Sunday 29 June 2014

Iraq civil war update - 06/28/2014

forces have closed all roads leading to north from with concrete blocks..

Two short/long analyses by Mindfriedo

28 June, 2014

Two short/long analyses in one:

Was the fall of Mosul good for the Shia militias?


Are the Sunnis/Wahabi tougher than the Shia?

Till early 2014, the Americans were putting pressure on Maliki to reign in Shia militias. The argument was that they could destabilize his government, they were proxies of Iran, and were getting combat experience in Syria. The Iraqi government formed brigades like the Wolf (Being led by Abu Al Walid, the commander fighting in Tal Afar), Tiger and Scorpion to counter the threat these militias could pose and primarily as a tool to keep Sunnis in check. Other measures included closing the Iraqi border with Syria and suspending direct flights. Both these measures at the time seemed to target Sunni Jihadist but were in fact meant to restrict the flow of Shia fighters. Maliki was also half hearted in his attempts. And the latter was a token gesture on the part of the Iraqi government as flights between Iran and Damascus were ongoing. The American threat to create a no fly zone over Syria was meant to stop these flights. The current surveillance flights over Iraq and the taking over of Iraq -Syria land border by Jihadist is also meant to stop this flow of Shia fighters. 

The deployment of the Americans to Iraq after Mosul fell is mostly for monitoring the Shia, more than the Sunni. The Americans have checked Sunni revolutions in the past; they know how to turn the tap off. They have relations with Sunni elders and ex Ba’athist they can use to curb any Sunni insurgency. It’s the Shias they cannot control. It’s what you cannot control that frightens you. 

The US was also interested in using moderate Shia clerics like Sistani to contain the allure of the Shia Jihadist groups. But this has now changed to some extent. Sistani’s call to arms has been the best recruiting drive the militias could have hoped for. He specified that it’s the army the youth should join. But the youth have a mind of their own. They know who kicks ass. 

The Iraqi government is now relying on these militias to contain Daash. The Iraqi government will for the moment not restrict the training of fighters in Iran or their free flow between Syria and Iraq and will oppose any US pressure to stop the same. This can be seen in Maliki praising Syrian airstrikes on Iraq that normally any Prime Minister should oppose. Unlike the Sunni fighters of Daash (Chechens, Afghans, Saudis, Moroccans, Europeans etc) the Shia fighters are mostly Arab, from Iraq and the Levant that Daash so covets. The Sunni Arabs and tribes are on the side of Daash on account of a sense of being left out, part propaganda, part genuine frustration. But this is a problem they have to learn to live with. The power they once wielded is now gone. It is never coming back. The more they fight, the more Baghdad will become a Shia city and the more their frustration will grow. Some will eventually realize this but some will get radicalized by Saudi propaganda. 

In the meanwhile, the militias will become the new Fremen against the Empire’s (Anglo Zionist) Sadukar (Daash) waiting for their Muad'Dib (Mahdi). It is the harsh environment of Iraq and the threat posed against them that will keep them on their toes, at the ready and well trained, growing stronger day by day, learning valuable combat lessons and outclassing Daash in skill, professionalism and morale. 

Are the Shia militias tougher than the Sunnis (Wahhabi)? 
There is an old colonial joke. The British wanted to raise a Muslim company. They asked the Muslims, who are your fiercest people? The Muslims partly misunderstanding what the Tommy’s were asking for said that our butchers (Kassabs) are the fiercest. So a company of butchers was hired. When the fighting started the butchers were not advancing beyond the trenches. The Tommy commander asked them, why don’t you advance? Go fight!
The Butchers replied: “buddy tie them up and bring them, we’ll do the slaughtering!”

This is what the fighters of Daash are: Butchers that the lambs flee. 

I was watching some Jihadi videos last night. Not something very pleasant, but necessary.

First, professionalism:

Every single Shia militia fighting in Syria is organized militarily. They have brigades. These brigades have battalions of rocket troops, mortar firing, and assault. Each militia has proper uniforms and insignia. There is the ability to work within a command structure, under the Syrian army at times. Weapons being used are almost identical. AKMs, AMDs, PMKs, SVDs, hand held mortar launchers and RPGs. This is almost identical.

Sunni/Wahabbi militants are fierce but operate without any noticeable military organization, no uniform, no standard military equipment. The FSA in Syria is more professional with its army background. But Jihadists lack professionalism. This is also evident from Daash’s insistence to control its own allies, infighting over minor issues, its inability to curb its fighters from carrying out atrocities (but this is also a tactic employed), and its inability to fight in a sustained manner in any confrontation. 

