August 27, 2018
Senator John McCain, friend of Iraq
Al-Fath, Rule of Law, Sunni elements announce rival coalition for forming new government. [..]
Masoum sets September 3 for first meeting of new CoR. [..]
Cardinal Sako addresses return of Christians to Ninewa Plain. [..]
Former CoR member among 25 killed by two Daesh suicide terrorists in Shirqat. [..]
Daesh in Udhaim resorts to killing cows. [..]
IFP experiences multiple deadly incidents in Hawija. [..]
Coalition, Iraqi Army, Ninewa police bust Daesh underground operation in Shura. [..]
Human rights organization provides shocking totals of Assad executions. [..]
Coalition advisor says US likely to stay in Syria until Iran fully withdraws. [..]
Former President Carter proposes Syria peace deal, reconstruction not conditional on regime change. [..]
Macron says Syrian people should decide whether Assad stays or goes. [..]
Syrian Army gaining control in Suwayda. [..]
United States: Iraq advocate John McCain dies in Arizona. [..]
Afghanistan: Daesh leader in Afghanistan killed by US airstrike. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The Al-Fath (Conquest) and Rule of Law alliances agreed to join with the Sunni “National Axis” bloc to form what would reportedly be the largest CoR bloc, if the Kurds are included. However, the report says
“The Kurds agreed to join on the basis of guarantees to restore the rights of the people of Kurdistan.” Nouri Al-Maliki will be nominated as a Prime Minister for what would be his 3rd term.
A coalition of the Sa’irun, Al-Nasr (Victory), Al-Hikma (Wisdom), and Wataniya (National) alliances, claimed to have formed the “nucleus” of the largest CoR bloc last week. [Rudaw]
DaeshDaily comment. Thinking like a mathematician (or maybe just a 3rd grade math level would be sufficient), a “nucleus” of a majority coalition is almost by definition not a majority coalition. This statement is mostly posturing in pursuit of additional support that Conquest and Rule of Law have so far failed to secure. The Sunni parties seemed to be mostly with the rival coalition declared last week, so barring some surprise development, the “Sunni axis” cited in this story may not amount to much. As for the Kurds, they are hoping one side or the other will get desperate enough to make political concessions neither coalition favors. The Kurds’ loaded statement is thus meaningless at this point. Al-Maliki made similar concessions in 2010 to gain control but soon reneged, which is one reason the Kurdish parties this “coalition” touts as potential supporters thereafter disdained him.
Now that the dueling press releases are over, the real negotiations may start.
Council of Representatives
President Fuad Masoum issued a decree calling the newly elected CoR to its first meeting on September 3. The session will be chaired by the oldest member until a Speaker is elected. [Sumaria]
Cardinal Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, says that the Church has repaired a large number of damaged homes and has returned about 8,000 families to the Ninewa Plain. He expressed the concern of Iraqi Christians regarding the future of Christian areas of Iraq and demographic changes. He called for a national government to be formed without “external influences and sectarian quotas.” In that context, the Cardinal says it is not in the interests of Iraqi Christians to be “entrenched” in militias or other armed groups. Sako said that in the post-Daesh period, there was an unclear vision of the future and a state of uncertainty both for Christians and for Iraqis in general. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. It is important to mention that much of the home repair progress has been made possible European and American support. Two Catholic organizations particularly involved, among others, are Aid for the Church in Need, founded in Germany, and the Knights of Columbus in the US.
The Coalition said it had conducted 6 airstrikes in Iraq between August 20 and August 26, in or near Makhmur and Mosul in Ninewa, Rawa and Rutba in Anbar, Wadi Al-Shai (Daquq), and the Jazeera Samarra desert. [InherentResolve] [Shafaaq]
East (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)
A security source said on Monday that 2 people had been injured by a roadside IED that exploded in Al-Ghadeer, in New Baghdad District, east Baghdad. [Dijlah]
Southwest (Rasheed, etc.)
A police source says that armed men shot and killed a civilian near his house in Radwaniya, in southwest Baghdad. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said on Friday that National Security Service units captured a Daesh security commander responsible for killing many families that tried to escape Falluja city during the liberation battle. The source said the terrorist was carrying a PMF badge when he was captured in Hay Al-Jolan in Falluja city.
