An Update On ISIS Activities

May 18, 2018

 

Iraqi Elections​​ 

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Official election results confirm Sadr alliance’s first-place finish. [..]

Allegations of election irregularities continue. [..]

Daesh attack kills 4 Border Guard officers​​ on Syria border. [..]

Turkish Army targets PKK locations in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. [..]​​ 

 

Syria

UN official cites growing civilian casualties in fighting south of Damascus. [..]

11 Iran Revolutionary Guard members killed by mysterious Hama explosion. [..]

Daesh claims it has killed 900 Syrian troops in fighting south of Damascus. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election/New Government

Election

Late-breaking development. ​​ The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) transmitted its official election results for the Council of Representatives, showing the number of seats won by each political alliance and other entity that managed to do so. It was too late to write a full report, but​​ shown below are the numbers of seats won by each alliance party.

There is no change from the preliminary results​​ issued earlier​​ for the top three alliances. The Sadr-led Sa’irun alliance finished first with 54 seats; the Al-Fath “Conquest” alliance won 47; Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s “Victory” alliance won 42.​​ (This shows that the story yesterday about a later count bringing the Victory alliance into second place was a “plant,” as we sort of suspected.)​​ These​​ three alliances​​ were followed at some distance by Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party​​ (24), Ammar Al-Hakim’s Wisdom Movement​​ (19), Al-Maliki’s Rule of Law alliance​​ (17), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan​​ (16), the Osama Nujaifi-led Al-Qarar (Iraqi Decision) alliance​​ (14); and the Allawi-led Wataniya (National Forces) alliance​​ (12).​​ 20 seats​​ were won by parties​​ running only in their own province.

Here are the numbers of seats won, by order of finish.​​ 

Sa’irun (Sadr alliance)   54

Fath Al-Mubin (Conquest-Al-Amiri)47

Nasr (Victory-Al-Abadi)   42

KDP     24

Al-Hikma (Wisdom—Hakim)  19

Rule of Law (Al-Maliki)   17

PUK     16

Al-Qarar (Decision—Osama Nujaifi)14

​​  Al-Wataniya (National Forces—Allawi)12

Anbar Is Our Identity​​ (Gov. Al-Halbusi)  ​​​​ 6

Gorran      ​​​​ 4

New Generation    ​​​​ 4

Castle of the Masses (Salahuddin)  ​​​​ 3

Ninewa Is Our Identity    ​​​​ 3

Arab Alliance (Kirkuk)    ​​​​ 3

Turkmen Front (Kirkuk)    ​​​​ 3

Kafa’at      ​​​​ 2

Irada      ​​​​ 2

Bayareq Al-Khair​​ (Baghdad)   ​​​​ 2

Aberoun​​ (Anbar)    ​​​​ 2

Democracy and Justice (Salih)   ​​​​ 1

Kurdistan Islamic​​ Union    ​​​​ 1

Kurdistan​​ Islamic​​ Group​​    ​​​​ 1      

 

These seat allocations total 282 and so are not the final totals. There are 329 seats in the Council of Representatives.​​ There are several seats guaranteed to small minorities and other adjustments to be made under the proportional representation system, which will change some of the seat numbers, probably in favor of the alliances who got the larger numbers of votes, but would not change the order of finish.​​ [Sumaria]

 

Meanwhile, the issue over the election process continued to generate controversy.

 

Four​​ different candidates from 3 different alliances said on Friday that votes for them had been “stolen” and that their voters had been treated unjustly, and threatened demonstrations if the Electoral Commission did not conduct a recount. ​​ Candidates Zuheir Kazem Marhoun Al-Kariti from the Victory alliance, Sattar Al-Ardawi and Yahya Al-Kaabi from the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance, and Ayhab Al-Wazzani from the Tamadun alliance held a joint press conference in Karbala at which they accused the Electoral Commission of enabling “vote theft” and fraud. ​​ Al-Kariti claimed that more than 30% of votes were declared invalid due to mechanical or electronic problems, and called for a recount. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

The Board of Commissioners for the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said on Friday that​​ the​​ relevant electoral law (No. 45, amended 2013) requires the Commission to use electronic counting and sorting machines to speed up results, and that the Commission is committed to doing so. ​​ A statement issued by the Board added that parties objecting to the election results should submit electoral complaints through the Commission, and that the Commission is the sole authority for resolving complaints, although the decisions of the Board of Commissioners may be appealed in the​​ federal Court of Appeals. ​​ [BasNews]

 

An MP in the Rule of Law alliance, Awatif Naima, said on Friday that the Electoral Commission had gotten itself into a “quagmire” in front of the Iraqi people and the UN, and said that the electoral process had “failed” for several reasons, the first of which was fraud. ​​ In a statement, Naima said that the UN would “issue a decision after investigating the evidence that had been presented to them.” ​​ She went on to say that the Commission had failed to comply with warnings by the UN electoral support team issued on April 30, 2018 (12 days before the election) regarding the failure of multiple electronic systems used by the election machines, designed by the [South Korean] company Miro, which she called a “fake” company that the Electoral Commission had contracted​​ with​​ for millions of dollars. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

New Government

Muqtada Al-Sadr wrote on Friday that the victory of his alliance in the CoR elections had “upset a lot [of people]” while adding that the alliance was going to work for reform and would not give up. ​​ He made the remarks on his personal Twitter account after meeting with Wisdom alliance leader Ammar Al-Hakim. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Abd Al-Hadi Al-Saadawi, an MP in the Rule of Law alliance, said on Friday that there were “high-level” understandings with the Al-Fath (Conquest) and Wisdom alliances to form a government. ​​ In an interview with​​ Sumaria, he went on to say that Rule of Law had some agreements with other Sunni and Kurdish parties, and that there were “simple understandings” with Victory. ​​ Al-Saadawi said that Rule of Law had no “red lines” against forming a government with any party, provided that party “believes in a political majority.” ​​ He added that Al-Abadi abandoning his desire to be PM would make it easier for him to be in a coalition to form the new government, and that if Al-Abadi insisted on a second term as PM, he believed that all the other alliances would protest and reject this. [Sumaria]

 

Muqtada Al-Sadr received a group of ambassadors from neighboring countries and said that the principle of Iraq’s foreign relations was that “neighboring countries are friends, not enemies.” ​​ Al-Sadr’s office released a press statement on Friday saying that the ambassadors invited were Fatih Yildiz​​ of​​ Turkey, Muntaser Zu’bi for Jordan, Abdulaziz Al-Shammari for Saudi Arabia, Sattam Jad’an Al-Dandh for Syria, and Salem Al-Zamanan for Kuwait. ​​ Al-Sadr’s additional statements​​ addressed his hope that the month of Ramadan would bring the Islamic and Arab countries further together. [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

General​​ Joseph Votel, US Commander in the Middle East [i.e. CENTCOM], said in a press statement that Washington still had confidence in the Iraqi Army and that their relationship would not be harmed by the recent CoR elections. ​​ In a telephone interview with​​ Agence​​ France Press, he said that Iraqi soldiers, like US soldiers, were removed from politics, and that the​​ US​​ continued to have strong relations​​ with them. ​​ Muqtada Al-Sadr had called for US troops to leave Iraq after the defeat of Daesh last year. [Rudaw]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition says it conducted 7 airstrikes on Daesh locations in Iraq between May 11 and May 17, in or near Hawija (2), Kirkuk (1), Qayara (1), Al-Qa’im (2), and Rawa (1). [InherentResolve] ​​ 

 

In memoriam

Ayad Futayyih Al-Rawi, former Chief of Staff for the Al-Quds [Jerusalem] volunteer Army under Saddam Hussein, died on Friday of a stroke. ​​ Rudaw​​ reported that “informed sources” had told them that he died in Yarmouk Hospital. ​​ He was 76 and serving a life sentence in the Baghdad military prison. ​​ He was arrested on June 4, 2003 and sentenced in 2008 for his role in putting down the 1991 uprisings. ​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

A police source said on Friday that 2 civilians had been injured in an attack with a hand grenade. ​​ The source said in an interview that unidentified armed men had thrown the grenade at a group of shops near Roundabout 83 in the Talibiya area, wounding 2 passers-by. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

West​​ (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command announced that it had found explosives left behind by Daesh on Friday. ​​ The​​ Command said in a statement that 7 IEDs and 21 shells and caps of various types had been found in a search by security units. ​​​​ The search covered the areas of Albu Hawsa​​ (spelling approximate) in​​ north Baghdad and Al-Nasr wa Al-Salam​​ village in Abu Ghraib. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

ANBAR

Rutba

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says four Border Guard members, including an officer, were killed and three others wounded in a Daesh attack near the Al-Waleed border crossing on the Syria border​​ near Jordan.

