Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iraq’s Displaced Not Excited About Election

Iraq’s refugees appear to have little interest in the passage of the new provincial election law. As reported earlier, Iraqis have had since July to register. Iraq’s external refugees can’t vote, but the internally displaced can, and they need to sign up on a special list. The Wall Street Journal said that 100,000 of Iraq’s estimated 2.7 million internal refugees had registered. The Institute for War & Peace Reporting claimed that only 72,000 have so far. This is despite a government public relations campaign aimed at the displaced. Posters have been put up throughout Baghdad for example, encouraging them to register for the upcoming election. A major problem seems to be widespread apathy amongst Iraqis over the vote. A member of the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance said that the government’s inability to improve the living conditions of many average Iraqis was a major reason why citizens were not enthusiastic about registering. This would be doubly true for Iraq’s refugees. The head of parliament’s Displacement and Migration Committee said that only 20,000 families, roughly 120,000 people had come back to Iraq so far, with half going to Baghdad. Many have come back from other countries because they have run out of money or because of the new restrictions that have been placed on Iraqis. Many of those that have returned, have found their homes occupied, destroyed, or militias controlling their neighborhoods, leading to more internally displaced as families are forced to other areas. Faced with those problems it’s no wonder that so few of Iraq’s domestic refugees have signed up to vote.

SOURCES

Abouzeid, Rania, “Growing Apathy Toward Iraqi Elections,” Time, 9/5/08

Chon, Gina and Naji, Zaineb, “Iraq Drive for Voters Lags,” Wall Street Journal, 9/18/08

IRIN, “Parliament demands financial help for IDPs, refugees,” 9/25/08

Naji, Zaineb, “Voter Apathy Among Iraq Displaced,” Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 9/24/08

Voices of Iraq, “IHEC opens 563 voter registration update centers – UNAMI,” 7/15/08

Monday, September 29, 2008

Finding A Historical Precedent For The Sons Of Iraq, But Not A Solution

On September 8, the Small Wars Journal published a piece on the Sons of Iraq (SOI) by former U.S. Army officer William McCallister. He attempted to place the SOI within the context of Iraq’s history of local security forces, but his analogy didn’t quite work in the end.

McCallister looked at Iraq’s history of local armed groups for a comparison to the SOI. He found several. One was between the 8th and 12th Centuries when Baghdad was divided into four districts. Each had its own security force run by powerful families. They policed their own areas, but could be called upon to defend the city. Another was in rural areas, the central government would look to coop local elites and their fighters, who would then act as agents of the government. McCallister believes that the creation of the SOI followed these traditions of communities protecting themselves, while cooperating with Baghdad.

The Anbar Awakening closely followed these examples. The Sunni tribes in Anbar first began turning against Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2005 on their own initiative. The U.S. didn’t begin cooperating with them until early the following year. They quickly tried to integrate the tribal fighters into the local security force. For example, in Ramadi, the first city where U.S. and tribal sheikhs worked together, the number of police went from 35 in June 2006 to 1,300 in training by November of that year, thanks to the Anbar Salvation Council. Today there are around 25,000 Awakening fighters in the province’s police. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government never seemed to have a major problem with this process, even agreeing to appointing an Awakening leader to be the provincial police chief in Anbar. As in the historic examples, Baghdad was attempting to work through local elites in the periphery to exert the center’s control.

McCallister then made an important, and often overlooked observation, that the Awakening in Anbar, and the SOI are very different. While the Awakening was an organic organization that was created by local Iraqis, the SOI in the rest of the country were largely the result of U.S. policy. These groups represent a rival security force that the government has no connection to or control over. This is why Maliki has ordered crackdowns on SOI’s in areas such as Diyala and Salahaddin, because he is attempting to weaken them. Something similar might be behind the Prime Minister agreeing to take up the salary of the Baghdad SOI by October of this year.

The problem with McCallister’s historical analogy comes at the end. There he argues that the U.S. can’t impose any conditions upon Baghdad to integrate the SOI because that will be seen as a sign of weakness by the government’s opponents and exploited. He uses this against the “strategic conditionality” argument put forward by Iraq observers such as Georgetown professor and Obama advisor Colin Kahl, who say that the U.S.’s influence over Iraq is decreasing as the Iraqi government becomes more autonomous so the Americans have to predicate any future support based upon Maliki moving towards national reconciliation. McCallister on the other hand, says that the United States needs to create a new policy to integrate the SOI, but based upon Iraqi culture and history. This is where his thesis runs into issues because outside of the Anbar Awakening, the SOI were not local forces created by Iraqis to protect their communities, but were rather created because the United States actively sought to spread the Anbar model across central and northern Iraq. Anbar fits the historical examples McCallister found, but the SOI happened to be formed by a foreign occupying power. There is no reason, therefore, for Maliki to accept this separate security force because he doesn’t see it as Iraqi, but rather an American creation. While finding an Iraqi solution would definitely be preferable to anything imposed by the U.S., there is no historical precedent for this to happen, which is the major argument of McCallister’s paper. An Iraq centered policy could possibly mean the arrest and dissolution of much of the SOI, with only a truncated few ever being integrated. This is in fact what seems to be Maliki’s plan right now in Diyala province. Another problem with McCallister’s piece is that the U.S. could do nothing about Maliki’s moves because McCallister believes that could undermine the Prime Minister’s standing. That doesn’t sound like a good deal for the Americans or the SOI.

SOURCES

Allam, Hannah and al Dulaimy, Mohammed, “Marine-led Campaign Killed Friends and Foes, Iraqi Leaders Say,” Knight Ridder, 5/17/05

Fletcher, Martin, “Fighting back: the city determined not to become al-Qaeda’s capital,” Times of London, 11/20/06

Kahl, Colin, “Bridge On The River Euphrates,” National Interest, 9/2/08

Khalil, Lydia, “Anbar Revenge Brigade Makes Progress in the Fight Against al-Qaeda,” Terrorism Focus, Jamestown Foundation, 3/28/06

McCallister, William, “Sons of Iraq: A Study in Irregular Warfare,” Small Wars Journal, 9/8/08

O’Hanlon, Michael, Campbell, Jason, “Iraqi Index,” Brookings Institution, 8/28/08

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cold War Between Baghdad and Kurds Turns Hot

Yesterday, September 27, Iraqi police and Kurdish forces got into a shoot out in the town of Jalawlaa in the Khanaqin district of Diyala province. There are two versions of what happened. According to Iraqi forces, a unit of the Emergency Police raided the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) headquarters in Jalawlaa and arrested two members. According to UPI, the target was the Kurdish intelligence agency the Asayesh. (2) Kurdish officials then went to the Emergency Police Unit’s offices to demand the release of the two Kurds, but that resulted in a shootout that left a policeman and a member of the KDP dead, and two officers wounded. The other version comes from the Peshmerga (3) who claim that two Arab policemen stopped three members of the Asayesh in a market. When they refused to show their identity cards they were arrested and taken to a police station. A member of the KDP went there to demand their release. He was successful, but as they were exiting, police began shooting at them, killing one of the Asayesh officers. A police official said the police who opened fire were being investigated.

The Khanaqin district has been the scene of growing conflict between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). On August 11, 2008 Iraqi forces reached the outskirts of Khanaqin as part of Operation Omens of Prosperity. (4) They entered the towns of Qara Taba, Saidyah, and Khanaqin and demanded that the Kurdish Peshmerga militia withdraw within 24 hours and that all government buildings be evacuated. The Kurds refused at first, but after high level negotiations, agreed to pull their forces out of Qara Taba and Jalawlaa, but not Khanaqin. The security forces immediately broke that deal by moving into Khanaqin on August 24. The Kurdish parties organized demonstrations against the Iraqi forces and refused to leave. By the end of the month, another round of negotiations led to both the army and Peshmerga to withdraw leaving the Kurds still in political control of the area. By September 9 however, a Baghdad spokesman denied that any deal had been signed. (5) On September 18, the Iraqi army again announced that the Peshmerga had to pull out of Jalawaaa. (6) Three days later it appeared the Kurds had agreed when they announced that they would evacuate government owned buildings. (7) All that has gone up in smoke with yesterday’s shootout.

Although the Kurds represent one of the foundations of Prime Minister Maliki’s ruling coalition, the two sides have been disagreeing more and more. The most prominent was when the Kurds vetoed the provincial election law in July 2008. The Kurds also occupy 300 square miles of territory outside of Kurdistan, which they wish to annex. (8) The Khanaqin district is one of those. There was no security situation to speak of there when the Iraqi forces moved into the area in August. Maliki’s action was an attempt to pressure the Kurds and assert the central government’s control over all sections of the country. The Prime Minister must have been pleased to have so many high level Kurds come to his office, including Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, to work out a deal over Khanaqin. The arguments between the two sides were heated, but stayed verbal. Yesterday’s incident was the first time they turned violent, and obviously threatens all the talks over the future of the area and Maliki’s power play. Already Kurdish President Barzani (9) and the speaker of the Kurdish Assembly (10) have begun talking about conspiracies against the Kurds and the return of Baathism to Baghdad. This shootout will only lead to the growing paranoia of Kurdish leaders, and will probably make working with them even harder.

For more on the Khanaqin dispute see:

Deal Struck To Defuse Khanaqin Issue

Khanaqin Deal Off

Kurdish-Baghdad Tensions Over Diyala Grow

The Kurds Come Out Swinging

Maliki Ups the Ante in Khanaqin District of Diyala

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Man dies as Iraqi forces raid Kurdish peshmerga post,” 9/27/08

Gera, Vanessa, “Iraq: Kurdish politician killed in disputed region,” Associated Press, 9/27/08

Al-Ily, Naseer and Aziz, Hewa, “The Baghdad-Arbil Crisis Escalates,” Asharq Alawsat, 9/12/08

Middle East Online, “Iraqi forces raid Kurdish peshmerga post,” 9/27/08

Muhammed, Ako, “Kurds and their Iraqi allies see differences,” Kurdish Globe, 9/11/08

Paley, Amit, “Strip of Iraq ‘on the Verge of Exploding,’” Washington Post, 9/13/08

Press TV, “Iraq army sets deadline for Kurds,” 9/18/08

Russo, Claire, “The Maliki Government Confronts Diyala,” Institute for the Study of War,” 9/23/08

Voices of Iraq, “2 killed in clashes between policemen, Kurdish party supporters in Jalawlaa,” 9/27/08
- “Consensus solution about Khanaqin achieved – lawmaker,” 9/16/08
- “Kurdish parties to flee offices in Diala,” 9/21/08
- “No deal struck between central gov’t, Kurds over Khanaqin-spokesman,” 9/5/08

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Iraq’s New Voting System

On September 25, Sam Parker of the United States Institute of Peace had an excellent post on the Abu Muqawama blog on Iraq’s new voting system. The new provincial election law, that was passed on September 24, changes Iraq’s election process from a closed list to an open list. The importance of Parker’s piece is that he points out that this is not going to be a truly open list system, but a hybrid proportional one that may keep the ruling parties in power.

