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Old 04-26-2017   #141
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Day 191 of Mosul campaign.
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Old 04-27-2017   #142
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Mosul campaign Day 192.
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Old 04-28-2017   #143
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Day 193 of Mosul campaign.
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Old 04-29-2017   #144
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Security in Iraq April 15-21, 2017.
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Old 04-30-2017   #145
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Mosul Campaign day 194-95.
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Old 05-01-2017   #146
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Day 196 of Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-02-2017   #147
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Day 197 of the Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-03-2017   #148
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Day 198 of Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-04-2017   #149
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Day 199 of Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-05-2017   #150
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Day 200 Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-06-2017   #151
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Day 201 of Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-07-2017   #152
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Mosul campaign Day 202.
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Old 05-08-2017   #153
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Just published my 120th interview for Musings On Iraq talking with Alex Mello, Iraq security analyst for Horizon Client Access on how the Islamic State has fought the Battle for Mosul. Alex recently co-authored an article with Michael Knights for CTC Sentinel on the Mosul fighting. Here's a link.
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Old 05-08-2017   #154
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Default Truth, Reconciliation, "De-Daeshification" and Migration

From Der Spiegel (http://www.spiegel.de/international/...a-1144790.html) in May - selected excerpts:

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Although fighting is still ongoing in the western part of Mosul, and a half-million people are still trapped inside the old city, with insufficient food and water, an attempt to process IS atrocities is underway here, in the Court of United Nineveh.

Two judges are heading the investigations.

But mistakes happen again and again, and innocent people are taken into custody.

None of the 20 alleged IS supporters Yami interrogates on this day confesses to a crime. They all claim that they only watched, that they fled, performed harmless tasks, were hangers-on and were victims of circumstances. Few admit to possessing a weapon. Some say their fallen brothers or fathers were with IS, but that they themselves were not. And why should these men confess their guilt if there is no evidence? Or could it be that they are innocent?

"Ninety percent of all prisoners here are lying," Yami says. "If I could question them alone, they might tell me the truth. But now they spend a few days with the other prisoners, and then they know what to say in their testimony."

In order to prevent abuse, an amnesty law was enacted in 2016. Since then, anyone who can prove that he joined IS or another terrorist group against his will and did not commit any serious crimes is set free. Some 800 prisoners have benefited from the amnesty rule since the middle of last year.
According to the pro-EU and EU-funded Reshaping Europe blog as of December 2015:

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...meaningful security screenings of refugees and migrants that have already entered EU territory are extremely hard to implement – in particular in the current chaotic situation where thousands of people reach the Italian and Greek shores every day. At the migratory hubs in these countries, the EU is trying to allow for a more orderly processing of refugees and migrants by providing coordinated and reinforced support by EU agencies like Frontex and EASO and Member States’ experts (‘hotspot approach’). This could also include intensified security screenings by, for example, systematically checking refugees against police data bases and anti-terror lists. But such measures will take time to be implemented. At the moment Italy, Greece or Croatia still do not even (manage to) fingerprint and register refugees in a systematic manner. But even if implemented properly, these procedures would security-wise still not live up to the US screenings. If EU Member States really wanted to put into place security checks similar to those of the US, they would have to detain refugees and migrants for many months after their arrival.
From 2013 to 2016, roughly 136,000 migrants have fled from Iraq to Europe. Given the Iraqis' inability to detect ex-Daesh fighters that have blended into the civilian population as well as the incomplete, missing or incorrect documentation for most Iraqi migrants to Europe, how can any EU or EU member state leader claim that there is an effective vetting process for these migrants?

Even if these former members do not commit terrorism in Europe, they are nonetheless war criminals who have "retired" to the generous welfare states of Europe in order to avoid justice at home.

This is to say nothing of former members of Iraqi Shia gangs that have joined the tide of humanity heading northwest.
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Old 05-09-2017   #155
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Day 203-204 in Mosul campaign.
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Old 05-09-2017   #156
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Default The Future of Iran's Militant Proxies in Iraq

By Michael Knights and Michael Eisenstadt at WOTR: https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/mi...oxies-in-iraq/

Introduction:

Quote:
As the war against the Islamic State enters the final stretch, with less than a quarter of Mosul left to liberate, the Iraqi government must decide whether to allow a residual U.S. military support mission to stay on in Iraq. Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias have already weighed in on the matter. In early May 2017, Jafar al-Hosseini, a spokesman and senior commander of the Kata’ib Hizballah militia, told Iranian state media: “If [the] Americans fail to leave Iraq [following the defeat of Islamic State] they will be in the crosshairs of the Iraqi Islamic resistance.” Statements such as these, delivered confidently with little fear of government reproach, raise the question: Who is really in charge in Iraq?

The future of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and their constituent militias is one of the most consequential policy challenges facing the Iraqi government and its coalition partners, such as the United States. Raised by a religious fatwa and a political executive order, the PMF played a crucial role in stemming the advance of Islamic State in June 2014, eventually incorporating both Shiite and non-Shiite fighters. But the PMF consist of diverse elements. These include Iranian-backed Shiite militias, “shrine PMF” (whose leaders were selected by the quietist Shiite clergy in Najaf), and Sunni PMF. The latter two groups are assets for Iraq that will hopefully be incorporated into Iraqi Army, Counter-Terrorism Service and police forces. The Tehran-backed PMF, however, are a different matter and their future is a source of acute concern for Washington.

U.S. policymakers are particularly focused on the role that Tehran-backed PMF may play in Iranian efforts to remake parts of the region in its own image. One possibility is the Lebanese Hizballah model — entailing their transformation into political movements with military and social welfare wings, outside of state control but tolerated by the government. With the PMF formally incorporated as a temporary component of the Iraqi Security Forces there is also the possibility that the PMF could become a parallel official military institution akin to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iran, to counterbalance U.S. and coalition-trained units in the Iraqi Security Forces.

What is the current and future relevance of these models to the Tehran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq? Our research indicates that some PMF elements with ties to Iran, such as Kata’ib Hizballah or Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, face an uncertain path and may continue their evolution towards the Hizballah model. Though presently at odds with Iran, the movement of Moqtada al-Sadr is, in many ways, probably the closest Iraqi equivalent to Hizballah. At the same time, the creation of an IRGC-like parallel military that answers to the country’s leadership is not very likely — at least at this time — in part because the Iran-backed Badr Organization is already determinedly converting elements of the Iraqi Security Forces into a parallel force not entirely under the control of the Iraqi prime minister. All of these eventualities present acute threats to shared U.S., Iraqi, and coalition interests and should be constrained through information operations, security force assistance, security sector reform, and political-economic assistance efforts, described in detail below...
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Old 05-10-2017   #157
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Security report for April 2017. Lull in Mosul fighting dropped casualty and attack statistics for the month.
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Old 05-11-2017   #158
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Two articles today. One is on security trends in Iraq from 2016 to April 2017. Violence is down across the country since Mosul campaign started. Lots of charts in the piece. The other is a Mosul update with only one section of the city left under IS control.
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Old 05-12-2017   #159
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Day 207 of Mosul Campaign. Battle is reaching final phase.
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Old 05-13-2017   #160
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Day 208 of Mosul campaign.
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