Friday, August 18, 2017

Security In Iraq Aug 1-7, 2017

Since the end of the Mosul battle in July, violence in Iraq has remained at a very low level. Both security incidents and casualties have been at record lows as a result.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 18

1933 Iraqi army held victory parade and given award by King Ghazi for massacring Assyrians in 
1990 Saddam said foreign workers and visitors could not leave Iraq after Kuwait invasion
1990 UN Resolution 664 demanded Iraq release foreign nationals it held
2004 Iraq Survey Group head Kay testified to Congress Blamed Rice & NSC for not checking 
           WMD intel before war
2015 IS second in command Abu Muslim al-Turkmani killed in US drone strike in Mosul

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Troubles Of The Tribal And Local Hashd In Anbar And Ninewa

As more Iraqi territory has been freed the government has run into a growing problem, how to secure it all. Most of the local police fled when the Islamic State conquered northern and western Iraq in 2014. Baghdad never rebuilt most of these forces due to a lack of planning and money. That led to ad hoc solutions, one of which was the tribal and local Hashd. These units are small and disparate, and usually linked to tribes, politicians and parties seeking political and economic power. In Anbar and Ninewa these forces have run into increasing problems, undermining security in the process.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 17

1937 PM Hikmat Sulaiman govt resigned over threat of military coup or civil
1937 Jamil al-Midfai became premier for 3rd time
1987 Iraq told UN it wouldn’t accept any changes to Resolution 598 that proposed
            ceasefire in Iran-Iraq War
2000 Iraq reopened Saddam International Airport to get around UN sanctions
2001 US Energy Dep report said aluminum tubes Iraq tried to buy were probably for
            rockets not centrifuges
2003 CPA told White House if didn’t get additional $20.3 bil would be disaster for
            Bush’s plans for Iraq
2003 Water pipeline in Rusafa Baghdad hit with RGP knocking out water for 2 days
            for 300,000 people
2003 US forces killed Reuters reporter outside Abu Ghraib prison Said camera looked
            like an RPG
2004 Allawi govt offered amnesty and role in govt to Sadr in return for ceasefire in 2nd
            Battle of Najaf
2004 NSC meeting discussed US attacking Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf and possibly
            killing Sadr
2006 Bush held national security meeting to rethink Iraq strategy Bush told staff Iraq
            policy going bad and wanted new one
2006 US Cmdr in Iraq Gen Casey told Bush Iraqis may not be up to task of securing
2010 ISI suicide bomber hit army recruits in Baghdad killing 60
2012 VP Biden called Maliki about Iran flying military supplies to Syria over Iraqi
- 2015 Judicial Council rejected call for Chief Justice Medhat to resign

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 16

1933 Iraqi army campaign to kill Assyrians in north ended
1946 KDP founded by Mustafa Barzani and Hamzah Abdullah
1962 Turkish planes shot down Iraqi plane in retaliation for Iraq bombing Turkish
border post while fighting Kurdish rebels
1967 Law No 97 gave more power to Iraqi National Oil Company
1985 Iraq claimed it destroyed Iran’s main oil terminal at Kharg Island but only damaged it
2002 U.S. decided Bush would go to UN to present case against Iraq
2002 Pentagon office claimed briefing day before convinced CIA Dir Tenet to
            reconsider Iraq-Al Qaeda relationship
2002 CIA Dir Tenet denied Feith’s office had changed his view on Iraq-Al Qaeda relationship
2002 Feith’s office said Iraq & Al Qaeda cooperated CIA said they had contacts but no cooperation
2003 Insurgent attack on Abu Ghraib prison 6 prisoners killed 59 wounded
2015 Abadi closed 4 ministries merged 8 others into 4 by decree even though legally
            had to go through parliament

View the Iraq History Timeline

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 35 Aug 14 2017

There were more incidents in Mosul and surrounding areas of Ninewa province. Islamic State members were arrested attempting to smuggle weapons into west Mosul. A senior insurgent leader who allegedly was in charge of operations in east Mosul along with several other militants were also detained. A policeman in Tanak in the west was shot and killed. In an outer village, an IED wounded a civilian, and three people were killed and one injured in a shooting incident in the Tal Afar district. The liberation of Mosul didn’t mean the end of the Islamic State. Its units are scattered, but still making attempts every day in the governorate.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 15

