An Update On ISIS Activities

July 19, 2018

 

Baghdad Protests

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

UNHCR​​ reports 211​​ Iraq​​ demonstrators killed, 540 arrested to date. [..]

Al-Amiri, Al-Sadr​​ public​​ statements​​ seek​​ ​​ to placate demonstrators. [..]

UNAMI says​​ northern Iraq​​ health​​ facilities​​ closing​​ fast​​ for​​ lack of funding. [..]

Few Iraqi refugee doctors are accepting Ministry offers to return. [..]

Baghdad Ops Command​​ sets​​ major Baghdad security plan, including 30,000 security cameras. [..]

6 Daesh suicide bombers combine to attack Baiji, cause many injuries. [..]

Daesh attacks Deputy Governor’s house in southern Salahuddin. [..]

13-member terrorist cell arrested entering Kirkuk. [..]

 

Turkey

EU foreign affairs director unimpressed with Erdogan’s new anti-terrorism law. [..]

 

Syria

Russia-supported proposed “refugee center” would actually be an​​ intel operation, not a welcoming center. [..]

SDF fighters targeted,​​ killed by Daesh,​​ &​​ reportedly ​​ by mistaken Coalition airstrikes. [..]

Russian-mediated agreement would clear opposition militias out of Quneitra. [..]

Daesh claims​​ it​​ ​​ inflicted heavy casualties on Syrian Army in Daraa, Suwayda. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Nigeria: ​​ Confusion surrounds whereabouts of 500 Nigerian soldiers after terrorists attack base. [..]

Afghanistan: ​​​​ Daesh-Taliban clashes have killed 120 (of them) in past 3 days. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Demonstrations

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday that 211 demonstrators had been​​ killed or​​ wounded and 540 arrested, across all provinces, since the start of the demonstrations. [Rudaw]

 

Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Iraq, advised the Iraqi government to respond to protestors’ demands. Kubis was speaking in a press conference in Najaf, following meetings with clerics Muqtada Al-Sadr and Al-Yaqoubi. He says that the UN advises local and central governments to respond to such demands, some of which are urgent, saying the UN is ready to help in the process. He says the second stage is to enhance the democratic process and expedite forming the new government. [BaghdadPost]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The usually helpful UNAMI leader is not helping with this blanket statement. We printed the specific demands of demonstration leaders yesterday, and they are so extreme as to be completely unrealistic. ​​ Telling the Iraqi leadership to respond to these demands may add to the crisis and won’t defuse it.​​ 

 

Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the US State Department, says on Thursday that the US supports​​ the​​ peaceful demonstrations​​ occurring​​ in some Iraqi provinces. She says “In general, we support the Iraqis’ right to demonstrate peacefully, and understand why Iraqis are demonstrating.”​​ She​​ added​​ that Washington and Baghdad are in continued communication through diplomatic channels regarding corruption and other issues. [SNG]

 

The​​ Financial Times​​ says that the recent protests show how fragile the Iraqi state is. It says it is evident that there is a big trust gap between authorities and citizens. The paper notes that Iraq, the second-ranked oil-producing country in OPEC, is facing difficulties in containing popular anger demonstrated by protests which entered their second week. The paper said this marked the difficulties facing PM Al-Abadi in securing a second term. [BaghdadPost]

 

The leader of the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance, Hadi Al-Amiri, said that politicians are too preoccupied with infighting, and must be held accountable before the Iraqi people. In a speech, Al-Amiri said, “The Iraqi people presented 2 strong messages in quick succession … the first, by boycotting the elections, and the second, by the demonstrations in southern Iraq … We (i.e. politicians) must recognize our errors, that we have been unable to provide necessary services and a decent life, either intentionally or unintentionally … The people need to forgive us, and I am the first of those to ask for an apology from our people.” [Rudaw]

 

Election/New​​ government

New​​ government

Muqtada Al-Sadr called on all political alliances that won seats in the recent elections to postpone discussions about the new government until the demands of protestors are met. He also called for the formation of a joint working cell between the government and protestors to meet such demands. ​​ [Shafaaq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Al-Sadr knows that the demands of the demonstrators cannot be met within any short timetable. It seems he is using the demonstrations to strengthen his own political position. By justifying a further delay in forming the government, he is also trying to get off the hook for his failure to make visible progress in forming the new government.

 

Council of Representatives

On Wednesday, President Fuad Masoum issued the decree officially retiring the 328 MPs of the third session of the CoR and bringing that session to a close, their mandate having expired on June 30. This followed failed attempts​​ within​​ the CoR to extend​​ its​​ own mandate pending the​​ final​​ results of the May 12 CoR elections. [Anadolu]

 

Corruption

A report published on the​​ Atlantic’s website says that southern Iraq might not be able​​ to sustain​​ a viable human habitat in a few years. ​​ It says that corruption, inefficient management, and the exploitable lack of a divide between formal and informal administration have caused a huge waste of resources and a deep crisis in water and power services, which will only be exacerbated by coming issues of water scarcity and climate change. [Dijlah]

 

Reconstruction/Health

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a report published Wednesday evening that many health facilities in the north of Iraq, which serve the approximately 1 million IDPs there, may be forced to close due to lack of funding. The report said that 4 UN health partner organizations had closed 22 health service centers so far in 2018, and that 38% of the health facilities under 9 UN health partners risked closure by the end of July. UNAMI warned that such closures would increase the risk of infectious diseases and slow reconstruction efforts in areas still recovering from conflict. [Rudaw]

 

An official source says that the Ministry of Health failed to convince thousands of Iraqi doctors spread around the world to return to Iraq. Many of them left the country for security reasons connected to extortion, kidnappings, and assassinations by some Iraqi militias. Despite the lucrative offers of the ministry to doctors, only 300-400 returned, many of whom are preparing to leave again. [BaghdadNews]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Central Criminal Court in Rusafa, Baghdad, issued life sentences on Thursday to​​ 7​​ terrorists convicted of belonging to Daesh’s “Islamic Police” in Ninewa Province. Judge Abd Al-Sattar Birqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, said in a statement that the defendants had confessed to providing logistical support to Daesh and participating in attacks on security and military personnel. [Buratha]​​ [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

Canada is discussing its plans for its military​​ assistance mission​​ in Iraq, says the​​ Ottawa Citizen. 125 Canadian soldiers will protect the NATO HQ and form a mobile unit, operating mainly in Baghdad. The type of armored vehicles to be used is still under discussion: some propose using the LAV-III, while​​ others prefer sticking to 4WD vehicles due to the urban nature of the environment of operations. [BaghdadNews]

 

BAGHDAD

Baghdad Operations Command says the Iraqi capital is under full control. It says that the city​​ is divided into 6 security sectors,​​ and​​ intelligence units will take over the security of​​ the​​ perimeter areas​​ around Baghdad, where 30,000​​ security​​ cameras have been deployed.​​ The​​ IFP,​​ Army, and CTS​​ are all​​ involved​​ in​​ this​​ plan. [Ghad]

 

ANBAR

Falluja

The Center for Security Information said on Thursday that military intelligence detachments under East Anbar Ops Command had seized 5 so-called “Rockets of the Caliphate,” 25 IEDs, and a cache of various explosives in the Nuaimiya area​​ just south of​​ Falluja​​ city. [Forat]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

Three variations on a negative story:

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says two tribal PMF fighters were killed at a Daesh fake checkpoint near Kan’ous village.

