Sunday, August 3, 2014

Iraq Update ( August 3 , 2014 ) - A great overview from Minfriedo on the Iraq situation covering August 1-2 , 2014 .... Surveying the ongoing civil War and regional aspects ( items of note from Anti war ) .... Items of note from Twitter today concerning the overall Iraq situation including items from Kurdistan !

I'm Back....... return from the CoffeeNado !

Islamic State takes control of Iraq’s biggest dam, oilfield

August 04, 2014 - 12:50:48 am
BAGHDAD: Islamic State fighters seized control of Iraq’s biggest dam, an oilfield and three more towns yesterday after inflicting their first major defeat on Kurdish forces since sweeping across much of northern Iraq in June.

Capture of the electricity-generating Mosul Dam, after an offensive of barely 24 hours, could give the Sunni militants the ability to flood major Iraqi cities or withhold water from farms, raising the stakes in their bid to topple Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s Shia-led government. “The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State have taken control of Mosul Dam after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces without a fight,” said Iraqi

state television.

The swift withdrawal of Kurdish “peshmerga” troops was an apparent severe blow to one of the only forces in Iraq that until now had stood firm against the Sunni Islamist fighters who aim to redraw the borders of the Middle East.

The Islamic State, which sees Iraq’s majority Shias as apostates who deserve to be killed, also seized the Ain Zalah oilfield — adding to four others already under its control that provide funding for operations — and three towns.

Initially strong Kurdish resistance evaporated after the start of an offensive to take the town of Zumar. The Islamists then hoisted their black flags there, a ritual that has often preceded mass executions of their captured opponents and the imposition of an ideology even Al Qaeda finds excessive. The group, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria to rule over all Muslims, poses the biggest challenge to the stability of OPEC member Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Yesterday, its members were also involved in fighting in a border town far away in Lebanon, a sign of its ambitions across the frontiers of the Middle East.

It controls cities in Iraq’s Tigris and Euphrates valleys north and west of Baghdad, and a swathe of Syria stretching from the Iraqi border in the east to Aleppo in the northwest.

Iraq’s Kurds, who rule themselves in a northern enclave guarded by the “peshmerga” units, had expanded areas under their control in recent weeks while avoiding direct confrontation with the Islamic State, even as Iraqi central government troops fled.

But the towns lost yesterday were in territory the Kurds had held for many years, undermining suggestions that the Islamic State’s advance has helped the Kurdish cause. Witnesses said Islamic State fighters were also trying to take control of the town of Rabia near the Syrian border and were engaged in clashes with Syrian Kurds who had crossed the frontier after Iraqi Kurds withdrew. 

ISIS Captures Iraq's Biggest Dam: Baghdad Water Supply In Jeopardy

Tyler Durden's picture

With the world's attention focused on the ongoing death and destruction in Gaza most have forgotten that just two months ago a vicious Al-Qaeda spinoff, after taking over the north of Iraq and a third of Syria's territory including its oil production facilities, proclaimed the creation of an Islamic State caliphate a few hundred kilometers north of Baghdad. The reason why the ISIS story fell off the front pages is that while the jihadists were consolidating their power in the caliphate region, it was believed that they have no chance of advancing onto Baghdad and the energy-rich Iraq regions south of Baghdad (and thus have little impact on the price of Brent). And yet there was one major "weakest link" - recall that a month ago we reported that "Baghdad May Lose Its Drinking Water As ISIS Approaches Dam", an outcome which would put Iraq's capital, and its 8 million residents, at the mercy of ISIS.
According to Al Arabia it is this "weakest link" that is now in play after ISIS took over Iraq's biggest dam unopposed by Kurdish fighters, who also lost three towns and an oilfield on Sunday to the Sunni militant group, witnesses said cited by Reuters.
Iraqi security officials said Wednesday that fighters for the
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were advancing on the Haditha Dam, the
second-largest in Iraq.
Islamic State fighters seized control of Iraq's biggest dam, an oilfield and two more towns on Sunday after inflicting their first major defeat on Kurdish forces since sweeping through the region in June

Local officials said militants with the extremist group Islamic State took control of the towns of Zumar and Sinjar near the city of Mosul on Sunday, waging fierce clashes with Kurdish forces.

