Friday, June 20, 2014

Iraq Civil War Updates - June 20 - 22 Weekend Report ! Reports: Rebels capture Iraq oil refinery Local sources say country's biggest oil refinery has fallen but the military denies it......... Does ISIS have a leak in its organization ? Russia Reignites The Proxy War: Putin Offers "Complete Support" To Iraq Prime Minister Scorned By Obama ........ June 20th IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo ....... Tweets of the day setting forth state of play in the Iraq War Theatre....... Kurdish Forces Fight ISIS North of Baghdad ...... In an implicit criticism of the embattled incumbent premier Nouri al-Maliki, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite majority called for a new, “effective” government on Friday.


( wrapping up a hectic weekend of news... )

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2014

June 22th IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo

22nd June: The Shia Khafaja tribe in Iraq is volunteering every able bodied man to the government in Baghdad to fight Daash. Shaikh Raad al-Khafaji has converted his tribes guesthouse into a recruitment centre for volunteers. Many from his tribe were fighting in Syria protecting Shia shrines there. These fighters have now returned to fight Daash in Iraq.
22nd June: A third militant of Daash from its recruitment video has been identified as an Australian national Zakaryah Raad going by the nom de guerre, Abu Yahya ash Shamsi.
22nd June: Iraqi Kurdistan denies sending oil to Israel. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) denies selling oil either directly or indirectly to Israel. But confirms that it has sold crude oil from Kurdistan and will continue to sell Kurdish oil for liquidity and financial independence from Baghdad. Baghdad has cut Kurdistan from the Federal Budget.
22nd June: A third shipment of black gold was expected to leave Kurdistan via pipeline for Turkey today.
22nd June: The Kurdish frontier against Daash and it's allies now stretched 600 miles.
22nd June: Sadr's peace brigades are waiting for his signal to fan out to different provinces. They are looking to work closely with the Security Services to confront Daash.
22nd June: Security Forces deployed in Tal Afar made a sudden withdrawal towards Sinjar. Only elite forces were left behind to guard the airfield. The rest of the troops and tribal forces left for Sinjar. This could indicate a response to intelligence concerning Daash.
22nd June: Security Forces are claiming that a senior Daash commander was killed in clashes in Taf Afar.
22nd June: Some Christians Iraqis from Mosul are seeking protection in Iraqi Kurdistan. Others have decided to resist and are holed up in the Christian town of Bartella on the outskirts of Mosul. The Christian community of Iraq has slowly migrated Westward to North America and Europe.
22nd June: The Iraqi Airforce has carried out bombing raids on Fallujah. The neighbourhoods of Shuhada, Nazal, Al-Shurta, and Aljughaifi were targeted with shops and homes destroyed. Five caustics are being reported, one dead, four injured. The casualties were from the central market of Al-Naziza.
22nd June: Militants have captured two border crossings between Iraq and Syria and Iraq and Jordan. The crossing on the Jordanian border was the primary crossing between the two countries. Only be border crossing Syria and Iraq is now with the government. The Kurds control another ne, the rest are with the rebels.
22nd June: After taking the Al-Qaim on Saturday, rebels have consolidated their position by taking the nearby towns of Rawa and Ana.
22nd June: Nechervan Barzani, the Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan says that he warned the US about Daash months in advance. He also states that he had told Nouri Al-Maliki about the threat of Daash 6 months earlier and proposed joint operations to fight the threat, but was declined by Baghdad. Nouri Al-Maliki, according to him said, "everything is fine."
22nd June: Abu Khabib al-Jazaeeri, who was a Saudi national and a senior commander of Daash, has been killed in Baiji. Two other Saudi nationals, both brothers, Yahya and Ebrahim were reported killed in Samarra earlier in the week.
22nd June: Iraqi airforce struck at militants in Tikrit. The government claims that 42 militants were killed.
22nd June:clashes between the Iraqi army and Daash militants in Tikrit have killed a number of militants and an advisor to Tikrit's governor, Amaya al-Jbara, she was killed by militants. The clashes took place in the east of Tikrit at Al-Alam. Security forces were being aided by tribal fighters.
22nd June: Security Forces and members of the Awakening Council in
Haditha are cooperating against Daash and have called a curfew to maintain law and order.
22nd June: the Iraqi Government releases videos of airstrikes it carried out in Mosul.
22nd June: A 15 year old settle boy is killed in firing from Syria. He is the first Israeli casualty of the Arab Spring.
Picking up one the last item from the Mindfriedo report....

Some tweets to consider....

Massive explosions rocking Brigade 90 in as we speak..

and want to trigger a confrontation with to ease the pressure on and failures in .

Number of militia injuries are being transported to hospitals some of which are severe

Iraq Update: Air Force Runs Out Of Missiles, ISIS Controls The Border; Shiite Clerics Threaten US Troops

Tyler Durden's picture

Now that the Iraq proxy war scene is set,and as we reported on Friday, Prime Minister Maliki has become a pawn in yet another middle-east war between the west and the petrodollar (with both Saudi Arabia and the US making it clear Maliki has to go) and Russia (with Putin expressing hisfull support for the prime minister), events will likely unfold at an even faster pace. Sure enough, even this otherwise quiet weekend, in which the world is supposed to put wars on the backburner and focus on the world cup, is chock-full of Iraq news upates.
Let's begin.
Perhaps the leading update out of the civil war-torn country is that ISIS militants, whose ultimate goal is to create a caliphate that encompasses Syria, Jordan and Iraq are well on their way to achieving what in Europe would be called a "customs union",after they captured two border crossings, one with Jordan and another with Syria, as they press on with their offensive -largely unobstructed - in one of Iraq's most restive regions.
The officials said the militants on Sunday captured the Turaibil crossing with Jordan and the al-Walid crossing with Syria after government forces there pulled out.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The capture of the two follows the fall since Friday of the towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba, all of which are in the Sunni Anbar province where militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have since January controlled the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi.
As AP notes, with the capture of another town in Iraq's western Anbar province, the fourth to fall in two days, it appears that the ISIS Baghdad offensive has for now been put on hold, and instead the jihadists are focusing their efforts on a major offensive in the western provinces to cement their control and seamless crossing to and from Syria and Jordan.
The following latest maps from theInstitute for the Study of War map out the most recent clashes.

This follows the deployment on Friday of volunteer fighters, a mix of new recruits and Shi'a militias, to multiple locations including Tal Afar and Taji. Asa  reminder the cities of Tal Afar and Muqdadiyah, as well as the Baiji refinery town, remain the key front lines against the advance of ISIS from the north. As of late Friday, the ISF had not launched a counter-offensive against ISIS.

But why is Iraq not taking advantage of the slowdown in the ISIS offensive and seeking halt the military momentum? Simple: its army is running out of supplies!
As ABC reportsthe Iraqi military ran out of Hellfire missiles six days ago, and though the U.S. is rushing more missiles into the country, Iraq has only two modified Cessna aircraft to launch them in their battle against the radical Islamic militia ISIS.
ISIS has damaged 28 tanks and shot down three helicopters, a significant percentage of the government force, and the militia killed an entire Iraqi Security Force brigade in the last couple of days at the border with Syria, which ISIS now controls.
The losses have left the Iraqi military with no offensive capability, and no real air force.
Perhaps this is why, in order to avoid a loss of confidence in the country's offensive (and defensive) weaponry, the Iraq government released the following video footage on Sunday, which reportedly shows the bombing of suspected ISIS militant hideouts. In a world in which YouTube has become the biggest propaganda tool, we wouldn't be too surprised if this footage was doctored by the NSA or merely taken from the archives.

Meanwhile, ISIS is taking advantage of its involuntary restocking by the US army, after its plunder of an unknown number of US Black Hawk helicopters and Humvees (the topic of choice in ISIS' trolling of Michelle Obama as reported yesterday) during its Mosul offensive several weeks ago.
That wraps up the military deployments (or lack thereof) in the past 48 hours.
Parallel with the fighting, perhaps an even more important development were the statements by the regional religious leaders, those of both Iran and Iraq.
First, it was in Iraq where a Shiite Muslim cleric threatened to attack U.S. military advisers when they arrive in the country to help Iraq’s government fight Sunni extremists.
As The Hill reported, in a sermon on Friday, Nassir al-Saedi, a loyalist to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, warned of an attack against the U.S., whom he called “the occupier,” Sky News reported.
"We will be ready for you if you are back," said al-Saedi.
The warning comes days after President Obama announced he was sending 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq to bolster government security forces and help combat Sunni militant members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The British Telegraph also reported that tens of thousands of heavily armed fighters from al-Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi army, paraded through the streets of Baghdad Saturday.
The Shiite militia said it does not need or want help from the U.S.
So much for a friendly third welcome of the US "liberators."
"If the Americans are thinking about coming back here, all of we Iraqis will become time bombs - we will eat them alive," said Adel Jabr Albawi, who marched in Saturday’s parade, according to the Telegraph. "We can deal with Isis ourselves."
The threats from al-Sadr supporters could potentially open a second front for U.S. forces heading to Iraq.
But it was not just Iraq clerics who raged against a return of the US. Also joining the anti-US chorus was - perhaps surprisingy all things considered- Iran's own top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has vocally come out against US intervention in neighboring Iraq, where Islamic extremists and Sunni militants opposed to Tehran have seized a number of towns and cities.

Iraqis can overcome this conflict on their own.We’re totally agnst US& others to interfere in ’s internal affairs& don’t approve of it.

