Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23rd IRAQ SITREP by Mindfriedo

20th June: Putin confirmed Russia's complete support for the efforts of the Iraqi government to speedily liberate the territory of the republic from terrorists.
20th June: Thirty Shia militiamen are killed in Muqdadiyah, a town north east of Baghdad. The town lies on the main approach to Baqouba in Diyala province. The militants attacking the town were repulsed.
22nd June: The leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has opposed any US intervention in Iraq: “The US is displeased with the current process of election with the people's high turnout and election of people's choices because the US intends to dominate Iraq and bring to power those who OBEY it.”
22ndJune: An advisor to Moqtada As Sadr claims that any US “advisors” sent to Iraq will be seen as occupiers and legitimate targets.
23rd June: Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry, meets with politicians in Baghdad. Maliki tells him that the current crisis: “represents a threat not only to Iraq but to regional and international peace,” not to mention oil prices.
23rd June: Kuwait denies the withdrawal of its ambassador from Iraq.
23rd: The fate of Tal Afar is not clear. All indications are that its airport and the city itself have fallen to the rebels. However, the spokesman for Iraqi Army Qassim Atta claims that the army is still fighting for control of the town.
23rd June: Daash has sent an ultimatum to the residents of Sinjar district to hand over Abu Walid, the Iraqi Major General who was spearheading resistance in Tal Afar before his forces withdrew. The Major General had withdrawn along with his coterie of bodyguards.
23rd June: Tribal leaders from both Shia and Sunni tribes from Tal Afar have sent a delegation to Erbil. They are asking the Kurdish authorities to include Tal Afar in Iraqi Kurdistan.
23rd June: Hugh Evans, the British Council in Iraqi Kurdistan, has allegedly stated that “he hopes to see the Republic of Kurdistan soon.” This was during celebrations organized to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday. He also asked Kurdish authorities to work with the authorities in Baghdad, praised the Kurds for taking in refugees from other parts, and highlighted his government’s aid of 8 million USD.
23rd June: Clashes have now broken out in Salahuddin province between Daash fighters and those loyal to the Islamic Army. The clashes were over allegiance that Daash was insisting on from all groups fighting with/under it. Five militants are reported killed.
23rd June: The head of the Al-Abeed tribe in Iraq, Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, has refused to pay allegiance to Dassh. His home was attacked, property looted and life threatened. He has been shifted to Sulaymaniyah by the governor of Kirkuk.
23rd June: Iraqis in Australia have attended a rally denouncing Daash and its appeal. Abu Yahya ash Shami, the Daash militant from Australia had stated in his video appeal “Hello my brothers in Australia. This is the message I want to send to you. From a Muslim brother’s heart to another brother’s heart. Look and see and wake up and understand why this happening. Wake up. Wake up and be part of this effort.” Australia has decided to deport any citizen having relations with Daash.
23rd: Baiji refinery is still under government control. However, it has fewer than 300 security personnel defending it. Siege by militants is ongoing.
23rd: Dash has taken 57 families hostage in the north east of Baiji. The families, consisting of women, children, and the elderly were fleeing Al Alam sub district for the town of Hawija. Daash has warned the Al Alam district to surrender or it will execute the hostages and dump them in the Tigris River.
23rd June: Iraqi officials tried to convince John Kerry for the need of targeted airstrikes. John Kerry remained concerned about “civilian casualties.” Who says the United States does not have a sense of humor? Or honor?
23rd June: The spokesman for the Iraqi Army, Qassem Atta, has stated that the Iraqi army withdrew from the Western cities of Rawa and Anah as a tactical withdrawal.
23rd June: Certain sections of Sunni society in Syria are worried that Daash’s gains in Iraq will intensify fighting in Syria. They know the kind of “freedom” that awaits the civilians of Mosul.
23rd June: The UK has made more than 40 Daash related arrests in the first three months of 2014. The former director of MI6, Richard Barrett, has warned the UK authorities that they face an “impossible task” of tracking Daash related subjects of the Queen.
23rd June: Mourners gather in their thousands in Al Jouf, Saudi Arabia to bury the Saudi student stabbed to death in the UK.
23rd June: The Israeli Ai Force carries out attacks on Syrian positions in the Golan Heights.
The next major confrontation that faces the government in Baghdad is Haditha. Government troops are protecting the town and the dam that is of strategic importance. But, it lies in the Sunni heartland. So far the rebels are proving to be more tenacious and motivated than the government.
So far it seems that each side is consolidating its hold. Most of Sunni Iraq is now in Rebel hands, and most of South and East Iraq with the Shia headed government. The North East is with the Kurds, the only force that has so far held off the rebels. Any struggle to take back the Sunni areas will be long drawn out and, if Syria is an example, very destructive. A Sunni advance on the South and East seems unlikely to succeed.

Further Reading:
Robert Fisk in US slang “ripping” the Americans and Saudis a new one:
On Iranian and Kurdish cooperation in the past. And the price the Kurds paid: