Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tal Afar Battle Day 3

(Iraq Joint Operations Command)

The Iraqi forces (ISF) have changed their tactics for the Tal Afar operation and charged right towards the center of the town. The army’s 9th Division and the Hashd breached Tal Afar in the northeast and southeast entering the al-Askari and Khadra neighborhoods. The Rapid Reaction units and Hashd freed Kifa in the northwest. The Hashd also took Nour and Tarmi. Instead of meticulously moving towards Tal Afar and clearing all the areas before taking on Tal Afar itself, they struck right for the town. In just three days they reached it. Another difference is the role of the Hashd. As the operation started the government said it would be like the Mosul battle with only the army and police entering Tal Afar, while the Hashd would remain on the outside. The speed with which the forces reached the town however has meant various Hashd are now inside. Badr for example, claimed it took an area.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 23

1922 King Faisal struck by appendicitis with no PM or govt British High
            Commissioner Cox ruled until king returned
1922 Cox deported and exiled opposition leaders banned opposition parties and papers
            Silencing opposition and Shiite leaders
1952 Communist led strike at Basra port led to clash with police
1962 Govt census in Jazeera listed 120,000 Kurds as aliens during Kurdish revolt
1988 UN said that Iraq used poison gas in attack on Oshnaviyeh, Iran on Aug 2
            that wounded around 2,600 civilians
1988 7th time UN documented use of WMD by Iraq
1990 Saddam appeared on state TV with western hostages in Iraq Told them they were
            being held to prevent war
2003 CPA created Dep of Border Enforcement but gave it little money to control
            Iraq’s borders
2003 Turkmen protested in Kirkuk city over Turkmen being killed Turned violent 3
            killed 15-20 wounded
2005 US embassy report said Gen Casey’s plan for handing off security to Iraq had no
            chance of succeeding and argued for counterinsurgency to defeat insurgency
2015 Police opened fire on demonstrations in Babil wounding 4
2015 2 Reporters in Diwaniya said they were threatened by gunmen not to cover protests 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tal Afar Battle Day 2

The Iraqi forces (ISF) continued to advance on Tal Afar from five directions. In the west, the Federal Police and Hashd moved 19 kilometers into the Tal Afar district. A police major claimed they were only a few meters from reaching the town itself. According to Joint Operations Command spokesman General Yahya Rasool six villages were captured during the day. The Golden Division moving from the southwest entered the first neighborhood of the town. The Tal Afar district is not that big. Most of it is open plain providing little cover for the Islamic State. There is only one built up area of the town itself where the streets are narrow and the houses densely packed. The environment favors the ISF who have an overwhelming force along with air and artillery cover.

This Day In Iraqi History - Aug 22

1973 Sheikh Jabir al-Sabah visited Iraq and again offered to talk about Iraq-
            Kuwait border dispute
1973 Iraq demanded 2 islands from Kuwait which it refused
1991 Bush announced no fly zone over southern Iraq to stop Saddam offensive
            to clear out southern marshes
1995 UN interviewed Hussein Kamal former Industry Min and Saddam’s son-in-law
            that defected to Jordan
1995 Kamal said Iraq hid its WMD & nuke programs from inspectors but all programs
            ended after Gulf War
1995 US & UN didn’t believe Kamal’s claim that Iraq had ended its WMD & nuke
            program Did convince them that Iraq would always hide its programs
1996 Massoud Barzani wrote Tariq Aziz asking for Baghdad’s help to fight PUK
            and their Iranian backers in Irbil
2003 Bush said Iraq war had transformed to one against Baathists and Al Qaeda
2003 Australian intel officer testified to parliament no pre-war evidence of Iraq-Al
            Qaeda ties & Iraq’s WMD contained
2003 Australian intel officer testified to parliament US flooded with disinformation by
            anti-Saddam Iraqis before war
2005 Draft constitution presented to parliament Same time given 3 day extension 2nd
            one to finish draft
2014 ISF and Asaib Ahl Al-Haq raided mosque in Diyala and killed worshippers
2015 Gunmen in military uniforms attacked sit in protesters in Basra Police did nothing
2015 Riot police broke up protests in Hillah beating them Used water hoses

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
2007 ISI killed Sheikh Alayawia of Abu Jassim tribe of Ramadi for supporting
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 
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 
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.

Tal Afar Battle Day 3

(Iraq Joint Operations Command) The Iraqi forces (ISF) have changed their tactics for the Tal Afar operation and...