Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Power Output Down In Iraq For End Of 2009

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reports that power output was down for the last three months of 2009. In the 4th quarter of last year Iraq produced 5,285 megawatts or 126,843 megawatt-hours per day. That compared to 138,475 megawatt-hours per day in the 3rd quarter, which was an all time high since the 2003 invasion. At the same time demand dropped by 8% as Iraq entered into the colder months of the year. Reduced output from power plants was the cause of the decreased production. This was the first time that electricity output decreased since the beginning of 2008.

The Electricity Ministry plans to boost production with a General Electric (GE) and Siemens deal to buy new generators. In the last three years the Ministry already increased the country’s feasible capacity by 40% from 8,500 megawatts at the end of 2006 to 12,000 megawatts by the end of 2009. Feasible capacity is how much a generator can produce given the environment it works in. The GE and Siemens deal is meant to double feasible capacity over the next five years.

The SIGIR is unsure whether this deal will allow the Ministry to meet demand however. Iraq’s power plants have historically operated at much lower levels than they can. For example, Iraq has the capacity to produce 15,527 megawatts, but its feasible capacity is 11,968 megawatts, and its actual production was only 5,285 megawatts at the end of 2009. Fuel shortages to run power plants, aging infrastructure, and the lack of maintenance are three major causes for the difference between the feasible and actual production. Another problem is that demand has consistently increased since 2003. The government has large subsidies on power, which encourages consumption because the public doesn’t have to pay the actual cost. As electricity production has increased, so has demand. Finally, the power grid needs to be upgraded because it cannot handle a large increase in capacity, but there are now plans to renovate it.

In the latest survey, only 18% of Iraqis were somewhat or very satisfied with the amount of power they received. Despite the large increase in electricity production since the overthrow of Saddam, demand has sky rocketed as well increasing dissatisfaction. The government is making moves to close the gap, but the institutional and structural problems outlined above make it difficult for Iraq to produce what it could. Those issued need to be addressed otherwise the government is wasting a huge amount of its investment on new generators.


Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 1/30/10

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, And Iran’s Role In Putting Together A New Iraqi Government

While all of the major parties in Iraq’s March 2010 parliamentary election are furiously meeting with each other to form a new government, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran are trying to influence the results. The Saudis are pressuring former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to make concessions to ensure that he can return to power, while Turkey is trying to patch up relations between him and the Kurdish Alliance. Iran on the other hand is trying to keep the Shiite and Kurdish parties together so that they can remain in power.

First, the Saudis and Turkey are trying to assist Allawi’s list. The Saudis are intent on making Allawi prime minister again, so that the Shiites aren’t in power anymore, which they consider a means for Iran to take over the country. The Saudis have told Allawi he needs to make concessions to the other leading lists like the Supreme Council-Sadrist led National Alliance and the Kurdish Alliance of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to form a new government. Riyadh allegedly suggested that Allawi should even consider making compromises on Kirkuk to win over the Kurds. Allawi has already accepted Jalal Talabani of the PUK to be re-elected president, after National Movement member Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi originally said an Arab should hold the position. Turkey has also stepped in to try to help in negotiations with the Kurdish Alliance. They got Allawi ally parliamentarian Osama Nujafi to offer to go to Kurdistan to hold talks. Nujafi said he was willing to go to Irbil on the condition that the Kurds respected the election results and realize that they are not in the same position as they were before. The Alliance however, is very suspicious of Nujafi and his brother Atheel who is governor of Ninewa and leads the ruling al-Hadbaa party there. As a result, the Kurds have questioned the National Movement’s victory in Ninewa, and asked whether they would stage a coup there. Until then, the two sides had one meeting in Baghdad on March 29 when Osama Nujafi and Deputy Prime Minister Rafia al-Issawi of Allawi’s list met with their Kurdish counterparts. The U.S. is allegedly sponsoring a meeting with Nujafi and the Kurds in Turkey as well. It seems that the Turks and Saudis would rather have a secular Shiite in power with a large Sunni base, rather than the current religious Shiite powers again running Iraq.

Tehran is working towards just that latter goal. Right after the March 7 election, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a delegation to Iran to gain support for a second term in office. Then Talabani met with the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad on March 23, who offered the president an invitation to visit Tehran for the Nowruz festivities. He left on March 26, followed by Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi of the National Alliance. The next day delegations from the Alliance and Maliki’s State of Law arrived in Iran as well, where talks were supposedly conducted with Moqtada al-Sadr who resides there. Reports are that Iran wants the current ruling coalition of the State of Law, the National Alliance, and the Kurdish Alliance to remain in power, and stop Allawi, and his Sunni allies from taking office.

Since the U.S. invasion, Iraq has been so weak that its neighbors have had almost free reign to interfere in its internal affairs. The 2010 balloting was just the latest example. On the one side, Turkey and the Saudis want to curtail Iranian influence and Shiite rule, while Tehran wants their friends in the Shiite and Kurdish parties to stay in office. Whether any of these attempts at mediation will work is unknown. The Kurds for example, have serious misgivings about the Nujafi brothers within Allawi’s alliance, and it would seem that no matter what the Saudis and Turks say, they would not be able to overcome that divide. On the other hand, Sadr has come out against Maliki returning as prime minister, and may join with Allawi instead, despite Iran’s pressure. Who will be able to form a new government is unknown right now since everything is in such a state of flux, and it’ll probably take months for everything to work out. Whoever comes out on top, will be partly beholden to the outside powers that helped them out.


Aswat al-Iraq, “Al-Iraqiya delegation discusses with KA ways of cooperation,” 3/29/10
- “Kurdistan Alliance’s purpose: Article 140 and national unity government,” 3/29/10

MEMRI Blog, “Iraq Votes – Part XI,” 3/29/10

Radio Nawa, “Talabani leaves Baghdad for Iran at the head of an official delegation,” 3/26/10

Roads To Iraq, “Allawi and Maliki reached an agreement, Saudi Arabia asked Allawi to accept any deal,” 3/17/10
- “The new government and the bumpy road ahead,” 3/27/10

Al Sumaria News, Qanon, Al Cauther, Al-Iraq News, Al Rafidayn, RM Iraq, Sotal Iraq, “Iraq Votes – Part IX,” MEMRI Blog, 3/23/10

Wasat, “Maliki send representatives to Tehran to discuss support for a second term,” 3/17/10

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kurdish Alliance Lays Out Its Opposition To Allawi’s National Movement

After the new Iraqi parliament is seated they will elect a president with a two-thirds vote who will then tell the leader of the coalition with the most seats to form a new government. Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi finished first in the March 7 election with 91 seats. He needs to garner 72 more seats to reach a majority of 163 to become the leader of Iraq again, and is in talks with all the major parties to accomplish this. One of them is the Kurdish Alliance, led by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), who finished with 43 seats. While not a necessity to form a new government, the way the lists are currently divided, they will be an important player. The problem for Allawi is that the Kurdish Alliance has come out against members of his list for being anti-Kurdish.

One major difference between the Kurdish Alliance and Allawi stems from the Kurds’ demands to join a coalition. The Kurds are expecting assurances on Kurdish federalism and sharing of oil revenues, support for Article 140 that lays out rough steps to annex disputed territories such as Kirkuk, and support for President Jalal Talabani to return for a second term as prerequisites for their participation in any new government. Right after the voting ended, the National Movement ran into its first problem when member Vice President Tariq Hashemi said that an Arab should be president in an interview with Al Jazeera. Allawi and Hashemi immediately went to Irbil to meet with Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani to smooth over the comments. Recently, Allawi also said that he respected the nomination of Talabani. The presidency is an important symbolic position for the Kurds, to show that they have power in Baghdad. Allawi might have found a solution to this early difference, but he has larger ones to deal with. 

While Allawi is a secular Shiite, most of his list is made up of Sunnis. Two prominent members are parliamentarian Osama Nujafi and his brother Atheel Nujafi who is the governor of Ninewa and the leader of the al-Hadbaa party. They are probably the main reason why the National Movement won 20 out of 31 general seats in the province. In the 2009 elections Al-Hadbaa ran on opposition to Kurdish aspirations to annex disputed regions of the governorate, and to remove them from leadership positions within Ninewa, which they had controlled since 2005. After their victory, the Kurds boycotted the provincial council, set up their own rival administration, and denounced al-Hadbaa as being Baathists. 

The Nujafis inclusion in the National Movement has become a major source of concern for the Kurds. The Kurdish Alliance has said that there are Baathists within Allawi’s list as a result. More and more, Kurdish officials have also said that they would have a problem working with Allawi because of the Nujafis. The leader of the Kurdish Alliance said that they have nothing against Allawi personally, but that members of his list are a threat to the Kurds. Another Kurd said that there were parts of the National Movement that opposed the constitution, meaning Article 140, Kurdish federalism, and denied Saddam’s massacre of Kurds at Halabja. Osama Nujafi has not helped the situation when after the election he said that he would oppose giving the Kurds any concessions over Kirkuk or any other disputed territory. Because al-Hadbaa are such an important part of the National Movement, responsible for up to one fifth of the list’s seats, Allawi would find it almost impossible to compromise with both them and the Kurdish Alliance. The Kurds and the Nujafis have diametrically opposed ideas of the disputed areas, the administration of Ninewa, and al-Hadbaa are considered Baathists in disguise by the Kurdish Alliance. Allawi supporting Talabani for president is a relatively painless move, but making any kind of promises to the Kurds could tear his list apart. 

