Sunday, July 13, 2014

Iraq Updates ( July 13 , 2014 ) -- Iraq Parliament Session for July 13 , 2014 delayed until Tuesday ...... Kurds continue progress toward independence and control over all oil in their territory of Kurdistan.....Overview of the state of play in the ongoing sectarian warfare in Iraq ......

SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

Iraq SITREP 13th July: The time of the Kurds, and Terroristan

Quote of the Day (Khamenei on the US demanding the closure of the underground nuclear facility at Fordow): it is laughable that the US demanded Iran to shut down its Fordow nuclear facility because it happens to be inaccessible and cannot be targeted in an air strike 

Thought for the day: To bury or not to bury…everything

13th July: The Iraqi Parliament session is adjourned to Tuesday. Problems arose on the nomination of Hussain al Shahristani. Maliki had replaced Hoshyar Zebari with Hussein al-Shahristani as Iraq’s Foreign Minister earlier. The dispute arose between Maliki’s State of the Law Coalition rooting for Shahrastani for the post of Deputy Speaker while the National Coalition backed Humam Hamoudi. 

13th July: Kurdish MPs agreed to attend Parliament on Sunday but were delayed at Erbil airport on account of bad weather. 

13th July: An audio recording released by rebels has Saddam’s Ba’athist general Ibrahim Izzat Al Douri praising Jihadist rebel fighters: “We give them a special salute with pride, appreciation and love;” talks about amnesty given; and other Sunni groups falling in line behind Daash. The recording remains unverified. 

13th July: Hamid al-Hayes, head of the Anbar Salvation Council says that there are only 600 Daash fighters in Anbar provinve and that they move from place to place to assert power. He was confident that local tribes and security forces will get rid of Daash soon. 

13th July: Gunmen have blown up the Sunni Endowment Building in Tal Afar. Daash and rebel forces have been in control of Tal Afar since 25th June. It is unclear who carried out the bombing. 

13th July: A refugee family is attacked in Sinjar on its way to Iraqi Kurdistan. Two people are killed when the car they were travelling in was attacked by Daash fighters. Similar incidents have been reported earlier. The families are trying to make their way South from Iraqi Kurdistan. 

13th July: Gunmen attack two buildings in Iraq and execute 25 women residing there with silenced weapons. The attackers left a note on the entrance stating “this is the fate of all prostitutes.” You can kill each other, but as long as you keep your morals intact. 

The district where the killing took place had seen a similar attack in May 2013 when 6 women and 5 men were similarly summarily executed. 

13th July: Army shelling and air strikes have left 10 dead and 24 injured in Fallujah 

13th July: Daash fighters/rebels assault the town of Haditha, manage to take hold of a few crossroads despite heavy resistance, and withdraw abruptly. Hadtha is the site of a hydro electric power plant and is under government control. The government is defending the town with the help of the local Al-Jegayfa tribe, Awakening members and local volunteers. 

The government had carried out airstrikes that destroyed 15 Daash/rebel vehicles 

13th July: The Sunni Motahedoun party has selected Salim al-Jobouri as its choice of speaker. He replaces Usama al-Nujayfi who previously held this post. 

13th July: Kurdish forces are demobilizing child soldiers in keeping with International Law. 

13th July: Massoud Barzani (President of Iraqi Kurdistan) and Joe Biden (Vice President of the USA) discuss government formation in Iraq and concur that any new government should recognize ground realities and political changes that have taken place. 

13th July: Dhuluiyah, a town to the north of Baghdad, has been more or less overrun by Daash/rebel fighters. The town had earlier been taken by rebels who were repelled by government troops and allied tribes but have steadily made a comeback. 

13th July: Daash fighters prevent Sunni Imams from reciting the Quran before and after Friday prayers in Falujah calling it an innovation. They have also prevented mourners from putting up details of the deceased on boards. 

