Iraq’s industrial sector is based on the refinement of the country’s natural resources and agricultural raw materials. Production of oil-based products such as gasoline, chemicals, fertilizers and plastics predominates. The second most important is cement production.
The other industry is extremely small and includes the production of electrical appliances, textiles, shoes, cigarettes and food.
The 1991 Kuwait War and subsequent UN sanctions hit hard on the industrial sector. The US-led invasion in the spring of 2003 led to new pressures. The development of the industry was hindered by the lack of security in the country. The construction industry, on the other hand, has occasionally been able to benefit from the needs of reconstruction.
The US Occupation Authority attempted to drive through the sale of state-owned companies early, including the state-owned oil industry (see Natural Resources and Energy), but that did not happen. Instead, the government has announced plans to merge nine state energy companies into one large state group.
Turkey for offensive in northern Iraq
17th of June
Turkey launches a flight and ground offensive in northern Iraq in search of Kurdish rebels. A few days earlier, air raids were carried out for the same purpose. The offenses are motivated by Kurdish guerrillas attacking Turkish police and military posts at the border from bases in the mountains of northern Iraq. Kurdish guerrilla bases are not explicitly permitted and PKK is rejected but tolerated by Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. At the central government in Baghdad, Turkey’s actions provoke irritation and diplomatic protests.
US soldiers should be fewer
The US and Iraq’s new government have agreed on US forces on Iraqi soil (see January 5, 2020). The number of soldiers to be reduced in the coming months is the message in a joint statement where no details are given. Washington has promised that the United States will not seek permanent military presence in Iraq. Baghdad, for its part, promises to protect the bases where there are American personnel, following repeated rocket attacks that are believed to have been carried out by the Proiran militia (see January 27).
The government is complete
The new government is complete. Parliament approves the last seven Ministers (see 6 May). Ihsan Israil, a former oil company manager, becomes a troubled oil minister at a time of low prices (which provide meager revenue to the Treasury), Opec’s decision to cut production and US claims to influence how Iraq should conduct its business in the energy market. Foreign Minister becomes Fuad Hussein, former finance minister and Kurdish veteran politician. He is the only minister who also held a post in the previous government.
Iraq appeals for money for wages
New Finance Minister Ali Allawi makes his first trip abroad to Saudi Arabia to discuss the oil price race. In plain text: to ask the neighbors for help, as the lack of oil revenue causes the Treasury to gap. In April, Iraq received only $ 1.4 billion in selling crude oil, and at the same time, only salaries for civil servants cost $ 4 billion a month. Allawi is also expected to travel to the United Arab Emirates and to Kuwait. One possibility, which, according to data from the AFP news agency, was considered by the previous government, is to ask Kuwait to postpone the monthly payment of the war damages that Iraq still pays since Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which led to wars and oil wells are on fire.
Clear sign for new head of government
Mustafa al-Kadhimi is approved by Parliament as Prime Minister (see December 1, 2019 and April 9, 2020). In the latter, the parties squabble over the ministerial posts and seven of the 22 seats remain vacant for the time being, among them the jobs of foreign minister and oil minister. Ali Allawi, who previously held several ministerial posts, becomes Finance Minister and Chief of Defense Staff Uthman al-Ghanimi becomes Minister of Defense. From the United States, which is at peace with Iraq’s new government, the message comes that Washington will again extend Iraq’s exemption from sanctions on Iran: Iraq can now buy 120 electricity from Iran for 120 days without being subjected to US punishment (see April 26).
IS-woman in court in Germany
In Hamburg, a trial is opened against a German-Tunisian woman, who lived in the Islamic State’s “caliphate” in Syria and is suspected of, among other things, crimes against humanity, slave trade and terrorist membership. In Germany, the case is now being tried as one of several where Yazidic girls were forced into slavery at IS (see also April 24.)
IS strikes again
Ten Shiite militiamen are killed when the Islamic State attacks them in a city north of Baghdad. The attacks against the paramilitary force al-Hashd al-Shaabi are the deadliest that IS has carried out in a long time. Some weeks earlier, IS has also staged a suicide attack in Kirkuk province.
