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Iraq in June 2023

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June 1, 2023

  1. Iraq Anticipates an Iranian Strike Against the Kurdish Opposition (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Iraq anticipated a possible Iranian strike against the Kurdish opposition groups present in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, after Iraqi National Security Adviser Qassem Al-Araji traveled to Baghdad, Sulaymaniyah, and Tehran recently for security talks between the two countries.
  2. Iraq Allocates $417 Million for New Marine Pipeline (Iraqi News).  Sky News Arabia reported that in a step aimed at boosting oil exports, the Iraqi government allocated about $417 million to build a third offshore oil export pipeline.
  3. Iraq’s Christians Fight to Save Threatened Ancient Language (Al Monitor). Iraq’s shrunken and conflict-scarred Christian community is launching a new television channel to save their dying Syriac language, spoken for more than 2,000 years.

June 2, 2023

  1. Iraqi Interior Minister: We Asked Iran to Prevent Drug Smuggling into Iraq (Al Iraq News). Yesterday, the Minister of Interior, Abd al-Amir al-Shammari, announced a discussion of several important files with the Iranian Minister of Interior, Ahmed Vahidi. At the same time, he indicated that the Iranian side had handed over complete information about drug smuggling networks.
  2. Lukoil Raises Oil Production in Iraq (Iraqi News). On Thursday, an official in the oil sector in Iraq mentioned that the Russian oil company Lukoil increased its oil production in the West Qurna-2 oilfield in southern Iraq by 80,000 barrels per day, Reuters reported. The official in the oil field said that production increased after 47 new wells were connected, adding that the production in the West Qurna-2 oilfield could reach 500,000 barrels per day in a short period if necessary.

June 5, 2023

  1. Iraq Repatriates 50 IS Jihadists, 168 Family Members from Syria (Bas News). Iraq has repatriated 50 Islamic State (IS) jihadists and 168 Iraqi family members of jihadists from Syria, according to an Iraqi official. The move comes as part of ongoing efforts to address the issue of foreign fighters and their families.
  2. Turkish Aircraft Bomb PKK Positions in Northern Iraq (Alaraby). Security sources in the Kurdistan region of Iraq reported that Turkish fighter jets bombed positions of the “Kurdistan Workers’” militants, north of Dohuk Governorate, in the far north of Iraq.
  3. Iraq: 12 ISIS Militants Killed in Airstrikes in Diyala and Kirkuk (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Today (Sunday), the Iraqi Military Intelligence announced that Iraqi F-16 aircraft carried out successful air strikes, killing 12 ISIS members in the provinces of Diyala and Kirkuk.
  4. An Armed Iraqi Faction Announces the Start of Fighting the “American Occupation” (Rudaw Arabia). An Iraqi armed faction, calling itself the “Al-Sabireen Brigades,” announced that it would start fighting the US forces in Iraq.

June 6, 2023

  1. New Iraqi Civil Group Warns of “Parallel Armies” in Iraq (New Arab). A new Iraqi civil group in Baghdad warned on Monday of what it described as “the creation of parallel armies” to the Iraqi army in the country, about the support of the armed factions and groups, and the expansion of their military arsenal and personnel base. The “Rejection group,” which includes Iraqi journalists and liberal and civil activists, held a press conference…demanding the use of constitutional options to build the state and establish a new governance system.

June 7, 2023

  1. Iraq Appoints New Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (Iraqi News). On Monday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the diplomatic credentials of the new Iraqi Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Safia Taleb Al-Suhail.

June 8, 2023

  1. Prominent ISIS Leader killed in an operation north of Baghdad (Al Arabiya). Today, Wednesday, the Baghdad Operations Command and the Security Media Cell in Iraq announced the killing of four ISIS members, one of them a prominent leader, in a security operation in the north of the Iraqi capital…Adnan al-Luhaibi, the ISIS “governor of north Baghdad,” was killed in an elaborate ambush.
  2. US Ambassador: Changing Iraq’s System of Government is a Matter for the Iraqis Themselves (Mustaqila). The US ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski, considered that the issue of changing the Iraqi system belongs to the Iraqis themselves, noting that her focus is in another direction…The American ambassador said in an interview with the Iraqi Shafaq News agency, “This question is directed to the Iraqis. My focus is on expanding the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between the United States and Iraq beyond security into a comprehensive relationship that delivers results for the Iraqi people.”
  3. Iraqi Security Closes 20 Smuggling Routes Between Iran and Iraq (Iraqi News).  An Iraqi official confirmed on Tuesday that the Iraqi border forces embarked on a security plan to close illegal smuggling routes in the eastern Diyala governorate near the borders with Iran.

