January 17, 2019
Sinjar (DD Jan 16)
Iran’s Foreign Minister moves to undermine western role in Iraq reconstruction. [..]
Iraq Chief of Staff, CENTCOM’s General Votel, say the US-Iraq relationship is at its highest level. [..]
Concern expressed over continuing displacement of Khanaqin villagers due to Daesh attacks. [..]
Security cameras installed in public places in Mosul city. [..]
PMF withdrawal from Sinjar city triggers a clean-up campaign. [..]
Diplomatic dialogue turns to proposed “safe zone” for NE Syria. [..]
Trump reiterates intention to withdraw from Syria (& Afghanistan); Macron reiterates France’s intention to stay in Syria through 2019. [..]
FBI investigators arrive in Manbij. [..]
SDF now in control of Al-Susah as Daesh fighters retreat. [..]
2,200 civilians escape fighting, but 30 escaping from Al-Sha’afa killed by Daesh. [..]
SDF rescues 7 Yazidi women enslaved since 2014. [..]
Iran: Iran’s oil production steadily dropping due to US sanctions. [..]
Saudi Arabia: British MP issues Saudi monarchy a warning. [..]
Egypt: Daesh sets Rafah Central Hospital on fire. [..]
Tunisia: Government caught between general strike and the IMF. [..]
Nigeria: Recent Boko Haram attacks have displaced 40,000 people. [..]
Afghanistan: Khalilzad diplomatic road show returns to Kabul. [..]
Afghan military, Coalition kill 77 Taliban in multiple incidents. [..]
Pakistan: Mastermind of mass-casualty suicide attack killed in Pakistan. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that Iranian companies should be given the priority in reconstructing Iraq, as opposed to American or European companies, because of its previous support and the logistical complications of working with American or European companies. [SkyPress]
DaeshDaily comment. Notwithstanding that those companies come from countries that have pledged enormous amounts of money to reconstruct Iraq, whereas Iran’s case lies only in its “previous support,” to use Zarif’s own words. Presumably this means, for example, that reconstruction projects funded by German money would have to be implemented by Iranian companies. That would go over big in the EU.
Zarif also met with tribal leaders in southern Iraq. Bas News says that it is unclear if the meeting was approved by the Iraqi government first. Two days prior, Zarif attended an economic forum in Najaf. Iraqi politician Hamid Al-Kafa’i tweeted that Zarif’s visits to local Iraqi leaders were intended to show Washington that the Iraq people were more sympathetic to Iran than they are. A leader within the National Coalition questioned the “diplomatic logic” of Zarif’s visits. [BasNews]
Zarif says that Iran will not allow the US to interfere in Iran-Iraq relations. He says, “They’ll go, and we will stay,” saying that Iran has everything that Iraq needs to develop its economy. He called on Iraq to annul the need for entry visas between the two countries, adding that trade exchange between the two countries is $8 billion. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. If we understand the distinguished gentlemen correctly, it is impermissible for the Americans to interfere, and powerful Iran will stop them, but it is completely appropriate for Iran to interfere. We understand that Iran is angry over Trump’s unilateral sanctions, and is trying to cause some pain in exchange for the suffering imposed on them. However, it’s not in Iraq’s interest to base its foreign policy on Iran’s self-serving propaganda instead of sustaining all the support it is receiving from the West. So in the end, Zarif may only be painting Iran into a corner by undermining the Iraqi government he professes to be trying to help and providing more justification to the Trump Administration to continue the sanctions
However, the Chief of Staff for the Army, Othman Al-Ghanimi, met on Thursday with General Joseph Votel, commander of CENTCOM. Both commanders say that cooperation and coordination between Iraq and the US is at its best levels so far. [Sumaria]
Atheel Al-Nujaifi, former Governor of Ninewa, said that he was not aware of a US demand to Prime Minister Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi to dismantle 67 PMF militias, saying only the Prime Minister can respond to such question. He also said, “In my opinion, if you want to build a state, then only the state should be armed.” Meanwhile, Mithal Al-Alusi, head of the Iraqi Umma party, says fulfilling the US demand is a must in order to build a state. [BasNews]
RT reported on Thursday that a source within the Iraqi government said that the US warned Iraq that it would not get involved if Israel attacked PMF positions in Syria. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. The explanation here might not be immediately obvious, but presumably refers to the fact that certain pro-Iran Iraqi PMFs have, in apparent violation of government policy, joined Iranian units fighting in Syria. Any PMFs who happen to be at Iran-occupied bases or military positions when Israel launches one of its periodic attacks on Iranian missile & rockets sites, for example, could be killed along with the Iranian soldiers.