In 2005, Iraq held elections for provincial councils and then for Iraq’s parliament. In both of those votes Iraq used a closed list system where voters picked coalitions of parties. A proportion of seats were given to the largest vote getters amongst the parties, who then picked individuals to hold office. Rather than select the most qualified, the parties often based their decisions upon family and political connections, and patronage. That meant the lists actually ran the system, and there was no individual responsibility by the politicians as the Iraqis never directly voted for any. The biggest and most well organized parties then gained the largest percentage of votes giving way to the current ruling coalition of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SII) of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Sunni Islamic Party of the Iraqi Accordance Front, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of the Kurdish Coalition.

The new open list proportional system differs from the old one in many ways. The major difference between the two is that people will now be able to vote for either individuals or lists. Those votes however, will be tallied by the parties the individuals represent. Positions on the provincial council are then given proportionally to candidates of the parties that have received the most votes. Finally, the new law also includes an article setting a quota for women. 25% of all council seats are to go to female politicians. That means there will actually be two lists of candidates, one for men and one for women because the top vote getting women in each party will get a quarter of the positions regardless of how they do against the men.

The major similarity between the closed and open list is that it favors the large parties. Under the new system, the parties that gain the most votes in the province will get the most seats. That means one individual independent candidate will be running against entire parties in the province. To give a more specific example, the Sons of Iraq in the Adhamiya neighborhood of Baghdad plan to run as a political party in the upcoming elections. Their few candidates, will be competing against the entire Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council across all the Shiite areas of the capitol. Parties will no longer be able to pick the politicians to fill the seats on the council, but this new system obviously favors the large and organized parties that can run candidates across the province rather than then the new ones that are small, fragmented, lack money, and may be very local in nature. Their only hope is if they form coalitions, but because of the above conditions, that’s very unlikely. The one exception is in Anbar where the Awakening movement has formed a list to run candidates across the province. They are likely to unseat the Islamic Party that currently rules there. Overall though, the 2009 elections may actually consolidate the power of those already holding office, rather than open up the political system to news ones that’s seen as an important step for reconciliation.

SOURCES

Parker, Sam, “not so open,” Abu Muqawama Blog, 9/25/08

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who Rules Iraq’s Provinces And How Are They Doing?

Now that Iraq’s parliament has finally passed a new provincial election law, there should be a discussion of what political parties currently run Iraq’s eighteen provinces, and what they are like. Here is a breakdown of some general information about each, mostly based upon U.S. agencies.

Overview of Iraq’s Major Parties and What Provinces They Control
Kurds (Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan): Dahuk, Irbil, Ninewa, Salahaddin, Sulaymaniyah, Tamim
SIIC: Babil, Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Muthanna (but Dawa governor), Najaf, Qadisiyah, Wasit
Dawa - Karbala
Fadhila – Basra - governor, but SIIC & Dawa control provincial council
Iraqi Islamic Party – Anbar
Sadrists – Maysan



Notes:

1) Many of the major political parties do not run under their names such as the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) in the provinces, and the monikers they do use are interpreted several different ways from Arabic into English.

2) Iraq did not pass its 2008 budget until February 2008, which accounts for the low percentage spent by the provinces by March 2008, the latest numbers available.


3) The U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams have five rankings for how Iraq’s provinces are doing governing in the following order: Beginning, Developing, Performing, Sustaining, Self-Reliant


Anbar
Population: 1,280,000
Religion: 99% Sunni, 1% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Iraqi Islamic Party (Part of Iraqi Accordance Front)
Economy: Farming, livestock, glass and ceramics
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $107 million Spent: $4 million Percentage: 3.7%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $192 million Spent: N/A Percentage: N/A
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: Developing to Sustaining
Political Development: Developing to Performing
Reconciliation: no change - Performing
Economic Development: Beginning to Developing
Rule of Law: no change - Performing
Governance: Lack of coordination with Baghdad. Has several different authorities operating independently of each other. Corruption
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 161/304
Services: Lacks adequate electricity and water
U.S. projects: 7,139, $1.7 billion
Number of displaced living in province: 64,536
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 2.37
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 1.95

Babil
Population: 1,444,400
Religion: 5% Sunni, 95% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Society of Faithful Iraqis (SIIC)
Economy: Farming, 52% of GDP of province. Has some of the most advanced farming in country
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $127 million Spent: $61.9 million Percentage: 49%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $206 million Spent: $5.1 million Percentage: 3%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developing
Political Development: no change - Beginning
Reconciliation: no change – Beginning
Economic Development: no change - Performing
Rule of Law: no change - Performing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 133/260
Services: Water shortage
U.S. projects: 2,178, $433 million
Number of displaced living in province: 77,914
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.57
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.73

Baghdad
Population: 6,386,100
Religion: 20% Sunni, 80% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Baghdad Nation (SIIC)
Economy: Farming, which is improving, but still uses outdated techniques. Business in south improving with better security
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $560 million Spent: $174.4 million Percentage: 31%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $885 million Spent: $14.5 million Percentage: 2%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developing
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: no change - Developing
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: Beginning to Performing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 989/2,047
U.S. projects: 17,153, $7 billion
Number of displaced living in province: 563,771
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 15.60
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 24.02, most violence province in Iraq

Basra
Population: 1,761,000
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Islamic Basra (Coalition of SIIC, Dawa and 6 others)
Economy: Oil, trade, only port in Iraq. Business improving after March 2008 security crackdown
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $195 million Spent: $40.8 million Percentage: 21%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $322 million Spent: $0 Percentage: 0%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: Beginning to Sustaining
Political Development: Beginning to Performing
Reconciliation: Beginning to Performing
Economic Development: Beginning to Developing
Rule of Law: Beginning to Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 615/762
U.S. projects: 3,306, $2.1 billion
Number of displaced living in province: 35,718
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 1.21
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 1.28

Dahuk
Population: 616,600
Religion: 39% Sunni, 3% Shiite, 58% Other
Control of provincial council: Kurdistan Democratic Party
Economy: Farming, tourism
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: Spent: Percentage: See Kurdistan
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: Spent: Percentage: See Kurdistan
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: N/A
Political Development: N/A
Reconciliation: N/A
Economic Development: N/A
Rule of Law: N/A
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 120/201
U.S. projects: 476, $164 million
Number of displaced living in province: 104,948
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0, Turkey does attack Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in province

Dhi Qar Population: 1,427,200
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Fadhila (Islamic Virtue Party)
Economy: Farming, livestock, oil
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $138 million Spent: $54.8 million Percentage: 40%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $219 million Spent: $100,000 Percentage: 0.1%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: Beginning to Sustaining
Political Development: Beginning to Performing
Reconciliation: Beginning to Performing
Economic Development: Beginning to Performing
Rule of Law: Beginning to Performing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 213/298
Services: Water shortage
U.S. projects: 1,217, $919 million
Number of displaced living in province: 47,825
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.24
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.23

Diyala
Population: 1,373,900
Religion: 52% Sunni, 48% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Coalition of Islamic Forces and Patriots in Diyala (Coalition of SIIC and Dawa)
Economy: Farming, livestock, facing drought
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $100 million Spent: N/A Percentage: N/A
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $168 million Spent: N/A Percentage: N/A
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: Performing to Sustaining
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: Beginning to Developing
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: no change - Beginning
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 157/225
U.S. projects: 3,074, $912 million
Number of displaced living in province: 103,426
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 5.26
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 3.58

Irbil
Population: 1,845,200
Religion: 62% Sunni, 2% Shiite, 365 Other
Control of provincial council: Democratic Voice of Kurdistan List (Kurdistan Democratic Party)
Economy: Oil, farming, hit by drought
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: Spent: Percentage: See Kurdistan
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: Spent: Percentage: See Kurdistan
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Sustaining
Political Development: no change - Sustaining
Reconciliation: no change - Performing
Economic Development: no change - Performing
Rule of Law
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 174/370
U.S. projects: 839, $481 million
Number of displaced living in province: 31,783
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.02
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.01

Karbala
Population: 756,000
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: SIIC
Economy: Tourism 37% of province’s GDP, trade 25%, farming 15%
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $71 million Spent: $29.4 million Percentage: 41%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $170 million Spent: $7.4 million Percentage: 4%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developing
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: Beginning to Developing
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: no change - Performing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 100/215
Services: Power outages, lack of basic services, water, electricity.
U.S. projects: 710, $192 million
Number of displaced living in province: 55,962
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.02
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.06

Kurdistan (Dahuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah) No figures are available for the individual provinces’ capital budget, only the total for all three
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $1,560 million Spent: $1,487 million Percentage: 95%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $2,528 million Spent: $266 million spent Percentage: 11%

Maysan
Population: 743,400
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Al-Hussayni Thought Forum (Sadrists)
Economy: 75% of province works in farming. Has ageing state owned industries. Poorest province in Iraq, 64% below poverty level
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $76 million Spent: $39 million Percentage: 51%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $124 million Spent: $17.4 million Percentage: 14%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: decreased from Developing to Beginning, lowest in Iraq
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: no change Performing
Economic Development: decreased from Developing to Beginning
Rule of Law: no change - Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 99/182
Services: Ranked as having one of the lowest levels of services such as electricity, schools, medical car, etc. in country. U.S. says so bad that it is “population-repelling”
U.S. projects: 727, $299 million
Number of displaced living in province: 46,948
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.02
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0

Muthanna
Population: 536,300
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: SIIC
Economy: Subsistence farming, livestock. One of poorest in Iraq. 60% unemployed
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $52 million Spent:$9.9 million Percentage: 19%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $87 million Spent: N/A Percentage: N/A
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developoing
Political Development: decreased from Developing to Beginning
Reconciliation: no change Self-Reliant
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: no change - Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 85/170
Services: Few services such as electricity, housing. During summer has water shortages
U.S. projects: 741, $316 million
Number of displaced living in province: 18,351
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.04
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.02

Najaf
Population: 946,300
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: SIIC
Economy: Tourism 30% of provinces GDP, trade 20%, farming 15%
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $88 million Spent: $56.4 million Percentage: 64%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $150 million Spent: $18.7 million Percentage: 13%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Sustaining
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: Beginning to Developing
Economic Development: no change - Performing
Rule of Law: Developing to Performing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 134/241
Services: Lacks infrastructure, no desire to improve especially electricity, roads, bridges
U.S. projects: 1,153, $272 million
Number of displaced living in province: 58,032
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.03

