August 9, 2018
Manual recount results show only slight changes from original results. [..]
Tariq Najm of Islamic Dawa emerges as possible compromise PM candidate. [..]
Higher gas prices put Iraq’s budget in the black. [..]
Renewed US sanctions on Iran complicate Iraqi politics, undermine Al-Abadi. [..]
9 PMFs killed by Daesh attack on Baiji-Haditha road. [..]
Salahuddin tribe disowns 130 members who helped Daesh. [..]
Deadly Mtaibija battle kills about 10 PMFs, 17 Daesh attackers. [..]
Dispute with tribe leads to AAH moving out of Dujail. [..]
UN conference in Mosul sets framework for Mosul reconstruction. [..]
Basra-area visitors to Iran targeted by criminal violence. [..]
UN working with involved countries to avoid warfare in Idlib. [..]
Daesh preparing for SDF attack on its remaining territory in Albu Kamal. [..]
Yemen: Saudi airstrike kills more than 30 children in Saada. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
The Board of Commissioners for the Independent High Electoral Commission announced on Thursday the seats now held by political alliances in certain districts following the manual recount.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that the manual recount had produced virtually no difference from the initial vote tally, saying that out of the 329 seats in the CoR, less than a dozen were changed by the recount. [WallStreetJournal]
DaeshDaily comment. We compared the seats-won totals ourselves. In over half the governorates, there was no change; in several others there was just one change. In Kirkuk, the governorate where the complaints were the loudest (from Arabs and Turkmen), there was no change.
Muqtada Al-Sadr expects Iraqi political groups to respond to his 40 conditions for nominating a new Prime Minister within 15 days. He says if there is no response, he will stay with political and popular opposition. He called on all political alliances “that still love the country” to join his new opposition “National Salvation” bloc. Commenting on the US sanctions against Iran, Al-Sadr says that, as usual, the US is punishing people rather than governments. [Arabi21]
“High-level political sources” said on Thursday that most of the leaders of the Islamic Dawa party had agreed to nominate Tariq Najm for PM as a compromise candidate, rather than outgoing PM Haider Al-Abadi. The sources claimed that Najm would be preferred by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, based on recent speeches of Sistani’s representatives, which were taken to have undercut Al-Abadi’s chances of a second term. They also claimed that the US had vetoed Hadi Al-Amiri as a potential PM candidate, prompting the Iranians to tell Washington that they would veto Haider Al-Abadi in retaliation. [Ghad]
DaeshDaily comment. Najm was Al-Maliki’s Chief of Staff and reputedly has wide and good connections. In a situation where Al-Sadr has no answers and Al-Amiri, Al-Abadi, and Al-Maliki all have strong opposition, Najm may be the one known figure who has a chance, as he would possibly not face opposition from major alliances. (We note for the record, however, that Ammar Al-Hakim also has connections in multiple camps.) Whether other parties will accept yet another Islamic Dawa prime minister would be one issue, and Najm’s long association with Al-Maliki could be another.
“Legal sources” said on Thursday that officials named by PM Haider Al-Abadi for investigation on corruption charges could be covered under the August 2016 general amnesty law if they were found guilty. [Shafaaq]
The Qatari newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed noted that there had been increased complaints to police stations in Iraq about blackmail and extortion by men in military uniforms, mainly in recently liberated areas. Men in uniform approach civilians and tell them they are wanted on certain charges before releasing them for money. [Sumaria]
“Political sources” said on Thursday that Victory alliance figure Khalid Al-Obeidi was seeking a new government position. Al-Obeidi was dismissed from his post as Minister of Defense in the face of corruption charges, and is currently leading a political movement to unseat the incumbent Governor of Ninewa. [Dijlah]
Activists accuse the Governor of Ninewa of hiring people who worked with Daesh, after firing many employees for doing the same thing. [BasNews]
The Iraqi Finance Ministry said on Thursday that the deficit for the current year’s budget would be covered, thanks to the rise in world oil prices. The current year’s budget is 88.1 billion dollars, while revenues were estimated at 91.6 billion dollars. Speaking at a press conference, the Finance Ministry Undersecretary, Maher Hamad Johan, said that Iraq would not have to borrow from any lenders to cover the 2018 budget. [Rudaw]
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement supporting the mission of the international investigative team concerned with Daesh crimes, which is visiting Baghdad. Ahmed Mahjoub, the Ministry’s spokesman, says the team, chaired by Ahmed Khan, is operating under UN Security Council Resolution 2379 of 2017 to collect and preserve evidence of Daesh’s crimes. [Sumaria]
