June 12, 2018
Karha Qazan Village
Major surprise: Al-Sadr announces coalition with Al-Amiri, Al-Hakim, Allawi. [..]
Al-Abadi confirms that the IHEC warehouse fire was arson. [..]
Daesh kills 20-30 tribe members of a tribal PMF near Iraq- Syria border. [..]
Local Kirkuk official warns of continuing Daesh presence in Yaychi-Dibis area. [..]
Daesh burns down a village in southwest Kirkuk. [..]
11 Daesh members arrested in northwest Mosul. [..]
Turkey’s Defense Minister says Turkish troops will stay in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. [..]
Saudi Arabia reported conferring with tribal sheikhs in SDF-held Arab areas about new Arab force. [..]
Mattis says US will start implementing Manbij “road map” with Turkey. [..]
Italian military trainers arrive in Deir Ez-Zor to work with SDF. [..]
Daesh battling SDF and Syrian units in Albu Kamal. [..]
Afghanistan: Car bomb kills 5 policemen in east-central Afghanistan. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
In a major surprise, Muqtada Al-Sadr announced on Tuesday that his Sa’irun alliance would form a coalition with the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance led by Hadi Al-Amiri. The announcement came at a joint press conference between Al-Sadr and Al-Amiri. Last week, Al-Sadr announced a coalition with the Al-Hikma (Wisdom) alliance led by Ammar Al-Hakim, and the Wataniya (National) alliance led by Ayad Allawi. Al-Amiri added at the conference that he had no problem with a manual recount of “5% or 10%” of votes. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. There is obviously a lot more to this story, but a coalition between the anti-Iran Al-Sadr and the pro-Iran Al-Amiri is certainly a surprise development. Al-Sadr’s agreement with the Sunni coalition is less surprising, as he has wanted to forge a coalition with Sunnis for some years and has promoted the idea of a non-sectarian government. The other third of this “triangle,” the coalition of the PMF militia leaders with the seemingly incompatible anti-Iran Sunni bloc might require a little more explanation. What happened to the constantly rumored Al-Sadr/Al-Abadi coalition is an unanswered question. What happened to all the Al-Maliki/Al-Fath rumors is another. So is the absence of Kurdish parties from the conversation. There will be a lot more to report on this story, which is just emerging over the past few days, and we would like to see some verification and perhaps clarification from Iraqi media sources.
Ahmed Al-Asadi, a spokesman for the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance, said on Tuesday that their coalition with Sa’irun would form the “core” of a majority bloc. He said that this coalition would not exclude anyone and would serve as the basis for a “national service government.” [Rudaw]
Al-Hayat reported that the US had been seeking to unify the Kurdish party positions with respect to formation of a new Iraqi government. The newspaper wrote that this was the purpose of the meeting of US Ambassador Douglas Silliman and US Consul General Ken Gross’ with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Kosrat Rasul Ali. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. Based on previous stories about a coalition that would extend Al-Abadi’s tenure as Prime Minister, it appeared that there would be enough seats represented to establish a majority in the CoR, as we reported. Support from the Kurds could have enabled this outcome. The fact that the US diplomats met with the PUK leader suggests that the KDP (or possibly the PUK) did not support that proposed coalition. The coalition reported today represents a potentially serious setback for the US, quite possibly the motive behind the meeting. Whether the announced coalition can actually provide a stable majority in the CoR remains to be seen, however.
An “official source” said on Tuesday that there were ongoing attempts to form a coalition calling for the complete annulment of the elections, and to institute new procedures for provincial elections. The source told a Gulf newspaper that “several political forces,” including Kurdish and Shia figures, might form a coalition called “6/10,” and demand new elections in December. The name “6/10” is an apparent reference to the date of the IHEC warehouse fire. [Sumaria]
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday that the preliminary report on the IHEC warehouse fire in Rusafa indicates that the fire was started intentionally. [Sumaria]
The High Judiciary Council committed to apply all the amendments passed recently by the CoR to the electoral law, which included manual counting of votes. The Council appointed 9 judges to replace Electoral Commission members and oversee this process. [Anadolu]
Asa’eb Ahl Al-Haq (AAH) announced their position regarding the CoR elections on Tuesday. Its statement said that any recount should be carried out within a constitutional and legal context. They went on to say that they objected to the proposed recount and re-election procedures on two points: One, that even a 10% recount would likely lead to a “constitutional vacuum” due to the time needed to conduct such a recount. Two, that there was so far no proof of any major fraud that would necessitate a complete re-election; and that parties who claim that a new election was a popular demand were wrong, as the “street” was divided on this issue. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. It seems strange at the least that the most reasonable statement about the election fraud issue comes from AAH.