"We strongly oppose the intervention of the U.S. and others in the domestic affairs of Iraq," Khamenei was quoted as saying by the IRNA state news agency on Sunday, in his first reaction to the crisis.
"The main dispute in Iraq is between those who want Iraq to join the U.S. camp and those who seek an independent Iraq," said Khamenei, who has the final say over government policies. "The U.S. aims to bring its own blind followers to power."
Well, he is right after all.
As a reminder, Shiite Iran supports the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, and has said it would consider any request for military aid.
Which covers the religious influence of both Iran and Iraq. But what about that other staple in everything "middle-east"- Israel? Well, they too made an appearance this weekend when it was revealed that the surprise winner from the ISIS surge, the Kurdish Regional Government, which suddenly finds itself as a major oil producer and exporter, has found its first buyer of oil. None other than Israel.
According to the WSJ, oil piped from Iraqi Kurdistan has been successfully delivered directly by the region's semiautonomous government for the first time, despite opposition from the U.S. and the Iraqi central government. The oil comes from a new pipeline built to bypass Baghdad’s pipeline, which will help maintain Iraqi Kurdistan’s financial independence.
The Kurdish Regional Government said late Friday that one million barrels of its oil piped through the Turkish port of Ceyhan "was safely delivered to the buyers." The KRG declined to say who the buyers were.
It didn't take long to discover just who the buyers were thought: "The oil is currently being unloaded at an Israeli port, according to officials at the terminal."
The U.S. State Department confirmed the delivery, criticizing the semiautonomous region's unilateral sale without Baghdad's approval and warning buyers of its oil. "The export or sale of oil absent the appropriate approval of the federal Iraqi government exposes those involved to potentially serious legal risks," a State Department official told The Wall Street Journal.
But while the US boycotted the Kurdish sale of oil, it had surprisingly little to say about the Israel purchase of said product.
Iraq already boycotts Israel, and won’t sell oil to the Jewish state, so Israel is not overly concerned with Iraqi threats of sanctions, unlike other countries who have oil contracts with Iraq.
* * *
Finally, president Obama, in an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" airing Sunday, warned that the al-Qaida-inspired militants in Iraq could grow in power and destabilize the region. He said Washington must remain "vigilant" but would not "play whack-a-mole and send US troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up." Why not, one wonders? What has changed from US' "whack-a-mole" policies, all "beyond successful" to date?

And that concludes the weekend Iraq event roundup.

Judge Who Sentenced Saddam Hussein To Death Has Been Executed By ISIS, Local Media Reports

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in 2006, after the second US invasion of Iraq culminated if not with the discovery of the WMDs (which were the pretext for the invasion in the first place), but the unearthing (literally) and kangaroo court trial of Saddam Hussein, the US was quick to announce "mission accomplished." Recent events have made a mockery of that claim, however what is truly the straw that broke the back of poetic justice, to mix metaphors, are reports from local media that as part of its blitz-campaign to take over northern Iraq, ISIS found and the promptly executed Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman, the judge who sentenced Saddam to death: a death which to many was the crowning moment of the second US invasion of Iraq, and the confirmation of successful US foreign policy. 
It goes without saying that if true, the murder of the man who indirectly did the US bidding in slamming the book shut on the Saddam regime (and with it US claims of Iraqi "liberation") and was responsible for Saddam's death, means the last "Mission Accomplished" posted can now be safely taken down.
As LiveLeak first reported, Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman was the replacement chief judge of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal's Al-Dujail trial of Saddam Hussein in 2006. His background, from Wikipedia:
Abd al-Rahman was an ethnic Kurd from Halabja, the site of the 1988 Halabja poison gas attack. He replaced Rizgar Mohammed Amin as chief judge on 23 January 2006. Amin had resigned after being criticised in the Iraqi media for appearing "too soft" on the defendants by allowing them to speak aloud in court without being recognized.

After Amin's resignation, Abd al-Rahman headed the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal during the rest of the trial of Saddam Hussein for genocide, and when it sentenced him to death. He also sentenced to death some of his top aides.

In December 2006, Abd al-Rahman took his family to Britain on a travel visa, and three months later applied for asylum. He later cancelled his application.

In 16 June 2014, Abd al-Rahman was arrested by ISIS rebels during 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. Two days later, it was reported that ISIS captured and executed him.
More details from,google translated.
There were reports the execution of Iraqi judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, who spent the same judgment on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to confirmed the pages on the social networking site, without official confirmation from the Iraqi government.
The pages on social networking sites, including Page MP Jordanian Khalil Attieh on the site "Facebook" to "revolutionaries Iraqis arrested him and sentenced him to death in retaliation for the death of the martyr Saddam Hussein," he said, adding that Rauf tried to escape from Baghdad after wearing uniforms dancers.
She page Izzat al-Douri, vice-president Saddam Hussein, the "Facebook" to the rebels Iraqis were able to arrest the Kurdish judge Rauf Rashid, who issued a death sentence against the former Iraqi leader, which is currently in the "grip of the soldiers of the Islamic State and the men of the Baath Party."
She page address, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, "Judge Rauf Rashid in the grip of Mujahideen equipped Aahalki neck", in reference to al-Maliki, also falling in the hands of insurgents.
Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman presided over the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the successor to the judge Rizgar Amin, following the latter's resignation in protest against foreign interference in the work of the court. Following the verdict on Saddam hanging out in the October 5, 2006, and was appointed justice minister in the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Although he was seen as an advocate of human rights, but he faced charges because of the way his administration for sessions trial of Saddam and the symbols of his regime, because Thamlh defendants, for being a city of Halabja, which came to the bombing of a chemical at the end of the eighties.
Over the past week, fell several cities in northern Iraq, in the forefront of Mosul, and Tikrit, Salahuddin province, in the hands of groups of armed Sunni, led by the organization "Daash", after the withdrawal of army troops, in moves considered leaders tribal Sunni "popular revolution Sunni against injustice and sectarian government (Prime Minister outgoing Nuri) al-Maliki, the Shiite, "while the frequency of the authorities as" attacks from terrorist groups."

Sunni rebels seize more towns in Iraq

Fighters led by ISIL capture more territory as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki comes under growing pressure.

Last updated: 22 Jun 2014 08:56
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Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have expanded their offensive in Iraq, capturing more territory from the government.
ISIL, an al-Qaeda breakaway group active in Syria and Iraq, has taken the towns of Qaim, Rawah and Anah in Anbar province. Qaim, located on the border with Syria, hosts a key crossing between the two countries.
Fighters also claim to be in full control of the northern city of Baiji, which hosts Iraq's biggest oil refinery, though the military denies the rebels control the refinery itself.

The vast Anbar province stretches from the western edges of the capital, Baghdad, all the way to Jordan and Syria to the northwest. Fighting in the predominantly Sunni region has disrupted use of the highway linking Baghdad to the Jordanian border, a key artery for goods and passengers.
In January, fighters in Anbar overran the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi.
The latest gains by ISIL are a further blow to Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shia prime minister, whose grasp on his job is coming under increasing pressure as the rebels try to push the country towards a sectarian showdown.
The capture of the town of Rawah on the Euphrates River and the nearby town of Anah appeared to be part of a march towards a key dam in the city of Haditha. Any destruction of the dam would have a serious impact on the country's electrical grid and cause major flooding.
Military officials said more than 2,000 troops were quickly dispatched to the site of the dam to protect it against a possible attack, the AP news agency reported. 
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said there is significant ISIL movement in Anbar on Sunday, adding that the province is increasingly coming under the control of fighters.
"After taking over Qaim, Rawah and Anah, armed groups are now advancing to the next town, Haditha in the west of Ramadi city, and are negotiating with tribal leaders to enter there peacefully," he said.

"Army forces have left Haditha and have moved to the town of Khan al-Baghdadi and the military base of Ein al-Asad."
On Saturday, Shia armed groups rallied across the country vowing to protect religious sites and making a very deliberate show of force against ISIL.
The biggest of the rallies, which were called for by powerful religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr, took place in the northern Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, where hundreds of men dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault rifles marched in military formation. Sadr's Mahdi Army militia is believed to have as many as 100,000 fighters.
Prime minister pressured
Maliki's Shia-led government has struggled to defeat the rebels who have seized large swathes of the country since taking control of the second-largest city of Mosul on June 10 after government forces melted away.
Map: ISIL's path through Iraq

Maliki, who has led the country since 2006, has increasingly turned to Iranian-backed Shia fighters and volunteers to bolster his beleaguered security forces.
His State of Law party won the most seats in an April parliamentary election but a new government has not yet been formed, and rivals have started to challenge him from within the broader Shia alliance.
To stay in power, his bloc, which won 92 seats, must form a majority coalition in the 328-seat legislature, which has to meet by June 30.

Islamic Army Founder: Sunnis Fighting for Self-Defense Against Maliki

By RUDAW 1 hour ago
Ahmad Dabash: ‘Allah has ordered us all to defend ourselves’
Ahmad Dabash: ‘Allah has ordered us all to defend ourselves’
Ahmad Dabash, a founding leader of the Islamic Army of Iraq that fought the 2003 US invasion, denies that the turmoil in Iraq is caused by the military advance of Sunni insurgents, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He says the war is really an uprising by ordinary Sunnis, who are standing up in “self-defense” against an ongoing campaign by the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  In an interview with Rudaw, Dabash says that Iraq should be divided into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions, where the provinces would have extensive autonomy to run their own affairs. “Allah has ordered us all to defend ourselves,” says Dabash, whose group has been listed as a terrorist organization by the Iraqi government and he is wanted for trial in Baghdad on terrorism charges. Here is an edited transcript of his interview with Rudaw:
Rudaw: How do you assess the situation in Iraq today in light of the recent attacks by the ISIS?
Ahmad Dabash: Allah has ordered us all to defend ourselves. Every Muslim has the right to defend his life and honor when attacked. When the government of Nouri al-Maliki attacks us and destroys us, we have the right to self-defense.
Rudaw: So you think the ISIS attacks as a right thing?
Ahmad Dabash: What has happened over the past 10 years has created a vacuum that is responsible for reaching the point of terrorism. After the American withdrawal the Iraqi government started killing the Sunnis in the name of fighting terrorism. So the people you see on the fronts today are ordinary Sunni people who have been persecuted and attacked by Maliki, and they are defending themselves and their people.
There is no doubt that Maliki and his forces are doing this. If you look at the hospitals, the morgues and graveyards, you will see that Maliki has subjected the Sunni people, and people are reacting to him. It is not only the Sunnis, but the Kurds and even some Shiites. Like the Sadrists, they are against him, too.
Rudaw: Is the ISIS war against Maliki a correct war?
Ahmad Dabash: Without a doubt. As I said, in all Sunni provinces, all along the border areas, Maliki has extended his terror against the Sunni people. The world knows that it is a lie when Maliki’s government says that Sunnis live freely under his rule. That is why in Anbar, in Mosul and everywhere else, people and tribes have taken up arms against him in self-defense. And there are different groups who try to protect the Sunnis.
We do not think there is such a thing as ISIS. What we have is repression in our areas. If there is ISIS, we should ask who they are, how many they are and what is their influence in the Sunni areas. They make up a small group. The people who fight in those areas are ordinary Sunnis and tribal chiefs, as well as former soldiers and officers. In fact, the government has often tried to blame its own killing of the Sunnis on the ISIS. Last week, at a prison, the government killed 60 to 70 Sunni inmates. In Diyala it killed 63 prisoners. They were killed under the pretext that they were terrorists.
Rudaw: You say that the Iraqi army is the army of Maliki? But in that army there were Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites.
Ahmad Dabash: I am asking you, what was the percentage of Sunnis and Kurds in the army? The Sunnis didn’t reach even six percent and the rest were all Shiites. They wanted to keep the Sunnis away.
Rudaw: But after the regime change, it was the Sunnis’ own fault when they didn’t join and participate in Iraq’s political process.
Ahmad Dabash: As the people of Iraq we wanted a government that wasn’t under any foreign influence, whether American or anyone else. We wanted to be part of a genuine process. The current Iraqi constitution that was written by Maliki’s government and under American supervision does not represent the Sunnis in any way. We rejected the constitution and it was only imposed on us by force.
Rudaw: But the Americans came and rid the country of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Do you prefer Saddam’s dictatorship?
Ahmad Dabash: The dictatorship we see today is 10 times worse than Saddam’s dictatorship. It is true that Saddam killed our Kurdish brothers in Halabja and Dujail, but today 10 times that number of people is getting killed.
Rudaw: How come you knew so early on that one dictator was being replaced by another and immediately took up arms against the Americans? Did you have some kind of revelation?
Ahmad Dabash: We are sure that America had come to destroy Iraq with a clear plan. They created the Governing Council, where the Kurds and Sunnis had little representation, and the rest of the power was given to the Shiites. America came and handed Iraq over on a golden plate to Iran. So what we see today is a complete failure of Iraq’s political process, and it will only be solved by giving the country back to its people. Both Iran and America have had a hand in destroying Iraq and leading it to what we see today.
Rudaw: You call this Shiite government dictatorial. And in the past there was a Sunni dictator. Who should the people of Iraq believe? Can both Shiites and Sunnis be dictators?
Ahmad Dabash: The dictatorship of the past cannot be compared to the one of now. I know you Kurds had your own fight against Baghdad then, but today the killing, repression and terror is a hundred times more. And Sunnis didn’t really join the political process because we don’t believe in an illegitimate government. The government in the past 10 years has run on fraud, suppression and terror. Those few Sunnis who joined the process were opportunists. The real representatives of Sunnis were the ones who fought the foreign occupation.
Rudaw: What do the Sunnis want today? A separate region of their own or do they want to run all of Iraq again?
Ahmad Dabash: Today, taking into account the circumstances and the way things are with the population divide, there must be a system of regions. Iraq can stay under one system, but three separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions. There is no better solution than that. What has happened between people in the past 10 years in terms of killing and repression makes it impossible to go back to how things were before 2003.
Rudaw: Where would the borders of the Sunni region be, especially with the Shiite south?
Ahmad Dabash: It is clear where the Sunni provinces are. Then there are the disputed territories with the Kurds and Shiites, where we should be able to reach an agreement that would satisfy all sides in order to create a stable Iraq. There could be a central government in Baghdad to run the affairs of the country, but the provinces should be able to run their own religious, political and economic affairs.
Rudaw: Why are you wanted by the Iraqi government for terrorism?
Ahmad Dabash: It is an honor that I am a wanted person by Maliki’s government. Our group fought Maliki’s government and the occupying forces. What our group did in standing in the face of the biggest occupation for several years is something to be proud of. It is an honor for me to have been part of that resistance.
Rudaw: You had someone who was known as the “Sniper of Baghdad” who is said to have killed 643 American soldiers in Baghdad. Do you really think that was a right thing to do?
Ahmad Dabash: We are proud that the Sniper of Baghdad was from the Islamic Army. He became the legend of the resistance. He is known and talked about the world over.
Rudaw: What do you think of the Peshmerga forces and their move into the disputed territories?
Ahmad Dabash: First of all, I should thank the Kurdish leaders for their great position against the government of Baghdad and their support for the Sunnis in the past year-and-half by opening their borders to our people who had to flee. It was an honorable act. As regards Kirkuk, it is a disputed territory where Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen live. The people there should be able to live in peace and decide the affairs of their city. We do not care who becomes governor or ruler of the city as long as people, especially Sunni Arabs, feel security and everyone lives in harmony.
Rudaw: There are some groups in those areas who are attacking the Peshmerga forces daily. Who are they?
Ahmad Dabash: Whoever they are, I tell them from here that they should not attack the Peshmerga because it is not in our interest. I hope they are rational and refrain from any acts that could be exploited by our enemy.

Anti War....

Key Shi’ite Cleric Warns US: We’ll Resist Return of Occupiers

Warns Iraqis 'Will Become Time Bombs' if US Returns

by Jason Ditz, June 21, 2014
In his Friday sermon, key Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Nasser al-Saedi warned against the return of US forces to the nation, cautioning that Iraqis were ready to resist if the “occupiers” return.
Saedi, a close ally of Moqtada al-Sadr, insisted that Iraq “can deal with ISIS ourselves” and doesn’t need or want US military involvement in the fight, saying Shi’ites “will be ready for you if you are back.”
Though the ISIS takeover of major parts of the west have some members of the Iraqi government, primarily Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, hoping a US deployment can bail them out, Saedi’s comments underscore that many Iraqis remain strongly averse to another US operation so soon after the decade-long occupation.
The Mehdi Army, the militia of supporters of Sadr, resisted the US occupation, and is in the process of being reformed to fight ISIS. They seem willing to transition to fighting US troops, however, if they arrive.

ISIS Seizes Four West Iraq Towns, Advances on Key Dam

Rebels Approach Key Hydroelectric Dam

by Jason Ditz, June 21, 2014
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is expanding its control over the Anbar Province today, seizing four more towns, including the border town of al-Qaim along the main highway into Syria.
Control over al-Qaim will give ISIS even more control over the border between Iraq and Syria, though at this point they control so much of both sides of the border that the boundary itself is virtually meaningless.
Another import capture today was the town of Rawah on the Euphrates, which is close to the important city of Haditha, likely to be another target in the near term.
Haditha is the home of the Haditha hydroelectric dam, which produces 1,000 megawatts of power, and is a key portion of Iraq’s electrical grid. In addition to giving ISIS some control over energy generation, control of the dam would allow them to flood regions downstream.

Moscow to play negotiator, Riyadh holds the keys

A flurry of diplomatic activity is occurring between Riyadh and Moscow over not only Iraq but Syria. Russia is seeking to play the role of negotiator on all questions and Saudi Arabia holds the keys. If successful, Russia stands to gain substantially at the expense of the United States. The Kingdom engagement policy with the Russians may indeed produce peace dividends and further alter the geopolitical landscape.
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Jeddah two days ago discussing the Levant crisis with senior Saudi officials. The talks follow a meeting on June 3 between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. On June 9, Lavrov and Prince Saud held a telephone conversation on ways to resolve the crisis in Syria. On June 20, Putin called embattled Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki to give him support in the attempts by Iraqi parties and other countries to force him to step down. Putin confirmed Russia's "full support for the Iraqi government's action to quickly free the territory of the republic from terrorists." This flurry of activity shows that the Kremlin wants to play a major role in settling the situation in the Levant that leaves America out of the picture.

Russia proves its point

Russia’s role as a mediator in the Near East and in other conflict zones is not new. During the air war over Serbia, then Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin negotiated a halt to America’s air campaign that raised the ire of Moscow. For more than a decade, Russian foreign policy has ostensibly been against intervention of foreign powers in the affairs of other sovereign nations and it has increasingly viewed the Middle East as a good example to prove its point, highlighting the chaos and violence following direct U.S.-Western military action or support in various states. In addition, the Kremlin has positioned itself as a peacemaker, trying to avert the same Western mistakes in Syria by pushing for a solution to the country’s internal conflict that does not involve U.S. military action and making America and Western Europe the villains. Notably, Russia’s role in finding a solution to the use of chemical weapon in Syria and halting “American aggression” is seen as a diplomatic win for the Kremlin by some Arab officials.
Riyadh sees Moscow as a future security and economic partner who is an honest broker; much more than other Western powers
Dr. Theodore Karasik
The Kingdom and the Kremlin agreed to return to the Geneva 1 process which is to find a political transition in Syria. This is a significant development that signals that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s election on June 3 for another term is cemented as Russia wants and which Riyadh now appears to see as critical for Syria’s stability. Iran will be happy with this outcome because their efforts supporting Assad with military and financial aid are paying off. Iran is close to the Kremlin, and Russia will be able to negotiate between Riyadh and Tehran in a way to please both parties in the Syrian outcome. Time will tell what that political transition will look like.

Riyadh’s distrust of America

ISIS’s tidal wave in Iraq played right into Kremlin arguments about how the failures of “global color revolutions” led by the “American-Atlantist Community” wreck countries and leave them wide open to terrorist infiltration. Russia’s fresh diplomatic offensive is based on the new conceptual, doctrinal outlook from Moscow and is now being presented to the Saudis as a reason for the Levant’s woes and especially the unfolding catastrophic debacle in Iraq. The Kingdom seems to be buying the argument, and well they should, based on Riyadh’s distrust of America.
ISIS’s activity in Iraq is reminding the Saudis how opposed they were to American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Consequently, the events are giving the Kingdom “a ground-hog day moment” according to an Arab official.
During their meeting in Jeddah, Lavrov and Saud also said efforts should be made to “maintain the integrity of Iraq and the unity of all the components of the Iraqi people, who should benefit from equality of rights and duties”. Clearly this is a signal that the Kingdom and the Kremlin want to find a middle ground for Iraqi state stability while at the same time finding a possible solution to the leadership crisis in Baghdad. According to an Arab official, Riyadh and Moscow agree that Ayad Allawi is the best candidate to run Iraq as he has had close ties to Kingdom and Kremlin in the past. In addition, the key is Assad: All sides now see that Assad and the stability of Syria is now key and is part of the deal to getting Alawi into power in Baghdad. Clearly, the Saudis see the Russians are able to exercise their good ties with Iran and Iraqi Shiites to accept Allawi.
Also of critical importance during this sequence of events is King Abdullah’s visit to Egypt. This visit to Egypt to support Egyptian President Sisi is full of significance and importance because Saudi Arabia sees Egypt as the core of the Middle East. The Kingdom also sees that Al-Sisi represents a model that needs to be emulated in the Levant: a strong ruler who is able to stifle the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic extremists. Moscow’s support for Egypt is also at play and taken together, the Kingdom and the Kremlin see eye to eye across the region. As such, this cooperation may be acceptable to Iran since such activity does not hurt the Islamic Republics interests—at least for the time being given the threat of Sunni extremists.
Overall, Saudi Arabia is acting quickly to help resolve regional security issue. Russia sees her historical mission coming to fruition by rushing into the debacle of the Levant and coming up with solutions that will perhaps firmly place the Near East within Moscow’s orbit and influence. The move is smart and timely. As such the status and prospects for the Saudi-Russian bilateral relationship are growing, and both the Kingdom and the Kremlin stressed their readiness to intensify it, including trade, economic and energy cooperation which has a solid potential for growth. On June 18, Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed on a draft intergovernmental framework agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and subsequent steps in preparing the agreement for signature. All of these developments come on the heels of Putin’s praise for King Abdullah a few months ago and the resumption of Lukoil’s drilling efforts in the Eastern Province. Clearly, Riyadh sees Moscow as a future security and economic partner who is an honest broker; much more than other Western powers.