Ninewa
Population: 2,473,700
Religion: 42% Sunni, 5% Shiite, 53% Other
Control of provincial council: National Democratic Kurdistan List (Coalition of Kurdistan Democratic Party, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and six others)
Economy: Farming, has closed down industries
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $226 million Spent: $58.5 million Percentage: 26%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $359 million Spent: $0 Percentage: 0%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developing
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: no change - Beginning
Economic Development: no change - Beginning
Rule of Law: Beginning to Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 408/736
Services: Electrical and water shortages
U.S. projects: 4,008, $983 million
Number of displaced living in province: 106,750
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 16.30
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 13.55, 2nd most violence province

Qadisiyah
Population: 866,700
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Martyr of the Sanctuary Sayyid (SIIC)
Economy: Farming 47% of province’s GDP, using old techniques, old industries, high unemployment, inflation
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $64 million Spent: $24.7 million Percentage: 39%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $137 million Spent: $0 Percentage: 0%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developing
Political Development: no change - Developing
Reconciliation: no change - Beginning
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: no change – Performing
Governance: Corruption
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 118/227
Services: Lacks basic services such as trash collection, medical care
U.S. projects: 1,450, $312 million
Number of displaced living in province: 26,320
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.08
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.18

Salahaddin
Population: 1,077,800
Religion: 96% Sunni, 4% Shiite
Control of provincial council: United Democratic Council List in Salah al-Din Governorate (Coalition of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party)
Economy: Farming, oil, gas, salt, sulphur
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $93 million Spent: $31.5 million Percentage: 34%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $150 million Spent: $16.1 million Percentage: 11%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: Developing to Sustaining
Political Development: Developing to Performing
Reconciliation: Beginning to Developing
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: no change - Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 227/323
U.S. projects: 3,249, $814 million
Number of displaced living in province: 45,762
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 8.73
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 6.28, 3rd most violence in Iraq

Sulaymaniyah
Population: 2,159,800
Religion: 88% Sunni, 12% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Economy: Farming, inflation
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: Spent: Percentage: See Kurdistan
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: Spent: Percentage: See Kurdistan
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: N/A
Political Development: N/A
Reconciliation: N/A
Economic Development: N/A
Rule of Law: N/A
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 138/301
Services: Limited, government doesn’t use money well
U.S. projects: 646, $212 million
Number of displaced living in province: 79,672
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.02
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.02, Iran strikes Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases there

Tamim
Population: 839,100
Religion: 73% Sunni, 22% Shiite, 5% Other
Control of provincial council: List Brother Kirkuk (Coalition of Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan)
Economy: Farming, industry, oil, natural gas. Hit by drought
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $91 million Spent: $31 million Percentage: 34%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $146 million Spent: $13.7 million Percentage: 9%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: no change - Developing
Political Development: no change - Performing
Reconciliation: no change - Developing
Economic Development: no change - Developing
Rule of Law: no change - Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 179/254
Services: Not enough electricity and water, shortage of medical care and schools
U.S. projects: 3,413, $983 million
Number of displaced living in province: 36,202
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 2.63
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 1.8

Wasit
Population: 941,800
Religion: 100% Shiite
Control of provincial council: Gather of Iraq Elites (SIIC)
Economy: Farming, oil, gravel, natural gas. Not much development of natural resources because of lack of government planning and direction
Capital budget:
2007: Appropriated: $83 million Spent: $33.7 million Percentage: 41%
Up To March 2008: Appropriated: $137 million Spent: $300,000 Percentage: 0.2%
U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams Rankings from 11/30/07-2/29/08
Governance: Beginning to Developing
Political Development: Beginning to Developing
Reconciliation: no change - Beginning
Economic Development: no change - Beginning
Rule of Law: Beginning to Developing
Average Daily Electricity Provided/Demand (megawatts): 90/189
U.S. projects: 1,404, $452 million
Number of displaced living in province: 75,325
Average daily attacks from December 07 to February 08: 0.23
Average daily attacks from February 08 to May 08: 0.57

SOURCES

Institute for the Study of War, “Fact Sheet on Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militia Groups,” April 2008
- “Iraq’s Major Shi’a Political Parties and Militias,” 4/14/08

Middle East Reference.org, “Governorate elections held in Iraq on 31 January 2005”

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/08

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sadrist Cleric Assassinated In Basra

On September 19, 2008 Sheikh Oday Ali Abbas al-Ajrish, a Sadrist cleric in Basra was gunned down. The report did not say what his standing was within the Sadrist movement. His death follows a series of other killings of followers of Moqtada al-Sadr since the beginning of this year.

Southern Iraq and Baghdad have been the main venues for these targeted killings. For example, in January 2008, gunmen killed Sadrist Sheikh Yasser al-Mudhafar in the holy city of Najaf. On April 27, Mahdi Army commander Ali Ghalib was shot in a Sadrist neighborhood of Basra. In mid-July, Sheikh Saffaa al-Lami, the head of the Sadrist office in the New Baghdad neighborhood in the eastern section of capitol was also killed.

The most important assassination however, was of Riadh al-Nouri, one of the leaders in the Sadrist movement, and the head of its Najaf office on April 11. Nouri was married to one of Sadr’s sisters, and was a part time spokesman for him as well. Nouri was seen as a moderating force within the movement. He advocated against attacking the Iraqi security forces and rival Shiite factions, was opposed to Sadr pulling out his ministers from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s cabinet in 2007, and played a key role as a go-between with government. Nouri was also part of a faction that pushed for disarming the Mahdi Army, and turning it into more of a political and social movement. That didn’t mean that Nouri’s hands were clean however. In May 2004 he was arrested for connections with the assassination of Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Khoei, one of the leading Ayatollah’s in Iraq. In 2005 he was released.

Who is behind these hits is unknown. After Nouri was killed, Sadr blamed the Americans. Within the movement itself, conspiracy theories abound. Some blame rival Shiite factions such as the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and its Badr Brigade militia. Sheikh Lami for example, was killed just after he visited a police station to inquire about a Sadrist being held, which led followers to blame the Badr controlled local security forces. When it came to Nouri’s death, some thought it might be a revenge killing by the Khoei family. Still others blame rival factions within the Sadrist movement itself. Assassinations of leading Shiite figures have been common in the South since the U.S. invasion. Sadr has not been alone, as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has also had several of his clerics killed as well. Many times the Mahdi Army has been blamed. These all point to the unstable political situation in southern and central Iraq, and the inter-Shiite rivalries that are playing out there just below the surface. Some observers believe that when and if the provincial elections are held, they could be a safety valve for these simmering tensions, but that seems unlikely with all of the different rival factions and their deep history of animosity. Many see the struggle as a zero sum game, and will probably not be happy until the others are destroyed.

For more on the Sadrists see:

Sadr’s Leadership Or Lack Thereof

Sadr Struggles To Remain Relevant

SOURCES

Adas, Basil, “Militia break-up poses question,” Gulf News, 4/15/08

Ahmed, Hamid, “Gunmen Kill Sadrist Official in Iraq,” Associated Press, 4/11/08

Ali, Fadhil, “Confronting the Sadrists: The Issue of State and Militia in Iraq,” Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, 5/1/08

Associated Press, “Iraqi police say gunmen kill local commander of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric,” 4/28/08

Hendawi, Hamza and Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Al-Sadr shift: away from politics and favoring fight,” Associated Press, 4/24/08

International Crisis Group, “Iraq’s Civil War, The Sadrists And The Surge,” 2/7/08

Murphy, Brian and Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Martyrs’ List’ tallies Mahdi Army troubles,” Associated Press, 7/29/08

Paley, Amit and Sarhan, Saad, “Sadr Holds Out Against Plan to Divide Iraq,” Washington Post, 9/12/06

Said, Yahia Khairi, “Political Dynamics in Iraq within the Context of the ‘Surge,’” Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 4/2/08

Torchia, Christopher, “Iraqi troops put on show of strength in Sadr City,” Associated Press, 7/18/08

Voices of Iraq, “Gunmen kill Sadrist Sheikh in Najaf,” 1/26/08

Yahya, Mazin, “Officials say gunmen kill cleric in southern Iraq,” Associated Press, 9/20/08

Zein, Qassim and Allam, Hannah, “Al-Sadr followers vow to avenge killing of top aide,” McClatchy Newspapers, 4/12/08

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Election Law Passed, Now To Get People To Vote


Iraqis registering to vote in Baghdad

Iraq’s parliament finally passed a new provincial election law today, September 24, 2008. The thorny issue of Kirkuk that was at the center of the dispute over the vetoed election law in July was put off. A special committee is to be formed of all the major groups in the city made up of two Arabs, two Kurds, two Turkomen and one Christian. The group is to come up with some solutions to the city’s divided population and rule, and submit them to parliament by March 31, 2009. Afterwards, a separate vote is to be held there. The law also maintains the open list of the original election bill that allows voters to pick individuals instead of parties on the ballot, 25% of all provincial council seats need to go to women, it bans the use of religious figures on campaign material, and there are some limits on mosques being used. A quota for minorities to be represented on the councils was also discussed, but that too is to be sent to a committee for future consideration. The United Nations special representative Staffan de Mistura was greatly responsible for the series of compromises that allowed the law to pass.

Oddly enough, though the Kurds were the major roadblock to passing the original election law during the summer, and were the main group that needed to be appeased to approve the new one, Kurdistan will not be holding elections. The Kurds say elections are an issue for the Kurdish Assembly to legislate. The Kurds were mostly involved in the debate to protect their interests in Kirkuk, which they have de facto rule over, and wish to annex in the future. With that now done, they were a willing partner to the passage of the bill.

The final step is for it to be passed by the Presidential Council. That was where Kurdish Vice President Jalal Talabani and Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi vetoed the original law in July. This time it is expected to pass. That means the actual election will probably happen sometime in early 2009.

Now that arduous process is over, the government needs to move forward with actually registering voters. As reported earlier, in July 2008 563 voter centers were set up across Iraq. The Election Commission gave Iraqis 30 days to sign up, but too few showed up, and the deadline was extended several times. As of the end of August, only 2.9 million new voters out of a possible 17 million registered. Of the 2.7 million internally displaced Iraqis, only 100,000 have signed up. Those that voted in the 2005 elections don’t have to re-register as long as they haven’t moved. Over eight million voted then, but since then around five million Iraqis have fled their homes for other parts of the country or to foreign lands. On the positive side, of the 2.9 million newly registered, 1.8 million are Sunnis, who boycotted the first election in 2005 and are therefore grossly underrepresented in Iraq’s provincial councils.

The Election Commission looked at the registration process as a measure of how much the public was looking forward to the vote. They have been disappointed with the low numbers. Several reasons have been given for the apparent apathy. One is that many Iraqis are more interested in finding jobs and getting basic necessities such as water, gas, fuel, and electricity than the elections. Many simply don’t believe voting will change their situation. There have also been reports that the security forces have been intimidating followers of Moqtada al-Sadr in areas such as Sadr City in Baghdad. Neither is good for a country that is attempting to move towards democracy.

For more on the election process and voter registration see:

Provincial Election Update

SOURCES

Abouzeid, Rania, “Growing Apathy Toward Iraqi Elections,” Time, 9/5/08

al-Ansary, Khalid, “Iraq election law must pass mid-Sept for 2008 vote,” Reuters, 8/30/08

Chon, Gina and Naji, Zaineb, “Iraq Drive for Voters Lags,” Wall Street Journal, 9/18/08

Goode, Erica, “Iraq Passes Provincial Elections Law,” New York Times, 9/25/08

Levinson, Charles, “Misconduct seen at Baghdad voting centers,” USA Today, 8/14/08

Lynch, Marc, “definite maybe,” Abu Aardvark Blog, 9/24/08

Missing Links Blog, “Suggested scapegoats for poor voter-registration,” 8/23/08

Visser, Reidar, “After Compromise on Kirkuk, Finally an Election Law for Iraq’s Governorates,” Historiae.org, 9/24/08

Voices of Iraq, “IHEC opens 563 voter registration update centers – UNAMI,” 7/15/08

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back To Mosul

On Wednesday August 17, 2008, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki admitted that the security operation in Mosul had failed to reach its goal of improving the situation in Ninewa. Maliki blamed the citizens for failing to secure their province. He said in other security crackdowns, the population had cooperated and helped the government forces round up militants, but this didn’t happen in Mosul. A member of the Interior Minister said that security forces would launch a new operation there soon.

On May 10, 2008, Maliki announced the beginning of Operation Lion’s Roar/Mother of Two Rivers that was aimed at dislodging insurgents from their last major urban stronghold in Mosul. Maliki had been talking about clearing the city since December 2007, and early operations began in February 2008. Because of the crackdowns on the Sadrists that started in March, large numbers of Iraqi forces were not able to deploy to Mosul until May. The offensive was considered a success, but as reported earlier, it actually had little affect on the number of attacks and deaths in the city.

Here is a breakdown of attacks and incidents in Mosul before and after Operation’s Lion’s Roar/Mother of Two Rivers:

January 2008:
  • 32 attacks/19 incidents – 1.03 attacks/day – 1.65 attacks & incidents/day
  • 109 killed – 3.52 deaths/day
  • 362 wounded – 11.68 wounded/day
February 2008:
  • 47 attacks/8 incidents 1.62 attacks/day – 1.9 attacks & incidents/day
  • 86 killed – 2.97 killed/day
  • 80 wounded 2.76 wounded/day
  • 6 kidnapped
March 2008:
  • 54 attacks/13 incidents – 1.74 attacks/day – 2.16 attacks & incidents/day
  • 97 killed – 3.13 killed/day
  • 147 wounded – 4.74 wounded/day
  • 3 kidnapped
April 2008:
  • 53 attacks/10 incidents – 1.77 attacks/day – 2.1 attacks & incidents/day
  • 71 killed 2.37 killed/day
  • 209 wounded 7.0 wounded/day
  • 42 kidnapped
June 2008:
  • 49 attacks/incidents – 1.63 attacks/day – 1.97 attacks & incidents/day
  • 100 killed 3.33 killed/day
  • 279 wounded 9.3 wounded/day
  • 4 kidnapped
July 2008:
  • 67 attacks/7 incidents – 2.16 attacks/day – 2.39 attacks & incidents/day
  • 96 killed 3.1 killed/day
  • 111 wounded 3.58 wounded/day
  • 2 kidnapped
August 2008:
  • 50 attacks/16 incidents – 1.61 attacks/day – 2.12 attacks & incidents/day
  • 55 killed 1.77 killed/day
  • 111 wounded 3.58 wounded/day
  • 5 kidnapped

The numbers show little change in the number of attacks or the amount of people killed or wounded before and after the offensive until August. That month, the number of attacks did drop by an average of one per day, and deaths were down by almost two a day, but the amount injured stayed the same. If you include incidents that involved violence, there was little drop off from July to August.

Map of Mosul showing the ethnic division of the city

The major reason why the situation in Mosul has remained unstable is because the offensive did not address the underlying causes of the violence there. Unlike in Basra, Sadr City, and Maysan where the Sadrists were directly challenged on the military, political, economic, and social fronts, Operation Lion’s Roar/Mother of Two Rivers turned out to be solely a military affair that only nabbed, killed, or ran off insurgents. Maliki promised $100 million in reconstruction after the offensive, but little of that has shown up. The political situation remained untouched, with the city divided between Kurds and Arabs, with Kurds controlling the eastern half and the Arabs the west. The presence of the Kurds has allowed insurgent groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq to portray themselves as the protectors of the Arabs. The Kurds have not helped since they do have aspirations to annex the city to Kurdistan and control the Ninewa provincial council. Until those issues are addressed there will probably still be latent violence in the area, with the new offensive reducing attacks while it is in affect, with a likely rise afterwards as happened after May.

For more on Mosul see:

The Security Situation In Mosul

SOURCES

Ali, Fadhil, “Iraqi Government Launches Operation to Expel al-Qaeda from Mosul,” Terrorism Focus, Jamestown Foundation, 5/20/08

DPA, “Iraq’s Islamic Party leader assassinated in Mosul,” 8/7/08

Gamel, Kim, “UN unveils plans to step up efforts in Iraq,” Associated Press, 8/31/08

Hammoudi, Laith, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday 13 August 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/13/08
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday 27 August 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/27/08

Issa, Sahar, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq, Monday 11 August 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/11/08
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq, Friday 22 August 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/22/08

Kuwait News Agency, “Iraqi PM admits failure of Umm Al-Rubai in military operation,” 9/18/08

Levinson, Charles, “Mosul offensive illustrates U.S. challenges,” USA Today, 2/10/08

Monsters & Critics, “Policeman, soldier killed in two incidents in Iraq (Extra),” 8/14/08

Reuters, “Bombs hit northern Iraq, forces expect more,” 8/13/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 4,” 8/4/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 5,” 8/5/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 6,” 8/6/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 8,” 8/8/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 15,” 8/15/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 18,” 8/18/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 21,” 8/21/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 23,” 8/23/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 25,” 8/25/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 27,” 8/27/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 28,” 8/28/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 30,” 8/30/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, Aug 31,” 8/31/08

Voices of Iraq, “2 civilians injured, gunmen kidnap 2 truck drivers in Mosul,” 8/12/08
- “2 gunmen killed in eastern Mosul clashes,” 8/3/08
- “2 unknown bodies found, arms seized in Mosul,” 8/2/08
- “2 wounded, body found in Mosul,” 8/12/08
- “3 Iraqi soldiers wounded in Mosul,” 8/8/08
- “3 Turks wounded in Mosul blast,” 8/30/08
- “4 wounded as car bomb explodes in Mosul,” 8/25/08
- “92 targets achieved during operations’ first day – Ninewa operations commander,” 5/10/08
- “Cart bomb kills 3 cops in Mosul,” 8/7/08
- “Civilian, child injured by gunmen in western Mosul,” 8/5/08
- “Gunmen wound policeman in central Mosul – NOC,” 8/26/08
- “IED targets U.S. patrol, U.S. army denies incident,” 8/18/08
- “Maliki allocates $100 million for Mosul projects,” 5/18/08
- “Mortar shell hits al-Iraqia, al-Mosuliya channels in Mosul,” 8/19/08
- “Mosul university president’s bodyguard killed,” 8/25/08
- “Policeman killed by gunmen fire in Mosul,” 8/25/08
- “Security member wounded in 2nd Mosul blast,” 8/18/08
- “Violence in Diala reduced, Mosul the coming target – MOI,” 8/17/08

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Kurds Come Out Swinging

Iraq’s parliament reconvened at the beginning of September 2008 after its summer recess. They were greeted by a barrage of statements by Kurds about how angry they were with the central government. Their complaints centered around two events. One was the passage of a provincial election law in July that said they had to share power in Kirkuk, and the other was the Iraqi security forces moving into the Khanaqin district of Diyala province. Both are disputed areas that the Kurds have de facto control over. To them, the actions of Baghdad threatened their hopes of creating a Greater Kurdistan.

The dispute between the central government and Kurdistan started in July of this year. In the middle of that month parliament passed a provincial election law that had two provisions about Kirkuk’s Tamim province. The first said the Kurds had to share power in the provincial council with the Arabs and Turkomen, the two other groups that lay claim to area. Currently the Kurds control the council, the head of the council, and the governorship. Another article said that that the province’s security forces needed to be under Baghdad’s control, when currently the Kurdish Peshmerga militia patrol the area. The next day President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, vetoed the law in the Presidential Council. Since the parliament has reconvened they still have not come up with a new election law that the Kurds agree to.

The second point of contention was the Iraqi army moving into the Khanaqin district of Diyala province. On July 29, Maliki launched Operation Omens of Prosperity to clear the area of insurgents. By August, the Iraqi army entered two villages in the Khanaqin district, Jalwalaa and Quara Taba, and demanded that the Peshmerga there withdraw. This led to a standoff, and then protests by the Kurds, which eventually had both the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces pulling out of the area. The two sides now appear close to a deal, but none has been signed yet.

Both of these conflicts led to some choice words by Kurdish officials and some provocative moves. First, on August 1, the Kurds in Tamim province demanded that the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) annex the province as a symbolic protest against the election law. On August 6, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) moved two Peshmerga brigades outside of Kirkuk cutting off Arab and Turkomen areas. The situation was so tense Baghdad sent the Defense Minister to check on the situation. The move was obviously meant to show that the Kurds would not give up on their plan to annex the city. As the Khanaqin incident was going on in late August, the Peshmerga minister said that his units were better than the Iraqi army and could take them on.