Daesh says​​ a tribal PMF fighter was killed and three others wounded in a Daesh attack on a military position near Kan’ous village. [ICDNJul19]

Daesh says it killed a PMF fighter and wounded two others in an ambush near Kan’ous. [A3maq]

 

Baiji

On Thursday, a security source said that numerous members of the security services were injured in a suicide attack in Baiji. The source said the attack was committed by 6​​ Daesh​​ members who blew themselves up, targeting oil police and PMFs​​ in an oil pumping station. Despite the injuries, there were no deaths except for the bombers. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Daesh says it destroyed a PMF machine gun-mounted SUV with an IED in the Siniya area, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

Tikrit

On Thursday, local police in the city of Tikrit arrested a terrorist wearing an explosives​​ belt and carrying several hand grenades and IEDs. Colonel Mohammed Osama Al-Hamdani, Director of Internal Affairs in Salahuddin Police Command, said that the detainee was intending to target government, security, and media figures, and then blow himself up at a security position in the city. [Mawazin]

 

Samarra

Daesh says it destroyed a PMF SUV with an IED on Al-Ta’awun Street, In Jazeera Samarra, on Wednesday, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNJul19]

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad,​​ Dujail)

Daesh says it raided the house of Salahuddin Deputy Governor Ismail Al-Haloub, in the Al-Adhiya area, near Ishaqi, on Tuesday, killing one of his bodyguards and wounding three others. [A3maq] [ICDNJul19]

 

An unnamed source in Salahuddin Province said on Thursday that​​ three​​ people had been wounded by mortar shells at a military checkpoint in Balad​​ District. The shelling was reportedly followed by an attack on the checkpoint.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Daesh says​​ it shot and killed​​ a “Shia person” on the road to Baghdad in the Kanaan area. [ICDNJul19]

 

On Thursday, the Diyala Criminal Court sentenced 2 terrorists to death by hanging. The 2 are affiliated with Al-Qaeda and​​ were involved in​​ several terrorist operations throughout 2006-2007. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Kirkuk Province Police Commander General Ma’an Al-Sa’adi said on Thursday that counter-terrorism units had arrested a “cell” of 13 terrorists entering Kirkuk. [Sumaria]

 

Separately, General Al-Sa’adi also said on Thursday that 1 of the perpetrators of Wednesday’s bombings in Kirkuk had been identified, and that they were working with intelligence agencies to arrest​​ him.​​ He added that Wednesday’s bombings had injured 10 civilians, all of whom had now left the hospital.​​ [Sumaria]

 

On Thursday, the Center for Security Information also announced that the terrorists wanted for the explosions and attacks that occurred there on Wednesday were being sought throughout the province of Kirkuk. [Etejah]

 

Kirkuk Police Command noted on Thursday that the previous day’s​​ explosions​​ were not caused by IEDs or mortars. Command Spokesman Colonel Kamal said that the bombings had consisted of 6 “sound bombs” (a bomb designed to produce sound rather than destructive explosions), a “small bomb” targeting the Children’s Hospital, a “K4”-type rocket, and a small rocket fired from a Kalashnikov-type rifle. He added that only 9 people had been wounded, most of whom were recovering. [PressIraq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The source for yesterday’s report called these attacks “bombings,” but we changed the word because it seemed exaggerated.​​ 

 

Thursday, the IFP announced that the 3rd brigade in the 6th division destroyed 2 kilometers of tunnels​​ while searching the villages of Touqan and Qush Qaya​​ in Dibis, as well as surrounding mountains and valleys. The 4th brigade continues to search other areas in Kirkuk.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh says it killed five IFP members, wounded three others, and destroyed their SUV with an IED in Sidawa village, south of Dibis. [ICDNJul19]

 

NINEWA

The Ministry of the Interior announced on Thursday that they had arrested a suspect in Ninewa Province accused of extorting citizens by threatening them​​ by touting his​​ affiliation with terrorists. Ministry spokesman General Sa’ad Ma’an said that the defendant admitted to​​ completing financial transactions contrary to the instructions of the Iraqi Central Bank, and to​​ blackmailing a citizen for $10,000.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Mosul

Ministry of the Interior​​ spokesman​​ Sa’ad Ma’an said on Thursday that 3 persons had been arrested on terrorism charges in the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) neighborhood in east Mosul. [Forat]

 

Three versions of a negative story:

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says a Daesh leftover booby-trapped fuel truck that was buried underground near Hay Al-Arabi, in north Mosul, exploded suddenly, causing damage.

Daesh’s version claims that PMF fighters were killed or wounded in an explosion that targeted a PMF office in Hay Al-Arabi. [ICDNJul19]

However, the Ninewa Provincial Police said on Thursday that the Al-Arabi explosion was accidental and not a terrorist attack, confirming the​​ Daesh Daily​​ source report that a fuel transport vehicle exploded.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Daesh says it detonated an IED on an Iraqi Army vehicle in an unspecified location on the road between Mosul and Dahuk, on Tuesday. [ICDNJul19]

 

Southern Ninewa

Hamidat

Ninewa Ops Commander Colonel Ahmed Al-Jubouri said on Thursday that Iraqi security and PMF personnel killed 3 Daesh fighters who were planning attacks in the desert areas southwest of Mosul. In a press statement, he added that various weapons and explosives​​ belts were seized during the operation. [Rudaw]​​ 

 

Makhmur/Qayara

A security source said that on Thursday, Daesh left the corpse of a 39 year old shepherd with gunshot wounds in front of his family’s home in​​ Beirdaoud Shwan​​ village,​​ at the foot of Mount Qarachogh​​ in the​​ Makhmur District.​​ Daesh kidnapped him Wednesday morning, told his family it wanted something from him, and then threw his corpse in front of their home Thursday evening.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh says it killed two PMF fighters in an ambush in Lazzaqa village, north of Qayara, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

Western​​ Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

On Thursday, a shepherd was killed by an IED, reportedly planted by “terrorist militias.” The explosion took place near the lake area of Alexandria​​ in​​ northern Babel Province. [BaghdadPost]

 

Dhi Qar

The Dhi Qar Criminal Court sentenced 2 terrorists to death on Thursday. It said​​ they had admitted to committing dozens of murders in Baghdad under the direction of Al-Qaeda leader “Abu Talha.”​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

The Turkish Army says that it killed a PKK logistics officer in an airstrike in “northern Iraq” (Iraqi Kurdistan). It says that Hassan Jaqmaq, aka Dalil Qaraqojan, was one of 3 PKK gunmen​​ killed while riding​​ in a car that was bombed by Turkish planes on July 13. [Anadolu]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

The EU says that lifting the state of emergency in Turkey is not sufficient for protection of rights, due to the exceptional powers that have been granted to authorities and continuing limitations on basic freedoms. It says that the proposed “counter-terrorism” law is not much different from the state of emergency.​​ Federica​​ Mogherini, high representative of the UN for foreign affairs, says such exceptional powers and limitations render lifting the state of emergency ineffective. She says she expects Turkey to meet its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.​​ [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Thus begins a dialogue that will likely be extended and contentious, as Mr. Erdogan’s authoritarian ways just don’t conform to EU norms. However, while Turkey is in NATO, it is not in the EU, limiting Ms. Mogherini’s options.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Russia

An “informed source” told opposition media that that the refugee center to be formed by Russia and the Syrian government would​​ actually​​ employ intelligence operatives who would examine refugees’ eligibility for military service and look for those who have announced political positions against the regime. The source says Russia is planning to eliminate the insurgency in Syria once and for all. [Dorar]

 

Political opposition

A member of the Syrian Democratic Council, Hikmat Habib, said on Thursday that the Council was ready for dialogue with Damascus, if​​ it could take​​ such​​ discussions seriously. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest

Afrin

Kurdish media sources say that pro-Turkey militias​​ were​​ engaged in fighting in 5 villages in Afrin. The cause of the fighting is unclear. The Turkish Army sent 2 tanks and 10 APCs to contain the fighting. [Hawar]

 

Manbij​​ 

A roadside IED exploded in Manbij, according to the SOHR, following 2 explosions yesterday evening. [SyriaHR]

Daesh says several SDF members were killed when 2 roadside IEDs exploded near Manbij. [ICDNJul18]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

The​​ New York Times​​ reported the testimonies of women detained in Hasaka who fled from Daesh. One such testimony​​ is​​ the story of a woman who arrived in the region to join her​​ Daesh​​ husband and her struggles as a foreign fugitive.​​ A human rights organization​​ has been following over 200 women and children in the refugee camps in northern Syria, which intend to send the women and children back to their respective countries.​​ However, it says there are​​ other​​ plans to send them to the Iraqi authorities,​​ raising fears that some​​ would be executed, or sent​​ back to areas controlled by Daesh. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Raqqa

Raqqa city​​ & district

Gunmen assassinated a man in western Raqqa district. An explosion occurred in the city of Raqqa, attributed to either a mine or an IED. It caused material damage; there was no information about casualties. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says it destroyed an SDF vehicle with an IED near Mazyouna train station, on Wednesday, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNJul19]

 

Daesh says it damaged an SDF vehicle with an IED near Yamama farm,​​ west of Raqqa city,​​ on Wednesday, killing or wounding the fighters inside. [ICDNJul19]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

4 violent explosions took place in different areas of Idlib, with no casualties. The first was in the​​ town​​ of​​ Al-Dana​​ in southern Idlib,​​ caused by​​ an IED, while the second was​​ a​​ fuel container​​ impacted​​ by the first explosion.​​ 2​​ other explosions took place in Saraqib and Salqin, east and​​ west​​ of the city of​​ Idlib​​ respectively. [Qasioun]

Daesh says it exploded an IED on a vehicle near a bakery in Al-Dana city. [ICDNJul19]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh says it killed four SDF fighters, including a commander, in an attack on a water station in Al-Zar village, in Busayrah​​ subdistrict, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

Daesh says it killed two SDF fighters after attacking them with light weapons and hand grenades in Al-Zar. [ICDNJul19]

 

Daesh says it killed an SDF intelligence official and wounded three of his associates with an IED in the Ma’amel area in Deir Ez-Zor, on Tuesday. [A3maq]

 

Mayadin​​ District

Local media said that Coalition planes killed around 15 SDF fighters by mistake, in airstrikes aimed at Daesh targets in Bir Al-Azraq,​​ close to the Al-Tanak oilfield. ​​ [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Due to the past unreliability of this source, wait for the Coalition confirmation or denial.

