Iraq in April 2023
4 April 2023
- Huge Losses… How Does the Kurdistan Region Face the Repercussions of the French Arbitration Decision? (Al-Nahar Al-Arabi). According to unaudited figures, stopping the export of the Kurdistan region’s oil via Turkey means the region’s loss of financial revenues of about 400-500 thousand barrels per day. The nominal net loss of this cut, if it continues for a whole year, amounts to about $10 billion, which is the amount that will be deducted from the Iraqi budget, which must pay 12.6 percent of the general budget to the Kurdistan region, after deducting sovereign expenses.
- Turkish Airlines Temporarily Suspends Flights to Sulaimani Airport (Kurdistan 24). Turkish Airlines has reportedly suspended flights to Sulaimani International Airport for the month of April…It is not the first time Turkey stopped flights to Sulaimani. Ankara grounded flights to Sulaimani for over a year following the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum in Sept. 2017…The reported Turkish ban comes after a helicopter carrying members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from Rojava (northeast Syria) to Sulaimani crashed in Duhok in late March, killing nine SDF fighters.
5 April 2023
- Kurdistan Region Leadership Welcomes the Erbil-Baghdad Agreement on Oil Exports (Kurdistan 24). President Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), on Tuesday in a phone call thanked Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani, the Prime Minister of the Iraqi Republic, according to a statement from Barzani Headquarters. President Barzani described the Erbil-Baghdad agreement to resume oil export from the Kurdistan Region as a historic step, the statement reads. The information added that he thanked the Iraqi Prime Minister for his efforts to resolve this critical issue and reach a mutual agreement.
6 April 2023
- French Energy Giant TotalEnergies Signed a $10 Billion Agreement with Iraq After Long Delay (Daily Sabah). The contract – which includes investments in oil, gas, and solar production – was signed in September 2021, but a new government took office in Iraq last year, and its demands did not please TotalEnergies. Baghdad sought a 40% stake in the Gas Growth Integrated Project (GGIP), but Iraqi officials said in February that TotalEnergies wanted Iraq to have a smaller stake. Iraq’s cabinet said in a statement late Tuesday that it had accepted to reduce its demands to 30% “because of the importance of resolving the issue.”
- Turkey Suspends Sulaymaniyah Airport Flights Amid PKK Activities (Bas News). Turkey has announced the closure of its airspace to flights to and from the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaymaniyah airport from April 3 to July 3, citing increased activities by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the region.
12 April 2023
- Finance Ministry: The Annual Budget Relies Heavily on Oil Sales, Making Iraq Vulnerable to Global Crises (Al Iraq News). The Ministry of Finance has released a statement indicating that the revenue for January in the fiscal year 2023 exceeded 7 trillion dinars. The report highlighted that oil contributed to 96% of the federal budget.
April 13, 2023
- KRG to Investigate Sulaymaniyah Airport Attack (Bas News). Kurdistan Region PM Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss various topics, including the recent attack on Sulaymaniyah Airport, forming a committee to Investigate the incident…PM Barzani stressed that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) denounces the incident at the Sulaymaniyah airport, explaining that his government is unaware of any activities taking place at the airport that violate the laws of the KRG.
14 April 2023
- Kurdistan Regional PM Welcomes Emirati Delegation (Kurdistan 24). KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani highlighted the strong friendship and relationship between the Kurdistan Region and the United Arab Emirates, expressing gratitude to the UAE President and Vice President for their ongoing support of the Kurdistan Region. Furthermore, the UAE Cabinet Affairs Assistant…confirmed his country’s readiness to offer all forms of coordination and cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
- Italian Prime Minister Hosts Kurdistan Region President (Kurdistan 24). Nechirvan Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region, was officially welcomed by Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, in a ceremony held in Rome on Thursday. Meloni emphasized that Italy maintains solid relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, ensuring security and stability.
18 April 2023
- KRG Delegation to Meet with Talabani to Bridge Differences (Bas News). Several ministers across the political spectrum represent the KRG delegation. The political assassination of a PUK defector Colonel Hawkar Jaff in Erbil last year, along with PUK’s “mismanagement of government revenues” in Sulaymaniyah, complicated relations between Kurdistan’s ruling parties and also delayed parliamentary elections.
- Iraqi PM Discusses Trade, Economic Ties with Ukrainian FM (Bas News). Prime Minister Sudani “emphasized the government’s openness to expanding the horizons of cooperation between the two countries, pointing to Iraq’s principled stance in rejecting wars and armed conflicts, and adopting dialogue to resolve global and regional problems.
- Unknown Drone Falls at Baghdad International Airport (Al Hadath). A security source stated, “An unidentified drone fell at the Special Training School within Baghdad International Airport.” The source added that whether the aircraft carried explosive materials or was intended for photographic purposes remains to be seen.
19 April 2023
- Iraq Expert Says Turkey Wants Guarantees from Baghdad Before Allowing Kurdish Oil Exports to Resume (Al-Monitor). Bilal Wahab, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, believes Turkey wants pledges from Baghdad that it will not seek further compensation for periods uncovered by the arbitration case. The standoff is leading to a considerable loss of revenue for the Iraqi Kurds.
