Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Iraq Updates ( August 13 , 2014 ) -Update --- US launches drones strikes against ISIS and ground troops deployed - ostensibly to rescue the Yazidi religious minority ( no such luck for Christians or other religious minorities , so far ) ........ No shock that the Pentagon's plan for a more boots on the battlefield finding fertile ground at the White House ..... ISIS a threat because of changing tactics or because it's controlling the oil in Syria and trying to do the same in Iraq .......Is the next Iraq PM just Maliki with better PR and a smoother approach ? Regional Support from the new PM as another day of death dealing goes by the boards.......

The Iraq War Officially Begins (Again): US Troops Prepare For Rollout As US Drones Strike ISIS Positions

Tyler Durden's picture

U.S. military officials say an armed American MQ-1 Predator drone has attacked and destroyed a mortar position of Islamic militants in northern Iraq. As WaPo reports, the drone attack marks a departure for the U.S. military, which had said previously that drones were flying missions over Iraq only to collect intelligenceNo boots hit the ground in the carrying out of this action...
An American MQ-1 drone strike took out a firing position that Islamic militants used to target Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, according to the U.S. military.

The military said in a statement that a U.S. drone struck and destroyed an ISIS mortar position at around 7:55 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

The mortar position was firing on Kurdish forces defending members of the Iraq's Yazidi religious minority who were trying to evacuate the area, U.S. Central command added.


United States Marines, special forces and the USAID disaster assistance relief team briefly landed today on Mt. Sinjar in Iraq, a U.S. official told ABC News.

It was the first time ABC News has learned of any Americans landing on the mountain, where thousands of Yazidis are trapped and facing a humanitarian crisis.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Tuesday that the United States has sent a 130 member military assessment team to Erbil in the autonomous Iraqi province ofKurdistan to determine what further assistance the U.S. can provide to the Yazidis.
Lol: "briefly"...
It didn't take long for Obama's latest stern promise that no US troops would be on the ground to become... troops are now on the ground.


Mosul's Damn Dam

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Scotiabank's Guy Haselmann,
Last week, the barbaric Islamic State (IS) seized the vitally important Mosul damdramatically impacting tactical options against them and potentially changing the future of the Middle East.
When the US coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003, military intelligence developed invasion scenarios.  One scenario included Iraqi forces placing detonation charges at the vitally important dam. If US forces were able to safely secure the dam, then they had a contingency plan to operate it and ensure critically important maintenance.  The US quickly discovered the necessity for $27 million worth of frantically urgent repairs.
Since the dam was completed in the mid-1980’s it has required continuous (daily) maintenance, because it was built on top of gypsum, a soft mineral which dissolves when in contact with water. More than 50,000 tons of materials have been injected into the dam since 1986.  The ‘sink hole’ type of cavities that constantly form have to be expeditiously plugged with “grout”, a liquefied mixture of cement and other additives.
A dam break does not require sabotage.  Maintenance failure has the same result.
In December of 2006, the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) detailed a comprehensive report on the dam’s structure.  The report called it, “the most dangerous dam in the world”, stating that even water pressure could buckle the flimsy foundation.
The Mosel dam is the fourth largest in terms of reservoir capacity in the Middle East with a capacity of 3 trillion gallons or 11.1 billion cubic meters.  It is a key component of Iraq’s power grid and source of water for irrigation.  It is located 31 miles north of the city of Mosul whose population is 1.7 million and 200 miles north of Bagdad.  A dam collapse would release the 360 feet high waterline and reach Mosul in 2 hours.
A USACE official wrote a report in 2011 that was published in Water Power magazine estimating that dam failure could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths.
In 2007, General Petraeus wrote a letter to the Iraqi PM warning of the safety concerns in the report and the consequences should the dam fail.  In paraphrasing the USACE report, his letter said that “despite continuous grouting… the safety of the dam cannot be assured”.   He went on to say that “…an instantaneous failure….could result in a flood wave 65 feet deep at the city of Mosul... and produce flooding all the way to Baghdad”.
President Obama recently authorized limited airstrikes in Iraq against IS.  He said they were to prevent a humanitarian crisis and to protect American lives and assets in Erbil and Baghdad.  He determined that there was risk of ‘genocide’ of the tens of thousands of Yazidis people trapped by IS in the mountains, as well as, risks to the consulate and American workers there, should Erbil be toppled.  There is still hope on both fronts.
However, the greatest foreign policy failure to date in trying to prevent a potential ‘genocide’ is arguably allowing IS to take over the dam in the first place.  The US has always known the importance of the dam.   Furthermore, just as we had the ability to get Bin Laden at Tora Bora and failed to act, US officials knew that the IS leadership was assembled in one place and decided not to take them out.
David Kotok discussed some of the serious implications that the takeover of the dam has for the region and the significant strategic impact it will have on military options going forward. The bottom line is as he states, “We confront a high probability of an adverse outcome regardless of the actions of the combatants on both sides.  There is no easy (way) out”.
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Kotok and his concluding remark that“this is a situation fraught with danger and risk”.  Market implications could potentially be great.  This situation bears close watching. 
Cash is king with optionality.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe


August 13th Iraq SITREP by Mindfriedo

12th Aug: Car bombs in Zafaraniya and Karrada in Baghdad kill eight and injure another 51. Protesters in Karrada attack security checkpoints and force security personnel to withdraw at anger over the bombing that happened earlier.
12th Aug: Viyan Dikhil, MP of the Kurdistan Alliance is injured along with a number of journalists in a helicopter crash near Sinjar Mountain in Nineveh. The Iraqi Air Force evacuates the MP and the journalists to Iraqi Kurdistan for medical treatment.
13th Aug: Two car bombs have reportedly gone off in Baghdad causing casualties. Eleven people are reported killed.
13th Aug: France decides to ship arms to Iraqi Kurduistan unilaterally while the EU is still undecided. The weapons are expected to be delivered soon.
13th Aug: Khamenei throws his support and that of the Islamic Republic of Iran behind Haider Al Abadi: “I hope that the appointment of a new prime minister of Iraq would resolve the crisis and the formation of a new government and seeking to give a lesson to those who indoctrinate strife in Iraq.”
13th Aug: Qatar welcomes the nomination of Haider Al Abadi as the next Prime Minister of Iraq
13th Aug: The UN is reporting the detention and sexual abuse of over 1500 Christian, Yazidi, Turkoman Shia, and Shabak women, girls and boys by Daash. Atrocities include brutal rape, sexual slavery and the burying alive of minorities. May the Curse of God be on the oppressors!
The UN states that another 30000 refugees on Mount Sinjar are still threatened with the genocide.
13th Aug: Maliki criticizes the US and Saudi Arabia on their support for Haider Al Abadi calling his nomination unconstitutional. Maliki has stated that he will remain in his post till his objection has been ruled on by Federal Court. He stated that he was insisting on “his nomination” to defend the decision made by voters.
13th Aug: Peshmerga fighters claim to have killed 14 Daash fighters in their bombardment of Daash positions around Jalawla. The Peshmergas are planning a fresh assault on the town that they lost two days ago.
Daash has meanwhile raided the homes of security personnel in Jalawla and detained over 40. The men have been transferred to an unknown destination.
13th Aug: Haider Al Abadi has started planning and putting together his government to be by consulting with other political blocs.
13th Aug: Moqtada al Sadr of the Ahrar bloc and Osama al Nujaifi of the Motahedoun Bloc express optimism and their willingness to work closely with the new government. Nujaifi thanked Sadr for his willingness to work towards a unity government and called the appointment of Abadi as a remarkable national achievement.
13th Aug: Iraq plans to increase its oil output from the south of Iraq to 2.4 million barrels per day from the 2.2 million that was produced in July
13th Aug: Massoud Barzani requests the UK to follow the US lead and launch airstrikes against Daash in Iraq.
13th Aug: Kurdish MPs are criticizing statements made by the Chairman of Iran’s Majlis (parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Al’eddin Boroujerdi on Monday the 11th where he referred to collusion between Kurdish forces and Daash (please refer to further reading section) as being contrary to realities on the ground.

Anti War ..........