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

The Directorate of Internal Affairs for the Energy Police announced on Friday that they had found a factory used to manufacture IEDs in Salahuddin. ​​ In a statement, the Directorate said its intelligence personnel had found the factory near the Baiji thermal power station. ​​ The area had been closed off with yellow security tape​​ and had​​ posted warnings, presumably to deter investigation. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Tikrit

A local official in Diyala Province said on Friday that the​​ Mtaibija area was again becoming a center for Daesh in Iraqi. ​​ The head of a local council, Mohammed Dayfan Al-Obeidi, made the remarks in an interview with​​ Sumaria, adding that villages nearby have become a security threat to the “liberated” areas, and that the matter needed to be addressed by the security establishment. ​​ Al-Mtaibija is on the Salahuddin side of the border with​​ northern​​ Diyala. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ What else is new? The vaguely defined Mtaibija area has been identified often as a center of Daesh activity. Typically the area becomes a focus of military attention for a while and​​ some​​ Daesh members are​​ killed or​​ apprehended and attention to it fades. But it always comes back again. The whole border area of Salahuddin and northern Diyala is one of the major and unresolved security problem areas in Iraq.​​ The Daesh activity centered in this area primarily affects northwest Diyala​​ 

 

DIYALA

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

On Friday, security personnel found a cache of military hardware in a village in Diyala Province. ​​ The spokesman for the Center for Security Information, General Yahya, gave a statement saying that units under Diyala Ops Command had found the cache in the village of Albu Bakr, and that it contained 7 damaged 155mm rockets, 6 anti-armor grenades, and bomb-making materials. ​​ He added that security units under Anbar Ops Command had also found and detonated 3 IEDs without incident. ​​ [Etejah] ​​ 

 

A “local source” in Diyala Province said that a young man had been killed and his father wounded by an IED. ​​ The source said in an interview that the IED had been placed on a farm road outside of Khanaqin, and exploded when a vehicle passed by. ​​ [Sumaria]

Daesh says it killed a Shi’i, wounded another, and destroyed their vehicle with an IED in Ali Sabahi village, west of Khanaqin. [Telegram] ​​ 

 

Another​​ “local source” in Diyala Province said on Friday that security personnel had found the body of a Daesh fighter​​ on farmland in the Khanaqin subdistrict. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said​​ that preliminary information indicated that the Daesh fighter had been killed a few days ago during a search operation by security personnel. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Daesh publishes a photo of one of its Iraqi terrorists, claiming he was killed in the Kirkuk area. [ICDNMay18]

 

Hawija (Riyadh,​​ Al-Zab,​​ etc.)

Federal Police Chief​​ Raed Shaker Jawdat said on Friday that tunnels, safehouses, weapons, and explosives had been found around Kirkuk and Hawija. ​​ In a statement, Jawdat said that units from the 6th​​ Division of the Federal Police had tracked down Daesh fighters hiding in the Samarra desert, and destroyed 3 tunnels and 2 safehouses, as well as seizing weapons, a silencer, military and medical equipment, explosive materials, and mobile phones. ​​ A separate group from the 1st​​ Division found 35 explosives​​ detonators, 3 anti-armor missile launchers, and 80 12.7mm bullets while inspecting the Dhi Qar complex in Kirkuk. ​​ He added that units from another squad had found rockets and 2 IEDs while searching the fishing area in Hawija​​ District. [Etejah]​​ 

 

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

A security source in Kirkuk said on Friday that a civilian had been killed by an IED in Daquq​​ District. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said in an interview that the IED was placed by the side of the road near the village of Zanqar,​​ next to Daquq city,​​ and that it exploded while a civilian car was passing by, killing the driver. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)

The Center for Security Information announced on Friday that 4 wanted Daesh fighters had been arrested in the Tel Keif area. ​​ In a statement, the Center said that the Police Directorate of Tel Keif, under Ninewa Police Command, had made the arrests, and that 1 of the 4 was also wanted in Khaldiya. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Mosul​​ (No reports)

 

Southern Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

Western​​ Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

The General Customs Authority (a government institution affiliated with the Ministry of Finance) announced on Friday that it had stopped an attempt to bring 450 kilograms of a drug “believed to be heroin” into Iraq through the port of Umm Qasr. ​​ In a statement on its site, the Authority said that in cooperation with intelligence units, it had seized the drugs in northern Umm Qasr, hidden inside a​​ shipping​​ container. ​​ The container was loaded with bananas and had been shipped from the Emirates by the transport company Maersk Marine. ​​ [BasNews]

 

The Center for Security Information announced on Friday that a terrorist had been arrested in the Numaniya area of Wasit Province. ​​ Center spokesman General Yahya credited detachments from the Directorate of Military Intelligence with the arrest. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

DAHUK

The Turkish Army announced on Friday that it had destroyed 12 targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) within the Kurdistan Region. ​​ The Chief of Staff for the Turkish Army said in a statement that raids on Thursday and Friday on PKK “strongholds” in several border areas had resulted in the destruction of the targets, which included safehouses and weapons caches used by PKK fighters. [BasNews]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We can’t tell from the story whether the “border areas” are in Dahuk or Erbil or both. The PKK has personnel stationed in both as well as​​ in​​ Suleimaniya. [..]

 

The Turkish Armed Forces said on Friday that 23 PKK “terrorists” had been killed in their operations in “Northern Iraq” [i.e. Kurdistan Region] between May 10 and 17. ​​ The statement was issued by the Chief of Staff, who​​ claimed that the PKK were using the region to enter Turkey. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This is exactly the issue. The PKK is using remote border villages in Iraqi Kurdistan as staging areas for attacks across the border into Turkey​​ and kill Turkish soldiers and police. The Kurds have been unwilling to deal with this, and the Iraqi government has not been in position to deal with it, so the Turks have been allowed to police the area themselves.

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

On Friday, the UN expressed its concern about the safety of civilians in the Yarmouk camp and around the​​ Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area. ​​ Farhan Haq, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, noted these concerns at a press conference at UN HQ in New York. Haq said that thousands were still trapped by the fighting in those areas, which has resulted in deaths, injuries, and displacement among civilians, largely Palestinian refugees. ​​ Haq pointed out that the bombing of residential areas in Damascus the day before had killed 2 people and wounded 22 others, and said that since April 13 about 130 shells have been fired on residential areas of Damascus, killing 16 civilians in total and wounding 160 others. ​​​​ [Anadolu]

 

Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Syrian regime President Bashar Al-Assad in Sochi on Thursday.​​ He stated​​ that all foreign forces must be removed from Syria through a political process. [Qasioun]

 

Foreign policy

United States

Heather Nauert, US State Department Spokeswoman, made a statement on Thursday that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has reported that the regime used chlorine in the subdistrict of Saraqib in Idlib​​ Governorate on February 4, and she condemned the attack. [Dorar]

 

In a statement made by the US​​ envoy to the UN, Kelley Eckels Currie, the US threatened to stop Iran from establishing military bases inside Syria in coordination with Hezbollah. She stated that the attacks on Israel are an indication of Iran’s true motive in Syria. ​​ [Dorar]

France

France has frozen the assets of 3 individuals and 9 companies suspected of assisting in the development of chemical weapons in Syria. The French Minister of Finance and Foreign Minister say the move​​ is​​ intended​​ to punish those suspected of supporting the Syrian Scientific Studies Research Center. [Qasioun]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition says that between May 11 and May 17, it conducted 59 airstrikes on Daesh locations in Syria, 52 near Albu Kamal and 7 near Shaddadi. [InherentResolve] ​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ If you compare these numbers to those in the companion story under the Iraq National News, you can see that the Coalition effort is now almost entirely focused on Syria.