Daesh said on Sunday it destroyed a PMF vehicle with an IED in the Albu Jassem area, north of Falluja, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNAug26]
Daesh said on Saturday it severely wounded a tribal PMF fighter using a silenced gun in Abu Taiban village in northwest Ramadi District, near Hit. [ICDNAug25]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that a PMF commander was killed and four other fighters wounded in a Daesh mortar attack on PMF units in the Al-Qa’im desert.
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that four Border Guard members were killed in a Daesh ambush in the Nukhaib area in eastern Rutba.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that a Border Guard first lieutenant was killed when an IED exploded on his vehicle near the Jordanian border.
Daesh said it killed five Iraqi soldiers and destroyed their machine gun-mounted vehicle with an IED in the Kilo 130 area, on Friday. [A3maq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that 20 people were killed or wounded when a suicide terrorist blew himself up in Isdaira village. Among those killed was Eissa Abdulrazzaq, a media reporter.
The source said that another terrorist blew himself up in a group of tribal PMFs in the same village the same day, killing 4 fighters and wounding 5, including a local police major.
On Thursday, the source said, Adnan Ghanem Al-Jubouri, a former CoR member, died of wounds he sustained during the first attack.
Daesh said on Saturday it killed two Iraqi Army members and destroyed their fuel tanker truck with an IED on the road between Shirqat city and Tilul Al-Baj in western Shirqat. [A3maq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that the mukhtar of Ramadhaniyat village in western Shirqat, on the Hatra border, was severely wounded when a sticky IED exploded under his vehicle.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that IFP and PMF units started a campaign to clear the Himrin Mountain area and killed 11 terrorists. However, the source also said Daesh snipers killed four PMF fighters and two IFP members.
DaeshDaily comment. If we had a dollar for every report of a military campaign to clear some part of the Himrin area, we would be in a much higher income category. These forays kill many Daesh terrorists but never seem to gain control of the territory where Daesh members operate.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that a Saraya Al-Salam commander was killed and his driver wounded when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle between Samarra city and the nearby village of Huwaish.
Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that an IFP lieutenant colonel was killed in a roadside IED explosion between Dujail and Tikrit. The source said the family of the victim has accused the AAH militia of planting the IED.
Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)
A security source says an IED targeting a PMF patrol killed 1 fighter and wounded 2 others in Amerli, in Tooz. [Ghad]
Daesh said on Sunday that it killed a tribal PMF fighter, wounded two others, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Bir Ahmed village, southwest of Tuz Khurmatu, the district capital. [ICDNAug26]
A police source says that 2 armed men on a motorcycle shot and killed a civilian in the Ronaki neighborhood of Tuz Khurmatu. [Mawazin]
Daesh claimed on Sunday that it damaged an Iraqi Army vehicle with an IED near Tuz Khurmatu, killing or wounding the soldiers inside. [ICDNAug26]
Daesh said on Sunday it targeted “Iraqi Army positions” in Abu Qarma village in the Al-Waqf area northeast of Baquba and Mukhaisa village in Muqdadiya subdistrict with mortars. [ICDNAug26]
Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)
See story just above; Mukhaisa is an orchard area just south of Abu Saida.
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that 3 Badr fighters were killed and their pickup vehicle destroyed by an IED explosion near the Udhaim Dam. The attack happened as they were withdrawing from the area.
Daesh said it wounded Iraqi soldiers with an IED in the Albu Eissa area, in Udhaim, on Friday. [A3maq]
A local official in Diyala says that Daesh committed a “massacre” against cows near the border with Salahuddin. Mohammed Dhaifan Al-Obeidi, head of the Udhaim subdistrict, says that Daesh “executed” 21 cows near Albu Eissa village by shooting them in the head. [BaghdadToday]
Daesh said it killed a PMF member in Sayed Adil village in Jalawla, Khanaqin on Friday. [A3maq]
Daesh said it wounded a Shi’i and damaged his vehicle with an IED in Zuhairiya village in Khanaqin, on Friday. [ICDNAug25]
Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)
Daesh said it shot and killed an Iraqi Army member in Humairat village, in Mandali, on Friday. [A3maq]
On Monday, a security source in Kirkuk reported that the IFP found the body of a Peshmerga member in northeast Kirkuk. The source (requesting anonymity) says that initial investigations show that the death occurred because he lost control of his vehicle while speeding through the subdistrict of Qara Hanjir in northeastern Kirkuk. [Sumaria]
The Center for Security Information says that IFP and national intelligence units found a Daesh safehouse in the Qadisiya neighborhood of Kirkuk city. Several explosive belts and explosive materials, as well as rockets, were stored in the building. [Ghad] [Forat]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that three IFP members were killed and their Humvee damaged by a roadside IED explosion near Hawija city
A DaeshDaily source said on Thursday that two IFP members, including a first lieutenant, were killed and two others wounded when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle in the Maktab Khalid area in Riyadh subdistrict.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that after a battle between IFP units and a group of Daesh terrorists in Hawija desert, one of the terrorists, wounded, surrendered to the IFP. The source said the terrorist admitted he was responsible for blowing up electricity towers in the area.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that IFP units captured a Daesh commander near Kanaan (Dhirban) village, in Riyadh subdistrict. The source said the IFP found a Daesh safehouse and confiscated weapons and IEDs based on information obtained from the terrorist.
