August 15, 2018
IFP Units in the Makhoul Mountains Area
Pompeo urges Al-Abadi, Nechirvan Barzani to expedite formation of a moderate government. [..]
Sunni coalition will nominate Anbar Governor for CoR Speaker. [..]
Iraqi Army kills 22 Daesh, captures 25 safehouses in northern Diyala. [..]
Turkish plane bombs PKK-affiliated militia in Sinjar. [..]
US sanctions on Iran undermining Najaf’s religious tourism business. [..]
Turkey acknowledges that the YPG is withdrawing from Manbij. [..]
McGurk returns again to Raqqa to reiterate US support for Raqqa Council. [..]
Daesh attacks SDF units in three Raqqa villages. [..]
Turkey tells tribe chiefs to expect Syrian Army move on southern Idlib soon. [..]
Syrian Army, Daesh still fighting near Suwayda border. [..]
Taliban seizes base in NE Afghanistan, kills 45 soldiers, police. [..]
Suicide attack kills 25, wounds 35 in Kabul. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to both Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, over the phone, encouraging them to expedite the formation of a “moderate” government that can meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people. He assured them of continued US support according to the strategic framework agreement. [WatanNews]
DaeshDaily comment. The Secretary is apparently reflecting concern over the pro-Iran and anti-US undertone in recent discussions over formation of the new government. There is also a message in his choice of whom to call. Talking to Al-Abadi is a way of showing support without making a public statement that would seem interfering, and undermines the statement we reported yesterday from the pro-Iran side that Al-Abadi is no longer under consideration. Talking to Nechirvan Barzani would seem to have the effect, though perhaps not the intent, of undermining the ongoing Kurdish effort to sound neutral in the leadership battle in order to force major concessions relating to disputed territories and related issues.
Masoud Barzani, leader of the KDP, received Douglas Silliman, the US Ambassador to Iraq, at the Salahuddin resort. The political situation, US strategy, the war on terror, and IDP issues were discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by the US General Counsel in Erbil. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. We would bet that the “political situation” was the real focus of the meeting. Otherwise, why would the meeting be held at all? We think this report is related to the lead story above.
The recently formed Sunni National Axis coalition agreed to nominate Mohammed Al-Halbusi, the Governor of Anbar, for the position of Speaker of the CoR. Some of the Shi’a alliances, such the Victory alliance of PM Al-Abadi and the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance headed by Hadi Al-Amiri, attended the meeting where the nomination was made, which was held at the house of Hadi Al-Amiri. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. Remember that this has been regarded as a Sunni position, with the Prime Minister position being seen as a Shia position and the President position reserved for the Kurds. There was some talk earlier of changing this, but that trial balloon seems to have floated off. So one implication of electing Al-Halbusi is that the Presidency would again be held by a Kurd.
According to one report, the US threatened Iraq with sanctions if it were to break the sanctions imposed on Iran. The US was responding to Haider Al-Abadi’s statements that trade with Iran would continue using local currency. [Forat]
However, the US Embassy in Baghdad says Iraq did not breach the US sanctions against Iran. It says the statements of Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, were misinterpreted by Iraqi media. The Embassy says that Ms. Nauert meant that countries that breached the sanctions by dealing with Iran in US dollars would be punished, which is not the case in Iraq. [Shafaaq]
The Washington Post says that US sanctions on Iran would harm Iraqi investors who placed thousands of dollars in Iranian banks due to the Iranian banks providing high interest rates. Many reportedly used “mules” to smuggle money across the border into Iran, to overcome limitations placed by the Iraqi government. [Shafaaq]
Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that Iraq needs to find economic alternatives to oil dependence. He was speaking at a meeting of the Iraqi Economic Development Conference. Al-Abadi said that Iraq needed more development, job creation, and investment. He added that Iraq had gone through wars and sanctions, and was therefore opposed to seeing any country suffer what its citizens had suffered. [Rudaw]
DaeshDaily comment. The last point is an obvious reference to the sanctions on Iran.
