Saturday, August 16, 2014

Iraq Updates ( August 16 , 2014 ) -- Sunni Tribal Leaders Offer Backing for New Iraqi Govt Urge PM-Designate to Give Sunnis Autonomy ( Soon we find out if Abadi will be different than Maliki ) ......... US Fighter Jets Pound Mosul Area in Heaviest Strikes Yet Attacks Center on Areas Near Dam, Border Crossing ( must be some Yazidis there somewhere ) ........ Report Claims ISIS Massacres Yazidis in North Iraq Village US Drone Strikes Village After Claims of Massacre ( Wonder if there are Yazidis in Baghdad and Samarra , Tikrit and Haditha too ) ....Death dealing across Iraq items to consider .....

( This is what happens when you become unpaid mercenaries ... )

Iraq's political class has watched with fear and envy in the last fortnight as American jets have slowed the Islamic State extremist group's advance towards the Kurdish stronghold of Irbil.
At the same time, the group, formerly known as Isis, has been trying to encircle Baghdad – untroubled by air strikes. Its manoeuvres near the national capital in recent days have consolidated gains it has made in the last two tumultuous months and made the very existence of Iraq in its current borders ever more precarious.
With a new central government only three weeks from being sworn in, Iraqi leaders are imploring the US to honour what they perceived to be an implicit deal to protect Baghdad once an inclusive leadership was installed.
Officials say that support for only one side will guarantee the end of Iraq, allowing the Isis insurgents menacing the capital to whittle away what is left of state control and terrorise large numbers of people into fleeing.
The officials, led at first by ousted leader Nouri al-Maliki, had said that only US air power could put a halt to Isis's momentum. Iraq's military had refused to fight the jihadists, surrendering large parts of the country as they advanced into Mosul and Tikrit, and towards Kirkuk.
Ever since, they have been unable to reclaim lost ground and are struggling to defend oil and energy sites that are essential to Iraq's viability. What remains of the Iraqi military is operating without US air cover. Kurdish forces, on the other hand, have taken comfort from air strikes that beat back Isis less than 30 miles to the south-west of Irbil.
On Thursday, the jihadists staged a series of attacks in an area 40 miles south of Baghdad labelled nine years ago by the US military as the "triangle of death". Iraqi military officials say that area is next to impossible to defend without strategic weapons, or US air support.
Iraq's small, American-trained air force has been busy in the skies over the country, but is unable to turn the tide against Isis. "We are hitting them 24 hours a day in Tel Keyf, Khazir, Shalalat and in Mosul," said pilot Raad Faqe, a Kurd.
"I have bombed Mosul myself. We do a lot of bombing but our weapons are not good. Our best weapon is the Hellfire [missile]. The problem with Hellfire, it does not cause major damage, but it is good in terms of hitting the target. I fly a Cessna Caravan 202 which is designed for transport purposes but we have converted it into a bomber."
Faqe confirmed that Iranian air force pilots were active above the skies of Iraq. "I have seen with my own eyes that the Iranians have brought Sukhoi planes," he said. "Everything in that unit is Iranian including the pilot and the mechanics. They are in Rasheed base, a huge base in south of Baghdad … the Iranians make barrel bombs and then use Antonov and Huey planes to drop them in Sunni areas. Some Iranian pilots have been shot down.
"When we go to bomb a place, the ground troops don't accompany us. We bomb a place and kill a few, then Isis disperses, but they regroup later."
The pilot said that five helicopters had been brought down by the militants, while another seven planes were put to the torch on an airfield in Tikrit.
As the war of attrition with Isis steadily tips in the militants' favour, resentment is growing among influential Iraqis. "The American policy is shameful," said Hassan al-Fayath, the dean of al-Nahrain University in Baghdad. "The Americans always say they are the leaders in fighting terrorism but they didn't lift a finger when Isis was taking parts of Iraq. The only time the Americans got involved was when they found it started threatening their interests by getting closer to the oil fields and to Irbil.
"Isis succeeded in securing Iraqi oil and now they have the resources to recruit more fighters and buy weapons. Why did everyone let them go that far and not intervene earlier?"
Asked whether US jets will return to the skies over Baghdad, he said: "Obama will launch more strikes to save the oil and his Kurdish friends."

