated that  over 100 mass graves exist within Sinjar, 73 of which have already been found.
On May 12, the Danish Refugee Council and the International Organization for Migration published the Returns Working Group (RWG) Annual Progress Report for 2018. The report contains research concerning areas of return in Ninewa, Anbar, Diyala, and Salah ad-Din and how Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) decide to return to their place of origin as well as why people are choosing not to return to certain areas.
On May 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported opening a health care facility in Ninewa province, to provide care for up to 150,000 people. The center offers emergency and maternity services, medicines as well as health monitoring.
On May 16, Director for Dams and Water Resources at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Akram Mohammed, stated that 30 billion cubic meters of freshwater was wasted this year due to the lack of dams throughout the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The amount of water stored this year increased by 30 percent, however the KRI could have saved much more due to the intense rainfall. Currently, 18 dams projects are underway with four being built in the KRI, but construction has been stalled due to limited funding.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs May 10 - May 16, 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
05/11/19Jisr Diyala, Baghdad City12
05/13/19Umm al-Masayed, Ninewa Province13
05/14/19Karrada, Baghdad City00
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.

May 10, 2019

Weekly Iraqi Security and Humanitarian Report for the Week Ending May 09, 2019

Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Leaders Meet Foreign Counterparts; Further Progress on KRG Formation – On May 3, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with French President Emmanuel Macron. On May 4, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi spoke on the phone with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss strengthening relations between Iraq and the United States. On May 5, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) agreed on a deal over the division of ministerial positions of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). On May 7, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Qubad Talabani met with a delegation of the International Assistance Department in the French Ministry of Finance in Erbil. On May 7, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit. Pompeo briefed reporters on the talks, saying that he informed Iraqi officials about “the increased threat stream that we had seen [from Iran] and give them a little bit more background on that so they could ensure that they were doing all they could to provide protection” for U.S. forces stationed in Iraq. On April 10, Sumaria News reported, based on senior Iraqi sources, that Secretary Pompeo warned his Iraqi interlocutors about Iranian plans to strike military bases in which American forces are stationed, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and an American oil company operating in southern Iraq. On May 8, in another step facilitating the formation of a new government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) parliament re-established the position of president in the KRG. On May 8, member of the Political Bureau and official of the Public Relations Office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Saadi Ahmed Pira met with a delegation from the United States Embassy in Baghdad and the United States Consulate in Erbil. more…
  • IED, Shooting Attacks and Assassinations Continue Across Iraq; U.S. Warns Iraq Against Transferring U.S. Arms to PMU – On May 4, two IEDs exploded, one after the other, in the village of Mukhaysa, in northern Diyala Province, killing one young man and injuring three people. On May 6, the pan-Arab daily al-Araby al-Jadeed reported, based on anonymous Iraqi officials that American officials are demanding that Iraq ensure that all weapons provided by the U.S. to Iraqi will remain solely in the hands of Iraqi Security Forces and do no reach certain militias operating under the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) that are linked to Iran. On May 7, militants launched an attack on a federal police checkpoint known as Altun Kupri along the Erbil-Kirkuk road near Kalwor village, killing three. On May 7, armed men opened fire on a residential building in the town of Mazarie in Salah al-Deen Province, killing three civilians and injuring four. On May 6 and 7, Turkish jets struck targets linked to the Kurdish guerilla group, the PKK, in Kurazhar mountain, in the Amdei District of Dohuk Province, northwestern Iraqi Kurdistan. On May 8, Sumaria News reported that 810 foreign fighters belonging to ISIS have gone through interrogations and judicial proceedings in Iraq since the start of 2018. On May 8, a statement issued on behalf of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) announced that sweeps in recent months resulted in the closure of over 320 “fake PMU” offices across Iraq. On May 9, the Security Media Cell announced that “terrorists” attacked the home of the mukhtar (elder leader) of the village of al-Lazaka in the Hamam al-Alil area of Ninewa Province, resulting in the death of the mukhtar and four of his relatives. more…
  • Several Regions Affected by Flooding; More Abducted Yazidis Return from Syria; HRW Warns about Proposal for Mass Internment of Families Perceived to be Linked to ISIS – On May 4, a parliamentary member from Basra Faleh al-Khazali stated that 40,000 acres of land has been destroyed by the heavy rainfall and flooding occurring in the region. On May 5, the United Nations office in Iraq reported that over 100,000 children and their families in Maysan province do not have clean water or sanitation due to the recent flooding. Additionally, 20,000 people have been displaced on account of the flooding. On May 6, 27 more Yazidi women and children abducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in 2014 returned to their town of Khanasor in Sinjar, after being rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces. On May 7, Human Rights Watch (HRW) disclosed that Iraqi government received a proposal for a plan to create multiple closed towns, in essence internment camps, for families with perceived affiliations with ISIS.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.