The French news agency AFP quoted a United Nations spokesman saying 200,000 people have fled Sinjar and said there are grave concerns for their safety.
It gets worse: control of the dam could give ISIS, which has threatened to march on Baghdad, the ability to flood major cities.This in turn will merely serve to further facilitate the expansion of ISIS as it approaches Baghdad from the north...
Meanwhile, ISIS also seized two small towns in northern Iraq after driving out Kurdish security forces, officials and residents said, according to the Associated Press.

The fresh gains by the Sunni extremist militants have forced dozens of residents to flee from the religiously mixed towns of Zumar and Sinjar, near the militant-held city of Mosul, to the northern self-ruled Kurdish region.

Earlier on Sunday, ISIS militants have successfully captured an oil field close to the Iraqi town of Zumar after fighting with Kurdish forces who had control of the area.

ISIS, which had a lightning advance through northern Iraq in June, warned residents in nearby villages along the border with Syria to leave their homes, suggesting they were planning an assault, witnesses said. ISIS fighters killed 16 Kurdish troops in attacks in northern Iraq, while 30 pro-government forces died battling the jihadists on other frontlines, officials said Saturday.

Zumar is a small Kurdish-majority outpost northwest of Mosul, which used to be under federal government control but was taken over by the Peshmerga in June.

In other attacks on Saturday, five would-be volunteer fighters were killed and 16 wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on a Shiite militia recruitment center in the town of Balad, north of Baghdad, police said.
... and from the south.
In equally intense overnight fighting on the main front south of Baghdad, at least 23 pro-government forces were killed by relentless mortar shelling of their positions in Jurf al-Sakhr.

ISIS militants began attacking the town late Friday, killing 11 soldiers and 12 members of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, an officer and army medic said.

Another seven soldiers were wounded during a subsequent government operation against jihadist fighters in Jurf al-Sakhr, Al-Hamya and Latifiya, the sources said, claiming 37 IS fighters were killed.

Using the western city of Fallujah as a rear base, jihadists have repeatedly attacked Jurf al-Sakhr, where pro-government forces are keen to prevent a foray that would expose the nearby holy Shiite city of Karbala and further encircle Baghdad by cutting the main road to the south.
And if Baghdad does indeed fall, all those recent Crude shorts will be less than happy.
Finally, here is a visual summary of all the most recent clashes as ISIS approaches Baghdad, courtesy of the ISW:

August 03, 2014

Islamic State Attacks In Iraq And Lebanon

The Islamic State is on the march. Over the last days it had conquered several villages in Iraq and today it attacked and conquered the city of Sinjar and the surrounding province of the same name. This is in the north west of Iraq in the Nineveh governorate and the province, next to Mosul, was held by Kurd Peshmerga forces. These folded and fled after they ran out of ammunition. Many villages in the area are inhabited by Yazidi, an Kurd ethno-religious community with an ancient religion comparable to Zoroastrianism.
According to the UN over 200,000 Yazidi have fled from their homes for fear of getting killed by IS savages.

The fighting is moving to the Mosul dam, a strategic target more important than the city it is named after. Today the dam is still held by Kurd forces but as the Islamic State can now attack them from two sides their current position is in trouble.

It only now becomes clear how much material power IS has gained after some divisions of the Iraqi army around Mosul simply dissolved under its first attack. IS has salvaged the nearly complete inventory of four army divisions including tanks, missiles and thousands of tons of ammunition. This is enough material to fit out a mechanized army of some 60,000 men. IS also gained access to air-defense capabilities far beyond the usual Man Portable Missiles (MANPADs). The United States ordered its airlines to fly at higher altitudes over Iraq:
U.S. airlines are now prohibited from flying over Iraq below 30,000 feet, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The agency, which had previously restricted airlines from flying below 20,000, issued the new requirement because of "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Iraq."
The Islamic State is not only attacking in Iraq. In Syria, near the Lebanese border, the Syrian army supported by Hizbullah is clearing the western Qalamon mountain area were several thousand of insurgents had fled to. The Lebanese town of Arsal, just across the border, is the insurgents main support base. The Lebanese army had for some time isolated the town but in the last 24 hours was attacked by major Islamic State forces. Several Lebanese army and policemen were killed and some were captured. The Lebanese army is pouring in more forces but the fighting seems to be very serious. Breaking the isolation of Arsal would allow the Islamic State to attack other areas in Lebanon including those supporting Hizbullah.

