SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – Kirk H. Sowell‏ @UticaRisk 5 hours ago  7 July 2018 – This recount is potentially a big deal in north-central Iraq, but I continue to think that it will have little to no impact in Baghdad. Abadi’s Nasr is hoping to pick up a seat in Kirkuk on the recount. Even if they do, minor changes won’t make a big difference nationally.

5 hours ago

Arabs & Turkmen are saying the recount shows a dramatically different result, with PUK votes way down from the “fraudulent” election results. The PUK disputes this. But it would sure have a big knock-on effect elsewhere – especially in Suli – if the PUK vote # drops big.

This was our main feature in the last issue of #InsideIraqiPolitics – the dispute over the new law requiring a recount. IHEC, now run by judges, decided to only do a partial recount, & started with Kirkuk. That process continues now.

IHEC – now run by judges – says not to pay attention to leaks/spin by political parties regarding the recount in Kirkuk.

مفوضية الانتخابات العراقية تنفي تسريبات حول نتائج العد والفرز اليدوي في كركوك  

Al Hayat –

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : BARZANI’S ANTI-CHRISTIAN TAX – Kurdish Government Imposes Islamic Tax on Assyrians in North Iraq

 2018-07-06 15:08 GMT – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on January 23, 2018, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) issued an order that business owners in Ankawa would be charged a fee when renewing their license. This order was not applied until June 2018.Ankawa is a predominately Christian neighborhood in Erbil whose residents report increasing pressure from Muslims relocating to Ankawa. One Christian resident told ICC, “It was not allowed for Muslims to come and have a house in Ankawa, but now it is a preferable area for Muslims and there are a lot of Muslims who have connections and they are getting permissions.”

This history has contributed to the concerns of Christians that the new tax is being levied against them with ill intentions. Ankawa Today published a statement reading,“For those who doubted the presence of a high tax (jizya) that is exclusively imposed by the Kurdish government on the people of Ankawa and not the other Kurdish towns, it is also worth mentioning that the same tax is being applied gradually on Semel (another Christian majority town near Dohuk), which is clearly discriminatory against Christians… A simple example is the Kurdish town of Baharka which is just next to Ankawa and does not differ from it (administratively speaking) and has no such tax agency office.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS EMPFEHLUNG : IraK / Fluchtursachen – Eine Analyse von Dr. Salar Bassireh

–           Politikwissenschaftler aus Düsseldorf   – 

Vorwort – Flucht, Vertreibung und Migration sind weltweite Phänomene, die vielfältige Ursachen haben. Die Geschichte der Menschheit ist auch die Geschichte von Kriege, Flucht, Vertreibung und Migration, sowohl innerhalb der Staaten, als auch Grenzüberschreitend. Nie zuvor waren so viele Menschen gezwungen, ihr Zuhause zu verlassen. Was sind die Beweggründe für die Flucht und Migration?

Über 65 Millionen Menschen sind es laut UNHCR, die vor Krieg, Konflikten und Verfolgung auf der Flucht sind. Nicht mitgezählt werden dabei jene, die aufgrund ökolgischer Krisen (Umweltzerstörung und Kliamawandel), Armut, Ausbeutung, Verfolgung von Andersdenkenden  und Chancenlosigkeit gezwungen sind, zu migrieren, und die Zahl der Flüchtlinge hat Weltweit zugenommen.                           

Innerstaatliche Ursachen für Flucht und Vertreibung im Irak

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : PKK CONFESSIONS BY FORCE – PKK claims responsibility for killing of grocer / AMNESTY CASE

By Rudaw 6 hours ago  – 1 July 2018 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The PKK’s armed wing has claimed responsibility for the killing of a grocer whose death has sparked concerns of wider violence. “Our forces arrested an individual named Mevlut Bengi,” the PKK’s HPG said in a statement on Saturday.

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In Iraq Elections, Communists and Iran-backed Militants Win Big

By Alex Newman – THE NEW AMERICAN –  2018-06-29 22:54 GMT – After trillions of dollars squandered and hundreds of thousands of lives lost during the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, a coalition of the Communist Party and an anti-American Islamist group famous for terrorism and ruthless death squads recently won the largest number of votes in Iraqi parliamentary elections. Seriously. Now, the alliance is partnering with another Islamic militia openly backed by the regime in Iran. Communists in the United States and beyond could barely contain their glee.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS DEBATE : Iraq Elections: Iraqis Vote “Iraq First”?

SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – MDC Researcher Ronen Zeidel discusses the political uncertainty facing Iraq in the aftermath of the recent parliamentary elections. – Moshe Dayan Center – Israel

On May 12, 2018, Iraq held its fifth election since 2003. This was the first parliamentary election since the stabilization of the security environment following the victory against ISIS at the end of 2017. Approximately 12 million eligible voters turned out to vote for multiple political parties and roughly 8,000 nominees, in a quiet and almost taciturn manner. Overall voter turnout was 44.5 percent, 33 percent in Baghdad[1] – the lowest since the 2005 elections. Prior to the elections, many clerics and civil society activists called for eligible voters to boycott the election. It is estimated that around 20 percent of eligible voters abstained from voting, many likely heeding the boycott call. Prime Minister Haydar al-ʿAbadi, who lost potential votes due to this boycott, was its main victim. There were several reasons for the boycott, including widespread anger and corruption. However, the boycott did not directly target al-ʿAbadi, but rather, depicted the prime minister as a candidate unable to fix a broken Iraqi political system. There were also complaints made regarding the Iraqi electoral system, the Supervisory Authority, and the method by which votes were tallied; many Iraqis accused the system of working in favor of the large political parties.

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Musings On Iraq –


Sadr Has Enough Seats To Form New Govt, Waiting For Election To Be Certified

Posted: 26 Jun 2018 07:12 AM PDT By Joel Wing

Iraq’s political leaders took another step towards forming a new government. The latest move was Moqtada al-Sadr of Sairoon and Prime Minister Haidar Abadi of Nasr announcing that they had reached an agreement. This came after the premier visited Sadr in Najaf. They proclaimed they were committed to a nonsectarian government. This came after a number of consultations to get Abadi to join. That included meetings with Hadi Amiri from the Fatah list, and intense lobbying from Iran. Since 2005 creating a new administration has taken two steps. First the Shiites lists converge, and form the largest coalition, and then the other parties are brought in. Major points of contentions are over which parties will get which ministries, and who will become the prime minister. Sadr’s Sairoon ran on a platform of ending the ethnosectarian quotas that have been used to determine who gets which positions, and called for a technocratic government. It’s yet to be seen whether Sairoon can achieve either of those. Parties take part in regimes so that they can gain power via offices, which gives them control over money and jobs, which are used for patronage networks and corruption schemes. They would not be willing to join with Sadr if they would not be able to attain these privileges.

Previously Sadr had made deals with Ammar Hakim’s Hikma, Vice President Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya, and Amiri’s Fatah. 165 seats are needed to form a majority in parliament and get the right to form a new government. Sadr’s Sairoon won 54 seats, Hikma 19, Wataniya 21, and Fatah 47. Now Nasr has joined with another 42. All together that is 183 seats, more than enough.

On another front, the judges that replaced the Election Commission said that the recount called for by parliament would only happen in sites where formal complaints were filed. The main charges of fraud have occurred in Sulaymaniya, Kirkuk, and Anbar. Hopefully that will speed the process, and the vote can be certified overcoming another requirement to create a new administration.


Al Aalem, “The specter of constitutional vacuum looms over Iraq. The chances of settlement over candidates are rising,” 6/21/18


Aboulenein, Ahmed, “Iraq plans manual election recount only for suspect ballots,” Reuters, 6/24/18


Associated Press, “In about-face, Iraq’s maverick al-Sadr moves closer to Iran,” 6/24/18


Hassan, Falih and Nordland, Rod, “Iraqi Political Alliance Unites a U.S. Friend and Foe,” New York Times, 6/23/18


Iraq News Network, “Al Fatah Alliance: A disagreement between Abadi and al-Amiri about the candidate for the presidency of the next government,” 6/21/18


Al Mirbad, “Abadi and Sadr announce the alliance between Sairoon and Nasr,” 6/23/18

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Turkish operations in Iraq aim at PKK’s Qandil bases

17 June 2018 – AHVAL NEWS – Intensifying air and artillery strikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in north-eastern Iraq aim to pave the way for the occupation of the Qandil mountains, wrote journalist Namık Durakan, in an article appearing in Turkish Milliyet newspaper on Sunday.

The PKK, which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has its main headquarters in the rugged Qandil mountains that straddle the Iran-Iraq border in the north-east of Iraq.    The operation against Qandil will proceed two stages, wrote Durakan.

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Reading Between The Lines: In Iraqi Kurdistan, Politicians’ Holiday Greetings Indicate Depth Of Division – Maaz Farhan – Niqash 21 June 2018 –

In past years the various political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan would always send each other a letter of greeting at Eid al-Fitr, the festival that ends Ramadan, a month of religious commemoration. For Europeans, it’s a little like sending a Christmas card to one’s business colleagues and rivals.

But this year, the letters that political parties in the semi-autonomous, northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan are sending one another are just a little different – mainly this is because of an increase in antipathy and a breakdown in relationships after, firstly, the referendum on Kurdish independence last September, and secondly, the Iraqi elections, held May 12 this year.   Things have become so tense that even common courtesies have ended. Reading between the lines of the Eid greetings, they differ from previous years: usually they talk about solving problems in the period following the religious holiday. This year, the seasonal greetings are more critical – and that’s if they were sent at all.

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‘We cleared Afrin – we’ll do the same thing in Qandil’: Turkish PM

By Rudaw  21 June 2018 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has 11 temporary military bases in northern Iraq conducting operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

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