Thursday, April 28, 2016

Iraq’s Parliament Confirms Some Of Abadi’s New Cabinet


The deadlock in parliament between opponents and supporters of Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar Abadi was temporarily overcome when lawmakers were able to create a quorum and vote on a partial list of the premier’s new cabinet. On April 26, 170-180 members of parliament met, confirmed that Salim Jabouri was still the speaker, and approved five new ministers submitted by Abadi. Those were Ali Ghani al-Mubarak for Health, Hassan al-Janabi for Water, Wafa Jaffar al-Mahadawi for Labor, Abdul Razaq Al-Aysa for Higher Education, and Ali Dishar for Electricity. Over one hundred MPs had been conducting a sit in, and voted out Jabouri earlier, but the Speaker has claimed that was illegal. They tried to disrupt the session shouting and throwing water bottles, which was led by members of former Premier Nouri al-Maliki’s wing of State of Law. They were successful in driving the other lawmakers out of the main parliament room into an alternate location, but they could not stop the proceedings. There was talk about the opposition lawmakers trying to form a permanent block, and they were also going to court over legality of the session. The fact that they were not able to stop the vote however was a major defeat for them after they had been able to disrupt the government for several days. As for the rest of the new cabinet there are still talks going on amongst the ruling parties, and disagreements. On the other hand, Moqtada al-Sadr called off his demonstrations outside the Green Zone with a spokesman saying that the vote on the ministers was a positive first step, but more was needed.

Abadi’s changes have threatened the entire political system in Iraq. As Mustafa Habib pointed out in Niqash, Abadi’s proposal for new ministers has caused all kinds of splits within the government, especially amongst the Shiite parties. State of Law was divided between pro-Badi and pro-Maliki factions, and Sadr’s Ahrar bloc and the Supreme Council’s Mutawin came down on different sides of the vote against Speaker Jabouri even though they were in an alliance beforehand. More importantly, the premier’s suggestion of a technocratic set of ministers threatens not only the quotas that determine who gets what public offices, but the elites’ control over the government. The ministries are the main way the parties rule by doling out patronage and stealing from the public coffers to enrich themselves. The new cabinet would be loyal to Abadi instead of the lists, which would dramatically change the power dynamic in Baghdad. It was quite an accomplishment then to get five ministers approved, although the way talks are progressing other cabinet members maybe partisan in order to get approved.

SOURCES

AIN, “Deputy of the session: Maliki wing stirred chaos to prevent the passing of ministerial cabinet,” 4/26/16
- “Fatlawi Sayadi squatting and throwing bottles of water to disrupt the cabinet reshuffle,” 4/26/16
- “Urgent Jabouri threatening legal action against the deputies that violated the majority rules of procedure,” 4/26/16

Habib, Mustafa, “Chaos in Baghdad: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Reasons Why Real political Reform Is Impossible In Iraq,” Niqash, 4/21/16

Iraq News Network, “Parliament sit-ins offer an appeal to the Federal Court for Parliament’s session yesterday,” 4/27/16

Iraq Oil Report, “UPDATE: Chaotic Parliament confirms five new ministers,” 4/26/16

Al Mada, “Abadi flirts with coalition with Allawi to pass his plans for list of ministries,” 4/22/16
- “House sit-ins resort to reference after the withdrawal of some of their colleagues following threats by the blocs,” 4/17/16
- “Parliament ends session and votes on closed envelope ministers .. And Abadi promises more changes in two days,” 4/26/16

Morris, Loveday and Salim, Mustafa, “Thousands of protesters threaten to storm Iraq’s parliament,” Washington Post, 4/26/16

National Iraqi News Agency, “A Parliamentary Source: Some MPs Tried To Attack Abadi When Attending To Parliament,” 4/26/16

New Sabah, “Opposition front forming in parliament with about 120 deputies to change the performance of the legislature,” 4/27/16


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Iraq’s Ramadi Blows Up On Returnees And Anbar Leaders


Ramadi was finally cleared at the start of February 2016. Afterward local officials warned that it would take anywhere from two to six months for the city to be cleared of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left behind by the defeated Islamic State. The problem was politicians and religious leaders were already encouraging people to go back to the city, which ended with dozens being killed and wounded by the bombs. The military stepped in and halted returns, while the local leaders began blaming each other for who was responsible for the casualties.

