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Thread: Iraq in 2016

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    Default Iraq in 2016

    Just wrote a review of how Ramadi fell back in May and then its recapture by the government forces That doesn't mark the end of the battle for the city however as other large problems are on the horizon to really secure the city. Here's a link to the article.

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    Just published my 102n interview for Musings On Iraq. I talked with Wladimir van Wilgenburg of the Jamestown Foundation about the political divisions within the Kurdish peshmerga. Here's a link to the interview.

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    New security report for 4th wk of Dec in Iraq just published. Goes over the capture of central Ramadi. IS's terror campaign in Baghdad. Harassing attacks in Diyala. New mini-offensive against the Kurds in the north, and another flare up in Tuz Kharmato. Here's a link to the article.

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    Did my monthly round up of violence in Iraq for December. Violence was down in the country at the end of the month, another sign that IS is largely on the defensive. Here's a link.

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    Default Iraq in 2016

    Moderator's Note: A belated new thread for 2016. The 2015 thread had 213 posts and 32.7k views. For reference it is on:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=21576

    There are separate, open threads for Syria and Watching ISIS.

    This post will appear - briefly - as the first post as a small number of previous posts will be moved here.
    davidbfpo

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    Interesting study by Mercy Corps. Did three public opinion polls in Iraq. Found that Sunni support for armed groups went from 49% in 2014 to 26% in 2015. Also interesting findings about sectarianism and how it doesn't play out way many westerners think. Here's a link.

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    Default The Carcass of a City ISIS Left Behind

    Emma Sky reports on Ramadi after ISIS was expelled, it does not appear she has been there and relies on her contacts:http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...ft-behind.html
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    Diyala got really ugly the last two days. First IS set off an IED then a car bomb to catch the crowd in Muqtadiya. Afterward the Hashd went on a wave of retaliatory attacks destroying homes, shops and mosques plus killed 10 Sunnis. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35290903

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    Just published new security report for 1st wk of Jan for Iraq. Violence was up across the country. IS carried out counter-attacks in Anbar to try to make up for loss of Ramadi and offensive against Kurds in Ninewa continued. Also discovery of mass graves. Here's a link.

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    A rare first-hand report from the frontlines in Iraq. Quite long; a mix of civilians and fighters cited:http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...he-front-lines
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    Just wrote article on the on going violence in Diyala's Muqtadiya. After IS set off 2 bombs in the city targeting a cafe frequented by the Hashd, the Hashd went off on 3 days of attacks on Sunnis destroying homes, shops mosques and killing 15 people. Hashd allegedly told Sunnis to leave the city or be killed. The first day this happened the security forces had a curfew and did not stop the attacks. Iraqi press has said little to nothing on the incidents & Baghdad not made any statements either. Diyala is under the political and security control of Badr's Hadi Ameri, likely why no one really saying anything. Here's a link to the article.

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    'Oh wow'....

    So, the essence of the last two of your reports, Joel, is
    - we (the 'West') can keep on arming Kurds to the ceiling, but fact is they'll never go after the Daesh in Mosul, which means that all that armament for their 'president' and his forces are in vain...

    - while the mass-murder and ethnic cleansing by the PMUs doesn't matter...

    The only thing 'amazing' here is reaction of our glorious media and politicians: perhaps the West could deliver some more arms to the PMUs, IRGC etc,. so they can complete ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Iraq?

    ...the only thing that remains really surprising is the stubborn refusal of our fantastic politicians to connect such affairs with the flow of refugees to the EU... but of course, it's much more interesting to keep on bitching about various local political parties and persons here - whether for chauvinism against or for lack of responsibility in regards of accepting millions that are arriving - than take care about the actual reason for this problem...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWing View Post
    Diyala got really ugly the last two days. First IS set off an IED then a car bomb to catch the crowd in Muqtadiya. Afterward the Hashd went on a wave of retaliatory attacks destroying homes, shops and mosques plus killed 10 Sunnis. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35290903
    The attack appeared to be targeted against senior PMF figures.

