Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How The U.S. Failed To Recognize The Insurgency In Iraq


In the months following the 2003 invasion of Iraq most of the top American leadership refused to admit that there was any resistance to its presence in the country. When the Bush administration did talk about any violence it tended to dismiss it as the acts of dead enders trying to bring back the old regime or foreign fighters, which supported the White House’s claim that Iraq was part of the global war on terror. It took until the end of 2003 for the U.S. to openly accept that an insurgency had begun. That showed how little the Americans understood what the invasion had wrought, which would set a pattern of failure in the nation for the next several years.

As soon as Saddam Hussein was overthrown opponents of the U.S. occupation began organizing and carrying out attacks. In May, icasualties counted 37 American deaths. By the end of 2003 408 U.S. servicemen had died. For example, one May 8 a sniper killed a U.S. soldier in Baghdad. (1) On May 13 a soldier was killed in an ambush in Diwaniya, Qadisiya. On May 26, another soldier died in an ambush in Haditha, Anbar. The next day two soldiers were killed in a firefight in Fallujah. General David McKiernan, the ground forces commander in Iraq gave a press conference in June warning that the war had not ended and that these assaults were becoming more organized. These operations would increase in sophistication and deadliness as the year progressed. On October 27 for instance, the start of Ramadan began with a suicide bomber driving a police car into a police station in south Baghdad at 8:30 am. Five minutes later a suicide bomber in an ambulance attacked the Red Cross building in Baghdad. At 8:55 am a suicide car bomber blew up his device in another police station in north Baghdad. At 9:15 am another suicide car bomber blew himself up at another station in southern Iraq. Finally, at 10:15 am the police stopped a fifth car bomber in the eastern section of the capital. That was the work of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Tawhid wal Jihad. It seemed impossible to ignore the fact that an insurgency had quickly formed in Iraq. It was opposed to not only the U.S. occupation, but wanted to see the new Iraq suffer a crib death in its infancy. Dismissing these attacks and exploiting them for another narrative was what the Americans ended up doing in the six months following the fall of the Baathist regime rather instead of formulating a counter strategy.

Denying the insurgency came not only from civilian officials in the administration, but commanding officers in the military as well. The first one to push this line was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a press conference he held in the middle of June at the Pentagon. He started off by saying that if Washington D.C. was the size of Baghdad it would have more murders than the number of U.S. troops killed up to that date. He claimed that big cities were violent, so what was going on in Iraq was somehow normal. As for the groups carrying out attacks, he said they were small with no central control, and called them “dead enders” because they were from the ancien regime and had no chance of regaining power. A similar stance was taken by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz who told the House Armed Service Committee that “these people [the insurgents] are the last remnants of a dying cause.” The next month, General Ricardo Sanchez, the commanding officer in Iraq, stated that there was no organized resistance. That same month, the Pentagon said that there was no insurgency, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers told the press that Iraq was mostly stable, (2) and retiring Central Command (CENTCOM) head General Tommy Franks refused to use the world “guerrilla” to describe what was going on in Iraq. By October, the U.S. was still refusing to say there was any “resistance” to its presence in the country, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice dismissed the violence as being acts of desperation. Finally, as late as December an aide to Rumsfeld predicted that the attacks would eventually die off. This was obviously the official line that the White House was pushing at the time. It did not want to admit that anything was going wrong in Iraq, especially the fact that some people were opposed to the regime change that Washington had brought. When this continued all the way to December with the increasing violence and body counts it seemed like either the Bush administration was in denial of facts on the ground in Iraq, or were completely stubborn and would not give up on its propaganda campaign about everything being okay. This also played into the ultimate goal of the Americans, which was to exit Iraq as quickly as possible. By acknowledging the growing instability that would make an exit all the harder to accomplish.

There was a second argument made by the White House as well, which was to blame the violence on foreign terrorists. In September, President Bush brought up foreign fighters in Iraq and accused Syria and Iran of supporting them. (3) That played into the administration’s theme that Iraq was the central front in the war on terrorism as Cheney mentioned to Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet The Press. That month the U.S. reported that it held around 300 foreigners from 20 countries that had come to Iraq to fight. (4) The Bush administration claimed that it went into Iraq as part of the war against terror, so trying to put the onus of violence upon foreign actors played into that narrative. These elements did exist with not only Zarqawi’s group, but also foreigners that came to Iraq before 2003 to oppose the invasion. Still, the vast majority of the insurgency was made up of Iraqis angry with the Americans, something that the administration was not willing to admit yet.

