Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Iraq Updates ( July 9, 2014 ) -- Even as the Iraq Parliament now says it will meet July 13th , rather than August 12th , to try to form a new Government - there's absolutely no reason to believe any such Government will be formed ..... The latest news from Kurdistan , relating to the political and security situations , the latest state of play !

Vineyard of the Saker...

July 9th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo

NB: Please note that I am not mentioning/addressing the Israeli Palestinian conflict in these SITREPs. I expect very little to change there in terms of (im)Balance of Power, unless Hezballah decides to step in (unlikely for now). The suffering of the people there, is endless.

Correction: In yesterday's SITREP I referred to Tom Malinowski as the US Ambassador to Bahrain. He is not, he is the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, a diplomat only. Thank you anonymous for pointing this out.

8th July: Tom Malinowski on being deported "Seems #Bahrain government decision not about me but about undermining dialogue."

9th July: Fifty three bodies are found in a Shia neighbourhood of Baghdad. the dead were shot in the chest and head and are believed to be Sunni men suspected of being militants, killed and dumped arbitrarily

9th July: Maliki on TV: "We will never be silent about Irbil being a headquarters for the terrorist operations of [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant], and Baathists and al-Qaeda."

9th July: Massoud Barzani says that the Kurds are no longer liable to Iraq's constitution

9th July: Milliyet newspaper in Turkey reports that Daash fighters are using over 1000 vehicles stolen in Turkey within Syria

9th July: Daash fighter to a released Turkish truck driver "Order came from upper ones and we have to release you."

9th July: Daash claims that the watch worn by Baghdadi is neither a Rolex nor an omega but one that tells "prayer time." Why not wear a sun dial? It will be so in keeping with their thinking.

9th July: Daash claims responsibility for suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad

9th July: Trucks transporting goods to Iraq have been stopped by Truck Unions in Jordan out of safety concerns

9th July: Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman, head of the Dulaim tribe in Ramadi: "Maliki is more dangerous than Daash." On being asked about the composition of the rebels "First they are the sons of true tribes and their affiliates, including many armed factions. For example the Islamic Army, the Naqshbandi Army, police officers who defected and stood alongside their people, and former experienced army officers who train and lead attacks and military operations."

9th July: The Kurds claim to have killed 200 Daash fighters in Northern Iraq in regions bordering Turkey

9th July: the Peshmergas have warned the government in Baghdad of any further air raids or attacks on Tuz Khurmatu that they control. The government has stated that recent air raids were a mistake and were meant to target Suleiman Beg which is held by rebels

9th July: The arms bazaars in Kurdish areas are seeing a fall in the prices of firearms. This is on account of a higher demand for American made weapons such as the M16, M4, and M60 that the Iraqi army abandoned and fled

9th July: The provincial council of Najaf bans the sale of Saudi merchandise. Merchants have been given a time extension before the ban comes into effect to sell off existing stock

9th July: The Iraqi government tells the UN that it is unable to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons as the Muthanna chemical complex has been taken over by rebel fighters on the 11th of June and remains outside government control

9th July: Three car bombs explode in Hilla, Babel province killing 3 civilians and injuring 8 civilians and 3 security personnel

9th July: Abu Usama al-Musrati, Baghdadi's appointed Emir of Sa'diya district is killed in an IED attack on his convoy in Diyala along with two of his bodyguards/assistants. It is unclear if this is the same incident reported earlier on the 5th.

9th July: A rebel sniper kills a policeman and injures another in the north east of Baqouba

9th July: Abbas Al Khafaji the commander of federal police forces in Babel is injured when rebel fighters attack his patrol

9th July: Rebel/Daash fighters burn 1000s of acres of farmland cultivated with crops of melons and watermelons in northern Diyala

9th July: Atta's/Government claims for the day:

Sukhoi fighters bombed rebel/Daash positions in Babel killing 28
Anti terrorism units of the government in coordination with army aviation bomb Daash/rebel positions in Salah-il-Din province

Related news:

9th July: The Houthi Shias in Yemen have done a Daash for Amran. In overnight fighting that saw the top commander of a military base in Amran killed, the Houthis have seized prisoners, arms, and heavy equipment. 
A civil conflict is expected to start afresh with Saudi Arabia expected to intervene militarily.

9th July: Qatari intelligence operatives are arrested in the UAE

9th July: Syria's opposition National Coalition replaces Ahmed al Jabra with Hadi Al Bahra in Turkey. Mr Bahra has spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia, an added qualification for any future Syrian President

9th July: Military reports in Syria suggest that most rebel leaders in Aleppo are fleeing to Turkey

9th July: A little known but active and vicious terrorist group in Karachi, Pakistan, the Tehreek e Khilafat has pledged allegiance to Baghdadi's DI

Further reading:

The politburo of DI of Daash:

What could go wrong ?