The Coordinator for International Advocacy in the Kurdistan Region (KRG), Dindar Zebari, said that the KRG had handed over more than 300 accused Daesh members to Baghdad over the past 8 months. This statement was in response to Baghdad officials and MPs accusing the KRG of refusing to transfer Daesh detainees. [Etejah]
The head of Interpol in Iraq said that a refugee arrested in France was a Daesh emir and had participated in the Camp Speicher massacre in June 2014. He said that the arrestee, called Ahmed Hamdan Mahmoud Ayash Al-Aswadi, had been in Salahuddin Prison in Tikrit and escaped after Daesh took over the city. He subsequently became a Daesh emir. Testimonies from other defendants implicated in the Camp Speicher massacre claim that “Al-Aswadi” executed 103 people there. [Sumaria] [Baghdadia]
A CoR member named Al-Zubaidi, writing on his Facebook page, warns that Daesh is beginning to implement plans to target Baghdad from the regions of Kirkuk and Samarra. [BaghdadToday]
Three Daesh stories
1. Sumaria carried a report on the detailed confessions of a “first-rank” Daesh leader, Abu Ruqaya Al-Ansari, who was questioned before the Central Court of Inquiry. Al-Ansari, aka “Al-Jamal” and “Al-Makni,” led the first armed factions in Albu Kamal (Syria), belonged to the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), and then defected to Daesh, where he was the “security officer” for the “State of the Euphrates.” Al-Ansari discussed how he was made Commander of the Eastern Front for the FSA before Al-Nusra became active in Albu Kamal. He said that after Al-Jolani (leader of Al-Nusra and later HTS) became more popular, the differences between Al-Nusra and Daesh grew, and various Daesh leaders went to Al-Jolani to try to persuade him to go to Iraq and meet with Al-Baghdadi, but he refused, and the split between Al-Nusra and Daesh became public. After Al-Nusra became more active and took control of several areas, they tried to assassinate Al-Ansari several times.
Al-Ansari joined Daesh after some of his relatives put him in contact with Daesh leaders in Iraq. He said that, at that time, Daesh was more interested in Iraq than Syria, although he met Al-Baghdadi once in Syria. He added that the existing Daesh leadership was afraid of him seizing power within Daesh because Al-Baghdadi was interested in him. Al-Ansari said that after he was appointed “security officer” for the “State of the Euphrates” within Iraq, he had a number of disagreements with the “Governor of the Euphrates,” Abu Anas Al-Samarri. He sent reports to the Daesh governing committee regarding what he perceived as mismanagement by Al-Samarri, for which Al-Baghdadi sent him a gift of cash and an “official” letter confirming his appointment. Around this time, Al-Ansari appeared in several Daesh propaganda photos, including photos featuring beheaded prisoners.
The report concluded with Al-Ansari’s summary of sources of funding for Daesh, which he said consisted of oil sales, antiquities smuggling, and taxation of farmers and shopkeepers within the territory it controlled. He added that Daesh was currently in a state of internal confusion and conflict following its territorial losses, and that many members were fleeing. [Sumaria]
2. Sumaria also reported the confession of a second Daesh emir, Isam Al-Zuba’ie, aka “Abu Abd Al-Haq,” who was 15 when he joined Daesh in 2007. Both the Court of Inquiry and intelligence services said that Al-Zuba’ie was the youngest emir in Daesh. His family was from Fallujah District, and he joined following his brother, after which his 2 other brothers and 3 sisters also joined. He was arrested in 2009 for participating in attacks on security personnel in Samarra District, and was released in 2014. After his release, he returned to Daesh, saying that his time in prison helped him learn Arabic, which helped him greatly afterward.