There were plenty of voices brewing up from the bottom with one exception that were trying to tell the truth about what was happening in Iraq in 2003. In July Time reported that some in the Pentagon were worried that an organized resistance was forming. That same month a Marine Lieutenant Colonel told the Washington Post that things could be escalating into an insurgency. The leading public voice however came from the new CENTCOM commander General John Abizaid who in his first press conference said that the U.S. was in fact facing an insurgency in Iraq. Behind the scenes the CIA was warning of the same thing in a report that was leaked in November. By December officials were willing to lay out the broad outline of the insurgency naming groups and individuals such as Zarqawi, Saddam’s former deputy Izzat al-Duri, and Ansar al-Sunna. The end of 2003 was a transition period when the situation in Iraq could no longer be ignored, and the administration finally began giving up its argument that the country was safe and secure.

The American government’s stance towards the insurgency in 2003 foreshadowed the problems it would encounter in the following years. The U.S. went into Iraq with a best-case scenario in mind that it would be greeted as a liberator and be able to leave in a few weeks after the fall of Saddam. That made Washington reluctant to admit there was any resistance to its presence. When it did address violence it either dismissed the insurgency as “dead enders” or tried to frame it as part of its existing narrative about the war on terror. Neither acknowledged what was really going on. By not admitting to the emerging problem the Americans were not able to come up with a strategic and unified response. Instead, the U.S. made the situation worse by not establishing law and order, not protecting the borders, disbanding the military, ordering deBaathification, carrying out mass arrests, firing into civilians, etc. Iraq did not have to turn out so bad, but the Americans did enough in 2003 alone to make sure that it would not work out well.

FOOTNOTES

1. Elliott, Michael, “Occupation Hazards,” Time, 6/9/03

2. Ricks, Thomas and Chandrasekaran, Rajiv, “Attacks raise fears of guerrilla war in Iraq,” San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/03

3. Collier, Robert, “Analysis: War may have turned Iraq into a hub for terrorists,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/03

4. Fang, Bay, “IRAQ: A magnet for angry, fervent men,” U.S. News & World Reports, 9/29/03

SOURCES

Bennett, Brian, “Who Are The Insurgents?” Time, 11/24/03

Bennett, Brian and Ware, Michael, “Life Behind Enemy Lines,” Time, 12/15/03

Bonner, Raymond and Brinkley, Joel, “U.S. intelligence not consistent in analyzing attacks,” San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28/03

Collier, Robert, “Analysis: War may have turned Iraq into a hub for terrorists,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/03

Collier, Robert and Coile, Zachary, “Will Insurgency Wane? In short term, maybe, but long-term effect more difficult to predict,” San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15/03

Cordesman, Anthony, “The Current Military Situation in Iraq,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 11/14/03

Danner, Mark, “Delusions in Baghdad,” New York Review of Books, 12/18/03

Donnelly, Thomas, “Iraq Is the Central Front,” American Enterprise Institute, October 2003

Elliott, Michael, “Occupation Hazards,” Time, 6/9/03
- “The War That Never Ends,” Time, 7/7/03

Epstein, Edward, “U.S. says increased Iraqi resistance shows desperation,” San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28/03

Fang, Bay, “IRAQ: A magnet for angry, fervent men,” U.S. News & World Reports, 9/29/03

icasualties, “Iraq Coalition Casualties: Fatalities by Year and Month”

Jehl, Douglas, “White House changes stance on U.N. in Iraq,” San Francisco Chronicle, 8/28/03

Johnson, Scott and Thomas, Evan, “Still Fighting Saddam,” Newsweek, 7/21/03

Kelley, Matt, “Rumsfeld Downplays resistance in Iraq,” Associated Press, 6/19/03

Kher, Unmesh, “3 Flawed Assumptions About Postwar Iraq,” Time, 9/22/03

Landay, Jonathan, “More Iraqis supporting resistance, CIA report says,” McClatchy Newspapers, 11/11/03

McGeary, Johanna, “Danger Around Every Corner,” Time, 10/27/03

NBC News, “Sunday, September 14, 2003 GUEST: Dick Cheney, vice president Tim Russert, moderator,” 9/14/03

PBS Frontline, “Interview L. Paul Bremer,” Truth, War and Consequences, 10/9/03

Ricks, Thomas and Chandrasekaran, Rajiv, “Attacks raise fears of guerrilla war in Iraq,” San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/03