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Daesh publishes photos of the results of a Coalition airstrike on Al-Ruwaiha village​​ (spelling approximate), in the Tal Al-Jayer area. The photos don’t show human casualties. [ICDNMay18]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Iraqi PMFs shelled and rocketed the Tal Al-Jayer, Dashisha, and Al-Manakh areas across the border,​​ but​​ indiscriminately, forcing many people to leave their houses.​​ 

 

Central and West​​ 

Hama

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says 11 Iran Revolutionary Guard members were killed and others wounded in an explosion at the Hama airport.​​ 

 

Syrian​​ government​​ media reported on Friday that there were several consecutive explosions at the Hama airport. ​​ At least 4 explosions were reported​​ on the outskirts of Hama​​ city, and pictures circulated of smoke above the sites of the explosions. ​​ A Russian security source​​ cited​​ a [Syrian] security source as saying that a fire broke out at one of the munitions depots at Hama airport. ​​ The source added that efforts to both fight the fire and determine its origin were underway, and that there were no figures to date on casualties or damage. ​​ [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)​​ (No reports)

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Daesh says it attacked Syrian Army positions​​ near Yarmouk camp, killing 11 soldiers, wounding others, and damaging a tank. It also says it destroyed 2 BMP armored vehicles and damaged a tank in the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area. [ICDNMay18]

Later on, Daesh says it killed 50 Syrian soldiers in battles in the Yarmouk camp and Al-Hajar Al-Aswad areas. [Telegram]

 

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ says that after 28 days of continuous battles south of Damascus, 900 government forces​​ soldiers​​ were killed and 37 vehicles damaged or destroyed. It says that Russian and Syrian planes​​ conducted around 100 airstrikes every day, in addition to continuous heavy shelling by government forces, causing large destruction especially in Yarmouk camp,​​ where 80% of the area was destroyed. [ICDNMay18]​​ 

 

On Thursday, Daesh launched an attack on positions of the regime and its allied militias in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp, resulting in 28 regime casualties. [Qasioun]

Daesh media announced on Friday that more than 30 regime soldiers were killed and others injured in an attack on regime positions in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad Friday morning. [Qasioun]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

Daesh publishes 2 photos of defusing an IED planted by Houthis in the Qifa area. [ICDNMay18]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

U.S./EUROPE

France

Friday, the French Interior Minister announced a foiled plot of two brothers of Egyptian origin to use an explosive or poisonous device (with ricin) in France. One of the brothers admitted to planning the attack. [ZamanAlwasl]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh published the 132nd​​ issue of its​​ Naba’​​ magazine. It republishes reports about its attacks in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and France, and​​ adds​​ an infographic about its attacks in Iraq during the elections. It says it conducted 40 attacks (including IED, mortars, snipers, etc.), killing or wounding 72 people in 6 provinces. [ICDNMay17]

 

May 17, 2018

 

Mosul

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Election fraud allegations put pressure on IHEC. [..]

Al-Sadr demands government formation without US or Iranian involvement. [..]

UN team will document Daesh crimes in Iraq. [..]

IAF airstrikes kill 20 Daesh in western Kirkuk. [..]

Mosul Civil Defense recovers 335 more bodies, mostly Daesh. [..]

 

Syria

Assad meets Putin in Sochi; issues statement favoring political solution. [..]

Syrian​​ Army​​ reported making progress but taking​​ many​​ casualties south of Damascus. [..]

Russia, Syria issue ultimatum to opposition militias in western Daraa. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Nigeria:​​ Nigerian Army kills 15 Boko Haram terrorists. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election/New Government

Election

UN Special Representative to Iraq Ján Kubiš called on Thursday for the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to carry out an immediate and comprehensive investigation of all electoral complaints, particularly in Kirkuk Province. ​​ In a statement, Kubiš said that IHEC should do a manual re-count at selected sites, especially in Kirkuk, and that such actions needed to be fully transparent. ​​ He added that the UN was prepared to provide assistance, if requested. [Rudaw]

 

The CoR Speaker, Salim Al-Jubouri, called for an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss accusations of​​ election fraud. They will discuss the process in the governorate of Kirkuk in particular, and​​ the meeting will be held with IHEC officials​​ present.​​ [Anadolu]

 

The Rule of Law alliance, led by Nouri Al-Maliki,​​ rejects the​​ forming of​​ any government based on the​​ CoR as elected, and has offered three ways to overcome the crisis:​​ (1)​​ recounting a random sample of 5% of​​ the​​ votes,​​ (2)​​ a review of all the ballot boxes, or​​ (3)​​ canceling the election results completely and holding completely new elections. It also demands that votes from abroad be checked. [Arabi21]

A member of the Rule of Law alliance warned on Thursday of the “game” that he said​​ IHEC​​ intends to play, referring to the Commission’s intent to recount a sampling of votes that were previously counted electronically. ​​ In an interview with​​ Sumaria, Saad Al-Mutlabi said, “Confessions made by one of the members of the Board of Commissioners [of IHEC] about violations of the electoral process make a mockery of the work of the Commission,” adding that​​ this​​ obligates​​ the Commission to do a manual recount of​​ all​​ votes cast in Iraq, not merely a 5% sampling. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

The spokesman for PM Al-Abadi’s press office, Saad Al-Hadithi, said on Thursday that Al-Abadi had written to the Integrity Commission before the elections regarding the [Electoral] Commission’s testing of the voting machines. ​​ In a statement to the Iraqi​​ News​​ Agency, Al-Hadithi said Al-Abadi had written a formal request to an investigative committee under the Office of Financial Supervision, dated May 6, 2018, to determine if IHEC should have contracted with a [third-party] company to examine the voting machines. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

New government

Muqtada Al-Sadr wrote a tweet saying that Iraq would create a government without foreign involvement, ending with the statement: “No to occupation (indicating US) and no to domination (indicating Iran).” [ZamanAlwasl]

 

A leader of the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance and leader of the Sadiqoun bloc in the CoR, Hassan Salem, said on Thursday that “defending the rights and privileges of the PMF fighters” would be the first priority during negotiations for forming a new government. ​​ He made in the remarks in an interview with​​ Sumaria, adding that Al-Fath had several fixed positions that could not be negotiated, including the rights of the “martyrs” from the PMF and security forces. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Nouri Al-Maliki, a current VP, said on Thursday that the post-election phase for Iraq would be concerned with building, reconstruction, and improving services, and that the people are looking for a strong government capable of achieving these things. ​​ Al-Maliki’s office said in a statement that he had been visited yesterday by US Special Envoy Brett McGurk to review the political and security situation in Iraq and “strengthen bilateral relations.” ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Reconstruction

David Marshall, the UN Envoy for Law Enforcement and Protection of Civilians, said that the Iraqi government has agreed to let a UN team enter Iraq to document the crimes of Daesh. ​​ The Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq said in a statement that the head of the Baghdad Federal Appeals Court, Judge Majid Al-Araji, had received​​ Marshall at​​ his office the previous morning. ​​ Marshall said that the team would document instances of war crimes and genocide, and that the team would be composed of international experts, Iraqi experts, and Iraqi judges and prosecutors. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