Pentagon Proposing Ground Combat Operation for Yazidi Rescue

130 'Advisers' Laying the Groundwork for Open Combat With ISIS

by Jason Ditz, August 12, 2014
The US war in Iraq is escalating at a remarkable rate, and less than a week after the commencement of the air war, the Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on a proposal to send ground troops into open combat operations against ISIS.
It’s the exact thing US officials have repeatedly promised never to do – send ground troops into combat roles in Iraq. Yet with the Pentagon now having committed to air drops of aid to Yazidis, part of the new air war, they’re already looking toward the next step: a “rescue operation” that would put US boots on the ground, in direct combat with ISIS at the base of Mount Sinjar.
Despite several escalations of the war goals in the past 5 days, US officials are openly getting impatient with the current situation, insisting they have to “do something more than just drop water and supplies” to the Yazidis. That something, in keeping with the usual US strategy, is more war.
British Chinook helicopters are expected to play a major role in the evacuation of Yazidi civilians from the mountain, though the ground combat mission, which is what the 130 “advisers” are there to lay the groundwork for, will be something much bigger.
US combat troops on the ground, even if they are nominally there as a “rescue” team, is a point of no-return for the war, as it is unthinkable that the administration will allow them to engage in a one-off open combat mission and then simply claim mission accomplished, particularly when the stated goals of the air war have grown so far beyond that single mountaintop.
The proposal isn’t finalized, and President Obama hasn’t signed off on it, but the fact that he did allow another 130 troops to head to Irbil to “develop additional options” for the intervention suggests they proposal is more or less a foregone conclusion, and only the details have to be worked out.

US Airstrikes Complicated by Changing ISIS Tactics

ISIS Fighters Dissipate, Making Less Convenient Targets

by Jason Ditz, August 12, 2014
The US airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq have had an only extremely minor impact on the ISIS fight against the Kurds, and they look to be even less worthwhile today, as military officials reveal ISIS changes in tactics to respond to them.
Before the US began attacks on Friday, ISIS was behaving like a traditional military, with its forces moving deliberately and in plain sight. Once the US strikes began, the ISIS troops dispersed, using familiar insurgent tactics to blend in with the local population.
The transition severely limits the US ability to target ISIS fighters on the ground, but doesn’t seem to be limiting their ability to continue to press the offensive along various frontiers with both the Iraqi military and the Peshmerga.
The US clearly should have seen this coming, as ISIS is essentially just the old al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) insurgency from the last US occupation, only bigger and much better equipped.
The US has plenty of experience unsuccessfully fighting insurgencies, and must be well aware of how little value aerial attacks are against it. That the administration bothered to go down this trail at all once again suggests that the long-term assumption is to escalate the war into a ground invasion.

Iraq: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Better PR, But Abadi Is Cut From the Same Cloth as Maliki

by Jason Ditz, August 12, 2014
A long-standing leader in the Islamic Dawa Party who spent decades in exile and returned to Iraq during the US occupation, quickly rising in the fledgling political scene.
Are we talking about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, or Prime Minister-Designate Hayder Abadi? It could be either, and that’s the big problem with the deal on “regime change” in Iraq, it really doesn’t matter and is leaving roughly the same person in charge.
The primarily difference between Maliki and his successor is that Maliki, once the darling of the US and Iran, has fallen out of favor in the face of soaring sectarian tensions and mounting losses against ISIS.
Abadi is basically Maliki circa 2006, an adherent to the same Dawa ideology beholden to the exact same political interests. The primary difference is that he hasn’t got eight years of failures, and thus doesn’t have the public relations problems of the outgoing PM.
All the talk of Maliki’s divisiveness cost him the foreign support critical to remain Iraq’s ruler, but there is no indication at all that Abadi is planning any serious changes to the status quo, and plenty of reasons to believe he’ll go down the same failed path Maliki has.