Faisal Al-Haymas, Chairman of the Board at the Trade Bank of Iraq (sometimes called the Commercial Bank of Iraq), says that the Bank has suspended plans to purchase a commercial bank in Turkey, due to the sharp decline of the Turkish lira. The bank, owned by the Government of Iraq, has assets of over $20 billion. The bank was planning to expand its activity by buying a bank in Turkey, the largest trade partner of Iraq. [Shafaaq]
The Higher Judicial Council announced on Wednesday that the Central Criminal Court has sentenced 3 men to life imprisonment for providing logistic support to Daesh in Ninewa, such as training and manufacturing explosive materials. [Buratha]
Security-related incidents reported
The Center for Security Information says that national security units in Baghdad arrested a man wanted for terrorism in a Baghdad neighborhood. The exact area was not defined. [Ghad]
West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)
Daesh says it killed or wounded 15 Shia with 2 IEDs in Al-Dhahab Al-Abyad village, in Abu Ghraib. Daesh says it detonated the second IED after people gathered to help the casualties of the first explosion. [A3maq] [ICDNAug15] We could not find a non-Daesh news report that might have validated or refuted this story.
Anbar Operations Command says in a statement that a special forces brigade found and destroyed 65 IEDs in an area extending from Albu Assi, southwest of Falluja and the Al-Salam junction area to Al-Ankur, south of Ramadi city; and arrested 2 persons wanted on terrorism charges in Sufiya and Zuwiya. [Baghdadia]
The MoD says in a statement that 29 IDP families (167 persons) have returned from the Ameriyat Al-Falluja camp to their homes in Al-Qa’im District. [Rudaw]
A DaeshDaily source says people of Zuwiya village stopped a Daesh attack on Tuesday, forcing the terrorists to flee.
A DaeshDaily source says a local soccer player was killed and another kidnapped in a Daesh attack on Khadhraniya village, on Tuesday.
A DaeshDaily source says IFP units deployed in the Makhoul Mountains area blunted a Daesh attack in northern Salahuddin. However, the source says an IFP member was killed by a Daesh sniper.
A DaeshDaily source says Iraqi Army 9th division units ambushed and killed 2 Daesh suicide terrorists who were planning to attack the division’s military positions in the Mtaibija area on Tuesday. The source sent us photos of the terrorists.
The Center for Security Information says that Army units killed 2 suicide attackers and wounded 1, while capturing an explosives belt and 15 grenades, in Sifuna, in the Al-Mu’tasim area in eastern Samarra. [Sumaria]
Daesh says a group of its terrorists attacked an Iraqi Army military position in Al-Mu’tasim on Tuesday, killing three soldiers, wounding others, and destroying an armored personnel carrier and the military position before “returning safely”. [A3maq] [ICDNAug15]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
Gen. Mizher Al-Azzawi, Diyala Ops Commander, says that 22 Daesh fighters were killed by Army units in the Himrin area, who also destroyed 25 Daesh safehouses. [Rudaw]
Daesh says it damaged an Iraqi Army Humvee with an IED in the Albu Eissa area, in Udhaim, on Tuesday. [A3maq]
Daesh says it destroyed an SUV carrying IFP fighters with an IED in Shirnaw village, in Dibis. [A3maq]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
A DaeshDaily source says PMF units captured a Daesh cook near Sadouniya village. The source says the man lost his way back to a Daesh hideout in the Makhoul Mountains. The source says the man was delivering food when he was captured.
A DaeshDaily source says four tribal PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack on the Al-Zab area, on Tuesday. The source says Daesh also kidnapped two men who provided information to the PMFs.
Daesh says it killed two IFP officers and three other members and destroyed their Humvee with an IED on the road between Safra and Tikrit, on Tuesday. [A3maq]
Daesh says it blew up the house of an Intelligence Service officer in Mahmudiya village, west of Hawija. It also says it killed or wounded IFP officers and destroyed their Humvee with an IED near the same village. [ICDNAug15]
Ministry of Interior spokesmen Sa’ad Ma’an says that a man wanted on terrorism charges was arrested in west Mosul. No further details were revealed. [BaghdadToday]
A DaeshDaily source says Ninewa SWAT units raided several houses in Al-Quds, in east Mosul, and captured 8 Daesh terrorists including Salem Al-Jazza’, the Daesh security commander of south Ninewa. The source says the terrorists admitted they were planning to reactivate Daesh cells in the city.