Rising fatalities in Ramadi led to a halt in returns to the city in April. On April 24 the Iraqi forces stopped people going back to Ramadi. Up to that point at least 49 people had died and 79 were wounded from explosions according to the United Nations. The process to remove the IEDs was slowed due to a lack of experts and contractors to do the job. That didn’t stop religious and political leaders telling people to go back to the city despite the dangers. This was despite the fact that the head of the security committee on the Anbar council said it would take two months or more to remove all of the explosives, while the Khalidiya council estimated it might take as long as six months. Those comments were made in March, while residents had already begun returning in February almost immediately after the city had been freed. That was obviously premature.

Anbar officials were originally touting returns. The International Organization for Migration said that around 71,000 people had arrived in the Ramadi area since the start of March. In April Ramadi politicians were noting that generators had been set up to provide electricity, water was being pumped in from the Euphrates, ten schools had been repaired, and 600 tents had been set up for those without homes. When it became public that dozens of people were dying and being injured by bombs, the tone quickly changed to an accusatory one amongst the province’s leaders.

Who told people to go back to Ramadi became a political dispute between the ruling Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) and the Sunni Endowment. The Anbar Governor Suhabi al-Rawi held the Endowment responsible for the deaths of returnees since it was given responsibility for the process by Prime Minister Haidar Abadi. The head of the Endowment countered by saying the authorities were stopping people from going back to their homes, and accused the IIP of purposefully mining houses in the city. In turn the governor created a committee to investigate the Endowment. This blame game highlighted the struggle for power within the province. The two groups worked closely together during he Sunni protests that started in Ramadi in 2012, but then went their separate ways. They are now competing for control of Anbar, which the IIP has considered its base since it took power there in 2005. As the head of the security committee on the Khalidiya council aptly pointed out, these parties are vying for influence at the expense of the citizenry.

Anbar leaders were well aware of the dangers the recently freed city of Ramadi still posed. The Islamic State had planted hundreds of IEDs throughout the area as part of its defenses, and then left booby traps as it withdrew. It was going to take months to secure the city, but the Islamic Party and Sunni Endowment wanted to score political points by having people back as soon as possible to build upon the success of defeating the militants. The displaced were the ones that paid the price for this escapade. Even though the security forces have barred further returns, there are now tens of thousands already in Ramadi who will continue to suffer the consequences of the political rivalry going on between the IIP and Endowment.

SOURCES

Associated Press, “Thousands Return to Iraq’s Ramadi, Where IS Was Driven Out,” 4/10/16

Chmaytelli, Maher, “Iraqis displaced from western city of Ramadi begin to return home,” Reuters, 4/3/16

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement in Iraq Exceeds 3.4 Million: IOM,” 4/19/16

Kalin, Stephen, “Islamic State mines kill dozens of civilians returning to Ramadi,” Reuters, 4/22/16

Al Mada, “Anbar governor announces the formation of a committee to investigate the accusations against Al-Hmam and invites him to present evidence,” 4/23/16
- “Clearing mines in Ramadi needs two months .. And politics hinder freeing Garma,” 3/17/16
- “Mutual accusations between the Islamic Party and Sunni Endowment regarding booby-trapped homes in Ramadi,” 4/23/16

Reuters, “Iraqi military freezes civilians’ return to Ramadi over mine deaths,” 4/24/16

Sotaliraq, “Ramadi needs six months to remove improvised explosives devices and war waste in city,” 3/20/16



Monday, April 25, 2016

Security In Iraq Apr 15-21, 2016


Fears of an Islamic State spring offensive subsided the third week of April. The number of incidents and casualties both went down after a two-month spike. On the other hand, the government was still marching through Anbar.

After a two month rise in violence, it decreased the third week of April. The number of incidents went from 144 the first week of the month, to 141 the second, to 124 the third. The number of incidents had been going up since February, but it looks like April will have a lower total given the dip from April 15-21. That seems to have forestalled fears that IS was building up for a spring offensive.