13th July: Atta’s/Government claims for the day: 

Clashes between security forces in Muqdadiya, north eastern Baqouba have left 4 Daash/rebel fighters and two policemen dead 

Iraqi air force bombs a convoy of Daash/rebel fighters north of Tikrit 

20 individuals are arrested by the police in Basra 

The Iraqi Air Force bombards Cobra Camp held by Daash/rebel fighters and is proud of destroying its own looted equipment at the camp. Government claims that 50+ Daash/rebel fighters are killed
Security Forces in Basra nab kidnappers in Basra and frees a hostage held by them


11th July: Maher Rahhal the head of the Liwa Al-Mujahideen, a rebel group fighting the Syrian Government is assassinated in Amman, Jordan. Double tap, but investigations are on. 

12th July: Mohammed al-Joulani the head of the Nusra Front hopes to establish an Islamic emirate similar to the DI of Daash with backing from the Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdullah Mohaisany. Welcome to Terroristan ! 

13th July: A businessman linked with financing terrorism/extremism is assassinated in Mombasa, Kenya. His death is believed to be linked to other killings of people suspected of financing extremist groups, in a possible government run anti terrorism drive. 

13th July: Hezballah is running a soup kitchen that supplies 2100 packets of food aid daily to 700 poor families in four suburbs of Beirut. A third of the families are Sunni Muslim. The soup kitchen is for the duration of Ramadan. It is called the “Table of Imam Zain al-Abidin” named after the fourth Shia Imam. 

13th July: The United States blacklists the Star Group of Holdings of Lebanon for having ties with Hezballah. 

13th July: Abu Mohammed Al Maqdissi an Al Qaida spiritual leader in Jordan issues a Fatwa calling the DI of Daash “null and void.” It ain’t the right Islam, without the right fanatics.

Further Reading: 

Swift Justice, Daash style:
Turkey starts to simmer:
Future Group needs be taught the difference between apples and bananas:

Baghdad still has levers of control over  Kurds..... Rudaw

Why Kurdistan Still Doesn’t Have its Oil Money

By Alexander Whitcomb 11 minutes ago
Due to ongoing disputes over the legality of KRG’s independent oil sales, the Turkish government has been waiting for an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad over how to divide the revenue.
Due to ongoing disputes over the legality of KRG’s independent oil sales, the Turkish government has been waiting for an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad over how to divide the revenue.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A delegation of Kurdish ministers is in Turkey to sign new oil export agreements.  But its members also have a much bigger task: they must make sure the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) can ultimately be paid for its oil sales. 
“The purpose behind the visit regards a bank account for Kurdish oil revenue, which has been sold through Turkey, and transferring the account into the Kurdistan Region,” said Rebar Muhammad, the KRG minister of finance. He is part of the delegation that is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami.
Despite the fact it has at least $93 million in its account at Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish Bank, the autonomous region hasn’t been able to withdraw earnings from the sale of oil exported via a new pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.  
Due to ongoing disputes over the legality of KRG’s independent oil sales, the Turkish government has been waiting for an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad over how to divide the revenue.
“Previously the KRG has indicated it would retain 17 percent and transfer 83 percent to Baghdad in line with its interpretation of the Iraqi constitution,” says Richard Mallinson, an analyst with London-based consultancy Energy Aspects.  
“But the suspension of fiscal transfer from Baghdad, and KRG claims of historic underpayment, have brought that into question,” he adds. 
“The Turkish government has previously indicated it will not allow money to be transferred out of Halkbank until Erbil and Baghdad had agreed the distribution, which I think may still be the main hold-up.” 
Such an agreement looks out of reach for the moment. Kurdish cabinet members have boycotted participation in the Iraqi government following Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s accusation that Kurds are harboring terrorist leaders in Erbil. Meanwhile, efforts to form a new government in Baghdad have been unsuccessful.  
Mallinson indicates there may still be hope for the cash-strapped Kurdish government, which relies upon the oil revenue to safeguard its economic and political autonomy.
“Perhaps Turkey can be persuaded to allow a transfer,” he suggests. “After all, they have shifted to allowing cargoes to load without Baghdad's approval,” deciding to let Kurds ship their oil without waiting for a green light from Baghdad.
Yet even if the KRG can withdraw the funds, major obstacles remain to secure a steady stream of oil income.  Baghdad has used international legal and diplomatic pressure to scare away potential buyers, including suing Turkey and the Turkish pipeline operator, BOTAS, for facilitating the sale.
Iraq hired Houston–based energy firm Vinson & Elkins to target potential buyers, writing letters threatening legal action and denial of access to the 75 percent of Iraqi oil produced in the rest of the country. 
These tactics have been successful thus far, as only one of four tankers filled with Kurdish pipeline oil has unloaded its cargo, sold to an anonymous buyer. Baghdad also cut off the region’s budget to pressure the KRG to halt independent oil sales. 
Kurdish Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawtami remains confident that the region’s oil exports will be sold.
"We will be self-sufficient by year-end. In terms of revenue, yes,“ Hawrami told reporters a day before his Turkey trip.
“See, Baghdad made the wrong calculation,” he continued. “They thought that they were strangling us by cutting our budget unfairly, illegally and unconstitutionally as a punishment. They have miscalculated the will of the Kurdish people; they fight back and we will match that expectation we have. We will be free with our own revenue as opposed to be being under the thumb of dictators in Baghdad.”