    ISIL seems to be trying to stoke sectarian tensions further as the tide of conventional war flows against it. Considering the political fragility of Iraq and the lack of money in Baghdad's coffers this is a very viable strategy. Politically and economically there is not much sign of a competitive offer to ISIL for Iraq's Sunnis emanating from Baghdad.
    RR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    The attack appeared to be targeted against senior PMF figures.

    ISIL seems to be trying to stoke sectarian tensions further as the tide of conventional war flows against it. Considering the political fragility of Iraq and the lack of money in Baghdad's coffers this is a very viable strategy. Politically and economically there is not much sign of a competitive offer to ISIL for Iraq's Sunnis emanating from Baghdad.
    Yes. IS returning to the high profile, headline grabbing type of attacks that it did pre-Mosul. It's been targeting Baghdad more and more all of last year as well to try to set off Shiite retaliations.

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    New security report for Iraq for the 1st week of Jan 2016 is up. ISF continued push into Ramadi although churning through many of the same neighborhoods again. Covers high profile attacks by IS in Baghdad and Diyala. Plus IS winter offensive against Kurds appears to be ending. Here's a link.

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    Good report.

    The conflict in Iraq appears to be entering a new phase with ISIL on the operational defence and resorting to increasing use of asymmetric tactics. These tactics disrupt and delay the Iraqi Security Force offensive efforts as well as exacerbate an already fraught political climate between Sunni and Shia.

    I think that Fallujah will remain stalemated for some time yet. From what I have seen only the CTS has demonstrated the ability to clear complex terrain and I have not seen any indications that there are CTS in Fallujah. The general tenor of Iraqi announcements on Fallujah seem to indicate that they are happy to contain the situation and let it wither on the vine.
    RR

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWing View Post
    New security report for Iraq for the 1st week of Jan 2016 is up. ISF continued push into Ramadi although churning through many of the same neighborhoods again. Covers high profile attacks by IS in Baghdad and Diyala. Plus IS winter offensive against Kurds appears to be ending. Here's a link.
    Sorry 2nd wk of Jan not 1st wk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
    Good report.

    The conflict in Iraq appears to be entering a new phase with ISIL on the operational defence and resorting to increasing use of asymmetric tactics. These tactics disrupt and delay the Iraqi Security Force offensive efforts as well as exacerbate an already fraught political climate between Sunni and Shia.

    I think that Fallujah will remain stalemated for some time yet. From what I have seen only the CTS has demonstrated the ability to clear complex terrain and I have not seen any indications that there are CTS in Fallujah. The general tenor of Iraqi announcements on Fallujah seem to indicate that they are happy to contain the situation and let it wither on the vine.
    After Ramadi fell in May PM Abadi said that it would be taken immediately. The Hashd said they wanted to take Fallujah instead in part because IS released a video of them killing a soldier form Sadr City in Fallujah and to undermine Abadi. The Fallujah op went nowhere quick. Fallujah will eventually be taken but they need to clear out Ramadi first.

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    Human Rights Watch recently released a report on the on going violence in Salahaddin's Tuz Kharmato that pits Shiite Turkmen in the Hashd versus the Kurds who are both vying for power over the district, with the Sunni Arabs in the middle. Have been a series of confrontations and fights between them. Here's a link to my review of the report.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWing View Post
    After Ramadi fell in May PM Abadi said that it would be taken immediately. The Hashd said they wanted to take Fallujah instead in part because IS released a video of them killing a soldier form Sadr City in Fallujah and to undermine Abadi. The Fallujah op went nowhere quick. Fallujah will eventually be taken but they need to clear out Ramadi first.
    The Hashd have proved incapable of clearing complex terrain without incurring large casualties or using egregious amounts of indirect fire. I cannot see that changing quickly.

    I get no sense from Baghdad announcements and conjecture that Fallujah is high on anyone's agenda and I would be very surprised if more effort than is already the case (and that is minimal) is directed here.
    RR

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