Since parliament reconvened in early September, the Kurds have become even more brazen. On September 5 an interview with KRG President Massoud Barzani was published where he said the Kurds were not treated fairly in the government, they were being cut out of key decisions, deals that were made with Baghdad were never followed through with, and accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of being an autocrat. Barzani finished by saying that the Arabs were out to get the Kurds, and wondered aloud whether they should even support the coalition government behind Maliki anymore. On September 8, the speaker of the Kurdish Assembly gave its opening speech were he said that the U.S. and other countries that sold heavy weapons to Iraq needed to promise that they would not be used against the Kurds. This came just as the government announced that it was buying $10 billion in weapons from the United States. The Assembly speaker went on to say that Baathism was making a come back within the government, and that they had no right to enter the Khanaqin district. Those statements were probably aimed at rallying the Kurdish public behind the KRG’s increasingly volatile war of wards with Baghdad. On the 12th, an allegedly secret Kurdish document was leaked to the United Arab Emirates’ Gulf News. The documents claimed that the United States was becoming so disillusioned with Maliki that it might even consider assassinating him. This was the most outrageous news to emerge from the Kurds, obviously meant to sow dissension between the Americans and Baghdad. It could’ve also been a means to tell Maliki he should rely on the Kurds because the U.S. was unreliable.

Map of Kurdish occupied areas outside of Kurdistan

The underlying cause of all this talk, is the growing fear amongst Kurds that their dream of a Greater Kurdistan will be squashed by the government’s attempt to assert its control over all parts of the country. Currently the Kurds occupy up to 300 miles of territory outside of Kurdistan. This stretches from Sinjar and Mosul in Ninewa province, to the already discussed city of Kirkuk in Tamim and the Khanaqin district of Diyala. In many of these areas the Kurdish flag flies, and security is handled by a combination of the Peshmerga, Kurdish police, and the Kurdish intelligence service the Asayesh. Many are also under official Kurdish administration control such as Khanaqin. Article 140 of the constitution is suppose to deal with these disputed territories through a census, and then a vote on whether they want to be annexed by the KRG. Two deadlines have been set for this, but both have expired. Currently the United Nations is working on negotiated settlements for these regions, because many believe that 140 could lead to more conflict, and possibly even violence. As the veto of the provincial election law, and the recent remarks show however, there’s little evidence that the Kurds are willing to give up de facto control of any of these areas. This is another sign of the momentous political battles that lay ahead for the future of Iraq. It also points to a weak and divided government, despite the improvement in security.

For more on the Kurds and the election law see:

Kurds Walk Out Over Provincial Election Law Debate

Special Sunday Session of Parliament For Election Law

Election Law Update

Conspiracy Theories Abound On Election Law Veto

Kurdish Frustrations Over Provincial Elections Boil Over After Suicide Bombing

For more on Khanaqin see:

Kurdish-Baghdad Tensions Over Diyala

Maliki Ups the Ante in Khanaqin District of Diyala

Deal Struck To Defuse Khanaqin Issue

Khanaqin Deal Off?

SOURCES

Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Iraqi politicians squabble over election law,” Associated Press, 5/26/08

Adas, Basil, “Crackdown in Diyala worries Kurdish leaders,” Gulf News, 8/27/08
- “US ‘may plot assassination of Al Maliki,’” Gulf News, 9/12/08

Agence France Presse, “Kurds fear Iraqi arms purchases,” 9/8/08

Alsumaria, “Kirkuk hurdle before provincial elections,” 9/5/08
- “Peshmerga Forces along borders with Kirkuk,” 8/7/08
- “Peshmerga Forces start withdrawing from Diyala Province,” 8/20/08

Azzaman, “Kurds warn of ‘violent reaction’ if Iraqi army enters their areas,” 8/25/08

BBC News, “Iraqi Kurdish Alliance says most blocs agree to Kirkuk poll delay,” 7/22/08

Dagher, Sam, “Can the U.N. avert a Kirkuk border war?” Christian Science Monitor, 4/25/08

Davidson, Christina, “KRG Governing ‘Liberated’ Iraqi Kurdistan,” IraqSlogger.com, 11/27/07

Al-Ily, Naseer and Aziz, Hewa, “The Baghdad-Arbil Crisis Escalates,” Asharq Alawsat, 9/12/08

Jam, Kawa, “Delay of provincial council elections sought,” Kurdish Globe, 5/23/08

Al Jazeera, “Iraq president rejects election law,” 7/23/08

Khidhir, Qassim, “Iraqi army withdraws after Khanaqin demonstration,” Kurdish Globe, 8/28/08

Kurdish Globe, “Peshmarga not withdrawing from Diala,” 8/15/08

KurdishMedia, “Massoud Barzani on Kurdistan Region’s conflict with Baghdad,” 9/5/08

Mohammed, Shwan, “Kurdish forces refuse to quit Iraq battlefield province,” Agence France Presse, 8/13/08

Morgan, Benjamin, “Iraq elections risk delay after presidency council rejects bill,” Agence France Presse, 7/23/08

Muhammed, Ako, “Kurds and their Iraqi allies see differences,” Kurdish Globe, 9/11/08

Paley, Amit, “Strip of Iraq ‘on the Verge of Exploding,’” Washington Post, 9/13/08

Parker, Sam, “Guest Post: Behind the Curtain in Diyala,” Abu Muqawama Blog, 8/20/08

Raghavan, Sudarsan, “Deaths of Iraqis in July Lower Than in May, June,” Washington Post, 8/2/08

Reuters, “Kurd officials split on pullout from Iraq province,” 8/16/08
- “Kurdish troops to withdraw from restive Iraq province,” 8/16/08

Rubin, Alissa, “Kurds Object to Iraqi Provincial Election Law,” New York Times, 7/23/08

Al-Sabaah, “Arab tribes in Diyala reject Jalawla’ joining to Kurdistan,” 6/5/08

Said, Yahia Khairi, “Political Dynamics in Iraq within the Context of the ‘Surge,’” Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 4/2/08

Steele, Jonathan, “Iraqi MPs stall deals on Bush benchmarks,” Guardian, 6/28/08

Taha, Yasseen, and Fadel, Leila, “Iraq bombing kills at least 25 police recruits in Diyala,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/26/08

Voices of Iraq, “95 lawmakers criticize the U.N. recommendations over disputed districts,” 6/7/08
- “Consensus solution about Khanaqin achieved – lawmaker,” 9/16/08
- “Demo in Diala against Iraqi army forces,” 8/27/08
- “Iraqi forces withdrew from Khanaqin – mayor,” 8/26/08
- “Kurdish official condemns Iraqi army raid on Peshmerga HQ,” 8/24/08
- “Local official escaped arrest warrant in Diala’s disputed town,” 9/5/08
- “Military units should be under central govt. control,” 8/19/08
- “No deal struck between central gov’t, Kurds over Khanaqin-spokesman,” 9/5/08
- “PM al-Maliki will punish Peshmerga deployed outside Kurdish enclave-PM,” 8/29/08
- “Provincial elections, Khanaqin conspiracy against Kurds – official,” 9/9/08
- “Security forces to leave Khanaqin, Peshmerga to return,” 9/3/08
- “Suicide blast in Jalawlaa leaves 70 casualties,” 8/26/08
- “Tensions between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces in Khanaqeen,” 8/12/08
- “UIC proposes postponing Kirkuk elections for 6 months – MP,” 7/15/08
- “Withdrawal of Kurdish forces from Khanqeen asserts security in Diala – MP,” 8/13/08

Warden, James, “Disagreements over Kirkuk’s status could sideline voters,” Stars and Stripes, 7/14/08

Youssef, Nancy, “Kurds storm out as Iraqi parliament OKs Oct. 1 elections,” McClatchy Newspapers, 7/22/08

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Latest United Nations Numbers On Cholera Epidemic

On September 17, 2008, the Health and Nutrition Outcome Team of the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on the cholera outbreak currently affecting Iraq. The study said there were a total of 12 deaths so far. Six were in Maysan, three in Babil, two in Baghdad, and one in Basra. There were an additional fifteen cases that were being looked into. There were also 161 confirmed cases of cholera as well. Babil province has been hit the hardest with 118 victims. Basra, Mayasan, Diyala, Najaf, Karbala, and Baghdad have also been affected across twenty districts total. The number of suspected cases is far above those that have been proven in labs. In Maysan for example, there is only one confirmed case compared with 138 suspected ones. The first case was reported on August 7 in Maysan.

Cholera, a water born ailment, is said to be quite common in Iraq. WHO said that there are approximately 600 such illnesses each year. The last outbreak occurred in 2007, costing the lives of fourteen people. After that, the WHO set up 950 sites to monitor water and health conditions. They issue reports twice a month.

The government has been providing medical help to those affected, along with a public relations campaign to educate the populace about what to do, while at the same time coming under criticism for its services. The chloride used in water purification plants, for example, was old and unusable, and the government is now waiting for a new supply from Jordan. On the other hand, over 2.5 million flyers and other papers have been handed out to the public to educate them about what to do during the crisis.

In 2007 during the last cholera epidemic, over 3,000 people were affected. So far, the 2008 outbreak hasn’t come close to that yet. Whether it does or not would be a good indicator of how well the government is coping with the situation.

SOURCES

Health and Nutrition Sector Outcome Team, “Situation Report on Diarrhea and Cholera in Iraq,” World Health Organization, 9/17/08

IRIN, “Two more cholera cases confirmed,” 9/8/08

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Iran-Iraq Agree Upon New Free Trade Zones

On September 13, the Tehran Times reported that Tehran and Baghdad had agreed upon three new free trade zones between the two countries. Those would be located in Wasit, Maysan, and Sulamaniyah provinces. Iraq is already Iran’s top trade partner. There is already a free trade zone with Basra. Before the war, there were hardly any economic transactions between the two countries. Now trade is at $2.8 billion per year, and Iranian officials hope that it will climb to $4 billion. There is also another $1 billion in illegal goods coming from Iran into Iraq. Iran has a comparative advantage over other countries with its cheap prices that reportedly are even competitive with the Chinese, good road links, and limited restrictions on business between the two countries. Already, Iranian companies have the most contracts with Iraq, and its suppliers dominate the consumer goods’ market, and provide electricity and fuel. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also met with the head of the Iran-Iraq Development Affairs in mid-September to work out more deals on fuel and energy trade.

As reported earlier, since the U.S. invasion, Iran has expanded its economic, political and cultural ties with Iraq. Sometimes this has been to the detriment of Iraq such as Tehran’s support of militant Shiite Special Groups. Other times, it has been essential such as providing much needed power to Iraqi cities. Still others, it has helped Iraq re-establish its Shiite religious credentials by allowing thousands of Iranian pilgrims to travel to holy sites in the country. As one Shiite politician recently told the Los Angeles Times, the Americans will be in Iraq for a relatively short time, while Iran will be there “till the Judgment day.”