While anything is possible in Iraqi politics, for now it seems as though there is no common ground to be found between Allawi and the Kurdish Alliance. Allawi was the overwhelming candidate of the Sunnis this election, and the Nujafis played an important role in that victory. That support may now cost him a deal with the Kurds. Already, the Kurds have said that they are closer to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Supreme Council-Sadrist led National Alliance. 163 seats in parliament can be achieved without the Kurdish Alliance, but it would be much more difficult. Allawi would have to win over some of the smaller winners in the 2010 election such as the Unity of Iraq and Accordance Front, and more importantly, one or two of the Shiite parties like the Sadrists, Supreme Council, or even Maliki’s State of Law. This is just another sign that forming a new government will be a long and arduous process likely to take months just as it did in 2005.


AK News, “Ayad Allawi & Tariq al-Hashimi in Erbil,” 3/13/10
- “Discords over Kirkuk after Iraq vote,” 3/22/10
- “KA leader rules out nominating al-Hashemi for premiership,” 3/22/10
- “KA: We have reservations on some of Al-Iraqiya members, including Osama Nujafi,” 3/24/10
- “Post of President “crucial point” for Kurds in forging alliances,” 3/10/10

Asrar-Al Sharq, “Mahmoud Othman : presence of difficulty in Kurdistan alliance with Iraqi list,” 3/28/10

Hamad, Qassim Khidhir, “kurdish kingmakes?” Niqash, 3/25/10

Hanna, Michael, Wahid, “How much do they hate Maliki?” Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy, 3/26/10
- “The Race for the Iraqi Presidency,” Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy, 3/11/10

Inside Iraq, “Iraq’s Election results,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/26/10

Al Iraq News, “Chairman of the Iraqi List: We support the nomination of the Kurdistan Alliance President Talabani for a second term,” 3/27/10

Khabbar, “Sadoun : Kurdistan Alliance close to the two coalitions and has reservations on some members of the Iraq,” 3/28/10

Mahmoud, Mustafa, “Iraq’s divided vote may deepen Kirkuk dispute,” Reuters, 3/23/10

Najm, Hayder, “tight race means a long wait for new pm,” Niqash, 3/24/10

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Kurdish Alliance Gives Criteria For Forming A Coalition,” 3/27/10

Radio Nawa, “Kurdish leader describes allied with Allawi as mines, which is fighting Kurds,” 3/28/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Iraq Elections: Maliki’s Path to Re-election,” World Politics Review, 3/16/10

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Allawi Wins Iraq’s Election, But Does It Matter?

Iraq’s Election Commission has finally released the seat distribution in the new parliament. Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi came out in first place with 91 seats, followed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law with 89 seats. The National Alliance of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and the Sadrists got 70 seats, and the Kurdish Alliance of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) received 43, Those four were the major lists, which will be behind any new government. After them were the minor parties, including the Kurdish opposition groups, the Change List with 8 seats, the Kurdistan Islamic Union with 4 seats, and the Kurdistan Islamic Group with 2 seats. The Accordance Front finished with only 6 seats, after being a major player in 2005, plus Interior Minister Jawad Bolani’s Unity of Iraq list got 4 seats. There were five seats set aside for Christians in Baghdad, Dohuk, Irbil, Ninewa, and Tamim. Three went to the Rafidain List, while the other two went to the Council of the Kildani People. The winning parties for the three other minority seats have not been released yet.

Allawi proved to be a much better national candidate then Maliki. In the four provinces with mainly Sunni Arab voters, Anbar, Diyala, Ninewa, and Salahaddin, he received 47 of 76 seats, 61% of the total. While Allawi is a Shiite, he ran on a nationalist, secular agenda, and most of his list were Sunnis. In the mixed provinces of Baghdad he got 24 of 68 seats, 35%, almost matching Maliki, while in Tamim he had a surprising tie with the Kurdish Alliance, gaining 6 of 12 seats there. In the Shiite south, Allawi’s list was able to garner 17 of 119 seats, for 14%. Allawi obviously did better in central and northern Iraq than the south, but that was a better showing than Maliki nationally. He only got 1 of 76 seats in Sunni areas, with one seat in Diyala. In Baghdad he bettered Allawi by only two seats, with 26. Southern Shiites were his main base where he got 60 of 119 seats. Maliki might not have done as well in Sunni areas because of his backing of the Accountability and Justice Commission’s banning of candidates before the election for alleged Baathist ties, which angered many Sunnis.

In the end, none of that may matter. The new parliament will next select a speaker and president, and then the latter will ask the leader of the largest list to try to form a new government. The Federal Supreme Court however, just ruled that parties can continue to form alliances until a president is named. That means Maliki could put together a new coalition with his State of Law that surpasses the National Movement’s 91, and then he would have the first shot at forming a government, despite Allawi finishing ahead of him in the vote.

Even before this latest development Allawi was looking at a difficult time cobbling together a ruling coalition. Moqtada al-Sadr for example, has come out against Maliki returning to power, which means he could be open to working with Allawi. The Sadrists also received around 40 seats out of the National Alliance’s 70, making them a powerful bloc equal to the Kurdish Alliance. The Sadr Trend has also collaborated with Allawi’s Iraqi National List in parliament. However, Shiite parties and leaders in the south have been portraying Allawi as being a Baathist sympathizer that will allow former regime elements back into power, which would make it hard for Sadr’s rank and file agreeing to an alliance. Allawi faces another problem if he wanted to talk to the Kurds. They are asking for guarantees on Article 140 that lays out how the disputed territories like Kirkuk will be annexed. Members of Allawi’s List such as parliamentarian Osama al-Nujafi have said they will oppose any compromises on the disputed areas. Not only that, but members of the Kurdish Alliance have said that Nujafi and others in Allawi’s list are Baathists and anti-Kurdish. That hasn’t stopped Allawi from traveling to Kurdistan two times to meet with Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani since the March 7 election. Last, Maliki and Allawi both want to be prime minister. That personal rivalry excludes the two from joining forces at this time. At 91 seats, the National Movement needs 72 to reach the 163 necessary for a government. It would be impossible for Allawi to get to that mark without bringing in one to two of the three major lists mentioned above.

Maliki on the other hand, seems to have an advantage in winning over at least a few parties to his side. First, despite a series of clashes with the Prime Minister in 2008 and 2009, the Kurdish Alliance has said that they want to stay in power with State of Law. Second, Maliki’s Dawa and the Supreme Council have begun talking about a merger. State of Law, the Kurdish Alliance, and the other members of the National Alliance besides the Sadrists would account for 162 seats. Maliki would only have to bring in one more minor party such as the Accordance Front or Unity of Iraq to gain a majority in parliament, and to give some Sunnis representation within his government. That would be a major weakness in his government however, since Sunnis overwhelmingly came out for Allawi.

For Maliki, the real issue is whether he can return to power. There are increasing rumors that parties will join with his State of Law, but only if he is not named as prime minister. That may be the reason why the Sadrists have come out against a second term for Maliki. They still want the Shiite parties to come together, just not with Maliki as their leader. Two members of the National Alliance separately told reporters that all the parties in the list would join with the State of Law, even the Sadrists, but only if Maliki stepped down. Ironically, that may be the price for the State of Law to maintain its leading position within the government, which is to sacrifice Maliki since he has simply made too many enemies in his last few years in office.

The next several weeks and months will be taken up by this arduous process of putting together a new ruling coalition. Both Allawi and Maliki have warts on them that will make it hard for them to find friends. The Prime Minister has the upper hand however right now. The reason why might have been best summed up by a member of the KDP who said that they had to choose better the bad, Maliki, and the worse, Allawi. Given that dilemma, the Prime Minister appears to be the lesser of two evils. Since Maliki needs them more than they need him however, their price may be him not remaining in power.

Seats In Parliament By Party
National Movement 91 seats, 28%
State of Law 89 seats, 27%
National Alliance 70 seats, 21%
Kurdish Alliance 43 seats, 13%
Change List 8 seats, 2%
Accordance Front 6 seats, 1%
Unity of Iraq 4 seats, 1%
Kurdistan Islamic Union 4 seats, 1%
Rafidain List 3 seats (Christian quota), 0.9%
Kurdistan Islamic Group 2 seats, 0.6%
Council of the Kildani People 2 seats (Christian quota), 0.6%
3 Minority seats yet to be announced
325 Total

Allawi vs. Maliki By Provinces and Constituencies

Sunni Areas:
Anbar 11 of 14
Diyala 8 of 19
Ninewa 20 of 31
Salahaddin 8 of 12
Total: 47 of 76, 61%

Mixed Areas:
Baghdad 24 of 68, 35%
Tamim 6 of 12 seats, 50%

Shiite Areas:
Babil 8 of 16
Basra 3 of 24
Dhi Qar 1 of 18
Karbala 1 of 10
Qadisiyah 2 of 11
Wasit 2 of 11 seats
Total: 17 of 119, 14%


Sunni Areas:
Diyala 1 of 19
Total: 1 of 76, 1%

Mixed Areas:
Baghdad 26 of 68, 38%

Shiite Areas:
Babil 8 of 16
Basra 14 of 24
Dhi Qar 8 of 18
Karbala 6 of 10
Muthanna 4 of 7
Maysan 4 of 10
Najaf 7 of 12
Qadisiyah 4 of 11
Wasit 5 of 11 seats
Total: 60 of 119, 50%

Seats In Parliament By Province
Anbar: 14 seats
National Movement 11 seats
Accordance Front 2 seats
Unity of Iraq 1 seat

Babil: 16 seats
State of Law 8 seats
National Alliance 5 seats
National Movement 3 seats