Daesh said on Sunday it set the house of a PMF “spy” in Awwad Al-Muhawesh village on fire, in Riyadh subdistrict. [ICDNAug26]
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that a local police EOD officer was killed when an IED exploded on him, on the road between Riyadh and Sadouniya village. The source said this officer had dismantled thousands of IEDs since 2012.
Daesh said it killed three IFP EOD members and wounded two others with an IED in Al-Khazer village, in Al-Zab subdistrict, on Saturday. [A3maq]
Southwest (Daquq, Rashad, Taza, etc.)
On Sunday, the PMF launched an operation against Daesh in Rashad subdistrict, based on information from the IFP. The operation resulted in destroying 4 depots and seizing Daesh explosive and communication devices. [PressIraq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Friday that IFP units killed 4 Daesh terrorists and destroyed a vehicle bomb during a search in the Rashad desert.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that IFP units captured 5 Daesh terrorists who were hiding in a tunnel near Rashad.
Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, Bashiqa)
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that Ninewa SWAT and local police units captured 5 Daesh terrorists, including a commander, in a raid on Al-Salamiyah camp for displaced people in southeast Hamdaniya.
In Mosul, 3 women were released from captivity and their captor was arrested by Ninewa Police. [Sumaria]
The Ninewa Investigations Court admitted the confessions of several Daesh operatives who were arrested while carrying over 276 pieces of Daesh golden currency. The pieces weighed 4 grams each, making the total over 1 kilogram of gold. They were aiming to sell the coins to fund Daesh, says Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, spokesman of the Higher Judicial Council. [Baghdadia] [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that Ninewa SWAT and local police units captured 3 Daesh members in Hay Al-Zahra, in east Mosul.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that Ninewa Police Emergency units captured a Daesh hisbah member in the Tis’in neighborhood in east Mosul, and captured 4 more terrorists in Hay Sumer.
Saad Maan, the spokesman of the Ministry of the Interior, reported officially that the 12th Police Brigade arrested a Daesh operative who used to work for the hisbah (Daesh’s “Islamic Police”) office in Hay Tis’in. The 2nd Battalion of the same Brigade arrested 4 other Daesh personnel in the Tis’in and Darkazliya neighborhoods of east Mosul. [Buratha]
A DaeshDaily source said on Friday that National Security Service units captured an Ashbal Al-Khilafa (Cubs of the Caliphate) member in Hay Al-Islah, west Mosul, and confiscated a silenced gun from him. The source said the boy was responsible for killing many captured security members when Daesh was in charge of Mosul. The boy admitted he was a member of a Daesh cell in west Mosul. The source sent us photos of the boy (when he was with Daesh and after he was captured.)
On Monday, the Interior Ministry announced that an escaped prisoner from Badoush Prison who had been sentenced to 20 years was captured in the Al-Mamoun neighborhood, in far southwest Mosul. [Sumaria]
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that a PMF security member was shot and killed by armed men on a motorcycle in Wadi Hajar in southwest Mosul, northeast of Al-Mamoun.
South (Hammam Al-Alil/Shura/Qayara)
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that Ninewa SWAT units and Ninewa Operation Command units, supported by Coalition planes, found a Daesh tunnel in a search near Umm Al-Muhajir village in Shura, and confiscated weapons and food supplies. The source says the Coalition destroyed a Daesh pickup vehicle in the same area, killing 8 terrorists.