Security sources said on Thursday that Iraqi forces were on a state of alert at the border with Syria following Daesh attacks on the SDF in Hajin and Al-Susah, eastern Deir Ez-Zor Province, Syria. [IraqPress]
Al-Mada claimed that the number of US forces at the border with Syria had risen, writing that official numbers say there are 5,000 US troops in the country, but their sources said there were over 10,000, and that 9,000 of them were deployed in Anbar following recent developments in Syria. [AlMada]
DaeshDaily comment. The latter number presumably includes the usual number of airborne troops in Haditha, who are not there for border security. The implication of several recent Iraqi stories is that Daesh is attacking the SDF and menacing the Iraq border. The real story is that Daesh fighters approaching the border are in retreat, have now been backed up to positions near the Iraq border, and are most likely trying to escape from a losing and life-threatening situation. In short, there is more activity along the border because the fighting in Deir Ez-Zor has moved close to the border.
On Thursday a political source said demonstrations were being arranged in Baghdad on Friday to demand that US forces withdraw from Iraq. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. It will be instructive to see which political parties the demonstrators identify with.
Baghdad Ops Command said that it had arrested 8 wanted persons in various locations in Baghdad, including 1 person wanted on terrorism charges. [Ghad]
The Security Committee of the Anbar Provincial Council says that tribal pressure is preventing Daesh members’ families from returning to their home areas. It says that security personnel had moved those families out of the areas to avoid acts of revenge against them. A proposed solution is to move these families to other areas, where they would not be known and could be safe. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. A more helpful solution would be for the Anbar PC members to get up the political courage to face down the tribe leaders applying the pressure. The Daesh families have to live somewhere; they can’t be kept in camps indefinitely. It would be better to resettle them in their own communities than in someone else’s, incorporating some reconciliation program into the return process.
The Directorate of Military Intelligence said on Thursday that its detachments in the 10th Brigade found a cache of equipment in the Thirthar Desert in northern Anbar, including mortar launchers, mortar rounds, and “Hellfire” rockets. [Ghad]
Northern Diyala (Khanaqin)
A source reported that the displacement of families from villages around Khanaqin has not stopped for “many months” due to Daesh. A source said that Mardan village is completely empty because of Daesh, and many other villages in the area are nearly empty. [BaghdadToday]
Daesh published on Thursday photos of setting on fire the houses of two IFP members in the Mikhas area, near Khanaqin city. [ICDNJan17]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
A DaeshDaily source said that IFP units shot and killed 3 Daesh terrorists on Wednesday in an ambush near Tarqiya village in Al-Zab.
The PMF media office said on Thursday that units from the 16th PMF Brigade had fired on Daesh members riding motorcycles in Rashad, injuring some of them and causing the rest to flee toward the Wadi Zeghitun area. [PressIraq] [Ghad]
DaeshDaily comment. This is the second day in a row that Daesh motorcycle terrorists have been fired on, yesterday from the air. Hopefully it’s a trend and not incidental.
Nineveh Plain (Tel Keif)
A DaeshDaily source said that on Wednesday, security services installed cameras in public places in several areas of Mosul city.
A security source said on Thursday that Civil Defense units had recovered the bodies of 2 women, which had been trapped under rubble, in west Mosul. [PressIraq]
A DaeshDaily source said that National Security Service units arrested a tribal PMF member in Al-Sukkar neighborhood, north Mosul. The source said the man had claimed to be an MoI officer and extorted money from local merchants. He had even set up a fake “MoI intelligence” office in the area.
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that the Sinjar Municipality reopened the main roads and started a clean-up campaign after PMF units withdrew from the city.
On Thursday, the Counter-Terrorism Directorate announced that 2 Daesh security officers were arrested in Erbil. [Sumaria]
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A reader who prefers to remain anonymous reacted to our story about PMF-organization statements blaming some rather blatant corruption on the previous tenure of PM Abd Ul-Madhi as Minister of Oil. He discerns “a possible link between the Baiji accusations against Abd Ul-Mahdi and the efforts of the big PMF groups to weaken him.” “It has been my fear from the beginning of his administration that Abd Ul-Mahdi will be tarred with the corruption brush arising from his time at the Oil Ministry. Shia leaders, in linkage to Iran, operate to keep Abd Ul-Mahdi weak. The Baiji accusations are simply a move in this game, in my view.”
