May 16, 2018
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. [..]
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. [..]
Indonesia: Daesh kills another policeman, but the police shoot back. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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 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]
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]
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)
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]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
Tuesday night, a private car exploded in northern Qamishli city. There were two casualties. [Hawar]
Central and West
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. [.]
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]
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
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
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]