Baghdad: 68 seats + 1 Christian seat + 1 Sabean seat
State of Law 26 seats
National Movement 24 seats
National Alliance 17 seats
Accordance Front 1 seat

Basra: 24 seats
State of Law 14 seats
National Alliance 7 seats
National Movement 3 seats

Dohuk: 10 seats + 1 Christian seat
Kurdish Alliance 9 seats
Kurdistan Islamic Party 1 seat

Dhi Qar: 18 seats
National Alliance 9 seats
State of Law 8 seats
National Movement 1 seat

Diyala: 19 seats
National Movement 8 seats
National Alliance 3 seats
State of Law 1 seat
Kurdish Alliance 1 seat

Irbil: 14 seats + 1 Christian seat
Kurdish Alliance 10 seats
Change List 2 seats
Kurdistan Islamic Group 1 seat
Kurdistan Islamic Party 1 seat

Karbala: 10 seats
State of Law 6 seats
National Alliance 3 seats
National Movement 1 seat

Muthanna: 7 seats
State of Law 4 seats
National Alliance 3 seats

Maysan: 10 seats
National Alliance 6 seats
State of Law 4 seats

Najaf: 12 seats
State of Law 7 seats
National Alliance 5 seats

Ninewa: 31 seats + 1 Christian seat + 1 Yazidi seat + 1 Shabak seat
National Movement 20 seats
Kurdish Alliance 8 seats
National Alliance 1 seat
Accordance Front 1 seat
Unity of Iraq 1 seat

Qadisiyah: 11 seats
National Alliance 5 seats
State of Law 4 seats
National Movement 2 seats

Salahaddin: 12 seats
National Movement 8 seats
Accordance Front 2 seats
Unity of Iraq 2 seats

Tamim: 12 seats + 1 Christian seat
National Movement 6 seats
Kurdish Alliance 6 seats

Wasit: 11 seats
State of Law 5 seats
National Alliance 4 seats
National Movement 2 seats

Compensatory Seats: 7 seats
National Movement 2 seats
State of Law 2 seats
National Alliance 2 seats
Kurdish Alliance 1 seat


AK News, “Discords over Kirkuk after Iraq vote,” 3/22/10

Allam, Hannah, “Iraq election: a ‘birther’ movement and comparisons to Nazi Germany,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/26/10

Associated Press, “Iraq’s new parliament seat distribution,” 3/26/10

Fadel, Leila, “Iraq’s Kurds could lose some of their influence to anti-American Sadr movement,” Washington Post, 3/24/10

Hamad, Qassim Khidhir, “kurdish kingmakes?” Niqash, 3/25/10

Hanna, Michael, Wahid, “How much do they hate Maliki?” Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy, 3/26/10

Inside Iraq, “Iraq’s Election results,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/26/10

Najm, Hayder, “tight race means a long wait for new pm,” Niqash, 3/24/10

Roads To Iraq, “Coalitions, negotiations and the making of a king,” 3/20/10

Al-Salhy, Suadad, “Iraq’s two main Shi’ite blocs discuss merger,” Reuters, 3/23/10

Friday, March 26, 2010

Breakdown of Iraq’s 2010 Budget

Iraq’s Presidential Council approved the 2010 budget on February 11, 2010. It is for $71.29 billion, the second largest amount since Iraq regained its sovereignty in 2005. A breakdown of spending shows that operational spending, which goes towards salaries, pensions, and the food ration system, is again almost ¾ of the budget, and that electricity appears to be the priority of the government in the new year.

Iraq has a large and inefficient state-run economy with a bloated bureaucracy. It should be no surprise then that the majority of the country’s budgets since 2005 have gone towards operational costs. In 2010, $51.59 billion, 72.3% of the total, is for the operations budget. Back in 2005, the operations budget was only for $16.1 billion. One major reason for the dramatic increase is that the number of people working for the government has doubled since then, making it the largest employer in the country. Many extra workers have been hired as part of patronage systems and to keep people out of the insurgency. The food ration system, which is the largest in the world, has also increased in cost over the last two years because of declining agricultural output and the on-going drought has led to increased imports. Iraq spent $7.3 billion on the program in 2008. The government has traditionally spent a large percentage of its operational budget.

The capital budget in 2010, which is for investment, is for $19.7 billion. That’s an increase from the previous year when it was $12.73 billion. The Electricity Ministry is getting the largest increase with $3.49 billion in 2010 compared to $1.08 billion in 2009. It has big plans this year to boost output, and build a series of new power plants. Unspecified “other” spending is also going up from $4.73 billion in 2009 to $7.89 billion this year. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is also getting an increase from $1.95 billion to $2.72 billion. Kurdistan gets a set 17% of the budget however, so the growth in their capital budget is due to the larger budget overall. The other parts of the government are not gaining as much. The Defense, Interior, and Justice Ministries, which deal with security are only getting modest improvements in their budgets. Defense is getting $380 million compared to $270 million last year. The Interior Ministry is going from $220 million to $260 million, and the Justice Ministry is getting $140 million this year compared to $110 million. Iraq’s eighteen provinces are also getting only $10 million more in 2010. The Iraqi government has never been good at spending its investment budget however, so only around 50-60% of this money may get spent.

The 2010 budget shows where Baghdad’s priorities are for the new year. First, they want to dramatically increase spending after the 2009 budget had to be cut due to the world recession. Second, electricity and discretionary spending are the focus of investment this year. Last, the bloated government is still eating up the majority of the budget. Baghdad needs to vastly improve its ability to spend its capital budget, and could cut thousands of unneeded workers off the payroll. Both are unlikely to happen however as Iraq’s bureaucracy lacks trained staff and people are use to going to the government for employment.

Iraqi Budgets
2005: $24.4 bil
2006: $34.0 bil
2007: $41.1 bil
2008: $72.2 bil
2009: $58.6 bil
2010: $71.3 bil

2010 Revenue Projections And Budget
Oil Revenue: $47.91 bil
Other Revenue: $4.86 bil
Total: $52.77 bil
2010 Budget: $71.3 bil
Projected Deficit: $18.53 bil

Breakdown Of 2010 Budget
Total: $71.3 bil
Operational Budget: $51.59 bil (72%)
Capital Budget: $19.7 bil (28%)

Operational Budget
Other: $15.82 bil
Finance: $10.55 bil
Kurdistan Regional Government: $6.03 bil
Interior: $5.89 bil
Defense: $4.52 bil
Education: $4.31 bil
Trade: $4.03 bil
Justice: $450 mil

Capital Budget
Other: $7.89 bil
Electricity: $3.49 bil
Kurdistan Regional Government: $2.72 bil
Oil: $2.65 bil
Provinces: $2.18 bil
Defense: $380 mil
Interior: $260 mil
Justice: $130 mil


Abbas, Mohammed, “Iraq investors face bloated workforce dilemma,” Reuters, 8/10/09

Aswat al-Iraq, “Presidential Board approves 2010 budget,” 2/11/10

Department of Defense, “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,” 2/15/10

Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit, “Iraq Labour Force Analysis 2003-2008,” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, January 2009

IRIN, “IRAQ: Government moves to rationalize food aid system,” 6/17/09

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 1/30/10

United States Government Accountability Office, “Iraqi Revenues, Expenditures, and Surplus,” August 2008

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Invalid Votes In Iraqi Election Could Fuel Recount Controversy

The Middle East Media Research Institute’s blog has found a discrepancy in Iraq’s March 2010 parliamentary election. When voting was completed on March 7, the Iraqi Election Commission declared that 12 million people had participated. By March 22, 95% of the vote had been tabulated. That would mean the Election Commission had gone through 11,400,000 votes. The numbers released so far however show only 10,813,216 ballots having been counted. That means around 600,000 votes have been invalidated. With only 11,000 votes separating former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement from current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law, those thrown out ballots may become part of the growing controversy over the legitimacy of the election.

Currently, Maliki is calling for a manual recount of the votes, claiming fraud. This only came about when Allawi was threatening to pass the Prime Minister in the overall vote count, which the National Movement eventually did. Since then Maliki has been rallying governors in southern Iraq that belong to his State of Law list to call for a recount, and hold demonstrations demanding one. On March 21, 2010 for example, several southern provinces held a meeting in Basra that ended with a call for a recount on the grounds that foreign and domestic parties were trying to steal the election for Allawi. Maliki’s State of Law joins a chorus of other complaints by almost all of the major parties that there were irregularities and cheating during the balloting. So far, the Election Commission has refused to give in to this pressure, but as more and more parties with greater power file complaints, and they begin taking to the streets like State of Law followers have begun to, the Commission may have to give in some how, which would mean another long delay to the official results of the election being announced.


AK News, "Iraqis protest for re-tally," 3/25/10
- “Karbala province demands manual recounting,” 3/22/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “9 provinces demand manual counting,” 3/23/10
- "Demonstration in Kut demands manual recounting of votes," 3/25/10
- “No manual recounting of votes – IHEC,” 3/24/10

Babylon & Beyond, “IRAQ: Preliminary estimates on election results,” Los Angeles Times, 3/24/10

Fadel, Leila and Hussein, Jinan, “Prime minister warns of violence, but election board rejects call for recount,” Washington Post, 3/22/10

Al Rafidayn, Sotal Iraq, Wasat, Al Iraq, Alsumaria TV, “Iraq Votes – Part X,” MEMRI Blog, 3/24/10

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coalition Building After Iraq’s Election

The counting of ballots from Iraq’s March 2010 parliamentary election is almost over, but for quite some time now, the real action has been going on largely behind the scenes as the major lists in the country have been negotiating to form a new ruling coalition. Early signs point to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law trying to re-create the current alliance behind him. Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is facing an uphill battle to counter these moves. Interestingly enough, neither man may become the new prime minister.

