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.

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