Where is Kurdistan’s Gold? Ask Baghdad

According to gold prices in Iraq and on international markets, the Kurdistan Region’s share of the gold in Baghdad amounts to nearly $224 million.
According to gold prices in Iraq and on international markets, the Kurdistan Region’s share of the gold in Baghdad amounts to nearly $224 million.
By Muhamad Hadi
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) owns more than five tons of gold, which could help relieve some of the financial crunch that Erbil is experiencing. But the problem is, it’s in Baghdad.
Adham Khurshid, manager of the Kurdistan Region’s Central Bank, explained that only the Central Bank of Iraq had been given the authority to buy or sell and store gold. Of the 31 tons of gold stored in Baghdad, the KRG owned 17 percent, he said.
“The Kurdistan Region owns 17 percent of the total gold and financial assets of the Iraqi Central Bank,” said Khurshid, meaning the Kurds own 5.27 tons of the reserve gold in Baghdad.
Constitutionally, Erbil has a 17 percent share of the national budget, but the Kurds have complained that Baghdad had always skimped on paying the full amount, until a total freeze earlier this year that infuriated the Kurds and strengthened their resolve for independence. 
According to gold prices in Iraq and on international markets, the Kurdistan Region’s share of the gold in Baghdad amounts to nearly $224 million.
If the KRG had been able to store gold, the reserves could have gone some way in relieving the embargo imposed by Baghdad against Erbil, which has brought on a crisis.
Legally, the Kurdistan Region also has a share in the Iraqi Central Bank’s cash reserve, whose total is estimated at $60 million.
There may be no gold at Kurdistan’s main bank, but there is still plenty of gold in Kurdistan – three times more than the Iraqi Central Bank’s total by some estimates.
Qaraman Jawhar, chairman of the goldsmith’s guild in Kurdistan, said the Kurdish market was also rich with Gold. “There are around 30 tons of gold in the Kurdish market,” nearly as much as the total holdings of Baghdad. “There are more than 1,400 gold trading permits issued in the provinces of the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
Economist Muhammad Rauf explained that, “During local or international economic crises many countries tend to purchase gold because, unlike cash, gold retains its value.”

Tweets. of note - FWIW

Unconfirmed ; a student killed in anti demonstration inside university

 Retweeted by Alexblx
Sources: Several students killed after security forces opened fire towards anti demonstration inside university

Sources: Purpose of 's senior delegation to is to collect oil revenues and transfer it to KRG's account from Halkbank.

Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations tweets, "US should be backing Kurdish entity, not...

Spoke with Salim al-Jabouri earlier tonight and offered our congratulations on his nomination to serve as 's next parliament speaker.

State of law coalition agrees not to choose Nuri al- as a candidate for the role of Prime Minister, and he...

 Retweeted by Hannah Allam
Iraq violence update: At least 206 people killed, 438 wounded 1-12 July (avg. of 17 killed, 36 wounded/day)

Insurgents who control large parts of northern Iraq attacked a town north of , seizing local govt buildings.

The absence of 26 Kurdish parliament members delayed the Iraqi parliament meeting to Tuesday.