( H/T to Kev for bringing this to my attention )


August 15th Iraq SITREP: The king is dead, long live the king

12th Aug: The United States sends another 130 "Advisors" to Iraqi Kurdistan
13th Aug: The US is reporting that its reconnaissance missions are confirming that the plight of the Yazidis is not as severe as was expected
14th Aug: The US Secretary of Defence clarifies that US troops will not take part in military operations in Iraq
14th Aug: The Iraqi Airforce bombs a Daash position in Al Atheem and kills a large number of Daash fighters. Five vehicles are also reportedly destroyed in the raid.
14th Aug: The Iraqi a Security Forces suffer 10 casualties when a road side bomb planted by Daash explodes in Al Atheem district, north east of Baqouba.
The Iraqi forces have arrested a Saudi member of Daash in Al Atheem and have taken him for "questioning"
14th Aug: Daash has executed 4 Ethnic Kurds in Jalawla for providing intelligence to Peshmerga forces.
Daash has also marked fifty houses belonging to Officials and is expected to confiscate them
14th Aug: The a Gathering/Group of Scholars in Iraq, a Sunni Muslim organisation, has requested that a new Iraqi government be formed quickly and that it's leaders should learn from the sectarian mistakes of the previous regime. It should look at laws that were "controversial" and "sectarian," should be fair and unpartisan, should curb religious extremism, fight Daash, and move towards an equitable society.
14th Aug: eighteen Peshmerga fighters are killed in two separate instances of bombings in Diyala. IEDs and car bombs were used.
14th Aug: Masoud Barzani talks to Haider Al Abadi over the telephone and offers his full support in forming the new government
14th Aug: The Iraqi Airforce bombs 7 trucks belonging to Daash carrying weapons in Anbar. The trucks were travelling north of Hadetha.
14th Aug: Johnson Siawesh, a Christian and the Minister of Transport in Iraqi Kurdistan, resigns at the state of affairs of Christians in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.
14th Aug: The Iraqi Airforce is reporting killing 28 fighters of Daash in airstrikes in the provinces of Salah Al Din, Nineveh, and Anbar.
14th Aug: Fighting breaks out between Daash fighters and the Iraqi Army on the outskirts of Fallujah. Fifteen people are reported dead.
14th Aug: The Iraqi army claims to have taken control of four cities: Al-Dhuluiya, Al-Ishaqi, Al-Mutassim and Balad in Salah Al Din province in the last two weeks after forcing out Daash.
The Iraqi army has killed 70 Daash fighters when it retook Haditha Dam in Anbar that it briefly lost to Daash
14th Aug: The US reports having delivered 15 million rounds of different types of ammunition and 10000 artillery rounds to the Iraqi government. Hellfire missiles were also delivered.
14th Aug: The US kills two Daash fighters in airstrikes in Sinjar
14th Aug: The Iraqi Army claims to be in complete control of Al Atheem sub district
15th Aug: Nouri Al Maliki appears on Iraqi television and endorses Haider Al Abadi in the "higher interest of Iraq"
15th Aug: The National Alliance has stated that the appointment of ministers in the new Haider Al Abadi cabinet will be based on meritocracy and not on political affiliation
15th Aug: The progress of the Iraqi army has more or less come to a stand still with no major offensives being carried out. There appears to be a lack of leadership and managerial experience in the army's leadership.
15th Aug: The National a Alliance is deciding between Hussein al-Shahristani and Shaikh Humam Hamoudi for the post of First Deputy Speaker that Haider Al Abadi has now vacated
15th Aug: the UK carries out an "aid air drop" over Mount Sinjar. The airdrop consists of 13200 litres of drinking water and 480 tents. Strangely solar batteries and lamps that can also be used to charge mobile phones were also dropped.
15th Aug: The Iraqi airforce has reportedly bombed Ghazlani camp in Nineveh That resulted in killing Abu Azzam al-Kandahari, a Daash terrorist, and Mohammed Ali al-Obeidi, in charge of military engineering for Daash.
Another airstrikes in Tal Afar district killed Haqi Farhat (in charge of Daash checkpoints) and 15 Daash fighters
15th Aug: The US and UK stop airlifting aid to Sinjar after claiming that the refugees are better off now. The number of refugees is now being reported as being less than 4000.
Obama says that US airstrikes will continue in Iraq with the aim of protecting US personnel and interests and that US airstrikes broke the siege of Mount Sinjar
15th Aug: Six Peshmerga fighters are killed and three injured in fighting in central Jalawla
15th Aug: Daash terrorists attack and kill 100s of Yazidis in the village of Kojo in Sinjar and take women and girls prisoner after they repurposed to convert to "Islam"
15th Aug: The US is planning to build an airbase in Iraqi Kurdistan
15th Aug: His Eminence Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Ali al-Hussani al-Sistani backs the new Prime Minister of Iraq, urges an end to corruption and instructs the Iraqi Army to hoist only the Iraqi flag and avoid factionalism