Tweets of note......

sacks the defense minister al-Dulaimi and appoints Hadi Al-Amiri as new Defense Minister..

Iraq crisis: rebranded insurgents gain whip hand on streets of Baghdad

Maliki’s Past Comes Back to Haunt Iraq as Shiite Parties Revolt via

Jesus. Response of Obama admin to Maliki purge of army IN APRIL: "Whoa, what the hell happened here?"

2175 dead & wounded in since the start of military operations claim Dr. Ahmed al-Shami

western & tribal forces in expand their control- seized arms & weapons from army outposts

Another $3.2B in relief funds to unaccounted for. US government says, never mind.


Saudi Arabia, Russia focus on crisis in Syria and Iraq

After the talks in Jeddah, both Russia and Saudi Arabia stressed the importance of preserving Syrian and Iraqi territories. (File photo: Reuters)
Russia and Saudi Arabia Saturday stressed the importance of preserving Syrian and Iraqi territorial integrity after talks in the Western city of Jeddah.
Riyadh and Moscow have opposing positions on the conflict in Syria, with Russia backing President Bashar al-Assad and Saudi Arabia supporting the rebels seeking to topple him for more than three years.
But Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said they had agreed "to work together to apply the Geneva I agreement that provides for a peaceful transfer of power in Syria," a Saudi spokesman said after the meetings.
The ministers also said they were keen to "preserve the independence and territorial integrity of Syria", the spokesman said in comments reported by the Saudi state news agency SPA.
Lavrov and Prince Saud also highlighted the importance of "combating terrorist organizations that have exploited the crisis to find safe haven on Syrian territory".
The spokesman made no mention of differences on the conflict in Syria, saying the ministers discussed the "deterioration of the situation in Iraq and its consequences in the region".
Sunni militants in Iraq, including jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), launched a major offensive on June 9, seizing swathes of territory.
ISIS also operates in Syria, and seeks to carve out an Islamic state straddling the border between the two states.
Lavrov and Saud also said efforts should be made to "maintain the integrity of Iraq and the unity of all the components of the Iraqi people, who should benefit from equality of rights and duties".
However, Saudi Arabia said that this would be difficult to achieve "without the formation of a national unity government representing all Iraqis without discrimination or exclusion".
"Any foreign intervention at this stage would only exacerbate the crisis and deepen sectarian resentment," the Saudi spokesman said.
The oil-rich Sunni Gulf kingdom has accused Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of leading the country to the current crisis by marginalizing its Sunni Arab minority.
Prince Saud took over the kingdom's oversight of its Syria policy from the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in February.
The latter, who was asked by Riyadh to step down in April, was an ardent backer of funding, arming and unifying the rebels in Syria.
His last public assignment was a failed attempt in December to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop supporting Assad.


June 21th IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo

20th June: David Petraeus, the former commander of US forces in Iraq: "We must be careful not to take sides if we offer military support. But the growing threat posed by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) means that military action will be necessary, we must realize that ISIS poses a threat not only to Iraq but to the UK and other countries as well."

20th June: Sistani's Friday statement on any future government: "an effective government that enjoys broad national support, avoids past mistakes and opens new horizons toward a better future for all Iraqis."

20th June: Recruitment videos targeting Western Muslims, specifically those residing in the UK have been posted by Daash. British Muslim student Naseer Muthana has been identified. His father states that his other son is also believed to be fighting for Daash.

20th June: Two men are arrested in Houston, Texas. They were trying to make their way to Syria through Turkey and fight for Daash.

21st June: the founder of the Islamic Army of Iraq, Sheikh Ahmad al-Dabash on why his fighters fight alongside Daash. He claims "We brought them in to defend our religion, our money, our land and our people." 

“Is it possible that a few hundred Isis jihadists can take the whole of Mosul? No. All the Sunni tribes have come out against Maliki. And there are parts of the military, Baathists from the time of Saddam Hussein, clerics, everyone came out for the oppression that we have been suffering.”
Watch the full video.

21st June: the Qaim border crossing between Iraq and Syria, 200 miles west of Baghdad, has been over run by Daash and it's allies. Thirty government soldiers are reported killed.

A military commander of the Iraqi Security Forces, Majeed Al Fahdawi of the 28th Brigade, is killed in clashes with Daash.

21st June: Cracks begin to show. Daash fighters clashed with fighters belonging to the Army of the Men of the Nakshabandi (JRTN) order in Kirkuk. The fighting between allies left 8 Dassh and 9 Nakshawbandi fighters dead. The fighting was either over booty (fuel tankers) or Daash's insistence on booty. The clashes took place south of Kirkuk, in the Tal-al-bagel area of Hawija district.

Sayf al-Din al-Mashhadani, a senior member of the Ba'ath party and currently a commander in the Nakshabandi army is kidnapped by Daash fighters in a turf/influence tussle.

21st June: Tribes around the city of Baghdad have rejected extremist groups. The conference attended by the clans was organised by the 9th Armour Brigade and was attended by Gen Qassim Jassim

21st June: US Intelligence agencies are claimed that they had warned both Maliki and Obama that the former's policies were isolating the Sunnis and would lead to a backlash.

21st June: An excellent video by the BBC, shows Kurdish fighters engaging Daash. At the end it also shows a Sunni family that has fleas Shia militias.

Kurdish fighters force surrendering Daash fighters to strip for fear of suicide bombings. A Kudish intelligence officers warns the West of consequences of inaction against Daash fighters.
21st June: According to the Shia, Ibrahim Izzat Al Douri is Saudi's man in Iraq:

21st June: Security forces are calling in air strikes to dislodge militants from five villages in Muqdadiyah district, 35 kilometres north east of Baqouba, Ditala province. The militants have taken positions in orchards surrounding the villages and are using shippers to stop advancing troops. The Security forces have cordoned off the area and are awaiting airstrikes. 

21st: Turkey has leaked information to local Turkish press that the 32 Turkish drivers kidnapped in Mosul were not abducted by Daash, but some other militant group.

21st June: Tuz Khurmato in Salahuddin province has now come under Kurdish control. Of federal forces stationed there, only 50 had not fled the onslaught last week. The area under Kurdish control has increased by 40% since the conflict started.

21st June: Israel has imported a tanker of crude oil from Iraqi Kudistan. The PM office in Baghdad has strongly protested. The oil was delivered by the tanker SCF Altai to Ashkelon. The links between the Kurds and Israel are believed to go back decades. During the Yom Kippur war the Kurds opened up a front against Saddam and prevented him from engaging the Israelis.

21st June: Moqtada As Sadr has reactivated his Mahdi militia. Over 50000 Shia militiamen loyal to Moqtada Sadr have come out armed and in military attire in a show of strength parade in Baghdad. Similar parades are being reported in other cities in the Shia south. A small parade was also held in Kirkuk.
Some fighters were carrying shaped charges that were used very effectively against British armour in the South. The same shaped charges are used in Afghanistan. The supper heated copper balls that they form are believed to cut through Chobham/reactive armour like a hot knife through butter, believed to originate in Iran.

21st June: Indian Media is reporting that over 3000 Shia volunteers have expressed a desire to travel to Iraq. They have approached the Iraqi Embassy and informed them that they are available if and when the need arises. 

21st June: The Pentagon confirms that a small number of troops of the Iranian Qods force are fighting in Iraq.

21st June: Meetings of Salafi Islamists are held in Lebanon to determine if a similar Sunni state as has been carved out in Syria and Iraq can be repeated there.

Baiji falls to Iraq Opposition....

Reports: Rebels capture Iraq oil refinery

Local sources say country's biggest oil refinery has fallen but the military denies it.

Last updated: 21 Jun 2014 11:17
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Iraqi security forces have slowed the initially rapid advance by ISIL-led rebels [Reuters]
Sunni rebels have captured Iraq's biggest oil refinery after overnight clashes with Iraqi security forces, according to local sources, but a military spokesman denied it.
A journalist in Saladin province told Al Jazeera that Sunni rebels, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), had seized the refinery at Baiji, 43km north of Tikrit, on Saturday.
An unknown number of soldiers had been taken prisoner by the rebels after the fall of the facility, the journalist said.

The oil ministry did not comment on the report, and referred all enquiries to the defence ministry.
Rebels had withdrawn from the refinery on Friday after heavy clashes and retreated to Baiji's main town, which they already control.
State TV reported that Iraqi forces, backed by combat aircraft, had repelled four attacks on the refinery by ISIL fighters.
Iraqi security forces have largely halted the initial rapid advance by ISIL-led fighters, but the rebels continue to make gains.
On Friday, Sunni fighters captured the Qaim border crossing with Syria, 320km west of Baghdad, after a day of clashes that killed about 30 Iraqi soldiers.
The most recent gains by the Sunni rebels come as Shia fighters loyal to the powerful religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr rallied across Iraq, vowing to protect the capital Baghdad, and religious sites.
Both civil and religious leaders, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have called on citizens to volunteer in the battle against ISIL-led groups, which have taken large parts of the country.

Iraqi Shia groups rally in show of power

Thousands parade across country after powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr calls on supporters to turn out in force.

Last updated: 21 Jun 2014 11:14
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Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is believed to have command over more than 10,000 fighters [AFP]
Thousands of Shia Muslims are taking part in rallies across Iraq vowing to protect their religious sites in a show of power that had been called for by influential Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

The largest rally took place in the northern Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, where hundreds of men dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault rifles marched in military formation.
Sadr is believed to have command of more than 10,000 fighters, most of whom have volunteered to fight alongside Iraqi security forces against Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Sadr was keen to emphasise that his fighters would only serve as a defensive force to protect Baghdad, but there are fears of a reestablishment of the Mahdi Army, which was disbanded in 2008.