France Press​​ reported on Thursday,​​ based on an unnamed source,​​ that the Criminal Court of Iraq sentenced a Russian jihadi convicted of belonging to Daesh to death. ​​ The same source added that the court had acquitted 2 Iraqi women accused of belonging to Daesh on Wednesday. ​​ Rudaw​​ noted that Iraqi courts have sentenced over 300 foreign jihadis to either death or life imprisonment in 2018, most of them from either Turkey or former Soviet republics. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

An intelligence source said that the media structure of Daesh in Syria has collapsed​​ in the wake of​​ the​​ airstrikes carried out by the Iraqi Air Force. ​​ In an interview with Sumaria, the source said that the air strikes had killed Abu Baraa Al-Shaami, a media official for Daesh in Syria, who had previously been a producer of Daesh propaganda videos. [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

The White House said on Thursday that there was no change in Washington’s foreign policy towards Iraq after last Saturday’s elections. ​​ White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders made the​​ statement​​ at the White House daily press conference. ​​ [Rudaw]

 

Denmark will withdraw 60 special forces personnel from Iraq, based on the fact that​​ the​​ areas that​​ were​​ under Daesh control​​ are now liberated. The Denmark Ministry of Defense stated that its​​ withdrawal will be complete​​ in autumn. There remain about 180 military personnel aiding in surveillance as a part of the International Coalition. [Hawar]

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

The MoI says eight people were killed and​​ 30 others wounded when a suicide terrorist attacked a​​ funeral​​ in the Taji area. [Sharq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This attack was not reported by major Iraqi news outlets.​​ 

Daesh says one of its suicide terrorists attacked a funeral in the Husaiwa area, north of Taji, with an explosives vest on Wednesday, killing 11 people and wounding 28, including officers. Daesh says the funeral was for an Iraqi Army colonel it had killed in his house 2 days ago. [ICDNMay17]

Daesh had said it killed an Iraqi Army colonel and damaged his vehicle in an attack in the Sheikh Hamad area, north of Taji, on Monday. [ICDNMay15]

 

Baghdad Ops Command announced on Thursday that it had arrested wanted persons in various areas of the capital. ​​ In​​ one case,​​ personnel under Baghdad Ops Command had arrested a person accused of terrorism in Hor Al-Basha.​​ [Ghad]

 

East​​ (Sadr City, New Baghdad, etc.)

Baghdad Ops Command​​ also​​ announced on Thursday that it had arrested a person accused of murder in the Sadr City area.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Southeast​​ (Mada’in, etc.)

A police source said a civilian had been injured by an IED southeast of Baghdad. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said that the IED was placed near shops in Mada’in, and wounded a civilian who was passing by when it exploded. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Total Baghdad incidents reported:  ​​​​ 4(Includes only incidents reported)

Total IED incidents reported:  ​​​​ 1

 

ANBAR

Rutba

A source in the Border Guard said on Thursday that a Daesh attack from Syria on a group of​​ Border​​ Guards had been foiled. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said that​​ units of​​ the 2nd​​ Border Guards repulsed the attack on the Iraq-Syria border. ​​ According to the source, 1 Daesh fighter was killed and 3 border guards were injured in the incident. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says two PMF fighters were killed when a roadside IED exploded on their vehicle near the Akashat border compound.​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh beheaded two tribal PMF fighters from Shirqat in the Makhoul Mountains area. The source says Daesh had captured the two fighters 3 months ago near Isdaira village.​​ 

 

Tikrit

The Center for Security Information said that a terrorist had been arrested at the entrance to Tikrit. ​​ Center spokesman General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that detachments from the Directorate of Military Intelligence under Salahuddin Ops Command made the arrest. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

DIYALA

The spokesman for the Diyala Police Command, Colonel Ghalib Al-Atiyah, said on Thursday that 14 wanted terrorists had been arrested in various parts of the province over the last 3 days. ​​ He credited detachments from the Baquba Police, the Anti-Crime Division, and the 3rd​​ Diyala Emergency Regiment with the arrests.​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

Daesh says it destroyed a vehicle carrying tribal PMF fighters with an IED in Sheikh Tami village, in Buhriz.​​ [Telegram]​​ 

 

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

Diyala Police Command announced on Thursday that they had launched a search operation to find Daesh cells around Jalawla. ​​ In a statement, the Command said that a force composed of units from the Diyala Police, the Jalawla Police, Diyala Emergency Police, the 6th​​ and 8th​​ Units of the Anti-Explosives Division, and the Engineering and Communications Task Force launched the search operation in the Halwan Bridge area,​​ the village of Al-Islah​​ in Jalawla subdistrict (Khanaqin), Al-Midan, and Al-Zoor.​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Ghad] [Buratha]​​ ​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk/Dibis

Daesh says it destroyed a tribal PMF vehicle with an IED near Hunaida village, west of Dibis. [ICDNMay17]

 

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

A security source in Kirkuk Province said that the Iraqi Air Force killed 12 Daesh fighters, including a prominent leader, in the southwest of the province. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said in an interview with​​ Sumaria​​ that the airstrike was in support of the Federal Police, who were targeting the terrorists’ hideout. ​​ The source added that the operation destroyed 6 Daesh safehouses and killed 4 Daesh fighters in Wadi Abu Khanajir and Wadi Zeghitun,​​ in the​​ Rashad subdistrict. ​​ They went on to say that a separate strike in Al-Zab​​ in Hawija​​ killed another 8 Daesh fighters, including a “prominent leader.” ​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)

The Center for Security Information announced the discovery of IEDs in various areas of Ninewa. ​​ General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that units under Ninewa Ops Command had found 9 IEDs in the area of Khawaja, in Tel Keif. ​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Mosul

The Captain of Ninewa Civil Defense, Fahad Al-‘Abed, said on Thursday that teams from Civil Defense had recovered 640 bodies in the last 48 hours. ​​ (Daesh Daily reported yesterday that Civil Defense had recovered 305 bodies, so 335 were added today.) In a press statement, he said that Civil Defense had launched a campaign to recover the bodies of “Daesh fighters” from underneath rubble and war detritus in west Mosul. ​​ Al-‘Abed said that bodies of women and children that were recovered were believed to be from families of Daesh fighters who had been killed. ​​ Rudaw​​ noted, however, that he did not provide any evidence that the bodies were only those of Daesh fighters and their families and did not include the bodies of non-Daesh civilians. ​​ [Rudaw]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The reports the past two days about the progress of Civil Defense in recovering bodies are encouraging, but raise the question of what Civil Defense was doing before. Not long ago, Ninewa and Mosul officials explained the continuing delay by saying there was no money to pay for this and it had to be done by volunteers

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Intelligence Service units found 5 laptops in a house in east Mosul containing detailed information about Daesh members in the city.​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

The Center for Security Information announced the discovery of IEDs in various areas of Ninewa. ​​ Units under Ninewa Ops Command had found an IED on the road between Tal Afar and Abu Mariya, which was dismantled by an engineering team. ​​​​ Another IED was found near the Ibtisha intersection. ​​​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Sinjar

The Center for Security Information said on Thursday that 2 terrorists had been arrested trying to cross the Iraq-Syria border. ​​ Units from the 15th​​ Division of the Military Intelligence Directorate arrested the 2 when they tried to cross the border from the Tal Hamis area in Syria. ​​ 1 of the 2 will​​ be charged along with his father, brother, and uncle;​​ the other had been working for Daesh in the so-called “Islamic Police” and had previously fled to Syria during the battles in Iraq. ​​ [Sumaria] ​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

(No reports)

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Thursday morning, Turkish counterterrorism forces arrested 9 suspects​​ in​​ southern​​ Turkey. All were sent to a security directorate.​​ [ZamanAlwasl]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Foreign policy

Russia

A Kremlin announcement said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had met Syrian regime President Bashar Al-Assad in Sochi on May 17. ​​ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there was an “in-depth discussion” between the 2, who last met December 11 at the Russian Khmeimim airbase. ​​ Peskov said that Assad confirmed to Putin his readiness to resolve the Syrian crisis politically, and quoted Assad as saying, “Damascus always strongly supports the political process, which must be conducted alongside the fight against terrorism.” ​​ Peskov added that Al-Assad referred to the need to create the conditions for the re-launch of a comprehensive political process building on the Astana Platform and the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Conference in Sochi. ​​ [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ We believe Assad when he says he supports​​ a political resolution, but he omits to mention his unwillingness to consider the possibility that the people should be allowed the possibility of selecting someone else.​​ 