Anti war .....

Pentagon Mulls Drone Strike Assassination of ISIS Leader

Caliph a 'Person of Great Interest' to US

by Jason Ditz, July 09, 2014
The Pentagon describes Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a “person of great interest to us,” which in Pentagon-speak means they’d really like to lob some missiles at him.
That’s unsurprising, because firing missiles at people is kind of their thing. But coming up with a pretext for a drone assassination against Baghdadi when he is not fighting against the US, and the US isn’t officially in the new Iraq war yet, isn’t easy.
The problem is two-fold, as not only is ISIS not fighting the US anywhere right now, but it is fighting two Shi’ite nations, Iraq and Syria, and assassinating their leader could spark a backlash against the US from Sunni nations that see the US taking sides in the sectarian wars.
US drone overflights are on the rise in Iraq, up to 50 flights a day according to officials, though so far there have been no strikes. Baghdadi has made some very high-profile public appearances in Mosul in recent days.
The argument right now is that ISIS might conceivably be a threat to the US Embassy in Baghdad, if the city falls to them. That’s kind of a flimsy argument, and if anything attempted killings could bring the US more directly into the war, and make them a much more appealing target for ISIS than they already were. Still, with the Obama Administration escalating the US role in Iraq at any rate, the question of direct involvement may soon be academic.


Maliki Claims Kurds ‘Sheltering ISIS in Arbil’

Claims Kurdistan a 'Base' for ISIS Operations

by Jason Ditz, July 09, 2014
As other Shi’ite politicians try to get Kurdish parties on board for a unity government, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki seems determined to make things much, much worse.
Today, Maliki claimed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was directly aiding ISIS with its takeover of western Iraq, and that the Kurdish capital city of Arbil has become an “operations base” for ISIS.
The claim is absurd, as the KRG’s Peshmerga fighters have been clashing intermittently with ISIS, and the US has set up an operations base of its own in Arbil, and it surely would’ve noticed if ISIS had beaten them there.
The Maliki allegations rather seem a continuation of his go-to strategy of trying to portray any political rivals as in league with terrorists. Similar efforts chased most Sunni politicians out of his previous government, and in the case of Vice President Tareq Hashemi, into exile.
Maliki has made clear he’s angry at the Kurds for seizing Kirkuk and moving closer to secession, but trying to pick a fight with them at this point seems like it will only ensure Kurdistan moves further toward independence.
Kurdish officials slammed the allegations, and say that Kurdish cabinet ministers will be boycotting meetings in Baghdad.


Iraqi Troops Surrounded by ISIS in Key Refinery Battle

75 Troops Left in Tiny Building at Vast Refinery

by Jason Ditz, July 09, 2014
The fighting over the Baiji Refinery, Iraq’s largest, looks to be moving into an endgame situation, with reports from Iraqi officials familiar with the situation saying they are down to just 75 troops, hold up in a small compound on the vast 300 acre site.
The 75 special forces troops are cut off from supplies and reinforcements, and are surrounded by ISIS fighters that control the rest of the facility, and their tribal allies who have been promised the right to run the operation when ISIS takes it outright.
ISIS is said to be reluctant to try to overrun the final compound over concerns of damaging important equipment and controls within, and seem content to wait the troops out.
Iraq’s military likewise seems unwilling to try to get any more troops into the facility, and is said to have ruled out trying to airlift supplies to the trapped troops, fearing the plane will get shot down.
The 75 were effectively all the remaining defense for the refinery for awhile, since the 400-strong battalion originally defended the site fled almost immediately. Though the special forces didn’t flee they have continued to lose out ground and are down to their last building.