Al-Zuba’ie was sent to work under the “Governor of the Euphrates,” known as “Abi Anas Al-Furati.” He asked Abi Anas for permission to form his own fighting group, which he obtained, and they carried out many operations targeting security checkpoints and military positions, as well as countering the advance of Iraqi forces in Anbar, Salahuddin, and Ninewa. However, he and Abi Anas had interpersonal differences and he began to feel that Abi Anas was excessively corrupt. Al-Zuba’ie said that he considered Daesh suicide bombings to be done not just for military reasons, and that the possibility of early death was used as a rationale for Daesh leaders to justify enjoying their newfound wealth. This enabled the corruption, which he saw as rampant within the organization. [Sumaria]
3. Mawazin carried the story of a “simple farmer” who had become an “expert” in a Daesh IED factory. The story began when 44-year-old Jassim, who lived northeast of Baghdad, was approached by his cousin Mohammed, who also worked in farming, about joining Daesh. On the third such meeting, Jassim agreed and went to meet a man called “Abu Jabir” who said he was the “legitimate governor” of the north of Baghdad. Jassim was then given a Kalashnikov-type rifle and told to keep it in his house, and started working on making IEDs.
Jassim said that the “second stage” began after he had 3 months experience making IEDs; he was sent to the Thirthar area of the Samarra desert to open and supervise a workshop making IEDs. He said that he continued this work after the Iraq security forces began operations around Thirthar and Samarra, both making IEDs and participating in about a third of the attacks made with his IEDs. But after the Iraqi forces seized most of Samarra, he had to flee to Hit, and from there to Al-Qa’im. He continued to make IEDs in Al-Qa’im until he and fellow Daesh “officials” decided to flee to Dashisha in Syria. He was arrested after buying a fake ID near Mosul. [Mawazin]
Baghdad Operations Command announced on Tuesday that it had arrested several wanted persons in various areas of the capital, including 4 arrests for terrorism. The BOC said in a statement that its security personnel had made the terrorism arrests in the areas of Abu Nuwas in downtown Baghdad, the “Asia” quarter, Abu Mnaiseer (in Abu Ghraib), and at a checkpoint. [Ghad]
Sheikh Qatari Al-Samarmad, leader of the tribal PMF in the Baghdadi area in Hit, said on Tuesday that Daesh had killeded between 20 and 30 members of his tribe in an area close to the Syria-Iraq border around Al-Qa’im. Al-Samarmad said that intelligence services and Syrian eyewitnesses confirmed that the executions took place near the Albu Kamal (Syria) border with Al-Qa’im, and that his men were killed on charges on cooperating with Syrian and Iraqi forces. [BasNews]
The Center for Security Information said that 3 Daesh safehouses had been discovered in Salahuddin. [Sumaria]
The spokesman for the Center for Security Information, General Yahya Rasul, said in a statement that a cache of equipment left behind by Daesh had been found and destroyed in Shirqat. He said that the cache contained 18 60mm mortar shells, 6 IEDs, and an RPG-7 missile launcher. [Ghad]
The PMF announced on Tuesday that its units had found an explosives cache left behind by Daesh in the Makhoul Mountains, which were being disposed of on-site by their engineers. It is unclear if this is the same cache referred to in the above story. [Ghad]
The PMF said on Tuesday that PMF units had foiled an attack by Daesh fighters in northern Salahuddin. Field sources said that the Daesh fighters were trying to sneak in via the “open areas” along the Tigris. [Etejah]
The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council said on Tuesday that ”electronic recruitment” for Daesh has come to an end in Diyala and no longer has any impact on the ground. Committee head Sadiq Al-Husseini added in an interview that Daesh had failed to reorganize its “sleeper cells,” which he said were still present most notably in the Himrin Basin. He also noted that strengthening the security of the Diyala-Salahuddin border had weakened Daesh considerably because it impacted their main supply line for the sleeper cells. [Sumaria]
In a totally opposite statement, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) warned that Diyala is about to fall under Daesh control. It claims that the Peshmerga are needed to prevent this. [BaghdadToday]
A security source in Diyala said that the Anti-Explosives Division of the police had dismantled 3 IEDs planted at the entrance to the village of Al-Kubba, 12 miles northeast of Baquba. [Sumaria]
The Defense Ministry of Iraq announced on Tuesday that 4 Daesh fighters had been arrested and 3 Daesh sites destroyed in Kirkuk. Spokesman General Yahya said in a statement that the Federal Police, supported by Army Air, searched 13 villages in Kirkuk during the operation. [Rudaw]
The manager of the Yaychi subdistrict, Falah Yaijli, warned on Tuesday of the danger of Daesh “secret and sleeper cells” in Kirkuk. In an interview, he expressed surprise regarding repeated and continuing attacks on the areas between Yaychi subdistrict and Dibis. He added that while the Federal Police were fully deployed in south and northwest Kirkuk Province, there were still large areas for Daesh to hide in and exploit. [Sumaria]
Commander of the Iraqi Federal Police Ra’ed Shakir Jawdat announced that a senior Daesh official, Fares Khaled Saleh Al-Mafraji, was killed during a search operation in the Dibis District. A police source confirmed that the 20th Brigade of the Federal Police (IFP) had killed the official. [Shafaaq] [Baghdadia]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
A security source in Kirkuk Province said on Tuesday that a Daesh-affiliated group had kidnapped a mukhtar’s son from a village in Hawija subdistrict. [Sumaria]
Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, Taza, etc.)
