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Iraq Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
Farming conditions are usually good with fertile lands and usually plenty of water. But just over half of all arable land is used, and more than half of Iraq's food needs are covered by imports.
The most important crops are wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, millet and sugar cane. Daddles are an Iraqi specialty. The UN organization Unesco in 2019, on the suggestion of Arab countries, classified the dates as World Heritage and Iraq usually by volume is considered the world's leading exporter.
In the mountains to the north, the natural rainfall is sufficient to irrigate the crops, but in the south artificial irrigation is required. During the 1990s, a channel was dug between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
The 1991 Kuwaiti War and subsequent UN sanctions (see Modern History) seriously damaged agriculture. The land-owning farmers were heavily controlled or their land transferred to the state. The harvest must be delivered to state centers and the hoarding of grain was punished with the death penalty. Since the "oil-for-food" program was introduced in 1996, farmers were faced with fierce competition from cheap imports. Many Kurdish wheat growers switched to livestock management in order to survive.
Many of the problems have persisted after the US-led invasion in the spring of 2003. Many households have received free or heavily subsidized food packages, and most of the goods are purchased from abroad. This has hit the local markets hard, and interest in investing in agriculture has been low.
2018 caused severe drought to halve the cultivated area. The Ministry of Agriculture introduced a ban on irrigation for crops that need a lot of water. Rice and corn were not allowed to grow at all. One-third of the herds of livestock in southern Iraq were slaughtered as a result of a lack of pasture and feed.
Mass death among carp, reported in 2018, has been explained. Dead fish floated around in cages in fish farms or stranded along the Euphrates River. Investigations have shown, according to the UN environmental program Unep, that the fishermen died of koiherpes virus which is harmless to humans. Too much fish in the farms and poor quality of the river water can contribute to spreading the infection in the fish. Carp, grilled with onion and tomato, is one of Iraq's national dishes, so demand is high and the disease causes huge losses for fish farmers. The outbreak is the first known in Iraq.
There is no significant commercial forestry. The forests that exist are concentrated in mountainous areas in the northeast. Half of the felled trees are used as fuel. During the 1970s, fishing in the Persian Gulf and in Iraq's lakes, rivers and marshes became an important industry, but since then fishing has declined.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
3.0 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
21.4 percent (2016)
Death shot against protesters
Five protesters are shot to death by security forces in the city of Rania when Kurds in the north for the second day in a row demonstrate against stopping independence strikes. In several places the protests are violent. A mayor's office and several party offices are set on fire. All five major parties in the region are subject to dissatisfaction. A week later, the protests continue and several hundred protesters have been arrested.
Terror-designated mass executions
In the city of al-Nasiriyya, 38 people convicted of terrorism are executed. One of them is both Iraqi and Swedish citizen. Sweden has criticized the imposition of the death penalty.
Full victory against IS declared
Prime Minister al-Abadi states that the Islamic State (IS) has now been defeated, after three years. Small groups of remaining jihadists may be feared to form terrorist commands, but IS no longer has control over any areas near the border with Syria, where the last fighting has raged.
Calling for "Marshall Plan"
In the war-torn city of Mosul, where the government proclaimed victory against the Islamic State (IS) in July, a "peace marathon" with 4,000 runners from different countries is held to raise money for reconstruction work. After the tough and protracted battles against IS, Iraq needs a Marshall Plan similar to the one that the US embarked on for Europe's post-World War II reconstruction, says Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari at an international meeting in Rome. The IS ranks have found combatants "of 124 nationalities from all the world's democracies", he points out.
Nearly 9,000 Americans in Iraq
US defense headquarters promise greater openness about military operations abroad. The message about the size of the troops has been unclear, but a quarterly report shows that on September 30, the United States had 8,892 men in place in Iraq. Nearly twice as many Americans serve in Afghanistan.
The referendum is declared invalid
20th of November
Iraq's highest court illegally declares the Kurdish referendum on independence held on September 25. Since the vote, the Kurdish forces have been pressured to clear disputed areas. The Iraqi government is now controlling not least Kirkuk with oil sources that could give a Kurdish state economic viability. In Baghdad, Parliament's work on next year's budget is ongoing, which may also have financial consequences for the Kurdish autonomy in the north.