This may not seem obvious to all. But Shia fighters are drawn to the fight out of love of something that they hold dear, i.e., the AhlulBayt. The Wahabbis on the other hand, from almost every single message, are driven by hatred, of Western values, saints, Shias, Christianity, Jews, everything they assume is corruption.

Jihadist propaganda is based on a puritan message. It requires Sunnis to give up belief systems that have held on for generations (however many Sunnis seem to be dropping earlier concepts of Walis and Wasilah faster than a stripper her “modest” clothing). The Shias on the other hand are being asked to act on something they have always believed in. 

Age group: 
Most Jihadists are young men. Most die young as well. But a quick research on the internet will show you that the starting age of a Daash fighter is upward of 10. For the Shia, except in the case of Khomeini’s human waves, it is much higher than 18. On an average it is 22. 


Here is where the Shias have been unlucky from the nascent stages of Islam. The Sunnis kept wealth to themselves and marginalized Shias throughout. Iraq may eventually change this balance. The oil wealthy of Shia Iraq and Iran may soon dwarf Saudi Arabia. But for now, the Sunnis have it good. The sanctions on Iran keep it poor. 


It is strange that the videos of Daash are almost always horrendous. And that the same videos that are used by Daash or Al Qaida for recruitment are used by their detractors (rational human beings) as counter propaganda. Shia militia videos are never of atrocities. They are almost always centered on the cult of martyrdom. The Americans try to highlight the alleged atrocities of Shia militias as counter propaganda but fail as most Shia distrust authority.

Two recent examples of combat effectiveness:
One was Hezballah’s takeover of Beirut in May 2008. Hariri’s thugs were no match. But I agree Beirut is not Tripoli. Mosul could be a counter example. But Beirut is more of a mixed city and Mosul more of a Sunni Ba’athist city. Moreover Beirut was military style takeover, while Mosul was a planned betrayal and collusion.

The other was Qusayr in 2013. Entrenched Jihadis with the full backing of the Arab states, Turkey and the West broke ranks and fled. The price Hizballah paid was high and Syria did pulverize most of Qusayr, but the fact remains that the Jihadist literally fled for their lives. Compare this to Bint Jabil in 2006 and it becomes clearer. The same odds, or higher if you consider the arsenal at Israel’s disposal, stacked against Hizballah and Hizballah humiliates Israel. When Israel leaves a path for escape, more fighters join the fight. Also the assessment Hezbollah gave of their performance. They were critical of two of their commanders being present at the same place at the same time. Qusayr has frightened the Anglo Zionist Empire. Mosul’s fall is going to petrify them.

June 28th IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo

28 June, 2014

28th June: A leader of the Naqshabandi order, Khalid Ibrahim, has been killed in the north east of Baqouba. He was killed along with five associates by SWAT, a Special Forces group. 

28th June: Daash has destroyed three Shia mosques: Husseniyeh, AhlulBayt, and Al-Hakim mosques and three mausoleums/shrines: Khader Elias, Imam Saad bin Aqeel, Ar Mamut shrine in Tal Afar. Daash has made announcements that shrines and mausoleums within its territory will be destroyed. 

28th June: The army, augmented by Shia militias, is now making a concerted push north towards Tikrit. Helicopter Gunships have attacked rebel positions in advance of the army’s assault. Lt Gen Sabah Fatawi: “Isis fighters now have two choices: flee or be killed.” 

28th June: The Kurdish leadership has told Kerry that they want to see Maliki go. Kerry is insisting on a political solution followed by a military attack on Daash and its rebel allies. 

28th June: A mortar attack has struck north Baghdad injuring six people. 

28th June: UNESCO and Iraqi authorities are concerned that over 1800 sites in Mosul and 250 ancient monuments in Ninaveh under Daash rule are in danger of being obliterated. Hatra, Nimrud and other archeological sites, some dating back thousands of years are in danger of being destroyed. There is also the looting of artifacts and archeological finds that are at risk of being looted. 

28th June: Admiral John Kirby, the spokesperson of the US Department of Defense has stated that the United States is in a position to deploy 30000 troops to Iraq if the need arises and the President so decides. 

28th June: Qassim Atta, the spokesperson for the Iraqi army claims that Russian made Sukhoi aircraft will be supporting army operations in the next few hours.
28th June: Claimed Kills by Security Services: 

Five Daash fighters killed by security forces in Fallujah

Twenty vehicles belonging to rebels destroyed near Samarra in air strikes

A fighter belonging to Daash is killed in Muqdadiya, 35 km north of Baqouba. Two police personnel are left injured in clashes. 