The New York Times report on the attack of Arsal is somewhat astonishing (or intentionally) naive about the attacking forces. It takes some ten paragraphs for the reader to find out that the attackers are savages loyal to the Islamic State. The mess starts with the headline: Gunmen From Syria Hit Army Checkpoints in Lebanon
Gunmen who crossed into northeastern Lebanon from Syria attacked several army checkpoints in a border town on Saturday in what appeared to be an effort to win the release of a Syrian rebel who had been detained by Lebanese troops.
... the gunmen, identified as rebel fighters from across the border in Syria.
... attacks by the gunmen ...
... gunmen had also attacked homes ... seized by rebels ...
... the gunmen had also seized 17 members of the security forces at a police station and wanted to exchange them for the Syrian rebel, Imad Ahmad Jomaa, ...
... rebel fighters cross into Lebanon ...
... the army had detained Mr. Jomaa, who was accused of being a commander of arebel brigade that had joined the Nusra Front, ...
... in a video posted on YouTube late last month, Mr. Jomaa and members of his brigade can be seen pledging their allegiance to a more extreme group, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, or ISIS. ...
The rebels who attacked ...
... least at a local level, Mr. Jomaa and his fighters have publicly embraced ISISrecently.
One really has to read down to last paragraphs of the NYT piece to find out that the local "gunmen" and those glorified "Syrian rebels" involved in attacking the Lebanese army here are fighters loyal to the Islamic State.

Why is the NYT burying this fact? Alarm bells should go off when these radicals, with their now enormous military potential, are launching an all out attack against Lebanese security forces.


August 2nd Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo

1st Aug: UN figures for fatalities in Iraq in July: 1,737 Iraqis killed, 1,978 injured 

1st Aug: The Iraqi Air force attacks gatherings of Daash/rebel fighters in Jurf Al Sakhar, North West of Musayib in Babil province south of Baghdad. The attacks result in 200 militants being killed. 

1st Aug: Daash rebel attack Peshmerga positions to the north of Mosul. The attack was on an oil terminal and dam. The check post of Zumar was also attacked. Fourteen Peshmergas were reported killed in the fighting. 

1st Aug: Daash launches an assault on the town of Jurf al-Sakhr, south of Baghdad. The attack started with a mortar barrage and led to the deaths of 11 Iraqi Soldiers and 12 fighters belonging to the Asaib Ahl al Haq. Another 7 soldiers were injured when the Iraqi army counter attacked. 

1st Aug: A fire broke out on an oil pipeline in Bajwan village in Kirkuk. The fire was brought quickly under control. 

2nd Aug: Daash/rebels have appropriated salaries that were paid to government staff in Nineveh province by the Federal Government. Displaced employees of the government are now requesting that their salaries be paid to them in their new locations where they can be/were engaged in providing other services. The government had earlier decided to hold salaries in areas where it has lost ground till after the end of the conflict. 

2nd Aug: Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the former speaker of Iraq warns of the consequences of delays in forming a national unity government. He has asked all political blocks to work together. 

2nd Aug: Peshmerga forces amass and launch a multi pronged attack on Daash held territory west and north west of Mosul: Zammar and Rabia. Peshmerga forces used heavy weaponry, tanks and mortar launchers. Over 90 Daash/rebel fighters are believed dead and another 45 captured. 

Peshmerga forces are reporting that the Daash captives were under the influence of drugs. 

2nd Aug: The Iraqi army launches an artillery strike near Haditha in Anbar. The strike was based on intelligence inputs and resulted in the death of Omar Adel al-Ani, Ali Tariq Dallah Ali, and Omar Abdul Razak al-Rawi. The army reported the deaths of Mahdi Ahmed al-Rawi, Khaled Hassan al-Rawi, Yassin Najeh al-Rawi, Amin Hilal al-Rawi, and Muhammad Muslim al-Rawi in Anbar as well. All eight men are being described as the “most dangerous” men. 

2nd Aug: Daash has doubled its personnel manning checkpoints in Mosul. This has been in response to increasing attacks on Daash members in Mosul. Eight to 25 Daash militants are believed to have been killed in recent weeks. The attacks seem to have intensified after the destruction of Shrines in Mosul. 

2nd Aug: Daash carries out an assault on Hamrin, 50 km north of Baqouba in Diyala, and beheads 17 volunteer militia fighters. The executed men belonged to the Chosen Brigade. 

