Jun 14, 2019

My Saved Links

Thought today, that rather than copying a single post that should be shared, I'd post some of my Pocket links. Don't worry, you don't have to download anything,  in order to view.

Hope you find them interesting and informative.

Some artwork to fill up the white space:

Artwork by: Angel Belgian - Sátira Surrealista | Desmatamento"

Jun 10, 2019

Iraq Security and Humanitarian Newsletter for weeks ending June 06, 2019



 Good time of day folks! This will be the last series of ISHM I will be posting on this blog. Events are winding down and if one requires news of this type from now on, please visit the ISHM website. There isn't any need for me to repost.

That said, this week I'm covering the past 3 weeks of ISHM. I will be covering ongoing events of The Empire and NATO as they strive for world domination however. So, stay tuned.
Thanks - Steve June 10/19 Toronto

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ISHM 207: May 30 – June 6, 2019

ISHM LOGO

Key Takeaways:

  • KDP and PUK Exchange Recriminations; Ammar al-Hakim Threats to Oppose the Government; Iraq Continues Mediating Between Iran and Gulf States – On June 2, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with the German, French and UK ambassadors in Baghdad. On June 2, the KDP published the full text of the deal it signed with the PUK in March regarding government formation, in an implicit jab at the PUK for boycotting the May 28 vote to elect Nechirvan Barzani as KRG President. On June 2, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi claimed in a speech that the Kurdistan Region had not turned over to Baghdad any of the 250,000 barrels of oil per day required by the 2019 budget law. On June 2, President Salih conveyed a proposal from Iran to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates regarding a non-aggression treaty between the countries. On June 3, The National reported that Iraq had opposed the concluding statement of the Mecca Summit, authored by Saudi Arabia, which condemned Iran’s activities in the region. On June 5, the head of the Hikmah Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, criticized the incomplete cabinet formation and threatened to withdraw support from the government. more…
  • String of Bombings in Kirkuk Reignites Political Contestation; Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq Despite Counter-Terrorism Operations; Intense Turkish Campaign against the PKK in Northern Iraq and Militant Attack in Diyala Displaces Dozens of Families – On May 30, a series of six explosions struck Kirkuk city, killing three people and injuring 37. Local Arab and Turkmen representatives called on the prime minister to dismiss Kurdish officers in the province. The KDP, for its part, urged for the return of Peshmerga forces to Kirkuk. On May 30, Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters struck targets in the northern Iraqi region of Hawkurk. According a Kurdish official, at least 120 villages in the Kurdistan Region’s district of Sidakan have been evacuated due to Turkish airstrikes on the area. On May 30, two members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) were shot by armed attackers north of Babylon. On June 2, three people were shot in an armed attack in the village in Diyala. The gunmen were members of an unidentified militia, raising alarms about potential sectarian motivations and prompting the exodus of more than 50 families. On June 3, gunmen attacked the offices of the Islamic Dawa Party and the Communist Party in Basra. On June 4, ISIS militants carried out a complex two-stage attack south of Salahuddin Province, near Baghdad, killing four members of the Iraqi security forces and injuring 17 others. more…
  • Iraqi Courts Will Begin Offering Documentation to Children Born under ISIS Control; Yazidi Refugees Return from Syria as New Mass Graves Investigated in Sinjar; New HRW Brief Documents Torture of French Prisoners Accused of ISIS Ties – The Iraqi Army launched an investigation into a footage of Iraqi soldiers sexually assaulting a mother and her child in Mosul. On May 31, Human Rights Watch published a brief detailing torture employed against French suspected ISIS militants detained in Iraq. On June 1, an Iraqi member of parliament confirmed that courts are being established to issue birth certificates and identification cards to Iraqi children who were born in ISIS controlled areas. On June 3, the Iraqi government revealed new statics for Yazidi displacement and casualties since August 2014. According to the data, 6,417 Yazidis were captured and enslaved by ISIS, only 3,476 of whom survived. On June 6, teams exhuming Yazidi mass graves sent 138 bodies from Kocho to be identified through DNA testing. On June 6, UNICEF reported that 2,000 schools have been re-opened across Mosul and northern Iraq since 2017, allowing half a million children to resume their education. 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.