There were 59 attacks in Baghdad, 16 each in Anbar and Ninewa, 14 in Kirkuk, 12 in Diyala, 5 in Salahaddin, and 2 in Babil.

436 people died and 242 were wounded during the week. That included 7 Hashd, 19 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 27 Peshmerga, and 383 civilian deaths, along with 19 Peshmerga, 19 ISF, 29 Hashd, and 175 civilians injured.

The deadliest province was Ninewa with 289 fatalities. That was due to a report of IS executions. After that there were 68 killed in Baghdad, 63 in Anbar, 7 each in Diyala and Kirkuk, and 1 each in Babil and Salahaddin.

The Iraqi Forces are still churning through Anbar. After Hit was liberated last week, the surrounding areas were attacked with several towns freed. Anbar officials were also happy to find Hit not damaged much, which could hasten the return of the population. Outside Ramadi the road from Albu Aetha and Albu Faraj was cleared. The new Garma operation finally got started a week after it was announced. The joint forces have been trying to take the town for more than two years. Finally, the security forces and Hashd are still split on the next move. Reinforcements were sent to both the Ain Assad base and Fallujah. The ISF would like to push west from Hit to the Syrian border, while the Hashd have tried to take Fallujah since July of last year. These dual priorities will continue as there is no unity of command in Anbar.

Two mass graves were discovered in Ramadi. Some 40 bodies were found inside them, a mix of civilians and members of the ISF killed by IS.

After seeing a sharp rise in violence, the number of incidents in Baghdad finally went down. From April 15-21 there were 59 attacks in the capital province compared to over 60 the previous weeks. The most dangerous sector of the governorate remained the south with 24 attacks including 1 grenade, 1 mortar, 1 sticky bomb, 5 shootings, and 16 IEDs. After that there were 14 incidents in the east, 10 in the north, 8 in the west and 3 in the center. Attacks in the East appear to be more based upon crime, vigilantes and militias than insurgents, while in the south, north and west it is almost all IS activity, especially in the outer towns.

Violence in Baghdad Apr 15-21, 2016
Center: 3 – 1 Robbery, 2 IEDs
East: 10 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 Robbery/Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 IED, 6 Shootings
Outer East: 4 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 Shooting, 2 IEDs
North: 5 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 Shooting, 2 IEDs
Outer North: 5 – 1 Shooting, 4 IEDs
South: 12 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Shootings, 8 IEDs
Outer South: 12 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 Shooting, 10 IEDs
West: 5 – 1 Kidnapping/Shooting, 4 IEDs
Outer West: 3 – 3 IEDs

At the start of April the Hashd began an effort to take Bashir in southern Kirkuk. That was eventually put on hold, but IS was still attacking the joint forces in the area including several intense clashes that left 1 Hashd dead and 20 wounded along with six car bombs destroyed.

In Ninewa there was a report that the Islamic State had executed 250 women that had refused temporary marriages to members of the group. Another twelve people were executed from April 15-21 in the Mosul area including one reporter and seven former policemen.

Also during the week there were reports that IS fired chemical rockets and mortar shells three times at Peshmerga positions in Ninewa leading to 27 Peshmerga deaths and 21 wounded.

The operation to clear the Makhmour district completely ground to a halt during the week. The town of Nasir, which was supposed to be taken on the first day was still in IS hands, and the militants were launching counter attacks during the week. 300 more soldiers were being sent to the area to try to help move things forward. At the same time, the U.S. used B-52 bombers for the first time to bomb a suspected weapons depot in the area.

The goal of the effort in Makhmour was to stop Islamic State shelling of the several bases in the area. In a related incident, volunteers organized by former Ninewa Governor Atheel Nujafi carried out an attack upon the insurgents to protect their camp in Zilkan supported by Turkish forces. This is the first time this group has seen combat.

Violence remained very low in Salahaddin, but the locations of the few attacks that did occur were important. There were two attacks on the Ajeel and Alas oil fields in the northeast, which are rather routine. There were also four car bombs destroyed in Siniya in the Baiji district, and sniper fire in Tikrit. Every week now there are attacks in those two areas. The attacks in Tikrit have been small, but there have been very large clashes in Baiji. After that district was freed the Hashd led forces moved northeast to the Makhoul mountains. That has allowed IS to move back into the areas previously freed to set up shop again.