President Barzani Blasts Accusations by Baghdad against Kurds

By RÛDAW 3 hours ago
Barzani said: ‘The Kurdish people will not relinquish their right to a referendum and they will make their decision.’ Photo: Rudaw
Barzani said: ‘The Kurdish people will not relinquish their right to a referendum and they will make their decision.’ Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In a letter to the people of Iraq on Tuesday, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani denounced accusations by Baghdad against the Kurds and their alleged role in the current turmoil.
“Some people today are inciting anti-Kurdish voices under different pretexts,” said Barzani. “They have launched a deceitful campaign against the Kurds and they are using state money for this kind of propaganda.”
In recent weeks several Iraqi leaders, mainly from the State of Law coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Dawa Party, have appeared on Iraqi media and accused the Kurds of “being part of a plot to divide Iraq.”
Barzani said that Maliki himself, and his bid for a third term, is the likely cause of Iraq’s undoing.
“If Maliki insists on a third term, then Iraq will be driven towards a precipice and no one can predict what will happen,” he said. “And no decision will bring the country back to its previous state.”
The Kurdish president said that the Iraqi premier has violated the constitution in many ways and on many occasions. 
“Abiding by the constitution is the only guarantee of Iraq’s integrity,” Barzani said. “The one who violates the constitution should blame himself,” he added. “All these years, we have only been asking for the implementation of the constitution.”
Kurdish leaders have long accused Maliki and his government of ignoring the constitution, particularly articles on an oil and gas law, “disputed territories” that are now under Kurdish control and Erbil’s share of the national budget.
At the end of his message, Barzani said the Kurds maintain the right to hold a referendum on self-determination.
“The Kurdish people will not relinquish their right to a referendum and they will make their decision,” he said.
Last week, Barzani asked the Kurdish parliament to set a date for a referendum on independence, as Iraq slides closer toward a full civil war under a jihadi-led insurgency, getting the ball rolling on Kurdish independence and the break-up of Iraq.

Saudi refutes UK media claims of ‘ISIS support’

Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province. (File photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia has denied financing or supporting militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after some UK media outlets accused the country of supporting the group which is currently taking over swathes of Iraq.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wishes to emphasize, once again, that it does not and has not supported, financially, morally or through any other means, the terrorist organization known as… (ISIS),” the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London said in a statement issued Tuesday.
“Despite having clarified this issue on numerous occasions, several inaccurate, misleading and distorted allegations, made by certain media outlets in the UK, requires us to do so,” the statement added.
“We urge the British and international media to take an in-depth look into the financial backing and organizational structure of this terrorist organization, as well as to report the situation in the region objectively and fairly and to verify allegations before reporting them as fact,” the statement said.
The statement also added that the kingdom believed “the lack of international involvement that has paved the way for terrorist affiliated networks to breed within Syria,” where the kingdom has been providing – through the Friends of Syria – support to the Syrian opposition.
The Friends of Syria group is an international diplomatic collective of countries and international bodies, organized by the United States, aimed at providing aid for the crisis in Syria.
“Through the Friends of Syria, Saudi Arabia has provided support only to the moderate Syrian opposition. All these groups share a common goal in supporting a political transition in Syria that will see the removal of the Assad regime. We believe it is the lack of international involvement that has paved the way for terrorist affiliated networks to breed within Syria,” the statement added.
Last March, Saudi Arabia blacklisted ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi branch of Shiite movement Hezbollah and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, labeling them terrorist organizations.
In June, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz ordered“all” necessary measures be taken to protect the kingdom, as ISIS extremist fighters began nearing the border shared between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Anti War.....

Iraq Parliament Reverses Decision, Will Meet Sunday

Had Previously Put Off Another Meeting Until August 12

by Jason Ditz, July 08, 2014
Faced with growing criticism after an announcement yesterday that they were not planning to even try another meeting this month, and would hold their next session August 12, Iraqi parliament has reversed course, and now promises to meet this upcoming Sunday.
Last week’s session was the first for the parliament since the election, and lasted less than 20 minutes before a walkout by Sunni Arabs and Kurdish MPs meant there was no longer a quorum.
They had initially planned to meet this week, but over the weekend it was revealed that talks on a new parliament speaker had not been resolved, and that they were putting the matter off.
With the growing ISIS war leaving the Islamist forces on the outskirts of Baghdad, time seems to be of the essence for parliament to meet while they still have a building to meet in. Still, if the MPs have not come any closer to an agreement on a speaker by Sunday, there is little reason to believe the meeting will be any more successful than last week’s.


 Retweeted by Memlik Pasha
New ISW SITREP is out. Seizing Sudur mini-dam could be important. ISIS used Fallujah Dam in spring effectively.

If ISF at Bayjī refinery complex have lost control of landing areas, will be difficult for IA aviation to airlift in supplies and ammo.

75 Iraqi commandos hold refinery under siege by Islamic State. get no help from Baghdad after rest of garrison fled:

Kurds will boycott the Iraqi government in response to Maliki's attack on Kurds. The collapse continues.

ISIS earns $1 million a day smuggling Iraqi oil to Kurdistan, via Tuz Khurmatu. Great reporting by

Nuri al-Maliki also said, we can't remain silent and let become a terrorist haven for .

Will the Region ditch the national currency and start printing bills of its own?

The text of the AP story on Iraqi WMD has completely changed since my tweet. No longer says ISIS seized sarin rockets

Massive fires spread after air-forces bombarded Oil tankers near few minutes ago..