 

South​​ 

Daraa/Quneitra

Opposition​​ militias​​ in Quneitra reached a Russian-mediated agreement with the government in the city of Nawa that would include the following points: an immediate cease-fire; the surrender of heavy and medium weapons by the opposition; the return of IDPs to their home areas; the Syrian Army’s​​ return to​​ “the​​ areas​​ of the 1974 convention,”​​ which will be​​ demilitarized;​​ the​​ settling​​ of​​ the status of young men​​ mandated​​ for military service;​​ transfer​​ to northern areas ​​ of Syria for those who want to​​ go;​​ the return of​​ international observer​​ forces​​ to their previous positions in Quneitra;​​ the​​ formation of​​ a committee to follow up​​ on the cases of​​ detainees;​​ the​​ return of civil servants to their jobs;​​ and​​ the​​ freedom of expression and​​ the​​ elimination​​ of surveillance by​​ security​​ services for the​​ opposition. [Qasioun]

 

Syrian opposition sources say 26 civilians were killed by Syrian​​ Army shelling​​ and “barrel​​ bomb”​​ attacks on the city of Nawa,​​ Daraa. [Qasioun]

 

Daesh says it stopped a government attack on Jillen and Tal Ashtra, west of Daraa, killing 25 soldiers. [A3maq]

 

Suwayda

Daesh says that it killed 120 government Army troops in Suwayda between June 7​​ and​​ July 17, including 4 officers. Daesh also says it destroyed 4 tanks and​​ three​​ 4-wheel drive cars, as well as stopping several​​ Syrian​​ Army attacks during this period. [EnabBaladi]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

The Iranian Court of Appeals upheld the prison sentences for 2 “Daesh intelligence officers” who were linked to intelligence networks across the Persian Gulf. The 2 were arrested last year in Kerman and charged with planning to carry out terrorist operations against public facilities there. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Saudi Arabia

The Riyadh Criminal Court tried a​​ Filipino domestic worker for supporting Daesh by spreading their ideas on Twitter. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh says it destroyed 2 Egyptian Army armored bulldozers with 2 IEDs near​​ the​​ Abu Al-Waleed security barrier, south of Arish, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

Daesh says it damaged an Egyptian Army tank with an IED near​​ the​​ Al-Safa security barrier, south of Arish, on Wednesday. [A3maq]

 

Tunisia

The Tunisian National Guard and the Counter-Terrorism Service said they jointly arrested a​​ takfiri​​ on outstanding charges of “theft and threats.” [Tunisien]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Great Britain

Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman was convicted by UK authorities on charges of plotting to assassinate the British Prime​​ Minister​​ Theresa May. Rahman was arrested in November 2017. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

AFRICA

Nigeria

In a confusing story, it was reported by NBC News that up to 500 Nigerian soldiers are still missing after Islamist fighters dressed in Nigerian military uniforms overran a military base on Saturday.​​ While in disguise, the fighters were admitted into the base, near the village of Jilli, northeastern Nigeria, whereupon they attacked and drove the Nigerian troops​​ out. About 730 Nigerian troops were at the base at the beginning of the attack.​​ US and Nigerian officials differ in their account: a US official says​​ that 100 soldiers have been found, alive or dead, and up to 500 are still missing. The Nigerian Army public relations director, General Chukwu, denied on Monday that any Nigerian troops were missing. He also claimed on Monday that the attack had been repelled; on Wednesday, he said that it had been “brought under control.” The Nigerian government has suggested the militants were linked to Boko Haram, while the US has said they believe they were affiliated with Daesh in West Africa. [NBCNews]

 

Somalia/Kenya

The US State Department classified the “Al-Hijra” group, active in Somalia and Kenya, as a terrorist group on Thursday. The statement from State said that they had amended the​​ identification of Al-Shabaab, already an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, to include Al-Hijra. They said that Al-Hijra was just another name for Al-Shabaab. [Anadolu]

 

Daesh says it shot and killed a Somali intelligence​​ officer​​ at​​ an​​ intersection in Mogadishu. [A3maq]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Afghan officials say that the fighting between Taliban and Daesh in the past 3 days left 120 killed on both sides. Abdul Qadir Mali, spokesman for the Darzab region, says that the Taliban had 72 killed and 60 wounded, versus 52 killed from Daesh and around 100 wounded. The clashes started 10 days ago, when the Taliban attacked Daesh positions. In a separate incident, 2 Daesh suicide attackers attacked a “condolence” meeting of the Taliban, killing 15 fighters. [Watan]

 

Newsweek​​ reported that the confrontation between the Taliban and Daesh has intensified in Afghanistan, writing that both groups were competing for control over certain regions such as the Khorasan and Nangarhar Provinces. [Sumaria]​​ 

July 18, 2018

 

Iraq Protests

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Protest leaders issue sweeping demands against much of the Iraqi government. [..]

Sunni alliance may seek to postpone provincial elections. [..]

Iraqi bank opens a branch in Saudi Arabia. [..]

KDP, PUK sending delegation to Baghdad to wrest concessions on political status. [..]

Son of Salahuddin PC member killed by IED attack. [..]

Transfer of IFP units from Kirkuk to southern Iraq raises concern about deteriorated security conditions. [..]

Assassinations, security deterioration in Ninewa raise concerns about a Daesh comeback. [..]

Several Peshmerga killed in Makhmur campaign. [..]

CTS troops sent to Muthanna province. [..]

 

Syria

Syrian human rights organization says Russia has killed 6,187 Syrian civilians. [..]

SDF takes over last of 16 Daesh-held​​ villages in southern Hasaka. [..]

Evacuation​​ begins for pro-government​​ Shia​​ militiamen trapped in two Idlib towns. [..]

60 civilians killed by Syrian airstrikes, barrel bomb attacks in Daraa. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Iran: ​​ World Bank study documents huge economic decline under Islamic regime. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Demonstrations

Representatives of the protestors demonstrating in central and southern Iraq announced 12 demands​​ on​​ the Iraqi government on Wednesday (but​​ Bas News​​ listed 14). They said they would give the government 3 days to respond to these​​ demands.

  • Abolish provincial councils and local councils and cancel the salaries of all members, and reduce the number of MPs to a quarter of what they currently are.

  • Cancel the salaries of the Presidents, Ministers, deputy Ministers, general managers, any concessions they have abroad, and all salaries paid to foreign parties.

  • Abolish the offices of the Inspectors General for all Ministries as they have covered up corruption.

  • Abolish the​​ Commission of​​ Integrity and its offices in all provinces as they cover up corruption, and abolish the Electoral Commission, which falsified all previous elections, and hold them accountable for such fraud.

  • Abolish the pensions of all former MPs from all sessions of the CoR since the end of the previous regime (i.e. Saddam), abolish the “laws of privilege” for MPs, and make MP salaries comparable to other state employees.

  • Abolish the Najaf Airport Administrative Council, present them to a court, and return all the “stolen items.”

  • Form a “People’s Court,” the members of which would​​ be chosen by the people, with the authority to prosecute corruption and retrieve public funds spent​​ on corruption since the fall of the previous regime.

  • Construct power plants by agreement with Germany for a short period, as Egypt contracted with them for 3 power plants at a price of $2 billion per plant.