A military source reported on Tuesday that at 11:00 on Monday night, Daesh members burned down the entire village of Karha Qazan in the Rashad subdistrict of Daquq. This was a revenge attack for recent deaths of their members in Kirkuk, who had been killed at the hands of some natives of Karha Qazan. A different source said on Tuesday that Daesh had been burning “large areas” of wheat and barley crops in Karha Qazan, and that this was in retaliation for the people of southwest Kirkuk not cooperating with Daesh. [BaghdadNews] [Sumaria]
A police source, who asked not to be named, said that the IFP had arrested 5 Daesh fighters in various parts of southwest Kirkuk. [Baghdadia]
Ninewa Police Chief Hamad Namis announced on Tuesday that a team from the Ministry of the Interior’s Internal Affairs had arrested 4 members of Ninewa Civil Defense, including 2 officers, near Taji (Baghdad Province). Chief Hamad said that the 4 were arrested with money and weapons hidden in their vehicles, which they were believed to have stolen from the bodies of Daesh fighters during their work exhuming bodies in Mosul. [BasNews]
A security source said on Tuesday that security personnel had arrested the Daesh official called Abu Sayf Al-Hilali in the Rashidiya area in northwest Mosul. Al-Hilali is said to be responsible for the mass executions of about 500 civilians in Mosul after it fell under Daesh control in June 2014. [Baghdadia]
The Ministry of the Interior announced on Tuesday that the 2nd Rapid Response Regiment (SWAT) under Ninewa Police Command had arrested 5 terrorists in Al-Harmat in northwest Mosul. [Sumaria]
Center for Security Information spokesman General Yahya said on Tuesday that units under Ninewa Ops Command had arrested 10 suspects in Al-Harmat. This may include the arrestees mentioned in the above story. [Ghad]
A security source said that 9 “Daesh cells” had been arrested in Yarimjah, in southeast Mosul on the Tigris. [Baghdadia]
The Center for Security Information said on Tuesday that 3 wanted terrorists had been arrested in the Hammam Al-Alil and Qayara areas south of Mosul. [Ghad]
Center for Security Information spokesman General Yahya said on Tuesday that units under Ninewa Ops Command had arrested 1 suspect in Al-Arij, northwest of Hammam Al-Alil city. It is unclear if this is part of the previous story. [Ghad]
Center for Security Information spokesman General Yahya said on Tuesday that units under Ninewa Ops Command had found an anti-tank mine in the area of Mullah Jassem, west of Tal Afar city, and the Al-Hussein Hospital in Tal Afar.
Another group searched the village of Qulabash, 4 miles west of Ayadhiya, and found 610 grenade launchers, 722 mortar shells, 60 “SPG-9” mortar caps, 42 other mortars of various types, 6 anti-armor rocket launchers, 6 explosives belts, 4 tank shells, 3 “Kornet”-type guided missiles, and 30 liters of glycerin. [Ghad]
A source in the National Security Service said that the Service had dismantled a Shia terrorist network called Junud Allah Al-Mulawayin, which had been planning to assassinate political, religious, and military figures in the southern provinces of Dhi Qar, Basra, and Qadisiya. The source claimed that the group had been taking orders from an unnamed “Gulf state” to create intra–sectarian (Shia vs. Shia) conflict. [Ghad]
DaeshDaily comment. This sounds like a significant story, but needs official verification.
An official from the Yazidi Rescue Office in Dahuk, Hussein Qa’idi, said on Monday that units from the Peshmerga and Asayesh (KRG intelligence and security service) had rescued 2 Yazidis from Sinjar—an 18-year-old kidnapped from the village of Tal Qasab, and a 14-year-old from the village of Solagh, both east of Sinjar city. He said that the two had been away from their families for 4 years. [BasNews]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
On Tuesday, the Defense Minister for Turkey, Nurettin Canikli, said that Turkish troops would stay in northern Iraqi Kurdistan until they had “stopped terrorism.” Canikli said in a statement that the Turkish armed forces had “neutralized” more than 500 fighters from the PKK in northern Iraq since the beginning of 2018. He added that military operations “will continue in a way that does not violate the territorial integrity of another country . . . until all terrorists are eliminated.” [Rudaw]
DaeshDaily comment. If you see a contradiction in the above statement, you are not alone. In fact, it is unlikely that the Turkish troops can just roll over the PKK fighters, who can melt into the terrain and resume fighting later. This means Turkey will be occupying parts of Iraqi Kurdistan indefinitely.