Severe earthquake in the northeast
In the north, at the border with Iran, an earthquake measured at magnitude 7.3 occurs. The quake requires death victims in both countries. Hundreds of people have died in Iran. Kurdish authorities in Iraq express concern about a damaged pond and many other buildings, including at least one hospital, must have been demolished.
Offensive against IS in Rawa
The government army and Sunni Muslim militia launch an offensive against IS in the city of Rawa, which is located in the border area against Syria that IS has mastered and used for the transport of forces and equipment between the countries. Following the fall of the city of al-Qaim a week earlier, Rawa is described as IS's last stronghold in Iraq. The Iraqi forces, with the support of the United States, claim that IS has been driven away from 95 percent of the territory previously controlled by jihadists in Iraq.
Disappearances should be investigated
At least 74 Arabs arrested by Kurdish forces in the north have been reported missing. The Iraqi government promises that the disappearances will be investigated. It is about arrests at various times within the Kurdish autonomy and in the disputed city of Kirkuk, where Kurdish forces were recently forced to withdraw.
Elections in mid-May
The Iraqi government has decided that parliamentary elections will be held on May 15, 2018, three days later than the election commission originally planned. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi emphasizes that political parties that do not stand up to armed organizations. In other words, militia leaders should also not be able to get seats in parliament. The message can be seen in light of the US's concern about the influence of Iran-supported organizations in Iraq. Parliament has 328 seats, eight of which are dedicated to ethnic minorities.
Iraqi army takes over border station
For the first time in decades, the Iraqi government is taking control of the important border station Fishkhabur, opposite the Turkish city of Habur. The Kurdish flag is hoisted and the Iraqi is hoisted in its place.
Barzani announces his departure
Kurdish President Massoud Barzani announces to the regional parliament that he will resign on November 1. He says he does not agree that his mandate will be extended anymore. Barzani's decision to announce the referendum on independence has caused the entire Kurdish self-government to falter. The announcement of Barzani's departure causes some of his supporters to storm the parliament in Erbil, though without reaching the members of the plenary. Some parties that are in opposition to the KDP say that several of their local offices in other districts were vandalized during the night.
Armistice and negotiations
After the Iraqi government announced a ceasefire, delegations for both sides of the Iraqi-Kurdish conflict meet to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Iraq requires the Kurds to leave the Fishkabur border crossing, where two oil pipelines enter Turkish soil, one from the Kurdish side and one from the Iraqi. The location is just inside the border of the autonomous Kurdish region. The Baghdad government claims that the constitution of the country gives central power control over the country's borders, even around the Kurdish region.
al-Abadi: "The Kurds must annul the referendum"
Prime Minister al-Abadi says that nothing less than the Kurds annulling the referendum on independence is enough. Postponing the proclamation of a Kurdish state is not enough, he says, and receives diplomatic support from both Turkey and Iran. While Iraqi forces are reported to be launching "the last battle" against IS's remaining positions in western Iraq, Kurdish sources claim that attacks against Kurdish-controlled areas continue.
The Kurds ask for negotiations with Baghdad
The Kurdish regional government proposes an immediate cease-fire, that the result of the referendum is, until now, annulled and that a dialogue with the Baghdad government based on the Iraqi constitution be initiated. The first comment from the Baghdad side comes from a military spokesman who says that "there is no connection between military operations and politics". The Iraqi government forces have recaptured all areas controlled by the Kurds outside the autonomous provinces, but the army and its allied militias are also trying to take control of border crossings into Turkey on Kurdish soil.
Requirements for Barzani's departure; choices are postponed
The Kurdish opposition party Gorran demands the resignation of regional president Barzani. He is held accountable for the "disaster" faced by the Kurds following the loss of the income-generating oil-rich Kirkuk province to the Iraqi army. The Gorran demands that a unifying government be formed to deal with the crisis. At the same time, the Kurdish Election Commission announces that the presidential and parliamentary elections that would have been held on November 1 have been postponed because the parties have not nominated candidates. The President of the Commission says that the regional parliament may decide on a new election date.
Iraqis wanted by the Kurds
Iraqi Kurdistan authorities issue arrest warrants for eleven Iraqi Arabs. Among them are two Shiite militia leaders and one Christian militia leader. It is not clear what they are being accused of, but the order for them to be arrested is seen as a direct response to the Iraqi authorities' calls for a number of Kurdish officials.