Iraqi Leaders Meet Foreign Counterparts; Further Progress on KRG Formation
On May 3, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with French President Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders discussed the involvement of French companies in Iraq to reconstruct areas affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in sectors such as transport, energy, agriculture, water, and urban management. Overall, Macron stated that €1 billion will be invested into Iraq through these projects. Security was another topic of discussion as Abdul-Mahdi acknowledged the existence of sleeper cells of ISIS. The two leaders discussed the possibility of dispatching French military trainers to Iraq.
On May 4, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi spoke on the phone with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss strengthening relations between Iraq and the United States. Economic ties were discussed as well as an agreement with United States-based company ExxonMobil to work within Iraq. Pompeo stated that the United States supports Iraq’s goal of becoming a leader of the region.
On May 5, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) agreed on a deal over the division of ministerial positions of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The completion of the cabinet is an important step towards the formation of the KRG, since disagreements on this matter have hindered the government formation for over 200 days.
On May 6, Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced that Iraq is expected to sign a $53 billion energy contract with ExxonMobil and PetroChina. Abdul-Mahdi stated that Iraq could make up to $400 billion from the agreement in the next 30 years. The main focus will be on increasing oil and natural gas production of the Nahr Umr and Artawi oilfields.
On May 7, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Qubad Talabani met with a delegation of the International Assistance Department in the French Ministry of Finance in Erbil. The French delegation will help to draft a budget for the KRG as well as monitor is expenditures. French specialists will arrive in the KRI in two months to help the KRG train government employees and develop its agricultural and tourism sectors.
On May 7, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit. Pompeo met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraqi President Barham Salih, and other top officials to discuss United States sanctions and tensions with Iran and the security of Americans in Iraq. Abdul-Mahdi stressed that he will be putting Iraq’s interests first and that Iraq is attempting to build positive relationships with many nations, including Iran. Pompeo briefed reporters on the talks, saying that he informed Iraqi officials  about “the increased threat stream that we had seen [from Iran] and give them a little bit more background on that so they could ensure that they were doing all they could to provide protection” for U.S. forces stationed in Iraq. On April 10, Sumaria Newsreported, based on senior Iraqi sources, that Secretary Pompeo warned his Iraqi interlocutors about Iranian plans to strike military bases in which American forces are stationed, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and an American oil company operating in southern Iraq.
On May 8, in another step facilitating the formation of a new government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) parliament re-established the position of president in the KRG. The last president the KRG had as Masoud Barzani in November of 2017. Since, the responsibilities of the president have been divided between the prime minister, speaker of the parliament, and the regional judiciary. With this new bill, the president will be able to decide what roles his deputies will take in the new government. The bill also stipulated that the president will be elected by the parliament, will have two deputies instead of one, and will be able to continue to do work for their political party. One of the future president’s deputies will be from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the other from Gorran, as per the agreements reached between the three parties that facilitated the formation of the government.
On May 8, member of the Political Bureau and official of the Public Relations Office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Saadi Ahmed Pira met with a delegation from the United States Embassy in Baghdad and the United States Consulate in Erbil. The leaders discussed the relationship between Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) as well as how to facilitate the formation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
IED, Shooting Attacks and Assassinations Continue Across Iraq; U.S. Warns Iraq Against Transferring U.S. Arms to PMU
On May 4, a motorcycle-borne IED exploded in near a popular fast-food restaurant in northern Mosul city, injuring three civilians. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and Iraqi social media users alleged that the person who left behind the IED is a member of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia, but a local commander with the force disputed the allegation. Following the explosion, authorities throughout the province announced a ban on movement of motorcycles, and those violating are to be detained and fined.