The Karkh Criminal Court sentenced 2 Daesh operatives to death and 1 to life imprisonment for “belonging to Daesh” and participating in terrorist operations. The convicts were arrested in Syria by unnamed “Syrian forces” and handed over to Iraq. [Sumaria] [Rudaw]
The Iraqi government asked Washington to exclude it from the application of this round of sanctions against Iran, according to a report in the London-based newspaper Al-Arab on Thursday. The Iraqi government reportedly argued that Iraq could turn into a conflict zone between Iran and its enemies. The newspaper’s source said that the Iraqi request has not been officially heard, but that the Americans unofficially rejected it, citing the importance of applying sanctions strictly. [AlIraqNews]
Mudhir Mohammed Saleh, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, says that Iraqi economy will be affected by US sanctions on Iran, mainly religious tourism. Iraq receives 2-3 million religious tourists a year, who each pay $40 for an entry visa. [BasNews]
The Iraqi daily Mada says that the Iraqi government is looking to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as a source of electricity and consumable goods, following the US sanctions on Iran, whose trade with Iraq exceeds $10 billion yearly. [BasNews]
Mahmoud Sadeghi, an Iranian Member of Parliament affiliated with the reformists, demanded that the government of Iraq pay US $1100 billion as compensations for the Iraqi war on Iran (1980-88). He says his country has been delaying the demand due to the difficult situation of the Iraqi people. This followed Iraqi PM Al-Abadi’s statement that Iraqi government will execute sanctions against Iran, although it does not support them. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. This sounds confusing, but taking his premise is that Iraq is responsible for the Iran-Iraq War, and putting a price on Iran’s losses, any Iraqi action that Imposes further losses on Iran is unprincipled and should trigger a demand for repayment of those losses.
In response to Mahmoud Sadeghi’s demand that Iraq pay $1100 billion as reparations for the Iran-Iraq War, Faeq Al–Sheikh Ali, the head of the Tamadun (Civilized) alliance and an MP in the last CoR session, said that Al-Qaeda had entered Iraq on the pretext of fighting US forces, and demanded compensation for the Iraqi people. Sheikh Ali claimed that Iran had brought Al-Qaeda to Iraq in 2003 to fight the Americans. [Shafaaq]
And speaking of statements premised on the past, Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, Secretary-General of the banned Baath Party and former Vice Chairman to Saddam Hussein, issued a video addressing the Iraqi people and the Army on August 8, the 30th anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war. In his speech, he denounced both Iran and the US, and said that Iraq had previously protected the Arab world against the evils of Iran and confronted what he called the “Iranian invasion” of the war, before the US undertook a “colonial military campaign” to destroy the “modern civil state” of Baathist Iraq. The Iraqi authorities have previously announced the death of Al-Douri on several occasions. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. We can’t resist the observation that Al-Douri is officially dead but keeps talking, whereas Al-Baghdadi is officially alive but is never heard from.
Security-related incidents reported
West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)
A security source on Thursday reported that a member of the municipal council in Abu Ghraib was seriously injured in an IED blast. [Sumaria]
Anbar Ops Command says that Army units found and destroyed 45 IEDs in the area of Albu Assi, near Al-Salam Junction heading towards Falahat. [Baghdadia]
The Anbar Salvation Council says that Daesh is active in the western parts of Al-Qa’im, saying it still keeps safehouses in the “hard terrain areas” in the desert. [Etejah]
A security source says that police units arrested 10 Daesh operatives in Shirqat. [Ghad]
A DaeshDaily source says nine PMF fighters were killed and a commander wounded in a Daesh attack on the road between Baiji and Haditha.
A DaeshDaily source said on Wednesday that in a meeting with AAH and Kata’eb Hezbollah commanders, leaders of Albu Ajil tribe handed over the names of its 130 members of the tribe who had joined Daesh. The source said the tribe disowned these terrorists.
DaeshDaily comment. In tribal terms, this means that the tribe would not seek revenge if these terrorists were killed. Terrorists from Albu Ajil were heavily involved in the Speicher Massacre. Most of the victims were from southern tribes, and sooner or later those tribes were certain to seek revenge from Albu Ajil. It is important to add that many other members of Albu Ajil joined the PMFs and fought Daesh.
A DaeshDaily source says several Iraqi Army soldiers and PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack in the Mtaibija area. The source says the terrorists used 3 IFP vehicles in the attack. The source also says a SWAT captain and two other members, who were rushing to the area, were killed and another wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle east of Mtaibija. The source says that after the initial attack, PMF units ambushed Daesh terrorists, who fled after the attack, destroying the 3 vehicles and killing all 17 terrorists.