Impatient US extends exemption
26th of April
US allows Iraq to import gas from Iran for one month; Iraq is granted yet another exemption from the US sanctions that penalize countries trading with Iran. Iraq needs the gas to keep its electric power plants running, thereby reducing the risk of street and square protests. But America’s increasingly short-lived exceptions testify that Washington has increased pressure on the Baghdad government to shrink Iran’s influence in the country. Iraq has been ruled by an expedition minister since December 1. New Mayor Mustafa al-Kadhimi will present a “legislative proposal” to Parliament by May 9.
IS crimes are being tried in Germany
A man with a background in the Islamic State (IS) is facing trial in Frankfurt, Germany charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and slave trade. The man is Iraqi and is believed to have held leading positions in IS in both Iraq and Syria. He and his German wife, who is also suspected of murder, allegedly bought a Yazid woman and his daughter as slaves in 2015. Mother and child, kidnapped from their home town of Sinjar in Iraq, were sold several times on IS slave markets. When they ended up in the Iraqi-German couple’s violence, they were taken to al-Falluja, where the child died of thirst. The trial of the woman began in Germany in April 2019. The man was arrested in Greece the following month and released to Germany. The Yazidian mother has testified about how she and her daughter were treated.
IS members are executed in Iraq
Iraq executed 100 death sentences in 2019, according to Amnesty International, which concludes that nearly twice as many death sentences were executed as the year before when counting at least 52. Amnesty describes the development as shocking. Above all, members of the Islamic State (IS) terror group are executed.
Oil countries are reducing production
Opec member countries and several non-member oil producing states (Russia, Mexico and Kazakhstan) agree to reduce their production by a total of 9.7 million barrels per day to raise crude oil prices. The reduction corresponds to almost a tenth of world production, but it is still uncertain if they succeed in their ambitions to get more paid for the oil (see 19 March). The severe restrictions imposed by the world’s countries to counter the corona pandemic have caused global demand to collapse, for example on aviation fuel.
New government leaders get the chance
Adnan al-Zurfi gives up his attempts to form government (see March 17). President Barham Salih lets the ball go to Mustafa al-Kadhimi, head of the national intelligence service since 2016. Mustafa al-Kadhimi has 30 days to assemble a ministry that Parliament accepts. In his own person drawing, he states that he is neither a military nor a career politician. He holds a law degree and has been active as a journalist. As intelligence chief, he has played a role in Iraq’s fight against IS, which has suited both the United States and Iran. Iraq’s parliament is dominated by pro-Iranian parties, but it is clear after a few days that the Shia groups can find it difficult to agree on Mustafa al-Kadhimi as head of government. It is interpreted by analysts as saying that a power vacuum has emerged following the US attack on January 3 that killed two influential people.
Trade with Iran is allowed, for one month
The US grants exemptions from sanctions for Iraq’s import needs from Iran, but the exception is the shortest so far: just one month. When the US 2018 reintroduced sanctions on Iran, especially its energy industry, exceptions were made for Iraq where, among other things, electricity shortages can trigger riots and political violence and provide greater leeway for Iranian interests. After all, the US still allows Iraq to trade with Iran is because Washington does not want to interfere with Adnan al-Zurfi’s efforts to form a government (see March 17).
National-level decision against coronary infection
Most of Iraq’s provinces have decided on regional measures such as curbing the corona pandemic; The spread of infection is great not least in neighboring Iran, where there are also many deaths. In Iraq, 20 deaths have been confirmed and Iraq is now facing measures across the country to counter the spread of the virus. Schools, assembly points and international airports are kept closed. The border with Iran has been closed for several weeks, but the authorities are having a hard time stopping, among other things, religious mass meetings where the risk of infection is high. Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has continued to gather his followers for major meetings in Kufa and in the densely populated Sadr city in Baghdad.