Sanger, David and Schmitt, Eric, “U.S. to put Iraqis in frontline fight,” San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30/03

Schlesinger, Robert, “General in Iraq says U.S. faces a guerrilla war,” San Francisco Chronicle, 7/17/03

Walt, Vivienne, “Hellish start to holy month in Iraq,” San Francisco Chronicle, 10/28/03


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Musings On Iraq In The News


An old article I wrote for Tom Ricks’ Best Defense on top 10 Iraq news sites to read was republished at Foreign Policy. My interview with Michael Weiss on the Islamic State was mentioned in Radio Open Source.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

PATHE VIDEO: RAF Bases In Iraq 1955


PATHE VIDEO: Emir Abdullah of Transjordan Visits Iraq 1941


PATHE VIDEO: Demonstrations And Military Maneouvers In Iraq 1947


PATHE VIDEO: Iraq's King Faisal Visits Britain 1956


PATHE VIDEO: Baghdad With The RAF In The Near East Beware


VIDEO: King Faisal II And Prince Abdul-llah Of Iraq Visit USS Oriskany 1952


VIDEO: Views Of Harbor In Iraq


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fight For Iraq’s Anbar Continues As Islamic State Launches Massive Car Bomb Campaign


The major security news in Iraq during the third week of July 2015 was the continued effort to retake the towns surrounding Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar. All the media coverage on that province meant that the rest of the country was neglected. That resulted in very few attacks being reported in the press, but there were actually just as many casualties during the third week as the week before. That was largely due to a huge wave of car bombs being launched the Islamic State, which started at the beginning of the month. While the government’s forces have made some progress in Anbar the overall security situation remained unchanged.

There were just 109 security incidents in the media from July 15-21, 2015. That was the lowest since May 22-28 when there were 108 attacks. Baghdad had the most incidents with 39. Then there were 23 in Anbar, 18 in Salahaddin, 12 in Ninewa, 10 in Diyala, 4 in Babil, 2 in Basra, and 1 in Kirkuk.

Despite the low number of attacks the number of casualties remained largely unchanged. There were 359 killed and 597 wounded the third week of July, which matched the 384 dead and 570 wounded the second week. From July 15-21 the dead were made up of 1 Peshmerga, 10 Sahwa, 28 Hashd al-Shaabi, 44 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 276 civilians. The wounded consisted of 8 Peshmerga, 14 Sahwa, 42 Hashd, 46 ISF, and 487 civilians.

The Human Rights and Peshmerga Ministries reported another 4,024 members of the security forces, Peshmerga, and civilians wounded from June 2014 to June 2015. The government has been routinely under reporting casualties in Iraq, and this was the latest example of officials not revealing the true cost of the war against the Islamic State until months later.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
189
466
464
Jan 8-14
172
733
518
Jan 15-21
189
403
528
Jan 22-28
195
492
899
Jan 29-31
91
306
568
JAN
836
2,400
2,977
Feb 1-7
155
408
688
Feb 8-14
177
443
566
Feb 15-21
169
592
383
Feb 22-28
171
391
705
FEB
672
1,834
2,342
Mar 1-7
176
373
595
Mar 8-14
137
398
656
Mar 15-21
146
1,304
505
Mar 22-28
174
273
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
705
2,553 + 4
2,381 + 150
Apr 1-7
127
218
422
Apr 8-14
137
676
542
Apr 15-21
172
729
717
Apr 22-28
163
497
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
649
2,282
2,346
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
420
549
May 15-21
124
963
387
May 22-28
108
341 + 1,499
348
May 29-31
38
66
164 + 646
MAY
578
2,416 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
132
431
476
Jun 8-14
126
522 + 405
394
Jun 15-21
141
365
373
Jun 22-28
162
306
474
Jun 29-30
61
122
189
JUN
622
1,804
2,012
Jul 1-7
162
436
725
Jul 8-14
140
384
570
Jul 15-21
109
359
597 + 4,024