  • Form a committee of Iraq religious figures and prominent legal scholars from Iraqi universities to amend the Constitution, which does not serve the people, and repeal the laws that “separate powerful men and parties by their size.”

  • Repeal the amended “Sainte-Laguë” method of proportional representation for the CoR, and replace it with a law that gives seats to the individuals receiving the highest vote counts, without lists of parties, which ensures the rise of non-party independent candidates.

  • Agree with international investment companies that they will not invest in companies owned or controlled by political parties, as most of them steal the country’s wealth for their own benefit at the expense of the public interest.

  • Appoint jobs through a new mechanism which guarantees the rights of all, and keeps jobs from being distributed as electoral favors.

  • Either distribute a share of oil revenues to each individual Iraqi, or else use the revenue to make public services such as water, electricity, and health care free.

  • Cancel plans to privatize electricity, oil, and gas, because these are projects to enrich the ruling class at the expense of the poor. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We would concur with the obvious conclusion that these proposals are extreme and unfairly punitive, but the authors are in some ways perceptive about Iraq’s corruption problem. The statement also reflects the extent of the frustration with the political class. At the same time, it shows​​ why these protests have a dangerous undertone that threatens stability.

 

The media office of Prime​​ Minister​​ Haider Al-Abadi said on Wednesday that Al-Abadi had formed a “crisis cell” concerned with urgent service provision and security issues, which held its first meeting the day before. The office’s press statement said that the “crisis cell” had made “several decisions” regarding electricity, water, job creation, and the health and education sectors. Among these decisions was reportedly the establishment of a similar “crisis cell” within each Ministry to deal with these issues, and the decision to train personnel under the Ministry of Labor in connection with the “crisis cells.” [Sumaria]

 

The Directorate of Civil Defense said on Wednesday that unidentified armed persons attacked fire engines that were attempting to put out fires in several buildings, both private houses and party headquarters. The General Director of Civil Defense, General Kazem Bouhan, said at a press conference held in Karbala that several cases of arson at party headquarters and the houses of officials had been recorded, and that attackers tried to damage the fire engines that responded. 9​​ fire engines were reported damaged in Najaf, 6 in Muthanna, and 1 in Babel. [Sumaria]

 

The former Governor of Ninewa, Atheel Al-Nujaifi, warned​​ that​​ Daesh​​ could​​ use​​ the current demonstrations to return to formerly cleared areas. He said that,​​ to that end, he was working to ensure that “no demonstrations [would be] held in the Sunni areas” in central and southern Iraq. An official​​ source in Anbar Province previously said on Monday that all demonstrations were prohibited in Anbar to prevent the deterioration of the security situation. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ As has been true for a few years, the much discredited Mr. Nujaifi has no authority to do anything, but he can be appreciated for doing something positive.

 

An Iraqi official, who asked not to be named, described Iran’s​​ cutoff​​ of​​ electricity to Iraq as “political blackmail” aimed at pressuring the Iraqi government. The official, speaking with the Emirati​​ Sky News Arabia, said that Iran’s excuses for doing so, based on​​ the need to​​ meet its own domestic electricity needs, were “not accurate.” The official claimed that Iran’s production amounted to 58,000 megawatts while its domestic needs were only 42,000 megawatts.

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We can’t evaluate the technical arguments, but it’s fair to observe that​​ although​​ Iraq has had a severe electricity shortage going back to the Saddam era,​​ it​​ has​​ now​​ had 13 years of elected governments to address​​ and overcome the problem, and has faced annual protests for a few years during the hot Iraqi summers to prod it to do so. Iran deserves credit for helping, whatever its mix of motives, and perhaps it can be criticized for cutting off that help, whatever its motives. However, the lack of adequate electricity is Iraq’s failure, not Iran’s fault.​​ 

 

Election/New​​ government

Election

A leader in the “Alliance of Sunni Forces,” who asked not to be named, said on Wednesday that the movement would seek to postpone the provincial elections, which are currently scheduled for December 22. The source said that this was due to the confusion and accusations of fraud following the CoR elections, and added that some Shi’a parties also sought to postpone the provincial elections. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Of course, this pending proposal has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the Sunni parties took a beating in the parliamentary election.

 

New​​ government

A​​ US​​ political​​ think tank​​ says​​ that the​​ recent protests​​ consolidated the position of Muqtada Al-Sadr​​ at the expense of​​ Haider Al-Abadi. The​​ report​​ expected that​​ the​​ protests​​ would fade gradually but​​ said that​​ this would require a scapegoat, most likely the current​​ Prime​​ Minister. [WatanIq]

 

Iraqi political leaders met at the offices of President Fuad Masoum to discuss the recent demonstrations and the formation of the next government, an unnamed delegate to the meeting said on Wednesday. Attendees reportedly included Nouri Al-Maliki, Osama Nujaifi, Ammar Al-Hakim, Dhia Al-Asadi, Mohammed Al-Karbouli, Abd Al-Karim Al-Ansari on behalf of Hadi Al-Amiri, and Kazem Al-Shammari on behalf of the National​​ Alliance. The source noted that Al-Abadi​​ himself​​ did not attend. [Rudaw]

 

Economy

The Trade Bank of Iraq opened a branch in Saudi Arabia, a move which a Saudi banking official described as strengthening the Iraqi financial structure. The Saudi-owned​​ Asharq Al-Awsat​​ quoted Talaat Hafez as saying that the Bank’s entry into the Saudi market would be beneficial to the Iraqi state, the Bank, and the Saudi banking sector. [Sumaria]

 

Iraq-KRG Issues

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) announced that they would send a joint unified Kurdish delegation to Baghdad in the next few days, saying that talks would focus on the formation of a national unity government and the implementation of Article 140 of the​​ Constitution. KDP leader Shawan Taha said that the delegation was still awaiting a response from the Kurdish opposition parties as to whether they would join.​​ [IraqPress]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The timing of this power play is too typical of the major Kurdish parties. Iraq is in a political crisis and facing serious instability, but the Kurdish leadership is concerned only with its own agenda. The reference to Article 140 is​​ a reference to the Kurdish version of how it should be implemented, which would result in the maximum loss of Iraqi territory to the Kurds. This is the major reason why agreement has never been reached on how to implement it.

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The​​ Washington Post​​ published a​​ front-page​​ article on Tuesday saying that only seven months after Al-Abadi declared that Iraq was free from Daesh,​​ they​​ recovered quickly and resumed​​ their​​ operations​​ in​​ a “wave of kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings.”​​ Daesh started operating in remote and small areas just as it started before its major attacks on large Iraqi cities in 2014.​​ The recent​​ Daesh​​ operations in various provinces have caused people to wonder if victory was really achieved. [Dijlah]​​ [Baghdadia] [WashingtonPost]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Appreciation to the Post for its story, by Liz Sly and Mustafa Salim.​​ As our readers know, we have been sounding this alarm almost since “victory” was declared, as Daesh methodically set out to reverse its fortunes by recycling its insurgency. Thus all the assassinations of policemen, mukhtars and other local symbols of authority. Iraq is doing better lately at combating ​​ Daesh in the remote desert and mountain areas where it operates, but​​ it’s government, police, and military personnel are still targets, and perhaps the election results indicate that a lot of Iraqis have not bought into the victory narrative.​​ 

 

Foreign policy

A US State Department report says that Iraq is not committing to minimum criteria required to address human trafficking. The report says Iraq is still at the second level of scrutiny for the second year in a row (out of the 3 levels defined by State), adding that Iraq has identified human trafficking victims but is yet to take serious measures addressing the issue. The report also mentioned the recruitment of children by the PMF​​ militias​​ and lack of any measures to control it. [Forat]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

On Wednesday, a security source reported that a wanted person was arrested on terrorism charges in north Baghdad. Security forces arrested him while he was passing through one of the checkpoints in​​ Tarmiya.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Southeast​​ (Mada’in, etc.)