Before Iraqis even went to the polls on March 7, the State of Law list said that it wanted the same parties currently behind Maliki to return to power. In 2005, Maliki was chosen to be the new head of state by the United Iraqi Alliance made up of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), Maliki’s Dawa Party, and the Sadrists, along with the Kurdish Alliance consisting of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Two days before the 2010 election, a member of State of Law said they hoped to join with the Iraqi National Alliance of the Supreme Council and Sadrists, and the Kurdish Alliance. Afterward a State of Law delegation met with SIIC chief Ammar al-Hakim, while former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who ran as part of the National Alliance said that he wanted to join with Maliki. Earlier, the Supreme Council said that it wanted to work with the Kurds  as well after the vote, as the two have had a long-standing relationship dating back to their time as opposition groups to Saddam Hussein’s rule. The main motivation of Maliki and Hakim for this alliance is to keep Allawi and his mostly Sunni Iraqi National Movement out of power. This is supported by Iran who wants a Shiite led government in Baghdad. Iran is trying to encourage the old alliance to stick together by having their ambassador to Iraq meet with President Jalal Talabani of the Kurdish Alliance on March 23, while Maliki sent a delegation to Tehran a little while ago. 

For the Kurds’ part, they are asking for some major concessions on outstanding issues for them to join any new government. First, they have nominated President Talabani to a second term, and want parties to line up behind him. The presidency is an important symbolic position for the Kurds to show that they still have status in Baghdad. They are also asking for guarantees on Article 140 of the constitution that sets out broad steps necessary for the annexation of Kirkuk and other disputed territories in northern Iraq. Sharing of oil revenues from contracts the Kurdistan Regional Government has signed with foreign companies, but which have been blocked by Baghdad, is also of importance. Hakim and Maliki have already come out in support of Talabani, and the head of the Kurdish Alliance said on March 22 that they share a similar vision for Iraq with State of Law and the National Alliance. Maliki and Hakim have also sent parties to meet with the Kurdish Alliance, and Hakim said that the Kurds will always been a major partner. As of now, it is looking like the Kurds will join with their former Shiite partners to make sure they have power and say within the central government.

There have also been reports that State of Law has opened up talks with other parties. Some Maliki supporters are hoping that Allawi’s list will break apart, and that State of Law can draw the defectors to their side. On February 13 for example, a member of the National Movement told Radio Sawa that the list was unorganized, and that parties could leave in the future. Maliki has also had discussions with the Accordance Front and the Change List. These smaller parties might be necessary for Maliki to reach the 163 seats in parliament necessary to nominate a new prime minister.

The major barrier to Maliki’s plans is the Sadrists. Moqtada al-Sadr’s followers did surprisingly well in the March election. They have gotten the majority of seats within the National Alliance, and they are now trying to play the role of kingmaker. Moqtada al-Sadr has said that he will not accept Maliki as prime minister again, and has nominated his cousin, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, who got the second most votes behind Maliki in the State of Law, as an alternative. The Sadrists are further complicating matters because they are long-time rivals of the Supreme Council, and do not get along with the Kurds. It will take some major concessions for Maliki to win Sadr over, and there’s no telling whether this is possible right now.

On the other hand you have Allawi who may face an even more difficult time than Maliki to find a way to rule. One major issue is the fact that many Sunni Arab members of his list, like the Ninewa based al-Hadbaa party, are opposed to making any compromises with the Kurdish Alliance. Parliamentarian Osama Nujafi for instance, whose brother heads al-Hadbaa, said that they would be against any deal with the Kurds that involved the disputed territories like Kirkuk. In a related matter, Allawi is doing surprisingly well in Tamim province, the home to Kirkuk, and the Kurdish Alliance are claiming this was achieved by fraud. Even if the Kurds end up winning there, they may be emboldened by their close finish to ensure they don’t lose Kirkuk to Allawi’s Arab and Turkmen supporters in the province. Another problem for Allawi is that his running mate, current Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, claimed that the next president of Iraq should be an Arab. Some say that Hashemi wants that spot for himself. This has obviously angered the Kurdish Alliance who want the presidency to remain in their hands. Despite these difficulties, Allawi and Hashemi both traveled to meet Kurdish President Massoud Barzani on March 13.

The National Movement still has options however. First, they have tried to win over the Sadrists to their side. Allawi’s Iraqi National List and the Sadrists in parliament have worked together on several national issues over the last several years, and Sadr’s opposition to Maliki for prime minister may also open the door to talks with Allawi’s list. There is also the possibility that the National Movement and State of Law will join together if all else fails. Allawi has already said that he might take this route

An early sign of how the competing lists have aligned themselves may be deciphered when a new president is elected. After the election results are made public, a new parliament will be seated, who then have to elect a speaker, two deputies, and a new president with a two-thirds vote. Since the Kurdish Alliance is set on President Talabani maintaining his office, who supports him, may show which parties have joined with them. Afterward, the new president will ask the leader of the list with the most seats to try to put together a ruling coalition. If that fails, the runner up will have his chance.

In the end, much of the negotiations over a new government will be based upon the struggle for power rather than ideology. Maliki infuriated the Kurds with his moves in disputed territories in 2008, and his refusal to accept their oil deals, but now they are acting like that is all behind them. The Sadrists may be opposed to Maliki’s re-election because he launched a crackdown upon them in 2008 that largely destroyed the Mahdi Army, but Allawi led an offensive against them as well in 2004 when he was Iraq’s leader. Iraqi politics is like a soap opera where unexpected twists, turns, and relationships often occur. That means neither Maliki nor Allawi may become prime minister if the parties become deadlocked, and a dark horse may emerge to become the new head of state, just as Maliki was named in 2005.


AK News, “Ammar al-Hakim: The Kurds will always be main partners in Iraq,” 3/11/10
- “Ayad Allawi & Tariq al-Hashimi in Erbil,” 3/13/10
- “Behind Iraq election results,” 3/13/10
- “Discords over Kirkuk after Iraq vote,” 3/22/10

Alsumaria, “Allawi sets conditioned alliance with Maliki,” 3/20/10
- “State of Law to consider new Iraq alliances,” 3/17/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Hakeem, State of Law Coalition delegation discuss post-election phase,” 3/21/10
- “KA leader rules out nominating al-Hashemi for premiership,” 3/22/10

Hanna, Michael, “The Race for the Iraqi Presidency,” Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy, 3/11/10

Latif, Nizar and Sands, Phil, “Iraqi election comes down to final ballots,” The National, 3/21/10

Mahmoud, Mustafa, “Iraq’s divided vote may deepen Kirkuk dispute,” Reuters, 3/23/10

MEMRI Blog, “Iraq Votes – Part VI,” 3/17/10

Najm, Hayder, “coalition possible, constitution vital, says jaafari,” Niqash, 3/9/10

Ottaway, Marina, Kaysi, Danial, “The Election Campaign,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 3/5/10

Parker, Ned and Salman, Raheem, “Controversial Iraqi Shiite savors growing power,” Los Angeles Times, 3/21/10

Roads To Iraq, “Coalitions, negotiations and the making of a king,” 3/20/10
- “The U.S. stopped Maliki and the Sadrists enjoy his humiliation,” 3/23/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Iraq Elections: Maliki’s Path to Re-election,” World Politics Review, 3/16/10

Al Sumaria News, Qanon, Al Cauther, Al-Iraq News, Al Rafidayn, RM Iraq, Sotal Iraq, “Iraq Votes – Part IX,” MEMRI Blog, 3/23/10

Taha, Yaseen, “claim and counterclaim in kirkuk,” Niqash, 3/18/10

Wasat, “Maliki send representatives to Tehran to discuss support for a second term,” 3/17/10

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Small Parties Real Losers In Iraq’s 2010 Election

As the two front-runners in Iraq’s March 2010 election, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement, complain about each other cheating, a more important trend can be seen in Iraqi politics. That is the decline of small parties.

In the January and December 2005 parliamentary elections, around 10% of the vote went to small independent parties. In the first legislative balloting for example, 111 lists ran over 7,000 candidates for a temporary parliament that was to draft a new constitution. Several small parties were able to garner enough votes to win at least one seat, including the Iraqis Party with 5 seats, the Iraqi Turkmen Front with 3, the Communist Party that ran as the People’s Union with 2, the Kurdistan Islamic Group with 2, the Islamic Action with 2, and the National Democratic Alliance, the Rafidain National List, and the Liberation and Reconciliation Gathering with one seat each. Fewer small parties won office in the December vote, but they were still represented. Parties that gained at least one representative in the permanent parliament were the Kurdistan Islamic Union, the Rafidain National List, the Democratic Society Movement, the Free Officers and Civilians Movement, the Future Iraq Grouping, the Iraqi National Peace List, the Iraqi Nation List, the Iraq Pledge Coalition, the National Democratic Coalition, the Nationalists Grouping, the National House of Commons List, Parliament of the Iraqi National Forces, the Rally of Independent Iraq’s Capabilities, and the Sun of Iraq List. About half of theses small parties in the 2005 balloting represented local or secular concerns.