1990 Iraqi opposition in Iran claimed they could field 50,000 to fight Saddam
1990 Iraq offered to fully implement UN Res 598 and Algiers Agreement to try to win
            favor with Iran after Kuwait invasion
1991 UN Resolution 706 proposed Iraq import petroleum products to alleviate
            humanitarian situation caused by sanctions Iraq rejected plan
1991 UN Resolution 707 said Iraq was in flagrant violation of weapons inspectors 
1995 Supreme Council denounced Jordan taking in Saddam’s son-in-law Hussein
Kamal as a murderer
2001 Foreign Office legal adv Sir Wood said that British forces could be sued if not
            given legal basis for going to war with Iraq
2002 1st Bush NatlSecAdv Scowcroft wrote Wall St Journal OpEd saying Saddam not
            threat to US and not connected to 9/11
2002 NatlSecAdv Rice said US needed to launch pre-emptive strike against Iraq
            before it got too strong
2002 Pentagon office briefed CIA on its findings that Iraq and Al Qaeda had cooperated for years
2003 White House objected to CPA’s request for $20.3 bil after administration
            said it would not ask Congress for any more money
2003 Oil pipeline to Turkey bombed in Baiji Salahaddin shutting down exports for 2nd
            time in a week
2004 Peace talks between Allawi govt & Sadr broke down over ending 2nd Battle of Najaf
2005 One week extension given to Constitutional committee to finish work
2011 ISI attacked Sahwa in mosque in Yusifiya during Ramadan & bomb St Ephraim
            Syriac Orthodox church in Kirkuk
2015 Chief Justice Medhat said that judiciary supported Abadi’s reforms but made no changes

View the Iraq History Timeline 

Monday, August 14, 2017

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 14

1985 Iraq started air campaign against Kharg Island Iran’s main oil terminal Iran-
            Iraq War
1985 Start of air strikes on Kharg Island dropped capacity by 1/3 Iran moved most of
            its shipping south as a result
1998 Iraq found violating UN sanctions by smuggling oil
2003 UN Resolution 1500 created UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
2003 US intel officer wrote memo saying that “gloves are coming off” in interrogating
            Iraqi prisoners
2007 4 suicide bombers hit Kahtaniya, Sinjar district killing 796 Yazidis and
            wounding almost 1,500  
2014 Maliki agreed to step down after elections Was under pressure from US and
            Ayatollah Sistani
2015 Sistani’s office said Abadi needed to reform judiciary
2015 Protests in Maysan Kirkuk Samawa Basra Karbala Najaf Nasiriya Hillah Baghdad
Diwaniya Kut Baquba Dujail over better services fight corruption
2015 Journalists said that Baghdad Operations Command stormed their office and
            told them not to cover protests
2015 Maliki gave interview saying reform protests were anti-religious

View the Iraq History Timeline

Post Mosul Liberation Day 34 Aug 13 2017

The Islamic State is operating throughout Ninewa, but at a very low level. Three insurgents were arrested attempting to lay IEDs along the road from Qayara in the southeast to Mosul. Every day there are a few such incidents. They do not present a real threat to security, but it shows the militants have access to nearly every part of the province.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News

Post Mosul Liberation Day 32-33 Aug 11-12 2017

Mosul continued to face sporadic violence. On August 11, three Islamic State fighters were discovered in a tunnel and killed by Federal Police in Hawi Kanisa in the northwest. The next day, August 12, a suicide bomber was shot at a checkpoint in west Yarmouk, while men in military uniform robbed a house in the northeast. The Chief of Staff of the 5th Federal Police Division General Hafez al-Tami told the press 80% of west Mosul had been cleared. On July 25, the police gave the same figure. Unfortunately, the Iraqi forces often exaggerate such matters. What is not open for debate is that there are still attacks in the city nearly every day now. None of these pose a real threat to security, but they show that the insurgents are still alive and active.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 13