June 9, 2023

  1. UN to Launch Digitized Archive of IS Crimes in Iraq (Bas News). The United Nations is preparing to unveil a centralized archive containing millions of digitized documents that serve as evidence of crimes committed by the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. UNITAD, the UN body established to investigate IS crimes in the country, initiated its fieldwork half a decade ago to bring the jihadists to justice. 
  2. Reopening of Key Northeast Syria-Kurdistan Region Border Crossing (Kurdistan 24). On Monday, the border crossing’s authority announced that operations at the entry point between the two sides have resumed…The border was closed in late May following tensions between the Region’s authorities and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), as the former accused northeastern Syria’s officials of breaching the previous cooperation agreements regarding the border. 

June 12, 2023

  1. US Issues License Allowing Iraq To Pay $2.7B Energy Debt To Iran (Iran International). A senior Iraqi official has confirmed that his country has acquired a sanctions waiver from the US to pay $2.7 billion of its debt for gas and electricity to Iran…Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein was given the clearance during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday’s sidelines of the Riyadh Conference.
  2. Al-Sudani to the Popular Mobilization Militia: You are Imam Al-Mahdi’s Soldiers, and the State’s Treasury is Under Your Command (Al Iraq News). Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani visited the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) headquarters on Saturday. According to a statement by the Popular Mobilization Authority, the PM…assured them that they were the soldiers of Imam al-Mahdi and that the state treasury and its institutions were under their command. The PMF desired orders from the Commander-in-Chief.
  3. Iraq-GCC Launch Electrical Grid Interconnection Project (Iraqi News). A special occasion to commemorate the beginning of the electrical connectivity project between Iraq and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council took place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

June 13, 2023

  1. Iraq to Sign Trade and Financial Agreements with Egypt (Iraqi News). On Monday, the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Iraq and Egypt would sign memoranda of understanding in trade and financial fields… The report explained that the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, accompanied by a high-level government delegation, started an official visit to Egypt on Monday, where he will hold meetings and discussions with senior Egyptian officials.

June 14, 2023

  1. Erbil Welcomes, after Anger, the Passage of the Iraqi Budget (Elaph). After the Kurdish anger that was directed at Iraq’s general budget, the President of the Kurdistan Region welcomed the budget’s passage on Tuesday, stressing the need to implement it fairly and considering the region’s status as a constitutional political entity. But the president of the region expressed regret that the parliament’s discussions of the budget items in recent days “have witnessed incorrect behavior towards the rights of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas (between Baghdad and Erbil) on the part of some representatives.” And he stressed that what happened was not consistent with the principles of the political agreement of the State Administration Alliance (Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish) that formed the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani last October.

June 15, 2023

  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Says Iraqi Government Will Build Headquarters for Popular Mobilization Forces Outside the Cities (Al Hadath). On the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq , Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani confirmed that the government is establishing special camps and headquarters for the PMF outside the cities. “The popular mobilization cannot be neglected,” Sudani said in a speech delivered on Wednesday on the occasion of the establishment of the PMF…He also pointed out that “the government is working on a law that guarantees a decent retirement for the people of the PMF.”
  2. Iraqi Security Forces Seize 44,000 Captagon Drug Pills (Iraqi News). Iraqi security forces on Tuesday said they had arrested a trafficker and seized 44,000 captagon tablets meant for sale in the country, where consumption of the amphetamine-like drug has surged…The regional captagon trade has exploded in recent years, and the security service emphasized the pills seized had been meant for sale inside Iraq.