Daesh says it destroyed a PMF Humvee with an IED on the Sheikh Mohammed Road, east of Samarra, on Wednesday, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNAug9]
Southern Salahuddin (Balad, Dujail)
A DaeshDaily source says the AAH has agreed to move outside Dujail city and hand over security to local police. The AAH released 20 members from Khazraj tribe that it had captured earlier in Dujail, while the tribe released 6 AAH members. The source says the agreement was reached after the Minister of Interior, Qassem Al-A’raji, intervened and after tribal compensations were paid to the Khazraj.
Daesh is redeploying in Diyala, press sources say. They say it is adopting hit and run tactics in Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin. The independent daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi wrote that the continued Iraqi military attacks on Daesh seem to have made it even stronger. A security source says, “Whenever we believe we have finished them, they come out from here and there with consecutive attacks”. [BasNews]
A wild boar sat rotting for days in orchards near villages in the Al-Waqf Basin before an explosives expert was available to come remove the IED which killed the boar. Local farmers interviewed said that wild boars routinely set off IEDs planted by Daesh in the orchards. [FaceIraq]
Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin, Khalis north)
Daesh says it killed four SWAT members, including an officer, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in the Albu Eissa area, west of Udhaim, on Wednesday. [ICDNAug9]
Daesh says it wounded a PMF with an IED near Sadiya. [A3maq]
Southern Diyala (Balad Ruz, Mandali)
General Mizher Al-Azzawi, Diyala Ops Commander, says 3 Daesh field commanders were killed and 20 safehouses destroyed in operations in the Himrin (northern Diyala) and Al-Nida (Mandali) areas, which were carried out by joint forces and supported by Army helicopters. He says 25 Daesh boats were also destroyed and 3 generators confiscated. [Ghad]
Hawija (Riyadh, Al-Zab, etc.)
IFP says that its units killed 2 Daesh attackers, 1 with an explosives belt, in the village of Sin Al-Dhiban, Hawija. A tunnel network and 4 IEDs were also found while searching 3 other villages in the area. [Sumaria]
The UN Habitat program and UNESCO hosted a workshop at Mosul University to discuss the reconstruction of the city. Iraqi officials, experts, international organizations, and civil society participated. A US statement says that now there is a strategic framework to start the reconstruction, and move from the emergency response stage to the reconstruction stage. [BasNews]
The Ministry of the Interior said on Thursday that the “Falcons” intelligence cell had killed a terrorist responsible for a police death. The terrorist was reportedly responsible for planting an IED targeting the mukhtar of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) neighborhood in east Mosul, which killed the Ninewa Police explosives expert trying to disarm it in an incident several days ago. The terrorist was surrounded and killed while trying to flee. [Sumaria] [Ghad]
The Ninewa Police say they arrested 6 Daesh gunmen and found an ammunition and explosives cache in Rashidiya, northwest Mosul. They also arrested a man smuggling expired medicines from Syria to Mosul. [PUKMedia]
A DaeshDaily source says there are still Daesh operatives in Mosul who are providing Daesh members with fake IDs and funding in order to send them to Turkey to avoid prosecution. The source says the operatives also provide Daesh sleeper cells and families of Daesh members with money. The source says some of these operatives were captured but released later for unknown reasons.
Daesh says it killed three IFP members, including an officer, by detonating an IED on their Humvee southwest of Makhmur city, on Wednesday. [ICDNAug9]
Western Ninewa (No reports)
Several residents of Basra Province were interviewed by Qatari Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, and expressed their anger that Iraqi citizens had been killed during visits to Iran, occurring simultaneously with the protests against the government. Ali Hamid Al-Maliki, one of the interviewees, said that a relative of his, Haider Hamoud Al-Maliki, had moved to Iran only to be shot by gunmen at his apartment in the middle of the night. The owner of a Basra tourism company said that demand for travel to Iran was down “significantly” following several incidents targeting Iraqis, and called on the government to pressure Iran to protect Iraqis in their country. [AlAraby]
The Turkish Army says that its planes attacked PKK positions in Mount Qandil, “northern Iraq” (Iraqi Kurdistan), destroying shelters and weapon positions. [Anadolu]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
The PKK carried out a shelling attack on a border post in Hakkari Province from the Iraqi side of the border, wounding 6 Turkish soldiers. [Anadolu]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Jan Egeland, UN Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs in Syria, say that Russia, Turkey, and Iran have pledged to the UN to avoid a battle for Idlib, in northern Syria. He says that in case such a war happens, Turkey will need to open its borders to refugees. [Qasioun]
Also see story below under Idlib
Russia Today TV says that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, will reveal next Tuesday what the future of his forces in Syria will be. Hezbollah sources told the TV channel that Nasrallah will announce a historic, irrevocable victory, and say that whether his units stay in Syria will be up to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The sources also say that he will describe recent reported troop movements as just routine movements. [Qasioun]
Northwest (No reports)
The management of the Al-Hawl refugee camp forced 1,000 refugees to leave for SDF-controlled areas in Deir Ez-Zor. The forced deportation was said to make space for additional Iraqi refugees coming from the Al-Shaddadi area. Iraqis form the majority of refugees in the camp, in addition to 4,000 Syrian IDPs. [ZamanAlwasl]
DaeshDaily comment. This camp, located just inside Syria, has been predominantly helping Iraqis for some time.