In an apparent official report of the same incidents, Ninewa Police reported killing 10 Daesh fighters and blocking a 4.3 mile long cave south of Mosul, which had been used as a Daesh refuge, with the support of the Coalition. [SotIraq]
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that Iraqi Army 20th division units captured a Daesh terrorist who was planting IEDs in the Shura area.
Daesh said it killed two Iraqi Army soldiers, wounded another, and destroyed 2 vehicles with 2 IEDs near Aski Mosul intersection, in Hamidat just west of Mosul, on Thursday. [ICDNAug25]
In another report, Daesh claims it destroyed 3 vehicles with 3 IEDs. [ICDNAug26]
Western Ninewa (No reports)
A DaeshDaily source said on Friday that 4 Kata’eb Hezbollah members were killed and their vehicle destroyed by an IED explosion near Shayhan village, south of Hatra city.
The source also said that the KH has started withdrawing from villages south of Hatra towards Baiji and handing over their positions to Border Guards.
DaeshDaily comment. We confess to some confusion here, as Hatra is not an Iraqi border location, but this was the report.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense said on Monday that the 3rd Regiment of the 75th Infantry, 16th Brigade, had carried out a search operation in Hatra. [Rudaw]
A DaeshDaily source said on Tuesday that a media reporter was killed and another wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle near Tal Safouk.
A DaeshDaily source said on Saturday that two Shammar Tribal PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack on their military position near Tal Safouk.
DaeshDaily comment. The locations of the incidents keep changing, but members of the Shammar tribe appear to be getting targeted recently by Daesh.
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
President Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey would “bring peace and safety” to Iraq and to areas of Syria not currently under Turkish control, and said that terrorist organizations in those areas would be eliminated. Erdogan was speaking at an event to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, part of the wars between the Byzantine and Seljuk Empires. Erdogan said that “the only places in Syria where security and peace have been established are under Turkey’s control,” and emphasized the role of Anatolia as a bulwark of civilization. [Yahoo]
DaeshDaily comments. Erdogan’s public statements are frightening to the extent that one takes them seriously. Unfortunately, he is not always bluffing.
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
The opposition Syrian Network for Human Rights says that the Syrian government has admitted to the deaths of 863 persons who have disappeared. They claim, however, that Syria has forcibly “disappeared” 82,000 prisoners, and that 14,000 of them were killed under torture. They also said that of the names recorded by the government as “dead,” most were political prisoners. [Anadolu]
Political sources say that the autonomous administration of the PYD will hand over some of the oilfields in northeast Syria to the government, in exchange for granting Syrian nationality to some Kurds. [Arabi21]
The Saudi newspaper Okaz said on Monday that the Iranian Minister of Defense, Amir Hatami, had made a surprise visit to Damascus. Okaz wrote that “informed sources” said that the reason for his visit was to clarify Assad’s position regarding a US-Russian “understanding” on expelling militias from Deir Ez-Zor. They wrote that Hatami’s visit was also intended to smooth over tensions arising from alleged fighting between Lebanese Hezbollah units and Syrian Army units in rural Deir Ez-Zor. [Dorar]
“Informed sources” said on Monday that the US and Russia have a “surprise” in their “near-understanding” regarding Deir Ez-Zor. The Saudi newspaper Okaz reported these sources as saying that Russia would withdraw from Deir Ez-Zor, which would put Iran in direct contact with US forces on the opposite bank of the Euphrates. The sources added that the “new American strategy” was to deter Iranian movements via air control over areas west of the Euphrates held by Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. [Dorar]
DaeshDaily comment. Both the vague “sources” and the Saudi origin of the story suggest waiting for corroboration. Most of the Russians in Deir Ez-Zor have been previously identified as Russian mercenaries.
William Roebuck, a US advisor to the Coalition, said on Monday that the Coalition forces would remain in Syria until Daesh had suffered a “crushing defeat” and until Iranian forces had fully withdrawn from Syria. Roebuck said that President Trump’s goal was for Iran to completely withdraw from Syria. [BasNews]
Former President Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on Friday, advocating for a peace agreement in Syria that would not be conditional on regime change. He added that Western countries should help fund reconstruction, and that economic sanctions on Syria must be lifted in order for reconstruction to be effective. [NYTimes]
French President Emmanuel Macron says that it’s up to the Syrian people to decide on whether Assad stays in power. He says that keeping him there is a big mistake, but that “our main enemy in Syria is Daesh.” He was speaking to a gathering of French ambassadors. [Dorar]
DaeshDaily comment. The implication is that Assad’s continuation in office should depend on an election. This is a broadly defensible position. It doesn’t help to demand that Assad step down because of all his crimes, or because of overwhelming international opinion. After the Russians maneuver all the other variables in Syria to pacify the country and recover any remaining ground held by Daesh or other rebel groups, and an arrangement is made (hopefully) for autonomy in SDF-held areas, the issue of how to deal with Assad will still be there as the bottom-line issue between Russia and the West.