1974 Iran and Iraq met in Turkey to negotiate border dispute
1986 US State Dept said Iraq was trying to negotiate peace but Iran-Iraq War continuing because of 
2003 US forces pulled down a Shiite banner from a building in Sadr City leading to protests
2003 DepSecState Armitage said Iraq had WMD
2003 US gave up on attempt to get UN peace keeping force for Iraq
2004 Allawi govt announced 2nd ceasefire with Mahdi Army to hold talks with Sadr to end 2nd 
            Battle for Najaf
2004 Militia kidnapped a British journalist and demanded US withdraw from Najaf during 2nd battle 
            for city Sadr gained his release
2011 Obama proposed reducing stay behind force to 7000 US soldiers in Iraq after withdrawal
2015 Abadi’s State of Law said he had to keep one vice president because was in constitution 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Drawing The Iraq-Saudi-Kuwait Border In The Sand

A common belief about the Middle East was that it was carved up by England and France during World War I with the 1916 Sykes-Picot Treaty. The reality is much more complicated. One example is the creation of the Iraq-Saudi-Kuwait border. That was literally a straight line drawn by the British, but was only a rough demarcation, which took decades to define.

Ibn Saud of Najid with Sir Percy Cox British High Commissioner for Iraq during the Mandate period (Cricistan)

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 12

1968 New Baath government of Pres Bakr said it was committed to uniting Iraq
            and Egypt
1976 Soviet-Iraq arms deal announced worth over $1 bil included 600 T-62s
            and T-64 tanks, 100 Mig-23s, SAM-6 and SCUD missiles and more
1976 Soviet-Iraq arms deal included giving Russia secret access to Iraqi air bases
1986 Iraq air strike hit Iran’s main oil terminal in Sirri Island Iraq got air support
            from either Kuwait or Saudis
1988 Pres Khamenei speech claimed Iran won Iran-Iraq War
1990 Saddam said all occupations should end including Israel-Palestine &
            Syria-Lebanon to stave off criticism of Kuwait invasion
1990 Marches in Amman and Mafraq, Jordan, Sanaa in Yemen, Sidon in Lebanon
            in support of Iraq and Saddam after Kuwait invasion
1995 Saddam’s son-in-law Hussein Kamal held news conference in Jordan saying he
            would overthrow Saddam after defecting
2002 Iraq invasion plans leaked to Time Supported Rumsfeld’s ideas of a small force
            or supporting an Iraqi revolt
2004 US forces surrounded Mahdi Army in Imam Ali shrine and Najaf cemetery 2nd
            Battle of Najaf
2004 Fighting between Iraqi and US forces vs Mahdi Army killed 68 civilians in Kut
2004 Wash Post said it ran many articles questioning Bush admin case for Iraq war but
            didn't get on front page
2015 Pres Masum said parliament should keep one VP since position is in constitution

View the Iraq History Timeline

Friday, August 11, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 31 Aug 10 2017

Workers removing explosives from Mosul (Reuters)
 Removing rubble from west Mosul’s Old City (Reuters)
 Shopping in an east Mosul market (Reuters)
Islamic State elements continued to be discovered, killed, and carry out attacks in Mosul. A gunman opened fire on the Victory bridge, the only connection between the two sides of the city leaving two dead and three wounded. The police claimed they killed 47 IS members since the city was liberated at the start of July, along with finding hundreds of weapons and explosives. These attacks, while low level, show that Mosul, especially the western half is still not secure. The number of IS elements appears to be small, but they are still spreading fear. The attacks are a major reason why many people have not returned or are leaving.