On May 4, two IEDs exploded, one after the other, in the village of Mukhaysa, in northern Diyala Province, killing one young man and injuring three people, including the young man’s father. The frequent attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the town and clashes with pro-government militias have displaced many of the village’s residents in recent years.
On May 5, an IED exploded in Miqdadiya, a city 80 kilometers northeast of Baghdad in Diyala Province, in front of the home of an official in the education directorate of Diyala Province. The explosion caused only material damage.
On May 6, the pan-Arab daily al-Araby al-Jadeed reported, based on anonymous Iraqi officials that American officials are demanding that Iraq ensure that all weapons provided by the U.S. to Iraqi will remain solely in the hands of Iraqi Security Forces and do no reach certain militias operating under the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) that are linked to Iran. According to Iraqi officials, the U.S. is upset that Iranian-linked units are using light weapons, such as M-16 and M-4 rifles, originally provided by the U.S. to the Iraqi Army. American officials stated that the leakage of such weapons to the PMUs will endanger the its armament program of elite units such as the Counter-Terrorism Forces.
On May 6, the Defense Post reported that Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) alongside pro-regime militias operating in Syria, were sweeping the Iraq-Syria border in search for ISIS cells. ِPro-Iranian Iraqi militias, such as Kataeb Imam Ali, are participating in the sweeps on the Syrian side of the border, where they operate alongside Syrian regime forces.
On May 6, an IED exploded against a car with Iraqi policemen, injuring one of them, when they were driving between Baquba and Kan’aan in Diyala Province. The officer was taken to a hospital. Authorities suspect ISIS was responsible for the attack.
On May 7, militants fired on a federal police checkpoint known as Altun Kupri along the Erbil-Kirkuk road near Kalwor village. Three federal policemen were killed in the attack and a fourth member of the force was injured. Following the attack, the Iraqi Army and federal police launched raids in the area and arrested two suspected ISIS militants. Residents of Kalwor were ordered  by Iraqi security forces to remain indoors following the attack.
On May 7, the Iraqi Army announced that it will receive four new South Korean KAI T-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainers and light combat aircrafts by the end of May. This is the third batch of aircraft supplied by South Korea under the deal, totalling in 24 KAI T-50 trainer jets inked in 2013.
On May 7, armed men opened fire on a residential building in the town of Mazarie in Salah al-Deen Province, killing three civilians and injuring four. According to the Security Media Cell, an official governmental body, the shooting was a terrorist attack.
On May 6 and 7, Turkish jets struck targets linked to the Kurdish guerilla group, the PKK, in Kurazhar mountain, in the Amdei District of Dohuk Province, northwestern Iraqi Kurdistan. According to NRT, a Kurdish news outlet “Turkey has recently increased the frequency of it strikes on targets in the Kurdistan Region with at least seven strikes in a little more than a week.”
On May 8, Sumaria News reported that 810 foreign fighters belonging to ISIS have gone through interrogations and judicial proceedings in Iraq since the start of 2018. According to statistics of the Iraqi Supreme Court, 514 of the detainees have already been sentenced, 202 are still being interrogated, 44 are still undergoing trial and 11 were released after being found not guilty.
On May 8, an roadside IED exploded against a patrol of the Popular Mobilization Units militia, Liwaa’ I’maa’ al-Baqi’, injuring two of the fighters, as they were traveling east of Miqdadiya in Diyala Province. Following the attack, Iraqi security forces began searching for ISIS cells in the area.
On May 8, a statement issued on behalf of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) announced that sweeps in recent months resulted in the closure of over 320 “fake PMU” offices across Iraq. The closure of offices comes as part of an effort to consolidate and centralize control of the PMUs and appear to address with some of the corruption and abuses perpetrated by the PMU.
On May 9, the Security Media Cell announced that “terrorists” attacked the home of the mukhtar (elder leader) of the village of al-Lazaka in the Hamam al-Alil area of Ninewa Province, resulting in the death of the Mukhtar, Mjabil Mankhi, and four of his relatives. In recent years, ISIS has assassinated multiple mukhtars across Iraq.
Several Regions Affected by Flooding; More Abducted Yazidis Return from Syria; HRW Warns about Proposal for Mass Internment of Families Perceived to be Linked to ISIS
On May 4, a parliamentary member from Basra Faleh al-Khazali statedthat 40,000 acres of land has been destroyed by the heavy rainfall and flooding occurring in the region. Khazali has collected 50 signatures of members of the Basra Council of Ministers to call on the federal government to compensate farmers that have been affected by this extreme weather.