On the other hand, the new governor of the province Ahmed Abdullah al-Jabouri complained that there were undisciplined Hashd causing problems. He went on to say that there was a wave of lawlessness in Tikrit with robberies, some of which were due to the Hashd.

There was not a single successful car bombing during the week. In turn, the Iraqi forces claimed they destroyed 19 of the devices. There were 6 in Kirkuk, 5 in Anbar, and 4 each in Ninewa and Salahaddin.

Violence In Iraq 2015-16
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
JAN
911
2,656
3,032 + 150
FEB
730
2,345
2,366
MAR
820
2,665
2,529
APR
751
2,753
2,621
MAY
674
2,565 + 1,499
1,952 + 646
JUN
708
2,153 + 405
2,174
JUL
688
2,716
3,198 + 4,024
AUG
684
2,440 + 760
1,777
SEP
649
1,731
1,668 + 3,003
OCT
589
1,144
1,555
NOV
530
1,174
1,455 + 124 + 1,322
DEC
553
1,155
1,252 + 5,920
Jan 1-7
150
808
421
Jan 8-14
140
436
417
Jan 15-21
135
275
227
Jan 22-28
132
392
322
Jan 29-31
41
81
334
JAN
598
2,052
1,721
Feb 1-7
146
575
313
Feb 8-14
119
146
323
Feb 15-21
130
225
239
Feb 22-29
153
371
690
FEB
549
1,281
1,566
Mar 1-7
183
321
478
Mar 8-14
168
408
415
Mar 15-21
130
349
409
Mar 22-28
135
213
420
Mar 29-31
49
172
121
MAR
665
1,463
1,843
Apr 1-7
144
239
444
Apr 8-14
141
271
391
Apr 15-21
124
436
242


Security By Province Apr 15-21, 2016
Province
Incidents
Anbar
16 Incidents
63 Killed: 5 ISF, 58 Civilians
6 Wounded: 2 Civilians, 4 ISF
6 Shootings
8 IEDs
3 Mortars
5 Suicide Bombers Killed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
1 IED
1 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
59 Incidents
68 Killed: 4 Hashd, 4 ISF, 59 Civilians
176 Wounded: 3 Hashd, 13 ISF, 160 Civilians
15 Shootings
35 IEDs
4 Stickby Bombs
Diyala
12 Incidents
7 Killed: 2 ISF, 2 Hashd, 3 Civilians
13 Wounded: 2 ISF, 11 Civilians
7 Shootings
1 IED
2 Mortars
Kirkuk
14 Incidents
7 Killed: 1 Hashd, 6 Civilians
20 Wounded: 20 Hashd
6 Shootings
1 IED
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bmobs Destroyed
Ninewa
16 Incidents
289 Killed: 7 ISF, 27 Peshmerga, 255 Civilians
19 Wounded: 19 Peshmerga
5 Shootings
23 IEDs
1 Rocket
3 Mortars
8 Suicide Bombers Killed
4 Car Bombs Destroyed
Salahaddin
5 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
6 Wounded: 6 Hashd
4 Shootings
4 Car Bombs Destroyed

Car Bombs In Iraq Apr, 2016
Date
Car Bombs
Dead
Wounded
Apr 1
Hit, Anbar


Apr 2
Hit, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Apr 3



Apr 4
Baghdadi x2, Anbar
Meshada & Taji, Baghdad
Basra, Basra
Baghdadi, Rashad, Shihabi, Subhait, Anbar – 21 destroyed
Abu Ghraib, Baghdad – 2 destroyed
Nasir, Ninewa – 6 destroyed
Siniya, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
16
35
Apr 5
New Baghdad, Baghdad
Baghdadi & Subhait, Anbar – 9 destroyed
Tal Ahmed, Kirkuk – 1 destroyed Makhmou, Nasir, Ninewa – 13 destroyed
3
14
Apr 6
Kubaisa, Anbar – 3 destroyed
Nasir, Ninewa – 7 destroyed


