Wednesday 25 June 2014

Iraq civil war -update - 06/24/2014

June 24th IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo

the Vineyard of the Saker,

24 June, 2014

22nd June: Rouhani's warning to the West and Saudi/Turkey: "feed terrorists by their petrodollars...Rest assured, tomorrow will be your turn. The barbarous terrorists will go after supporters of terrorism in the future."

23rd June: A twitter mobile link to a Daash promotional photo. It compares the corpses of a burnt out Shia Iraqi government soldier and a Daash fighter supposedly at peace after death.

The photo: 

The supporter:

23rd June: A popular Shia banner: 

The war was intensifying near his sister Zainab (sa) (Her shrine is in Syria). Abbas (as) grabbed the enemies and brought them to Iraq (near his Shrine)
*(Abbas, brother of Hussain was fiercely protective of his sister. Shia lore has it that he was unstoppable and Hussain was forced to ask Zainab to stop him from fighting the enemies on several occasions. The proud warrior Abbas used to bend his neck and obey)

23rd June: Hadi Al Amiri, the transport minister of the Iraqi government and the head of the Iran backed Badr Brigade, currently heading the governments offensive, has said "if the Americans do not back us with airstrikes now, we will turn for assistance to Iran."

23rd June: A suicide bomber targets an army checkpoint in a Shia suburb of Beirut. Part of the blast injures football fans at a nearby cafe.

23rd June: Jordan has sent reinforcements to its border with Iraq. Troops, armoured vehicles and rocket artillery pieces were being sent to fortify the Jordanian border. The Jordanians have rubbished claims that their Air Force targeted militant vehicles heading for Amman. Jordan's safest border is now the one it shares with Israel.

24th June: Baiji refinery has fallen to the rebels. The rebels have handed over day to day operations to local tribes. The Government is denying that the refinery has fallen. The number of Government soldiers at the refinery is around 460. The rebels had offered safe passage to the security personnel. The government spokesperson, Qassem Atta, claims that an attack on the 23rd was repulsed. He claims the assault involved 11 vehicles of which 9 were destroyed in air strikes. The militant assault had left three dead.

24th June: An airstrikes carried out by the Iraqi government on Baiji has resulted in civilian casualties. There were 22 fatalities and an additional 12 injured. The fatalities included children between 1 to 5 years of age.

June 24th: Reports are now coming in that around 75 security personnel guarding the Baiji refinery have fled. They were given safe passage by rebels and have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan.

24th June: Iraqi Army's aviation wing carries out sustained air strikes against Rebel positions in Tal Afar. Casualties amongst the rebels are expected to be high. Tribal fighters and government security forces had withdrawn from the city without a fight earlier in the week.

24th June: Clashes in Tal Afar are on going. The government's Maj Gen Abu Waleed claims to have taken back the southern part of the city after reorganising his forces.

24th June: Rebels have entered Al-Alam east of Tikrit. The Jabour clan fighting the rebels reached an agreement and has allowed the rebels to enter the town. Umaya Jbara the woman advisor to the governor was killed fighting the rebels.

24th June: The security services, local tribes, and volunteer militias have cleared Al-Atheem of militants. It lies 60 km north of Baqouba. Fighting had been fierce and the government forces were backed by air support.

24th June: Over 4000 families have fled various parts of Diyala and taken refuge in Kurdish controlled Khanaqin. The local authorities are overwhelmed and so is red crescent. 

24th June: Riyadh Al Athath the head of the Baghdad provincial government claims that security forces around Baghdad are sufficient to confront Daash and that all necessary precautions have been taken.

24th June: Security forces have taken Al-Atheem in Diyala province but found that almost every house had been professionally booby trapped in anticipation of security personnel. It is now uninhabitable by its 25000 plus refugees who had fled to Kurdistan. 

24th June: Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the United Nation has criticised the double standard of Countries that are promoting terrorism in Syria and claiming to fight it in Iraq. The Kremlin announces that Putin and Obama discussed the threat of Daash on Monday.

24th June: John Kerry arrives in Iraqi Kurdistan. He is asking local officials to participate in government formation in Baghdad. Local officials are expected to raise the issue of an independent Kurdistan. 

24th June: a third shipment of oil has left Iraqi Kurdistan for Turkey. The Kurds are currently pumping 120000 barrels of oil a day through their pipeline to Turkey. This figure is expected to increase to 400000 barrels by year end. The spice must flow. 

Further reading:

From "read in the name of your lord" to "war for the pleasure of God," something seems to be very wrong with the UK, maybe the girls are not pretty enough:

A future dream for Daash. An image doing the rounds on jihadi cell phones, and it's flaws:

An American solution, fight Daash in Iraq and Syria, but remove both Maliki and Assad. Elections are irrelevant, a democracy is as America does:

An analysis on RT that points the finger at the Jordanians, amongst the other usual suspects:

From a Shia crescent to a jihadi crescent for King Abdullah of Jordan:


This is a transcript of a conversation between a pilgrim in Najaf and his well-wisher back home.

Pilgrim: Salam

Well-wisher: Salam, how are you?

Pilgrim: We are good, thanks to God

Well-wisher: we were worried, we heard of trouble in Najaf. Is everything ok?

Pilgrim: They were rumours, things are fine here. Najaf and Karbala are safe, everybody is happy here. There is no fear.

Well-wisher: what about other parts of Iraq? We heard of an attack in Samarra.

Pilgrim: Yes, there was a rocket attack. The launcher(rocket or shell he means) fell inside the complex. But there was no damage or loss of life. The shrine there is a fortress.

Well-wisher: Thank God, we had heard a lot.