Clashes between Daash and Security Services are ongoing in Sadiya district 80 km north east of Baqouba. 

Abu Abdul Hadi, a security official within Daash, and 29 other fighters are reported killed in Tikrit. 

28th June: The Iraqi army is claiming full control of Tikrit. It plans to advance on Baiji next. 28th June: The southern Jordanian town of Tafilah sees anti monarchy protests.

Iraqi troops push back ISIS militants in Tikrit as PM under pressure to quit

Iraqi government forces backed by helicopter gunships began an offensive on Saturday to retake Tikrit from Sunni Islamist militants, while party leaders pursued talks to end Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s rule, which is seen as highly divisive.

28 June, 2014
Politicians in Baghdad and around the world have warned that as well as taking back cities captured by insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL), Iraqi authorities must quickly form a government that might be able to bring the country's split communities together.
Since the beginning of June, ISIS jihadists have overrun mainly Sunni areas in the north and west of Iraq.

ISIS’ aim is to re-create a medieval-style caliphate stretching from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. They believe that Shiite Muslims are heretics that should be killed, and there is already confirmation that they have staged mass executions of Shiite government soldiers, as well as civilians captured in Tikrit. 

On the battlefield, Iraqi troops have been advancing on Tikrit from Samarra, and have stemmed the militant advance south towards Baghdad. 

Iraqi special forces air-dropped snipers inside Tikrit University on Thursday, which had been taken over by ISIS fighters. 

Helicopter gunships were used against other targets in the city on Saturday, and ISIS fighters abandoned the main city administration building. 

A senior Iraqi official told AFP that his security forces were coordinating with Washington, which has military advisors on the ground to help push back the militants. 

There were also reports of US drones flying over the city, the hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

A tank from the Iraqi security forces patrols during an intensive security deployment on the outskirts of the city of Samarra, June 25, 2014. Iraqi troops were trying to advance on Tikrit from the direction of Samarra to the south that has become the military's line in the sand against a militant advance by the radical Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group southwards towards Baghdad. (Reuters)
A tank from the Iraqi security forces patrols during an intensive security deployment on the outskirts of the city of Samarra, June 25, 2014. Iraqi troops were trying to advance on Tikrit from the direction of Samarra to the south that has become the military's line in the sand against a militant advance by the radical Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group southwards towards Baghdad. (Reuters)

Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the Iraqi military, told reporters on Saturday that militant commanders are starting to struggle because “their morale has started to collapse.” 

He added that 29 terrorists were killed in Tikrit on Friday. 

But in the south of the country, ISIS militants were on the offensive. In Jurf al-Sakhar – located 85 kilometers south of Baghdad – police sources said that 60 ISIS fighters and 15 Iraqi security forces were killed in an attack on an army camp, but the militants retreated when they could not hold their positions.

Political wrangling

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a powerful Shiite cleric, intervened Friday and urged Iraq's political blocs to agree on a new premier, parliament speaker, and president before the newly-elected legislature meets in Baghdad on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia promised US Secretary of State John Kerry to use his influence to encourage Sunni Muslims to throw their weight behind a new, more inclusive Iraqi government, in an effort to undermine support for the Sunni Islamist insurgents. 
The king’s words are a significant shift from Riyadh’s unwillingness to support a new government unless Maliki steps down, which may reflect his disquiet about the regional implications of ISIS’ rise. 

A Shiite lawmaker from the National Alliance, which groups all Shiite Muslim parties, said that a session of the Alliance – including Maliki’s State of Law party – would be held throughout the weekend and that a number of Sunni political parties would also meet later on Saturday. 

The next 72 hours are very important to come up with an agreement to push the political process forward,” the lawmaker, who asked to be kept anonymous, told Reuters.

Iraq’s Sunnis accuse Maliki of pushing them aside and repressing their community, which has led many armed Sunni tribes to support the hardline ISIS insurgency. 

The president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region has also said that Maliki should go. Maliki’s party won the most seats in the April election and was pushing for a third term before the ISIS offensive began. 
Now, some senior officials in his party say there is a possibility of him being replaced. 

“It’s a card game and State of Law plays a poker game very well. For the Prime Minster, it will go down to the wire,” one official told Reuters. 

Meanwhile, on the Iraq-Syria border, other Islamist rebels have challenged ISIS’ grip on power and have launched a counter-offensive on the border town of Albu Kamal

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