Kurdish troops all the way out of Kirkuk province
Iraqi government forces are reported to have recaptured the last district of Kirkuk province after a three-hour battle against Kurdish peshmerga. The Iraqi forces are now only five miles from the Kurdish capital Erbil. Iraq's highest Shiite Muslim leader Ayatollah al-Sistani is appealing to the government to protect the Kurdish population after reports of civilian Kurds being abused in the areas the army has taken back. The Kurdish's swift retreat from Kirkuk risks widening the old gap between the dominant clans Barzani and Talabani, who lead the parties KDP and PUK respectively. KDP accuses PUK of ordering the speedy retreat in consultation with the Iraqi government,
"100,000 Kurds on the run"
Kurdish officials say about 100,000 Kurds have fled the Kirkuk province since Iraqi forces took control of the area. The Iraqi army says it has withdrawn all the areas Kurdish forces occupied in 2014 in connection with IS forcing the army into retreat. A Baghdad court is issuing an arrest warrant on Vice President Kosrat Rasul in the autonomous Kurdish region. He must have described the Iraqi security forces in Kirkuk as an "occupation force", which the court considers to be an illegal provocation.
Russian cooperation on Kurdish oil
Russian oil company Rosneft says it has signed an agreement with the regional Kurdish government on joint production on five oil fields in the Kurdish part of Iraq. Rosneft claims to pay up to US $ 400 million for 80 percent of production. The Iraqi Petroleum Ministry condemns the agreement and describes it as "irresponsible" to settle such a deal without the involvement of the Iraqi government.
The Kurds are driven away from more areas
After taking full control of the city of Kirkuk, evacuated by the Kurdish forces, the Iraqi army and its allied Shi'ilis continue to regain areas held by the Kurds since 2014. The army takes control of the region's two largest oil fields, which had been evacuated by Kurdish personnel after production was interrupted. As a result, the Kurds lose about half of their income and probably the opportunity to create an economically viable state. Shamilis Hashed al-Shaabi also occupies the Yazidian city of Sinjar, where IS committed its worst massacres in 2014, as well as areas along the Iranian border and in Diyala province closer to Baghdad. The Kurds are reported to withdraw without fighting anywhere.
The army takes in Kirkuk
Iraqi army associations take Kirkuk after a rapid offensive during which they first take control of the city's airport, an industrial area as well as oil and gas installations. As the city progresses, the Turkmen population is reported to be celebrating in the streets while thousands of Kurds are fleeing north. According to Kurdish data, at least ten peshmer gas soldiers are killed in fighting the government-run militia. Sources within the Kurdish party KDP accuse rival PUK of deliberately facilitating the advance of the army. The US-led alliance supporting the Iraqi government is urging both sides to avoid escalating the conflict.
"Nearly 700,000 Mosul residents still homeless"
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, 673,000 people who have moved from Mosul and its immediate surroundings are still homeless and unable to return, despite the city being withdrawn from IS in July.
Crisis talks on Kurdistan
Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdistan presidents meet to try to stave off an armed confrontation at Kirkuk, where the two armies are eye to eye. Iraq's deadline for the Kurds to leave Kirkuk is extended for a day. On the side of the army, south of the city, is also the Shiite militia Hashed al-Shaabi. Armed Kurdish civilians are reported to have gathered inside the city to reinforce the peshmerga forces. A general from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard also comes to Kurdistan to take part in the negotiations.
Iraqi Army offensive against Kirkuk
The Iraqi army goes on strike against the disputed Kirkuk region, which is held by Kurdish forces. Thousands of Kurdish peshmer gas soldiers are reported to have been sent to the city to strengthen its defense. The Kurds are calling for international pressure on the Baghdad government to prevent a serious confrontation. Peshmerga is reported to have abandoned several positions in the outer line of defense in order to concentrate on "at all costs" retaining control of the city itself.
Kurdish officials should be arrested
A Baghdad court orders that the three highest-ranking organizers of the Kurdish referendum be arrested. The arrest warrant is issued at the request of the National Security Council, headed by the country's prime minister.
Baghdad is increasing the pressure on the Kurds
The Iraqi National Security Council is investigating the Kurdish region's oil revenues and whether Kurdish officials have acquired an illegal monopoly on the local oil market. The Council also announces, without giving any details, that "legal action" has been taken against Kurdish officials who organized the referendum on independence. The Baghdad government is also reportedly trying to take control of mobile operators operating in the Kurdish region. The government again appeals to Turkey and Iran to keep its borders against Kurdistan closed and stop all trade with the region.