The reemergence of the Mahdi Army, which was accused of involvement in Iraq's sectarian conflict between 2006 and 2008, would heighten fears of a broader war between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Both the Iraqi government and Shia religious authorities have called on Iraqis to volunteer to fight a Sunni rebellion that has taken over big chunks of the country, including the cities of Mosul and Tikrit.
On Saturday, rebels led by ISIL seized a border crossing with Syria near the town of Qaim about 320km from Baghdad, leaving about 30 Iraqi soldiers dead, the AP news agency reported.
AP also reported that the town of Rawah in Anbar province had been captured by ISIL fighters later the same day, citing the town's mayor. He added that local army and police forces had pulled out when the fighters took control.
Pressure on Maliki
Many Sunni Muslims in western Iraq have supported the rebellion led by the fiercely anti-Shia ISIL, because of perceived anti-Sunni policies by Iraq's Shia-dominated government.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports from Baghdad
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has faced pressure from inside and outside the country to form an inclusive government, to prevent Sunni Muslims from joining forces with ISIL.
In a thinly veiled rebuke of Maliki, the country's highest Shia authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for a "broad" government that would "avoid past mistakes."
Such criticism from Iraq's most revered religious leader could force Maliki to step aside.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama all but called on Maliki to resign, saying only a leader with an "inclusive agenda" could end the crisis.
Maliki, whose State of Law electoral slate won most seats in April's election, has yet to form a majority coalition in the new 328-seat legislature, which must meet by June 30.

Tweets of the day...

Al-Maliki's government has imposed a curfew on Haditha

Iraqi rebels have occupied Haditha Dam

3 explosions in Baghdad city

Heavy fighting in Haditha city

All Iraqi rebels agree on one thing: There will be no place for the US in


Source: army/security no longer in duty of guarding the Green Zone in . is handling this as of yesterday

is nearly falling in the hands of anti armed groups.. Reports army flee parts of the city..

Second Tanker of Kurdish Oil Delivered, Two More Loading

By Harvey Morris 3 hours ago
The ministry said the first two consignments sold were each of around one million barrels. Photo: Rudaw
The ministry said the first two consignments sold were each of around one million barrels. Photo: Rudaw
London – A second tanker load of Kurdish oil has been safely delivered to buyers and two more vessels are being loaded at the Turkish port of Ceyhan, the Ministry of Natural Resources in Erbil announced.
The MNR has so far not identified the buyers of the first consignments of crude to be shipped through the new pipeline to Ceyhan in recent weeks. However, Reuters news agency reported on Friday that the first cargo of KRG oil aboard the SCF Altai was due to be offloaded at the Israeli port of Ashkelon.
The ship-tracking service MarineTraffic on Saturday showed the 80,000-tonne Liberian-flagged tanker moored at Ashkelon port.
 Israeli officials told Reuters they did not comment on the origin of crude oil imported by private refineries in Israel. The agency said it was not able to confirm whether the KRG sold the oil directly to a buyer in Israel or to another party. It noted that cargoes often changed hands multiple times before reaching their final destination.
The Erbil ministry said the first two consignments sold were each of around one million barrels.
“We are proud of this milestone achievement, which was accomplished despite almost three weeks of intimidation and baseless interferences from Baghdad against the tanker-ship owners and the related international traders and buyers,” the ministry statement said.
It went on to outline the KRG’s legal case for shipping oil directly from fields within its territory, countering Baghdad’s claims that all Iraqi crude must pass through the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO).
Reasserting a position that natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami put to Western officials and oil industry executives in London this week, the statement said the KRG was acting fully within its authorities under the 2005 Iraqi constitution.
By interfering with exports of oil from Kurdistan, Baghdad was acting “grossly outside its limited authorities” under the constitution, which made no mention of a federal oil ministry or of SOMO, the statement added.
It said the oil was being exported in full accordance with the KRG’s legal prerogatives. These included a provision that allows the KRG to retain the proceeds of petroleum sales in circumstances where the federal government was not sharing revenues in accordance with the federal constitution.
Hawrami said in London this week, addressing the Iraq Petroleum Conference, that the KRG’s agreed 17 per cent of the national budget had dwindled to 10 per cent before being cut to 0 per cent by Baghdad.
He said the KRG had been obliged to borrow on the international market to cover its expenditure.
The statement from his ministry, distributed on Friday, said Baghdad had been attempting to use old, Saddam-era laws, which were no longer valid, to threatened potential buyers of Kurdish crude. That merely served to underline the lack of express federal authority under the constitution.
The statement spelled out that the Iraqi constitution gave the KRG the right to: authorize, regulate, and manage the export of petroleum and petroleum products from the Kurdistan Region; to build, own, regulate, and manage petroleum and product pipelines in the Kurdistan Region, including pipelines that connect to pipelines at an international border with the Kurdistan Region; and to enter into agreements with foreign government authorities for the regulation and connection of international pipelines, for the sale of petroleum produced by the KRG, and for the transportation of petroleum and petroleum products owned by the KRG.

Maliki twists in the wind while the Regional aspect of the Iraq / Syria War looms larger.....

( Just waiting for the first  call for Obama's days are numbered too  ... )

Iraq Crisis: Maliki’s Days in Power Numbered as Iran and US Lose Faith
Obama has demanded more ‘effective’ leadership and Iran looks set to follow as Isis militants threaten Baghdad

Isolated and discredited by humiliating military defeat, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is likely to go soon, battered as he is by only slightly veiled demands for his immediate departure from powerful figures who once supported him. Within hours of President Obama making it implicitly clear that he wants a change of political leadership in Baghdad, the spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shia, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was calling for a new and “effective” government that avoided the mistakes of the old. Nobody in Baghdad has any doubts that he wants the Prime Minister gone.
The longer Mr Maliki clings on to power the more likely it is that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) will win further victories and the Sunni community will remain united behind the al-Qa’ida-type group. Military sources in Baghdad say Mr Obama’s clear signal that the US was not going to use its air force to preserve the status quo in Baghdad has “damaged the army’s morale and self-confidence”. The army had been hoping somewhat unrealistically for a promise of air strikes to stem the advance of Isis and its allies.
There are other less diplomatic voices demanding that Mr Maliki, who has held office since 2006, should go. Umm Nahid, a resident of Ramadi, the capital of the vast and overwhelmingly Sunni Anbar province, told The Independent that the city had been mostly taken by the Anbar Tribes Revolutionary Council, led by Hatem Suleiman. Suleiman says he is preventing Isis advancing down the road towards Baghdad, but will stop doing this unless the Iraqi army fully withdraws from Ramadi, all prisoners are released (some 100,000 are believed to be in jail) and, above all, “Maliki is removed from power”.
His threat strikingly underlines the extent to which Mr Maliki has become a hate figure for the five or six million-strong Iraqi Sunni community. Hostility to the Prime Minister as responsible for their oppression has enabled Isis fanatics to collaborate with disparate Sunni armed groups whom they were previously fighting. For the Sunni, hatred and fear of Mr Maliki is a powerful uniting force just as detestation of Saddam Hussein used to enable the Shia and Kurds to plaster over their differences.
Mr Maliki does not see it that way and has rejected calls for his departure as dictated by outside powers, but Iraqi politicians who have always opposed him now think they can bring him down. By 30 June at the latest the Iraqi parliament must meet to choose a new speaker, president and prime minister. It appears that Mr Maliki, despite having done well in the 30 April parliamentary election, does not have the votes to survive.
As a second line of defence, he will try to ensure that somebody from within his own State of Law coalition and close to him, like his former chief of staff Tariq Najim, takes over. He would try to remain a power in the background and at worst to shield his family – and his rule has become very much that of his extended family – from prosecution, much as Boris Yeltsin cut a deal when Vladimir Putin took over as Russian leader in 1999.
These manoeuvres seem petty and wholly self-serving when Isis fighters are less than an hour’s drive from Baghdad. The capital itself could erupt at any moment when Isis decides to activate its cells in the Sunni enclaves. In the last few days, military sources say they discovered such an Isis cell in the largely Shia area of Karada purporting to be a charitable organisation, but in practice under the control of a former general from Saddam’s time, that was monitoring the city’s defences.
The danger of Baghdad falling makes it damaging to bargain at any length about the future leadership of Iraq. “People might accept Tariq Najim because they are so desperate to get Maliki out,” said one observer. Other candidates like Iyad Allawi, Ahmed Chalabi and several others all have supporters but prolonged wrangling would make it difficult to re-energise and re-organise the army.
There is another player in the struggle over the Iraqi leadership whose views may be decisive. This is Iran and Mr Maliki in recent years has been very much Iran’s man. It was the Iranians who were finally responsible for him staying in power after the 2010 election. Iraqi politicians familiar with the Iranian leadership say that it is uncertain what to do and, at least until recently, Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, has wanted to maintain support for Mr Maliki. It may be the Iranians want to exact a price from the US for abandoning him, but the Iranians will not want Baghdad to fall or to have to send Iranian troops to prevent this happening.
A problem in the present crisis is that Iraqi political leaders may be relying too much on the US or Iran to bail them out. “They like to believe that the Americans have a magic wand and the Iranians will always stick with them regardless,” says Ghassan al-Attiyah, Iraqi political scientist and activist. “The Americans may be willing to fight Isis but they do not want to be dragged into a sectarian war against the Sunni.”
Like Macbeth in his last days, Mr Maliki stands at bay as his enemies corner him at last and his former friends desert him. He is said to be angry with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari for not defending the government against accusations of sectarianism by Saudi Arabia at a meeting of foreign ministers this week. “But how could Zebari have defended Maliki?” asked an observer in Baghdad. “No defence is possible.”
( So , do they have Snickers bars ? They might be waiting awhile ... )

US “Advisers” Waiting for Legal Cover for Iraq Deployment

Pentagon: Troops Must Have Immunity From Iraqi Law

by Jason Ditz, June 20, 2014
The 300 US troops being sent to Iraq as “advisers” for the Iraqi military were by and large already in Iraq and set to go, but are holding off getting involved in the ongoing war until Iraq agrees to give them legal protection.
The US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of the last occupation came primarily because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was never able to get parliament to agree to give US troops immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.
The Pentagon says they expect the same immunity this time, though it isn’t clear if the extremely divided parliament is going to be any more willing to give it this time. The more likely event would be Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreeing to some sort of “emergency” provision.
It doesn’t appear as if that would actually be legal under Iraqi law, but it would likely be sufficient to give the Pentagon at least some claim to being above the law, particularly since Maliki, as the acting Interior Minister, also has total control of the nation’s police force.

( So , when do we bomb the Saudis ? After all , they are behind the ISIS / ISIL caused turmoil in Iraq and Syria .....) 

