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.

Mosul Campaign Day 188, Apr 22, 2017

The Iraqi forces were active across all sections of west Mosul. First, the Golden Division took the Siha neighborhood in the middle of the city. It was still fighting in Tanak as well. General Maan Saadi claimed that the Golden Division was surrounding the Old City, but it continues to move north rather than to the east where the Old City is. The police were still assaulting that district from four directions, but the fight still appeared to be deadlocked. A brigade from the army’s 16th Division, which was doing security duties in east Mosul was transferred to the northwest of the city to join the 9th Division and the Hashd. Those units reached just outside of Mosul a few days ago, but there have been no reports of movement since then, although government maps claim they have seized several areas in the northern perimeter of west Mosul. Since the Iraqi government always likes reporting its victories the maps may be an exaggeration. The Golden Division remains the most effective force of the government. It has continued to gain neighborhood after neighborhood in the west and center of west Mosul. The police on the other hand announced that they were renewing operations in the Old City after a month long pause, but have still not made much headway. Fighting in the district is very intense going from street to street, house to house, sometimes room to room. The police may be over relying upon artillery and air strikes as well rather than clearing out areas on the ground. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 187, Apr 21, 2017

The Iraqi forces were involved in heavy fighting across west Mosul. There were clashes between the Islamic State and Golden Division in the Siha neighborhood, and with the police in the Old City district. The Golden Division has been making steady progress up the middle and western section of the city, while the police have been stuck in the Old City for more than a month. The narrow streets, dense layout of buildings, and Islamic State defenses have all held up taking the district.

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 th...