The last IS bracket in the north falls
Iraqi forces report taking the city of Hawija after a two-week offensive. As a result, IS is losing its last foothold in northern Iraq.
Just a candidate for new Kurdish president
Only one person signs up as candidate for president in the autonomous Kurdish region after Massoud Barzani. Mohammad Tofiq Rahim represents the opposition party Gorran and has been a strong critic of the outgoing Barzani. Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, he became Industry Minister in the first government following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Massoud Barzani has already sat for four years longer than the original mandate stipulated and has said he is not seeking re-election. The Kurdish presidential election is scheduled for November.
Former President Talabani dead
Iraq's former President Jalal Talabani dies at the age of 83. He was Iraq's first non-Arab president and one of the most prominent Kurdish minority leaders. In 1975 he founded the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK), which has since been one of the two dominant parties in the Kurdish region. He was elected President of Iraq in 2005 and held the post until 2014.
Foreigners may leave Kurdistan via Baghdad
The Iraqi government gives foreign nationals who have become stuck in Kurdistan permission to leave Iraq via Baghdad. An unknown number of foreigners have not been able to get out of Kurdistan since international air traffic has been stopped. They are now allowed to travel to Baghdad without a valid visa and are not penalized for entering Iraq with a Kurdish visa that is not recognized by the Baghdad government.
Try to strangle the Kurdish economy
At the orders of the Baghdad government, all international air traffic to and from the Kurdish region is stopped. At the same time, the government of Iran bans all trade in oil products with the Iraqi Kurds. Iraq and Iran announce that they will hold a joint military exercise along their joint border in Kurdistan. Turkey cancels training of Kurdish peshmerga soldiers.
Almost 93 percent for independence
Three days after the referendum, the result is published. This shows that 92.7 percent of voters voted yes to independence, while only 7.3 percent said no.
Barzani announces victory in Kurdistan
Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani says that a large majority of participants in the referendum have said yes to Kurdish independence. No official figures are announced yet, but Iraq's Prime Minister al-Abadi is demanding that the referendum be annulled, regardless of the outcome, and that it can never form the basis for any negotiations on Kurdistan's position. Al-Abadi gives the Kurds a three-day deadline to hand over control of the region's airports to the central Iraqi authorities, a claim which the Kurdish authorities immediately reject. Foreign airlines operating in the Kurdish region are told by Baghdad that international traffic to Erbil and Sulaymaniyya is banned. The Iraqi Parliament calls on the government to send military to Kirkuk to take back the oil fields from the Kurdish administration.
Sunnie extremists are executed
42 Sunni extremists are executed by hanging in a prison in Nasiriyah. They are convicted of, among other things, killing members of the security forces and detonating car bombs.
Referendum despite warnings
In the autonomous Kurdish region and some disputed areas that the Kurds claim, the referendum on independence is carried out, despite stringent warnings from the outside world and threats of financial sanctions. The turnout is 72 percent of the 4.58 million registered voters. The result is not binding but is expected to give the Kurdish government a stronger mandate to negotiate with Baghdad for independence. The Iraqi Parliament demands that the government send soldiers to the areas occupied by Kurdish forces after 2003, when self-government was introduced. The Baghdad government is calling on other countries to stop buying oil directly from Kurdistan and calls for control over all border crossings between the Kurdish region and Syria, Turkey and Iran.
Concern about the last before Kurdish vote
Two days before the scheduled referendum in autonomous Kurdistan, a Kurdish government delegation is holding talks with representatives of the Iraqi central government in Baghdad. The Kurds stressed their willingness to continue negotiations with the central government but insisted that the referendum be carried out. But the pressure from the outside world is increasing day by day. The UN Security Council also appeals to the Kurds to suspend the referendum on the grounds that it risks destabilizing the entire region. Just like Turkey, Iranian forces carry out a military exercise along the border with Iraqi Kurdistan.
Offensive against the last IS brackets
The army, police forces and loyal Shiamilis go on offensive against the Islamic State's last strongholds in the desert province of Anbar. The terrorist sector only has control over three small towns near the Syrian border and the security forces are said to expect to take them fairly easily in turn. Two days later, an offensive against IS begins in Hawija, west of the oil city of Kirkuk. The Army leadership promises "quick results".