These minor parties have been the main losers in the 2010 election. With 95% of the votes counted, only the Kurdish opposition parties and the Unity of Iraq list led by Interior Minister Jawad Bolani have garnered enough votes to join the new parliament. The Unity of Iraq will get around 3 seats, while the Change List, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, and the Kurdistan Islamic Group have gained around 16 seats together. Ironically, Bolani does not currently have enough votes to win a seat himself. The Communist Party won 2 seats in December 2005, but none this year. The Iraqi Nation Party of parliamentarian Mithal al-Lusi also failed to meet the 35,000 ballots necessary.

As reported before, elections in Iraq solidify trends that are already occurring in the country. In the 2009 provincial balloting small parties did badly showing that they either had to join the larger lists to try to gain some sort of representation or run alone and take the risk of being shut out of Iraq’s politics. Ironically, in the end these minor parties end up supporting the bigger coalitions anyway since Iraq’s election law stipulates that parties that don’t reach the necessary threshold to earn a seat have their votes distributed amongst the winners. This is a natural progression in many democratic systems. When a new system is first imposed there is usually a plethora of parties representing all kinds of interests. As the system matures the smaller parties are often swallowed up by the larger ones due to their greater resources and ability to co-opt them by offering some of the spoils of victory. That doesn’t mean that minor lists wont run in the next election, but they will probably have the same fate as 2010 with few victories, and increasingly join the main coalitions.


BBC, “Guide to Iraqi political parties,” 1/20/06
- “Iraq Shias move to form coalition,” 2/14/05

Carlstrom, Gregg, “Latest Iraq Election Results: Maliki Demands a Recount,” The Majlis, 3/21/10

Al Dulaimy, Mohammed and Allam, Hannah, “In tight Iraq parliament vote, upsets point to future battles,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/19/10

International Crisis Group, “Iraq’s Uncertain Future: Elections And Beyond,” 2/24/10

Katzman, Kenneth, “Iraq: Elections and New Government,” Congressional Research Service, 6/24/05

Ramzi, Kholoud, “the end of the small party in Iraq?” Niqash, 3/18/10

Visser, Reidar, “A Dead Heat: The 95 Percent Count,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/22/10

Monday, March 22, 2010

Analysts Say Impossible For Iraq To Reach Oil Production Goals

After Iraq successfully completed its second round of oil bids with international companies in December 2009, Iraqi officials were quick to announce a huge increase in production would occur in just a few years, which would help remedy Iraq’s problems. Oil Ministry Hussain al-Shahristani for example, said that Iraq could produce up to 12 million barrels a day in six years. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki claimed that the new oil revenue would pay for Iraq’s reconstruction and debts. While the new petroleum contracts promised 13.23 million barrels a day in capacity, which would make Iraq the largest oil producer in the world, experts do not think that this is possible.

Various analyses of Iraq’s current oil industry show that a huge influx of money from the new oil deals will result in a more modest increase in production than what the Oil Minister and others talked about. The World Bank for example, estimates that Iraq needs $1 billion in investment just to maintain its current production of around 2.4 million barrels a day because its ports, pipelines, etc. are so old and decrepit. To upgrade to 5 million barrels a day would cost as much as $30 billion over the next eight years. Observers think it’s just not physically and financially possible for Iraq to reach 10-12 million barrels a day in six years. Saudi Arabia for example, which has the capacity to produce that much, has spent the last 75 years developing its industry to achieve that level at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. That has occurred with a stable government, a unified oil strategy, no wars, and a working bureaucracy, all things that Iraq lacks.

Oil experts think that the Oil Minister and Prime Minister’s statements were political in nature, rather than about what Iraq is actually capable of achieving. That would be understandable since the first bidding round held in June 2009 was considered a failure when only one contract was agreed to. The second round garnered seven deals, and the government considered it a sign that Iraq was returning to its once prominent status in the world oil market after thirty years of war and sanctions.

Many believe that the major impact of the new oil deals inked by Baghdad will be the updating and modernization of the country’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure rather than a revolution in the industry.  Iraq’s petroleum sector has suffered from decades of neglect because it couldn’t improve on its facilities due to the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, the resulting United Nations sanctions, and then the aftermath of the U.S. invasion in 2003, which included insurgent attacks upon pipelines. Iraq lacks the capacity as well to increase production much above what it is currently making. Hopefully the foreign companies will be able to repair equipment and provide a more modest increase in output in the coming years than what the government has been talking about. This will help improve services and perhaps development as well since Iraq has a state-run economy that depends upon oil for over 80% of its funds.


Aswat al-Iraq, “Oil revenues optimization would solve Iraq’s problems – Maliki,” 2/28/10

BBC, “Iraq oil capacity ‘to reach 12m barrels per day,’” 12/12/09

Gerson Lehrman Group, “Iraq’s Oil Infrastructure Defies Political Rhetoric,” 3/19/10

Shekhar, Shashank, “Iraq unlikely to meet oil target,” Emirates Business, 3/4/10

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Examples Of Corruption In Iraq

Stories of corruption continue to trickle out of Iraq. Some of them are of low-level graft such as police taking bribes, but others are far more serious such as manipulating the food ration system run by the Trade Ministry. The anti-corruption agencies are overwhelmed by their work, and have made little headway in this battle.

First, there is common, ever day corruption. Al Rafidayn reported that border guards were charging up to $1,500 for trucks with produce to enter the country. In 2009 the Agriculture Ministry imposed a $3,000 tariff on farm imports, but it was later dropped. The border forces however, are still collecting a fee, and pocketing the money for themselves. Rafidayn reported that some trucks were held up at the border for days until they paid the guards. A common way to become a border guard or regular police officer is to pay a bribe. That could be up to $5,000. Other common services also require a payoff. A car license for example, could cost up to $3,000. The pocketing of money can go up to elected officials as well. On March 18 for example, the Board of Supreme Audit, an anti-corruption agency that looks into finances, said that the Salahaddin provincial council had been stealing money from the local government. 

Then there are more serious examples of institutionalized corruption. The Trade Ministry is a perfect example. In May 2009 the Trade Minister resigned. He, along with his two brothers and nephew were all accused of taking kickbacks and embezzling money. The Trade Minister was in control of the country’s $5.3 billion food ration system, the largest in the world. The Ministry was also in charge of importing grain, seeds, and construction materials, all ripe for graft. The trouble with the Ministry began when $8 million worth of expired products were found in a warehouse in Muthanna that were meant for the food ration system. Later arrest warrants were issued for the Minister and his family members. Afterward more and more stories of his nefarious activities emerged. Documents were found showing that $4 billion was missing from the Ministry in 2009, and it could go as high as $8 billion over four years. This was due to a number of scams officials were pulling. One was buying contaminated milk from China. This was part of plot where officials would buy old food for cheap and charge the ministry full price and keep the difference. Another was where employees would buy food and then keep it for themselves to be sold on the black market. The stolen food was replaced with cheap substitutes. Yet another was where the Ministry worked with merchants to buy products for twice their price, and then split the difference. An investigation by parliament found that only half of those eligible for their food rations were getting them in full as a result of the corruption within the Trade Ministry.

The anti-corruption committee in the legislature was also looking into allegations against the Interior and Defense Ministries. There are stories that the Defense Ministry took bribes as part of contracts to buy foreign aircraft. The parliament is also looking into how Interior bought bomb detecting wands from a British company for $85 million that don’t work, and were priced far above their going rate.

Iraq’s anti-corruption agencies claim that they are working to combat this massive problem within the Iraqi government, but they are making little headway. The Public Integrity Commission reported that they had issued 433 arrest warrants for alleged acts of corruption from January to February 2010. If warrants continued to be handed out at that rate, the Commission would surpass its 2009 mark of 972. The issue is that those arrests only led to 285 convictions last year, and almost all of those were small time cases like policemen taking bribes. There are also institutional barriers to follow up on investigations. One is that ministers and other top officials can stop cases. Some of the high profiles examples of this were the Labor Minister in 2006, the assistant commander of the Air Force and head of the Electricity Minister’s office in 2007, and the Minister of Transportation in 2008 who were all exempted from arrest and having to go to court. Even more frustrating for the anti-corruption agencies is the fact that the 2008 Amnesty Law that was supposed to help with reconciliation has a clause in it that covers graft and fraud. This led to 1,552 cases being dropped in 2009. 48 cases from the Ministry of Trade, 145 cases from the Ministry of Defense, and 528 cases from the Ministry of Interior were all exempted by this law last year.

Iraq faces corruption from the street level all the way up to the highest levels of government. Iraqis can run into it when they go to the authorities for services or a job, or they can unknowingly be affected by it when they don’t get their full food rations. People’s lives can even be put at risk because of it when the government overpays for bomb detectors that don’t work. The problem is so pervasive and institutionalized it’s no wonder that Iraq has consistently been ranked one of the most corrupt countries in the world the last several years. As long as the major parties that run the ministries are profiting from the graft it’s unlikely that those in power will ever put much effort into fighting it. The Trade Minister for instance, was a member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party. He refused to act on the case until it became such a public scandal that he had no choice. That means the public will continue to suffer for it, and the country, which desperately needs as much money as possible to pay for reconstruction, will have billions wasted as a result.