Turkish authorities arrested an Iraqi national on charges of “belonging to Daesh.” The arrest was made in Samsun, in northern Turkey. [Anadolu] [Xendan]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Russian official sources say Syria is giving priority to Russian companies in plans for the reconstruction of Syria. However, the process has not started yet. They say that economic activities face difficulties due to Western sanctions against both Syria and Russia. [Qasioun]
Saudi Arabia started talks with Arab tribal sheikhs in SDF-held areas of Syria, aiming to form an Arab force backed by Saudi Arabia. The objective is to create a balance between Kurdish and Arab forces in areas mainly inhabited by Arab populations, and to prepare for the anticipated US withdrawal from Syria. [Anadolu]
Secretary of Defense James Mattis says that the US will start implementing the “road map” in Manbij that was agreed upon with Turkey. Delegations from both countries are currently discussing the mechanisms of implementation. Joint patrols are one such mechanism, Mattis says. [ZamanAlwasl]
SDF forces liberated two villages east of Shaddadi on the 8th day of fighting in Hasaka, moving toward Dashisha. SDF admitted that there was fierce resistance by Daesh in these areas. The SDF says Daesh is planting mines in civilian houses in areas where its fighters have withdrawn. [Hawar]
Central and West
A government media outlet says that the government army killed 4 Al-Nusra fighters and destroyed their vehicle north of Hama city. The group was moving about in Lataminah village. The 4 are from a group of 35 that arrived from Turkey recently. [SyriaNow]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
A group of Daesh fighters lured 6 SDF fighters to a house in Suwaidan village, using a woman, and killed them all. While withdrawing, they killed 2 more SDF fighters after engaging their patrol in the village. [Dorar]
A group of 50 Italian soldiers arrived at the Al-Tanak oilfield, coming from Hasaka. The group came in American Hummers. They will be working closely with the SDF, in training and command and control. [ZamanAlwasl]
Albu Kamal District
SOHR reported that the SDF engaged Daesh in fierce battles. SDF were supported by Coalition planes, which attacked Daesh positions in Hajin. [SyriaHR]
Fighting between government forces and Daesh was reported near the “T2” station. The fighting occurred following an attack by Daesh on the border between Homs and Deir Ez-Zor.
Fighting also started between the Syrian Army and Daesh in Albu Kamal, accompanied by artillery and shelling. [Hawar]
Dozens of foreign militia fighters loyal to the Assad regime were reportedly killed and wounded in a Daesh ambush near the T2 station. [Qasioun]
Daesh ambushed a convoy of pro-government militiamen near the desert area of Albu Kamal, killing 10 of them and wounding others. [Qasioun]
Tensions rose between Syrian Army units and Lebanese Hezbollah in Albu Kamal because of Hezbollah checkpoints that are searching Syrian Army soldiers and requiring them to hand over their weapons. [Qasioun]
South (No reports)
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The Libyan National Army media center says 2 suicide car bomb attacks in the Shiha area of Derna caused civilian casualties. This is a second attack of the kind within 2 days. The center says such attacks would not affect the Army’s advances in the city, and that the Army was continuing to liberate a “very small area” of Derna city remaining outside of Army control. [Hawar]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
French media reported on Tuesday that a person claiming to have a bomb had taken 3 hostages in the 10th District of Paris. The media noted that this was not a terrorist attack, based on reports they had received from several sources. The French channel BFM TV reported that the hostage-taker had asked to meet with the Iranian Ambassador to France.
German authorities announced on Tuesday that they had arrested an 18-year-old man based on the suspicion that he had joined Daesh in Mosul in 2014 and completed a 4-week military training program. His name is “Arqam A.,” partially withheld for privacy. He supposedly worked as a guard and in preparing fighting positions for Daesh before coming to Germany in 2016. [Shafaaq]
A car bomb exploded on Tuesday in Ghazna Province in east-central Afghanistan, killing five Afghan policemen. It also wounded 26 civilians, including the head of the district. No organization has claimed responsibility so far. [Anadolu]