On May 5, the United Nations office in Iraq reported that over 100,000 children and their families in Maysan province do not have clean water or sanitation due to the recent flooding. Additionally, 20,000 people have been displaced on account of the flooding. Many of those affected have begun to use the flood water for their basic needs, causing serious health risks. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Iraq Hamida Lasseko stated that they are working to provide buckets, hygiene kits, and prefabricated toilets to those in need.
On May 6, 27 more Yazidi women and children abducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in 2014 returned to their town of Khanasor in Sinjar, after being rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces. These Yazidis had been living in refugee camps in northeastern Syria prior to their return.
On May 7, Human Rights Watch (HRW) disclosed that Iraqi government received a proposal for a  plan to create multiple closed towns, in essence internment camps, for families with perceived affiliations with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Those placed in the camps will not undergo a trial and are not officially charged with any crime. The plan would place all spouses, children, siblings, and parents of alleged ISIS members into this camp, as well as second-degree relatives of ISIS members, totalling in up to 280,000 people. Human Rights Watch also asserted that the detention camp would also violate the Iraqi Constitution, which guarantees Iraqis freedom of movement, travel, and residence.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs May 3 - May 9, 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
05/04/19Mosul City, Ninewa Province03
05/04/19Mukhaysa, Diyala Province13
05/05/19Miqdadiya, Diyala Province00
05/06/19Near Baaquba, Diyala Province01
05/08/19Miqdadiya, Diyala Province02
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.

May 5, 2019

Weekly Iraqi Security and Humanitarian Report for week ending May 2, 2019

Key Takeaways:
  • Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts as Saudi Arabia and Iran Compete for Influence – On April 6, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Tehran. He met with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who told Mahdi to “work to get American troops out of Iraq quickly.” On April 7, Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban met with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh. The two leaders reached an agreement pertaining to the development of two oil fields shared by both nations. On April 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit and met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh. On April 20, a “Stability and Development” conference led by Iraqi Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbusi was held in Baghdad hosting top parliamentary officials from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Syria, and Jordan. On April 25, the Iraqi-Russian Joint Committee signed a number of agreements to increase business relations and investments between the two nations during the Chamber’s eighth meeting. On April 26, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani spoke on the phone with United States Vice President Mike Pence. On April 28, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu arrived in Baghdad for a visit and travelled to Basra. On April 30, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The delegation that arrived with Abdul-Mahdi included several Iraqi ministers. On May 2, Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Paris. He will meet with several French leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss increasing the investment of French companies in Iraq and reconstruction.
    more…
  • Militants Attacks Persist Throughout Iraq Despite Security Operations; Iraq Offers to Try and Jail Foreign ISIS Fighters; ISIS Releases New Video Featuring al-Baghdadi – On April 6, the Iraqi military received six additional US-made F-16 fighter jets. On April 10, a roadside bomb exploded in the al-Shoura district south of Mosul. The blast killed Sheikh Hassan al-Hadidi, a tribal leader, and injured his son and nephew. On April 10, France24 reported that three Iraqi government officials acknowledged that Iraq has offered to try accused foreign fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Baghdad in exchange for compensation from European countries and the United States. On April 11, Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced that the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces (ICTS), supported by the international coalition and the Iraqi Army, began large-scale operations in the Hamrin Mountains in northern Iraq to drive out ISIS cells in the area. On April 14, the Iraqi government began setting trial dates for nearly 900 suspected members of ISIS captured as they emerged from ISIS territory in Syria. On April 17, gunmen affiliated with ISIS attacked a federal police vehicle in Kirkuk Province and killed a senior security official. On April 19, Iraqi security forces conducted an operations in Hawija in Kirkuk province that allegedly resulted in the deaths of 12 ISIS members. On April 22, al-Mada reported that the U.S. military established its first helipad in western Anbar province. On April 29, ISIS released an 18-minute video featuring the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. more…
  • Foreign Donors Pledge Additional Support for Iraq; Torture Persists in Mosul Prison; Iraq Seeks to Detain More Families with Perceived Links to ISIS; Yezidi Community Refuses to Welcome Children Born of Rape – On April 6, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) announced that more than 270 families in the Salah ad-Din province have been displaced due to the flooding in Iraq. On April 10, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that the Government of Japan contributed $9.2 million to allow the organization to transition from humanitarian to more development-related assistance in Iraq. On April 16, the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox announced that the United Kingdom will increase trade support by about $1.3 billion to focus on providing more public services for citizens in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. On April 18, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report about the persistence of torture occurring at a prison in Mosul. On April 25, UN-Habitat and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) handed over 502 homes to returnees in the Sinjar District, Ninewa Province. On April 24 the Yezidi Supreme Spiritual Council issued a religious edict reiterating its acceptance of all rescued Yezidis who were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The statement implicitly recognized the children born to Yezidi mothers as a result of rape in ISIS captivity as Yezidi and welcomed their return. A few days later, the Yezidi Supreme Spiritual Council reversed its position. On April 30, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) issued a report on the impediments faced by Iraqi children displaced from areas formerly under the control of ISIS in obtaining civil documentation. NRC estimated that about 45,000 children in displacement camps do not have any civil documentation. On May 2, The Washington Post reported that senior officials in Iraq are campaigning to create a detention camp for the about 30,000 Iraqis who lived in Syria under ISIS rule until their last territorial stronghold was lost.