 

The press office for the Presidency of the Republic of Ingushetia [a​​ part of the​​ Russian federation​​ in the North Caucasus] announced that they intend to send troops to Syria for the third time. ​​ The statement said that 400 military police from the 19th​​ Mechanized Infantry Division would go to Syria to “participate in a peacekeeping operation.” [Qasioun]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The International Coalition revealed that their operations​​ with the SDF​​ against Daesh​​ have​​ succeeded in liberating 65 square kilometers from Daesh, making it about 5,000 square kilometers that​​ have been​​ liberated from Daesh. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest​​ (No reports)

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that according to local residents, Coalition helicopters conducted an airdrop operation in the Hasaka area, near the Iraqi border, and captured senior Daesh commanders.​​ 

 

International Coalition forces succeeded in arresting a prominent Daesh leader in the​​ Al-Hawl​​ subdistrict​​ of​​ the​​ Hasaka​​ District. [Qasioun]

 

A US military convoy arrived​​ at​​ the Tel Baydar​​ camp north of​​ Hasaka on Wednesday from Iraq. Media sources published pictures of the convoy without specifying where it was headed. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West​​ 

Aleppo/Idlib

An IED went off in Urum Al-Kubra, a town in the Atarib subdistrict in Aleppo​​ District,​​ near a police station, wounding 3. [Qasioun]

Hama

Four armed men sent by a leader of Jaish Al-Tawhid were killed by a mine in the village of Al-Majdal in western Hama, near Homs, on Wednesday as they attempted to clear mines in a path for the forces of the Syrian regime. [Dorar]

 

Homs

A ground mine exploded in​​ the​​ Hawla​​ area in​​ Homs,​​ killing​​ five​​ and injuring​​ seven. [EnabBaladi]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Albu Kamal​​ District

Daesh says its snipers killed 2 Syrian soldiers near Albu Kamal. It publishes photos of shooting one of the soldiers. Daesh also says it targeted a Syrian Army position near the city with 2 mortar shells. [ICDNMay17]

 

Daesh publishes a photo of a group of its terrorists watching its latest propaganda video in Hajin. [ICDNMay17]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

Regime forces made progress against Daesh forces in Yarmouk camp and around Al-Hajar Al-Aswad on Thursday, according to pro-regime media as reported by​​ Reuters. ​​ [Qasioun]

 

However, dozens of regime soldiers​​ reportedly​​ lost their lives on Wednesday in clashes with Daesh in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp. Official Daesh media reports 36 regime deaths. [Dorar]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says an Iraqi Hezbollah commander was killed by a Daesh sniper near the Yarmouk Camp on Wednesday.

 

Daesh says it launched a wide-range attack on Syrian Army units and Shia militias in the Yarmouk Camp, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, and Hay Al-Tadhamun, killing or wounding “tens” of soldiers. It says the battles are ongoing. [ICDNMay17]

Daesh’s​​ A3maq​​ says 28 Syrian soldiers were killed in battles in the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad area.​​ [Telegram]​​ 

 

Daesh publishes photos of the destruction in the Yarmouk Camp caused by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. [ICDNMay17]

 

Daraa/Quneitra

On Thursday, an Iranian military convoy withdrew from the town of Al-Hader, in Khan Arnabah subdistrict in Quneitra governorate, including trucks and other heavy military equipment. Sources do not know where the convoy is headed. [Qasioun]

 

Russia gave an ultimatum to an armed group in Daraa participating in the ninth round of Astana talks:

They would stop military activities in Daraa as long as the group surrendered the town of Mahja and the village of Najeeh. Otherwise, they would invade militarily. [Dorar]

The Syrian​​ Army gave an armed group from Mahja 48 hours to negotiate. Media sources of the armed groups note that the regime did not specify what the negotiations would be about and what they expected. [SyriaNow]

 

Daesh issues a video of its “education activities” in the Daraa area. [ICDNMay17]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

Daesh publishes photos of targeting a Houthi position in the Dhahra area, in Qifa, with a Grad rocket. [ICDNMay17]

 

North Africa

Egypt

The General Command of the Armed Forces in Egypt said on Thursday that they had killed 19​​ takfiri​​ terrorists in Sinai. ​​ In a statement, General Command said that operations in northern and central Sinai had led to the killing of 19​​ takfiris​​ in total, as well as the arrest of 20 suspects, the discovery and destruction of underground tunnels near the northern Sinai border area, and the seizure of automatic rifles and IEDs. ​​ Around half a ton of opium and hashish, intended for distribution, was also seized in central Sinai.

 General Command also itemized persons arrested and various contraband seized by border guards in Sinai. ​​ To the west, the list included SUVs carrying 300,000 tablets of tramadol [a pharmaceutical opioid], 40 kilograms of hashish, and the detention of 401 persons trying to cross the border. ​​ To the south, it was 16 trucks and 19 persons carrying 250,000 doses of an unspecified narcotic, as well as the detention of 25 persons crossing the border. ​​ 4 other persons were found in possession of over 500 kilograms of opium and hashish combined. ​​ [Akhbarna]

 

Libya

Security personnel from Sirte recovered 16 unexploded shells left behind by air strikes, which had been used by Daesh fighters in car bombings. ​​ The spokesman for the de-mining unit in Sirte, Salem Al-Amil, told​​ Wasat​​ on Thursday that they had been informed of unexploded ordnance 80km south of Sirte, where they found the shells. ​​ [Wasat]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Nigeria

The Nigerian​​ Army announced on Thursday that 15 armed members of Boko Haram were killed in operations executed by Nigeria and Cameroon forces. [Anadolu]

 

Somalia

Daesh says it killed a Somali Army member in Mogadishu. [ICDNMay17]

 

ASIA

Pakistan

The Pakistani Army announced on May 17 that its forces had succeeded in killing a senior terrorist leader during an operation in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province. ​​ The Army said in a statement that they had killed Salman Badini, a leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist group, who they said was involved in the killings of over 100 Hazaras and police in Quetta. ​​ The statement added that a​​ military intelligence officer, Colonel Suhail ‘Abed, was killed and four other soldiers wounded during the fighting. ​​ [AppPK]

Daesh says it killed four policemen and a Pakistani Army colonel in clashes west of Quetta on Wednesday.​​ 

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

Daesh issued new threats to attack the World Cup, scheduled to be held in Russia in June 2018. ​​ The Spanish newspaper​​ AS​​ reported that Daesh had published pictures showing the soccer/football stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with their heads cut off in the World Cup stadium, surrounded by soccer/football fans. ​​ A second picture depicted a group of Daesh terrorists carrying a large bomb and heading to a stadium in Moscow to blow it up. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

 

 

May 16, 2018

 

Ali Allawi

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Unconfirmed​​ election​​ report​​ moves Al-Abadi alliance​​ vote​​ close to Al-Sadr alliance. [..]​​ 

IHEC board member has received death threats. [..]

Al-Sadr calls for a government of “honest technocrats.” [..]

Allawi, others attack election results, IHEC election management. [..]

Al-Maliki alliance, Al-Amiri alliance, Kurds discussing coalition separate from Al-Sadr. ​​ [..]

US labels Islamic Bank of Iraq a terrorist organization for aiding Lebanese Hezbollah. [..]

Suicide bomber kills 7, wounds 25 at Tarmiya funeral. [..]

305 bodies discovered near downtown Mosul. [..]

Ninewa SWAT tallies its Daesh arrests: 430 in two months. [..]

 

Syria

Article​​ highlights​​ Syria’s severe military manpower shortage. [..]