Terrorist families gather in camps before deportation
More than 500 women who have been married to IS fighters are taken to a camp in northern Iraq with their over 800 children. Their identities should be checked before most people are very likely to be expelled from the country, say the Nineveh province authorities. The women and children were captured while the Iraqi army recaptured Mosul in July. Most of them are believed to be from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia and Tajikistan.
HD prohibits Kurdish referendum
The Baghdad Supreme Court orders that the Kurdish referendum be suspended. The Court says it must be given time to investigate complaints that have come in that the vote is contrary to Iraq's constitution. UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls on the Kurds not to carry out the referendum because it would weaken the fight against IS, make reconstruction of northern Iraq more difficult and make it more difficult for refugees to return home. The Turkish army is launching an exercise with, among other things, tanks close to the Iraqi Kurdistan border.
Kurdish referendum should get rid of
Despite warnings and threats from the Iraqi central government, neighboring countries, the US and the UN, the Kurdish regional parliament votes for the Kurdish independence referendum to be held on September 25. Only three of the 68 present are voting against. Thirty members of opposition parties boycott the meeting, which is the first in two years. Following Parliament's decision, appeals from the outside world will again not proceed with the plans, but will focus on negotiations with the Baghdad government on the future of the Kurdish area. Both the Iraqi government and Turkey have disguised threats to intervene in violence to prevent the referendum.
At least 84 are killed by IS
The Islamic State claims to have carried out an attack near the city of Nasiriyah that requires at least 84 lives. At least 93 people are also injured in the attack carried out by a group of armed men and suicide bombers. Many of the victims are Shiite pilgrims, many of them Iranians. It is the worst attack IS has carried out since the extremist movement lost the city of Mosul in July.
Parliament dismisses governor
The Baghdad Parliament votes to dismiss the governor of Kirkuk province for his decision to allow the residents there to participate in the Kurdish referendum on independence. The appointment of the governor of the disputed province is at the request of Prime Minister al-Abadi. Both Kurds and Arabs claim oil-rich Kirkuk, which has traditionally not been included in the autonomous Kurdish region, but which has in practice been controlled by the Kurds after the Iraqi army's retreat from the Islamic State in 2014. The Kurdish government accuses the central government of not allowing room for any negotiations. The governor says the deposition of him is illegal and he intends to stay.
Parliament says no to Kurdish referendum
Iraqi parliament votes against Kurdish leaders' plans to hold a local referendum on September 25 on independence for the Kurdish region. Prime Minister al-Abadi has said on several occasions that such a referendum is contrary to the Iraqi constitution, and neighboring countries Turkey and Iran have also condemned the Kurds' plans. The Kurdish leaders have emphasized that a yes to independence will not automatically lead to a Kurdish state being proclaimed. Instead, the people's stated will be to lay the groundwork for serious negotiations with the Baghdad government, the Kurds claim.
Iraq announces victory in Tal Afar
The government says that the country's defense forces have taken over the entire city of Tal Afar and its environs from the Islamic State. All that remains of IS territory in Iraq is the city of Hawija and small areas along the border with Syria. Thousands of jihadists have been killed since Iraq's army and loyal militia attacked in late 2014.
Warning words about referendum
The planned referendum in September on independence for Iraqi Kurdistan receives harsh criticism not only from the Iraqi government but also from neighboring countries Turkey and Iran, both of which have large Kurdish minorities. The threat of a political crisis in connection with the referendum seems to be rising when the provincial parliament in the disputed Kirkuk region decides to allow its residents to participate. Kirkuk is formally under the central government but is largely controlled by Kurds after the Iraqi army retreat in spring 2014, when IS advanced in northern Iraq. The Iranian government describes Kirkuk's plans for the referendum as "wrong, provocative and unacceptable".
Central Tal Afar recaptured
After a week's fighting, the Iraqi army claims to have expelled IS from the central parts of Tal Afar and, among other things, recaptured the historic citadel. The army claims it has control of about 70 percent of the region.
Army offensive against Tal Afar
20th of August
Iraqi security forces launch offensive against IS in Tal Afar, which is the last Iraqi city of importance controlled by extremists. Since June, the city eight miles west of Mosul has been cut off from the outside by the Iraqi army, Shiite militia and Kurdish forces. Prime Minister al-Abadi calls on IS to "give up, or die".