The Syrian Foreign Minister was shown in a video clip pointing to İskenderun, which is “occupied” by Turkey, saying: “This land is ours, and we are taking it back, whether they (Turks) like it or not.” A Syrian soap opera was shot in the area. [Qasioun]
The Coalition said that it had conducted 12 airstrikes in Syria between August 20 and August 26, all 12 in Albu Kamal. The Coalition also conducted 2 airstrikes on August 19-20 that were not reported in the previous press release; also in Albu Kamal. [InherentResolve] [Shafaaq]
Northwest (No reports)
Northeast (No reports)
Central and West
The SOHR says that talks are continuing between Tahrir Al-Sham, the Islamic Turkestan Party (western China), and other jihadist groups on one side, and the Turkish Army on the other, to reach a settlement for these opposition militias to dissolve themselves and merge into other opposition factions to avoid the government’s anticipated attack on Idlib. These groups have large numbers of non-Syrian fighters. [SyriaHR]
Turkey requested that Russia grant a grace period to allow Tahrir Al-Sham to dissolve itself and merge into other factions, until September 4. However Tahrir Al-Sham seems unwilling to give up its ideological and military buildup. The Syrian government is still mobilizing its forces to attack Idlib at any time. [EnabBaladi]
DaeshDaily comment. Tahrir Al-Sham made a major effort earlier to get other groups to unify with them, so as to create a stronger military opposition. Its incentive to do the opposite now would be hard to find.
Syrian governmental media says that the Abu Al-Dhuhur crossing in eastern rural Idlib was fully shut down, after the government claimed that 9,000 civilians used it to cross from Idlib back to government–held areas. [Dorar]
A DaeshDaily source sent us a short audio recording on an intercepted wireless communication of one of Tahrir Al-Sham’s commanders in the Idlib area. In the recording, the terrorist orders his fighters to kill anyone in their way, man or child, civilian or military.
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Deir Ez-Zor District
Daesh said it shot and killed two SDF members in Al-Zar town, in Busayrah subdistrict, on Friday. [A3maq]
The SOHR reports that armed men, most likely from Daesh, opened fire and killed 1 SDF fighter in Al-Jardhi village, in Mayadin. 2 other fighters were wounded. Daesh is initiating revenge attacks against the SDF and civilians, especially those working in the oil sector. [SyriaHR]
Albu Kamal District
Daesh executed 3 persons in Albu Khater village, still under its control near Hajin, and 3 more in Al-Susah without specifying reasons. A local source says that 4 beheaded bodies of SDF fighters were found near the Azba oilfield in northern Deir Ez-Zor. [ArabsToday]
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that Coalition planes killed 6 Daesh terrorists, including Iraqi and Egyptian commanders, wounded 2 others, and destroyed 2 SUVs in an airstrike on Hajin. The source said the planes also destroyed a Daesh boat, wounding 3 more terrorists.
Syrian Army forces reopened the Al-Salihiya crossing under the supervision of Russian military police. Local media sources in Deir Ez-Zor said that the government and the SDF reached an agreement to reopen the crossing between the government-controlled and SDF-controlled areas under the management of the Russians, rather than the local militia Liwa Al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigade). [Qasioun]
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that government forces shelled and rocketed Al-Susah town indiscriminately, killing or wounding 12 civilians, including women and children. The source said Daesh terrorists fled the town across the river when the attack started.
A DaeshDaily source said on Sunday that Coalition planes bombed a house used by Daesh as hideout near Al-Sha’afa, killing 4 terrorists. However, a woman and child who were in the house were also killed in the airstrike.
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that Daesh shot and killed a civilian in Al-Sha’afa town after accusing him of cooperating with the SDF.