Oil price war is troubling Iraq
Falling oil prices are causing concern in Iraq, where oil accounts for more than 90 percent of the state’s revenue. Oil is now traded internationally for under $ 30 a barrel, while Iraq’s draft state budget for 2020 is based on almost double the price, $ 56 a barrel. Two important explanations for the price collapse: the corona pandemic has led to China’s demand for oil has dropped significantly. Saudi Arabia, which has therefore lost revenues, instead seeks to cut market share by lowering its price (Saudis can extract oil cheaper than competitor countries). In the hope that prices will turn upward, Iraq is trying to find things to save on, but the state has big spending: salaries to four million civil servants, pensions to three million people and livelihood support to one million.
New Government Former Appointed
Adnan al-Zurfi, former governor of the Shi’ite-dominated province of Najaf, gets the president’s mission to try to form a government. He has 30 days to get a ministry approved in Parliament. Adding to the previous difficulties that prevail in Iraq is now to deal with the corona pandemic. The infection has been found in 154 people and eleven deaths are known. For the time being, an expedition minister is being led by Adil Abd al-Mahdi, who resigned in December following a popular wave of protests (see mainly December 1, 2019 and February 7, 2020).
Governors jump off
Muhammad Allawi resigns the mission to form government (see December 1, 2019 and February 1, 2020). Three times Parliamentary votes on Allawi’s proposals for ministry have been planned, but not implemented. President Barham Salih has two weeks to appoint a new governor. Whoever becomes prime minister should not only deal with the recurring street protests directed at Iraq’s political elite, but also find a way to navigate the troubled waters created by both the US and Iran wanting influence over Iraq.
NATO ready for expanded role
Defense Ministers in the NATO Alliance Military Member States agree that NATO personnel should be prepared to take over some of the training efforts carried out by the US-led alliance that fought IS in Iraq. The request comes from the President of the United States. NATO has about 500 employees in Iraq. The decisive factor in whether the operation should be extended and what the tasks should consist of is how the government of Iraq stands. Following US appropriations against Iranian general Qasem Soleimani (see January 3), Iraq’s parliament voted for all foreign soldiers to leave the country. The international alliance holds about 11,000 people in Iraq, Syria and Kuwait.
Rare snowfall in Baghdad
The capital of Baghdad and the Shia sanctuary’s Karbala wake up under a snow blanket. In the mountains to the north, there is no unusual sight, but a snowfall in Baghdad in 2008, which is the last city residents to remember, melted away quickly. The habit is greater at summer heat: The Baghdad record, which in recent years has been close to being beaten several times, is 51 degrees Celsius. Extreme weather phenomena are reported to have increased in Iraq in recent years as well.
Sadr dissolves “blue caps”
Shi leader Muqtada al-Sadr dissolves an organization among its followers known as the “blue caps”. The group has been charged with assault on government-critical protesters. According to the AFP news agency, at least eight casualties in Baghdad and southern Iraq are linked to the ravages of the caps. As a result, protesters have also begun to scan slogans against Sadr (see February 5).
Nearly 550 killed in protests
The Iraqi Human Rights Commission, which is state-funded but acts independently of political decision-makers, states that nearly 550 people have been killed since the wave of protests against the country’s political elites began on October 1, 2019. the authorities accused of not disclosing information about the dead, injured and arrested. According to the Commission, about half of the deaths have been claimed in Baghdad.
Protest camps are stormed by rivals
The gap is deepened between the two main giants by protesters who since October have demanded regime change and reduced influence for Iraq’s political elite. A protest camp in the city of Najaf is stormed by supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr. Security forces intervene in the violence between the groups and seven protesters are shot dead. In several cities, the event is followed by sympathy protests directed at Sadr. Following previous confrontations, Sadr has urged his followers to concentrate on ensuring that schools and roads blocked during the wave of protests can be opened.
New head of government nominated
President Barham Salih nominates Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi to the post of Prime Minister. Allawi has previously been both parliamentarian and minister, but resigned with reference to the widespread corruption. In his first statements, Allawi promises to announce new elections and that justice should be shipped according to the violence associated with demonstrations. Since the protest wave began in October, at least 480 people have been killed and nearly 30,000 have been injured, but few of those responsible have been brought to justice. Allawi has a month to form government and he has the backing of the two major Shi’a blocs in parliament. Young protesters in Baghdad and southern Iraq react with disbelief when they are told that he has been given the mission.