For a review of Iran’s influence in Iraq see:

Over of Iran’s Influence In Iraq

SOURCES

Ali, Ahmed and Jamail, Dahr, “Iran Stepping in to Bring Electricity to Iraq,” IPS News, 8/12/08

Al-Jumaili, Hazem, “Iranian goods most popular in Iraq,” Azzaman, 9/7/08

Dhaher, Mohammed, “Iraq to import fuel from Iran,” Azzaman, 8/19/08

Katzman, Kenneth, “Iran’s Activities and Influence in Iraq,” Congressional Research Service, 4/9/08

Parker, Ned, “Iraq’s Nouri Maliki breaking free of U.S.,” Los Angeles Times, 9/16/08

Sinan, Omar, “Iraq-Iran Trade in Gasoline Booms,” Associated Press, 6/11/07

Tehran Times, “Iran, Iraq to create 3 free zones,” 9/13/08

Voices of Iraq, “Iran, Iraq ink customs deal,” 8/6/08

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cholera Cases Multiplying

1. Baghdad, 3. Diyala, 5. Maysan, 6. Basra, 10. Babil, 11. Karbala, 12. Najaf are the provinces with confirmed cases of cholera

On September 7, 2008, the first news of a cholera outbreak in Iraq was announced in the western media. Then there were two deaths in Babil province, and 250 cases of diarrhea that could be cholera. By September 17, Iraq’s Health Ministry said there were 107 confirmed cases: 64 in Babil, 24 in Baghdad, 14 in Karbala, two in Najaf, and one each in Basra, Diyala, and Maysan. There were also unconfirmed reports in Anbar. Just three days before there were only 68 confirmed cases. So far there have been five deaths as well, two in Baghdad, two in Babil, and one in Maysan. A few members of parliament have said that the outbreak is much larger, with up to 1,000 deaths and thousands of cases, but the Health Ministry say these are wild exaggerations. Cholera is a disease caused by drinking contaminated water that leads to diarrhea, and in extreme cases, death. Rural areas have been hit the hardest because of a lack of infrastructure. Iraq is also facing one of the worst droughts in decades, making people desperate to find water, even if it has not been properly treated.

The central and provincial governments have launched treatment and prevention campaigns in response, but have also been widely criticized. The Health Ministry has focused upon immediate treatment, handing out chlorine pills used to clean water, and a public relations program to warn people about the outbreak. Babil, the hardest hit province, has declared a state of emergency to deal with the crisis. The provinces of Dhi Qar, Wasit, and Diwaniyah also set up pre-emptive measures to try to stem the spread of cholera. At the same time, Iraq’s lack of pipes, sanitation, and other infrastructure have been blamed as the root causes of the outbreak. A high official in Babil’s Health Directorate for example blamed Iraq’s services recently, while the province’s governor said there were 30 water projects there that were not working properly. The World Health Organization said the lack of adequate water treatment plants was a major cause. In Babil, three officials were arrested for incompetence when the outbreak started.

In 2007, Iraq had its last case of cholera. Then it affected over 3,100 people and killed fourteen. It was spread across Sulaimaniyah, Irbil, Dohuk, Salahaddin, Ninewa, Diyala, Wasit, Baghdad, Anbar, with Kirkuk in Tamim province at the center of it all.

Money should not be a problem for Baghdad to deal with this situation. As usual, it all comes down to the implementation. Can the central government effectively coordinate its efforts with the provinces, and the provinces with the cities and towns? This has been a major problem in the past.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraqi province on laert for cholera outbreak,” 9/8/08

Ali, Kadhem, “1,000 feared dead of Cholera in Iraq,” Azzaman, 9/15/08

Babylon & Beyond Blog, “IRAQ: Lots of rivers, not enough water,” Los Angeles Times, 9/7/08

CBS/AP, “New Cholera Outbreak Hits Iraq,” 9/8/08

IRIN, “Cholera claims five lives,” 9/11/08
- “Cholera continues to spread in the south,” 9/14/08
- “Confirmed cholera cases exceed 100,” 9/17/08
- “Two more cholera cases confirmed,” 9/8/08

KUNA, “Cholera claims lives of 2 out of 7 in Fallujah, with 4 more cases in Karbala,” 9/13/08
- “Twenty-one cholera cases confirmed in Baghdad,” 9/13/08

Voices of Iraq, “Cholera outbreak rings alarm bells in three southern Iraqi provinces,” 9/12/08
- “Security forces detain 3 local officials over Cholera outbreak in Babil,” 9/10/08

World Health Organization, “Cholera in Iraq,” 9/10/08

A More Complicated Picture of Iraq’s Tribes

All the talk today is about how the Sunni tribes turned against Al Qaeda in Iraq and changed the military dynamic of the war. What is discussed less is the fact that most of the country’s tribes were weak and disorganized after the 2003 invasion, and that other attempts to work with them by the U.S. failed. Tribes began working with the Americans for a number of reasons including being intimidated by Al Qaeda in Iraq’s threats, murders and terrorist attacks, losing business to the insurgents, facing the growing power of Shiite militias, especially Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, and a newer generation of sheikhs seizing the opportunity to gain power. This combination of factors is what changed the status quo, and would make a replication of the policy in other countries and circumstances difficult.

Background

Despite their growing prominence today, during the Saddam era many of Iraq’s tribes were largely eviscerated. They received most of their power and authority from the regime. Without official recognition from Baghdad, sheikhs had little say. When they worked with the government, they became part of the system of control in rural areas, and received money, police power, and patronage in return.

After the invasion, the standing of many tribes declined even more. Because their authority was based upon the former regime, when a new order was created under the Americans, the tribes lacked any real means to maintain support or provide for their people. Some formed organizations that were in name only. Paul Bremer thought the tribes were part of the past and sought to ignore them entirely. Some sheikhs gained positions in the Iraqi interim government, but had no real political base and largely faded from the scene afterwards. At the same time, the rise of the insurgency, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Shiite militias also cut into the power of the tribes, drawing away their young men.

Early attempts by the U.S. military to work with tribes found how powerless many of them were. For example, during the battle for Fallujah in 2004 U.S. generals tried unsuccessfully to get local sheikhs to stop attacks in the area. The radical Islamists in the city had more power than any of them. Many tribes were also working with the insurgents, seeing them as a new patron. In Shiite areas, the same thing was happening. In Wasit province the Sadrists were able to intimidate sheikhs to stop cooperating with the Coalition Provisional Authority. In 2006 the U.S. and Iraqi governments paid tribes to protect oil and electricity lines to no avail. Many of them took the money while continuing to smuggle oil, or were too divided to carry out the task. The U.S. also tried to recruit tribes along the Syrian border in Anbar to interdict the flow of supplies and foreign fighters, but never got enough recruits until much later. All of these point out the limitations of working with tribes and the different circumstances that prevailed in Iraq at the time. Tribes had no reason to give into demands by the United States because they were either working with the militants, or had their power usurped by them. Paying tribes also didn’t work because they could take the money, while continuing on with their other activities. There was no reason to stop. They also might have been weakened or divided to the point where paying one sheikh had no bearing on any others. Overall, there weren’t enough incentives in any of these cases for the sheikhs to work with the Americans. That all began to change in Anbar province.

The Awakening Movement

Anbar and its Awakening movement are seen as one of the major turning points in the war. As early as May 2005 two tribes, the Albu Mahal and Albu Nimr, began fighting against their former allies Al Qaeda in Iraq because they killed some of their tribesman, tried to impose a strict form of Islamic law, cut into their lucrative smuggling business, and were supplementing the tribes’ overall power. In late 2005 the tribes around Ramadi formed the Al Anbar People’s Council that was opposed to both the Islamists and the U.S. That group was destroyed in February 2006 when its leading sheikhs were killed by Al Qaeda in Iraq. Sheikh Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi, also known as Sattar Abu Risha, then took up the banner of resistance, eventually uniting 25 of Anbar’s 31 tribes into the Anbar Salvaction Council in September 2006. The Americans rejected his original pleas for help, but then began coming around to the idea. The U.S. promised to protect the tribes and give their group official standing by hiring their fighters into the local police.

When the Surge troops finally arrived in 2007, they were able to spread this model of working with tribes throughout central and parts of northern Iraq. There too, sheikhs had become disgusted with the Islamists tactics, and were also being pressed by the Shiite Mahdi Army. The Americans also provided much needed employment for tribesmen, and reconstruction money that was given to companies owned by the sheikhs. It’s also often overlooked, but in certain areas such as Diyala the policy didn’t work as well because the tribes were weak and divided, and often fought amongst themselves.

The push and pull factors were what made the tribal situation different than the earlier failed attempts by the Americans. This time both sides found common ground to work together. The Islamists and Sadrists were usurping the tribes, and costing them both money and men. Al Qaeda in Iraq would regularly kill sheikhs who refused to follow them, causing blood feuds. Young leaders like Sattar Abu Risha saw this as an opportunity to assert themselves over the older sheikhs that were working with the insurgency. The U.S. was also looked upon as a needed ally this time. They offered protection from the more powerful and organized Islamists, opened up new opportunities for patronage by giving the sheikhs control of security jobs, and offered them reconstruction contracts. In a way, the U.S. was playing the same role with the tribes that Saddam did, bestowing authority and money upon them, that gave them standing they would not otherwise have.

Conclusion

The situation in Iraq before and after 2006 shows how complicated and difficult replicating the tribal policy would be. After the invasion many tribes were rudderless without the official support of Saddam’s state. Later the Islamists and militias had all the guns and money and sapped the sheikhs of their men. When the U.S. tried to work with them early on, the tribes were either powerless or had no desire to work with the Americans. It was only when the tribes began to be squeezed by Al Qaeda in Iraq on a number of fronts, that some younger sheikhs took it upon themselves to try to stand up to them. Again, they lacked the power to pull this off, without finding some outside support, and that came in the form of the U.S. military. Their promise of protection, turned the tribes’ loyalty, and many of the same factors ended up playing themselves out across other parts of the country. Even then, there were parts of Iraq where the policy struggled because the tribes were weak and too divided. Going to other countries with U.S. troops and offering to work with the local tribes may not work. Each country has a different set of dynamics, and many efforts might turn out like the pre-2006 Iraqi ones, where the locals are supporting the status quo and have no reason to switch sides, or are simply too weak to do anything. It’s important to remember that the tribal turnaround in Iraq began before the Surge, and involved more than just more troops and a new set of tactics. It was also successful because of a good amount of pure luck that tribal figures were growing tired of the militants, and needed help.