White House: ISIS Airstrikes Won’t Be Confined to Iraq

Obama 'Willing to Go Into Other Countries Where Necessary'

by Jason Ditz, June 20, 2014
White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed that when the Obama Administration begins to launch air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), they won’t actually be confined to Iraq.
“The president has demonstrated awillingness to go into other countrieswhere necessary to protect our national and homeland security,” Earnest said, noting US strikes in Yemen and Somalia.
Other officials had indicated President Obama wouldn’t hesitate to launch strikes in Syria, but Earnest’s comments suggest the whole world is the battlefield once again and that President Obama might conceivably strike anywhere he wants.
Earnest also ducked questions about needing Congressional authorization for such strikes beyond Iraq, insisting that the President had long attacked other countries without it being a big deal.
Though ISIS is primarily located in Iraq and Syria, they also have a presence in Lebanon, and have affiliated factions across the region, including in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jordan.

( Going to spread to Jordan too ! War will teach Americans Geography .... as Ambrose Bierce observed....)

ISIS Assassination Plots Reflect Expansion Into Lebanon

ISIS Aimed to Kill Key Lebanese Shi'ite Officials

by Jason Ditz, June 20, 2014
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) already has pretty significant territory under its direct control, but the group’s ambitions extend well outside its own borders, as reflected in today’s Lebanon attack.
Early in the day, Lebanon announced it had uncovered aplot to assassinate parliament speaker Nabih Berri and arrested a number of ISIS-linked suspects. Amid the arrests, ISIS launched a suicide car bomb, narrowly missing Major General Abbas Ibrahim, the lead of the General Security Directorate.
Berri and Maj. Gen. Ibrahim are two of the top Shi’ite officials in Lebanon, and the ISIS plots reflect the group’s effort to target Shi’ites everywhere they can find them in the region.
Though this isn’t ISIS first foray into Lebanon, these are much higher-profile targets than the previous strategy of car bombing random Shi’ite neighborhoods, and could reflect a growing ISIS capability to attack Lebanon as well.

( Regional War... )

ISIS Overruns Key Towns in East Syria

Towns Give ISIS a Base to Attack Nearby Military Airport

by Jason Ditz, June 20, 2014
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to grow tonight, with the latest reports that they overran the towns of Muhassan, al-Bulil, and Al-Buomar in the Deir Ezzor Province, a cluster of towns along the Euphrates River.
Muhassan is seen as a particularlystrategically valuable town, as it is just a stone’s throw away from the city of Mayadin, and the Syrian military’s main eastern airport.
If ISIS manages to take Mayadin, they will effectively control every major city in Deir Ezzor, a major oil-producing province that borders the ISIS-controlled Anbar Province of Iraq.
Some portions of other Deir Ezzor cities, including al-Bukamal, have been contested off and on between ISIS and rival al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra, though ISIS seems to be getting the better of most such confrontations, and seem to be moving ever closer to de facto statehood.

Waiting on a sign ? 

Baghdad's Sunni fighters: we are ready for zero hour

As tensions rise in the Iraq capital, Sunnis reveal concerns about Isis, and some say they are ready to rise up against Shia militia
Baghdad Adhamiya district cafe
Men play dominoes in the Adhamiya district of east Baghdad. Others in this Sunni area say they have sleeper cells waiting to take up arms. Photograph: Peter Beaumont
In a dilapidated cafe in north Baghdad under a TV set blasting patriotic songs in support of Iraq's embattled prime minister, a young man looked grave.
"Why did the revolutionaries stop?" he asked in a low voice, referring to the Sunni insurgents sweeping across northern Iraq. "Why did they reach Salaheddin [province] and stop? This will be very bad for us, the Sunnis in Baghdad, if they liberate the north and leave us here. We will be under the mercy of the militias. They have to push down, otherwise it will be the end of us."
The man, a Sunni fighter in the last round of civil war, stole a concerned glance at the men around him, some playing cards or backgammon.
"There are many men willing to start the fight again but the problem is there is no fear," he said. People were not sufficiently worried about the situation, he said, and did not realise there was no way back. "If we string two Shia on poles for everyone to see, the militias will retaliate and all the men in the area will be forced to carry arms. This is how we start bringing our men together."
A broad-shouldered Sunni commander next to him leaned forward and assured his friend, saying insurgents had set up sleeping cells and were waiting for zero hour to take the war into the heart of the Iraqi capital. "At zero hour, we start our fight by assassinating all the spies and agents. Our neighbourhood, like every Sunni neighbourhood, has many spies and informers. When we assassinate the leaders, the ranks will collapse."
Such are the deliberations and calculations of the some of the Sunni of Baghdad, marginalised for years under the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, now suddenly galvanised by the startling advances of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) to within an hour's drive of the capital. For many ordinary Sunni Baghdadis, the advance of Isis is cause for alarm mixed with a vague hope that somehow Isis and Shia Muslims may severely damage each other, to the general benefit of moderate Sunnis. But for those who have fought for the cause in the past, it appears more like an opportunity.
The Isis advance has been aided by Sunni factions disillusioned with the Shia leadership in Baghdad. Sunni tribal leaders, Ba'ath party members, old army officers and factions of the former insurgency all came together months ago to plan how to take the fight to Maliki.
A leading role was given to the former army officers and Ba'ath party members. "Many factions are all under the command of army officers," said the commander. "Isis are not the only people fighting, but the Shia insist on seeing everyone as Isis and don't want to see the difference."
Patiently he laid out his plan in front of the other man, who appeared unconvinced. "We don't do any move without taking orders and permissions from the leadership of the military council," the commander said. "We start activating when the rebels enter the belt of Baghdad. The areas will fall one after the other. We are ready to start the fight now but we don't act yet, each step we calculate long before.
"Isis will clear the path for us and we will take over. Our men are toppling provinces now and we wait for them."
That may prove optimistic in the extreme. This marriage of convenience has happened before, after the US invasion in 2003, and delivered disastrous consequences when the Iraqi Sunnis allied themselves with insurgents operating under the name al-Qaida in Iraq. Before long, disputes over military leadership, ideology and ways of life splintered the Sunni front. Tribal leaders turned to the Americans and the insurgency was sent packing.
A veteran Sunni politician and a member of the parliament warned that Sunnis were once again making a pact with the devil. "This will lead to a chaotic and fragmented Sunni war," he said. "'What is your programme?' I ask the Sunnis. 'Maliki is corrupt and his army is sectarian, fine, but what is the programme? A Sunni region? And who will lead it? Isis?'
"Whatever happens the Sunnis of Iraq are the biggest losers," the MP added wearily. "In Syria the Sunnis can win if they clean their midst of foreign jihadis but in Iraq the Sunnis will lose whatever happens. They are a minority against the Shia and now they allowed the jihadis and Isis into their areas.
"The Sunnis will not be able to form any [structure] that can last and the moment they start forming it they will start with external fighting. They have lost the compass and they need Iraq but they can't see an Iraq that they don't rule. Yet at the same time no one can defeat them militarily, not Maliki and not Iran."

Countryside standoffs

In the fertile farmlands north of Baghdad, the emir of an Iraqi jihadi group which first fought the Americans, then flipped sides and fought al-Qaida and now is back fighting against the Iraqi army, gave further details of the uneasy arrangements with Isis. In much of the countryside, the emir said, local factions and tribes had wrested control of their areas or just moved in to fill the gap after government forces withdrew. Sometimes this had created a tense standoff with Isis.
"There are many different factions here, and all are cooperating now but we fear that they [Isis] will impose there control, and they start treating everyone as subservient to them," he said. "And we end up sandwiched between the rock and the hard place between the Shia government and Isis and go back to the same bad situation of years ago of internal fighting."
The emir said that he and other factions were trying to contain Isis by using the tribes. "The tribes told them: welcome as our sons, you work under the framework of tribes but you can't come here and tell us what to do."
Much the same thing happened in the mid-2000s, during the last insurgency.
"At the moment they are behaving in an exceptional way," the emir added. "Will they change or maintain this policy? I don't know, and Syria is different from Iraq. We have been through this – we know the meaning of internal fighting. We made mistakes in 2006-07. It's a dangerous fate that everyone fears."

Sheepishly he added: "They will not allow anyone to carry weapons and we have to accept that. The reality is that I don't have enough weapons now to fight them or even to resist. They are trying to reach the belt of Baghdad. This is where we want to reach. Things are heading to a sectarian war – of that I can assure you."

6/20/14 - later afternoon / evening updates......

Now Even ISIS Has Its Very Own Whistleblower

You know you have made it as a para-government when you get your very own leakers — and ISIS, which aspires to set up an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the growing swathe of territory it controls, has been having some problems containing the spill of sensitive and strategic secrets.
While the group mastered the art of social media, they have yet to figure out a way to control the information they do not want shared online — from the identity of its leaders to its alliances with other groups across the region.
There is one Twitter account in particular, @wikibaghdady, which seems to have access to a whole lot of information about the group, the Daily Beast reported yesterday.
Nobody knows who’s behind it — whether one, or many, disgruntled former member of ISIS, a rival Islamist, or a foreign government’s intelligence agent. But the handle @wikibaghdady has been on the radar of those monitoring the Syrian war on social media for several months.
'He’s someone close to the group, providing the kind of details that only come from intimacy.'
The account, active since last December, has been spewing details ISIS would presumably prefer to keep confidential to its nearly 38,000 followers.
Among its leaks, @wikibaghdady reportedly outed the identity of ISIS’ mysterious leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. More recently it highlighted the group’s connection with Iraq’s Baathists — Saddam Hussein’s former party.
“In the event that Baghdad falls there’s an agreement that Izzat al Douri will become the de-facto leader as an alternative to ISIS that the international community cannot refuse,” the account, which seems to have a penchant for predicting ISIS’s next moves, tweeted as late as last week.
Al Douri, a former army commander under Saddam Hussein who has escaped American and Iraqi capture, has been missing in action for years, and is now reportedly leading ex Baathists in an alliance with the ISIS.