Rockets against US Embassy
The US embassy in Baghdad is hit by three rockets in what is described as the first direct hit after a series of strikes in the vicinity. US blames Irantrogen Iraqi militia for the shooting.
Sadr leads Shia manifestation
Shi’a parties and Shi’a militias carry out a manifestation in Baghdad. The “million march” has been announced by Muqtada al-Sadr, who controls the largest party group in parliament and has allies on ministerial posts. Participants demand that the United States withdraw its 5,200 troops from Iraqi soil. While the broader protest movement that has been demonstrating for months tends to oppose both US and Iranian influence in Iraq, the Shi’a groups are more Iran-friendly; some are even described as governed by Tehran. Sadr, for his part, has supported both camps, which is interpreted as an attempt to sit on two chairs at the same time. After the million march, he drops his support for the protest movement on the Tahrir Square in Baghdad, and just a few hours later the riot police join the protesters to try to disperse them.
Anger at the senility of the rulers
Thousands of protesters are trying to block roads and bridges at various locations to increase the pressure on the government to implement the reforms that the protest movement has demanded for months. Several protesters are killed in Baghdad when they are hit by sharp shots and tear gas. The protest movement demands that the government be led by a politically independent person, that the electoral law must be changed and that new elections be conducted. According to the AFP news agency’s compilation, about 460 people have been killed in violence that happened in connection with demonstrations since the fall. The authorities have chosen not to update reports on the number of dead and injured. The protest movement hears criticism both against the United States and against Iran’s influence in Iraq. Almost two months after the announcement that the government will resign, Adil Abd al-Mahdi continues to lead a transitional ministry (see December 1, 2019).
Iraqi Turkmen is designated as IS leader
A Turk from Tal Afar in northern Iraq is designated as new leader of the Islamic State (IS) (see also October 31, 2019). According to sources in two spy organizations for the British newspaper The Guardian, the man is named Amir Muhammad Abd al-Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi. Under IS terror in northern Iraq and Syria, al-Salbi must have played a leading role in the atrocities suffered by the Yazid minority.
Iran attacks US bases
Two Iraqi military bases housing US forces are being fired from Iran, which states it is the answer to the US deadly attack on Qasem Soleimani. According to Western countries, no deaths are required, but a month later, the United States states that over 100 Americans have suffered mild concussion. The Iranian news agency Tasnim, which is close to the Revolutionary Guard, reports that two ground-based robotic models were used: Fateh-313, with an estimated range of 50 kilometers, and Qiam-1, believed to have a range of up to 80 kilometers and based on the same technology as Russian Scudrobotar. A Ukrainian airliner crashes outside Tehran the same day and everyone on board loses their lives. It later emerges, only after Iranian statements away, that Iran has shot down the plane in the belief that it was a hostile cruise missile.
No in Parliament to foreign forces
The US drone attack on January 3 has triggered sharp reactions in Iraq, especially among Shi’a Muslims who are favorably close to close cooperation with Iran. In Iraq’s parliament, a resolution is demanding that the presence of foreign forces in the country be terminated, and the Foreign Ministry has made a diplomatic protest to the United States against the murder, which is seen as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The Iraqi government asked for assistance from the outside world in fighting the militant jihadi movement IS in 2014. Among the foreign forces that have remained since then are personnel from dozens of countries, including NATO countries and Sweden. Many of them are working to train Iraqi government forces. The United States has about 5,200 troops stationed at bases in Iraq.
US kills Iranian general
Qasem Soleimani, general of the Iranian elite Revolutionary Guard and commander of the foreign force al-Quds (“Jerusalem Force”), is killed in Baghdad when the United States attacks a car he is traveling in. Soleimani has been the key figure in Iran’s military and political actions in neighboring countries, including the war in Syria and the battles against the Islamic State (IS). The United States held him ultimately responsible for militia attacks against Americans on Iraqi soil. In the drone attack, about ten people die, including an influential Iraqi militia leader called Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (“the Engineer”).