KDP and PUK Exchange Recriminations; Ammar al-Hakim Threats to Oppose the Government; Iraq Continues Mediating Between Iran and Gulf States
On June 2, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with the German, French and UK ambassadors in Baghdad. The dignitaries discussed the current situation in the Gulf region and Salih reportedly thanked the European Union for the aid it has provided, particularly in helping return displaced Iraqis to their homes.
On June 2, ExxonMobil began to return 83 employees to Iraq in the West Qurna-1 oilfield in Basra after removing them to Dubai two weeks ago due to apparent growing risk of attack on the company’s installations by Iranian-backed militias. The employees’ evacuation in May upset members of the Oil Ministry and executives at the South Oil Company, with which ExxonMobil has a contract to help improve production at the oil fields. Iraq’s Oil Minister Thamer Gadhban wrote to ExxonMobil after the evacuation, demanding that the employees return to work. ExxonMobil’s decision to return reportedly followed reassurances from the Iraqi Oil Ministry and Basra Oil Company that security in ExxonMobil facilities would be increased.
On June 2, the KDP published the full text of the deal it signed with the PUK in March regarding joint support for the formation of the next KRG cabinet, the normalization of relations between the two parties, and addressing the disputes between the KRG and the central Iraqi government.  The deal stipulated that the two parties would work toward consensus in the KRI parliament. The release of the agreement is an implicit jab at the PUK for boycotting the May 28 vote to elect Nechirvan Barzani as President of the Kurdistan Region. The PUK  justified the boycotted by accusing the KDP of reneging on parts of the deal regarding the appointment of a new governor in Kirkuk province. The KDP decided to publish the full text of the deal to undercut the accusations of the PUK, arguing that the appointment of a new governor for Kirkuk is to coincide with the completion of cabinet formation, not the election of the president. One June 6, he PUK threw the ball back into the KDP court by proposing to attend Barzani’s swearing in ceremony, scheduled for June 10,  if the KDP would uphold its end of the deal and support the PUK’s claim to the top executive posting in Kirkuk.
On June 2, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi claimed in a speech that the Kurdistan Region had not turned over to Baghdad any of the 250,000 barrels per day of oil required by the 2019 budget law, which was ratified by the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) following lengthy negotiations between Abdul-Mahdi and the KRG. Abdul-Mahdi referred to political tensions between the two administrations, saying that their differences should not influence “public peace.”
On June 2, President Salih conveyed a proposal from Iran to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates regarding a non-aggression treaty between the countries. Iraq delivered the message on behalf of Iran because Iran lacks diplomatic relations with the other three countries. Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, called for such a treaty during his May 26 visit to Baghdad.
On June 3, The National reported that Iraq had opposed the concluding statement of the Mecca Summit, authored by Saudi Arabia, which condemned Iran’s activities in the region. The National quoted analysts who asserted that Iraq relies too heavily on Iran to side with Saudi Arabia and other countries eager to blame Iran for its influence in the region. The paper reported that Iraq continues to offer to be a mediator in the conflict between the US and Iran. Qatar, too, expressed reservations about the statement.
On June 5, the head of the Hikmah Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, criticized the government’s delay in completing the  cabinet formation, stating that “other ministries require a cabinet reshuffle, while important and sensitive positions are still being administered by acting officials.” Citing shortcomings in the speed of improvement of provision of electric services, al-Hakim further warned that “the option of national political opposition is still in place.” On the same day, al-Hakim also expressed doubts about the usefulness of the new Supreme Anti-Corruption Council, saying that the council’s practical use was unclear although fighting corruption was important. Calling corruption “the root of all sin in our work and on the political scene,” al-Hakim argued that the eradication of terrorism requires tackling corruption.
On June 6, the Washington Post reported that Sheikh Nahro al-Kasnazan, an Iraqi Kurdish Sufi, and a minor political player in Iraq who is currently living in Jordan, spent 26 nights at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. last year. The report characterized Kasnazan as hawkish against Iran and allegedly lobbying US National Security Adviser John Bolton and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to carry out regime change in Iran. The report also mentions allegations of corruption levied against Kasnazan and his brother, who were both informants of the CIA prior to the Iraq invasion in 2003. The article suggested that Kasnazan’s stay at the Trump Hotel may have been an attempt to gain favor with the US President or advisers close to him.

String of Bombings in Kirkuk Reignites Political Contestation; Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq Despite Counter-Terrorism Operations; Intense Turkish Campaign against the PKK in Northern Iraq and Militant Attack in Diyala Displaces Dozens of Families
On May 30, The Security Media Cell announced that security forces freed a Yazidi women held captive by ISIS in Anbar Province. Security forces killed seven ISIS fighters during the operation.
On May 30, a series of explosions struck the Kirkuk city center, killing three people and injuring 37. Six improvised explosive devices (IED) exploded in the city and two more were defused by Iraqi security forces. The bombings occurred as people were out in the streets, preparing for the holiday of Eid al-Fitr. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the attacks are similar to those previously carried out by ISIS militants in the region. On June 1, representatives of the Arab and Turkmen communities in Kirkuk called on Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi to dismiss Kurdish officers in the province who had participated in the referendum for the independence of the Kurdistan Region in September 2017. The representatives also complained about the negligence of the police chief, called for his dismissal, and requested even representation of Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds in the local police forces. They asserted that the police chief had received intelligence concerning attacks that occurred in Kirkuk city on May 30 and failed to take sufficient precautions to prevent them. On June 2, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) advocated for partnership and cooperation between the factions in Kirkuk province and indicated support for equal participation of all communities in the governance of the province. On June 3, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) member Sobhi al-Mandalawi urged for the return of Peshmerga forces to Kirkuk, arguing that the attacks are “an expected result following the events of October 16, 2017 and the removal of Peshmerga forces” from the city.
On May 30, Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters struck targets in the northern Iraqi region of Hawkurk as part of what Turkish armed forces refer to as “Operation Claw.” The strikes killed four PKK militants, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry. On June 4, the Turkish Defense Ministry reported that at least six more PKK militants were killed in further strikes. The ministry claimed that the total number of militants killed by Turkey has risen to 34. On June 5, a Kurdish official announced that at least 120 villages in the Kurdistan Region’s district of Sidakan have been evacuated due to Turkish airstrikes on the area targeting the PKK. The Director of Sidakan, Ihsan Chalabi, estimated that more than 20 additional villages may soon be evacuated for the same reason. Strikes on Mira Rash, a town in the district, wounded three members of the Peshmerga forces on May 29.
On May 30, two members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) were shot by armed attackers north of Babylon. The shooting took place in the region of Jurf al-Sakhr, north of Hilla. The gunmen fled to an unknown location.
On June 1, fields belonging to Kurdish farmers were set on fire again in the village of Alawa Mahmoud in Kirkuk. More than 15 dunams (3.7 acres) of fields belonging to Kurdish owners were also burned earlier in the day in Shakh Saiwan in the Tuz Khurmatu district. Authorities in Kirkuk blame ISIS militants for the fires. On June 4, agricultural fields were set on fire in a village in Sinjar. The acting Mayor of Sinjar, Saad Hamid, reported that the fire near Warde village destroyed an estimated 1,200 dunams (296.5 acres) of farmland. This is the fourth case of field burning to occur in Sinjar.
On June 2, a court in Baghdad sentenced two French men to death for joining ISIS. The sentences are subject to appeal, but the lengthy process could take years to overturn. This brought the total of French men sentenced to death in Iraq to nine. The same day, Shafaaq reported that one of the French Nationals had been released by the Court of Inquiry Karkh for lack of evidence. On June 3, the remaining two French nationals transferred to Iraq from Syria were sentenced to death for belonging to ISIS. The total number of French nationals is reported to be between 11 and 14, although the official number is disputed. The men have 30 days to appeal the sentences.
On June 2, three people were shot in an armed attack in the village of Abu Khanizir, part of Abu Saida district, northeast of Baquba, the provincial capital of Diyala. The gunmen were members of an unidentified militia, raising alarms about potential sectarian motivations. The shooting led to the arrest of members of security forces who were manning two checkpoints around the area when the gunmen entered the village. The next day, the governor of Diyala, Muthanna al-Tamimi, opened an investigation into the incident. The shooting prompted the displacement of more than 50 families that fled the village in search of safety in other areas.
On June 3, gunmen attacked the Islamic Dawa Party headquarters in Basra,one day after an attack on the Iraqi Communist Party office in the city. Five grandes were lobbed at the office, but two failed to explode. There were no human casualties, but the attack caused notable material damages. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
On June 4, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s personal secretary announced that the opening of the Green Zone had been finalized. The Green Zone area in central Baghdad houses embassies and national government offices and has been all but off-limits to the public since 2003. As of Eid al-Fitr, however, the area will be open 24 hours a day. According to the secretary, ten streets have been opened and around 12,000 blocks of concrete have been removed from those streets.
On June 4, ISIS militants carried out a complex two-stage attack south of Salahuddin Province, near Baghdad, killing four members of the Iraqi security forces and injuring 17 others. The militants first detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a military vehicle, and subsequently used sniper fire against security forces who deployed to the scene of the first attack. In response, the security forces returned fire and killed three of the assailants.
On June 5, a landmine west of Haditha exploded, killing two farmers and injuring another. The farmers were harvesting wheat crops when the mine detonated.
On June 5, Iraqi Military Intelligence claimed that airstrikes carried out by the International Coalition killed seven ISIS suicide bombers hiding in a cave in Anbar province. The Directorate of Military Intelligence also stated that belts and abandoned weapons were seized from the cave in which the bombers were hiding.