A security source says unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot a civilian​​ dead​​ in Jisr Diyala, southeast Baghdad. [BaghdadNews]

 

ANBAR

Rutba

Al-Jazeera Ops Commander in Anbar Province, General Qasim Al-Mohammedi, announced on Wednesday that an operation was underway to secure the Iraq-Syria border​​ in Anbar, working from Al-Qa’im, Rawa,​​ and​​ Rutba, and​​ the​​ Al-Waleed​​ border crossing across from the Al-Tanaf base. He said that​​ the operation was aimed at eliminating any Daesh tunnels, safehouses, or caches in the desert. [BasNews]

 

SALAHUDDIN

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced that 160,000 IDP families have returned to Salahuddin Province since the area​​ was​​ liberated from Daesh. [Rudaw]​​ [Forat]

Tikrit

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that the son of a Salahuddin Provincial Council member was killed when a sticky IED exploded under his vehicle in Tikrit city. The source says the​​ Council ordered​​ that​​ displaced people​​ be removed​​ from​​ the​​ Al-Zuhour Al-Thaniya​​ neighborhood​​ in Tikrit.​​ 

 

Mtaibija

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the Salahuddin Operations​​ Commander announced a military campaign in the Mtaibija area and areas southeast of Samarra after Daesh increased its attacks during the last few days. The source says PMF and local police units will accompany Iraqi Army units in the campaign. The source says Daesh attacks had decreased at the beginning of the month, but the situation changed when PMF units were withdrawn to the south after the protests. ​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says the Chief of Staff of the Salahuddin Operations Command, General Imad Al-Jubouri, was severely wounded and three of his bodyguards killed when an IED exploded on his convoy near the Mtaibija area.​​ 

 

Daesh says it killed an Iraqi soldier, wounded three others, and damaged a Humvee with an IED in the Mtaibija area, on Tuesday. [A3maq]

 

Daesh says it damaged 2 Iraqi Army Humvees with IEDs in the Mtaibija area, on Monday. [A3maq]

 

DIYALA

The Ministry of the Interior said on Wednesday that​​ it​​ had arrested 2 Daesh fighters in separate arrests in Diyala Province. [Sumaria]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin,​​ Khalis​​ north)

Diyala Ops Command announced that a special operation succeeded in arresting 3​​ persons​​ on terrorism​​ charges​​ in the city of Jalawla,​​ in Khanaqin.​​ It is unclear if this includes either of the arrests mentioned in the above article.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

DaeshDaily​​ sources say IFP and Rapid Intervention units were withdrawn from the Kirkuk area to southern Iraq​​ after the protests. The sources say the security situation deteriorated and Daesh managed to conduct attacks in the Daquq, Hawija, and Dibis areas.

 

Kirkuk/Dibis

A security source said on Wednesday that an IED had exploded in central Kirkuk, near the Kirkuk-Baghdad Road, injuring 3 people. [Sumaria]

 

A later report quoted a security source as saying that 8 explosions in total hit Kirkuk on Wednesday, with 13 people in total injured. Most of the explosions were caused by unidentified persons throwing​​ explosive devices​​ from 4WD/SUV-type vehicles.​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad,​​ Taza,​​ etc.)

Iraqi Federal Police Chief Raed Shaker Jawdat said on Wednesday that the 19th brigade arrested 3 terrorists, one of whom belonged to “Daesh intelligence,” in the​​ Kaka’i​​ villages of Ali Saray and​​ Iftikhar​​ in southwest Kirkuk. [Etejah]​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Because many Kaka’is follow a distinctive religion that it not part of Islam, they have occasionally been convenient Daesh targets, including recent attacks in their area of Daquq.

 

NINEWA

DaeshDaily​​ sources say that the security situation in Ninewa had deteriorated recently. The sources say the situation has​​ not been​​ this​​ bad since Daesh was defeated. The sources say people are terrified because of the continuous​​ Daesh​​ attacks on mukhtars in Mosul and in southern Ninewa. The sources say the Ninewa Operations Command announced a campaign to search the east side of Mosul. ​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This shows that the Daesh strategy is working. The specific purpose of these Daesh assassinations is to create fear. The message is that the government cannot protect you, so you had better do as we say.​​ 

 

Mosul

The spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, Sa’ad Ma’an, announced on Wednesday that 4 “dangerous” members of Daesh had been arrested in Mosul. [Ghad]​​ [Forat]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says local police units found the body of a Daesh member, who had been kidnapped, tied and shot near the Baghdad intersection, in west Mosul. The source says the man had​​ previously​​ been captured but was released after paying a bribe.​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Hamidat/ Hammam Al-Alil

The spokesman for the Center for Security Information, General Yahya​​ Rasul, announced on Wednesday that several pieces of weaponry were found​​ south of Mosul.​​ An IED and two mortar shells were found in the area of Jarn in Hammam Al-Alil in a police search.​​ 23 Kornet rockets, anti-tank grenades, regular grenades, 20 kg of gunpowder, and 9 “prepared” IEDs were found in the village of Bakhira.​​ [Ghad]​​ [Forat]

 

Makhmur/Qayara/Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that several Peshmerga fighters, including an officer, were killed and others wounded in a Daesh attack on the Qarachogh area, in Makhmur.​​ 

Daesh says it ambushed Peshmerga units in the Makhmur Mountain area, on Tuesday. It says its terrorists detonated several IEDs, then clashed with the Peshmerga “for several hours.” It says seven Peshmerga fighters were killed and 14 wounded. [ICDNJul18] [A3maq]

 

On Wednesday, Daesh kidnapped a resident from his home in​​ a​​ village located at the foot of Mount Qarachogh, Makhmur​​ District. The kidnapped person worked in livestock. [PUKMedia]

​​ 

Colonel Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the Coalition, said that their recent joint operation with the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces on Mount Qarachogh, Makhmur district, had bombed 30 Daesh “nests”​​ and destroyed 5 Daesh “trenches.” He spoke positively of the Peshmerga’s participation, saying they were “powerful fighters.” [Rudaw]

 

The​​ IFP​​ said on Wednesday that they had started an operation to track down and clear Daesh caves in the mountain area of Qarachogh, as part of the “Second Martyr’s Revenge” operations. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Western​​ Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Muthanna

A security source in Muthanna says that​​ Counter​​ Terrorism units have arrived in the province to help contain the ongoing protests. The source says the force has a list of wanted names from banned groups such as supporters of​​ militia leaders​​ Al-Yamani and Al-Sarkhi​​ .​​ [BaghdadNews]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ When you need Counter-Terrorism Service troops in Muthanna, Iraq’s sleepiest province, you know there is a​​ serious​​ problem.

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Safin Deza’i, a spokesman for the KRG, says that the PKK’s presence in areas bordering Turkey and Iran goes back to the days of Saddam Hussein, and was never something agreed to by the local population and authorities. He says that the PKK entered these areas in the 80s, after starting operations inside Syria. He stated​​ that​​ the​​ KRG does not approve of attacking Turkey and Iran from the Kurdish territories. He says that the KRG’s relations with Turkey were and are still good, and have not been affected by recent developments. [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s good that they don’t approve. Over the years. however, the KRG has not done anything about it either. It just looked the other way and then looked away again when the Turks occasionally crossed the border to deal with the problem themselves. Now the Turks have set up their own military positions in KRG territory, and both sides are killing each other on a regular basis on Kurdish and Iraqi territory​​ and frighten Kurdish villagers;​​ and now the Iranians are shelling Iraq too.​​ (See below.)​​ From day to day, this is a conflict that has no​​ objective on either side​​ except to kill more people​​ and issue a victorious press release.

 

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDP-I, aka HDKA) said on Wednesday that 2 of its fighters had been killed by Iranian artillery shelling on border areas in the Choman​​ District​​ and Sidekan​​ subdistrict​​ of Erbil. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Turkey will reportedly lift the state of emergency that has been in effect since July 20, 2016, and replace it with an “anti-terrorism” law. The state of emergency was declared after the failed coup on July 15-16, 2016. [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

On Wednesday, the UN expressed concern about the safety of civilians in southwestern Syria. Deputy spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, said at a press conference that continued airstrikes and shelling in the city of Nawa have resulted in more deaths and injuries, as well as making the only hospital in the city unusable. [Anadolu]

 

See related story under “Daraa” below.