7 )وتم الاتفاق في حال سقوط بغداد يتم تولية عزت الدوري كبديل يرضخ له النظام الدولي بدلا عن داعش

Russia Reignites The Proxy War: Putin Offers "Complete Support" To Iraq Prime Minister Scorned By Obama

Tyler Durden's picture

Two days ago, before it was formalized that the US tacitly, if not explicitly, now supports the removal of the Iraqi Prime Minister whom it itself had helped elect,we summarized the geopolitical tensions and "national interests" in Iraq, which is shaping up to be a proxy war that makes last year's Syrian escapade pale by comparison, as follows:
The situation in Iraq, already a jumble of domestic sectarian violence, is now pitting virtually all major (and regional) international players against each other as well. There is:
  • US which tacitly supports Iran intervention in the region, but may have suddenly cooled in its support of Maliki despite sending naval and troop forces in the country after partially evacuating its embassy
  • Saudi Arabia which wants to remain friendly with the US but is antagonistic to the Iraq regime, is potentially aiding the ISIS forces, and clearly refuses to allow Iran entrance in Iraq
  • Iran, which has suddenly become America's best friend in the region, which is willing to enter Iraq and protect its holy sites
  • Syria, whose president is sitting back amused at last year's failed campaign by the US to remove him from power, and whose army is at a stalemate with the local US-armed and funded rebels
  • Qatar, which is supporting the Syrian rebels, but so far has not made its stance clear on Iraq. Like Saudi, it too may be indirectly backing ISIS
  • Jordan, which is a close friend the US, and which may have hosted ISIS in a secret base on its territory with the US instructing the jihadist group according to an unconfirmed report
  • Turkey, which is on constant alert to Kurdish escalation across the border, the same Kurds which now have far more leverage courtesy of ISIS crushing the Iraq army in the north and handing over Kurds access to oil fields in the north.
  • And of course Russia: because while Putin clearly benefits from rising crude prices, it is his Lukoil that is developing (and investing vast amounts of money in) the vast Iraqi West Qurna-2 oil field. It is not clear how he would feel about it falling into ISIS hands.
It was the bolded text that was of biggest interest because as we noted the next day, when discussing the next steps for ISIS, we said that "One wonders how long until the mercenary force finds its latest major backer, because for all the western, US-led intervention, both Russia and China are oddly missing from the scene. We expect that to change soon."
Because clearly one can't have a global proxy war without China, and certainly without Russia.
Well, we said we expected Russia's conspicuous absence to "change soon", and so it did: within just 24 hours. Because apparently all Putin was waiting for was for Obama to pick sides (i.e., not Maliki) before the Russian leader made it clear whom he sides with. US, helpfully obliged yesterday morning when we also reported that "US Slams Its Former Iraq Puppet: "The Maliki Government, Candidly, Has Got To Go"."
So what does Putin - who as a reminder is heavily invested in Iraq' massive West Qurna-2 oil field via Lukoil - do? Why announce his undying support for Maliki, of course, and as AP reported, the former KGB spy offered Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki Russia's total backing for the fight against fighters who have swept across the country, as well as his full support for the embattled prime minister.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken by phone to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, expressing Moscow’s support for his action against the militant offensive.

The Kremlin said in a statement that al-Maliki informed Putin on Friday about his government’s steps to combat the “terrorist groups in the north of the country.” It added that the insurgency threatens security of the entire region.

Putin confirmed Russia’s“full support for the Iraqi government’s action to quickly free the territory of the republic from terrorists,” the Kremlin said, adding that Putin and al-Maliki also discussed bilateral cooperation.

Putin’s expression of support for the embattled Iraqi prime minister comes as al-Maliki’s rivals have mounted a campaign to force him out of office, with some angling for support from Western backers and regional heavyweights.
And just like in Syria from 2012 to 2013, the chessboard is once again set, with a regional middle-east conflict, this time in Iraq, merely serving as the proxy staging ground in which the Iraqi PM, once an obedient US puppet but now an enemy of Saudi Arabia and thus the US, "simply has to go" in the words of Dianne Feinstein, has suddenly become the fulcrum issue behind yet another soon to escalate conflict between Russia and the US.
One thing is certain: the more the US (and Saudi Arabia, and Qatar) pushes for Maliki's ouster, the more involved Russia will become with its offers of support and bilateral cooperation. And if the Syrian fiasco (for John Kerry) is any indication, Russia is about to expand its "national interest" sphere of influence by one more country.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014

June 20th IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo

19th June: Obama dithers and delays in his decision to bomb anti regime forces in Iraq. The BBCs John Simpson: “President Obama's statement wasn't the lifeline the Iraqi government hoped for. They wanted immediate airstrikes to stop ISIS in its tracks.” 

19th June: The Iraqi Army claims to have taken back full control of towns in the province of Diyala and claims to be gaining ground in the neighboring Salahuddin province. 

19th June: The UAE recalls its ambassador to Iraq citing marginalization of certain sections of society on sectarian lines. 

19th June: The US Vice President called up Maliki, Barzani, and Osama Al-Nujaifi and urged all parties to work together towards government formation and security. 

19th June: Daash has captured a disused Saddam era Chemical Weapons factory in Muthana. It is located 70 km north of Baghdad. 

19th June: Shia militias of volunteer fighters were deployed to Diyalah and the city of Samarra. 

19th June: A firefight between Daash fighters and Kurdish Peshmergas broke out in Kirkuk. Peshmergas fired rockets at Daash positions. 

19th June: Abu Khabib al-Jazaeeri a Sudi national who was a senior commander of Daash has been killed in Tikrit while battling security forces.

19th June: Australia estimates that nearly 150 of its citizens are fighting on the side of Daash: 

20th June: Sistani’s representative Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalai speaking on behalf of Sistani stated that if Daash was not “fought and expelled from Iraq, everyone will regret it tomorrow, when regret has no meaning.” Sistani has also pressed for government formation based on election results within its timeframe “It is very important to be committed to these timings and not to violate them.” 

20th June: Kurdish forces are battling Daash militants on the outskirts of Kirkuk. The confrontation had taken place earlier in the week for the village of Malla Abdallah and the Shia majority town of Basheer. The fighting for Basheer had been fierce with Peshmerga forces fighting Daash at close quarters. The Peshmergas reported 10 fatalities and left after government airstrikes left two Peshmergas dead. Most residents of Basheer have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan. 

20th June: The Telegraph reports: Mohammed al-Khaldi, a top aide to outgoing Sunni speaker of parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi, added: "We have asked the Americans, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran to work toward denying al-Maliki a new term. The Shiite bloc must find a replacement for him." 

20th June: Baiji Refinery is currently in Government hands. The last assault by Daash was made late on Thursday. Militants are believed to be regrouping and are believed to still hold parts of the refinery complex. Militants were forced to retreat after meeting fierce resistance. 

20th June: Head of Saddams tribe, Sheikh Hassan al-Nasseri , “The people taking part in this fight are not true to the beliefs of Saddam or his Ba'ath party, which was a movement with principles and ideology, We have nothing to do with al-Qaeda” 

20th June: A helicopter gunship has mistakenly fired on government troops in Dhuluyiyah resulting in a civilian casualty. 

20th June: The Government is amassing troops and equipment in Samarra for a counter offensive north. 

20th June: Areas where Government forces are facing rebels spear headed by Daash include: Tal Afar, Baiji, Tikrit, Samarra, Fallujah, Kirkuk, Baqouba, and West of Baghdad. 

20th June: Some Details on groups allied with Daash and where active: 

Naqshabandi army is active in Kirkuk and south east of Mosul 

1920 Revolution Brigades, made up of ex officers, are fighting in Diyala 

Fallujah has seen a gradual shift to Salafism, with Islamists holding sway over tribal elders. 

Ninevah province had seen 14 armed factions working together, Daash being one of them. 

Tribal Revolutionary Council of Anbar was formed in 2013 to fight Iraqi Security Forces. It is not clear if they have participated in this conflict. 

20th June: Most, if not all, border crossings between Kurdish parts of Syria and Iraq are under Kurdish control. While the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the Syrian Kurdish enclave has been a rival of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its Peshmergas, the threat of Daash has seen them come closer to defend Kurdish interests. 

20th June: Daash atrocities recorded by the UN for Wednesday: 

17 civilians working for the police forces in Mosul executed 

12 civilians working for the police forces in Mosul suburb executed 

4 women commit suicide after being raped and/or forcefully married by Daash 

20th June: The Ba’ath Factions fighting against the regime consist of two factions that were sponsored by the regime in SYRIA during the American occupation: One led by Ibrahim Izzat Al Dourri, another led by Brig. Gen. Mohammad Younes al-Ahmad 

20th June: Clashes are ongoing between rebels and government forces near Tal Afar airport 

20th June: A tweet purported to Qassem Suleimani and addressed to Daash rebels states that if Daash/the takfiris harm any Shia shrine then the Shia Mujahiddeen will pray afternoon prayers in Janat-ul-Baqi, Saudi Arabia.

Further Reading:
George Galloway on PM Cameron: What he(Cameron) didn’t answer was the question I asked him 12 months ago: would he explain to the [House of Commons] the differences between the al-Qaeda we are supporting in some countries(Syria) and the al-Qaeda we’re considering a threat to life as we know it in other places (Iraq)
Iraq tearing apart:
The Emir of Kuwait, apparently drunk in Iran

Tweets of the day...... FWIW

 Pinned Tweet
is moving to secure completely, if all reports are true.

got heavy muscles..!!

Intense shelling accompanied by a huge attack on airbase by anti armed groups as we speak..

Enormous fires spread in refinery as air-forces bombarded a huge oil tanker inside the refinery..

In unprecedented escalation; forces storm all houses close the Green Zone and confiscate all weapons they found

Pipeline exploded. Huge column of black smoke resulted of random intense shelling by on .

A reportedly downed near ..

3rd major shutdown in in 2 weeks.


Military parade of shiite -militia today in -with explosive vest

president want to support this shiite militia against ?