Agence France Presse, “Iraq watchdog charges 356 with corruption,” 3/17/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Financial irregularities uncovered in Salah al-Din council,” 3/18/10
- “Pressures block questioning some ministers – MP,” 4/18/09

Colvin, Marie, “Iraq’s trade ministry hit by £2.6 billion fraud,” Sunday Times of London, 3/7/10

Commission of Integrity, “Annual report for 2008,” December 2009

Dagher, Sam, “Gunfight Breaks Out as Iraqi Soldiers Try to Arrest Trade Officials,” New York Times, 5/3/09

Economist, “No promised land at the end of all this,” 3/4/10

Al Rafidayn, “Iraq: Customs Officials Demand Big Bribes to Let Trucks Enter Country,” MEMRI Blog, 3/15/10

Reuters, “Iraq Trade Minister Resigns Over Corruption Scandal,” 5/25/09

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 1/30/10

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Estimate Of Winners And Losers In Iraq’s Election

McClatchy Newspapers’ Inside Iraq Blog has a new estimate of the seat distribution in Iraq’s parliament. So far 89% of the polling stations have had their votes tallied, along with 70% of the special voting that occurred a few days before. The Iraqi Election Commission has still not gone through the ballots cast by the Iraqi security forces or finished with overseas voting either.

After the Election Commission is done, the new parliament will be seated and needs to elect a speaker, his two deputies, and then a president by two-thirds of the legislature, 217 votes out of 325. The president will then tell the bloc with the most votes to come up with a ruling coalition to name a new prime minister. A majority, 163 votes, is necessary to form a new government.

McClatchy’s count covers 285 seats in parliament. 25 contests were too close to calculate, and did not include the 15 seats set aside for minorities and compensation seats that will go to parties that did well nationally, but not in any given province to win.

According to Inside Iraq, Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list is still in the lead with 85 seats. That’s only two seats more than former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement. Coming in third is the Iraqi National Alliance made up of the Supreme Council and the Sadrists with 62 seats, and then the Kurdish Alliance with 37. McClatchy’s estimate is close to previous ones reported here before. With 66% of the vote counted, the Institute for the Study of War had State of Law ahead with up to 79 seats, the National Movement second with up to 70 seats, the National Alliance third with up to 61 seats, and the Kurdish Alliance fourth with 35 seats. With 80% of the vote tabulated, Alsumaria TV had Maliki and Allawi tied with 87 seats each, followed by the National Alliance with 67 seats, and then the Kurdish Alliance with 38 seats. This blog’s count with 80% of the vote was similar with State of Law and the National Movement tied with 90 seats, followed by the National Alliance’s 66, and the Kurdish Alliance’s 39. Reidar Visser of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs was the only one to come up with a slightly different count when two-thirds of the vote had been made public. He had Allawi in first with 90 seats, Maliki second with 88, the National Alliance third with 67, and the Kurdish Alliance fourth with 39.

With the counting almost done and State of Law holding an ever so slim lead, they have already nominated Maliki for a second term as head of state. It’s unknown how hard it will be for him to find partners. Early on it seemed that the National Alliance would support Maliki, and he was trying to woo the Kurds, but now rumors are swirling of Iraq’s neighbors trying to rally support behind Allawi. The Sadrists have also come out ahead of the Supreme Council within the National Alliance, which could complicate talks since Maliki led a crackdown against Sadr’s Mahdi Army in 2008. Some in State of Law have even mentioned dumping Maliki if it came down to it in return for a leading role in the new administration. 

Allawi could find it no easier to become prime minister if Maliki fails. For example, the Kurds will play a crucial role in any new government, but members of the National Movement have demanded that an Arab be president instead of a Kurd, and have warned Allawi to make no concessions on Kirkuk, which will be a major demand of the Kurdish Alliance. That didn’t stop Allawi and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi from recently traveling to Kurdistan to talk about an alliance.

With State of Law and the National Movement both finishing with roughly 80 seats, it will take another 80 to get a majority in parliament. The only way possible to get that number is to bring on board the other two major lists the Iraqi National Alliance and the Kurdish Alliance, or for State of Law and the National Movement to join together. That latter scenario would seem very unlikely as Maliki and Allawi are both competing to become Iraq’s leader, but anything is possible in Iraqi politics. If the situation becomes deadlocked an outside candidate might even have to be found to replace the two frontrunners.

Projected Seat Distributions In Parliament

McClatchy Newspapers Count – 89% of Votes Counted
State of Law 85 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 82 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 62 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 37 Seats
Change List 7 Seats
Accordance Front 5 Seats
Unity of Iraq 3 Seats
Kurdish Islamic Group 2 Seats
Kurdish Islamic Union 2 Seats

Alsumaria TV Count – 80% of Votes Counted
State of Law 87 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 87 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 67 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 38 Seats

Musings On Iraq Count – 80% of Votes Counted
State of Law: 90
Iraqi National Movement: 90
Iraqi National Alliance: 66
Kurdish Alliance: 39
Change List: 8
Accordance Front: 4
Kurdish Islamic Union: 4
Unity of Iraq: 3
Kurdish Islamic Group: 3

Institute for the Study of War Count – 66% of Votes Counted
State of Law 73-79 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 62-70 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 56-61 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 33-35 Seats
Change List 9-10 Seats
Accordance Front 5-7 Seats
Unity of Iraq 5-6 Seats
Kurdistan Islamic Union 4 Seats
Unity of Iraq 3 Seats

Reidar Visser Count – 66% of Votes Counted
Iraqi National Movement 90 Seats
State of Law 88 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 67 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 39 Seats
Change List 8 Seats
Accordance Front 4 Seats


AK News, “Law State Coalition nominates al-Maliki for Prime Minister,” 3/18/10

Allam, Hannah and Hammoudi, Laith, “Even if he wins, Maliki may be out as Iraq’s prime minister,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/18/10

Alsumaria, “IHEC: 80% of votes show Allawi in the lead,” 3/17/10

Fadel, Leila, “Iraqi election accentuates country’s deep divides,” Washington Post, 3/18/10

Institute for the Study of War, “Fact Sheet: Iraq’s Preliminary Elections results,” 3/16/10

McClatchy Newspapers, “Iraq’s Elections Results,” Inside Iraq, 3/18/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Iraq Elections: Maliki’s Path to Re-election,” World Politics Review, 3/16/10

Visser, Reidar, “Baghdad Projects Based on a 60 Percent Count,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/16/10
- “The Internal Dynamics of the Iraqi National Alliance: The Sadrist Factor,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/17/10

Problem For Refugee/Displaced Return Program In Diyala

Refugees International recently released a report in mid-March 2010 on Iraq’s refugees and displaced that highlighted a return program currently being conducted in Diyala province in northeastern Iraq. Refugees International held up the program as a successful example of the Iraqi government, the United Nations, and international organizations working together to help Iraq’s displaced return and be re-integrated into their home province. The plan seeks to have 27,500 displaced and refugee families return to Diyala, and rebuilding 400 villages destroyed during the war. So far 3,000 homes have been rebuilt, and the Ministry of Displacement and Migration said that 12,900 families, around 77,000 people, had come back to the province from late 2008 to the end of 2009. The government has also provided 12,500 of those families with a grant of $850, with 400 more on the waiting list. The Displacement Ministry is also helping the returnees with jobs. There are also plans to build 6,000 more houses this year.

This has run into a problem however. The government wants to build 3,000 housing units in the Khanaqin district, which is a disputed territory between Arabs and Kurds. After the 2003 invasion, thousands of Kurds returned to the area, claiming that they had been displaced by Saddam Hussein’s Arabization policy. In turn, thousands of Arabs left the district. The central authorities now want these families to return, which the Kurds might object to. Khanaqin was the site of a stand off between government security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga in 2008, when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent troops there as part of a security operation in the province. The two sides would not recognize each others’ authority, and the U.S. military had to step in to defuse the situation, which could have led to a shoot out. So far the Kurdish Regional Government has said nothing officially about the housing and return plan.

During the sectarian war of 2006-2007 Diyala saw one of the largest humanitarian disasters in Iraq. According to the International Organization for Migration, Diyala had the second most displaced after Baghdad during the fighting. Conversely, since that phase of the Iraq war ended, the U.N. has found that Diyala has received the second most returns, approximately 55,660 people. 

The Diyala plan is to return the displaced to their former homes and rebuild their villages if they were destroyed. Most of this devastation occurred during the sectarian war, but in Khanaqin, displacement mostly occurred as a result of Kurdish refugees returning in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion that pushed out Arab families. Since the district has been a flashpoint between the Kurdistan government and Baghdad in the past, it’s likely that the Kurds will object to Arabs coming back and houses being built for them. In this case, two of Iraq’s major problems, the Arab-Kurd divide and refugees have intersected, with one trouncing an attempt to solve the other. The authorities will likely have to place the Arab families in another part of Diyala, thus maintaining the new population pattern created by the overthrow of Saddam, but at least more families will be able to go back to their province and find permanent shelter.


International Organization for Migration, “IOM Emergency Needs Assessments Post February 2006 Displacement In Iraq 1 June 2009 Monthly Report,” 6/1/09

IRIN, “IRAQ: Controversy over Diyala Province housing project,” 3/18/10
- “IRAQ: IDPs returning to Diyala Province in increasing numbers,” 3/9/10

Refugees International, “Iraq: Humanitarian Needs Persist,” 3/17/10

UNHCR Iraq Operation, “Monthly Statistical Update on Return – December 2009,” 1/27/10

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are Iraq’s Neighbors Promoting Allawi As Prime Minister?