Central and West
See lead story above under National News, as context for the following report.
Syrian helicopters dropped leaflets on towns and villages in southeast Idlib, calling for reconciliation and the start of a peace process. [Qasioun]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Daesh-affiliated media claimed that they had taken control of the village of Al-Tayyana and the Al-Milih oil well after fighting with the SDF. [Qasioun]
Albu Kamal District
The SOHR says Daesh eliminated its “Hisbah” (Islamic Police) organization in towns in eastern Deir Ez-Zor, and is focusing almost entirely on security to prepare for an attack by the SDF on the largest inhabited area still under Daesh control—in Hajin, Al-Susah, Al-Sha’afa, and Baghouz. Daesh reportedly lost interest in punishing minor violations as it prepares for this major security and military effort. Executions by Daesh have dropped to almost none in the past few weeks. [SyriaHR]
Daesh initiated a major attack on Syrian Army positions in Al-Hamdan village, near Albu Kamal. Losses were reported on both sides in the fighting. [Qasioun]
The SOHR says that fighting continued in the desert in northeastern Suwayda between Syrian Army forces and Daesh. As fighting continues, secret negotiations are reportedly also still ongoing to release captives kidnapped by Daesh from Suwayda on July 25. [SyriaHR]
A female captive from Suwayda, one of about 30 captured by Daesh on July 25, died in captivity in unknown conditions, says the SOHR. Conflicting stories about the captive either dying of poor health conditions or being executed by Daesh in retaliation for the execution of 1 of its fighters in Suwayda recently started to circulate. [SyriaHR]
Russian forces withdrew the “Shabaab Al-Sunna” units, who were recently engaged in reconciliation, from Suwayda to Daraa. The units were moved to Suwayda following the recent attack that killed 200 civilians. [Qasioun]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
Joseph Votel, the Commander of CENTCOM, said on Thursday that the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, is behind many Iranian activities that are aimed at destabilizing the Middle East. [Dijlah]
Votel had said on Wednesday that Iranian naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz had been aimed at proving their military capabilities there, and said that the US was committed to ensuring freedom of navigation and trade in the region. [FaceIraq]
The International Committee of the Red Cross says that 29 Yemeni children were killed in an airstrike targeting a bus in Saada, in the north of the country. In a recent update, the ICRC says its hospital received 30 dead bodies and 48 wounded children after the attack. [Anadolu]
The State Department has asked the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to investigate airstrikes that killed at least 39 people and wounded 51, most of them students. State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the US had asked the coalition to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the incident. [Hawar]
Daesh publishes photos of a group of its terrorists establishing a checkpoint on road near Ajdabiya. [ICDNAug9]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
European intelligence services believe Daesh had plans to attack in all parts of Europe without exception, from Portugal to the Balkans. Investigation revealed 3 potential attackers, all Belgians, 1 of whom was released, another who is still wanted, and a third who was killed in Syria. [Sumaria]
A US citizen named Zacharias Abdin, age 19, told a Federal Court in Charleston, SC that he had supported Daesh financially, a charge that carries up to 20 years in prison. He was arrested while trying to travel to Jordan, after telling a covert FBI agent that he intended to attack an American target. [Sumaria]
Kurdish refugees in the refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece say that Daesh pursued them to the camp after they escaped war–torn Syria. They say that many Arab refugees from Deir Ez-Zor were Daesh affiliates who molested and mistreated Kurdish refugees. They say that Daesh slogans were seen around the camp, but that camp authorities did not pay much attention. [Rudaw]
Daesh says it shot and killed a Somali intelligence officer at an intersection in Mogadishu. [ICDNAug9]
Daesh publishes a photo of one of its members who attacked the Taliban in Nangarhar. [ICDNAug9]
Daesh publishes photos of 3 of its terrorists, who targeted a Philippine Army military position in Sulu Island with mortars. [ICDNAug9]
Daesh publishes an “info video” about the results of its attacks in different countries during the last week. [ICDNAug9]