This Day In Iraqi History – Aug 11

1918 UK For Sec Balfour British war in Mespotamia should be
            justified by securing water that would also give it control of oil
1933 Assyrians in Zakho and Sumail were attacked by Iraqi army led by Gen
            Sidqi 300 killed
1933 Another 40 Assyrian villages attacked and 600 more killed mostly by Kurds
1937 Gen Bakr Sidqi head of 1936 coup was assassinated in Mosul after pan-Arab
            officers withdrew their support for him
1992 U.N. Iraq Rapporteur went to Security Council about Iraq draining southern
            marshes and new counterinsurgency campaign against rebels in south
1992 UK France US condemned Iraq campaign to clear southern marshes and warned of
            possible consequences
1995 Saddam gave speech denouncing son-in-law Hussein Kamal for defecting to
1995 Ali Hassan al-Majid issued statement saying Hussein Kamal was a traitor for
            defecting to Jordan
2005 SCIRI’s Hakim announced idea for southern federal region in Iraq
2005 Allawi govt announced ceasefire with Mahdi Army to hold talks with Sadr
            to end 2nd Battle for Najaf
2007 ISCI governor of Qadisiya killed by an EFP in Baghdad laid by Mahdi Army
            Sadr vs Hakim rivalry
2014 IS attacked Jalawla, Diyala with suicide truck bomb and 12 suicide bombers
            dressed in Peshmerga uniforms
2015 Parliament approved PM Abadi’s reform program that included ending
            3 vice presidents
2015 Abadi said he wanted to cut cabinet to just 15 ministers and reduce local
2015 Protesters stormed Babil council building demanding better services

View the Iraq History Timeline

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Day In Iraqi History – Aug 10

1920 Treaty of Sevres started the break-up of the Ottoman Empire after
            World War I Included ceding Mesopotamia to the British
1920 Treaty of Sevres included call for a Kurdish state
1933 Kurds and Arabs loot Assyrian farms south of Dohuk
1943 Mustafa Barzani started revolt against Iraqi govt lasting until 1945 when he and
            3,000 followers fled to Iran
1987 Iraq began bombing campaign against Iran’s Tabriz oil field Iran said it would
            make Persian Gulf a killing field in retaliation
1990 Arab League split over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait
1992 Govt curfew in Najaf to try to stop march after death of Ayatollah Khoei
2003 Report British govt said it had independent intel to support Iraq-Africa uranium
            deal after US said story weak Story was false

View the Iraq History Timeline

Post Mosul Liberation Day 29-30 Aug 8-9 2017

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were still concerned about violence in west Mosul. The Old City district was closed off and a curfew imposed on August 8 after reports of Islamic State fighters appearing from tunnels and basements in the area. According to the Federal Police insurgents were still a threat in the district, while a military spokesman told Reuters that the Old City was a military zone and off limits to civilians. On August 9, the police discovered an IS judge in a basement killing him in a gunfight. An IED led to the death a civilian in the west, and wounded another in the east. Combat has ended in the city, but there are still attacks by the militants. These are sporadic, and mostly occur in the west. There are also hundreds if not thousands of unexploded ordinance laying around that continue to cause casualties as well.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Islamic State Terrorism And Hashd Intimidation Returns To Babil

Jurf al-Sakhr was once the Islamic State’s capital in Babil province. It gave the group access to southern Iraq, Baghdad province to the north, and Anbar to the west. In 2014, the district was liberated, the entire population expelled, and violence dramatically dropped off in the governorate afterward. This year, Babil is getting it from both sides. The Islamic State is picking up its terrorist attacks, while the Hashd is trying to drive out and intimidate people before the coming Ashura ceremony in September.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 28 Aug 7 2017

There was a late report of violence in Mosul on August 6. That day there were five incidents plus a mass grave discovered all in the western half. Additionally, a member of the Education Directorate was shot and killed in the east. August 6 was one of the most violent days in the city for quite some time. It was another reminder that not only are IS elements still hiding out in the tunnels of the Old City, but has cells roaming the rest of Mosul as well.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 26-27 Aug 5-6 2017