Well-wisher: We have heard of people volunteering to fight. Sistani has made the call. Does it apply to us? Locals here are volunteering. Are the Marjas safe?

Pilgrim: No no, it does not apply to us. It was vajib e kifai, those who have expertise or knowledge of fighting were required. We had gone to register too. But the local officials told us it's not yet required. He said locals know the place and the language. If you are needed a call will be made. If we being here were not allowed, you over there won't be needed. The response to Sistani's call was massive. Every man here has enrolled.

Pilgrim: The militants are well trained. The locals here are well trained. The officer here said if we go, we might get killed for no reason. 

Well-wisher: Was there any trouble in Najaf? We heard of bombs.

Pilgrim: Only rumours. 

Well-wisher: And the rest of Iraq.

Pilgrim: There has been trouble in Iraq. The governor of Mosul was a WAHHABI, HE TOOK MONEY AND FLED. But the government is confident of fighting back.


Iraq grants US Special Forces 'acceptable assurances' on immunity

Washington has secured “acceptable assurances” from Iraqi authorities shielding US Special Forces from local law. The deal comes as US forces are set to begin advising the embattled Iraqi army as Sunni militants continue their surge across the country.

24 June, 2014

The Defense Department has yet to receive in writing immunity agreements for the troops, but "Iraq has provided acceptable assurances" for the 300 Special Forces troops President Barack Obama announced he would send to Iraq on Thursday, John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.
Many of you have asked today about the status of legal protections for the small number of military advisors that will be working inside Iraq,” Kirby said.

I can confirm for you that Iraq has provided acceptable assurances on the issue of protections for these personnel via the exchange of diplomatic note. 

Specifically, Iraq has committed itself to providing protections for our personnel equivalent to those provided to personnel who were in country before the crisis. We believe these protections are adequate to the short-term assessment and advisory mission our troops will be performing in Iraq. With this agreement, we will be able to start establishing the first few assessment teams."

The agreement, which came via “diplomatic note,” will see US advisors subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and not Iraqi law.
The issue of US troop immunity has long been a sticking point between Washington and Baghdad. Obama ultimately decided to withdraw all US troops and trainers from Iraq in October 2011, after Iraqi authorities refused to sign up to a new Status of Forces agreement granting American forces immunity from local prosecution.
Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight jihadist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positioned five kilometers away in Bashir, 20 kms south of Kirkuk, on June 23, 2014. (AFP Photo / Karim Sanib)
Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight jihadist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positioned five kilometers away in Bashir, 20 kms south of Kirkuk, on June 23, 2014. (AFP Photo / Karim Sanib)

The US military and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have since opposed sending any special operations teams to Iraq unless a written agreement was secured from Baghdad guaranteeing they would not be prosecuted under Iraqi law.

But White House spokesman Josh Earnest assured reporters, "The commander in chief would not make a decision to put our men and women in harm's way without getting some necessary assurances."

None of the Special Forces troops have arrived in Baghdad yet, with Pentagon officials saying they would touch ground by the end of the week. The Pentagon hopes the US trainers will be able to provide a better intelligence assessment of radicals from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, or ISIL), including the type and quantity of US-made armaments which they had seized from the Iraqi military.
Defense officials have stressed, however, that there are no plans for them to directly engage in combat.
They don’t have an offensive role. They’re strictly there as advisers. So they should not, as a matter of routine, come into direct contact with the enemy,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said on Monday.

Tough choices ahead

The ongoing offensive by the ISIS is being done with the aim of achieving total dominance in Iraq by radical Sunni militants. On June 22, jihadists captured three new towns and two border crossings, one with Jordan and one with Syria.
On Monday, Earnest expressed the White House’s concerns regarding the security situation amid the successful ISIS offensive.
He stressed, however, that this was a problem that’s going to be solved politically, and it’s going to require some very difficult choices to be made by Iraq’s political leaders.”

In an effort to kick start that political solution, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise stopover in Baghdad on Monday. Kerry spoke at length with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's foreign minister as well as Shiite and Sunni leaders.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) arrives in Arbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, June 24, 2014.(Reuters / Brendan Smialowski / Pool)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) arrives in Arbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, June 24, 2014.(Reuters / Brendan Smialowski / Pool)

In a separate diplomatic victory for the Obama administration, Kerry announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had agreed to begin the process of forming a new national government by July 1.

"The key today was to get from each of the government leaders clarity with respect to the road forward in terms of government formation," Kerry said.
It is believed the White House would favor a new leader over the Shiite Maliki, who has alienated Sunnis and Kurds by purging moderate members of the opposition from his government.

When all of Iraq’s people can shape Iraq’s future, when the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all of Iraq’s communities — Sunni, Shiite, Kurd — are all respected, that is when Iraq is strongest,” Kerry said.

And that is when Iraq will be the most secure,” he added.

On Tuesday, Kerry held additional crisis talks with leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in a bid to get them to support Baghdad against Sunni insurgents.

We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq," Reuters cites Kurdish President Massoud Barzani as saying at the start of his meeting with Kerry. Barzani blamed Maliki’s wrong policies” for the bloodshed and called on him to step down, saying it was "very difficult" to imagine Iraq staying together.

Iraqi Kurds have ruled themselves in relative peace since the US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. Having long sought their own independent state, they have used the recent violence to expand their own territory, taking control of rich oil deposits.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq between June 5 and 22, the UN human rights team in Iraq said. The UN team said at least 757 civilians had been killed and 599 injured in Nineveh, Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces during that period. Another 318 people were killed and 590 injured during the same time in Baghdad and areas in southern Iraq.

Spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters onTuesday in Geneva that the figure should be viewed very much as a minimum.''

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