Friday 27 June 2014

Iraq civil war update - 06/26/2014

To give an idea how long it takes to get a report like this together, RT's Lucy Kafanov was tweeting about this throughout yesterday

Six die in northern Kirkuk, as ISIS militants fight bloody war in Iraq
Kirkuk has witnessed the first terror act since it came under the Kurds’ authority, and this comes as the oil-rich region is surrounded by blood-thirsty ISIS fighters. The latest deadly bombing claimed at least six lives.

26 June, 2014

The officials said that a suicide bomber was seen on the street wearing an explosive-stuffed vest. He was actually aiming for the building of a Kurdish political party office, RT’s Lucy Kafanov, who’s in violence-hit Kirkuk, said.
Apparently, the authorities attempted to intercept the man, and that’s when he detonated the device. It was during rush hour late on Tuesday evening.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast yet. However, there are fears that the ISIS (or ISIL, the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is behind the blast. Oil-rich Kirkuk is an area disputed between Arabs and Kurds.

On Wednesday, Kafanov had a chance to speak to the governor of the Kirkuk province, who told her that Kirkuk was a very calm city and there haven’t been any problems with attacks, and that security was only getting better.
During Lucy Kafanov’s report, loud gunfire can be heard, and the cameraman almost stops rolling: it was clearly dangerous to be at the scene, and it wasn’t immediately clear what was going on. 

Residents look at the site of a suicide bomber attack in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad June 26, 2014 (Reuters / Ibrahim Sultan)
Residents look at the site of a suicide bomber attack in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad June 26, 2014 (Reuters / Ibrahim Sultan)

The town of Kirkuk is home to a variety of people: Kurds, Arabs, Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and Turkmen.

Despite the governor’s assertions, the city has seen a lot of violence, and ever more so since the ISIS terrorist group began its advance through the country, with the Iraqi army basically fleeing from the militants.

The deadly blast follows attacks by ISIS militants on oilfields and the country’s largest air bases in the north on Wednesday.

The Sunni militants are spearheaded by ISIS, who blame the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for marginalizing their sect during his eight years in power. The violence has been raging across the country’s North and West, with militants seizing control of cities and towns.

US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Iraqi officials form an "inclusive" government during a visit this week, and also urged leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region to stand with Baghdad against the onslaught.
Within a week, a parliament session will take place to start the process of forming a new government based on the results of elections held in April.
Maliki's Shiite-led State of Law coalition won the most seats, but needs the support of other Shiite groups, Sunnis and Kurds to build a government.
Over 1,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed during the bloodbath wreaked by the Sunni terrorists, the UN reported.

June 26th IRAQ SITREP by 


26 June, 2014

22nd June: Umaya Naji Jbara, the advisor to the governor of Tikrit was killed by a Daash sniper. She was holding a RPG at the time of death and had killed three fighters of Daash before she was martyred. 

25th June: The airstrikes carried out on rebel positions around the town of Qaim were by the Syrian air force. Nouri al Maliki in an interview to the BBC stated that even though the air strikes were not requested by his government, but they were welcome. The Iraqi had first claim
ed that US drones had carried out the strikes, which the latter had denied. 

25th June: The Iranian foreign Ministry has denied that General Qassem Soleimani is in Iraq. The Iranians insist that Iraq has not asked for assistance, when it does, they will consider the request. 

25th June: Daash, or if people prefer to call them a coalition of Sunni Muslim Iraqi tribes, have burnt 11 churches, and destroyed/desecrated the grave of Prophet Yunus(Jonah[as]) and the grave of prophet Shayth (Seth[as]) in Mosul. There is a twitter photograph of a Daash fighter taking a sledge hammer to the grave of Prophet Yunus (as).

26th June: Kerry has warned other nations from meddling. (Pot calling the Kettle black) 

26thJune: Iran is reportedly shelling the positions of an Iranian Kurdish opposition group, PJAK, inside Iraq. 

26th June: A fresh offensive by Daash against Christian villages in the north has seen villagers fleeing to Kurdish areas for refuge. 

26th June: Shia refuges from the village of Tuz Khurmato and Bashir outside of Kirkuk who had fled to Kurdish areas for protection are describing a massacre by Daash. The Kirkuk deputy police chief, Gen. Turhan Abdel-Rahman, has confirmation of 40 bodies shot at point blank range from three villages. More bodies remain in Bashir. Peshmerga snipers cover the village to check the advance of Daash. Those killed were Turkoman Shias. 