    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.
Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts as Saudi Arabia and Iran Compete for Influence
On April 6, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Tehran. He met with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who told Mahdi to “work to get American troops out of Iraq quickly.” The leaders also discussed  possible future agreements between the two countries, including sharing the electrical network, gas pipelines, and railroads between Iraq and Iran as well as cleaning the Shatt al-Arab River stretching along the border between the two countries.
On April 7, Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban met with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh. The two leaders reached an agreement pertaining to the development of two oil fields shared by both nations: the Naft Shahr oilfield located in the Kermanshah province of Iran and Diyala province and the Khorramshahr oilfield on the border of the Khuzestan province of Iran and Basra province.
On April 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit. Abdul-Mahdi met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh. Abdul-Mahdi restated his desire to improve relations between the two nations in all sectors. The two leaders signed 13 memoranda of understanding in various areas such as trade and energy. On April 18, the Iraq-Saudi Business Forum took place in Riyadh during which ministers from both countries discussed the issues of electricity, network repair, oil, and gas.
On April 20, a “Stability and Development” conference led by Iraqi Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed Halbusi was held in Baghdad hosting top parliamentary officials from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Syria, and Jordan. Iraq attempted to embody its desired role as a mediator for its neighboring countries while the visiting delegations promised to help reconstruct and develop Iraq after the devastation caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
On April 25, the Iraqi-Russian Joint Committee signed a number of agreements to increase business relations and investments between the two nations during the Chamber’s eighth meeting. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim led the Iraqi delegation while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov led the Russian delegation. Some of the agreements were in sectors such as trade, energy, electricity, mineral resources, housing, and sports.
On April 26, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani spoke on the phone with United States Vice President Mike Pence. The two leaders discussed security within Iraq’s disputed territories and how the United States could help to bring stability to those areas. They also discussed increasing relations between the United States and the KRI.
On April 28, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu arrived in Baghdad for a visit and travelled to Basra. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met with Çavuşoğlu to discuss security on their shared border, water disputes, and the presence of Turkish troops in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Çavuşoğlu reported that Turkey wants to open two consulates in Najaf province and in Kirkuk province as well as to reopen the Turkish consulate located in Basra province. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim met with Çavuşoğlu and expressed that Iraq is against any military actions that target Turkey. On April 29, Çavuşoğlu met with Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Qubad Talabani to discuss how to strengthen the relationship between the KRI and the Turkey. Çavuşoğlu also statedthat he hopes to increase the annual volume of trade between Turkey and Iraq to $20 billion and work with Iraq to combat the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
On April 30, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The delegation that arrived with Abdul-Mahdi included several Iraqi ministers. The two leaders announced that the German company Siemens will work in Iraq to complete an electricity project worth $14 billion. Merkel stated that Germany will assist Iraq in increasing security as well as the reconstruction of areas affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Abdul-Mahdi then met with German Federal Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier. On May 2, Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Paris. He will meet with several French leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss increasing the investment of French companies in Iraq and reconstruction.