The Iraqi paper Wasat reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently sent a delegation to Tehran to gain support for his re-election as prime minister. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad however, allegedly told the Iranians that they, along with Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, are opposed to Maliki returning as the head of state, and that if Tehran decided to back him, that would harm relations with Damascus. All of those Sunni run governments are supposedly supporting Iyad Allawi to become the next prime minister. The Roads To Iraq blog claimed that the Saudis have told Allawi that he needs to make whatever deals necessary to form a ruling coalition, even if that means compromising on Kirkuk or giving Maliki a high position within the new government. As a reward, the Saudis would open full diplomatic relations with Baghdad, which have been frozen since the 2003 invasion. A member of the Iraqi National Alliance also said that Iran might not be opposed to Allawi becoming prime minister as long as he has good relations with Tehran. Back on February 24, 2010 Alsumaria TV ran a story saying that Iran and Syria had agreed to back Allawi, and that he held secret meetings in Teheran to discuss the matter. 

While these are all rumors for now, what is known is that before the March 2010 elections, Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement actively sought the support of Sunni governments from around the region. For example, in December Allawi traveled to Damascus where he met with President Assad. He also took trips to Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, the UAE, and a high profile meeting with the king of Saudi Arabia and the head of its intelligence agency. Right before the vote, Allawi had a conference with the Turkish president and prime minister and President Assad again, while his running mate Vice President Tariq Hashemi went to Jordan and Syria as well. The conventional wisdom is that all of these regional powers are positioning themselves for the pending U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. They want a government that they can be friendly with, were largely opposed to Shiite rule after the overthrow of Saddam, and want to counter Iranian influence in Baghdad. Allawi offers them all of these. He promised to strengthen Iraq’s ties with the Arab world, most of his National Movement is Sunni, and he has opposed Iranian interference in Iraq.

All of Iraq’s neighbors with the exception of Iran, lost standing in Iraq as a result of the U.S. invasion. Turkey was afraid of the Kurds’ new role and what that would mean for their own Kurdish minority, while Syria and the Saudis actively supported the insurgency. Iran on the other hand saw Shiites take power led by their friends the Supreme Council and the Dawa Party. Now that the Americans are leaving they are all trying to stake out their position within Iraq, and this is playing out in the country’s election. The question seems to be whether the Arab and Turkish governments can convince Iran to not object to Allawi, otherwise Tehran may be able to sabotage negotiations for a new ruling coalition using their allies in the major Shiite parties.


Agence France Presse, “Iraq says it wants better Syrian ties,” 3/2/10

Alsumaria, “Iran and Syria to support Allawi as Iraq PM,” 2/24/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Syrian President meets Iyad Allawi,” 12/21/09
- “Talks with Gul, Erdogan constructive, useful – Allawi,” 2/27/10

DPA, “Syria’s al-Assad meets Iraqi elections challenger as voting starts,” 3/4/10

Jawad, Saad, “More foreign than domestic interest,” Media Monitors Network, 2/27/10

Kenner, David, “Iraq At Eye Level,” Foreign Policy, 3/8/10

Mashkour, Salem, “Iraqi Elections and Prospective Government Scenarios,” Arab Reform Bulletin, 3/3/10

Al-Qabas, Al-Watan, Baghdad Times, Al-Hayat, Al-Zaman, “Iraq Votes – Part IV,” MEMRI Blog, 3/11/10

Roads To Iraq, “Allawi and Maliki reached an agreement, Saudi Arabia asked Allawi to accept any deal,” 3/17/10

Al-Saheil, Turki, “Allawi’s Visit to Saudi Arabia Aims to Return Iraq to Arab System-Sources,” Asharq Alawsat, 2/22/10

Starr, Stephen, “Iraqi election fever hits Damascus,” Asia Times, 3/5/10

Wasat, “Maliki send representatives to Tehran to discuss support for a second term,” 3/17/10

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who’s Ahead In Iraq’s Election?

With around 80% of Iraq’s votes counted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list is in a dead heat with former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement. A report by Alsumaria TV said that State of Law and the National Movement were tied with 87 seats apiece. The Iraqi National Alliance was third with 67 seats, and the Kurdish Alliance was fourth with 38 seats. Reidar Visser at Iraq and Gulf Analysis has Allawi ahead with 90 seats, followed by Maliki with 88 seats, the National Alliance with 67, and the Kurdish Alliance with 39. A third count by the Institute for the Study of War has Maliki with up to 82 seats, Allawi with up to 74, the National Alliance with up to 63, and the Kurdish Alliance with up to 36. A personal unofficial count has the State of Law with 90 seats, the National Movement with 90, the National Alliance with 66, and the Kurdish Alliance with 39.

A party needs to receive around 30,000 votes to get one seat in parliament. Lists that don’t reach that threshold have their votes distributed amongst the winners. That meant that in Diyala, while 22 lists competed, only eleven got votes, and of those, four will get a place in the legislature.

After many delays, the Iraqi Election Commission seems to be increasing their tabulations and the amount of information that they are releasing. By the end of the week they could have their work almost complete, and give more definitive statistics on how many seats each winning list will receive. After that the new legislature has to elect a speaker and two deputies, and then a president. The Kurdish Alliance has nominated current President Jalal Talabani to the post, while Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi told Al Jazeera a day after the election that an Arab should have the spot. The presidency is an important symbolic position for the Kurds, showing that they still have a prominent role in Baghdad with the central government. As part of the post-election positioning Maliki has been playing up Hashemi’s statements to win favor with the Kurds. They, along with the Iraqi National Alliance, are currently the kingmakers in Iraq. Whichever candidate they support, either Maliki or Allawi, will likely become the next prime minister.

Major Lists In 2010 Election
State of Law: Prime Minister Maliki’s Dawa, Independents, Dawa - Iraq
Iraqi National Movement: Ex-Prime Minister Allawi’s Iraqi National List, Iraqi National Dialogue Front
Iraqi National Alliance: Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Badr Organization, Sadrists, Fadhila, Ex-Prime Minister Jaafari’s Renewal Party, Iraqi National Congress, Anbar Rescue Council
Kurdish Alliance: Kurdistan Democratic Party, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Unity Of Iraq: Interior Minister Bolani’s Constitution Party, Iraq Awakening Conference
Change List: Kurdish opposition party led by co-founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Kurdish Islamic Union: Islamist Kurdish opposition party
Kurdish Islamic Group: Islamist Kurdish opposition party
Liberal Individuals: Independents Parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi, Sayed Ayad Jamal al-Din
Rafidain: Assyrian Christian Party
National Union Alliance: Tribal based party

Projected Seat Distributions In Parliament

Alsumaria TV Seat Count
State of Law 87 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 87 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 67 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 38 Seats

Reidar Visser Count
Iraqi National Movement 90 Seats
State of Law 88 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 67 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 39 Seats
Change List 8 Seats
Accordance Front 4 Seats

Institute for the Study of War Count
State of Law 73-79 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 62-70 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 56-61 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 33-35 Seats
Change List 9-10 Seats
Accordance Front 5-7 Seats
Unity of Iraq 5-6 Seats
Kurdistan Islamic Union 4 Seats
Unity of Iraq 3 Seats

Musings On Iraq Seat Distribution
State of Law: 90
Iraqi National Movement: 90
Iraqi National Alliance: 66
Kurdish Alliance: 39
Change List: 8
Accordance Front: 4
Kurdish Islamic Union: 4
Unity of Iraq: 3
Kurdish Islamic Group: 3

Early Election Returns

Anbar – 14 Seats
83% counted
1. Iraqi National Movement 230,878
2. Accordance Front 42,882
3. Unity of Iraq 34,056
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. State of Law 5,141
5. Iraqi National Alliance 4,139

Babil – 16 Seats
80% counted
1. State of Law 175,753
2. Iraqi National Alliance 138,513
3. Iraqi National Movement 78,996
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. Unity of Iraq 12,892
5. Accordance Front 7,056
6. Kurdish Alliance 914

Baghdad – 68 Seats
78% counted
1. State of Law 663,311
2. Iraqi National Movement 594,053
3. Iraqi National Alliance 409,327
4. Accordance Front 37,986
Not Enough Votes For Seat
5. Unity of Iraq 22,818
6. Kurdish Alliance 15,062
7. Change List 1,256
8. Kurdish Islamic Union 710

Basra – 24 Seats
86% counted
1. State of Law 347,304
2. Iraqi National Alliance 191,925
3. Iraqi National Movement 58,495
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. Accordance Front 13,786
5. Unity of Iraq 7,777

Dhi Qar – 18 Seats
1. Iraqi National Alliance 195,616
2. State of Law 184,607
3. Iraqi National Movement 33,390
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. Unity of Iraq 16,367
5. Kurdish Alliance 289

Diyala – 13 Seats
75% counted
1. Iraqi National Movement 173,989
2. Iraqi National Alliance 61,220
3. State of Law 42,218
4. Kurdish Alliance 31,494
Not Enough Votes For Seat
5. Accordance Front 18,286
6. Change List 5,558
7. Unity of Iraq 4,761
8. Justice Association 2,080
9. People Union 1,557
10. National Front 1,537
11. Kurdish Islamic Union 1,516

Dohuk – 10 Seats
70% counted
1. Kurdish Alliance 213,941
2. Kurdish Islamic Union 39,987
Not Enough Votes For Seat
3. Change List 15,834
4. Independent Nasir Toufis Rashid Beg Berwary List 2,706
5. Rafidain 2,619
6. Kurdish Islamic Group 2,048
7. Liberal Individuals 176
8. Iraqi National Alliance 101

Irbil – 14 Seats
73% counted
1. Kurdish Alliance 298,805
2. Change List 73,780
3. Kurdish Islamic Group 45,234
4. Kurdish Islamic Union 37,113
Not Enough Votes For Seat
5. Turkmen Front 1,775
6. Independent Faisal Pasha 811
8. National Union Alliance 422
8. Iraqi National Alliance 313
9. Liberal Individuals 144