A Shia man has narrated how his father, a septuagenarian, was gunned down by Daash. He now says, with tears in his eyes, that he will kill the militants with his bare hands. 

26th June: The weapons that Iran is airlifting to Baghdad include rockets, heavy machine guns and multiple rocket launchers. 

26th June: The former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and Kurdish politician, Barham Salih, “We need to empower the moderate Sunnis to take on Isis”. 

26th June: Moqtada Al Sadr from Najaf “We will shake the ground under the feet of ignorance and extremism.” Sadr had been critical of Maliki seeking a third term. He has asked for the formation of a unity government that includes Sunnis. Sadr has been critical of allowing American “advisors” back into Iraq. 

26th June: The Iraqis are reorganizing the armed forces. 

26th June: John Kerry is expected to visit Saudi Arabia. 

26th June: William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, is in Baghdad for talks. He will be travelling to Iraqi Kurdistan to meet Kurdish leaders too. 

26th June: Iyad Allawi, Former Prime Minister of Iraq and head of the United Coalition that is also a part of the ruling United Alliance, has been meeting, Kurdish, Arab Sunni, and Iraqi leaders to find a solution for Iraq’s future. 

26th June: A Saudi suicide bomber blew himself up in a hotel in Beirut when Security Services were raiding it. They were acting on intelligence and were trying to apprehend a terrorist cell. 

26th June: Members of the National Alliance, which includes Maliki’s coalition, have met in Baghdad to discuss future government formation. Maliki is insisting on being made Prime Minister for a third term. 

26th June: The government has repelled another assault on Samarra. Six Daash militants were killed and weapons including a sniper rifle seized. 

26th June: Daash just got richer. Daash militants have robbed a Government bank in Central Baghdad of 6 billion Iraqi Dinars equivalent to 6 million USD. For a militia with sublime aims, they sure know how to rob banks. 

26th June: Violence reported from different parts of Iraq: 

The government security forces are claiming to have killed a Daash commander north of Tikrit with the aid of air support. 

Qassim Atta (spokesperson of the Iraqi Army) has announced the killing of 22 Daash fighters and the destruction of 8 vehicles by the Security Services in Anbar province. 

A car bomb explodes in Kirkuk. Kurdish security personnel and local police tried to clear the crowd in anticipation of a follow up attack. A man being beaten by the locals is arrested and taken away. 

Mortar attacks on the Shia suburb of Mahmoudiya in Baghdad have resulted in 58 fatalities. 

A shop selling alcohol is attacked in Eastern Baghdad by unidentified gunmen. Five people are reported dead. 

Tribal fighters have killed 7 Daash 
fighters north of Baqouba, Diyala. 
Iraqi army helicopters bomb Saddam’s palace in Tikrit. 

Further reading

These are two articles by Bhadrakumar, in the first one he talks about Iran snubbing the Americans on cooperation in Iraq, and in the other, he talks of possible cooperation. 

Somebody had posted the first link when I had mentioned possible cooperation in an earlier SITREP. Nothing seems constant in Iraq’s shifting sands. 

An old article by Seymour Hersh that touches on US and Israeli support of anti Iranian Kurdish groups: 

An anti Daash page 

If I were an Iraqi Shia: I would want to have Sunnis on board, Kurds on Board, but since the majority is Shia, Shias on top. I would want federalism as opposed to autonomy. Seeing that my shrines are in danger, I would arm against Daash.

If I were an Iraqi Sunni: I would want what the Kurds have, autonomy from any Shia government, share in the pie. A nationalist government at the centre. Seeing that none of this is possible, I would not fight against Daash. 

If I were a Kurdish Iraqi: Autonomy to continue if not independence. The government in the centre to fight with Daash, it is a mess they created. A greater Kurdish region or at least borders where my people can move freely. I would be forced to arm myself against Daash. 

If I were an Iraqi Christian: There is no region I can go to. An urban people spread out with Daash as crazy and the rest uninterested. Might as well leave for my children’s sake. 

Now these are the only people who should actually matter. But the pressure from without will make Iraq look like the Lebanese civil war on a country scale. The Iraqi army is being reorganized. What this probably means that it is becoming a Shia army. The Shia leadership won’t trust Sunni officers after Mosul. Maybe what they can aim for is for Sunni cities to have a Sunni police force even if the army goes all Shia. 

The cooperation between the United States and Iraq/Iran is bound to fail. The Iranians will gain, the US will realize later, but still play the game.

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