Sunday, April 30, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was cited in “Analysis: ‘Signs of Recovery for the Islamic State,’” by Kyle Orton for The Henry Jackson Society. I was interviewed for "Can Iraq integrate Hashd paramilitaries into the armed forces?" by Paul Iddon for Rudaw.

Mosul Campaign Day 194-195, Apr 28-29, 2017

Life after the Islamic State in Mosul. Toys were banned by the group, but now for sale in east Mosul (The Sun)

April 29 the Joint Operations Command announced that there was a small advance in the Old City. The Federal Police and Rapid Reaction Division moved from 300 to 200 meters within the Grand Mosque in the district. In a rare occurrence, the Iraqi forces announced losses in the day’s fighting. 14 Federal Police were killed, and 20 wounded by a series of suicide bombers. Four more were killed by sniper fire. The Golden Division and police were also attempting to take the Zinjali neighborhood, which would further surround the Old City. The police have been assaulting the Old City for nearly two months. The fight has been very difficult sometimes involving room to room combat. The main job of the police has been to hold down the Islamic State, while the Golden Division took the center of the city. A member of the Ninewa council told Al Mada that strategy remains in place to bypass the district, and seize the rest of west Mosul.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Security In Iraq April 15-21, 2017

The number of reported security incidents in Iraq took another drop for the third straight week. There were 106 incidents mentioned in the press from April 15-21. That was the lowest count for the year, and the fewest incidents since 2013. That was due to violence being down across the country along with a dip in Ninewa where the Battle for Mosul was going on.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 193, Apr 27, 2017

There were no advances in west Mosul for a second day. Federal Police commander General Shakir Jawadat said that his forces were 300 meters from the Grand Mosque in the Old City, which was where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in 2014. The police have been that distance from the mosque for more than a month now however. The Golden Division let it be known that there were only four districts left to be liberated in the city. That’s roughly forty percent of the western half. The police have been stalemated in the Old City for weeks now. The Golden Division on the other hand seized most of the center of the city. It is likely consolidating its latest move into the Tanak neighborhood, the largest in the west.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 192, Apr 26, 2017

A market in Nabi Younis, east Mosul (Reuters)

There were clashes in west Mosul, and the Hashd were advancing towards the Syrian border. The Golden Division was fighting in Zinjali, and the Federal Police were battling in Rifai, Harmat, and the Wadi Akab cemetery, both in the eastern section of the city. The Hashd on the other hand captured four towns, including the historical Hatra, west of Mosul. Hatra is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Islamic State destroyed part of it after it was captured in 2014. In 2015 the group released a video of it smashing walls, shooting statues, and destroying other structures. That was for propaganda purposes however, as the main goal of IS was not to wreck the place, but rather to loot it and sell the antiquities to help raise funds. The police and Golden Division are attempting to link up in the Old City district, while the Hashd are pushing towards the Syrian border, because the government will not let it take Tal Afar.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 191, Apr 25, 2017

The Golden Division freed the Tanak neighborhood located on the far left. The police are still fighting over the Old City on the far right along the Tigris River. Green = liberated, White = IS control, Blue = Tigris River. (Ninewa Media Center)

There was a large advance in the western section of west Mosul, and very limited movement in the east. The Golden Division freed Tanak, which it fought over for almost a month. It is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city and is along the western edge. In the east the police inched ahead. It was still attacking the Old City along four axes and was said to have seized some streets in Bab al-Tob and Bab al-Jadid. The police recently restarted their operations in the district after a month long pause, but have only advanced a few meters.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 190, Apr 24, 2017

Federal Police mortar position east Mosul (Reuters)

The Joint Operations Command announced that only 30% of west Mosul remained under Islamic State control. Based upon daily reports and maps available that sounded roughly correct. In the last several weeks the Golden Division has seized much of the center of west Mosul greatly expanding the government’s control of the city.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 189, Apr 23, 2017

People fleeing the fighting in central West Mosul (Reuters)

The Islamic State launched a surprise attack upon a Federal Police base south of Mosul. A group of ten insurgents, four of which were suicide bombers, assaulted the police in the town of Arij in the Hamam al-Alil district. They were dressed in police uniforms, which allowed them to infiltrate the base. The fighting lasted for over an hour before most of the militants were killed and the rest escaped. Three police died as a result. While IS is surrounded in west Mosul it has not stopped it from launching offensive operations. Just this week it set off a car bomb in liberated east Mosul. Fortunately these attacks do not happen that often.

Security In Iraq, April 8-14, 2017

Security incidents reported in the press took a dip in the second week of April in Iraq, while casualties remained largely unchanged from the previous week. There was very little violence around most of the country, with almost all the incidents taking place in Ninewa due to the Battle for Mosul.

There were 124 incidents reported in the press in Iraq from April 8-14, 2017. There were 58 in Ninewa, 28 in Baghdad, 14 in Diyala, 9 in Anbar, 8 in Salahaddin, 3 in Basra and Kirkuk each, and 1 in Babil. That was the lowest weekly total since the first February 1-7 when there were 123.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News

My interview with Charlie Winter on how the Islamic State is dealing with its defeat in Mosul was reprinted by Vox Pol.

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was cited in “Analysis: ‘Signs of Recovery for the Islamic State,’” by Kyle Orton for The Henry Jackson Society. I was interviewed for...