Syrian Army assumes control of final two holdout cities in Homs. [..]

Coalition airstrike in Albu Kamal kills 8 Daesh members. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Indonesia: ​​ Daesh kills another policeman, but​​ the​​ police shoot back. [..]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Election/New Government

Bas News​​ reported that “Iraqi sources” had reported a final tally for seats​​ won​​ by the leading electoral coalitions. According to these sources, the Sadrist-led coalition Sa’irun was 1st​​ with 54 seats, Al-Abadi’s Victory coalition was 2nd​​ with 52 seats, and the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance led by Hadi Al-Amiri was 3rd​​ with 49 seats. ​​ Meanwhile, the Rule of Law coalition led by former Iraqi PM Nouri Al-Maliki reportedly took 25 seats, and the Wisdom bloc headed by Ammar Al-Hakim got 22. ​​ [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Attributing such critical public information to unidentified sources is irresponsible journalism. However, if the rumor proves correct, it could potentially change the perception of the election results. It would move Al-Abadi’s alliance from third to second and only two seats​​ fewer​​ than the Al-Sadr alliance. Such a close outcome would add weight to the arguments of those who want to keep Al-Abadi as the Prime Minister.​​ This upward move could well be due to the tallying of the previously unrecorded votes referred to in yesterday’s Daesh Daily, and possibly​​ to​​ quirks in the workings of Iraq’s proportional representation system. If this change proves not to be true when the Independent High Electoral Commission reports the official final numbers, we will know that those “Iraqi sources” in the Bas News report were from the Al-Abadi campaign.

 

The Board of Commissioners for the Electoral Commission said on Wednesday that Board member Sayeed Al-Kaka’ei has received death threats against him and his family by a political party negatively affected by the elections. ​​ In a statement yesterday, the Board said that the political party in question tried to force him to either resign or make media appearances to help them politically. [Sumaria]

 

Muqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the​​ winning​​ Sa’irun alliance, called on Wednesday for the “leaders of the new alliances” to meet, discuss, and form a government of “honest technocrats.” ​​ In a tweet on his personal Twitter account, Al-Sadr wrote, “In spite of our differences, let’s look for participants without compromising our principles. . . .​​ I call on leaders of the new alliances to meet; my door is open … to build our Iraq and form a [new] government of honest technocrats.” ​​ [Sumaria]

 

However,​​ Al-Sadr’s victory has now been challenged by officials of other parties and alliances. Part of the challenge is to the integrity of the election.

 

On Wednesday, the Wataniya​​ (Sunni)​​ Alliance​​ led by Vice President and former Prime Minister Ayad​​ Allawi​​ demanded the annulment of the results of the CoR elections, and the selection of a new Electoral Commission to organize new elections. ​​ Alliance​​ leader Hamid Al-Mutlaq, in a press conference with several other​​ alliance​​ members, said, “We demand the annulment of the results of the elections in all of Iraq, and the creation of a new Commission capable of running fair elections. . . . We have evidence of instances of fraud and irregularities together with scientific polling.”​​ Wataniya​​ alleged​​ that people who were not authorized to vote took part in the elections in Al-Qa’im and Rutba, that dead people’s votes​​ were​​ cast, and that “employees of the Electoral Commission” sold electoral cards used in the election. [Rudaw]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Without commenting on the merits of the allegations, the Allawi/Al-Jubouri/Al-Mutlaq alliance, which seemed powerful on paper, did not fare well in this election. This could also have something to do with their response to the outcome. However, the major Sunni blocs could still have a​​ big​​ influence on the makeup of the new government.

 

The head of the Rule of Law coalition in Diyala, MP Ra’ad Al-Mas, said on Wednesday that his coalition will not accept the election results in Diyala Province without a manual recount, saying that the May 12​​ elections were a “coup” against democracy. ​​ Al-Mas told​​ Sumaria, “We have deep doubts about the absence of a large number of votes in several subdistricts of Diyala, and we don’t rule out that there could be electronic errors in the voting machines.” He noted that there could have been technical problems, especially since PM Al-Abadi said yesterday that there was no company to check the voting machines before the elections. [Sumaria]

 

A media source reported that the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani, was present in Baghdad and speaking with Shia leaders about creating the largest bloc in parliament and isolating Muqtada Al-Sadr.​​ Al-Hurra​​ reported that he was in Baghdad in the Green Zone meeting with Nouri Al-Maliki, leader of the Rule of Law alliance, Hadi Al-Amiri, leader of the Al-Fath (Conquest) alliance, and two leaders of another party. [Arabi21]

 

Saad Al-Mutlabi, a leader in the Rule of Law Coalition, said that​​ neither​​ Nouri Al-Maliki,​​ nor​​ current PM Haider Al-Abadi,​​ nor​​ Hadi Al-Amiri, would run for​​ Prime Minister in​​ the next government. ​​ In an interview with the Qatari-owned​​ Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Al-Mutlabi said that the Rule of Law Coalition had held dialogues with various blocs that had won seats in the CoR elections, with the exception of Sa’irun, headed by the Sadrist movement. ​​ He said that the move away from the Sa’irun alliance was due to​​ its “closeness with Saudi Arabia” and away from the “axis of resistance” [usually meaning Iran – Syrian regime – Hezbollah]. ​​ However, Al-Mutlabi said that Rule of Law had a great relationship with Al-Fath and a good understanding with the Victory Coalition, led by Al-Abadi. ​​ He added that Rule of Law had also been in contact with the Kurdish parties. [Al-Araby Al-Jadeed]

DaeshDaily comment. All the unauthorized rhetoric aside, Al-Maliki is in something of a box. He has already agreed with his political party, Islamic Dawa, and with Al-Abadi that they will combine after the election.​​ (Islamic Dawa stepped back to allow both to lead separate alliances, but now the election is over.)​​ Unfortunately,​​ Al-Maliki’s​​ campaign rhetoric on foreign policy seemed to place him closer to the anti-Iran Conquest alliance than to Al-Abadi, so they are trying to bring him into their alliance.​​ Either way, his reduced status in Iraqi politics has been confirmed by the election results.

 

The PM of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, said that a delegation will soon be sent to Baghdad to discuss the formation of the next Iraqi government. ​​ In a news conference in Erbil, Barzani said that the KDP would participate in talks to form a new government, but had not yet formally entered into negotiations. ​​ He added, “So far, we [the Kurdish parties] are at a remove from all the political blocs in Baghdad. ​​ . . .​​ The power of the Kurds in Baghdad is in their unity.” ​​ Barzani also called on the Electoral Commission to consider the claims of the parties that had rejected the election results in Suleimaniya. ​​ He concluded that the Presidency was the “right” of the Kurds, but that the problem of the Kurds in Baghdad did not lie in which positions they held but in the implementation of the Constitution. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Mr. Nechirvan is relentlessly on message.​​ The Iraqi government has violated the constitution in its response to the KDP’s referendum, but of course the KDP never violates the constitution. Continually complaining about Iraq violating the constitution avoids having to deal with what the KDP did to create the current problems.