Iraq parliament postpones meeting on new government to Tuesday

 Retweeted by Memlik Pasha
As Iraq MPs squabble, militants gain ground in renewed offensive, blow up police stations, court, bridge

 Retweeted by Hannah Allam
Iraq parliament adjourns without making any progress toward new govt: MP

Anti War.....

Over 300 Killed in Iraq Security Ops and Militant Attacks
by , July 12, 2014
In a positive sign that the politics may be moving forward, the Sunni political bloc announced their candidate for the speaker’s post. Meanwhile, at least 323 people were killed today and 43 more were wounded. Almost 200 militants were killed during major operations in Tikrit and Jalawla.
The Sunni political bloc has nominated Salim al-Jabouri to be the next parliamentary speaker, but they and the Kurds still insist they will not continue to cooperate if the Shi’ites pick Nouri al-Maliki for premier again. It appeared that Sunnis and Kurds were not going to reveal their choices until the Shi’ites disclosed their selection, but backing off that stance is a good sign that the lawmakers are moving past bickering.
The three top posts each go to one of the three largest ethnic or religious groups in the country. The Sunnis pick the speaker. The Shi’ites pick the prime minister, and the Kurds get to select the president.
Iraq is deploying about 4,000 newly trained "volunteers" to Ramadi to reinforce troops already there. That most of them will be Shi’ites could further inflame sectarian tensions in the predominantly Sunni province. It may be more prudent to encourage Sunni militias, but many Sunnis have said they will not consider fighting unless Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down. Many others admit they prefer the rebels to Maliki.
Refugees fleeing the Islamic State have taken up residence in Halabja, where Saddam used chemical weapons to killed 5,000 people in the 1980s.
In Baghdad, gunmen stormed a brothel in the Zayouna neighborhood where theykilled 33 people, mostly women, and wounded 18 more. At three separate locations, at least six militants were killed. 323 43 242
Heavy fighting continues at a Diyala military base adjacent to Muqdadiya. State TV reported the deaths of 24 militants, while the morgue said 18 Shi’ite militiamen were killed. Helicopter strikes killed seven civilians, including children, in nearby villages.
Thirteen militants and four policemen were killed during an assault on Haditha.
Helicopter strikes in Falluja left three civilians dead and 18 wounded.
In Mosul, shelling targeting militants killed six people and wounded seven more. A militant leader was killed.
Militant kidnapped an official of the Independent High Electoral Commission inBaquba.
Air strikes near Tikrit killed 125 militants.
Peshmerga forces began a major operation and airstrikes in Jalawla. At least 50 militants were killed.
A number of militants were killed in Suleiman Bek.

Vineyard of the Saker ....

July 12th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo

Iraq SITREP 12th July: Tony Blair and the orphans of Iraq

Quote of the (an earlier) day: General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on hearing of Ayatollah Sistani’s call for defensive Jihad, “the call that the Ayatollah Sistani put out for volunteers is being answered and it complicates the situation, frankly, a bit.” 

Thought for the day: What did it complicate? The falling of Baghdad?

11th July: Ayatollah Sistani asks through his Friday Sermon that the three positions being contested: Prime Minister, President, and Speaker be decided during the next session of Parliament. 

12th July: Human Rights Watch claims that government forces and allied Shia militias have killed over 250 Sunni Prisoners since the 9th of June. 

12th July: Baghdadi’s family from his Albu Badri clan has left Samarra for the north of Iraq, Mosul and Tikrit, in fear of retaliation. 

12th July: Reuters is reporting the recruitment and training of underage soldiers by Shia militias. 

12th July: Sadr’s Ahrar block in parliament insists that it’s not just the position of President, Prime Minister and Speaker that need to be decided before parliament meets, but every minister that will be appointed. 

12th July: Jalawla city in Diyala province is divided in two. The north and centre are with Peshmerga forces, while the southern area is still in rebel hands. Most of the south of the city is Arab. Recent clashes between the two had led to casualties on both sides: 4 Peshmergas killed, 6 injured; 8 Daash/Rebel fighters killed over a dozen injured 

12th July: Daash has asked all retailers in Mosul to refrain from selling “un-Islamic” garments. One week respite has been provided to the vendors to dispose of their inventory. Season Sales and discounts are inevitable, lessons in retail management by Daash. 