June 16, 2023

  1. Iraqi, Turkish Officials to Discuss Resumption of Oil Exports from Northern Iraq (Iraqi News). The Undersecretary of the Iraqi Oil Minister, Basim Mohammed Khudair, stated on Thursday that a Turkish delegation would meet with Iraqi officials in the oil sector in Baghdad on June 19 to discuss the resumption of oil exports from northern Iraq…Khudair elaborated that the two parties agree it is necessary to resume oil exports as soon as possible, explaining that Iraq is ready to pump 500,000 barrels per day if both parties agree on resuming oil exports.
  2. Iraqi Prime Minister Agreed to Allow More than 20 Million Iranian Visitors Enter Iraq Free of Charge (Iraqi News). Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani approved, on Thursday, the entry of millions of Iranian visitors to Iraq during the Arbaeen event of Imam Hussein, even if the number exceeds more than 20 million visitors, and an informed political source added that groups of Iranian intelligence and guards would accompany the visitors. The source confirmed that their entry and exit are not specified on a specific date. The source indicated that Iraq is losing tens of billions of dollars due to the entry of this number of visitors because they are exempted from entry fees of $40 per person. Iraq’s budget suffers from a financial deficit of about $49 billion. 
  3. Emir of Qatar Visits Baghdad to Discuss Qatari Investments in Iraq (Elaph). According to official Iraqi and Qatari sources, the talks of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, with the Iraqi presidencies during his visit, which is the second to Iraq, will discuss several files related to expanding Qatari investments in Iraq, his country’s participation in the “Development Road” project, and cooperation in the fields of energy and gas.

June 19, 2023

  1. Iraq Calls on Foreign Companies to Bid for Gas Exploration (Iraqi News). The Iraqi Ministry of Oil called on foreign companies on Sunday to bid for contracts to explore and develop natural gas reserves in 11 new blocks, according to a statement issued by the Oil Ministry…The step is part of Iraq’s endeavors to produce much-needed natural gas in power plants and reduce gas imports that affect the country’s budget.
  2. Federal Reserve Bank Sends Team to Audit Iraqi Banks (Al Mustaqila). A team from the US Federal Reserve Bank arrived in Baghdad several days ago to check the outputs of 3 Iraqi banks that the Central Bank of Iraq had stopped dealing with in dollars…The presence of the American financial team means that the American guardianship over the movement of Iraqi money is strict, and that the political forces have realized that Washington can put pressure on Iraq financially by stopping the flow of money. The money accumulated in the US Federal Reserve means the collapse of the Iraqi currency against the dollar.

June 20, 2023

  1. Foreign Workers Send $8 Billion in Remittances out of Iraq Annually (Iraq News Network). The increase in the number of unorganized foreign workers constitutes another challenge to the Iraqi economy, which leads to a rise in unemployment among national workers and the exit of large monthly sums of money in hard currency from the country, in addition to the exploitation of financial transfers of foreign workers to create new means of smuggling dollars, by money laundering networks. According to unofficial estimates, funds leaving Iraq as remittances for foreign workers are estimated at more than $8 billion annually. 

June 21, 2023

  1. Prime Minister Sudani Pledged to Iran to Implement its Political, Economic, and Security Desires in the Region (Iraq News Network). Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani affirmed on Tuesday that the Baghdad International Conference 2023 will have a different vision based on the principle of development partnerships and economic integration among the region’s countries, according to a statement issued by al-Sudani’s office. This came during his meeting with the head of the Strategic Council for Iranian Foreign Relations Kamal Kharazi and his accompanying delegation.
  2. Iraq Will Prosecute Thousands of its Citizens Who Were Extradited from Syria (Elaph). Iraq announced that it was preparing to prosecute 3,000 terrorist citizens handed over from northeast Syria, warning of the continued presence of the Syrian al-Hawl camp on its borders, which includes 10,000 foreigners who pose a threat to its security and the region.

June 22, 2023

  1. Iraq’s Debt is $116 Billion, and the 2023 Budget Depends on Foreign Loans (Iraq News). On Wednesday, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, the financial advisor to the Prime Minister, clarified the percentage of foreign loans in the Federal Budget Law and its disbursement mechanism. Saleh said in an interview that “foreign loans are for the purposes of investment projects, and they are limited in all cases, and they constitute only 20% of government investment spending in the 2023 budget, which constitutes 25% of total public spending.”

June 23, 2023

  1. Iraq Returns Citizens Who Fled Towards Syria During the Battles With ISIS (Syria TV). On Wednesday, the Iraqi authorities announced the approval of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, for the return of more than a thousand Iraqi citizens from Syria after they were forced to flee to Syrian territory during the military operations against the “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Mosul.
  2. Parliamentary Committee Says Türkiye Obstructs KRG Oil Exports for Political and Economic Reasons (Iraq News). On Thursday, a member of the Parliamentary Oil and Energy Committee, Kazem Al-Touki, revealed the reasons for disrupting the Kurdistan region’s oil exports through Jahan and said Iraq asked Turkiye to resume oil imports.

June 26, 2023

  1. Iraqi Central Bank Sold More than $1.2 Billion to Banks of Influential Parties in Last Week’s Dollar Auction (Iraq News). During five days of dollar auctions last week, the Central Bank sold $1,200,447,100…up by 20.91% from what was recorded the week before….During the past week, foreign remittances amounted to $1,073,970,100, an increase of 80.5% compared to cash sales, which amounted to $209,470,000. Experts explained that the sales went in cash and transfers abroad to finance foreign trade. At the same time, the selling price of documentary credits and international settlements for electronic cards amounted to 1305 dinars per dollar, while the selling price of remittances abroad and the cash sale price amounted to 1310 dinars per dollar.
  2. Kurdish Political Source Says Erdogan Ordered Barzani to Hand Over the Oil File to the Iraqi Federal Government (Iraq News) An informed Kurdish political source revealed on Saturday that the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, agreed to hand over the region’s oil to the federal government, specifically the National Oil Company. The source stated that Barzani “agreed to hand over the region’s oil file to the federal government because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told him during Barzani’s recent visit to Ankara that he would only deal with Baghdad, and that would be among the agendas of Erdogan’s visit to Iraq on June 25.”
  3. Iraq’s Oil Exports to China are Declining as Beijing Increases its Imports from Iran (Iraq News). Chinese customs data showed, on Saturday, a decline in the percentage of Iraqi oil’s acquisition of all China’s imports of crude oil for May 2023, to reach only 9%, after it was 11% in the previous months.

June 27, 2023

  1. Tehran Holds Baghdad Responsible for Preventing Armed Groups from Attacking Iran from Northern Iraq (Elaph). Iran held Iraq responsible for the security of the common border and the implementation of their security agreement, which states that armed groups will not be allowed to use its northern lands to launch any cross-border attacks on its territory…The official spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanaani, said during a press conference in Tehran today that it is based on the good neighborly relations between Iran and Iraq and the security agreement between the two sides.
  2. Pro-Iran Political Bloc Calls on Prime Minister Sudani to Investigate Masrour Barzani’s Visit to Israel (Iraq News).On Monday, the leader of the Al-Fateh Alliance, Hamid al-Moussawi, called on the concerned authorities to ensure the authenticity of the visit of the head of the regional government, Masrour Barzani, to the Zionist entity in an unannounced visit. He communicated with the Zionist entity for any public or legal figure, regardless of location, calling on the concerned authorities to “ensure the validity of the visit of the Prime Minister of the Region, Masrour Barzani, to the Zionist entity.”

June 28, 2023

  1. Iraq Has Fourth-Highest Unemployment in the World (Iraq News). BNN Network (World of Statistics) revealed that Iraq ranked fourth highest in the unemployment rate in the world, with a rate of 15.55%, indicating that the repercussions of unemployment are deeply felt throughout the country, which confirms the urgent need to take adequate measures to address this issue…Despite the ongoing crises in Turkey, the unemployment rate in the country is 10.2%, which puts it in tenth place on the global list.

June 29, 2023

  1. Iraqi Government Seizes a Quarter of a Million Captagon Pills Inside an Iraqi School (Al Hadath). On Wednesday, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced the seizure of 250,000 Captagon pills inside a school building under rehabilitation in Anbar Governorate in its latest operations to counter the increasing spread of drugs…A statement by the ministry stated that, in “a qualitative operation, the Narcotics Affairs Directorate managed to seize 250,000 narcotic pills of the type Captagon and a kilogram of hashish inside a school under rehabilitation in the city of Ramadi,” the center of Anbar province in western Iraq.

June 30, 2023

  1. Iran-Backed Iraqi Militias Lead New Military Operation to Hunt Down ISIS in Kirkuk (Al Hadath). On Thursday, the Iraqi News Agency reported that a military operation was launched in Kirkuk, in the north of the country, to hunt down ISIS elements…The agency stated that the process was undertaken, led by the northern axis of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, on the outskirts of the Dibis district of Kirkuk Governorate…It quoted Abu Thaer al-Bashiri, deputy commander of operations for PMF affairs, saying that the military operation aims to pursue the remnants of ISIS.

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