 

Nechirvan​​ Barzani​​ said on Wednesday that US Special Envoy Brett McGurk had told him that Washington wanted to see an Iraqi government formed that would serve everyone. ​​ Barzani was speaking at a news conference, where he added, “I did not feel that Americans held a veto or had a preference for one party over another,” and said that he hoped that politicians would learn from these elections that they had to meet the demands of Iraqis. ​​ Muqtada Al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement, said on Wednesday that the US Envoy’s intervention in Iraqi affairs is “ugly.” [Sumaria]

 

The former US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad,​​ expressed his dissatisfaction with the election results. ​​ In an interview in English with NPR, reported on by​​ Sky Press, Khalilzad said, “I thought Al-Abadi, who led the Iraqis in the war against Daesh, would do better, but as we learned with Churchill after WWII and with President Bush Sr. after the Gulf War, postwar voters saw things differently.” ​​ Khalilzad noted​​ that America wanted to kill Muqtada Al-Sadr when he was “resisting the occupation”​​ with​​ military force, noting that Sistani intervened and sent him to Iran. ​​ However, he added that if Al-Sadr had transitioned from an armed leader to a political leader, that in itself was a positive. ​​ SkyPressIQ

 

Baghdad Today​​ reported on​​ The Guardian’s coverage of the Iraqi CoR elections, which noted the extent that Washington and Tehran had seemingly lost out in the results. ​​ The Guardian​​ wrote that the Shia​​ of Iran had lost “obedience” to the Grand Ayatollah of Qom [Khamenei] and followed the Grand Ayatollah​​ of Najaf, Ali Sistani. It went on to write that although the weak showing of PM Haider Al-Abadi was​​ a blow to US influence in Iraq, Iran was the bigger​​ loser, since it had been backing the Al-Fath (Conquest) Alliance, and both lost out to Muqtada Al-Sadr, a proponent of Iraqi self-rule. ​​ The Guardian​​ added that Iran was facing limits to its ambitions on other fronts, including the nuclear agreement, a lack of support from Russia or China to subsidize its economy, and growing resentment from Iraqis regarding Tehran’s “new-colonial” behavior towards them. ​​ It concluded that Iraqis had rejected Khomeini’s​​ concept of religious governance and were turning towards what it characterized as Sistani’s separation of religion and state. ​​ [BaghdadToday]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ As a matter of fact, Iraqis have generally always considered Sistani their spiritual leader, not Khomeini or later Khamenei, and many Iranians also believe he is pre-eminent. The premise of the Guardian’s analysis, that Iraqis’ are withdrawing support from Khamenei to give it to Sistani just isn’t accurate.

 

Baghdad News​​ covered a report published by the US​​ Foreign Policy​​ magazine on Wednesday, regarding potential candidates for Iraqi PM. ​​ The report noted that the next PM will belong to the country’s Shia​​ majority, and if not Al-Abadi,​​ could be a relatively unknown figure. ​​ The 10 names as published by​​ Foreign Policy​​ were:

  • Haider Al-Abadi, current PM

  • Ali Dawai Lazem, Governor of Maysan and​​ Al-Sadr’s declared​​ candidate for PM

  • Hadi Al-Amiri, leader of the Al-Fath (Conquest) Alliance and Secretary-General of the Badr Organization

  • Ali Allawi, former Minister of Defense, Finance, and Trade, who holds degrees from Harvard and MIT

  • Nouri Al-Maliki, former PM

  • Salih Al-Hasnawi, former Minister of Health,​​ another candidate​​ identified​​ by the Sadrists

  • Adil Abdel-Mahdi, former​​ Vice President and former​​ Minister of Oil

  • Ayad Allawi, current VP and leader of the​​ Wataniya alliance

  • Tariq Najm, former Chief of Staff for the PM (under Al-Maliki)

  • Dia Al-Asadi, head of the​​ Sadrist bloc in the CoR. [BaghdadNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The list is mostly the usual suspects plus people politically connected to the usual suspects, and some are highly talented. However, if Sadr and others are serious about a technocratic government and divided over which politician might lead it, they could show the courage of their new convictions by asking​​ the one technocrat​​ on the list,​​ at #4,​​ the brilliant and respected Ali Allawi. Allawi is over 70, his last Minister job is ten years back, and he has mostly been living in London and less involved in current politics. However, he would be seen by the knowing as an awesome choice. Allawi (not to be confused with Ayad Allawi) wrote a long and highly impressive, not to mention critical,​​ book, published in 2007 on the CPA administration:​​ The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace.” ​​ 

If Ali Allawi somehow gets the position, all those who have dedicated years of their lives to helping Iraq could  feel that Heaven has rewarded them.

Anti-Daesh campaign

The media office for the head of the Federal Court of Appeals in Basra said on Wednesday that the Criminal Court had issued death sentences for 2 persons convicted of killing and wounding civilians in Diyala 11 years ago. ​​ The defendants​​ were​​ convicted of attacking the village of Abdul Karim in the Kanaan area​​ near​​ Baquba, Diyala, on June 6,​​ 2006, killing 5 civilians and injuring several others. ​​ [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

The Islamic Bank of Iraq and its director, Aras Habib, have been placed on the terrorism list of the US Treasury Department. ​​ The US Treasury accused the Islamic Bank of Iraq of transferring millions of dollars to Lebanese Hezbollah. ​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

BAGHDAD

Security-related incidents reported

North​​ (Tarmiya, Taji, etc.)​​ 

A police source said on Wednesday that a suicide bomber had killed​​ seven​​ and wounded 25 in Tarmiya. ​​ The source, who asked not to be named, said that the bombing was carried out with an explosives​​ belt near a funeral gathering. ​​ Later on Wednesday, The Center for Security Information confirmed in a statement that the attack had taken place near a funeral home​​ and​​ that​​ elements of the​​ Baghdad Operations Command​​ responded to the scene. ​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Sumaria]​​ [Sumaria]​​ 

 

ANBAR

Ramadi

The Security Information Center announced on Wednesday that security personnel had found a variety of explosives in Anbar. ​​ Center spokesman General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that units under Anbar Ops Command had searched the Jaraishi​​ subdistrict north of Ramadi city​​ and found a cache of explosives left behind by Daesh, including mortar shells, 17 Katyusha rockets, and materials used in bomb-making. ​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

The Security Information Center announced on Wednesday that security personnel had found a variety of explosives in Al-Qa’im. ​​ General Yahya Rasul said in a statement that Anbar Ops​​ units​​ had searched Husayba Al-Gharbiya and found a “homemade Hellfire missile,” assorted mortar shells, 155mm artillery shells, and 2 IEDs left behind by Daesh.​​ [Baghdadia]​​ ​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

A “security source” in Salahuddin said on Wednesday that PMF units had killed 2 Daesh fighters trying to infiltrate a village in Shirqat. ​​ [KnoozMedia]​​ 

DIYALA

Diyala Police Command announced on Wednesday that 4 wanted persons had been arrested in various areas of the province, 1 of them on terrorism charges. ​​ Diyala​​ police spokesman Colonel Ghalib Al-Atiyah said that detachments of the Diyala​​ Police had made the arrests.  ​​​​ [Sumaria]

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

On Wednesday, the Center for Security Information announced the discovery of a Daesh safehouse in the Himrin Hills in Diyala. ​​ General Rasul said that Intelligence units from the 5th​​ Military Intelligence Division had found the safehouse, which had​​ 34 mortar shells, gunpowder for 30 mortars, 22 damaged mortar parts, 10 rosary-shaped IEDs, 7​​ other​​ IEDs, 6 pressurized explosives, 2 bombs, and a launcher. ​​ Rasul added that the explosives were detonated on-site. ​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh says it damaged a PMF SUV in an ambush in the Imam Wais area. [ICDNMay16]

 

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

The Ministry of Interior announced on Wednesday that they had seized a weapons cache in Sadiya and arrested the man responsible. ​​ A Ministry statement said that a joint force consisting of Diyala anti-terrorism units, Internal Affairs and Security, and the “Falcons” intelligence cell had carried out the operation. ​​ They arrested a man called “Abu Miriam,” the Daesh fighter they said was responsible, and seized 41 Kalashnikov rifles and 4 RPGs that were hidden in barrels buried underground. ​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Hawija

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Daesh attacked PMF units in a cemetery in Al-Zab, killing two fighters. The source says IFP units arrived in the area and killed 4 Daesh fighters.​​ ​​ 

 

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

Daesh says it damaged a vehicle carrying IFP members with an IED near Maryam Bek village, east of Rashad, on Tuesday. [ICDNMay16]

 