Militants Attacks Persist Throughout Iraq Despite Security Operations; Iraq Offers to Try and Jail Foreign ISIS Fighters; ISIS Releases New Video Featuring al-Baghdadi
On April 5, the Iraqi Air Force conducted two airstrikes southwest of Daquq in Kirkuk province that reportedly killed 14 fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).  Iraq’s Defense Ministry released a statement saying that the recent rainfall compelled militants to leave their dugouts in Qarha Valley where several ISIS hideouts are located. Iraqi security forces regularly carry out operations in the region.
On April 6, the Iraqi military received six additional US-made F-16 fighter jets. The Spokesman for the Iraqi Security Media Center, Brigadier Yahya Rasool, stated that, with the new delivery, the Iraqi military now has 27 fighter jets. The Iraqi government ordered a total of 36 fighter jets; the rest of the jets are set to arrive in the coming months. The Iraqi military uses fighter jets to carry out operations against pockets of militants for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
On April 7, the Kurdish outlet Rudaw reported that militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are taking advantage of the security vacuum in the disputed territories between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). An ISIS cell resides near Mount Qaraqosh in Makhmour,Erbil province, and continues to launch attacks against villagers. Local residents reported that ISIS fighters have been imposing taxes and carrying out attacks, pushing some families to relocate to northern villages in the Kurdistan region. Some villagers photographed alleged ISIS militants freely moving around towns and explained that ISIS fighters appear in villages every few nights and steal what they need, including livestock and food.
On April 8, clashes broke out between fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Tribal Mobilization Forces (TMF) in Al-Madham village in Anbar province. The confrontation resulted in the death of four ISIS militants.
On April 10, a roadside bomb exploded in the al-Shoura district south of Mosul. The blast killed Sheikh Hassan al-Hadidi, a tribal leader, and injured his son and nephew. ISIS and its predecessor, the Islamic State in Iraq, repeatedly targeted communal leaders to intimidate those cooperating with the central government and to enable their infiltration and takeover of communities.
On April 10, France24 reported that three Iraqi government officials acknowledged that Iraq has offered to try accused foreign fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Baghdad in exchange for compensation from European countries and the United States. Iraq has asked for $2 million per fighter per year of incarceration to cover the operational costs of the process.
On April 11, Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced that the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces (ICTS), supported by the international coalition and the Iraqi Army, began large-scale operations in the Hamrin Mountains in northern Iraq to drive out cells of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the area. During the operation, security forces killed 12 ISIS insurgents and dismantled 11 different hideouts used by ISIS to regroup and organize attacks. Security forces also seized weapons and ammunition from the hideouts. On April 14, airstrikes targeting ISIS cells in the area north of Baquba reportedly killed a commander of the Islamic State and four other fighters. The Counter Terrorism Service did not release the name of the commander but claimed that he was in charge of Islamic State forces in Harmin. On April 28, Major General Saad, the commander of the joint operations headquarters, announced the launching of a second security operation to locate and clear ISIS cells in the Hamrin Mountains. The operation involves  federal police forces, Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and the international coalition and is coordinated by the Salah ad-Din Operations Command.
On April 14, the Iraqi government began setting trial dates for nearly 900 suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) captured as they emerged from ISIS territory in Syria. The militants were transferred to Iraqi custody by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in batches last month. A court official disclosed that the SDF also handed over interrogation files for the arrested fighters and that ISIS members will be tried in groups. The government in Iraq has already tried thousands of ISIS militants and sentenced hundreds to death. On April 21, the Karkh Criminal Court tasked with adjudicating the nearly 900 ISIS fighterssentenced four militants to death by hanging; a judicial source stated that they were Iraqi and were sentenced under Iraq’s Anti-Terrorism Law.
On April 16, the Iraqi army, with the support of the U.S.-led coalition, conducted air strikes in Daquq in Kirkuk province, targeting a cell of fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The military operation reportedly killed 20 ISIS insurgents.
On April 17, gunmen affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) attacked a federal police vehicle in Kirkuk Province and killed a senior security official. Two other police officers were injured during the assault. The incident occurred during the day and the perpetrators fled to an unknown location in the Hamrin mountains following the incident.
On April 19, Iraqi security forces conducted an operations in Hawija in Kirkuk province that allegedly resulted in the deaths of 12 members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), including four leaders. Counter-terrorism forces also destroyed ISIS hideouts containing weapons and equipment.