 

Russia

The Syrian Network for Human Rights says that Russia has killed 6,187 civilians, including 1,771 children, since the start of its intervention in Syria in 2015. [EnabBaladi]

 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it would end the crisis of Syrian IDPs on the border with Jordan.​​ Russia Today​​ reported that the Ministry said that “return of all refugees [would be] a common ground for all countries involved in the Syrian crisis,” without giving further details. [Sumaria]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

On Wednesday, the SDF took control of the last bastions of Daesh in rural southern Hasaka. Local sources said that the SDF entered the village of ‘Afrah, near the city of Markada,​​ after Daesh withdrew. The SDF’s media office said that in the period between July 5 and July 17, it had taken control of 16 villages in Hasaka, covering an area of 1,100 km2. [Dorar]​​ 

 

Daesh says it stabbed and severely wounded an SDF member and a government policeman in Hay Al-Sakan Al-Shababi, in Hasaka city, on Monday. [ICDNJul18]

 

Raqqa​​ (No reports)

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

The process of evacuating pro-government militias from the​​ Shia​​ towns of Al-Fawaa and Kefraya​​ in Idlib​​ has started. 90 buses reportedly entered the area to start the evacuation of about 6,900 militia fighters and their families to Aleppo. This will be in exchange for the release of over 1,500 fighters captured by the government. [Dorar]​​ This follows up on our report from yesterday.

 

Kurdish sources say that YPG fighters killed 5 fighters from a Turkey-affiliated militia and wounded 6 others, and destroyed a weapon storehouse in Atma, northwest Idlib. [Roj]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh killed​​ two2 SDF fighters in an attack on an SDF checkpoint near​​ Al-Zir village. [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

Daesh publishes photos of setting cigarette boxes on fire in the Albu Kamal area. [ICDNJul18]

 

South​​ 

Daraa/Quneitra

Media sources say that over 60 civilians have been killed and dozens wounded in airstrikes and “barrel bomb” attacks by government forces on the city of Nawa, northern Daraa. [Dorar]

 

See related UN story above under “National News.”

 

Explosions resulting from airstrikes were heard in the Yarmouk Basin area, which is held by Jaish Khaled (a Daesh affiliate), mainly in​​ the town of​​ Jillen, causing damage. Meanwhile, Daesh says it killed 14 government troops in a car bomb attack southwest of​​ the​​ city​​ of​​ Jasim. [SyriaHR]​​ 

 

Government media says that over 90% of Daraa is in the government’s hands. The capture of Tal​​ Al-Mal​​ (Al-Mal Hill)​​ gave​​ the Syrian Army artillery​​ fire control over​​ the​​ surrounding villages on the border between Daraa and Quneitra. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Suwayda

Daesh issues​​ an​​ infographic about its operations in the Suwayda Desert during the last 40 days. It says it conducted 15 attacks,​​ killing 120 soldiers and destroying 16 vehicles. [A3maq]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Iran

Stunning statistics published by the World Bank and covered by Iranian opposition media noted the extent of Iran’s​​ long-term​​ economic downturn. World Bank figures said that Iran’s economy has fallen from 17th​​ to 27th​​ place worldwide over the past four decades.​​ US-funded​​ Radio Farda, which broadcasts from outside Iran, said that 10,000 Iranian riyals were worth about $150 US before​​ the​​ 1979​​ Khomeini revolution, but are now worth about 10 cents US. The World Bank estimated that per capita GDP based on purchasing power meant that the average Iranian was 32% poorer in 2017 than in 1976. [Sumaria]

 

Yemen

Abdul Malik Al-Houthi told the French daily​​ Le Figaro​​ that the Houthis are ready to hand over supervision of the Hodeida airport to the UN, provided that the Saudi led coalition stops its attacks on the province. “We do not mind the logistical role of the UN, provided the aggression would stop,” said Al-Houthi in the interview. [Hawar]

 

North Africa

Egypt

The Egyptian terrorist monitoring organization Dar Al-Iftaa published a report on terrorist activity during the second week of July.​​ 

They wrote that Afghanistan was still seeing the conflict between the Afghan government​​ +​​ international Coalition forces and the Taliban intensify, as well as the deepening of the rivalry between the Taliban and Daesh. Afghanistan topped​​ its​​ list of the countries most vulnerable to violence and extremism.

In Somalia​​ during the week, this period saw 3 operations of the Al-Shabaab movement, including the killing of​​ a​​ former​​ provincial​​ commissioner,​​ the​​ assassination of a former MP, and the killing of at least 15 members of the security services.

Iraq and Syria were mentioned in the report in the context of the concern that Daesh would seek to regain control of land it had lost in Mosul and Albu Kamal, respectively. Dar Al-Iftaa also noted that Iraq was seeing reprisal attacks by Daesh against security personnel and Iraqi civilians.

Finally, the report wrote that Al-Qaeda in Libya and the Daesh presence in the Sinai were both on the decline as a result of the concerted efforts of the Libyan National Army and the Egyptian Armed Forces, respectively.​​ [AhlMisr]

 

Dar Al-Iftaa also published a report on the use of children by terrorist groups. Their report noted that the recruitment of children not only comes from a lack of sufficient adult fighters, but also serves as a way for organizations to connect with younger generations. ​​ The report recounted instances of children being recruited by terrorist groups in Turkey and Indonesia, before noting that Nigeria’s Boko Haram has been the most organized group in terms of recruiting children, citing UNICEF, which​​ said that more than 1,000 children have been kidnapped from schools in eastern Nigeria and forced to join the group.

However, the report also pointed out that Daesh had recently used 200 children as suicide bombers in fighting in Hajin, eastern Syria, referring to them as the “Black Cubs of Hajin.” Daesh also has been known for kidnapping children and taking them away from the current conflict areas to be trained elsewhere. This occurred in Raqqa and Mosul, where the report said that Daesh had taken “at least 300” children between 11 and 17 to be trained elsewhere. [AhlMisr]

 

Tunisia

The Tunisian National Guard arrested a 33-year-old resident of Sidi Alouane on charges of promoting terrorism. Under interrogation, the detainee confessed to making social media posts glorifying a terrorist attack in Jendouba in which 6 National Guardsmen were killed.​​ [Tunisien]

 

A spokesman for the Tunisian Counter-Terrorism Court, Saifan Al-Salaiti, denied that any suspects had been eliminated or arrested in connection with the Jendouba terrorist attack. [Tunisien]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

Italy

Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday that Egyptian authorities had informed him about the existence of “Islamic fighters” among the immigrants coming to Italy. He made these remarks to the Italian Parliament after returning from Cairo. Italy is a major destination for immigrants coming from North Africa. [Anadolu]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Daesh publishes a photo of the suicide terrorist who conducted the attack on the Afghan Ministry of Rural Development on Sunday. [ICDNJul18]

 

 

July 17, 2018

 

Baghdad Protests

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

8 dead, 56 injured so far in southern Iraq demonstrations.​​ ​​ [..]

Both pro-Iran &anti-Iran elements found in demonstrations. [..]

Government anti-corruption measures anticipated shortly.​​ ​​ [..]

Commission of Integrity exposes massive financial scam in Anbar. ​​ [..]

Iraqi Army, IAA heavily target Daesh in Mtaibija, Salahuddin. [..]

10 PMFs killed by suicide terrorist near Udhaim Dam. [..]

IOM reports that thousands of Yazidis in Sinjar have not returned to home villages. [..]

Turks, PKK still killing each other in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, as Iran shells rural villages. [..]

 

Syria

Tahrir Al-Sham- Iran deal reported on letting Shia militiamen & residents out of besieged Shia towns. [..]

SDF, Coalition start assault on Daesh-held Hajin in Albu Kamal. [..]

Syrian Army expands territorial control in western Daraa . . . [..]

. . .​​ but loses at least 43 soldiers to Daesh attack. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Afghanistan:​​ Daesh makes two deadly attacks on Taliban. [..]

 Afghan troops rescue 54 from Daesh prison in Helmand. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Demonstrations

The Ministry of Health said that 8 people had been killed and 56 injured since the start of the popular demonstrations on July 8. Of the deaths, 2 were reported in Basra, 2 in Najaf, 3 in Samawa (Muthanna Province), and 1 in Karbala. [Rudaw]

 

The head of the AAH-affiliated Sadiqoun bloc in the​​ just-completed CoR​​ session,​​ Hassan Salim, called for the security services to intensify their intelligence efforts and arrest anyone who had targeted PMF HQ during the demonstrations. Salim said in an interview that attacks on PMF buildings, religious institutions, or public property was part of “a pre-prepared plan” by people who were trying to exploit the demonstrations to destabilize the country. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ As for targeting PMF buildings, the more obvious motive is to demonstrate opposition to Iranian influence on the Iraqi government, including the upcoming government. This is clearly one of the underlying issues in the troubled effort to form a new government.