Fore more on the tribes turning on Al Qaeda in Iraq see:

The Demise, But Not Death of Al Qaeda In Iraq

SOURCES


Agence France Presse, “Sunni tribes of Iraq’s rebel bastion declare war on Zarqawi,” 3/5/06

Allam, Hannah and al Dulaimy, Mohammed, “Marine-led Campaign Killed Friends and Foes, Iraqi Leaders Say,” Knight Ridder, 5/17/05

Al-Ansary, Khalid and Adeeb, Ali, “Most Tribes in Anbar Agree to Unite Against Insurgents,” New York Times, 9/18/06

Beehner, Lionel, “Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Resurging or Splintering?” Council on Foreign Relations, 7/16/07

Dagher, Sam, “Risky US alliances in Iraq,” Christian Science Monitor, 7/17/07

Eisenstadt, Lieutenant Colonel Michael, “Iraq Tribal engagement Lessons Learned,” Military Review, September-October 2007

Fadel, Leila, “Security in Iraq still elusive,” McClatchy Newspapers, 9/7/07

Fletcher, Martin, “Fighting back: the city determined not to become al-Qaeda’s capital,” Times of London, 11/20/06

International Crisis Group, “Iraq After The Surge I: The New Sunni Landscape,” 4/30/08

Katulis, Brian, Juul, Peter, and Moss, Ian, “Awakening to New Dangers in Iraq,” Center for American Progress, February 2008

Klein, Joe, “Is al-Qaeda on the Run in Iraq?” Time, 5/23/07

Michaels, Jim, “An Army colonel’s gamble pays off in Iraq,” USA Today, 4/30/07
- “U.S. gamble on sheiks is paying off – so far,” USA Today, 12/26/07

Pitman, Todd, “Sunni Sheiks Join Fight Vs. Insurgency,” Associated Press, 3/25/07

Roggio, Bill, “al Qaeda vs. the Iraqi Insurgency,” Long War Journal.org, 1/12/06

Shachtman, Noah, “In Iraq, Psyops Team Plays on Iran Fears, Soccer Love,” Danger Room Blog, Wired, 11/30/07

Smith, Major Neil and MacFarland, Colonel Sean, “Anbar Awakens: The Tipping Point,” Military Review, March-April 2008

Tarabay, Jamie, “Anbar Alliance May Not Translate to Other Provinces,” All Things Considered – National Public Radio, 9/25/07

Tavernise, Sabrina and Filkins, Dexter, “Local Insurgents Tell of Clashes With Al Qaeda’s Forces in Iraq,” New York Times, 1/12/06

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Numbers on Internally Displaced Iraqis

In August 2008, the Middle East Institute published a special issue of Viewpoints that focused upon Iraq’s refugee crisis. The report included some of the most up to date statistics on Iraq’s displaced available, based upon a number of sources such as the International Organization for Migration, the Brookings Institute, etc.

The number most commonly used for Iraq’s internal refugees comes from the United Nations, but there are others sources that say the total might be less. The U.N. says there are 2.7 million refugees. 1.2 million of those came before the February 2006 Samarra shrine bombing, which is credited for setting off the sectarian war. The other 1.5 million were a result of that fighting. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) used the U.N.’s numbers, but when it broke down those that have registered province by province, it only found 1,579,245. The Middle East Institute’s numbers were only an estimate, but came very close to the SIGIR’s at 1,607,994. The International Crisis Group released a report on Iraq’s refugees in July 2008 that noted there was a wide range of numbers on the displaced for a number of reasons. Those included the fact that some don’t register with authorities, foreign countries don’t have the ability to track many of them, illegal immigration, different groups use different methods, and the fact that governments change the numbers for political reasons.

Here’s a breakdown of the Viewpoints’ findings.

Note: The percentages for causes and aid do not add up to 100%

Internally Displaced Iraqis Since April 2003

2003 400,000
2004 800,000
2005 1,200,000
2006 2,000,000
2007 2,740,000
2008 2,770,000

Overview
Most displaced before Feb. 2006: Sulaymaniyah 50.465 families (approx. 302,790 people)
Most displaced after Feb. 2006: Baghdad 92,936 families (approx. 563,771 people)
Sect:
  • Highest Percentage of Shiite Arabs: Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthana, Qadisiyah and
  • Wasit 99.99%
  • Highest Percentage of Sunni Arabs: Anbar 99.3%
  • Highest Percentage of Kurds: Irbil 39.7%
Aid:
  • Highest Percentage Ministry of Displacement and Migration Wasit 84.5%
  • Lowest Percentage of Ministry of Displacement and Migration Dahuk 0.1%
  • Highest Percentage Other Government Agency Dahuk 17.1%
  • Lowest Percentage Other Government Agency Muthana 0.3%
  • Highest Percentage Iraqi Red Crescent Najaf 69.7%
  • Lowest Percentage Iraqi Red Crescent Irbil 0.1%
  • Highest Percentage Humanitarian Group Anbar 66.8%
  • Lowest Percentage Humanitarian Group Salahadin 0.4%
  • Highest Percentage Non-Government Organization or U.N. Wasit 28.5%
  • Lowest Percentage Non-Government Organization or U.N. Naaf 0.2%
  • Highest Percentage of No Aid Kirkuk 58.6%
  • Lowest Percentage of No Aid Najaf 1.6%

Anbar
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 1,025 families (approx. 29,418 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 8,876 families (approx. 51,487 people)
Origin: Baghdad 77.27%, Anbar 16.41%, Basra 6.19%
Sect: 99.3% Sunni Arab, 0.5% Shiite Arab
Causes: General Violence 43.7%, Threats on Life 30.1%, Forced Out 28.5%, Fighting 19.1%, Fear 8.9%
Security Statistics: Checkpoints 57.8%, Other Limits on Movement 23.1%, Death or Injury 22.1%
Aid: Humanitarian Groups 66.8%, Community 57.8%, Religious Group 57.4%, Family 22.3%, Iraqi Red Crescent 19.5%, No Aid 6.6%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 2.2%

Babil
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 1,475 families (approx. 8,850 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 12,799 families (approx. 77,914 people)
Origin: Baghdad 82.6%, Diyala 5.84%, Babil 5.65%, Salahadin 2.06%, Anbar 1.93%, Wasit 1.06%, Kirkuk 0.66%, Other 0.2%
Sect: 94.4% Shiite Arab, 5.3% Sunni Arab
Causes: Threats on Life 59.5%, Fear 57.2%, Forced Out 54.7%, Violence 50.5%
Security Statistics: Checkpoints 16.7%, Other Limits on Movement 10.4%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 7.1%, Death Or Injury 6%, Missing Group Members 3.4%
Aid: Community 62%, Iraqi Red Crescent 56.9%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 30.2%, No Aid 26.1%, Family 27.4%, Other Government Agency 13.2%, Non-Government Organization or U.N. 1.4%

Baghdad
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 3,867 families (approx. 23,202 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 92,936 families (approx. 563,771 people)
Origin: Baghdad 80.29%, Diyala 16.4%, Anbar 1.71%, Salahadin, 0.9%, Kirkuk 0.35%, Ninewa, 0.32%, Babil 0.16%, Other 0.22%
Sect: 80% Shiite, 19.8% Sunni, 0.1% Shiite Kurd, 0.02% Yazidi Arab
Causes: Threats on Life 56.5%, Fear 39.5%, Forced Out 39.4%, Violence 36.4%, Fighting 24.8%
Security Statistics: Death Or Injury 25.6%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 4.5%, Missing Group Members 3.0%, Other Limits on Movement 1.4%, Checkpoints 0.2%
Aid: No Aid 54.8%, Family 30%, Religious Group 27.2%, Community 20.9%, Iraqi Red Crescent 16%, Humanitarian Groups 14%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 10.7%, Other Government Agency 2.6%

Basra
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 15,778 families (approx. 94,668 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 6,031 families (approx. 35,718 people)
Origin: Baghdad 51.64%, Salahadin 26.54%, Anbar 8.13%, Diyala 6.4%, Kirkuk 4.15%, Babil 2.01%, Basra 0.66%, Other 0.l22%
Sect: 99.99% Shiite, 0.01% Sunni Arab
Causes: Threats on Life 95.5%, Fear 5.2%, Forced Out 2.1%, Violence 0.6%, Fighting 0.5%
Security Statistics: Death Or Injury 13.5%, Missing Group Members 1.4%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 0.6%
Aid: No Aid 46.4%, Iraqi Red Crescent 33.1%, Family 23.4%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 20.8%, Community 14.1%, Religious Group 12.5%, Humanitarian Group 4.4%, Other Government Agency 1.6%

Dohuk
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 22,474 families (approx. 134,844 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 18,733 families (approx. 104,948 people)
Origin: Baghdad 56.51%, Ninewa 41.69%, Kirkuk 0.69%, Basra 0.50%, Anbar 0.38%, Salahadin, 0.06%, Muthanna 0.03%, Other 0.06%
Sect: 35.6% Sunni Kurd, 31.5% Chaldean Christian, 20.8% Assyrian Christian, 4.0% Armenian Christian, 2.4% Sunni Arab, 2.1% Shiite
Causes: Fear 91.3%, Violence 88.1%, Threats on Life 71.6%, Fighting 37%
Security Statistics: Death or Injury 13.3%, Missing Group Members 2.5%, Checkpoints 0.9%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 0.6%, Other Limits on Movement 0.2%
Aid: No Aid 45%, Religious Group 19.8%, Iraqi Red Crescent 19.1%, Other Government Agency 17.1%, Family 12.8%, Humanitarian Group 4.2%, Community 4%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 0.1%

Dhi Qar
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 4,226 families (approx. 25,356 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 7,138 families (approx. 47,925 people)
Origin: Baghdad 68.42%, Salahadin 13.21%, Diyala 8.57%, Anbar 3.06%, Kirkuk 2.82%, Babil 2.43%, Wasit 1.1%
Sect: 99.99% Shiite Arab, 0.01% Sunni Arab
Causes: Threats 75.1%, Violence 58.6%, Forced Out 34%, Fear 33.7%, Fighting 7.1%
Security Statistics: Missing Family Member 15.2%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 12.4%, Death or Injury 7.8%, Checkpoints 0.1%
Aid: Relatives 45.1%, Religious Group 41.6%, Iraqi Red Crescent 40.7%, Community 35.7%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 33.1%, No Aid 27.6%, Humanitarian Group 18%, Other Government Agency 0.6%

Diyala
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 9,100 families (approx. 54,600 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 17,198 families (approx. 103,426 people)
Origin: Diyala 83.47%, Baghdad 15.84%, Anbar 0.19%, Babil 0.l6%, Kirkuk 0.15%, Salahadin 0.12%, Basra 0.04%, Qadisiyah 0.02%
Sect: 50.7% Sunni Arab, 39.5% Shiite Arab, 7.8% Shiite Kurd, 1.37% Sunni Kurd, 0.5% Shiite Turkomen, 0.13% Sunni Turkomen
Causes: Violence 57.4%, Forced Out 55.1%, Threats on Life 53.2%, Fear 36.8%, Fighting 27.2%, Other 1.6%
Security Statistics: Checkpoints 50.7%, Death or Injury 39.4%, Missing Group Members 16.1%, Other Limits on Movement 11.5%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 8.8%
Aid: Community 59.3%, Family 44.2%, Iraqi Red Crescent 34%, No Aid 20.3%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 19.9%, Humanitarian Group 16.9%, Religious Group 16.6%, Other Government Agency 2.2%