Violence In Iraq July 2015 by Province
Province
July 1-7
July 8-14
Anbar
42 Incidents
216 Killed: 17 ISF, 19 Hashd, 180 Civilians
287 Wounded: 16 ISF, 20 Hashd, 251 Civilians
23 Shootings
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Car Bomb
4 Mortars
2 Rockets
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
18 Car Bombs Destroyed
32 Incidents
100 Killed: 24 ISF, 76 Civilians
135 Wounded: 9 ISF, 126 Civilians
14 Shootings
15 IEDs
17 Suicide Car Bombs
4 Mortars
1 Rockets
22 Suicide Bombers Killed
4 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
22 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
4 Incidents
7 Killed: 7 Civilians
15 Wounded: 15 Civilians
3 IEDs
5 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
25 Wounded: 2 ISF, 23 Civilians
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
56 Incidents
112 Killed: 3 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 13 ISF, 92 Civilians
282 Wounded: 6 Hashd, 12 Sahwa, 28 ISF, 236 Civilians
14 Shootings
28 IEDs
5 Sticky Bombs
5 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
53 Incidents
140 Killed: 2 Hashd, 29 ISF, 109 Civilians
336 Wounded: 13 ISF, 323 Civilians
11 Shootings
28 IEDs
6 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
6 Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Basra
1 Incident
1 IED
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
5 Incidents
13 Killed: 2 Hashd, 11 Civilians
22 Wounded: 22 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
12 Incidents
19 Killed: 2 ISF, 3 Hashd, 14 Civilians
25 Wounded: 4 ISF, 21 Civilians
3 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Car Bomb
Kirkuk
10 Incidents
9 Killed: 3 Civilians, 6 Peshmerga
33 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 32 Peshmerga
9 Shootings
1 IED
4 Incidents
2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Mortar
Ninewa
15 Incidents
31 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 30 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Peshmerga
9 Shootings
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
12 Incidents
54 Killed: 10 ISF, 44 Civilians
7 Wounded: 7 Civilians
8 Shootings
Salahaddin
29 Incidents
48 Killed: 5 Civilians, 19 ISF, 24 Hashd
82 Wounded: 9 ISF, 35 Civilians, 38 Hashd
10 Shootings
7 IEDs
8 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Rocket
10 Suicide Bombers Killed
2 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
20 Incidents
65 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 7 Hashd, 13 Civilians, 44 ISF
40 Wounded: 10 Hashd, 15 ISF, 15 Civilians
9 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
9 Car Bombs Destroyed
Wasit
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 ISF
2 Wounded: 2 ISF
1 IED

Province
Jul 15-21
Anbar
23 Incidents
62 Killed: 6 Sahwa, 10 Hashd, 20 Civilians, 26 ISF
89 Wounded: 3 Sahwa, 13 ISF, 19 Hashd, 54 Civilians
12 Shootings
3 IEDs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
2 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
4 Incidents
8 Killed: 1 ISF, 7 Civilians
11 Wounded: 1 ISF, 10 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Grenade
Baghdad
39 Incidents
80 Killed: 3 Sahwa, 4 ISF, 73 Civilians
209 Wounded: 3 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 7 ISF, 195 Civilians
8 Shootings
22 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
2 Suicide Bombers
2 Car Bombs
Basra
2 Incidents
1 Shooting
1 IED
Diyala
10 Incidents
165 Killed: 3 Hashd, 162 Civilians
218 Wounded: 218 Civilians
1 Shooting
2 IEDs
3 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Rocket
Kirkuk
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
Ninewa
12 Incidents
9 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 8 Civilians
8 Wounded: 8 Peshmerga
8 Shootings
1 Mortar
1 Stabbing
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
Salahaddin
18 Incidents
34 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 5 Civilians, 13 ISF, 15 Hashd
62 Wounded: 7 Sahwa, 10 Civilians, 20 Hashd, 25 ISF
6 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Mortar
3 Suicide Bombers Killed

Car Bombs In Iraq, June 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jul 1
Riyahah, Salahaddin

1
Jul 2
Nukhaib, Anbar
Fatah & Tal Abu, Salahaddin
Baiji-Tikrit Road, Salahaddin– 2 destroyed
9
12
Jul 3



Jul 4
Baya x2, Baghdad
Baiji x2, Salahaddin
Khursabad & Nouran, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
20
22
Jul 5
Amil & Dora, Baghdad
Baladrooz, Diyala
Hadith Dam, Anbar – 7 destroyed
16
55
Jul 6
Jubba, Anbar
New Baghdad, Baghdad
Haditha, Outside Haditha & Saqlawiya, Anbar - 12 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
11
11
Jul 7
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
Sinjar, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
10
35
Totals
16 & 32 Destroyed
66
136
Jul 8
Sakran, Anbar
Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed
1
1
Jul 9
Alwa, Baghdad
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed

1
Jul 10
Khalidiya x7, Anbar
Amil & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
23
48
Jul 11
Abu Fleis x3, Anbar
Husaiba & Saqlawiya, Anbar – 11 destroyed
Bjara, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
8
5
Jul 12
Bunuk, Iskan, Kadhimiya, &Shaab, Baghdad
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
Sadr City, Baghdad – 1 destroyed
Albu Juari & Hawi, Salahaddin – 4 destroyed
43
103
Jul 13
Fallujah x5, Anbar


Jul 14
Nukhaib, Anbar
Khalis, Diyala
East of Husaiba, Saqlawiya, Shehan, Anbar – 13 destroyed
8
16
Totals
26 & 36 Destroyed
83
174
Jul 15
Baiji, Salahaddin
1
10
Jul 16
Nukhaib, Anbar


Jul 17
Khan Bani Saad, Diyala
East of Ramadi, Anbar – 3 destroyed
130
155
Jul 18
Khalidiya, Anbar
2
3
Jul 19
Hardan, Ninewa – 5 destroyed


Jul 20
Khalis, Diyala
4
18
Jul 21
New Baghdad & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
Mandali, Diyala
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
North of Fallujah, Anbar – 2 destroyed
39
83
Totals
9 & 10 Destroyed
176
259

The main reason why casualties remained high despite the dip in attacks was a number of deadly car bombs. There were only 9 successful vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) the third week of July compared to 26 the week before. The difference was the huge toll these bombings took. The worst was on July 17 when a VBIED went off in Diyala’s Khan Bani Saad killing 130 and wounding 155. On July 21, another 39 died and 83 were injured in four bombings in Baghdad, Diyala, and Salahaddin. To show the intensity of the on going campaign IS has launched VBIEDs 20 out of 21 days in July with 51 hitting their targets and another 78 destroyed. In comparison, there were only 31 successful car bombings in all of June.

The government’s focus remained clearing the towns around Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar. While the security forces and Hashd have reported steady progress some of this appeared to be propaganda. Central Husaiba was declared cleared on July 13, but then on July 18 the security forces said they had just reached the town’s center, and that it was cleared again on July 20. There was also fighting in eastern Husaiba, which was reported over by July 21. Likewise, on July 13 the press had Tash 2 liberated, and then again on July 19. Finally, the government forces said that Saqlawiya was freed on July 19, but then fighting broke out there again on July 21. While the situation in Saqlawiya could easily be explained as IS fighters re-infiltrating back into the town, the other examples appear to be the result of propaganda. This has happened before where joint forces have reached a town and they go to the press declaring it freed when it wasn’t or when a city center was taken and the whole place was called liberated, but fighting was still going on. Since Anbar is the major offensive in the country right now more of these types of announcements can be expected as the ISF, Hashd and tribes want to portray themselves as winning against the insurgents.

Two other operations were going on in Anbar as well. First, the fight to take Garma to the east of Fallujah, which started on May 20, remained deadlocked. The middle of the town has been surrounded for weeks and only a small IS holding force is there, but the government has not been able to break their defenses. Second, a new offensive was started on July 21 in Albu Hayat and Haditha, which is over 70 miles to the northwest of Ramadi. The goal was to clear supply lines to the Ain Assad camp that is in between Haditha and Ramadi. That seemed a distraction from the main effort in the province, but Assad has been a major base.

Attacks went down in Baghdad due to security measures to protect the Eid festival. There were 53 incidents the second week of July compared to 39 the third week. During these religious events the ISF deploy throughout the capital, limit car traffic, etc. to try to prevent attacks. That resulted in just one reported attack on July 17 and four each on July 18 and 19. By the end of the week violence jumped to 14 incidents topped off by two car bombs, two suicide bombers along with six IEDs, one sticky bomb, a kidnapping, and a shootout at a nightclub that left a total of 39 people dead and 108 injured. Besides Anbar, Baghdad has been the other main focus of the Islamic State since the end of 2014. The group has extensive networks throughout the capital, which is shown by the scope of its operations. During the week for example, there were 13 attacks in Shiite neighborhoods of eastern Baghdad. Prime Minister Hadier Abadi has been keeping a large number of police and army units in Baghdad for months now, but that has not proven effective as attacks have skyrocketed over the last several months.