Southern Ninewa (No reports)
A security source says that a Turkish plane attacked alleged PKK positions in Kali Shano, in the Sinuni area of western Sinjar. The security source did not provide casualty figures. A PMF official said later that the attack had killed a PKK commander and 4 fighters from the Sinjar Resistance Units, a Yazidi militia affiliated with the PKK. [Shafaaq] [Rudaw]
The Iraqi Observatory of Human Rights says that a demonstrator was killed when security forces used force to end a protest in the Ezzedine Salim subdistrict of Basra. Clashes between protestors and soldiers followed the incident. Use of live ammunition by the police was reported. [Shafaaq]
The death of a protestor in Huwayr (Ezzedine Salim subdistrict) set off clashes between tribes and security forces, while a tribal demonstration, protesting arrests that have taken place, marched in front of the local council building. [Ghad]
The city of Najaf is already experiencing a severe economic decline following the US sanctions on Iran, which have impacted religious tourism. Najaf is a major holy site for Shia; the Chairman of the Najaf Hotel Association, Sa’eb Abu Gheneim, said that over 85% of visitors come from Iran. These numbers are expected to drop significantly this year due to the sanctions and the fall in value of the Iranian riyal. [Rudaw]
The Asayesh said on Wednesday that they had thwarted a Daesh plan to threaten security in Kurdistan. The operations started with monitoring Daesh movements in some of Kirkuk’s subdistricts, and then arresting a major financial officer of Daesh in Kifri in northern Diyala and an associate of his who were trying to reach Suleimaniya with forged documents. Arrests followed in several areas, while several car bombs and weapons shipments were intercepted. More important arrests were made in June and July, but the identities of the arrestees were kept secret for the safety and security of the investigations. [Ghad]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
The New York Times says that intelligence officials conceded that the most recent strain between Turkey and the United States — over American sanctions to punish Turkey for the detention of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina — could halt new progress against Daesh. The paper says, quoting a “major Coalition officer,” that both countries have taken many joint security steps in Manbij, adding that Western intelligence services fear that Turkey would suspend their intelligence exchange. [Qasioun]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the US believes missing journalist Austin Tice is still alive, and added that they were working to bring him home. She was speaking on the sixth anniversary of his disappearance in Syria. [Qasioun]
Turkey says that YPG units are withdrawing from Manbij and surrounding areas. A spokesman for the Turkish Presidency says that Turkey is waiting for their complete withdrawal to areas east of the Euphrates. [EnabBaladi]
Daesh says it killed three SDF members and destroyed their vehicle with an IED near Al-Fadghami village, south of Shaddadi, on Tuesday. [A3maq]
Raqqa city & district
Brett McGurk, the US Special Envoy to the Coalition, arrived in Raqqa and met with the Raqqa Civil Council, where the reconstruction of the city and providing services to it were discussed. A source in the RCC says that the US Envoy promised to eliminate obstacles faced by the Council to ensure its smooth operation. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. McGurk deserves high marks for his continuing follow-up support to the Raqqa council.