The government admits abuse
Prime Minister al-Abadi admits that an elite federation under the Ministry of the Interior has committed civilian attacks during the offensive against IS in Mosul. An investigation was added after the German magazine Der Spiegel published pictures that were said to show how people suspected of conspiring with IS are tortured.
Iraq requests UN assistance to investigate IS crimes
Iraq seeks help from the UN Security Council in gathering evidence of the crimes committed by IS extremists in the country. Together with the United Kingdom, Iraq will present a motion for a resolution to set up an international investigation.
Thousands flee from bombarded city
Thousands of people are fleeing the city of Tal Afar west of Mosul, where Iraqi and allied flights carry bombs ahead of a planned ground offensive against IS. Tal Afar and its immediate surroundings are one of the last areas the Islamic State still dominates in Iraq.
US-trained soldiers are charged with murder
The human rights organization Human Right Watch (HRW) is suing an Iraqi army division trained by the United States for summary executions in western Mosul. HRW refers to reports from international observers. In the past, HRW has also found a number of video recordings that appear to show how soldiers in Iraqi uniforms abused and killed prisoners.
Increased Iraq-Iran military cooperation
Iran and Iraq sign an agreement to increase their military cooperation and the fight against "terrorism and extremism". The agreement is signed by the country's defense ministers and also covers border protection, logistics and education.
al-Abadi proclaims victory in Mosul
Prime Minister al-Abadi visits Mosul and declares the city "liberated" from IS. He congratulates the Army for its victory after nine months of fighting. As he speaks, gunfire is still heard from a distance. Flight attacks against suspected terrorists are also continuing on the outskirts of the city. Over the course of the fighting, over 900,000 civilians have managed to get out of the city according to the UN. A military spokesman says 30 IS members were killed during the final battle when they tried to escape by swimming over Tigris.
UN alarm about threats against IS suspects
While Iraqi forces are recapturing the ravaged al-Nourim Mosque and declaring the Islamic State's "caliphate" dissolved, the UN Human Rights Office is raising alarm about rising threats against civilians in Mosul suspected of links to IS. According to the UN, hundreds of families are threatened by forced displacement. Similarly, films posted on the internet have shown how militants torture and kill arrested men accused of membership in IS.
IS blasts Mosul's most enriched mosque
IS blasts al-Nouri mosque in Mosul, the same mosque from which extremists proclaimed their "caliphate" in 2014. The mosque of the 11th century has been the strongest symbol of Mosul, known for its heavily inclined minaret. Iraqi soldiers say they were only a few hundred meters from the mosque during their advance through the old city center, when they saw it blast into pieces. The Iraqi authorities describe the blast as a sign that IS has in effect abandoned the battle of Mosul.
Female terrorist kills at least 30
At least 30 people are killed and at least 35 injured when a female suicide bomber triggers an explosive charge in a marketplace outside the city of Karbala. IS takes on the attack.
The Kurds stand up despite expected criticism
As expected, the message of a Kurdish referendum receives harsh criticism from Turkey, where the prime minister describes the decision as "irresponsible". According to Turkey, a referendum on a geographically disputed area cannot reflect the will of the people. But the Kurdish government in Iraq says the decision to conduct the referendum is "irrevocable". However, an expected "yes" to independence will not mean an immediate break with Iraq, but will primarily give the Kurds a better negotiating position with the government in Baghdad, says a Kurdish government adviser. There are also no plans to immediately annex disputed areas that the Kurds claim, he says.
Referendum on Kurdish independence
The autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq will hold a referendum on full independence on September 25. The decision is made at a meeting between President Barzani and the political parties. According to the announcement, the vote will also be conducted in "parts of Kurdistan outside the region's administration", that is, in disputed areas that Kurdistan claims, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. A Kurdish declaration of independence can face strong opposition not only from the Baghdad government but also from Turkey and other countries.
UN charges against IS
UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein accuses IS of killing at least 163 civilians in Mosul a few days earlier to prevent them from moving out of the city.
Shiites drive away IS
Shiamilis with air support pushes IS away from the city of Baaj. This further reduces the area controlled by the Islamist sect in Iraq, while the terrorists are reported to be trapped in an ever-smaller part of the old city center of Mosul.
The final battle for Mosul begins
The Iraqi army and its allies launch what they describe as the final battle for Mosul. They go on offensive against IS's last strongholds around the old city center.