Apr 7
160 Kilo, Garma, Hit, Anbar – 7 destroyed
Tal Ahmed, Kirkuk – 3 Destroyed
Hardan, Ninewa – 2 destroyed
Shirqat-Baiji Road, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed


Totals
7 – 81 Destroyed
19
49
Apr 8
Hit, Anbar – 10 destroyed
Makhmour, Ninewa – 7 destroyed


Apr 9
Albu Bali, Anbar
Hit & Subhait, Anbar – 6 destroyed
12
2
Apr 10
Bashir, Kirkuk – 3 destroyed
Nasir, Ninewa – 1 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed


Apr 11



Apr 12
Hit, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Nasir, Ninewa – 2 destroyed


Apr 13
Makhmour & Nasir, Ninewa – 3 destroyed


Apr 14
Makhoul, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed


Totals
1 – 36 Destroyed
12
2
Apr 15



Apr 16
Haj Ali, Ninewa – 4 destroyed


Apr 17
Khasfa, Anbar – 1 destroyed


Apr 18
Bashir & Tel Ahmed, Kirkuk – 5 destroyed


Apr 19
Baghdadi, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Apr 20



Apr 21
Saqlawiya, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Bashir, Kirkuk – 1 destroyed
Siniya, Salahaddin – 4 destroyed


Totals
0 – 19 Destroyed
-
-

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Coalition aircraft destroy 3 booby-trapped vehicle in Baghdadi," Iraqi News, 4/19/16
- "Jazeera Operations announces killing 4 ISIS militants in Anbar," Iraqi News, 4/17/16

AIN, "14th Brigade: the deaths of 11 Daash in foiled attempt on Saqlawiyah," 4/21/16
- “B-52 giant US aircraft enter the war in Iraq against Daash,” 4/20/16

Alsumaria, "Liberation of the road between al-Bahgdadi-Hit and a local official demanding lifting the siege on Haditha," 4/19/16

Al Forat, "Clearing all the village between Heet and Mohammadi western Anbar," 4/16/16
- "Three car bombs detonated in repelling Daash attack near Bashir," 4/18/16

Al Maalomah, "The arrival of two regiments of the Federal Police to Ain al-Assad base to complete the liberation of western Anbar," 4/17/16

Al Mada, “Free Nineveh Operation without protection and the Americans plan to establish a second base near Sinjar,” 4/20/16
- “Freeing Heet…and people are optimistic because it is less destroyed than Ramadi,” 4/16/16
- “The new governor of Salahuddin talks about the Popular Crowd on his first day after taking office,” 4/16/16
- “Nineveh opeartions opens up new hub for the Liberation of Mosul with new reinforcements to Makhmour,” 4/17/16

Mamoun, Abdelhak, "36 members of ISIS and al-hashed al-Shaabi killed, wounded in southern Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 4/18/16
-"Military reinforcements arrived in Fallujah axes to liberate it from ISIS control," Iraqi News, 4/16/16
- "Security forces cleanse 2 villages south of Heet, 10 ISIS militants killed," Iraqi News, 4/16/16
- "Security forces to liberate and cleanse al-Karma District in 72 hours," Iraqi News, 4/11/16

NINA, "Anbar Operations Forces Foil An Attack To Daash In Anbar," 4/18/16
- "Daash Blow Up Three Police Stations, Executes Seven Policemen In Mosul," 4/20/16
- "Daash executed a photojournalist and his brother west of Mosul," 4/16/16
- "Iraqi Warplane To Target Booby-Trapped Car In Bashir Area," 4/21/16

Sarhan, Amre, "Security forces liberate 3 villages in northern Karma in Anbar Province," Iraqi News, 4/20/16
-"Volunteer forces repel ISIS attack on Bashir area south of Kirkuk," 4/18/16

Shafaq News, "Iraqi police finds 2 mass graves in Islamic State-free Ramadi," 4/20/16
- "Killed 18 Daash terrorists and destroyed four car bombs in Mosul," 4/16/16

Sonawane, Vishakha, "ISIS Executes At Least 250 Women For Refusing 'Temporary Marriage' In Iraq's Mosul," International Business Times, 4/21/16

Sotaliraq, "Foiled Daash attack and destroyed four car bombs west of Baiji," 4/21/16