On April 22, al-Mada reported that the U.S. military established its first helipad in western Anbar province. The presence of the landing pad grants U.S. forces the ability to quickly operate in the western Desert of Iraq up to the Syrian border. U.S. motives are unclear. A source told the Iraqi paper that the landing pad is under substantial protection by U.S. forces.
On April 25, Major General Saad, the commander of the joint operations headquarters, stated that a counter-terrorist operation in Daquq in Kirkuk province resulted in the deaths of six members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the destruction of eight hideouts. A tunnel used by ISIS militants was also demolished.  
On April 26, a group of insurgents attacked Beit al-Sumti village between Muqdadiyah district and Abi Saida district in Diyala province. The incursion resulted in the death of one villager and the injury of two others.
On April 27, a group of insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) surrounded a group of Kurdish civilians in the Ali Rash plains in Qaraj while they were searching for truffles.  A Peshmerga commander confirmed that the militants took one of the individuals hostage. Peshmerga officers have warned citizens to avoid areas lacking sufficient security protection by either Iraqi or Kurdish forces. ISIS militants have carried out similar attacks in the last few months.
On April 29, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) released an 18-minute video featuring the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The video marks the first appearance by al-Baghdadi since he declared the ISIS caliphate in Mosul in 2014. In the video, Baghdadi praises recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, a revenge attack for the territorial loss in Baghouz, and urged militants to seek vengeance for jailed and killed ISIS members. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Baghdadi was most likely hiding in the stretch of desert near the Iraqi-Syrian border, but security officials are uncertain whether Baghdadi’s resides in Iraq or Syria. Hisham al-Hashemi, a security advisor to the Iraqi government, reported that the search for Baghdadi was narrowed to four possible locations either in the desert in Anbar province in western Iraq or in the eastern desert of Homs in Syria.
Foreign Donors Pledge Additional Support for Iraq; Torture Persists in Mosul Prison; Iraq Seeks to Detain More Families with Perceived Links to ISIS; Yezidi Community Refuses to Welcome Children Born of Rape
On April 6, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) announced that more than 270 families in the Salah ad-Din province have been displaced due to the flooding in Iraq.The severe weather has caused some farms to sink and over 60 houses to be encircled by water. The ICRS has taken several measures to help families including the provision of first aid to several families in the village of Qadiriyah and the allocation of emergency teams along the Tigris River to provide first aid and psychosocial support to the affected.
On April 7, Iraqi President Barham Salih sent a draft bill of the Yezidi Female Survivors’ Law to to parliament. The law would classify the Yezidis killed in 2014 as genocide victims and would establish a national day on August 3 to commemorate the day that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) stormed Sinjar. Under the law, Yezidi women would be provided with care, housing, and educational opportunities, as well as given priority for government positions. A monthly salary would be supplied to these women as well as free land or housing. Finally, those who committed crimes against the Yezidi population would not be able to be granted general or special amnesty.
On April 10, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that the Government of Japan contributed $9.2 million to allow the organization to  transition from humanitarian to more development-related assistance in Iraq. These funds will be used to provide food and cash to about 200,000 displaced people and increase livelihood opportunities for about 13,000 returnees.This contribution is part of the overall assistance package from Japan totalling $63 million.
On April 16, the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox announced that the United Kingdom will increase trade support by about $1.3 billion to focus on providing more public services for citizens in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. This contribution brings the total trade support from the UK to Iraq to over $2.5 billion.
On April 16, the Iraqi Minister of Health, Dr. Alaa Alwan in partnership with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF announced the launch of National Polio Immunization Days in Baghdad. Health teams went to several houses throughout the week and made sure that vulnerable children, such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) were vaccinated. The Ministry of Health also launched an awareness campaign calling on parents to vaccinate their children through radio and video broadcast as well as social media.
On April 18, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report about the persistence of torture occurring at a prison in Mosul. New testimonies gathered by the organization show that torture persisted at least through early 2019. The first report about this phenomenon was released in August 2018 and since then HRW has sent two letters to the Iraqi government, requesting information on the measures taken to investigate the documented practice of torture. The Iraqi government has not responded to the request. Iraqi judges reportedly fail to investigate these torture allegations.
