Iraqi Kurdistan / by Lewis McKinnon

The President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq met with the Turkish President on 23 August and discussed the Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The United Nations (UN) human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly stated that the mass execution of men accused of the killing of soldiers were denied proper legal defence and called for fair trials. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that the agency was struggling to find enough land for camps to house the number of refugees expected to flee the operation against Mosul. The UNHCR released a statement which said that up to 3000 Iraqi villagers may have been captured by IS whilst attempting to flee to Kirkuk. On 15 August the Iraqi parliament approved 5 positions for vacant ministerial positions, including that of the oil minister. The corruption allegations against Parliamentary Speaker Salim al-Jabouri were closed on 9 August with the associated travel ban lifted. On 30 August the head of the US’ military’s Central Command, General Joseph Votel, stated that Iraq would be able to retake Mosul from IS control by the end of this year should the operation be approved. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal stated that Iraq had requested Saudi Arabia to replace its ambassador to Baghdad, Thamer al-Sabhan. On 25 August the Iraqi parliament impeached the Defence Minister, Khaled al-Obeidi. On 22 August an unnamed British national was killed whilst clearing mines laid by IS. On 7 August IS suicide bombers attacked a military base occupied by the US-backed New Syria Army. On 27 August the Iraqi oil minister stated that Iraq is willing to play an active role in in OPEC to support oil prices. On 30 August the Iraqi Prime Minister stated that Iraq would support OPEC’s decision to freeze oil output with the aim of propping up prices. On 11 August the UN Development Program stated that it would hire experts to help Iraq tackle the issue of graft which is affecting the economy.