12th July: Unidentified gunmen kidnap the head of the Independent High Electoral Commission, Amer Lateef from his orchard south of Baqouba. His fate is unknown. May God protect him. 

12th July: Ali Majidi, the assistant secretary of the Iranian Oil Ministry says that Iran is willing to meet any shortfall in the demand for oil as a consequence of the turmoil in Iraq. He called Iran the most stable oil supplier in the region. 

12th July: 170 families from Sinjar, the west of Mosul, have arrived in Baghdad. They had fled theadvance oof Daash. They have been housed by Sadr’s Al Salam brigades in a school and are being supplied with necessities by the militia. 

12th July: Displaced Families from Tal Afar have resorted to selling their children out of hunger and desperation. May God Curse those behind this suffering and may he help these poor families in their hour of need. 

Those who support orphans and the impoverished people will be honored by Allah. (Ali ibn Abi Talib) 

12th July: Ibrahim al Jafari, former Prime Minister of Iraq, has met with the US ambassador in Iraq, Stephen Beecroft, and his deputy. They have agreed that the three key posts need to be decided soon. 

12th July: Kurdish politicians are seeing the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan as inevitable. They have categorically rejected Iran’s interference in Kurdistan’s plans for independence. 

12th July: Egypt’s President Sisi volunteers to help rival political parties in Iraq reach an amicable solution 

12th July: Maliki replaces Hoshyar Zebari with Hussein al-Shahristani as Iraq’s Foreign Minister after the former boycotts Maliki’s cabinet meeting. Zebari, a senior Kurdish politician, boycotted the meeting after Maliki accused Iraqi Kurdistan of harboring Terrorists. 

12th July: Atta’s/Government claims for the day: 

A judge, Abu Abdul Rahman aka Hakim Shalal, belonging to Daash is killed along with his retinue of four in Hawija district, the south of Kirkuk. He was killed by security forces in coordination with the air force.
Security forces kill three rebel snipers in Saddam’s hometown of Al-Ouja 

The Iraqi army intelligence claims to have destroyed rebel supply lines in Babil and to have killed a large number of rebels. Confrontation between the security forces and Daash/rebel fighters in Jurf al-Sakher area of babil is ongoing.

The army has cleared the road from Tikrit University till a supply depot within the city. Over 250 vehicles have been seized. 

Two senior leaders within Daash have been killed in an airstrike in Mosul 

The air force kills 3 Daash militants in an air strike on their vehicle in Diyala 

A suicide bomber is killed by Security Personnel in Baqouba 

Counter terrorism units arrest 8 militants suspected of filling over 80 people in Babel 

Security forces raid a militant’s house in eastern Baqouba and recover Israeli made weaponry 

11 Daash/rebel fighters are killed and 4 vehicles destroyed in the north of Tikrit

Related News: 

9th July: Jordanian border guards clash with Daash militants and injure three on the Jordanian Syrian border. 

11th July: The Lebanese Army raids the town of Fneideq in the north and recovers explosive belts. It also seizes detonators in Beirut. It carried out the raids based on the information it recovered from arrests made recently. Further chilling details: 

12th July: Houthi Shia fighters in Yemen agree to withdraw forces from Amran, north of Sana. 

12th July: Tribes loyal to Al Qaida blow up an oil pipeline in Habab, Yemen.

Short Analysis (cont) 

As most commentators correctly pointed out, this BBC article was more propaganda than substance: 

This link by Christoph Germann makes it very clear: 

I have, for the moment learnt my lesson, no more trusting the BBC. 

Further reading: 

Another excellent link by Christoph Germann

“The cleric, a recluse who favors a behind-the-scenes role, kicked off his newly assertive stance on June 13 with a call for Iraqis to take up arms against a Sunni insurgency - the first fatwa of its kind in a century, clerics familiar with Sistani's thinking say, motivated by his fear the state faced collapse.” 

A very condescending paragraph from Reuters: 

“a recluse”
He is accessible to those who seek answers/guidance
“who favors a behind-the-scenes role”
He’s apolitical
“call for Iraqis to take up arms against a Sunni insurgency”
The call was to defend
“his fear the state faced collapse”
He was right

Deciphering Sistani: