Monday, August 21, 2017

Start Of The Tal Afar Battle


PM Abadi and his military staff announcing start of Tal Afar operation (Al Noor News)

US 82nd Airborne troops manning anti-tank missile outside Abu Ghaddur during Tal Afar operation (AP)

Belgium Special Forces operating anti-tank missiles next to the US troops (AP)

The Tal Afar operation finally began just over a month after Mosul was freed. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the campaign on TV stating that the Islamic State could either surrender or die. The Iraqi Air Force dropped leaflets over Tal Afar telling people the battle had begun.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 21


1921 King Faisal was coronated
1950 Nuri al-Said threatened to revoke license of transport company if didn’t fill quota
            of shipping 500 Jews out of Iraq per day
2003 Powell asked UN Security Council to pass resolution encouraging foreign
            countries to provide troops for Iraq
2003 Ali Hassan al-Majid “Chemical Ali” captured by US forces
2006 2nd trial started for Saddam accused of genocide during Anfal campaign
2006 Al Qaeda in Iraq killed Sheikh Ataymi of Albu Jassim in Anbar who aligned with
            U.S.
2007 ISI killed Sheikh Alayawia of Abu Jassim tribe of Ramadi for supporting
            govt
2007 ISI blew up new police station in Jazeera, Anbar
2015 Protests in Baghdad Maysan Dhi Qar Wasit Diyala Basra Kirkuk Qadisiyah
Salahaddin Najaf Karbala Babil Diwainiya demanding reform
2015 Police attacked reporters from 3 TV stations trying to cover day’s protests

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News


I was mentioned in “Is Donald Trump to Raqqa and Mosul what Assad was to Aleppo?” by Alastair Sloan for Middle East Monitor.

Security In Iraq Aug 8-14, 2017


Violence in Iraq remained incredibly low during the second week of August 2017. There were only 88 incidents reported in the media. There were 20 in Ninewa, 18 in Baghdad, 15 in Diyala, 11 in Anbar, 8 in Kirkuk and Salahaddin each, 3 in Babil, 2 in Maysan, and 1 each in Dhi Qar, Karbala, and Irbil. For years, there have regularly been over 100 incidents per week in the country. Since Mosul was liberated, and the Islamic State has been thrown on the defensive the number of attacks has fallen off considerably.  

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 20


1987 Dawa set off car bomb in Baghdad killing 20
1988 Ceasefire in Iran-Iraq War announced 350 UN peacekeepers deployed along border
1995 Iraq admitted to UN inspectors that its crash program to build a nuclear bomb failed
1996 PUK attacked KDP positions in Sulaymaniya with Iranian artillery and helicopter support
1997 Iraq agreed to allow Iranian pilgrims to go to Najaf and Karbala as way to get around UN 
           sanctions
2002 Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said Al Qaeda operatives were in Iraq and that US needed to 
            launch pre-emptive strike because couldn't wait for Iraq to get stronger
2003 Bush at NSC meeting said US had to re-evaluate enemy in Iraq after Zarqawi bombed UN in 
            Baghdad
2003 UN said bombing of its Baghdad offices wouldn't stop reconstruction of Iraq
            UN would withdraw most of its staff
2004 PM Allawi called for Sadr to give up Imam Ali shrine in Najaf or face US-Iraq assault 2nd 
            Battle of Najaf
2007 ISCI governor of Muthanna assassinated by Sadrists 2nd ISCI governor killed in a month
2012 US warned that oil companies signing deals with Kurds without Baghdad’s
            approval were taking risks 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

When The US Decided On A Long Term Occupation Of Iraq


The original U.S. plan for Iraq was to go in and out as quick as possible. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was opposed to nation building, and he was given control of postwar Iraq. He wanted the American forces to withdraw as soon as the invasion was over. President Bush had campaigned against the U.S. attempting to rebuild countries as well, and signed off on the Pentagon’s plan for Iraq. When Jay Garner and the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) the first group in charge of postwar Iraq looked like it was overwhelmed, the Bush administration turned to Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Bremer had a completely different philosophy wanting time to not only rebuild, but restructure Iraq’s institutions. When he was chosen to run Iraq was when the U.S. committed to a long-term occupation.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 19


1984 France agreed to refinance $1.4 bil in debts Iraq owed it France biggest
            western backer of Iraq
2003 Zarqawi bombed UN headquarters in Baghdad killing 23 and injuring
over 100 including UN Rep de Mello
2004 Allawi wrote Bush saying Iraq was more dangerous and unstable than a year ago
2004 Interim govt called for Sadr to disband Mahdi Army and leave Najaf shrine
2004 Sistani’s office said it was open to Sadr’s offer to turn over keys to Najaf shrine
2004 Iraq Survey Group head Kay was rebuked by NSC staffer for criticizing NSC
            to Congress on WMD
2004 Iraq Survey Group head Kay said Rice more interested in being Bush’s friend
            than being National Security Adviser
2009 ISI set off 3 car bombs in Baghdad hitting Finance & Foreign Ministries and
Rashid Hotel killing 101 and wounding 565
2009 Maliki blamed Baathists and Syria for Baghdad bombings even though it was ISI
2014 IS posted video of beheading of journalist James Foley 

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 
            north
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.

Start Of The Tal Afar Battle

PM Abadi and his military staff announcing start of Tal Afar operation (Al Noor News) US 82 nd Airborne troop...