Iraqi Courts Will Begin Offering Documentation to Children Born under ISIS Control; Yazidi Refugees Return from Syria as New Mass Graves Investigated in Sinjar; New HRW Brief Documents Torture of French Prisoners Accused of ISIS Ties
On May 31, a video posted to social media showed Iraqi soldiers sexually assaulting a mother and her child in Mosul, Ninewa Province, sparking outrage across Iraqi social media. In response, the chief of staff of the Iraqi Army, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi, ordered the arrest of the soldiers and an immediate investigation of the incident.
On May 31, Human Rights Watch published a brief detailing torture employed against French suspected ISIS militants detained in Iraq. About a dozen French men have been sentenced to death to date. Two of the prisoners claimed that they were beaten and forced to sign confessions. In one instance, a judge asked one of the prisoners to lift his shirt in court, revealing scars and other signs of abuse, but the trial proceeded. Human Rights Watch reports that torture, including beatings and waterboarding are all common practices in Iraqi detention centers. France’s foreign minister, however, expressed confidence on May 29 that the recent trials in Iraqi courts were “fair”.
On June 1, Wehda al-Jumaili, a member of the Human Rights Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, confirmed that courts are being established to issue birth certificates and identification cards to Iraqi children who were born in ISIS controlled areas. Jumaili revealed that certificates will be issued based on witness statements and other evidence, stating that, “the process will be easier for children whose parents are still alive”. Current Iraqi law requires that children have proper identification in order to receive welfare, schooling, citizenship, and other benefits. Many children and families born in formerly ISIS-controlled areas were given documentation that is not recognized by the Iraqi government.
On June 2, a judge within the Iraqi Central Criminal Court reported that the judiciary is handling the cases of about 1,000 children of suspected foreign ISIS fighters. So far 252 children have been repatriated to their home countries, a majority of whom hail from Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Germany. Some countries are asking for the swift return of these children, while others are seeking their mothers’ consent before repatriating them. Many of these women are either sentenced to death or serving life in prison for their connections to ISIS. However, according to the judge, not every country is seeking the return of their nationals, preferring for them to stay in Iraq instead.
On June 3, the Iraqi Office for Yazidi Abductee Affairs revealed new statics for Yazidi displacement and casualties since August 2014 to June 2019. According to the report the total number of Yazidis in Iraq prior to the 2014 genocide was around 550,000; 360,000 of them were displaced following the invasion of ISIS. As a result of ISIS atrocities, 6,417 Yazidis were captured and enslaved, only 3,476 of whom survived. Thus far, 80 mass graves have been discovered in Sinjar district. Approximately 2,745 children have been orphaned. In the first days of the invasion, 1,293 Yazidis were killed while 68 religious shrines were destroyed.
On June 4, the Security Media Cell revealed that 13 Yazidi families, around 70 individuals, have been returned from the Nowruz refugee camp in Syria back to Sinjar district. They fled across the border into Syria in 2014 when ISIS entered the area.
On June 6, teams exhuming Yazidi mass graves sent 138 bodies from Kocho in Sinjar District to Baghdad. There they will undergo DNA testing and be handed over to their families for burial. The bodies had been exhumed from ten mass graves around the town of Kocho, the site of major massacres ISIS perpetrated against the Yazidi community during the 2014 genocide. The Iraqi and Kurdish teams working to recover the bodies reported that there are still six more graves around Kocho that need to be exhumed.
On June 6, UNICEF reported that 2,000 schools have been re-opened across Mosul and northern Iraq since 2017, allowing half a million children to resume their education. Many schools were shut down when ISIS controlled the region. However, UNICEF warns that around 2.6 million Iraqi children are still denied the right to education. Existing schools also face a multitude of issues, including lack of counselors to help students who suffer from post-traumatic stress, poor quality of education, an insufficient number of teachers, as well as an insufficient number of school buildings. In an attempt to address these challenges, UNICEF is supporting local authorities in Mosul in their efforts to rebuild damaged school buildings and train teachers.

IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Casualties Due To IEDs May 30, 2019 - June 6, 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
06/05/19Baquba, Diyala region00
06/05/19Dibis, northwest of Kirkuk23
06/05/19al-Jinazi, northeast of Baquba01
06/05/19Sinjar, south of Nineveh02
06/05/19al-Madham, west of Haditha21
06/04/19Nahrawan, southeast of Baghdad00
06/03/19Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad00
06/03/19Kokli, Mosul00
05/30/19Kirkuk

 

ISHM: May 16 – May 23, 2019

Posted on


Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Politicians Meet Foreign Counterparts; Nechirvan Barzani Elected President of the Kurdistan Region – On May 23, Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in Jordan for a tripartite meeting including Jordanian King Abdullah II, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. On May 25, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad and met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi. On May 26, Zarif met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim. On May 27, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Doha to meet with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. On May 28, Nechirvan Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was elected the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). On May 28, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Turkish President Recep ErdoÄŸan in Istanbul. On May 28, Iraqi Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi met with Jordanian King Abdullah II. On May 29, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt ÇavuÅŸoÄŸlu arrived in Baghdad to meet Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim. On May 30, Iraqi President Barham Salih and Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim arrived in Saudi Arabia for meetings. more…
  • Militant Attacks Continue; Multiple Fires Rage in Iraq with ISIS Claiming Some as Arson Attacks; Iran Constructing New Iraq-Syria Border Crossing; Turkey Conducts Ground Offensive against PKK in Northern Iraq; US Renditioned Foreign ISIS Militants to Iraq from NE Syria – On May 24, Fox News reported that Iran is currently constructing a new border crossing on the Iraqi-Syrian border. On May 24, local witnesses and a security source notified Shafaaq News that unknown gunmen had set fire to wheat fields in the town of al-Jafar al-Haram, south of Tikrit. This fire is just one of many that have recently affected farms in Ninewa, Diyala, Kirkuk and Najaf. On May 24, ISIS fighters attacked a group of civilians in Salah ad-Din and set their crop fields on fire. Three were killed and three were wounded. On May 25, an IED killed and wounded locals and firefighters who were trying to extinguish a fire ravaging fields in the town of al-Abbasi in Kirkuk Province. Between four to five people were killed. The same day, in the farmland surrounding the town of Sharqat in Salah ad-Din Province, five farmers were killed and two wounded in twin IED explosions while trying to harvest their crops. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. On May 28, the Iraqi Civil Defense announced that a total of 139 fires affected the provinces of Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk and Ninewa. ISIS claimed responsibility for 13 of these fires. On May 30 in the Daquq district of Kirkuk, civilians rushed to extinguish a burning field, but were ambushed by ISIS fighters. One person was killed in the attack, and between seven to nine injured. On May 24, the Iraqi army clashed with a popular mobilization unit in the town of al-Ba’aj, west of Mosul. On May 26, a vehicle-borne IED detonated in the town of Oweinat in Ninewa Province killing five people. On May 26, a roadside IED activated in the town of Kubaysah, west of Ramadi. The device killed one member of the Popular Mobilization Units. On May 29, an Iraqi court sentenced a French and Tunisian national to death, raising the total number of French nationals to seven after on May 28, an Iraqi court ordered death penalties for two French nationals who fought for ISIS. On May 28, Turkish commandos entered northern Iraq after an initial artillery and aerial bombardment. On May 28, a vehicle-borne IED exploded between Baiji and Haditha. The blast killed two members of the Popular Mobilization Units and injured one other. On May 29, Reuters reported that U.S. forces secretly moved suspected foreign ISIS fighters from Syria to Iraq for trial in 2017 and 2018. more…
  • Poverty Rates Rises is Diwaniya; Children with ISIS Links Repatriated to Turkey; Overcrowding and Abuse at Dhi Qar Prisons – On May 16, the World Bank published a report titled The Reconstruction of Iraq after 2003. According to the report, reconstruction in Iraq provides “few successes and many failures from which the international community can learn.  On May 27, a member of the Diwaniyah Governorate Council stated that the poverty rate in Diwaniyah had reached 60%, a historic record for the area. On May 27, the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Dhi Qar reported on a disturbing level of overcrowding in two prisons in Nasiriyah. On May 29, the Iraqi government repatriated 188 Turkish children born to suspected ISIS members to Turkey. On May 30, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issued a report stating that the first 10 families are returning to the Assyrian town of Batnaya in Ninewa Province thanks to the efforts of the UNDP to rehabilitate the town. 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 Politicians Meet Foreign Counterparts; Nechirvan Barzani Elected President of the Kurdistan Region
On May 23, Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in Jordan for a tripartite meeting including Jordanian King Abdullah II, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The leaders reiterated their support for the full rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital as well as recent regional developments.
On May 24, thousands of protesters who are supporters of cleric-politician Muqtada al-Sadr gathered in central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as well as the city of Basra to call for Iraqi non-intervention in the ongoing tensions between Iran and the United States.
On May 25, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad and met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi. The leaders discussed recent international and regional developments and relations between Iraq and Iran. Zarif and Abdul-Mahdi also stressed the need to have security and stability in the region to avoid the damaging effects of sanctions and possible war. On May 26, Zarif met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim. Hakim stressed that Iraq was opposed to the United States sanctions currently placed on Iran and the need to reach a solution between Iran and the United States that satisfies both nations. Zarif then traveled from Baghdad to Karbala. On May 27, Zarif described his visit to Iraq and the meetings conducted with various Iraqi leaders “constructive.”
On May 27, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Doha to meet with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Abdul-Mahdi’s delegation included the deputy prime minister and several ministers such as oil, construction, housing, trade, and others. The two leaders discussed the relationship between Iraq and Qatar and how to increase cooperation between the two. On May 29, Abdul-Mahdi signed two memoranda of understanding with Qatar concerning the cultural, scientific, and educational spheres.
On May 28, Nechirvan Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was elected the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Barzani received 68 votes from the 81 legislators participating in the parliamentary session. The four other candidates running did not receive any votes. Both the New Generation and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) boycotted the session. The PUK released a statement explaining that their absence, which blamed recent actions of the KDP, arguing that the KDP is making it difficult to implement recent agreements reached between the KDP and the PUK.
On May 28, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Turkish President Recep Erdoğan in Istanbul. The meeting also included Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih al-Fayyadh, and Turkish Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan. This meeting is one of many recent meetings about Turkey’s intensifying security operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) along the Iraq-Turkey border. Turkey’s most recent target is Hakurk, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) where, according to Turkish claims, the PKK is storing weapons and maintaining shelters.
On May 28, Iraqi Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi met with Jordanian King Abdullah II. The two leaders discussed the relationship between Iraq and Jordan as well as how to increase cooperation between the two nations in all sectors. Recent regional developments were also discussed, with emphasis on how to maintain security and stability in Iraq.
On May 29, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu arrived in Baghdad to meet Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim. The two leaders discussed the relationship and cooperation between Iraq and Turkey. The two foreign ministers also discussed recent regional and international developments as well as how to advance peace in the region.
On May 30, Iraqi President Barham Salih and Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim arrived in Saudi Arabia to attend the preparatory foreign ministers’ meeting taking place before the 14th Islamic Summit in Mecca on May 31. Member nations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will attend this summit, alongside representatives from most Muslim-majority countries.

