Monday, April 24, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 189, Apr 23, 2017

People fleeing the fighting in central West Mosul (Reuters)

The Islamic State launched a surprise attack upon a Federal Police base south of Mosul. A group of ten insurgents, four of which were suicide bombers, assaulted the police in the town of Arij in the Hamam al-Alil district. They were dressed in police uniforms, which allowed them to infiltrate the base. The fighting lasted for over an hour before most of the militants were killed and the rest escaped. Three police died as a result. While IS is surrounded in west Mosul it has not stopped it from launching offensive operations. Just this week it set off a car bomb in liberated east Mosul. Fortunately these attacks do not happen that often.

Security In Iraq, April 8-14, 2017

Security incidents reported in the press took a dip in the second week of April in Iraq, while casualties remained largely unchanged from the previous week. There was very little violence around most of the country, with almost all the incidents taking place in Ninewa due to the Battle for Mosul.

There were 124 incidents reported in the press in Iraq from April 8-14, 2017. There were 58 in Ninewa, 28 in Baghdad, 14 in Diyala, 9 in Anbar, 8 in Salahaddin, 3 in Basra and Kirkuk each, and 1 in Babil. That was the lowest weekly total since the first February 1-7 when there were 123.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News

My interview with Charlie Winter on how the Islamic State is dealing with its defeat in Mosul was reprinted by Vox Pol.

Mosul Campaign Day 188, Apr 22, 2017

The Iraqi forces were active across all sections of west Mosul. First, the Golden Division took the Siha neighborhood in the middle of the city. It was still fighting in Tanak as well. General Maan Saadi claimed that the Golden Division was surrounding the Old City, but it continues to move north rather than to the east where the Old City is. The police were still assaulting that district from four directions, but the fight still appeared to be deadlocked. A brigade from the army’s 16th Division, which was doing security duties in east Mosul was transferred to the northwest of the city to join the 9th Division and the Hashd. Those units reached just outside of Mosul a few days ago, but there have been no reports of movement since then, although government maps claim they have seized several areas in the northern perimeter of west Mosul. Since the Iraqi government always likes reporting its victories the maps may be an exaggeration. The Golden Division remains the most effective force of the government. It has continued to gain neighborhood after neighborhood in the west and center of west Mosul. The police on the other hand announced that they were renewing operations in the Old City after a month long pause, but have still not made much headway. Fighting in the district is very intense going from street to street, house to house, sometimes room to room. The police may be over relying upon artillery and air strikes as well rather than clearing out areas on the ground. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 187, Apr 21, 2017

The Iraqi forces were involved in heavy fighting across west Mosul. There were clashes between the Islamic State and Golden Division in the Siha neighborhood, and with the police in the Old City district. The Golden Division has been making steady progress up the middle and western section of the city, while the police have been stuck in the Old City for more than a month. The narrow streets, dense layout of buildings, and Islamic State defenses have all held up taking the district.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 186, Apr 20, 2017

April 19 Iraqi police claimed they had liberated 30-40% of the Old City. Newest map shows no changes in district. Bulge on left was recent 200m advance police made April 16, otherwise no movement in south for over month now (Ninewa Media Center)

The Golden Division was still advancing in the center of west Mosul. The Nasr neighborhood was declared freed, and there was fighting in Haramat, Siha, and Tanak. The unit has been making steady progress in the middle and western section of the city.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 185, Apr 19, 2017

PM Abadi visiting west Mosul (Rudaw)

Iraqi propaganda again obscured what was going on in west Mosul. First, the Golden Division freed the Thawra neighborhood in the center of the city on April 18. Then on April 19 a spokesman for the Rapid Reaction Division claimed that 30% of the Old City had been taken, while a police major had it at 40%. The major said this was the result of 38 days of fighting in the district. The police have largely been on pause for the last month however, and no neighborhoods were named as being liberated. The Federal Police also reported that it was destroying Islamic State sites in the district, fighting in Farouq Street like they have for weeks now, and attempting to connect with the Golden Division in Thawra. All the previous reports had the police advancing block by block with no large sections being seized. To add to the confusion, the daily map released by the government showed the Golden Division’s latest movement in the center of the city, but no change in the Old City. Not only that it had new sections in the north being taken, yet this was not announced in any press releases. Recently the 9th Division and Hashd took the towns that were just outside of the city, but nothing else has been heard from them since then. The Iraqi government is notorious for exaggerating and making claims before they happen and it would seem this was another example.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 184, Apr 18, 2017

Iraqi Federal Police firing a mortar in Old City, west Mosul (USA Today)

The Golden Division maintained its push into central west Mosul. Its forces were still fighting in the Thawra and Tanak neighborhoods. General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi claimed that once those two were taken the Old City district would be mostly surrounded. In actuality the division would just be pushing along its perimeter more. That’s what the Golden Division has been doing for the last month. Taking the district remains the job of the police who are only making halting progress.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 183, Apr 17, 2017

Bulge in middle of map represent recent gains by Golden Division in center of west Mosul. Green at top is where 9th Division seized entrances to northwest section of city. Iraqi police still fighting over Old City on right in grey. Green = liberated, white = IS control, blue = Tigris River (Ninewa Media Center)

The Iraqi police were still attempting to seize the Grand Mosque in the Old City district of west Mosul. They were fighting in the Farouq neighborhood of the district. At the same time, the Islamic State counterattacked and forced them out of the Kornish Street area. The police spent the day attempting to drive off the insurgents. The Iraqi police only recently restarted their effort in the Old City after a month long pause. Their progress has still been extremely slow due to the tough defenses of the Islamic State and the dense layout, which has reduced most of the fighting to house to house, room to room.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 181-182, Apr 15-16, 2017

The Golden Division was said to be finally assaulting the Old City, but that claimw as unclear. The unit was fighting in the Tanak neighborhood, which was declared freed on April 13, and in Thawra. There was also a report that the unit was pushing on the Fifth Bridge across the Tigris. The problem with that is the Golden Division is in the center and west of Mosul, and the Fifth Bridge is all the way on the other side of the city to the east. Also Tanak and Thawra have been fought over since the end of March, so the division has not entered any new areas yet. At the same time Iraqi propaganda often exaggerates progress so these may be new areas the unit was fighting over.

Mosul Campaign Day 189, Apr 23, 2017

People fleeing the fighting in central West Mosul (Reuters) The Islamic State launched a surprise attack upon a Federal Police bas...