 

However,​​ DaeshDaily​​ sources report a counter-narrative,​​ from those saying that the protests were instigated in Basra by pro-Iran militias.​​ Some accuse the militias of instigating violence, undermining the legitimate demands of the otherwise peaceful demonstrators. The accusers say people linked to the militias are attacking security forces, government entities, and political parties’ offices.​​ 

Most of the demonstrators are not politically​​ motivated and are demonstrating justifiable​​ anger about the lack of​​ reliable​​ services (especially electricity,) lack of job opportunities, etc.​​ Many people find it suspicious that​​ Iran cuts off electricity supplies at this time of the year where temperature reaches around 50 C (122 F.)​​ [However, see the Iranian explanation below.]​​ Daesh Daily​​ sources say​​ Muqtada Al-Sadr, in his role as a populist​​ leader,​​ knows he has more supporters than the militias and he doesn’t want to miss the​​ political opportunity presented by the demonstrations.

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This creates a confusing combo-narrative in which both pro-Iran and anti-Iran political factions have a motive to join the demonstrations.​​ 

 

The Emirati​​ Sky News​​ wrote that Iran was paying the price for its intervention in Iraqi affairs as evidenced by the negative reaction of protestors towards Iran and its symbols.​​ Sky News​​ claimed that Iran was trying to support the protests in order to topple Al-Abadi, and replace him with a sectarian, pro-Iranian government. [SkyNews]

 

Abdul Hadi Al-Saadawi, a leader in the “Rule of Law”​​ bloc,​​ says​​ that​​ the demonstrators in the country are divided​​ into two​​ groups:​​ the first are really demanding their rights,​​ but​​ the second are saboteurs governed by external agendas. He admitted the presence of corruption​​ in Iraq​​ on​​ a large scale. [Ayanliraq]

 

The Iraqi Army said on Tuesday that it committed to the PM’s instructions not to use live ammunition against protestors. [Anadolu]

 

The Observatory for Freedom of the Press, part of​​ a​​ syndicate for Iraqi journalists, condemned the oppressive measures of security organizations against journalists covering recent protests in Iraq. It says that many arrests were made and warrants issued to intimidate and terrify journalists. [Shafaaq]

 

The Iraqi government has reportedly cut off Internet and Facebook use in several provinces in an attempt to curtail popular demonstrations.​​ The Internet marketing company “Market Wings”​​ now says​​ that losses from Internet censorship in Iraq​​ are estimated at $40 million per day. The company called on the Iraqi government not to keep people from using the Internet and social media, saying that these were now parts of everyday life and impacted other sectors such as education, health, and security. [Rudaw]

 

On Tuesday the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Ján Kubiš,​​ urged a positive response to the legitimate demands of the Iraqi protesters. He warned that the continuing violent protests may have negative effects on Iraq’s security and economy. [Anadolu]

 

Also see​​ demonstration stories​​ below under​​ “Basra.”​​ 

 

New​​ government

Ammar Al-Hakim, head of the​​ Wisdom​​ alliance,​​ says that a​​ national majority​​ (i.e. unity)​​ government​​ is the most suitable and realistic solution to​​ govern​​ Iraq. He was speaking to the UNAMI delegation,​​ headed by Jan Kubis.​​ He said such​​ a​​ government would​​ be able​​ develop services, eliminate corruption,​​ and create job opportunities, Al-Hakim said. He​​ noted that​​ these are the​​ main​​ demands of​​ the​​ protestors in various Iraqi cities. [Forat]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We don’t necessarily think Mr. Al-Hakim is wrong, but his proposal​​ seems to be that the politicians should​​ put the new government together the same “inclusive” way it has been constructed since the fall of Saddam, and which has contributed to much of the corruption as the parties divvy the ministries and distribute the spoils to their members and supporters. This has paralyzed the political system.

 

Corruption

A new bundle of reform measures are expected to be presented by the government shortly, including the dismissal of several top state and local officials, whose cases will be referred to the​​ Commission of​​ Integrity and the judiciary, as well as other measures related to Iraqi workers in oil companies. [SNG]

 

Foreign policy

Iran’s​​ Minister of Energy, Reza Ardakanian, says that Iran’s​​ cutoff​​ of​​ power to Iraq is​​ actually​​ part of the agreement between the two countries. Under the agreement,​​ the priority​​ when electricity is scarce​​ is always to meet local requirements​​ in Iran. He added that Iran is well aware of the difficulties faced by Iraq in this field. ​​ [Anadolu]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Let’s assume the Minister is speaking truthfully. The problem is that Iran’s peak use periods are the same as Iraq’s, so its withdrawal of power to Iraq comes at the worst times (like the middle of summer, when air conditioning is most needed).

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

Daesh says it killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded another in clashes in the Nadim Al-Thaniya area, in Meshahda, on Monday. [A3maq]

 

Daesh says it killed the PMF commander of the Sheikh Hamad area on Sunday. [A3maq]​​ 

 

ANBAR

The​​ Commission of​​ Integrity said on Tuesday that it​​ had​​ arrested several officials from the Department of Health and​​ the​​ Rafidain Bank in Anbar Province, and returned 6​​ billion Iraqi dinars to the public treasury. This amount​​ was​​ disbursed from the Department of Health to Rafidain Bank, ostensibly to accounts associated with PMF and IDP payees; however, the accounts affiliated with these payments were​​ then canceled so that the money could be recovered in cash by Department of Health officials.​​ Those arrested​​ included the General Director of the Anbar branch of Rafidain Bank and the Director of the Anbar Department of Health. [Mawazin]

 

SALAHUDDIN

Salahuddin Ops Command announced on Tuesday that 160,279 IDP families had returned to their homes in the province​​ in the latest count.​​ Its​​ press statement said that 49,274 families had returned to Tikrit​​ and 5,169 to the village of Albu Ajil south of Tikrit;​​ 32,503 to Shirqat District;​​ and 62,413 to Baiji District. In eastern Salahuddin,​​ 2,751​​ returned​​ to the Al-Daur residential complex, 6,796 to the Al-Daur​​ District,​​ and 762 to the city of Suleiman Beg in Tooz.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Tikrit

The Center for Security Information said on Tuesday that 5 Daesh tunnels in the Mtaibija area had been destroyed. Center spokesman General Yahya​​ Rasul​​ said that Salahuddin Ops Command and the Air Force had found and destroyed the tunnels, as well as some Daesh vehicles, as part of the “Second Martyr’s Revenge”​​ campaign. [Sumaria]​​ 

 

The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council said on Tuesday that 3 Daesh fighters had been killed by an airstrike in the Mtaibija border area​​ along the​​ Diyala​​ border. [Sumaria]

Possibly reporting on the same strike, Salahuddin Ops Command announced on Tuesday that​​ Iraqi​​ Army Air had killed 4 terrorists in an airstrike as part of the “Second Martyr’s Revenge” operations. They added that units from the Salahuddin Police had also found and detonated an IED in the Mtaibija area.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

A local source said on Tuesday that a manufacturing facility for making IEDs and booby-traps had been found and destroyed in Mtaibija. An unspecified number of Daesh safehouses were also reportedly destroyed, which may be the same as the safehouses in the above reports.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

General Imad Ahmed Mohammed, the Chief of Staff of Salahuddin Ops Command, survived an IED attack that targeted his convoy in Manahila village, in the Mtaibija area. He and two of his guards were slightly wounded. [Youm7]

 

Samarra

Samarra Ops Command announced on Tuesday that​​ its units​​ had detonated 96 IEDs, arrested 9 wanted persons, and destroyed 6 Daesh safehouses as part of the “Martyr’s Revenge” operations. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad,​​ Dujail)

Daesh publishes photos of killing a “PMF member” and setting his motorcycle on fire in Dujail. [ICDNJul17]

 

DIYALA

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

The Security Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council said on Tuesday that 4 “extremely dangerous”​​ Daesh​​ terrorists had been arrested near Baquba. [Sumaria]

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin,​​ Khalis​​ north)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 10 PMF fighters were killed or wounded when a suicide terrorist attacked their military position with an explosives vest in the Udhaim Dam area.

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says two IFP members were killed and their vehicle destroyed when an IED exploded on them on the road between Dibis and Kirkuk. The source says the IFP arrested 6 suspects in the area after the explosion.