IS bombers kill at least 35
At least 35 people are killed and dozens injured by suicide bombers in Baghdad and southern Iraq. IS claims to have carried out all the attacks.
Desert front towards IS
Iraqi army units backed by local militia and US-led flight go on offensive against IS in a desert area of Anbar province in western Iraq. The intention is to expel the extremists from the area around the city of Rutba, where some thirty soldiers have been killed over the past three weeks.
New front towards western Mosul
Units from the Iraqi army, the Ministry of the Interior and the police open a new front towards western Mosul from the north. The IS fighters remaining in the city are becoming increasingly besieged in the oldest city center, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are also believed to be left.
World Heritage City is taken from IS
26th of April
Government-backed Shiite-dominated militia Hashed al-Shaabi says it has taken back the world-heritage ancient city of Hatra from IS after fierce fighting.
Many civilian victims
A large number of civilians are reported to have been killed in western Mosul, possibly as a result of a US air strike carried out at the request of Iraqi commanders to strike IS snipers on rooftops. Up to a few hundred civilians must have been held hostage in the basements of the houses. The Iraqi army says the offensive should be temporarily suspended to protect the civilian population.
According to the UN, 600,000 Iraqi civilians remain in western Mosul, of which 400,000 can be described as trapped in the oldest part of the city, where they live in very difficult conditions. There is a shortage of food, fuel and electricity.
150,000 on the run
Three weeks into the Iraqi army's offensive against western Mosul, authorities say more than 150,000 civilians have left the area. The army and its allied militias are steadily approaching the central parts of the city.
Mass grave found in Mosul
11th of March
A semi-military force participating in the offensive against western Mosul says it has found a mass grave with the remains of about 500 people in a prison conquered from IS. The figures are not confirmed by other sources, but are quite in line with previous calculations by Human Rights Watch, which estimated that up to 600 prisoners were killed by IS when extremists entered prison in 2014.
Wedding party attacked
At least 26 people are killed and 25 injured when two suicide bombers attack a wedding party north of Tikrit, a police officer and a doctor say. It is unclear who did the deed but IS has been behind several similar attacks.
Strong resistance in western Mosul
Iraqi commanders say IS is offering fierce resistance to the army and its allies trying to get into western Mosul. The terrorists have deployed snipers in many places. In the first ten days of the new offensive, an estimated 26,000 civilians have emerged from western Mosul.
Iraq bombs in Syria
Iraqi military flight has hit IS positions in Syria for the first time, reports Prime Minister al-Abadi. The attack is in retaliation for the recent terrorist attacks in Baghdad. The action should have taken place in consultation with the Syrian regime and the US should have helped with intelligence tasks.
The airport entrance
After a few days of fighting in the southern outskirts of western Mosul, the army says it has taken full control of the city's airport after clearing it from foreclosures.
The offensive begins against western Mosul
Iraqi forces launch offensive against western Mosul to withdraw city from IS. At least five villages must have been occupied already in the first few hours and the army says it aims to take control of the airport, which is located just south of the city. In the area west of the Tigris River lies the old town center.
Car bomb kills at least 52
At least 52 people are killed and about 50 are injured by a car bomb in a used car marketplace in southern Baghdad. IS takes on the deed and says it was aimed at a "Shiite gathering".
Abuse must be investigated
Prime Minister al-Abadi orders an investigation into allegations against the security forces and a Shiite militia for civilian abuse during the fight to recapture Mosul. A movie spread on social media seems to show how police officers shoot to death three unarmed men in Mosul. Amnesty International has also accused the Shi'ilis of popular mobilization for "systematic abuse", including kidnappings, torture and summary executions of Sunni city dwellers.
"Eastern Mosul intake"
The commander of the army forces in Mosul states that the entire part of the city east of the Tigris River has been withdrawn from IS.
More flee from Mosul
According to the UN, the influx of refugees from Mosul has increased since the government offensive against the IS-controlled city entered a "second phase" at the end of December. Now more than 2,000 people are fleeing the city every day, which is several hundred more than before. In total, the fighting has driven more than 125,000 people from their homes in Mosul since October.
Suicide bombing in Shia area
At least 32 people are killed and 61 injured when a suicide bomber triggers an explosive charge in a car in Baghdad's Shiite-dominated Sadr City. Many of the victims are day laborers who have gathered in a street corner in the hope of being offered temporary work.