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Military & security developments
Turkey’s Foreign Minister stated that establishing a “safe zone” in Syria, in cooperation with Washington, would result in bringing Syrians back home, “especially Kurds,” and countering terrorism. [ElDorar]
Turkish media sources say that the “safe zone” in northern Syria proposed by President Trump would be 32 km “deep” and 460 km in length. It would include cities and towns from 3 Syrian provinces, i.e. Aleppo, Raqqa, and Hasaka. One report also alleged that there was a secret US-Russian agreement related to the future of this area, the Turkish role, and the Kurds’ position, in which some autonomy for them was proposed. A Syrian opposition source says US does not want to lose either side, Turkey or its Kurdish allies. [BasNews]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Geir Pederson, the new UN Special Enjoy to Syria, is meeting the opposition negotiating commitee following his meeting with Walid Al-Mu’allem, the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, which he described as “constructive.” He agreed with the Syrian Minister on continuing the meetings, as there are still many issues to be discussed. [SyriaNow]
The SDF promised on Thursday to step up offensives against Daesh, following the Manbij bombing that killed US soldiers. [BasNews]
The US website The Hill says that President Trump confirmed to Republican Senators his commitment to withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan. [Arabi21]
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday that French forces would remain in Iraq and Syria throughout 2019. He said that France’s goal in Syria and Iraq is to eradicate Daesh. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment: Who is the leader of the Coalition?
The Kurdish militia Adrian Liberation Forces says they killed 5 pro-Turkey militia fighters and wounded 3 in operations in various parts of Afrin. [Hawar]
The SOHR reported that “high–level” investigations have followed the Manbij attack that killed Americans. It says that an FBI team has arrived in the area and has started investigations on the attack that hit the restaurant in Manbij, now said to have killed 4 US soldiers and other DoD personnel, 15 of their escorts, and 10 civilians. [SyriaHR]
The New York Times wrote on Thursday that Daesh attacked the Palace of the Princes restaurant in Manbij on Wednesday after it became common knowledge that American troops frequented the restaurant. The NYT wrote that this raised questions as to whether US troops had “developed a false sense of security in a conflict zone.” [NYT]
On Thursday evening, Manbij security forces foiled a land-mine planting operation, killing the perpetrator as he attempted to escape. [Hawar]
Central and West
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Daesh’s A3maq news service says Daesh targeted two SDF vehicles in Yamama village in Dhiban with IEDs, which it says killed five SDF soldiers, including a commander, and wounded five others. Daesh also says it destroyed another vehicle in Al-Jardhi village, killing or wounding ten SDF fighters. [ElDorar]
In another version, Daesh said on Thursday it killed nine SDF soldiers, wounded eleven others, and damaged their truck with an IED in Dernaj village, in Dhiban subdistrict. [A3maq] [ICDNJan17-Telegram]
DaeshDaily comment. We have no confirmation of any of these stories but can’t disprove them either. Some skepticism is in order, however. Daesh has already lost Mayadin and the battles have moved further south. It is apparently making local attacks in Dhiban in an effort to recover some foothold there, but the real intent of these “victorious” stories is to distract attention from the fact that it has already lost in Mayadin.
Albu Kamal District
On Thursday, the SDF gained control over the subdistrict capital of Al-Susah. Local sources said that the SDF entered the city after Daesh withdrew its forces on Wednesday evening. Over 200 individuals of Syrian and Iraqi nationalities departed Al-Susah after Daesh’s defeat and headed for Al-Sha’afa, which is now controlled by the SDF. Deir Ez-Zor local media reported that most of them were Daesh members who decided to surrender, and that the militias brought them to Al-Hawl camp, near Hasaka. [Qasioun]
The Coalition said that a “precision strike” had destroyed a Daesh command-and-control facility in a mosque in Safafiyah on Thursday. The Coalition’s statement said that by using the mosque, Daesh was violating the Law of Armed Conflict and had caused the mosque to lose its protected status.