ISIS: A Growing Oil Producer in Iraq and Syria

New 'Caliphate' Has a Lot of Oil Wealth Already

by Jason Ditz, August 12, 2014
ISIS continues to push the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria, and various Syrian rebel faction, but the territory they’ve amassed in their “Caliphate” is already substantial, both in its size and its oil production.
The push into northern Iraq has seen them take 7 oil fields, all relatively small, but combined they amount to 80,000 barrels per day of capacity. At current prices, that’s about $8.4 million a day.
And it’s only the tip of the iceberg. ISIS has already amassed a large portion of Syria’s overall oil reserves. How much of the production remains usable in the midst of the civil war is unclear, but is believed to be hundreds of thousands of additional barrels per day.
All told, that would make the Islamic State one of the top 30 oil producers on the planet, and while they can’t exactly export it anywhere, their control over the key Baiji Refinery in Iraq will allow them to use it to produce fuel for their many captured vehicles.
Even this may not be the final story on ISIS, however, with their ongoing push into Kurdish territory bringing them close to some major oil fields on the outskirts of Kirkuk, which could easily double their overall production capacity, while sending Iraq’s spiraling downward.
Already, Iraq’s oil production is down 120,000 bpd from June to July reflecting both the loss of the 80,000 bpd ISIS seized outright and a drop of 40,000 from Iraqi Kurdistan attributable to evacuation of foreign staff at those sites.

Regional Leaders Signal Support for Abadi As 268 Are Killed in Iraq
by , August 12, 2014
Regional and local leaders have signaled their acceptance of Haider al-Abadi as the leading candidate for prime minister. Also, the U.S. military is sending 130 more troops to Iraq. At least 268 people were killed, mostly militants, and 83 were wounded.
Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia have all welcomed the selection of Haider al-Abadi aspremier-designate. More importantly, internal groups seem to have accepted him as well. Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a Shi’ite militia group that has been fighting alongside the Iraqi Army, issued a statement that basically called on outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stop clinging to power. Another militia, the Badr Corpsappears to support Abadi as well. Kurdish President Massoud Barzani also conveyed his support.
Police and military troops have trimmed down their numbers in Baghdad and notified Abadi of their allegiance. Maliki himself seems to have accepted his fate. Abadi now has thirty days in which to form the new government and be approved by parliament.
The U.S. government sent 130 "assessors" to supplement those troops already in Iraq. Their official duty will be to determine what is needed for the humanitarian effort.
A helicopter overloaded with Yazidi refugees crashed shortly after takeoff fromMount Sinjar. The pilot was killed in the crash. Among the injured were M.P. Vian Dakhil and two New York Times journalists, one of them only slightly injured.Seventeen others were also injured.
In Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near the Abadi family home in the Karradadistrict, where it killed 13 people and wounded about 46 more; Abadi lives primarily in the Green Zone. But as first responders arrived, crowds turned on them, possibly thinking that corrupt police allowed the car bombers into the neighborhood on orders of P.M. Maliki. Many policemen apparently then took off their uniforms and ran away.
Also in the capital, a sticky bomb killed two civilians and wounded five more in theZaafaraniya district. A bomb in the Sadr City suburb wounded three people. Oneunidentified body was found.
A militant killed six members of his own family in Saidiya.
An official from the Justice and Accountability office in Basra was involved in a battle in Falluja, where he was killed.
A clash in Hamdaniya left 16 militants dead and nine tribesmen wounded.
Security forces killed 89 militants in Adhaim.
At least 73 militants were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Sinjar.
Fifty militants were killed during operations in Tuz.
An operation in Darieiya left five militants dead.
Security forces in Muqdadiya killed two militants.
number of militants were killed in Albu Hayrat.
In Saqlawiya, airstrikes killed many militants.

Tweets of the day......

assessment team determined evacuation mission is far less likely. will continue to provide humanitarian assistance.

Reports of SAS are already inside north of ..

Extreme massive explosion just rocked ..

MUST READ -> To disrupt advance, must address ; negotiate a truce w/ says William Young

's official TV says that politicians in Baghdad are waiting for a settlement from the Federal Court

No Prime Minister and no Governor in Baghdad!!

Residents: Militant Rob the Town’s Bank - -

Al-Maliki says he is still the Prime Minister of and accuses his opponents of violating the constitution

Clashes between al-Maliki's loyal forces and the president's loyal forces in Baghdad

's official TV says Brigadier General Majed al-Tamimi has been killed near Mosul

Al-Jamhouriyya Bridge in Baghdad is closed

The roads in al-Karrada neighborhood in Baghdad are closed

Most of the government offices in Baghdad are closed

, in his weekly address, says there is a constitutional and legal political process that should be respected.

Musings On Iraq The Death Throes Of The Maliki Government In Iraq

U.S., allies rush heavy weapons to Kurds to fight militants in Iraq

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint leading to the house of Iraq's "new" prime minister.