There was more violence in and around Mosul. On August 5, four bodies were discovered shot and tortured in Hadbaa in the northeast. The next day, an IED went off in a house killing one and wounding another, a suicide bomber was killed, thirty bodies were found in a mass grave in a market, a teenage age boy’s body was uncovered in the Old City, a policeman was wounded in a shooting at a checkpoint, and an IS fighter emerged from a tunnel and shot at two tribal Hashd killing one and injuring another. All of this happened in the western section of the city. A leading Islamic State judge was arrested with his family as well. Outside the city in Houd, in the Qayara district in the southeast two IS elements died in a gunfight. Nearly every day there are security incidents in Mosul and Ninewa in general. These are still scattered, and have little impact overall, but they do show a low level of insecurity. This is a major reason why so few people are going back to Mosul. The security forces in Mosul are also being transitioned, which could open gaps, which the insurgents could exploit.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 25 Aug 4 2017

The Islamic State carried out two operations in Ninewa. First, a suicide bomber got into a house in the Jadida neighborhood in west Mosul, which the Golden Division was using as a headquarters and detonated his device. The bomber killed seven and wounded four. Later in the day the Iraqi forces (ISF) tried to cover up the incident claiming the bomber was killed and there were no casualties. To the southeast, 13 IS fighters were shot attempting to infiltrate the Qayara district from nearby Shirqat in Salahaddin. A gun battle ensued with three ISF injured, and all the insurgents eliminated. Every few days the militants have carried out an attack. So far, they are scattered and small scale, but they show that the group is still operating. It also shows they access to nearly every part of the province.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 23-24 Aug 2-3 2017

Removing rubble from west Mosul’s Zinjali neighborhood (AFP)

There are still Islamic State elements throughout Ninewa. In Mosul, three female IS members were arrested in Zuhur in the east. The security forces claimed they were spies. In Qayara, to the southeast of the city, the insurgents killed a member of the security forces and wounded another in a shooting. Finally, IS attacked two villages in the Tal Afar district, but were turned back by the Hashd. The Islamic State is obviously attempting to recover from their recent defeat in Mosul. That has led to sporadic incidents in Ninewa. While these have been largely ineffective, they do show that the militants have access to nearly every part of the governorate.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1,459 Killed, 636 Wounded In Iraq July 2017

Casualties and security incidents reached the lowest monthly totals of 2017 in July due to the end of the Mosul campaign. Before, the battle for the city was driving violence across the country. Now they will be heading downwards until the next offensive begins.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 22 Aug 1 2017

Security and rebuilding were the top news in Mosul again. Three IS elements made up of a handicapped man and two women attacked a checkpoint killing a policeman in the Zinjali neighborhood in the west. The man was killed and the two females arrested. The insurgents are still carrying out sporadic operations inside the city with a mix of hidden elements in tunnels and basements, and cells hiding out in the city.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Post Mosul Liberation Day 21 Jul 31 2017

There were continued clearing and rebuilding operations in Mosul. First, the Iraqi forces (ISF) arrested 12 Islamic State members attempting to escape across the Tigris River from east to west Mosul. They were picked up in three different neighborhoods. Second, the Federal Police announced they were done with 40% of their sweep through the Old City. Three weeks after the city was declared liberated IS elements continue to be killed and arrested, and explosives defused. This is a major reason why so few displaced are returning to the city; they don’t think it is safe yet. Third, a man was freed after being kidnapped for ransom. He was taken in the northeast and found by the army’s 16th Division. There have been sporadic reports of crime taking place in Mosul since the east was freed at the start of 2017. Unfortunately, the lack of jobs and money is likely a driving force. Fourth, 14 bodies were discovered in the Old City of West Mosul. Civil Defense units believe there are hundreds of people still buried in the west, and they have weeks more work to do to find them. Finally, engineers are working on building a new pontoon bridge across the Tigris to link east and west Mosul. The city used to have five bridges across the span but those were all destroyed by the U.S. Coalition. Now these is just one bridge, which severely restricts the movement of people and supplies between the two halves. The World Bank has also fast tracked programs to rebuild the five original bridges.

Security In Iraq Aug 1-7, 2017

Since the end of the Mosul battle in July, violence in Iraq has remained at a very low level. Both security incidents ...