2nd Aug: The Zarkosh clan in the north of Baqouba, Diyala has formed militias to fight against Daash/rebel fighters. The clan has assisted the security forces in attacking Daash in Hamrin and Imam Wees, killed 30 Daash fighters and cleared the roads leading up to these areas. The Zarkosh clan is Kurdish. 

2nd Aug: Daash and allied rebels launch another offensive on Jalawala but are forced to withdraw by its Peshmerga defenders. Daash fighters withdrew to al-Wehda and al-Tajneed suburbs in the south of the city that they now control. 

2nd Aug: Three gifts from Daash to the women of Mosul: 

Niqaab: Hijab of any other kind, other than the one that covers even the face and consists of unshapely apparel, has been banned by Daash. Women are being forced to wear the all encumbering veil. During the Eid holiday, women accompanying their families not following the diktat of Daash were prevented to enter amusement parks and forests on the outskirts of Mosul. Makeup is also banned and women are being asked to wash their faces before entering Public Buildings. 

Female Circumcision: Daash is denying rumors that they had made it mandatory for women to undergo circumcision. The women of Mosul have never been known to follow this practice. 

List of Eligible Widows: Cases of forced marriages have been reported where Daash fighters have forcibly married girls that were denied to them earlier. Daash has used mosques in Mosul to compile a list of women whose husbands have died in the recent fighting. These lists are to help Daash fighters take additional wives. Welcome to Saudi Ar… 

2nd Aug: The Kurdish Change Bloc headed by the Hoshyar Abdullah is calling on Fuad Masum, President of Iraq, to use his powers in more than just a nominal role. Abdullah claims that the powers of the President are executive and not ceremonial. 

2nd Aug: Iran has denied claims that 200 of its elite “Advisors” have entered Iraqi Kurdistan. Regional press was reporting that the fighters/advisors entered the region under an agreement with Jalal Talibani, former President and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. 

2nd Aug: Jordan has decided to suspend its flights to Iraq till the improvement of the security situation and till after it has consulted with its ally the United States. 

2nd Aug: A car bomb explodes in the south of Tikrit and injures 14 civilians 

2nd Aug: Daash has been burying its dead in Rbidha village, Eastern Tikrit. Locals witnessed Daash driving the corpses to the location. 

2nd Aug: Government claims for the day: 

13 Daash fighters killed in north eastern Baqouba. The militants that included foreign fighters were killed in Jibal Sidoor area of Muqdadiya 

The Iraqi Air Force attacks 8 vehicles belonging to Daash/rebel fighters in Himreen, Diyala and kills 15 of them 

The Iraqi Air Force strikes Daash/rebels in Anbar, destroys four pieces of heavy equipment, destroyed 7 vehicles and kills 60. The air strikes took place in Haditha district.

Related News: 

30th July to 2nd Aug: The DI of Daash is facing an uprising of its own. The Shaitat tribe in Eastern Syria has attacked and dislodged Daash fighters from Abu Hamam, Kashkiyeh and Ghranij villages in Deir Ezzor Eastern Syria. Clashes are continuing on the outskirts of al-Bukamal, al-Tayyana and al-Mayadeen towns in Deir Ezzor province. The set back has dislodged Daash from Syria’s Oil Rich regions. 

The clashes started when Daash fighters detained seven members of the Shaitat tribe and claimed they were being held for being traitors. The Shaitat tribe had an agreement with Daash that its members were not to be harmed in exchange for neutrality. 

1st-2nd Aug: Syrian Soldiers along with Hezbollah fighters kill over 50 Jihadists in the Qalamoun region of Syria. 

2nd Aug: Two Lebanese Army soldiers are killed when trying to prevent Jihadists from entering Lebanon in the Lebanese city of Ersal. 

Armed fighters were earlier preparing to confront reinforced army troops who had earlier arrested a Nusra Front Commander. Abu Ahmad Jomaa was the commander detained. 

2nd Aug: Iran plans to build the largest gas complex in Bushehr, Iran 

2nd Aug: Syrian news agency, SANA, is reporting gains against rebels

Further Reading: 

Links that provide excellent information on Walid Jumblatt and the Druze in Syria, Lebanon and Israel and their conflicting loyalties: 

Questions being raised about the true nature of Daash:

Anti War ....