The SOHR reported continued Coalition plane activities in the skies of eastern Deir Ez-Zor, while executing “sporadic” attacks on Daesh targets here and there. It said that fighting is ongoing between Daesh and the SDF, as Daesh is defending the last 15 square kilometers it holds in the area. The SOHR reported that more Coalition reinforcements are entering the battlefront areas, as well as trucks to transport civilians fleeing Daesh-held areas. [SyriaHR]
Opposition sources say 2,200 people, mostly women and children, fled the areas of the fighting in Albu Kamal, heading to SDF-held IDP camps. They say that an estimated 180 Daesh fighters are among them. [Qasioun]
A DaeshDaily source said SDF units found the bodies of 30 civilians who had been killed by Daesh because they were trying to escape Al-Sha’afa. The source said that more civilians were killed during the battles.
A DaeshDaily source said that on Tuesday, SDF units freed 7 Yazidi women in Al-Sha’afa who had been kidnapped by Daesh from Sinjar in 2014.
Notwithstanding what looks like a victorious day for the SDF, all of the following “victorious” stories were issued by Daesh to create the opposite impression.
Daesh said on Thursday it killed five SDF soldiers in an attack on Al-Susah town “with different kinds of weapons”. [ICDNJan17-Telegram]
Daesh said on Thursday it destroyed an SDF bulldozer and wounded its driver with an IED near Al-Susah town. [A3maq]
Daesh said it killed an SDF member and wounded others on Wednesday in clashes in Al-Susah town. [A3maq]
In another version, Daesh said it killed or wounded several SDF members on Wednesday with machine guns in Al-Susah “village.” [ICDNJan17]
Daesh published on Thursday photos of an attack on SDF units in Al-Susah town. [ICDNJan17]
DaeshDaily comment. Focus on the fact that all five of these “victorious” stories are about attacks on a town that Daesh just lost.
Daesh said on Thursday that twelve SDF fighters were killed or wounded when a Daesh suicide terrorist attacked them with a vehicle bomb in Hawi Al-Susah village.
It also said it killed or wounded “many” SDF members on Wednesday when another suicide terrorist set off a parked car bomb in the same village. [ICDNJan17]
Daesh issued on Thursday photos of battles and a suicide attack in Hawi Al-Susah. [A3maq]
DaeshDaily comment. Hawi Al-Susah is a village adjacent to Al-Susah town.
Daesh said it killed or wounded several SDF fighters on Wednesday when it “lured” them to a land mine filed in Hawi Al-Susah. [ICDNJan17]
DaeshDaily comment. Not another “lured into a land mine story!” This story is just about automatic whenever Daesh has lost control of some important location. They would have you believe that those guys who were smart enough to defeat their terrorists weren’t smart enough to avoid walking into a land mine field.
Daesh said on Thursday it targeted SDF “gatherings” in Albu Badran village with twenty SPG-9 rockets and ten mortar shells. [ICDNJan17-Telegram]
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In Wednesday’s report, we published a photo we had obtained from one of our sources in Deir Ez-Zor Province. The source said the photo was of Daesh drones found in Al-Sha’afa. We didn’t suspect the photo because it was accompanied by a video of SDF members in the town. However, one of our sharp-eyed readers pointed out that the photo was 2 years old, and it was taken in Damascus and not in Al-Sha’afa.
We hate mistakes. We apologize for this one, and thank our reader for helping.
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
OPEC says that Iran oil production has been reduced by 561,000 barrels per day (bpd), to 2.769 million bpd. The Russian news agency Sputnik says that Iranian oil production has been going down monthly due to US sanctions. [Sumaria]
A British MP warned Saudi Arabia of a possibility of a revolution if it does not start reforms and pay attention to freedom of expression in the country. He says that civil society is a part of the political system, which is supposed to be a “consultative” monarchy. [Arabi21]
DaeshDaily comment. This is a message the Saudi monarchy needs to hear and heed. One question would be whether the US would overcome current tendencies and reinforce the message.