Further reading:
Special forces of the US and UK have been operating in Iraq for weeks:
Insightful interview by Nasrallah:

Anti War......

Sunni Tribal Leaders Offer Backing for New Iraqi Govt

Urge PM-Designate to Give Sunnis Autonomy

by Jason Ditz, August 15, 2014
Sunni tribal leaders have announced a tentative offer to back the incoming PM-designate Hayder Abadi, saying they want to ensure that the Abadi government will respect the rights of the nation’s Sunni Arab minority.
It goes further than that, however, as some of the Sunni leaders are pushing for Abadi to agree to a new autonomous region for the Sunnis, along the lines of what the Kurdistan Regional Government has.
The overwhelming majority of Sunni Arab territory in Iraq has already fallen to ISIS, with many locals seeing the Islamists as preferable to the Iraqi government forces when they arrived.
The ouster of PM Nouri al-Maliki has opened up an opportunity for a new rapprochement, at least that’s the hope of many on both sides, and Abadi is already reaching out to the Sunnis, promising to bridge the ever-widening sectarian divide.
Uniting Sunnis and Shi’ites is no small task, and with Abadi a member of the same Dawa Party as Maliki was, there is not much hope of that actually happening. That the Sunni tribesmen are open to the idea at all, however, suggests some growing disquiet about ISIS rule.
Some, including retired US General Jay Garner, a former occupation chief, say it’s too late to salvage a unified Iraq, and that the de facto partition is already a done deal. The Sunni Arabs, the Shi’ite Arabs, and the Kurds, all three are effectively building their own nations at this point.
The US air war is being launched with an eye on taking the Sunni territory back over for the central government. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

US Fighter Jets Pound Mosul Area in Heaviest Strikes Yet

Attacks Center on Areas Near Dam, Border Crossing

by Jason Ditz, August 15, 2014
The US air war in Iraq is escalating considerably tonight, with reports of warplanes carrying out multiple airstrikes around Mosul, focusing on both the area near the Mosul Dam and the Rabia border crossing into Syria.
Peshmerga forces on the western front with ISIS reported the US was conducting the heaviest bombings yet, and were destroying a large number of US-made vehicles ISIS seized from the capture of Mosul.
Exactly how many ISIS fighters have been killed is unclear, as many simply abandoned the targets, and will likely return in the wake of the strikes. The only ground target confirmed destroyedwas a single gas station, which Kurdish officials claimed ISIS fighters were using to refuel vehicles.
The attacks are another clear escalation of the US war, and there is more to come, with Anbar Province governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi confirming a deal with the US for attacks in his province, another ISIS stronghold, and a ground presence.
No date was yet announced for the commencement of the US attack on Anbar, but it has only been a single week since President Obama announced his “humanitarian intervention” in Iraq, and already air drops in Nineveh Province have been ditched in favor of escalating airstrikes, so the pace seems to be picking up rapidly.