Militant Attacks Continue; Multiple Fires Rage in Iraq with ISIS Claiming Some as Arson Attacks; Iran Constructing New Iraq-Syria Border Crossing; Turkey Conducts Ground Offensive against PKK in Northern Iraq; US Renditioned Foreign ISIS Militants to Iraq from NE Syria
On May 24, Fox News reported that Iran is currently constructing a new border crossing on the Iraqi-Syrian border near the Albu Kamal Al-Qaim crossing. The former border crossing was destroyed due to fighting and is currently closed, leading the Iranians to begin construction of their own . Western intelligence source speaking to Fox News believe that Iran aims to utilizing the crossing smuggle weapons and oil to Lebanon and the Mediterranean, in an effort to bypass U.S. sanctions and arm its proxies.
On May 24, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s military force, the Peshmerga, released data on the total casualty count of civilians and soldiers killed and injured by ISIS operations in four of Iraq’s provinces: Kirkuk, Diyala, Salah al-Din, and Ninewa. Secretary-General Jabbar Yawra claimed that in 2018, ISIS carried out a total of 456 operations that lead to 1,742 casualties and so far in 2019 they have launched around 100 operations resulting in 407 casualties.
On May 24, the Pentagon announced that they will be sending 900 more soldiers to the Middle East. The Department of Defense stressed that these troops are not being sent to Iraq or Syria, but rather to bolster existing operations. The Pentagon also accused Iranian-backed groups for the attacks on Saudi oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the recent rocket attack near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. U.S. Admiral Michael Gilday stated that the attack in Baghdad was carried out by an Iranian proxy, saying, “I can not disclose the sources of this information, but I say with high confidence that we are linking the Iranians to these attacks”. On May 26, a senior Iraqi security official told Asharq Al-Awsat that Washington assesses that one of two Shi’ite factions were behind the attack, the Sayyed of Martyrs Battalions and the Imam Ali Battalions. According to the source, the U.S. notified Iraqi authorities that it may arrest individuals involved in the attack, “should evidence prove their involvement.”
On May 24, local witnesses and a security source notified Shafaaq News that unknown gunmen had set fire to wheat fields in the town of al-Jafar al-Haram, south of Tikrit. The sources believed that the gunmen were ISIS fighters. This fire is just one of many that have recently affected farms in Ninewa, Diyala, Kirkuk and Najaf. On May 24, ISIS fighters attacked a group of civilians in Salah ad-Din and set their crop fields on fire. Three were killed and three were wounded. On May 25, an IED killed and wounded locals and firefighters who were trying to extinguish a fire ravaging fields in the town of al-Abbasi in Kirkuk Province. Between four to five people were killed. Sources believed that the device was planted by ISIS. The same day, in the farmland surrounding the town of Sharqat in Salah ad-Din Province, five farmers were killed and two wounded in twin IED explosions while trying to harvest their crops. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. On May 28, the Iraqi Civil Defense announced that a total of 139 fires affected the provinces of Salah ad-Din, Kirkuk and Ninewa. ISIS claimed responsibility for 13 of these fires. However, on May 29 Iraqi Prime Minister, Abdul-Mahdi, downplayed ISIS’ role in the recent fires. In a press conference, he argued that the fires were mostly caused by the dry climate, electrical faults, and local feuds while also deemphasizing the number of fires. On May 30 in the Daquq district of Kirkuk, civilians rushed to extinguish a burning field, but were ambushed by ISIS fighters. One person was killed in the attack, and between seven to nine injured.
On May 24, the Iraqi army clashed with a popular mobilization unit in the town of al-Ba’aj, west of Mosul. A tribal spokesperson told Shafaaq News that the PMU group, “Nawader Shammar”, got into a conflict with the Iraqi 20th division after the military ordered the PMU trucks to stop and attempted to search them. The PMU fighters, members of the Shammar tribe, failed to comply, fighting broke out. The trucks sped away and the army has initiated a search for the vehicles. The Iraqi army believes that Nawader Shammar, affiliated with MP Abdul Rahim al-Shammari, has been smuggling food and drugs.
On May 26, a vehicle-borne IED detonated in the town of Oweinat in Ninewa Province. It was parked in the local market and lead to the death of five people and wounding of eight.Â
On May 26, a roadside IED activated in the town of Kubaysah, west of Ramadi. The device killed one member of the Popular Mobilization Units.
On May 28, Turkish commandos entered northern Iraq after an initial artillery and aerial bombardment. The Turkish defense ministry announced that the operation targeted the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in Iraq’s Hakurk region. The ministry stated that they had “neutralized” nine militants and destroyed various shelters and ammo deposits in Qandil and Zap. On May 29, the Turkish Defense Ministry stated that two Turkish soldiers were killed after stepping on an IED. The Ministry claimed that the device was planted by PKK militants.
On May 28, a vehicle-borne IED exploded between Baiji and Haditha. The blast killed two members of the Popular Mobilization Units and injured one other.
On May 29, Reuters reported that U.S. forces secretly moved suspected foreign ISIS fighters from Syria to Iraq for trial in 2017 and 2018. The Counter Terrorism Service, an Iraqi governmental organisation, denied these allegations. The suspected militants were captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF,  before allegedly being transferred into Iraq. The suspects also claimed that they were beaten and tortured, which the CTS also denied. Human rights organizations have documented for years the widespread use of torture in Iraq. Both the U.S. Central Command and the SDF refused to comment on the report.
On May 29, an Iraqi court sentenced a French and Tunisian national to death, raising the total number of French nationals to seven after on May 28, an Iraqi court ordered death penalties for two French nationals who fought for ISIS. More French citizens are set to be sentenced this week and 12 more face trial. The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, re-asserted France’s rejection of the death penalty and urged for the men’s lives to be spared. Human right groups have criticized Iraq’s justice system and questioned the fairness of these trials.

Poverty Rates Rises is Diwaniya; Children with ISIS Links Repatriated to Turkey; Overcrowding and Abuse at Dhi Qar Prisons
On May 16, the World Bank published a report titled The Reconstruction of Iraq after 2003. According to the report, reconstruction in Iraq provides “few successes and many failures from which the international community can learn.” The document examines these successes and failures through several lenses: the context, the international response, and the impact on areas like employment, infrastructure, governance, institutional reform, and private sector development. Through this examination, the report presents categories of lessons to be learned and applied to future reconstruction efforts. Firstly, it suggests that national institutions are important and should not be supplanted by international actors. Secondly, the report asserts that the insecurity and instability of conflict-prone environments has a major impact on the effectiveness of reconstruction efforts and the involvement of international actors. Furthermore, it argues that donor funding must be smart funding, delivered with careful consideration of its potential impact and uses. In addition, it stresses the importance of accountability and monitoring, particularly when foreign funds are involved. The report goes on to advise that the methods for assessing needs in Iraq during and following conflict need to be improved, as do communication and coordination between donors and national institutions. The document makes several important recommendations for future reconstruction efforts in Iraq and other similar situations: reinforce national institutions, balance focus between short- and long-term gains, improve support for private sector development, and enhance coordination between security and development actors.
On May 27, a member of the Diwaniyah Governorate Council stated that the poverty rate in Diwaniyah had reached 60%, a historic record for the area. The councilmember, Basma Kazim, attributed the rise in poverty levels to the challenges experienced by the agricultural sector, on which Diwaniyah is highly dependent, and on the lack of local government support for small businesses.
On May 27, the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Dhi Qar reported on a disturbing level of overcrowding in two prisons in Nasiriyah. According to the office, the prison for serious crimes currently holds 10,000 inmates in a facility designed for 4,000, while the smaller prison for lighter sentences now holds almost 800 inmates in space meant for 250. The Office of the High Commission noted that the overcrowding has a negative effect on the psychological condition and physical health of the prisoners, adding that the commission had received multiple reports of inmate death as well as complaints about torture.
On May 29, the Iraqi government repatriated 188 Turkish children born to suspected ISIS members to Turkey. Some of the older children in the group had been tried and convicted for illegal immigration to Iraq. While Turkey accepted these children, Iraq still struggles to return children from other nations who have arrived in Iraq and are linked to ISIS. Earlier this year, Reuters estimated that over 1,000 children connected to ISIS are still entangled in legal proceedings or are imprisoned in Iraq. Some of these children are too young to leave their parents who have been imprisoned, while others over the age of nine are held liable for crimes under Iraq law.
On May 30, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issued a report stating that the first 10 families are returning to the Assyrian town of Batnaya in Ninewa Province thanks to the efforts of the UNDP to rehabilitate the town. The town’s 6,000 families fled it during ISIS’ onslaught in 2014 and have not returned since. The UNDP said that it hopes to complete the restoration of 400 homes in Batnaya, allowing about 1,600 displaced persons to return. The UNDP also intends to carry out 19 other projects in the town, to include improvement of the water network, building and rebuilding schools and a health center, and reopening local shops.

IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties
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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: May 16 - May 23, 2019 - EPIC - Enabling Peace in Iraq Center

 Key Takeaways:

  • New U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Confirmed as Tensions between Iran and the U.S. Continue to Affect Iraq; Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts – On May 16, Matthew Tueller assumed his position as the new United States ambassador to Iraq. On May 18, ExxonMobil evacuated its foreign workers from the West Qurna oil field due to reports about growing threats to Americans in Iraq due to tensions with Iran. On May 18, the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised its citizens to leave Iraq and Iran immediately and cautioned against travel to these two nations. On May 20, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Turkish Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz in Baghdad. On May 20, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with representatives from the Kurdish parliament to discuss the relationship between the Federal Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). On May 21, United States Charge d’Affaires Joey Hood met with Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih Fayyad in Baghdad. On May 21, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi stated that Iraq will be sending delegations to Washington and Tehran to help “halt tensions” between those two states. On May 22, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Kuwait for a two-day visit. On May 23, United States Charge d’Affaires Joey Hood stated that Iraq was granted another 90-day waiver allowing for the purchase of energy from Iran. more…
  • Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq Despite Counter-Terrorism Operations; Rocket Lands in Baghdad’s Green Zone; U.S. Reportedly Arming Sunni Tribes – On May 17, ISIS announced that they were behind the burning of farms in Khanaqin. On May 18, the group torched more farms around Diyala. On May 19, a rocket landed the in Green Zone in Baghdad, less than a mile away from the U.S. Embassy. An Iraqi official within the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services told the Daily Beast that a Iranian-backed group, Kataib Hezbollah, fired the rocket. On May 19, a roadside IED detonated outside of the town of Balad Ruz in Diyala Province, killing killing and injuring 26 Popular Mobilization Units members. On May 19, a senior official in al-Anbar Province told the pan-Arab daily al-Araby al-Jadid that Anbar tribal leaders met with U.S. military officials at the Ain al-Assad air base. The Americans reportedly promised the tribes that they will provide them with weapons. On May 19, some Iraqi officials warned Iranian-backed militias from antagonising or attacking American troops in Iraq. On May 20, a roadside IED exploded south of Tel ‘Afar in Ninewa Province. The blast killed one civilian and wounded three others. On May 22, ISIS fighters launched an attack on police in Salah ad-Din. This resulted in the death of one policeman and injuring of five others. On May 23, a vehicle-borne IED exploded in the al-Karabilah area of Qa’im, killing between one to two people. more…
  • Kurdish Families Expelled from Kirkuk; Some IDPs Return Home, While Others are Displaced Anew – On May 18, an official source told Shafaaq News that 600 Kurdish families had been expelled from three villages in Kirkuk province. On May 19, more than 120 internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned to their homes in Qaim. On May 22, 132 Yazidis left Erbil for Toulouse, France, where they will resettle as part of a cooperative program between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the French government. On May 22, the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) reported that it had completed the exhumation of twelve mass graves of Yazidis from a list of 16 sites that were identified in Kojo. 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.