Battles with Militants Leave 357 Killed, 150 Wounded across Iraq
by , August 02, 2014
Battles and airstrikes took their toll on militant forces, leaving almost 300 of them dead. Attacks against security forces and civilians drove the total number of dead today to 357 killed. Another 150 people were wounded.
Fighting between Peshmerga forces and Islamic State militants continued today in Zumar and nearby areas. Several residents say that the militants are in control of the city and nearby oil fields and refinery. Peshmerga officials say reinforcements havearrived, but first the troops retreated in order for Iraqi government planes to conduct air strikes.
The number of dead security personnel climbed by nine deaths, while 80 more militants were killed. Hospital officials in Duhok said 60 wounded arrived there for treatment, but they did not say how many were civilians. It appears the fighting will continue in Zumer and Sihela. Peshmerga forces were able to retake Kiske.
Two Peshmerga members were killed during a clash in Kalak.
In Jurf al-Sakhar23 soldiers were killed during overnight shelling. At least 37 militants were killed, and at least eighteen militants were also wounded. A roadside bomb wounded five federal policemen. Battles rage almost daily in this area.
Seven soldiers were wounded during operations in Jurf al-Sakhar and nearby inLatifiya and al-Hamya. Another five militants were killed in Latifiya. Also, in Latifiya, a rocket killed a militant explosives expert and his son.
suicide car bomber attacked a recruitment center in Balad, where he killed eight people and wounded 28 more.
In Mosul, airstrikes killed six civilians. A bomb killed eight Peshmerga members.
Militants took control of a southern part of Jalawla. At least one Peshmerga member was killed and five more were woundedThree militants were killed.
In Mansouriyaone woman was killed and four others were wounded in mortar attacks or crossfire.
Six civilians were killed ruing an airstrike on Daquq.
Airstrikes in Tuz killed or injured many militants. A Kurdish security agent was shot dead. A man was beheaded and his brother was kidnapped on charges of collaborating with security officials.
A roadside bomb killed two policemen in Samarra.
Gunmen in Chamchamal killed a civil defense director.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb wounded nine people, including three civilians.
Airstrikes in Saidiya killed 50 militants.
Security forces bombed a mosque and other building in Yusufiyakilling 30 militantsin them.
Security forces killed 27 militants in Yathrib.
In Hawija16 militants were killed during a security operation.
In Muqdadiya13 militants were killed.
Eight dangerous militants were killed during airstrikes in Haditha.
In Imam Weistwo militants were killed.
Many militants were killed in Ana.
Eyewitnesses said they saw Islamic State militants transporting their dead for burial somewhere in the Tikrit area.

21 Killed as ISIS, Nusra Front Invade Lebanon

Reports: 16 Lebanese Troops Taken Hostage

by Jason Ditz, August 02, 2014
Fighters from al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, backed by fighters loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have invaded Lebanon today, attacking the key border town of Arsal and engaging the Lebanese military in combat.
Lebanese security forces arrested a Nusra commander early in the day and were holding him in Arsal when the fighters attacked the city outright, engaging in battles which are continuing overnight.
The most current reports were that 11 Islamists, 7 Lebanese soldiers, and 3 civilianswere killed in the fighting, and unconfirmed reports are that as many as 16 soldiers were taking hostage, though the military insisted only two were captured, and recovered.
The Nusra fighters also sacked the police station in Arsal, and were trying to exchange captured police for their commander, though the indications are that the military recovered the station in an offensive.


Police Chief survived an assassination attempt today..

Dozens of Kurdish whereabouts unknown and their villages destroyed — ISIS responsible.

 Retweeted by Memlik Pasha
Peshmerga said had to withdraw from Sinjar because ran out of ammo Same thing happened in Jalawla last week & IS moved in there as well

Daily Updates from : 03 August 2014. third attempt to assualt .

 Retweeted by Memlik Pasha
Ambiguity over Kurds' claim of receiving "heavy weaponry" today after fall of Sinjar & Zumar. Where form and why waited to last minute ?

ISIS takes over ’s biggest dam

Musings On Iraq Security Report For July 2014 Over 5,000 Casualties In Iraq

Musings On Iraq Pressure Grows On Iraq’s Premier Maliki To Give Up On A Third Term

Musings On Iraq Budget Restraints On Kurdish Peshmerga Making It Difficult To Secure Iraq’s Disputed Territories

 Retweeted by Joel Wing
Now - New Pics: takes over offices in Sinjar town and slaughtering Ayzidiz right now.