Map of -controlled areas in &

 Retweeted by Mark
and the massive fires in the Oil refinery few minutes ago..

blow up old border posts of the "Sykes & Picot" borderline btw &

Clashes continues inside refinery - uses 5 helicopters in the battle

 Retweeted by Mark
somebody combined my and map,this is the result

Kurdish Forces Fight ISIS North of Baghdad

By RUDAW 11 hours ago
A Peshmerga officer on the frontlines. Photo: Rudaw
A Peshmerga officer on the frontlines. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces reported continued fighting in the ethnically-mixed town of Jalawla, north of the Iraqi capital, but said they had nearly seized full control from Islamist insurgents who have vowed to march on Baghdad to overthrow the Shiite-led government.
“Peshmerga forces control 90 percent of the neighborhoods in Jalawla,” said Ali Shaheed, a commander of Asayish (security) forces in Garmiyan, in the autonomous Kurdistan Region. “The outskirts of Jalawla are also controlled by our forces,” he added, about a town that is just a little more than 150 kilometers north of Baghdad.
He said that only one of the town districts, Tajneed, was still in the hands of the fervently Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been in the lead of rebels who since last week have racked up stunning victories. They captured sweeping swathes of Iraq’s Sunni-populated territories, including the second-largest city, Mosul, and are fighting to take over the Baiji oil refinery, Iraq’s largest.
The fighters, bands of jihadis from different Islamist groups and loyalists of Iraq’s ousted regime, say they want to topple the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Islamists’ goal is to create an Islamic state on territory straddling Iraq and Syria.
The Kurdish commander said that the Peshmerga forces had launched a heavy artillery attack on Tajneed two days ago, but failed to dislodge the rebels.
“The town of Sadiyah, the village of Marjana and the region of Kobrat, which were previously controlled by the Iraqi army, are now under control of the armed groups,” Shaheed said.
Iraqi forces collapsed and fled under the ISIS attack on Mosul, leaving behind even their weapons. The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) then moved its Peshmerga forces into Kurdish-populated areas outside its official borders, including the prize city of Kirkuk.
Diyala province has been a stronghold of the Islamists, but with an ethnically-mixed population that includes many Kurds.  
Maliki, whose intransigence and negligence of the country’s very large Sunni minority is blamed for the present turmoil, has declared a state of emergency and – together with the highest Shiite authorities – called on followers to take up arms and for Shiite militias to revive and fight the Sunni militants.
Maliki’s government has pleaded for US intervention, including airstrikes. US President Barack Obama said Thursday his administration is looking at ways of helping, but without deploying troops. 
Amid the fighting and confusion over who holds which territory, two Peshmerga soldiers who mistakenly drove into an ISIS checkpoint were captured by the militants, after a similar incident last week.
According to relatives of the detained Peshmergas, ISIS demands for their release vary each time they speak to them through local tribes. 
A tribal chief, who spoke to Rudaw on condition of animosity, said that efforts for the release of the Peshmergas were underway. “We are talking to the armed men to have them released, and all the tribal leaders of the area demand their release, too.”
He added that in Sadiyah, where it is in full control, the ISIS has imposed a curfew.  “Most of the insurgents are not Iraqis,” the chief disclosed. “They are from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Tunisia and Algeria.”
He explained that, because of the many orchards in and around the town, the militants are using motorbikes to get around.
Another tribal chief, Sheikh Abdulsamad from the Zirgushia tribe, said that people in the areas, including Kurds, Arabs and Turkomans, had taken up arms against the ISIS.

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric urges for new govt

Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants, carry weapons and a portrait of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a parade in the streets in Baghdad’s Sadr city June 14, 2014. (Reuters)
In an implicit criticism of the embattled incumbent premier Nouri al-Maliki, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite majority called for a new, “effective” government on Friday.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for the “formation of an effective government that is acceptable on a ... national level (and) avoids past mistakes,” in remarks made by his spokesman on his behalf, Agence France-Presse reported.
“It is necessary for the winning political blocs to start a dialogue that yields an effective government that enjoys broad national support, avoids past mistakes and opens new horizons toward a better future for all Iraqis,” the Associated Press quoted al-Sisanti as saying in a message delivered by his representative Ahmed al-Safi in the holy city of Karbala.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term following an April 30 general election, is under fire both domestically and internationally for allegedly exclusionary policies towards the Sunni Arab minority that helped set the stage for a militant offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey and David Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, have all either called for Maliki to be more inclusive, or criticized him outright.

The country’s fate

U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday that Maliki’s actions could dictate the fate of the country, amid a growing feeling in Washington that the Iraqi leader would do best by moving on.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said on Friday that Iraq needed a government of national unity, with or without Maliki, to counter a Sunni rebel insurgency.

Faulting Maliki for failing to ensure a more inclusive form of government, Fabius said it was critical now to better involve Sunni moderates to avoid them siding with what he described as the “terrorist group” Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda splinter organization.
Iraq’s Shiites deeply revere Sistani and a call to arms he made last week prompted thousands of Shiites to volunteer to fight against ISIS.
The Iranian-born Sistani, who is believed to be 86, lives in the holy city of Najaf south of Baghdad. A recluse, he rarely ventures out of his home and does not give interviews.

Maliki’s opponents

With Iraq in turmoil, Maliki’s rivals have mounted a campaign to force him out of office, with some angling for support from Western backers and regional heavyweights. On Thursday, their effort received a massive boost from Obama, who said: “Only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis.”

“We’ve said publicly, that whether (Maliki) is prime minister or any other leader aspires to lead the country, that there has to be an agenda in which Sunni, Shiite and Kurd all feel that they have the opportunity to advance their interest through the political process,” the president said.

An “inclusive agenda” has not been high on the priorities of al-Maliki, however. Many of al-Maliki’s former Kurdish and Shiite allies have been clamoring to deny the prime minister a third term in office, charging that he has excluded them from a narrow decision-making circle of close confidants.

Maliki’s efforts last year to crush protests by Sunnis complaining of discrimination under his Shiite-led government sparked a new wave of violence by militants, who took over the city of Fallujah in the western, Sunni-dominated province of Anbar and parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi. Iraqi army and police forces battling them for months have been unable to take most areas back.
Iraq’s newly elected parliament must meet by June 30 to elect a speaker and a new president, who in turn will ask the leader of the largest bloc to form a new government.

( note the warning that US Special Forces Advisors might be attacked - i think kidnappings may occur.That could come from either the Opposition or a betrayal by government forces or Sadr camp .. ) 

Obama warns U.S. firepower won’t unify Iraq

Obama has held off approving the airstrikes sought by the Iraqi government. (Photo courtesy: CNN)
U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that no amount of U.S. firepower could keep Iraq together if its political leaders did not disdain sectarianism and work to unite the country.

Obama told CNN Friday, a day after announcing the dispatch of 300 special forces advisors to Iraq following a lightning advance by extreme Sunni radicals, that American sacrifices had given Iraq a chance at a stable democracy, but it had been squandered.

"There's no amount of American firepower that's going to be able to hold the country together," Obama said in an interview.

"I made that very clear to [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-] Maliki and all of the other leadership inside of Iraq."

"We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy. To work across sectarian lines to provide a better future for their children. And unfortunately what we've seen is a breakdown of trust," Obama said.

Washington has pointedly declined to endorse Prime Minister al-Maliki, a Shiite, who is blamed here for failing to reach out to the Sunni community in the two-and-a-half years since US troops left, thus laying the conditions for the current crisis.

Obama is warning that only a new effort to frame an "inclusive" political system by Iraqi leaders will keep the country together and repel the challenge from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters who have seized several key cities in Iraq, including Mosul.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most respected voice for Iraq's Shiite majority, also mounted pressure on Maliki to seek an exit to the crisis via a political solution.
He called on Maliki to form an inclusive government or step aside.

His thinly veiled reproach was the most influential to place blame on the Shiite prime minister for the nation's spiraling crisis.

The focus on the need to replace Maliki comes as Iraq faces its worst crisis since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.
Over the past two weeks, Iraq has lost a big chunk of the north to the Al-Qaeda-inspired Sunni militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, whose lightning offensive led to the capture of Mosul, the nation's second-largest city.

The gravity of the crisis has forced the usually reclusive al-Sistani, who normally stays above the political fray, to wade into politics, and his comments, delivered through a representative, could ultimately seal Maliki's fate.

Calling for a dialogue between the political coalitions that won seats in the April 30 parliamentary election, Sistani said it was imperative that they form "an effective government that enjoys broad national support, avoids past mistakes and opens new horizons toward a better future for all Iraqis."

Deeply revered by Iraq's majority Shiites, Sistani's critical words could force Maliki, who emerged from relative obscurity in 2006 to lead the country, to step down.

On Thursday, Obama stopped short of calling for al-Maliki to resign, but his carefully worded comments did all but that. "Only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis," Obama declared at the White House.

The Iranian-born Sistani, believed to be 86, lives in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, where he rarely ventures out of his modest house on a narrow alley near the city's Imam Ali shrine and does not give media interviews.
His call to arms last week prompted thousands of Shiites to volunteer to fight against the Sunni militants who now control a large swath of territory astride both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.

The extent of al-Sistani's influence was manifested in the years following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq when he forced Washington to modify its blueprint for the country and agree to the election of a constituent assembly that drafted the nation's constitution.

For the past two years, he has shunned politicians of all sects, refusing to receive any of them to show his disillusionment with the way they run the country. However, the danger posed by the Islamic State militants appears to have forced him to say more.

His call to arms has given the fight against the Sunni insurgents the feel of a religious war between Shiites and Sunnis. His office in Najaf dismissed that charge, with his representative, Ahmed al-Safi, saying Friday: "The call for volunteers targeted Iraqis from all groups and sects. ... It did not have a sectarian basis and cannot be."

Al-Maliki's State of Law bloc won the most seats in the April vote, but his hopes to retain his job are in doubt with rivals challenging him from within the broader Shiite alliance. In order to govern, his bloc must first form a majority coalition in the new 328-seat legislature, which must meet by June 30.

If al-Maliki were to relinquish his post now, according to the constitution the president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, would assume the job until a new prime minister is elected. But the ailing Talabani has been in Germany for treatment since 2012, so his deputy, Khudeir al-Khuzaie, a Shiite, would step in for him.

Al-Maliki's Shiite-led government long has faced criticism of discriminating against Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish populations. But it is his perceived marginalization of the once-dominant Sunnis that sparked violence reminiscent of Iraq's darkest years of sectarian warfare in 2006 and 2007.

Shiite politicians familiar with the secretive efforts to remove al-Maliki said two names mentioned as replacements are former vice president Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite and French-educated economist, and Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite who served as Iraq's first prime minister after Saddam Hussein's ouster. Others include Ahmad Chalabi, a one-time Washington favorite to lead Iraq, and Bayan Jabr, another Shiite who served as finance and interior minister under al-Maliki.

Nearly three years after he heralded the end of America's war in Iraq, Obama announced Thursday he was deploying up to 300 military advisers to help quell the insurgency. They join some 275 troops in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other American interests.

But the U.S. leader was adamant that U.S. troops would not be returning to combat.

Obama has held off approving the airstrikes sought by the Iraqi government, though he says he could still approve "targeted and precise" strikes if the situation required it and if U.S. intelligence gathering identified potential targets.

Manned and unmanned U.S. aircraft are now flying over Iraq 24 hours a day on intelligence missions, U.S. officials say.

A Shiite politician close to Maliki said Obama did not offer enough to help Iraq at its hour of need.

"His plan does not rise up to the level of Iraqi-U.S. relations. His message is clear: America is not ready to fight terrorism," said the official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Another Shiite, cleric Nassir al-Saedi, warned that the 300 advisers would be attacked. Al-Saedi is loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia fought the Americans during their eight-year presence in Iraq.