New U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Confirmed as Tensions between Iran and the U.S. Continue to Affect Iraq; Iraqi Officials Meet Foreign Counterparts
On May 16, Matthew Tueller assumed his position as the new United States ambassador to Iraq. Tueller entered the Foreign Service in 1985 and has worked in Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, and Iraq. He has stated that he will work to make Iraq a “pillar of stability” in the region and to better relations between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
On May 18, ExxonMobil evacuated its foreign workers from the West Qurna oil field due to reports about growing threats to Americans in Iraq due to tensions with Iran. Twenty-eight workers were flown to Dubai, with about 30 others staying in housing for foreign employees in Basra province. On May 19, Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban stated that the major oil deal expected to be signed between Iraq and ExxonMobil has been set back due to this evacuation just as it was about to be signed. Ghadhban claimed that the evacuation was done for political reasons, not security reasons, and called the move “unacceptable and unjustified.” He also stated that oil production has not been hindered by the evacuation.
On May 18, the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised its citizens to leave Iraq and Iran immediately and cautioned against travel to these two nations. “The unstable situation in the region and the recent escalations and threats against security and stability” were stated as the reason for this announcement.
On May 20, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with Turkish Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz in Baghdad. Salih reiterated Iraq’s goal to become a mediator in the region to facilitate security and political stability. Yildiz confirmed Turkey’s support for Iraq and desire to work with Iraq to better relations between the two nations.
On May 20, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi met with representatives from the Kurdish parliament to discuss the relationship between the Federal Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). According to Kurdistan 24, the leaders discussed abuses against Kurds in Kirkuk and Khanaqin including displacement from their homes.
On May 21, United States Charge d’Affaires Joey Hood met with Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih Fayyad in Baghdad. Hood stated that “the United States is very confident in the determination of the Iraqi security forces to protect the Iraqi people” and that the United States is opposed to actors using Iraqi territory to attack another country. Hood also vowed that the United States will continue to offer advice, training, and equipment for Iraqi security forces. On May 22, Hood denied that the United States is increasing its military presence in Iraq at this time.
On May 21, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi stated that Iraq will be sending delegations to Washington and Tehran to help “halt  tensions” between those two states. Abdul-Mahdi stressed that no actors in Iraq want a war between the United States and Iran.
On May 22, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Kuwait for a two-day visit. His delegation includes the Minister of Oil Jabbar Alluaibi, Minister of Finance Fuad Mohammed Hussein, as well as other ministers. Abdul-Mahdi met with Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah to discuss how to increase cooperation between the two nations, especially in the areas of construction, reconstruction, and services. The leaders also discussed recent international and regional developments.
On May 23, United States Charge d’Affaires Joey Hood stated that Iraq was granted another 90-day waiver allowing for the purchase of energy from Iran. This is the third waiver issued to Iraq, which excludes Iraq from the sanctions the United States has placed on Iran. These exemptions are given mindful of the fact that Iraq could lose about one-third of the country’s power, which comes from Iran’s natural gas, if it were to abide by the sanctions. Iraq is the only country to receive a waiver of this kind after April. Hood also stressed that the United States is helping Iraq to become more energy independent.
On May 23, Iraqi President Barham Salih officially appointed Mansour al-Mareed as the new governor of Ninewa province. Mareed replaced Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan al-Akoub who was fired after more than 100 people died in the ferry boating sinking in Mosul on March 21.