Attacks In Baghdad July 15-21, 2015
Center – 1: 1 Shooting
East – 13: 1 Car Bomb, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Suicide Bombers, 4 Shootings, 6 IEDs
North – 2: 1 Shooting, 1 Kidnapping
Outer East – 2: 2 IEDs
Outer North – 6: 1 Shooting, 5 IEDs
Outer South – 4: 2 IEDs, 2 Sticky Bombs
Outer West – 2: 1 Shooting, 1 IED
South – 8: 1 Car Bomb, 1 Shooting, 1 Kidnapping, 5 IEDs
West – 1: 1 IED

Back in January 2015 the head of the Badr Organization Hadi Ameri declared all of Diyala free. This was after an operation in the middle of the province, which simply dispersed Islamic State elements to other parts of Diyala until the government forces left and they were able to re-infiltrate back into their bases. While violence has been at a low level in Diyala since the summer of 2014 IS has been launching more terrorist attacks there using car bombs. From July 15-21 three went off in Khan Bani Saad, Khalis and Mandali causing the loss of 142 lives and another 189 wounded. The Khan Bani Saad bombing that left 283 casualties alone was one of the single deadliest attacks in Iraq in recent memory. IS has at least one car bomb factory in Diyala reportedly in the Baladrooz area, which is where these VBIEDs are coming from. These bombings are a message from IS that it can still strike at will in the province.

Like previous weeks IS continued to test the Peshmerga in Ninewa. The militants made six attacks including one suicide bomber, five car bombs, and a mortar bombardment. Since the Kurds have set defense in the area and work closely with the Coalition all of these IS thrusts were quickly turned back.

Finally, Baghdad continued to try to take back Baiji and the refinery there in Salahaddin. On July 21, the government claimed that the center of Baiji and the northern section of the refinery had been reached. In May, this was the top priority of the government, but it appears that it finally figured out that Baiji was a diversionary attack as IS’s main effort was in Anbar. Now most of the security forces and Hashd have gone to that province leaving a small force to continue on in Baiji.

SOURCES

Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, "Anger in Iraq after suicide attack on marketplace kills 115," Associated Press, 7/18/15

AIN, "Advancing security forces in the center of Husaybah killed 35 Daash," 7/18/15
- "Federal Police announce the death of 26 Daash and advances into areas of eastern Husaybah," 7/21/15

Bas News, “Human Rights Ministry: Almost 5,000 Iraqis Killed Since Fall of Mosul,” 7/2/15

Buratha News, "Golden Division liberate first and second Humera south of Ramadi," 7/14/15

Euronews, "At least 32 dead in explosions across Iraq," 7/22/15

Lambert, Fred, "Iraq: Bombings and clashes against Islamic State kill 54 people," UPI, 7/21/15

Al Mada, "12 people killed and wounded by a car bomb south Baghdad," 7/21/15
- "A new high for the outcome of the New Baghdad bombing 66 dead and wounded," 7/22/15
- "Security forces cleared Technical Institute in Saqlawiya and killed dozens of Daash," 7/21/15

Millet, “Peshmerga Minister Reveals Latest Casualty Figures,” 7/2/15

New Sabah, "Security File," 7/21/15

NINA, "Federal Police liberation of center of Husaybah," 7/20/15
- "Federal Police liberation of center of Husaybah district eastern Ramadi," 7/13/15
- "Five policemen killed and wounded in east of Ramadi," 7/18/15
- "A number of people killed and wounded in Diyala," 7/20/15
- "Peshmerga Destroy Five Vehicle Bombs, Foil Attack Of Daash Northwest of Mosul," 7/20/15
- "Suicide Car Bomber Attack Security Checkpoint, Southwest of Anbar," 7/16/15
- "Tash 2 Area In Anbar Liberated," 7/13/15

Radio Free Iraq, "17 July 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 7/17/15
- "19 July 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 7/19/15
- "21 July 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 7/21/15

Al Rayy, "The Security forces and popular crowd move towards the north of Baiji refinery," 7/21/15

Reuters, "Iraqis launch offensive against Islamic State near Anbar military base," Reuters, 7/21/15
- "Iraqis launch offensive near Anbar base as blasts kill 32," 7/22/15

Salim, Mustafa and Morris, Loveday, "At least 130 are dead in Iraq after a massive bomb attack," Washington Post, 7/17/15

Shafaq News, "25 casualties from PMU while two leaders killed in bombings in Baiji," 7/25/15

Sotaliraq, "Khalidiya Council announce "cleansing" 70% of the eastern Ramadi area," 7/19/15