NINEWA

Mosul

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Civil Defense units retrieved 305 bodies of people killed during the liberation battles, near the Old Bridge in​​ central​​ Mosul. The source says some of the bodies belonged to Daesh terrorists, but there are also many civilians, including women and children. The source says 12 bodies have been identified so far, including two college professors.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that according to a Ninewa SWAT officer, the Ninewa SWAT captured 430 Daesh members in Mosul in less than 2 months. The officer says most of those arrested were involved in killing civilians. He also says that people of Mosul helped to identify them and provided information about them. The officer says all the arrests were done with judicial warrants, and were conducted with coordination and support from the Coalition.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says National Security Service and Ninewa SWAT units arrested a group of 8 Daesh terrorists in Hay Sumer, in east Mosul, after getting tips from local residents. The source says the security units confiscated 10,000 prepaid mobile phone credit cards, worth several million dollars, from the group. The group was trying to re-activate Daesh cells in east Mosul. The source sent us a photo of some of the prepaid cards.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This report shows that Daesh uses multiple ways to finance itself without being tracked. These prepaid cards could be easily sold in a legitimate mobile phone store. The question is, where did Daesh get them from?​​ 

 

Ninewa Police Command arrested 3 Daesh fighters on the west side of Mosul, according to a statement yesterday by the Ninewa Police Chief, General Hamad Namis Al-Jubouri yesterday. ​​ He credited the 8th​​ Emergency Police Regiment under Ninewa Police Command with the arrests, which he said were made in Tal Al-Ruman in southwest Mosul.​​ BaghdadToday

 

Southern Ninewa​​ (No reports)

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

The Center for Security Information announced on Wednesday that a terrorist who admitted belonging to Daesh had been arrested inside Iraq after crossing the border from Syria. ​​ Detachments from the Military Intelligence Directorate, 15th​​ Brigade, arrested the terrorist after he crossed over from the Al-Dashisha area in Syria. ​​ [Sumaria]

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

(No reports)

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Russia

An international report from a counterterrorism research center reveals that the Russian intervention in Syria allowed Assad to​​ re-take over half of Syria. The report states that the land Assad had control over increased by three times, from 16% in the middle of 2015 to 47%​​ at​​ the end of March 2018. [Qasioun]

 

Military campaign

After successfully removing the last rebels and their families from north Homs and southern Hama, (according to the Russian-brokered agreement) the Syrian regime announced it now has control over half of Syria. [EnabBaladi]

 

Political opposition

The​​ Atlantic​​ revealed on Wednesday the biggest crisis to affect the Syrian President:​​ the​​ severe shortage in his military ranks. The​​ Atlantic​​ suggested that the crisis may be caused by an unwillingness of Syrian men to continue fighting for him. [Dorar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ The analysis is perceptive, and a high percentage of those fighting for Assad are foreigners.​​ Daesh Daily readers see one story after another referring to “Syrian forces” rather than “Syrian Army,“ or to Lebanese Hezbollah, or Iranian militiamen, and recently Iraqi militiamen.​​ There are actually several reasons​​ for the shortage, however.​​ (1)​​ Assad has no control over half the country and so can’t force men there to join up.​​ (2)​​ A lot of Syrian men of military age have fled the country along with​​ a few million​​ others. (3) Many men of military age are fighting with anti-government militias or are anti-Assad and avoiding conscription. (4) A lot of Syrian soldiers in Assad’s undermined Army have died or been wounded, which of course discourages others from joining. (5) Assad lacks the financial resources​​ to pay the number of men he would need, either from within Syria or as mercenaries from other countries.

 

Foreign policy

Russia, Turkey, and Iran announced they will be holding talks​​ on Syria in the city of Sochi in Russia, and not in Astana.​​ Reuters​​ reports that the Syrian opposition will boycott the talks because Russia is hosting them. [Qasioun]

 

Northwest

Afrin

SOHR reveals that on Wednesday leaders from Jaish al-Islam visited Deir Ballout Camp in the Jinderes subdistrict of Afrin governorate and told the displaced persons that they had three enemies: Daesh, Tahrir al-Sham, and the Kurds. Jaish al-Islam invited them to join a new military force, and​​ said​​ that it paid its fighters in Rif Damashq and Eastern Ghouta $200 USD each​​ per month. [SyriaHR]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Tuesday night, a private car exploded in northern​​ Qamishli​​ city. There were two casualties. [Hawar]

 

Central and West​​ 

Homs

The Syrian Army announced that it took over two cities, Talbiseh (directly north of Homs city, in eastern Homs) and Al-Rastan (a Homs district capitol), the last two of many villages the regime had successfully taken. This would be the completion of an operation to forcibly displace all residents towards the north of Syria. [Qasioun]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

SDF imposed a curfew on the northern villages of Deir Ez-Zor governorate from 5 pm to 8 am. Sources report that​​ they​​ launched an arrest​​ campaign​​ targeting​​ civilians in Abu Nital, a town in Al-Suwar​​ subdistrict. [Qasioun]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says Coalition planes bombed a Daesh safehouse in Al-Susah town, killing 8 terrorists, including 2 commanders, an Iraqi and a Syrian. The source says a civilian was slightly wounded in the airstrike.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says many Daesh members withdrew from Hajin and Al-Sha’afa toward Al-Susah. The source says there are 400-500 Daesh terrorists in Al-Susah now.  ​​​​ 

The source also says that Daesh has recruited more than 40 children, many of them younger than 10, in Hajin, Al-Sha’afa and Al-Susah. The source says Daesh recruiters are going to children’s markets and soccer fields and luring children to join, taking advantage of the severe lack of food supplies in the area. The source sent us photos of some of the recruited children.​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ An organization recruiting 10-year-olds is not planning to leave soon. [.]

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

The Syrian regime targeted Daesh in Yarmouk Camp and Al-Hajar Al-Aswad with heavy artillery fire and airstrikes. AFP reported that the regime had already taken control of the neighborhood of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad.​​ 

However, SANA reports​​ that​​ Daesh made slight progress in​​ Al-Hajar, having​​ taken over a street along the outskirts of the neighborhood a day before and progressing​​ from there.[Qasioun]

 

Daesh says it killed 36 Syrian soldiers, including officers, in the ongoing battles in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, the Yarmouk Camp, and Hay Al-Tadhamun. [ICDNMay16]

 

Daraa

The Syrian opposition is preparing to fight Jaish Khaled,​​ which has been accused of helping Daesh in the Yarmouk Basin. A source says that they will definitely​​ initiate the battle​​ within the next few days. [EnabBaladi]

 

Jaish Khaled used drones to drop leaflets on Yarmouk Basin and Daraa, which ordered rebels and other fighters to “repent” and stop fighting them, threatening those who refused. [SyriaHR]

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Saudi Arabia/Yemen

The Criminal Court of Saudi Arabia has begun the trial of a Saudi woman accused of joining Daesh and of getting married without her father’s consent, as reported by​​ Sumaria. ​​ Charges against the woman included supporting Daesh, associating with a Daesh member, marrying him without her father’s consent, helping him use a mobile phone to communicate with Daesh, and possession of Daesh “slogans” [propaganda materials]. ​​ She was also charged with​​ storing​​ materials “harmful to public order”​​ and uploading​​ various materials from her mobile phone, including​​ audio clips glorifying Daesh and calling for attacks on security personnel, a video clip of Osama Bin Laden, and Daesh slogans. ​​ The Attorney General asked for “severe penalties” for the accused.​​ [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It says something about society in Saudi Arabia (and not only Saudi Arabia), that with this vast array of charges probably justifying a death penalty if proven, the prosecution still feels the need to make an issue of​​ ​​ a​​ woman getting married without her father’s consent.​​ 

 

Daesh issues a propaganda video about its operations in Yemen. [ICDNMay16]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

ASIA

Indonesia

Indonesian security forces killed 4 militants after an attack on a police station wherein 1 policeman was killed. This occurred a few days after a series of suicide attacks against police and churches in the state. [ZamanAlwasl]

Daesh says it killed a policeman and wounded two others in an attack on Rio Island, in Sumatra. [ICDNMay16]

 

 

May 15, 2018