The Syrian Army is squeezing Daesh in the Tilul Al-Safa (Al-Safa Hills) area, in the Suwayda desert. It destroyed a truck carrying a heavy machine gun in that area yesterday. The Army says it is blocking all desperation Daesh attempts to break its siege. [SyriaNow]
The SOHR says that Daesh-controlled areas in rural Suwayda are getting smaller, while Syrian Army forces are extending their rocket and artillery shelling on Daesh positions. The fate of the Suwayda civilians kidnapped by Daesh is still unknown. [SyriaHR]
Amir Ibrahim, the Suwayda Governor, offered SL 100,000 ($225) for each man killed in Daesh attacks as compensation to families that lost their relatives. SL 50,000 was offered for each man wounded. [ZamanAlwasl]
A DaeshDaily source said that a group of Daesh terrorists, dressed as Syrian Army special forces, killed Syrian soldiers in their houses in Suwayda.
A DaeshDaily source said on Monday that government forces captured 2 Daesh members who were hiding in a deserted building east of Suwayda.
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior says that police killed 5 terrorists in a gunfight in Jabila, on the Sohag-Asyut road in eastern Egypt. [Sumaria]
Daesh said it killed or wounded 15 Egyptian Army soldiers in an attack on a security barrier in the Kilo 17 area, west of Arish in North Sinai, on Saturday. [A3maq]
Another Daesh report of the incident said a group of terrorists attacked Egyptian police on the barrier using light and midsized weapons and rockets, killing or wounding 15 policemen. [ICDNAug26]
Daesh said that a group of its terrorists attacked Libyan National Army units at Wadi Ka’am Gate, in Zliten in Misrata District, killing seven soldiers and wounding ten. [ICDNAug25]
The Tunisian National Guard said it had arrested 2 people on Sunday in the Dar Sha’aban Al-Fehri area. They said that the 2 were implicated in forming a “terrorist cell” to recruit young people and transport them to conflict areas. [Tunisien]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Iraq lost one of its best friends this past weekend, when Senator John McCain died in Arizona at 81. McCain supported the US intervention against Saddam, but also stood by his position when the Iraq policy became less popular. When the policy was later in the balance, his advocacy helped move President Bush to employ the “surge” strategy in 2007 that finally, and with great difficulty, brought Baghdad and Anbar under control.
McCain’s Iraq role receded in subsequent years, as the public focused on his presidential candidacy in 2008, on other foreign policy and defense issues, and eventually on the adversarial relationship between him and President Donald Trump. Through all of that, however, as the Washington Post stated in a Sunday editorial, “He was such a respected figure that his views had credibility even among many who strongly opposed them. And on some of the great issues of his time . . . Mr. McCain was a courageous and principled leader.” [WashingtonPost]
Afghani authorities said on Sunday that Abu Saad Erhabi, the leader of Daesh in Afghanistan, was killed following a large air and land strike by local and foreign forces on Daesh positions. Neither Daesh nor the International Coalition had commented on the news at the time of the article. [BasNews]
A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-Colonel Martin O’Donnell, said on Sunday that a US airstrike on Saturday had targeted a “senior leader of a designated terrorist organization,” apparently referring to Erhabi. [Yahoo]
Daesh said on Sunday it killed a pro-government militia commander and another fighter in Khogyani. [A3maq]
A suicide bomb blast killed at least two people on Saturday outside an election commission office in the eastern city of Jalalabad. “It killed two people, and four others were wounded,” provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said, adding that a suicide attacker was responsible for the explosion. [Dawn]
Daesh said on Saturday it killed 15 people and wounded 20 in a suicide attack with an explosives vest on a gathering of government soldiers and local mukhtars in District 5, in Jalalabad. [A3maq]
Afghan officials say that the Tajikistan Air Force attacked Taliban fighters, killing 6 of them. They say that the Taliban engaged Tajik border guards, killing 2 of them in the border area between the two countries, before the planes chased and killed them. [Anadolu]
A recording purporting to be a new speech from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was released on August 22. The audio recording called on Daesh followers to fight on, congratulated attackers who had carried out attacks in Canada and Europe, and gave greetings for Eid Al-Adha (which began on Tuesday last week). The recording also urged Iraqi Daesh followers to attack Shia Muslims, referring to them as “apostates.” Reuters wrote that they could not confirm whether the recording was Al-Baghdadi’s voice. [Reuters]
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