On April 23, Kurdistan 24 reported that “reverse migration” is happening in Iraq due to returnees to northern Ninewa Province leaving their towns, to which they have returned, and going back to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Anas-Akram al Azzawi, a member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) stated that the reverse migration is taking place because of the lack of security, stability, and basic services in Ninewa province. After the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), almost two million people were displaced to the KRI from Iraq and Syria. Recently, many internally displaced persons (IDPs) had begun to return to their places of origin, but the lack of services, sense of insecurity and slow pace of reconstruction have caused a substantial amount  of people to fall back into displacement.
On April 25, UN-Habitat and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) handed over 502 homes to returnees in the Sinjar District, Ninewa Province. The Government of Germany funded the reconstruction through the UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP). This project reconstructed damaged houses in order for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to be able to return to their homes. The project was also supported by the Global Lands Tool Network (GLTN); the network helped employ 684 Yezidi community members for the rehabilitation activities, 44 percent of them being women.
On April 24 the Yezidi Supreme Spiritual Council issued a religious edict reiterating its acceptance of all rescued Yezidis who were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The statement implicitly recognized the children born to Yezidi mothers as a result of rape in ISIS captivity as Yezidi and welcomed their return. A few days later, the Yezidi Supreme Spiritual Council reversed its position, following a push-back among members of the Yezidi community. The council is the highest Yezidi religious institution. According the Yezidi faith, only children born to parents who are both Yezidi can be considered members of the community. To date, children born to Yezidi mothers as a result of rape have not been welcomed by the Yezidi community, and their mothers had to place them in orphanages if they wished to return to their community after emerging out of ISIS captivity.
On April 30, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) issued a report on the impediments faced by Iraqi children displaced from areas formerly under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in obtaining civil documentation. NRC estimated that about 45,000 children in displacement camps do not have any civil documentation, out of a total of about 80,000 such children across Iraq. Children born under the Islamic State of Iraq and al- Sham (ISIS) rule were provided birth certificates that are not recognized by the Iraqi government. Without documentation, the children do not have access to education, healthcare, and other basic rights and services such as receiving vaccinations.
On May 2, The Washington Post reported that senior officials in Iraq are campaigning to create a detention camp for the about 30,000 Iraqis who lived in Syria under the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) until their last territorial stronghold was lost. The officials cite security reasons for this decision, but humanitarian groups are strongly opposed to this plan, since it would entail denying the freedom of movement of camp residents. Currently, families with perceived links to ISIS are housed in several camps across Iraq, where they face restrictions on freedom of movement, and some are denied aid and sexually exploited by camp management and security personnel in the camps.
IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs April 5, 2019 - May 2, 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
04/06/19Hilla, Babylon Province01
04/07/19al-Mashtal, Baghdad02
04/08/19Haditha district, Anbar Province10
04/09/19el-Mazkour, Diyala Province12
04/09/19Hawija District, Kirkuk Province02
04/10/19Mullah Abdullah, Kirkuk Province21
04/10/19Baji, Salah ad-Din Province00
04/10/19al-Qaim, Anbar Province02
04/10/19al-Shoura district, Ninewa Province12
04/10/19al-Multaqa, Kirkuk Province15
04/10/19Babylon, Babel Province03
04/11/19Fallujah, Anbar Province03
04/11/19Mullah Abdullah, Kirkuk Province21
04/13/19al-Makhisa, Diyala Province02
04/14/19Mosul-Baghdad Road, Ninewa Province00
04/15/19Riyadh, Kirkuk Province01
04/16/19Fallujah, Anbar Province017
04/17/19Baquba, Diyala Province10
04/19/19Baquba, Diyala Province20
04/19/19Mosul, Ninewa Province00
04/19/19Baghdad, Baghdad Province00
04/20/19Mosul, Ninewa Province23
04/22/19Haditha, Anbar Province27
04/25/19Khanaqin, Diyala Province01
04/25/19Taza, Kirkuk Province02
04/27/19Baiji, Salah ad-Din Province12
04/28/19Shoura District, Mosul03
04/29/19Tal Afar, Ninewa Province33
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.

Weekly Iraqi Security and Humanitarian Report for the Week Ending May 16, 2019

Key Takeaways: Escalating Tensions Between the U.S. and Iran Affect Presence of Foreigners in Iraq –  On May 12, the United States Embas...