A Yemeni government source says that Houthis fired at the team of international observers south of Hodeida. According to the source, the Houthis targeted 2 vehicles belonging to the team, which were heading to government-held areas. [Anadolu]
Daesh said on Thursday it killed or wounded several Al-Qaeda members, set a motorcycle on fire, and damaged a vehicle when it set off two IEDs in the Al-Abal area, in Qifa. [ICDNJan17-Telegram]
Media sources close to the Egyptian government said that Civil Defense units gained control of a fire that spread because of “high winds” in Rafah Central Hospital. The sources said the fire didn’t cause any casualties and that an investigation was opened to know the reasons for the fire. [GomhuriyaOnline] [ElBalad]
Daesh said it set two ambulances on fire on Wednesday in an attack on an “Egyptian Army position” in Rafah Central Hospital. It also said that it wounded Egyptian Army members, who arrived in the hospital after the attack, when it damaged their vehicle with an IED. [ICDNJan17] [A3maq] [A3maq]
The Tunisian Workers Union started a general strike in port and railway facilities, due to the government’s refusal to raise the pay of 670,000 workers. Tunisian Airlines says it expects a strike in its office as well by the end of the week. Tunisian Prime Minister Yousif Al-Shahin says the strike is costly to the Tunisian state, but the government is unable to raise salaries at the moment. The unions accused the government of submitting to IMF conditions. [ZamanAlWasl]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
A German court ruled against allowing a Tunisian who was accused of belonging to Daesh to return to Germany after he traveled to Tunisia last July. The court said that he should not return to Germany, since he had not been exposed to torture or any human rights violations in Tunisia. [FaceIraq]
The Qatari MoD says it provided a grant of 68 modern military vehicles to the Somali Army, as a gesture of support to the Somali state and armed forces. [Sumaria]
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said that Boko Haram’s attack on Rann on Monday had prompted approximately 10,000 people to flee to the border. This follows reports last week that attacks around Baga, near Lake Chad, had displaced more than 30,000. [AFP]
DaeshDaily comment. This would seem to expose the Nigerian government’s repeated assurances after each of the recent attacks as little more than “spin.”
The Nigerian Army said that its troops had successfully foiled an attempt by “scores” of Boko Haram fighters to attack Gajiram, north Borno State, on Tuesday. [VanguardNGR]
Daesh had previously said that its Boko Haram affiliate killed or wounded Nigerian soldiers in Gajiram town. [A3maq]
Daesh said it killed or wounded several Nigerian Army soldiers with mortar shells on Wednesday in Malam Fatori town. [ICDN-Telegram]
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with “top Afghan security and defense officials,” including the acting Ministers of Defense and the Interior, on Wednesday. [Khaama]
The Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) said that National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib and Intelligence Chief Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai met with ambassadors from China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan on Thursday morning to discuss counter-terrorism and regional cooperation. [Khaama]
Separate operations of the Afghan Special Forces and the Coalition in Afghanistan killed at least 57 Taliban fighters across various locations in the country. [Khaama]
A “large convoy” of Afghan troops arrived in Sherin Tagab District, Faryab Province, northern Afghanistan, following fighting on the road that killed at least 20 Taliban fighters and wounded another 13. The troops also disarmed 15 IEDs on the highway en route. [Khaama]
3 fighters affiliated with the Taliban and 1 member of Daesh’s Khorasan affiliate surrendered to Afghan forces in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan, on Wednesday. [Khaama]
Daesh said it destroyed a vehicle carrying policemen with an IED on Wednesday near the customs building in Kabul. [ICDNJan17-Telegram]
A local police official told the Associated Press that security forces had conducted a raid in Hangu District, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Wednesday, killing 4 suspected terrorists in a subsequent firefight, including the alleged mastermind of a deadly suicide attack last year in Orakzai. A civilian was accidentally killed in the shootout. 1 of the militants killed was identified as Muhammad Islam, said to responsible for orchestrating the Nov 23 suicide attack in lower Orakzai’s Kalaya bazaar that left at least 32 people dead and 31 injured. According to a security source, Muhammad Islam had ties to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. [Dawn]
In another version, intelligence sources said on Wednesday that 3 terror suspects, including a “top militant commander,” were killed in a security operation in Hangu. The sources said the commander was identified as Islam, who they said was involved in a number of militant attacks, including the deadly suicide bombing of a market in Kalaya last year. Intelligence agencies conducted the raid near Qazi pump area of Hangu, where the terror suspects hid in a house. The owner of the house was also killed in the firefight that ensued between the militants and security personnel. [SUCHTV]
Daesh said on Thursday it killed or wounded Pakistani Army members in “clashes” in the Orakzai area, southwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. [A3maq]
DaeshDaily comment. It seems like someone at Daesh’s “creative writing department” saw the media reports but got confused about the actual location of the “clashes.” The two reports above mentioned Orakzai as a location for a previous terrorist attack, on November 23, 2018, while the “clashes” actually happened in Hangu.
A car bomb attack on the Police Academy in Bogota, Columbia killed 6 people and wounded 10 others. The perpetrators of the incident have not been identified. [Sumaria]
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