A Daesh IED attack on an SDF vehicle in the village of Baladiya Jadida, in the eastern Al-Karama subdistrict of Raqqa, left 3 SDF fighters killed and several others wounded. [Qasioun]
Daesh says it killed an SDF member by hitting him with a car east of Ghassaniya village, east of Raqqa, on Tuesday. [ICDNAug15]
Daesh says it killed three SDF members, wounded two others, and destroyed an SUV with an IED near Ratla village, south of Raqqa, on Tuesday. [ICDNAug15]
Central and West
Village leaders in southern Idlib received notifications from Turkish observer posts that there will be an attack by the Syrian Army on their area. This was conveyed in a meeting between the Turkish military and the heads of 5 villages. [EnabBaladi]
Tahrir Al-Sham says it arrested 12 persons in Khan Sheikhoun, southern Idlib, for cooperation with the Syrian government and with Daesh. [Qasioun]
The SOHR wrote that a civilian was killed by Syrian Army shelling on the town of Badama, Jisr Al-Shughur District. In addition, a young man was killed by unknown gunmen in Al-Hubait. [SyriaHR]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
Daesh carried out its closest attack to the Deir Ez-Zor military airport since losing the city of Deir Ez-Zor 9 months ago, according to the SOHR. Daesh attacked Syrian Army and pro-regime militias south of the city of Deir Ez-Zor, near the Al-Taym oil field. The number of casualties was not reported. [SyriaHR]
Albu Kamal District
The SOHR wrote that Daesh was moving vehicles around in its area of control on the eastern side of the Euphrates. The Coalition and the SDF are reportedly preparing for a large-scale attack on the last Daesh enclave around Hajin, Al-Susah, Al-Sha’afa, and Al-Baghouz. Civilians are continuing to leave the area for SDF-controlled positions. [SyriaHR]
Daesh publishes photos of its religious seminars in the Albu Kamal area. Daesh also publishes a photo of 5 of its terrorists watching a Daesh propaganda video in the Albu Kamal area. [ICDNAug15]
The SOHR reported continued fighting between Syrian Army and pro-regime militias and Daesh in Rif Damashq near Tilul Al-Safa (Al-Safa Hills), on the border with Suwayda Province. [SyriaHR]
The SOHR wrote that at least 28 Daesh fighters were injured in bombings and fighting with Syrian Army forces and affiliated militias in Rif Damashq, while 4 pro-regime fighters were injured. [SyriaHR]
The SOHR says that 2 Syrian Army soldiers were killed while destroying a tunnel in Jobar, Damascus. [SyriaHR]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
Iran denied the UN’s accusations of having organizational relations with Al-Qaeda, as state in a report published recently. Iran demanded that the UN review the report. [BaghdadNews]
The US State Department says Iran used a “funny” trick when broadcasting a promotional video of its latest missiles. State says that the alleged explosion of the missile was a local detonation, and not due to the missile. [Arabi21]
Gholamhossein Karbaschi, Secretary-General of the Iranian reformist Executives of Construction Party and former Mayor of Tehran, was sentenced on Wednesday to one year in jail on charges of “insulting Iranian martyrs in Syria.” The charges follow Karbaschi’s public criticism of Iranian intervention in Syria, for which he faced backlash from the conservative Iranian media, as well as media outlets affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards. [Arabi21]
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri says that relations between Lebanon and the Assad government in Syria cannot return to their previous state. He described the issue as “unquestionable.” [ZamanAlwasl]
The Tunisian Ministry of the Interior says that National Guards in Sousse, south of the capital, arrested 2 people affiliated with Daesh. Tunisian media added that they were aged 19 and 21. [Sumaria] [Tunisien]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
The New York Times says that Daesh is not dead yet. It says over 33,000 fighters are still fighting for it, despite the decline of its geographic dominance to a large extent. It says that Daesh still has affiliate groups in Afghanistan, North Africa, and Southeast Asia, and still initiates at least 1 attack per week. [AlIraqNews]
A Taliban attack on a military base in Baghlan Province, northeastern Afghanistan, left 45 people dead, including 36 soldiers and 9 policemen. The Taliban lost an unknown number of fighters in the attack, says a government source. The Taliban says that it took over the base, killing 70 soldiers. [Anadolu]
The Afghan Ministry of Interior says that a suicide attack on a Shia neighborhood in Kabul has left 25 killed and at least 35 wounded. University students, including women, were in the building attacked. No party claimed responsibility so far. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. The bad reports from Afghanistan keep coming, with mass casualty incidents seemingly now a daily occurrence. Missing are any indications of what will be done, if anything, to reverse the trend.
Daesh publishes a photo of one of its Egyptian terrorists, saying he was killed in Libya. [ICDNAug15]