Militant Attacks Continue Throughout Iraq Despite Counter-Terrorism Operations; Rocket Lands in Baghdad’s Green Zone; U.S. Reportedly Arming Sunni Tribes
On May 17, a unknown gunman fired on a government car in Baghdad, wounding the passenger. The vehicle was carrying the Assistant Deputy Director of the Ministry of Construction and Housing. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and a investigation into the attack was launched.
On May 17, ISIS announced that they were behind the burning of farms in Khanaqin. On May 18, the group torched more farms around Diyala. Locals reported that multiple acres of wheat had been burned. On May 21st, more fires broke out around Hawija resulting in the loss of about 247 acres of wheat. PUKMedia reported that groups of ISIS fighters are entering villages and farms around Makhmur and demanding taxes from the locals. ISIS fighters then burn the fields of those who fail to comply with their demands.
On May 18, a motorcycle-borne IED exploded in central Mosul city, without causing fatalities. Reports conflicted regarding the number of people injured in the attack: a source at the scene said there was three wounded, while the Security Media Cell said there were only two wounded.
On May 19, a rocket landed the in Green Zone in Baghdad, less than a mile away from the U.S. Embassy. Iraqi Military Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul, stated that the projectile was a Katyusha rocket fired from eastern Baghdad, landing near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Iraqi media reported and the U.S. Military confirmed there were no casualties. The Washington Post reported that Iraqi and American politicians believed that a militia belonging to the Popular Mobilization Units was likely responsible. On May 20th, The Daily Beast published a report citing from an unnamed Iraqi official within the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) that a Iranian-backed group, Kataib Hezbollah, fired the rocket. The next day on May 21st, the CTS contested the story published by The Daily Beast, saying that the claims were “baseless” and that any official statements will come directly from the agency itself. Later that day, a previously unknown group by the name of “Operations of Martyr Ali Manour” claimed responsibility for the rocket attack in retaliation for President Trump’s pardoning of Michael Behenna. Behenna had been found guilty of murdering an Iraqi detainee. The group claimed they were also responsible for prior Katyusha rocket attacks and vowed to continue attacks as long as Behenna remains out of prison. The legitimacy of this responsibility claim is in question, however. On May 22, Joe Hood, the Chargé d’affaires for the American Embassy in Iraq, stated that the U.S. government is unsure regarding the identity of the attackers and whether the embassy was the original target.
On May 19, a roadside IED detonated outside of the town of Balad Ruz in Diyala Province, killing seven and injuring 26 Popular Mobilization Units members. According to a statement by the PMU, the 20th Brigade of the PMU was on its way to Basra when their convoy triggered the IED. The wounded were then quickly taken to the hospital in Ba’qubah.
On May 19, a senior official in al-Anbar Province told the pan-Arab daily al-Araby al-Jadid that Anbar tribal leaders met with U.S. military officials at the Ain al-Assad air base. The Americans reportedly promised the tribes that they will provide them with weapons. According to the source, commanders within the Popular Mobilization Units who are close to Iran are aware of the American military assistance. According to the source, the provision of material is “an American card to pressure factions that serve as Iranian proxies.”
On May 19, some Iraqi officials warned Iranian-backed militias from antagonising or attacking American troops in Iraq following intelligence reports about the increased likelihood of such attacks. A member of the Iraqi Security Council, Sayed al-Jayashi declared that any group attacking American Forces would become the enemies of  the Iraqi Government. A spokesperson for Muqtada al-Sadr, who has adopted a nationalistic and anti-Iranian position in recent years, also stated  “unfortunately, we have groups that want to be more Iranian than Iran itself… The government needs to take a stronger position against those groups. He added that “Iraq can not be a place where Americans and Iranians settle their accounts.”
On May 20, a roadside IED exploded south of Tel ‘Afar in Ninewa Province. The blast killed one civilian and wounded three others. According to a security source who spoke to al-Sumaria, the device intended to target civilians as they harvested crops.
On May 22, 13 mortars landed south of Kan’an in Diyala, injuring one women. The Security Media Cell, an Iraqi governmental body, reported that security forces are conducting a search of the area.
On May 22, ISIS fighters launched an attack on police in Salah ad-Din. This resulted in the death of one policeman and injuring of five others.
On May 23, a vehicle-borne IED exploded in the al-Karabilah area of Qa’im. Reports conflicted on the number of deaths and casualties. Shafaaq quoted a security source that stated one person was killed and four were wounded. al-Sumaria reported a statement from Ahmed al-Dulaimi, an Anbar security official, that two people had been killed and three wounded.

Kurdish Families Expelled from Kirkuk; Some IDPs Return Home, While Others are Displaced Anew
On May 18, an official source told Shafaaq News that 600 Kurdish families had been expelled from three villages in Kirkuk province. According to the source, the final decision to remove the families was made by the local oil company on whose land the Kurdish families were allegedly squatting. In another village in Kirkuk, Arabs had seized Kurdish abandoned homes. On May 18, Arab authorities in Kirkuk denied allegations made by Kurds about a systematic “Arabization” program and demographic changes in Kirkuk province following the Kurdistan independence referendum and takeover of the province by the central state in 2017. On May 21, the head of the Arabic Council in Kirkuk rejected claims that the governor of the province had been removing Kurds from official positions and appointing Arabs instead, stating that many of these positions fell under the mandate of the greater Iraqi government and not the governor.
On May 19, more than 120 internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned to their homes in Qaim. According to a statement issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, the IDPs voluntarily left camps established during the fight against ISIS in Iraq and returned to liberated areas in Anbar Province. However, news organizations and humanitarian NGOs have previously documented that many of those returning do so due to lack of better options and do not feel safe to return. On May 20, Kurdistan 24 reported that over 550 families of IDPs who had returned to their homes in Ninewa province returned once again to displacement camps, owing to the lack of services and a precarious security situation in the Ninewa and Mosul areas.
On May 22, 132 Yazidis left Erbil for Toulouse, France, where they will resettle as part of a cooperative program between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the French government. IOM worked with French President Emmanuel Macron and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Yazidi human rights advocate Nadia Murad to facilitate the resettlement process. “As this group of Yazidi families touch down in Toulouse and surrounding areas, local nongovernmental organizations are ready to assist them to facilitate their integration in the host communities,” said Ambassador Eric Chevallier, a French official involved in the effort.
On May 22, the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) reported that it had completed the exhumation of twelve mass graves of Yazidis from a list of 16 sites that were identified in Kojo. Kojo, a small town in the Sinjar District, home to about 1,700 people before 2014, was the site of mass executions during the genocide ISIS perpetrated against the Yazidi people as it swept across northwestern Iraq. The team seeks to collect evidence from these graves that can be used in further investigations into the crimes of ISIS.

IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

Copy of Casualties Due To IEDs June 6, 2019 - June 13, 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
06/08/19al-Saaduniya village, Kirkuk12
06/08/19al-Asriya village, Kirkuk11
06/08/19al-Gharab, west of Kirkuk21
06/08/19Khanaqin, northeastern Diyaa01
06/08/19Mahbubiyah village, west of Ramadi01
06/06/19Sinuni village, northeast of Mosul04
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.

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