Report Claims ISIS Massacres Yazidis in North Iraq Village

US Drone Strikes Village After Claims of Massacre

by Jason Ditz, August 15, 2014
As yet unconfirmed reports of a massacre have emerged in the northern Iraqi village of Kucho, west of Mosul, where Kurdish sources claim dozens of Yazidis were killed by ISIS fighters.
Details are scant, but the narrative is that the ISIS deadline to convert to Islam or pay the Jizya tax expired today, and the attacks were against those who didn’t make their payments.
Stories about ISIS attacks on Yazidi have been common out of Kurdish territory since last week, pushing the US for airstrikes under the guise of “humanitarian intervention.” Yet last week’s claims of 40,000 Yazidis trapped on a mountaintop didn’t pan out, so any claims have to be taken with a grain of salt.
Still, with the US scrambling to find a new pretext for its air war, they’re not letting any report of a massacre go unexploited, as US drones pointed the village of Kucho later in the day, claiming they saw unspecified “evidence” of a massacre having taken place.

ISIS Takes Another Yazidi Town; 183 Killed Across Iraq
by , August 15, 2014
At least 183 people were killed and 21 more were wounded today. Islamic State militants stormed another Yazidi town, slaughtering dozens of men. In better news, Sunnis are ready to deal with the new government that is forming in Baghdad.
Tribal leaders in Anbar province said they would back Haider al-Abadi but only conditionally, and they already have a list of demands that will be delivered to the premier-designate through Sunni politicians. One influential leader has hinted that the tribes could be involved in fighting the Islamic State.
Many hope that these tribal fighters will be somewhat successful in fighting Islamic State militants now that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is on his way out. During the U.S. occupation, Sunni tribesman successfully fought off the precursor to the Islamic State.
But, it was the dismantling of a Sunni protest camp in December, by Maliki, which set off the Sunni revolt. Eventually, this revolt was co-opted by the Islamic State. The Sunnis seemingly felt there was no reason to keep out these militants, and perhaps some even thought they could be useful in the revolt.
In other developments, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani expressed his belief that Iraq can now move forward.
Canadian planes are on their way to deliver arms to the Kurds.
Turkmen refugees from northern Iraq are gathering in northern Baghdad. TheTurkmen minority is Iraq third largest ethnic group
Deliveries of German humanitarian aid are starting to arrive in Arbil.
U.S. fighters bombed locations in RabeaaMahmoudiyaTelskoufZumerTal Kief, and around the Mosul Dam.
Islamic State militants stormed the Yazidi town of Kocho where they killed at least 42 men and kidnapped 80 women and children, according to a Peshmerga commander. Yazidi activists said at least 80 were killed and hundreds more were kidnapped.
Four Yazidis died in a Syrian hospital from complications due to their time on Sinjar Mountain.
Nine civilians were killed and 13 more were wounded in Hit during a mortar attack.
Shelling in Jalawla left six Peshmerga dead and three wounded.
Militants killed five civilians in Said Ahmad village.
In Mosul, airstrikes killed three civilians.
Clashes broke out between gunmen and tribal fighters near RamadiDozens were reported killed or injured.
In Falluja35 militants were killed.
Twenty militants were killed in an airstrike on Barwana.
In Jurf al-Sakharten militants were killed.
Security forces killed four militants in the Thar Thar region.
Militants are massing near Qara Tapa, while Peshmerga troops are trying to reclaimSaidiya and Jalawla.

Tweets of the morning... )

has reportedly sustained heavy losses near dam; however the dam is still under their control..

US airstrikes near Mosul dam destroyed 4 APCs, 2 Humvees, an unspecified armored vehicle and 7 technicals:

West is strengthen the Kurds and the Shia in ; while letting Sunnis fight each other to accept the very minimum politically.

|i air-forces bombarded barrage few minutes ago.. Unknown the severity of the damages yet on the barrage.

Press conference with President Masoud Barzani and foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Iraqis claim Kocho massacre carried out by IS "in revenge" for the US air strikes, reports

CNN confirms US,Iraqi military op to retake Mosul Dam from ISIS was to begin Friday 6pET. US,Iraqi airstrikes + Iraqi,Kurdish ground forces

Islamic State militants grab new weapon very interesting report by .