 

The Federal Police said on Tuesday that they had destroyed 2 boats used by Daesh during a search in Dibis.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Mosul

The Federal Police said on Tuesday that they had destroyed 10 IEDs in Mosul.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Makhmur

A Coalition press release confirmed that they had worked with the Peshmerga, as well as Iraqi security services, in a joint operation to clear an area in the Makhmur Mountains region on July 16.​​ Daesh Daily​​ reported the collaboration with the Peshmerga​​ in yesterday’s issue. [InherentResolve]

A security source in Kirkuk Province said on Tuesday that Coalition airstrikes had killed 14 Daesh fighters​​ on​​ Mount Qarachogh​​ in Makhmur, presumably​​ part of​​ the same story.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

Ninewa Ops Commander General Najem Al-Jubouri denied on Tuesday that there had been any attack on a mosque in Tal Afar. This was in response to some media reports of such an attack earlier on Tuesday. Al-Jubouri said that such reports were just an attempt to increase sectarian tensions. [Sumaria]

 

Sinjar

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that thousands of Yazidi refugees have not returned to their villages, ravaged by Daesh, since 2014. Hundreds of families prefer to stay in the hills of Sinjar rather than return,​​ after losing almost everything. The IOM says it went to the village of Hardan, where only 60 out of an original 300 families now live, with total lack of water, power, education and health services, saying that it would help the local government to restore such basic services to facilitate the return of IDPs. [Youm7]

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Basra

Iraqi security forces​​ made​​ a series of arrests of young people in Basra Province as the protests there entered their second week. Local activists said that the people arrested included several youths who tried to gather people in certain neighborhoods in Basra. The security services have placed Basra under nighttime curfew, although they announced on Tuesday that the previous curfew on the movement of vehicles within Basra was lifted. They said the nighttime curfew will continue until the situation in Basra returns to normal. [BasNews]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

DAHUK

The Turkish Army says that its planes killed 8 PKK fighters in the border villages of Hakurk and in Metina in northern Dahuk. It says 4 of these gunmen were part of the attack that killed 3 Turkish soldiers on May 31. [Anadolu]​​ 

 

ERBIL

The armed wing of the PKK said on Tuesday that it had killed 8 Turkish soldiers in an attack on a Turkish Army position in​​ Lelikan, in Sidekan subdistrict. The Turkish Army shelled the surrounding area after the attack, which the PKK says killed a 5-year-old boy in the area.​​ [Sumaria]

 

The​​ Subdistrict Manager​​ of Sidekan​​ in northern​​ Erbil, Ihsan Jalabi, said on Tuesday that Iranian artillery had been shelling border areas of Sidekan, causing large fires in agricultural lands and displacing​​ residents from 3 villages. Jalabi said that local fire departments had not yet tried to put out the fires because of the continued shelling.​​ [Sumaria]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Russia

The Russian Ministry of Defense says that 100​​ military police officers​​ have returned from Syria to Russia after finishing their assignments, which were related to protecting shipments of humanitarian materials. These are in addition to the 150 MPs who returned last month. [Qasioun]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

Amnesty International said on Tuesday that the International Coalition against Daesh did not take enough precautions to prevent harm from befalling civilians during its attack on Daesh in Raqqa. Amnesty International’s statement said that the Coalition had also not made enough of an attempt to investigate human rights violations, especially statistics issued by human rights organizations on civilian casualties, preferring to dismiss them as “unreliable.” [Qasioun]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ (No reports)

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and Iran reportedly reached a deal to allow the evacuation of both Shia militia fighters and residents from​​ the​​ Shia​​ towns of Al-Fawaa and Kefraya,​​ which have been under siege by opposition militias. In exchange,​​ “hundreds” of prisoners held by the government and by Lebanese Hezbollah​​ will be released, although some details of the agreement varied by source. ​​ According to​​ Dorar, the agreement would allow 6,900 fighters from pro-regime Shia militias to evacuate the area.​​ Al-Ghad Al-Soury​​ noted​​ that some residents of Al-Fawaa burned their crops before leaving.​​ Qasioun​​ wrote that the agreement involved​​ Hezbollah​​ releasing 36 HTS-affiliated prisoners.​​ Reuters​​ wrote that the deal involved​​ freeing over 1,500 regime-held prisoners, both civilian and militia-affiliated, including 34 held by Hezbollah.​​ [Dorar]​​ [AlghadAlsoury] [Qasioun]​​ [Reuters]

 

The SOHR says an IED went off in Maarat Al-Numan in Idlib, while unidentified gunmen attacked and wounded a member of Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in southern Idlib. Another IED targeted a car carrying several Tahrir Al-Sham fighters, but the outcome​​ of the incident​​ is unknown. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SDF started an attack on Hajin, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. A military source says that fighting is concentrated to the north of the city, under heavy air cover from the coalition. Hajin is an important stronghold of Daesh in the area. [EnabBaladi]

 

The SOHR reported heavy fighting between the SDF and Daesh in Al-Bir Al-Azraq, near the Al-Tanak oilfield, accompanied by Coalition airstrikes. The SDF also engaged other unidentified gunmen and brought more reinforcements to the area. [SyriaHR]

 

Daesh says it targeted Syrian Army positions in Sayal village, near Albu Kamal city, with 3 SPG9 rockets, damaging a 23mm cannon. [ICDNJul17]

 

South​​ 

Daraa/Quneitra

On Tuesday, the Syrian​​ Army​​ gained control of numerous villages and towns in​​ western​​ Daraa.​​ Troops​​ entered the cities of Nawa and Jasim on Tuesday, as well as the town of Nimr​​ northwest of Jasim, following an agreement between the Russians and​​ Syrian​​ opposition​​ groups.​​ Last Thursday, Russian MPs deployed throughout the city of Daraa. Thus,​​ Daraa Province is now under the control of the​​ Assad​​ regime except for the Tal Al-Jabiya​​ area​​ west of Nawa​​ (controlled by Tahrir Al-Sham, aka HTS) and areas in the Yarmouk Basin (controlled by Jaish Khaled, a Daesh affiliate).​​ [Qasioun]​​ 

 

The​​ SOHR says​​ that the Syrian​​ regime​​ flag​​ has​​ been​​ raised over at least 13 new towns and villages​​ in the​​ northeast of Daraa.​​ However,​​ SOHR says Daesh (Jaish Khaled) attacked​​ the​​ Al-Harra area,​​ where government forces are stationed,​​ killing 43,​​ including 7 officers,​​ as well as killing​​ 43​​ fighters​​ from​​ anti-government​​ militias. [SyriaHR]

Daesh claimed responsibility for a car bomb in the city of Al-Harra, targeting both government and opposition troops in the city. The statement from Daesh’s news agency​​ A3maq​​ says that 100 government and opposition troops were killed combined. [Qasioun]

 

On Tuesday, dozens of civilians fleeing from Russian-backed Syrian attacks on Quneitra Province approached the border fence with Israel only to be turned away. The civilians stopped about 200 meters away from the border when an Israeli officer told them to go back. [Hawar]

 

Suwayda

Daesh says it killed or wounded Syrian soldiers with 2 IEDs in the Khirbat Al-Umbashi and Tal Arar areas, in Suwayda​​ Desert. [A3maq]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh issues a video about Egyptian Army campaign to dredge lands and buildings in the Sinai area. [A3maq]

 

Libya

An official in the media office of the 276th​​ Infantry Battalion, Al-Munthir Al-Khartoush, said that military units continued to enter the “oil crescent” region in an attempt to defend the entire region. He added that units in the “oil crescent” were operating in coordination with the Sirte Ops Room.​​ [AfriGate]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

Local authorities said that “at least 15” Taliban fighters had been killed in a Daesh attack on the home of a Taliban military commander in northern Afghanistan. State Police Commander Abd Al-Qayoum​​ Baqeizawi said that the attack targeted a house in Sar-e Pol Province, and that a Taliban leader was among the dead. A provincial spokesman noted that Daesh and the Taliban had been fighting in Sar-e Pol and the neighboring Jowzjan Province for the last 2 months. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh sources say that 20 Taliban members, including a commander, were killed when a suicide bomber attacked them with an explosives vest in the Jowzjan area. They say that the attack came one day after Taliban accepted direct negotiations with the US. [ICDNJul17]

 

An Afghan commando unit freed 54 persons from a Taliban prison in Helmand, southern Afghanistan. The persons freed included 32 civilians. The Army and Afghan security forces are still securing the area. [BaghdadPost]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh publishes a photo of one of its terrorists, saying he was killed in the Kirkuk area. [ICDNJul17]

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2018