- Iraq Approves 400 Billion Dinar Monthly Transfer for KRG Employee Salaries (Bas News). According to Fars Issa, the representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Baghdad, the funds will continue to be sent until the approval of the budget by the Iraqi parliament. The move comes after PM Barzani signed a new interim deal on April 4 during his visit to Baghdad.
- Four IS Militants Killed in Kirkuk (Bas News). The airstrike targeted a hideout belonging to the Islamic State in the Wadi al-Shay area in Kirkuk province,” Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) confirmed in a statement without further details.
20 April 2023
- Iraqi Religious Official Escapes from Prison (Al-Monitor). Saad Kumbesh is the former president of the Sunni Endowment Office in Iraq. He was arrested on March 21. On April 11, Kumbesh was imprisoned for four years for corruption… Kumbesh’s escape could be embarrassing for the government’s anti-corruption efforts
21 April 2023
- Baghdad Court Issued an Order Summon to Patriarch Louis Sacco (Twitter). The court charged the patriarch with falsifying and illegally selling property and real estate for Christians.
- Iran’s Ambassador in Baghdad Says Exit of the Sadrist Movement Creates a Political Vacuum (Fares Agency). In a statement to the Al Sharqiya channel, Ambassador Al Sadiq said, in response to a question about whether the balance would be disturbed by the absence of the Sadrist movement from the political arena in Iraq, “Naturally, Sadr’s absence creates a vacuum. The presence of the current in the political process is necessary…I hear from the Iraqi brothers that they are attempting to persuade His Eminence Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr to return to the political process.”
- Iraqi Prime Minister Dismisses Head Green Zone Security after a Prominent Prisoner Escaped (Al Arabiya). In response to “this incident and the report detailing the escape of former head of the Sunni Endowment in Iraq Saad Kambesh,” Prime Minister Al-Sudani decided to dismiss the Special Division Commander, Lieutenant General Hamid Al-Zuhairi, due to the “inadequate measures” taken. Saad Kambesh died while being arrested by security forces in the city of Mosul on Thursday.
24 April 2023
- Al-Sudani’s Intention to Carry out a Cabinet Reshuffle Raises Fears of Political Differences (Al Sharq Al Awsat). During a recent televised interview, Al-Sudani disclosed that he had proposed to his ministers that they would be subject to a performance evaluation after six months, which could result in a change of those who prove incapable of fulfilling their duties. This move would hold his coalition partners in “the State Administration” accountable for their responsibilities.
- Head of High Electoral Commission Resigns Amid Pressure from Pro-Iranian Parties, Raising Fraud Concerns (Al Iraq News). Sources from within the High Electoral Commission revealed on Sunday that the President of the Commission, Adnan Jalil Khalaf, resigned from his post due to “political threats to dismiss him from his post during the next stage by some political actors”…A member of the Commission’s Board of Trustees, speaking anonymously, said that political forces aim to form a new commission without judges and have parties select their members based on the old method and according to the quota system.
25 April 2023
- Denmark Withdraws its Forces from Iraq (Al Iraqi News). Today, the Danish Ministry of Defense announced the withdrawal of all its military personnel from Iraq and Syria who participated in operations against the terrorist “ISIS.” The Danish defense statement stated: “The military leadership decided to withdraw and return to Denmark because The number of ISIS terrorists has decreased to such an extent that there is no urgent need for our contribution, and also because we need our forces in our country.”
- Turkiye Kills 21 Militants in Iraq and Syria in 4 Days (Iraqi News). Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, said that the Anadolu Agency reported that 21 militants had been killed in Iraq and Syria in the previous four days. Akar explained that the Turkish military forces continue to combat terrorism in northern Syria and Iraq.
26 April 2023
- ISIS Attacks Decreased by 68% in Iraq (Iraqi News). However, last month an Iraqi general said ISIS still had up to 500 active fighters in the country, now based in remote desert and mountain hideouts. A UN report mentioned that ISIS cells operate in rural mountain areas, leveraging the porous Iraqi-Syrian border and retaining maneuverability to evade attacks while trying to rebuild and recover.
- Iraq Completes 100% of Electrical Interconnection with Turkiye (Iraqi News). However, Iraq is waiting to prepare an appropriate pricing list to implement the final operating agreement with Turkiye…The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity spokesperson emphasized that Iraq is serious about the electrical interconnection with neighboring countries and that Iraq is initiating electrical interconnection with the Gulf countries, which will provide the Basra governorate with 500 megawatts.
27 April 2023
- Iraqi Security Arrests 8 ISIS Terrorists in Kirkuk (Iraqi News). During investigations, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior mentioned that the suspects confessed that they worked for the terrorist group after receiving special training. The statement added that one of the suspects was transporting foodstuffs and aid to ISIS terrorists.
- Turkish Fighters Target the PKK North of Dohuk (The New Arab). For the third consecutive week, Turkish forces persist in carrying out targeted military operations in northern Iraq, spanning the Nineveh and Kurdistan regions, focusing on Sinjar, Qandil, Sidekan, Soran, Zab, and Zakho. The recent operations have involved airstrikes and assassinations of prominent leaders within the opposition “PKK,” which Ankara considers a “terrorist organization.”