Irbil
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 32,813 families (approx. 196,878 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 10,339 families (approx. 62,034 people)
Origin: Ninewa 46.76%, Baghdad 45.78%, Kirkuk 2.52%, Diyala 1.94%, Salahadin 0.76%, Anbar 0.74%, Basra 0.71%, Other 0.53%
Sect: 39.7% Sunni Kurd, 23.56% Chaldean Christian, Sunni Arab 21.8%, Assyrian Christian 5.9%, Christian Kurd/Other/Arab 2.9%, Shiite Arab 1.6%
Causes: Fear 97.2%, Violence 48.4%, Threats on Life 11.1%, Fighting 0.3%
Security Statistics: Need Pass to Move From Residence 95.8%, Checkpoints 89.9%, Missing Group Member 0.5%, Death or Injury 0.5%, Other Limits on Movement 0.1%
Aid: Religious Group 4.9%, Humanitarian Group 0.8%, Iraqi Red Crescent 0.1%, Family 0.1%

Karbala
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 18,818 families (approx. 112,908 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 8,617 families (approx. 55,962 people)
Origins: Baghdad 53.78%, Diyala 23.38%, Anbar 8.5%, Babil 3.05%, Kirkuk 2.82 %, Salahadin 1.67%, Karbala 1.65%, Wasit 0.16%
Sect: 98.2% Shiite, 1.4% Shiite Turkomen
Causes: Threats on Life 78.6%, Fear 48.2%, Violence 41%, Forced Out 32.5%, Fighting 32%
Security Statistics: Checkpoints 28.3%, Missing Group Members 24.3%, Death or Injury 17.1%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 14.3%, Other Limits on Movement 0.1%
Aid: Iraqi Red Crescent 53.7%, Family 48.5%, No Aid 47.7%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 41.9%, Community 28.3%, Other Government Agency 11%, Non-Government Organization or U.N. 1.5%

Tamim
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 1,252 families (approx. 7,512 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 7,958 families (approx. 47,748 people)
Origins: Diyala 28.96%, Baghdad 18.92%, Salahadin 17.14%, Ninewa 16.3%, Kirkuk 15.17%, Anbar 2.17%, Irbil 0.32%, Other 0.49%
Sect: 51.8% Sunni Arab, 18.8% Shiite Turkomen, 18.2% Sunni Kurd, 3.2% Sunni Turkomen, 2.8% Shiite Arab
Causes: Violence 84.6%, Fear 68.4%, Threats on Life 45.3%, Fighting 4.2%, Forced Out 1.6%
Security Statistics: Missing Family Members 48.4%, Other Limits on Movement 27.1%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 27.0%, Death or Injury 23.1%, Checkpoints 17.2%
Aid: No Aid 58.6%, Family 15.%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 14.4%, Community 5.9%, Religious Group 5.7%, Humanitarian Group 5.2%, Iraqi Red Crescent 3.9%, Other Government Agency 1%

Maysan
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 18,871 families (approx. 113,226 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 6,858 families (approx. 46,948 people)
Origins: Baghdad 83.84%, Diyala 7.67%, Salahadin 4.65%, Kirkuk 1.55%, Anbar 1.02%, Wasit 0.47%, Babil 0.34%
Sect: 99.9% Shiite, 0.1% Sabean Mandean
Causes: Fear 63.4%, Threats on Life 43.4%, Forced Out 30.7%, Violence 18.4%, Fighting 10.7%
Security Statistics: Checkpoints 3.3%, Missing Family Members 2.5%, Other Limits on Movement 1.9%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 1%
Aid: Ministry of Displacement and Migration 52%, Religious Group 37.9%, Community 28.4%, No Aid 27.7%, Iraqi Red Crescent 23.1%, Family 3%, Non-Government Organization or U.N. 2.6%

Muthana
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 861 families (approx. 5,166 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 2,641 families (approx. 18,351 people)
Origins: Baghdad 72.44%, Diyala 14.1%, Anbar 7.64%, Babil 1.82%, Salahadin 1.31%, Ninewa 1.11%, Wasit 0.71%
Sect: 99.99% Shiite, 0.01% Sunni ARab
Causes: Threats on Life 74.8%, Fear 48.3%, Fighting 41.1%, Forced Out 34.7%, Violence 20.4%
Security Statistics: Need Pass to Move From Residence 9.8%, Missing Family Members 6%, Death or Injury 0.8%, Checkpoints 0.6%
Aid: Iraqi Red Crescent 41.5%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 29.5%, No Aid 27.9%, Family 18.7%, Community 5.9%, Religious Group 5.3%, Humanitarian Group 2.3%, Other Government Agency 0.3%

Najaf
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 3,993 families (approx. 23,958 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 10,140 families (approx. 58,032 people)
Origins: Baghdad 87.9%, Diyala 5.76%, Anbar 2.01%, Ninewa 1.62%, Babil 0.96%, Salahadin 0.94%, Kirkuk 0.8%, Wasit 0.02%
Sect: 98.2% Shiite, 1.4% Shiite Turkomen
Causes: Threats on Life 98%, Violence 12.7%, Forced Out 12.3%, Fear 3.2%, Fighting 1%
Security Statistics: Death or Injury 28.2%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 15.9%, Missing Family Members 2.5%
Aid: Iraqi Red Crescent 69.7%, Community 28.3%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 21.6%, Family 13.4%, Other Government Agency 1.7%, No Aid 1.6%, Non-Government Organization or U.N. 0.2%

Ninewa
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 6,572 families (approx. 39,432 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 19,126 families (approx. 106,750 people)
Origins: Baghdad 52.68%, Ninewa 36.57%, Basra 6.56%, Diyala 1.21%, Kirkuk 0.87%, Salahadin 0.64%, Anbar 0.58%
Sect: 40.1% Christian Assyrian, 27.6% Sunni Arab, 12.2% Christian Chaldean, 12% Sunni Turkomen, 2.7% Sunni Kurd
Causes: Threats 62.9%, Violence 42.5%, Fear 28.8%, Forced Out 17.8%, Fighting 1.7%
Security Statistics: Missing Family Member 20.2%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 19.1%, Checkpoint 7.5%, Other Limits on Movement 5.5%
Aid: Ministry of Displacement and Migration 42.1%, Community 32.6%, Iraqi Red Crescent 32.2%, Religious Group 30.2%, Family 28.6%, No Aid 23.5%, Humanitarian Group 14.9%, Other Government Agency 2.1%

Qadisiyah
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 1,154 families (approx. 6,924 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 4,111 families (approx. 26,320 people)
Origins: Baghdad 81.44%, Diyala 6.54%, Anbar 4.62%, Salahadin 2.99%, Kirkuk 2.38%, Babil 1.66%, Wasit 0.26%
Sect: 99.99% Shiite Arab
Causes: Threats 93.3%, Fear 25.8%, Violence 21.2%, Forced Out 0.9%, Fighting 0.5%
Security Statistics: Other Limits on Movement 7.9%, Missing Family Member 0.6%
Aid: Religious Group 46.3%, Iraqi Red Crescent 40.7%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 36.3%, Community 30.7%, Non-Government Organization or U.N. 17.6%, No Aid 15.2%, Family 2.3%

Salahadin
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 3,366 families (approx. 20,196 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 7,817 families (approx. 45,762 people)
Origins: Baghdad 62.3%, Basra 14.35%, Diyala 9.34%, Salahadin 5.37%, Kirkuk 2.6%, Anbar 2.45%, Wasit 0.99%
Sect: 95% Sunni Arab, 3.1% Shiite Arab, 1.2% Shiite Turkomen, 0.6% Sunni Kurd, 0.1% Sunni Turkomen
Causes: Threats 75.9%, Violence 21.5%, Forced Out 19.2%, Fighting, 14.6%, Fear 10.7%
Security Statistics: Need Pass to Move From Residence 9.9%, Other Limits on Movement 7.4%, Missing Family Members 7.2%, Checkpoints 4%, Death or Injury 0.2%
Aid: No Aid 55%, Community 25.7%, Iraqi Red Crescent 17%, Family 12.2%, Religious Group 10.5%, Ministry of Displacement and Migration 4.3%, Other Government Agency 0.7%, Humanitarian Group 0.4%

Sulaymaniyah
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 50,465 families (approx. 302,790 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 14,254 families (approx. 79,672 people)
Origins: Diyala 48.95%, Baghdad 43.28%, Anbar 2.92%, Ninewa 1.78%, Salahadin 0.9%, Kirkk 0.61%, Basra 0.47%
Sect: 64.1% Sunni Arab, 22.2% Sunni Kurd, 9.8% Shiite Arab, 2.5% Shiite Kurd, 0.4% Yazidi Kurd
Causes: Fear 90.4%, Violence 88.4%, Fighting 53.8%, Threats 46.6%, Forced Out 3.8%
Security Statistics: Death or Injury 2.2%, Missing Family Member 1.2%, Other Limits on Movement 0.9%, Need Pass to Move From Residence 0.95
Aid: Iraqi Red Crescent 6.8%, Humanitarian Group 6.1%, Community 4.8%, Other Government Agency 1.9%, Religious Group 1.2%, Family 0.1%

Wasit
Total displaced before Feb. 2006: 2,030 families (approx. 12,180 people)
Total displaced after Feb. 2006: 12,259 families (approx. 75,326 people)
Origins: Baghdad 65.17%, Diyala 32.88%, Babil 1.04%, Kirkuk 0.48%, Anbar 0.3%, Salahadin 0.14%
Sect: 99.99 Shiite Arab, 0.01% Sunni Arab
Causes: Violence 97.9%, Forced Out 1.9%, Fear 1.7%, Threats 1.3%, Fighting 0.1%
Security Statistics: Death or Injury 1%, Need Pass To Move From Residence 1%, Missing Family Members 0.7%, Checkpoints 0.3%
Aid: Ministry of Displacement and Migration 84.5%, Community 53.6%, Religious Group 47.2%, Iraqi Red Crescent 43.8%, Non-Government Organization or U.N. 28.5%, No Aid 11%, Family 2.3%

SOURCES

Ferris, Elizabeth, “The Looming Crisis: Displacement and Security in Iraq,” Brookings Institution, August 2008

International Crisis Group, “Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees In Syria, Jordan and Lebanon,” 7/10/08

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/08

Viewpoints, “Iraq’s Refugee and IDP Crisis: Human Toll and Implications,” August 2008