Karbala – 10 Seats
74% counted
1. State of Law 122,140
2. Iraqi National Alliance 56,062
Not Enough Votes For Seat
3. Iraqi National Movement 24,914
4. Unity of Iraq 7,637

Maysan – 10 Seats
76% counted
1. Iraqi National Alliance 95,408
2. State of Law 71,591
Not Enough Votes For Seat
3. Iraqi National Movement 10,942
4. Unity of Iraq 3,770

Muthanna – 7 Seats
86% counted
1. State of Law 76,168
2. Iraqi National Alliance 58,269
Not Enough Votes For Seat
3. Unity of Iraq 17,862
4. Iraqi National Movement 14,615
5. Kurdish Alliance 1,145
6. Accordance Front 548

Najaf – 12 Seats
79% counted
1. State of Law 128,978
2. Iraqi National Alliance 113,400
Not Enough Votes For Seat
3. Iraqi National Movement 21,463
4. Unity of Iraq 5,687
5. Kurdish Alliance 401

Ninewa – 31 Seats
80% counted
1. Iraqi National Movement 462,784
2. Kurdish Alliance 158,108
3. Accordance Front 47,994
4. Unity of Iraq 39,869
Not Enough Votes For Seat
5. Iraqi National Alliance 28,340
6. State of Law 12,921
7. National Union Alliance 7,558
8. Change List 6,964
9. National Unified Front 5,668
10. Kurdish Islamic Union 3,220
11. People’s Union 2,086
12. Iraqi National Association 1,610
13. Iraqi Freedom Movement 951
14. National Inventors and Experts 935
15. Kurdish Islamic Group 929

Qadisiyah – 11 Seats
85% counted
1. Iraqi National Alliance 107,739
2. State of Law 103,392
3. Iraqi National Movement 42,341
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. Unity of Iraq 10,092
5. Kurdish Alliance 672

Salahaddin – 12 Seats
74% counted
1. Iraqi National Movement 165,843
2. Accordance Front 42,841
3. Unity of Iraq 38,322
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. State of Law 24,615
5. Iraqi National Alliance 16,845
6. Kurdish Alliance 14,880
7. Change List 1,692

Sulaymaniya – 17 Seats
80% counted
1. Kurdish Alliance 248,023
2. Change List 220,141
3. Kurdish Islamic Union 79,557
4. Kurdish Islamic Group 61,774
Not Enough Votes For Seat
5. Turkmen Front 518
6. National Union Alliance 552
7. National Welfare Movement 500
8. Iraqi National Alliance 150
9. Liberal Individuals 89

Tamim – 12 Seats
75% counted
1. Iraqi National Movement 147,683
2. Kurdish Alliance 147,667
Not Enough Votes For Seat
3. Change List 24,436
4. Kurdish Islamic Union 18,441
5. Accordance Front 12,671
6. Iraqi National Alliance 9,917
7. State of Law 9,485
8. Kurdish Islamic Group 5,347
9. Arabic National Front 2,853

Wasit – 11 Seats
89% counted
1. State of Law 126,373
2. Iraqi National Alliance 110,652
3. Iraqi National Movement 42,595
Not Enough Votes For Seat
4. Unity of Iraq 15,850
5. Liberal Individuals 2,330
6. Kurdish Alliance 743


Alsumaria, “IHEC: 80% of votes show Allawi in the lead,” 3/17/10
- “Iraq first results: Maliki in pole position,” 3/16/10

Alsumaria News, “Maliki wins one million and 757 thousand of the votes of Iraqis, with a 20 thousand difference for the rival Allawi,” 3/16/10

AK News, “Update: New preliminary results of Iraq Vote,” 3/17/10

Hanna, Michael, “The Race for the Iraqi Presidency,” Foreign Policy, 3/11/10

Institute for the Study of War, “Fact Sheet: Iraq’s Preliminary Elections results,” 3/16/10

The Majlis, “Results: Iraq’s 2010 parliamentary election,” 3/17/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Iraq Elections: Maliki’s Path to Re-Election,” World Politics Review, 3/16/10

Visser, Reidar, “Baghdad Projects Based on a 60 Percent Count,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/16/10
- “Predictions Based on Partial Results: Allawi Emerges as a Possible Front-Runner,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/16/10

Wall Street Journal, “The Election in Iraq,” 3/17/10

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

February 2010 Sees Deaths Almost Double In Mosul

The northern city of Mosul in Ninewa province saw a declining number of attacks and deaths at the end of 2009 that continued into the first month of 2010. In June 2009 for example, there were an average of 2.43 security incidents per day reported in the English language press, resulting in an average of 1.93 deaths per day and 4.10 wounded. Those numbers steadily went down until January 2010 when there were an average of 1.90 incidents, 1.22 deaths, and 2.87 wounded per day. February saw a reversal of that trend. Although the number of attacks stayed steady at 2.17 per day, the number of deaths jumped to 2.35 and wounded to 3.89.

Casualties overall in Iraq went up in February, but violence in Mosul has never really followed national trends in the last few years. The March parliamentary elections were probably the major cause for the up tick in casualties. Insurgents for example, launched a concerted campaign against Christians beginning in January 2010 that cost the lives of twelve people, and forced over 4,000 to flee the city. There were also several large bombings in Mosul, such as one on March 18 that wounded 23. Next month's numbers will show whether this was just a temporary increase because of the voting, or whether insurgents have regrouped and reloaded. It's important to follow trends in Mosul because it is the last urban stronghold of Sunni militants, and it cannot be said that they are defeated until violence in the city subsides.

Attack and Casualty Statistics for Mosul
Attacks/Avg. Per Day 
Deaths/Avg. Per Day 
Wounded/Avg. Per Day 
July 09 
Jan. 10 


Alsumaria, "3 Iraqi civilians killed in Mosul," 2/26/10

Aswat al-Iraq, "2 civilians killed inside their store in Mosul," 2/25/10
- "2 cops killed, child injured in Mosul," 2/23/10
- "2 cops killed in Mosul attack," 2/22/10
- "2 Iraqi soldiers killed in Mosul shooting," 2/22/10
- "2 killed, 9 wounded in Mosul blast," 2/16/10
- "2 killed, 10 wounded in blast in Mosul," 2/26/10
- "2 killed in separate incidents in Mosul," 2/6/10
- "2nd Mosul blast leaves 9 wounded," 2/26/10
- "3, including mayor, wounded in Mosul," 2/10/10
- "5 killed, wounded in Mosul shooting," 2/13/10
- "6 civilians killed, wounded by roadside bomb in Mosul," 2/9/10
- "23 wounded in Mosul blast," 2/18/10
- "AQI leader killed, another wounded in Mosul operation," 2/15/10
- "Blast in Mosul leaves woman injured," 2/9/10
- "Blast wounds 2 army officers in Mosul," 2/16/10
- "Body of slain main found, 1 wounded separately in Mosul," 2/25/10
- "Bomb leaves army officer dead in Mosul," 2/3/10
- "Bomb leaves boy's leg amputated in Mosul," 2/13/10
- "Car bomb targets electoral candidate in Mosul," 2/21/10
- "Child wounded by bomb blast in western Mosul," 2/16/10
- "Christian gunned down in Mosul," 2/15/10
- "Christian gunned down in Mosul shooting," 2/16/10
- "Christian student found dead in Mosul," 2/17/10
- "Cop killed in attack on Mosul checkpoints," 2/11/10
- "Female candidate assassinated in Mosul," 2/7/10
- "Gunmen kill 2 women in Mosul," 2/25/10
- "Gunmen kill 3 Christians in Mosul," 2/23/10
- "Gunmen kill civilian, young man in Mosul," 2/2/10
- "Gunmen kill civilians in Mosul," 2/15/10
- "Gunmen kill woman in Mosul," 2/15/10
- "Gunmen shoot down civilian out of mosque in Mosul," 2/4/10
- "Gunmen shoot down policeman in Mosul," 2/21/0
- "Hand grenade injures cop, civilian, child in Mosul," 2/2/10
- "Hand grenade targets Hadbaa police department," 2/20/10
- "Hand grenade wounds 2 in Mosul," 2/24/10
- "IED explodes in front of Mosul hospital," 2/8/10
- "IED injures 2 civilians in Mosul," 2/9/10
- "IED injures 5 in Mosul," 2/17/10
- "IED wounds 2 cops in Mosul," 2/22/10
- "Iraq soldier, gunman killed in Mosul clashes," 2/23/10
- "Iraqi soldier killed in Mosul," 2/15/10
- "Mosul blast leaves 4 killed, wounded," 2/16/10
- "Soldier wounded in Mosul blast," 2/5/10
- "Weeklong kidnapped Christian man's body found in Mosul," 2/20/10
- "Woman, policeman killed in Mosul," 2/23/10
- "Young man killed in blast in northern Mosul," 2/11/10

Canadian Press, "Number of US troops in Iraq at lowest level since 2003 invasion, military says," 2/16/10

DPA, "Three Iraqis killed, one injured in separate attacks," 2/15/10
- "Three police killed in Iraq blast," 2/20/10

Issa, Sahar, "Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq Wednesday 3 February, 2010," McClatchy Newspapers, 2/3/10

Reuters, "FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Feb 1," 2/1/10
- "FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Feb 3," 2/3/10
- "Iraqi Christians Protest Slayings," 2/28/10

This Day In Iraqi History - Jul 20 Ayatollah Khomeini endorsed ceasefire in Iran-Iraq War

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