December 17, 2018
Abd Ul-Madhi gives CoR four alternatives for ending cabinet selection crisis. [..]
Court orders Al-Fayyad reinstated to positions from which Al-Abadi fired him. [..]
CoR member decries past persecution of Jews in Iraq. [..]
New UNAMI director arrives in Baghdad. [..]
Kurdistan still has 1,250,000 million IDPs. [..]
Erdogan says invasion of NE Syria will begin at any moment; says Trump approves. [..]
Sudan’s President pays Assad a supportive visit. [..]
Fighting continues in Hajin area, as Coalition airstrikes kill 17. [..]
Yemen: Yemen ceasefire scheduled to start today. [..]
Somalia: US airstrikes kill 62 Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. [..]
Nigeria: Major gun battle kills at least 12 Nigerian soldiers & 28 Boko Haram terrorists. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi proposed 4 solutions to complete the ministerial cabinet:
Vote on the remaining names as they are, and if they are rejected, then put forth alternatives within 2 days.
Vote on 5-6 ministries and postpone the rest to be resolved by voting or consensus.
Let the 2 main blocs present new names to the Prime Minister.
The 2 main parties leave the names to the Prime Minister and the CoR. [BasNews]
Rebwar Taha, a PUK member of the CoR for the PUK, says his bloc will boycott the CoR session on Tuesday if voting on the remaining ministerial posts is held without introducing the PUK nominee Khalid Shawani for Minister of Justice. [Sumaria]
The Administrative Court of Justice announced on Monday that the decision of former PM Haider Al-Abadi to remove Faleh Al-Fayadh from his posts was invalid. Instead, it has decided that Falih Al-Fayyad should be restored to his posts as a national security advisor, head of the National Security Service, and the chairman of the PMF. [PUKMedia]
DaeshDaily comment. This decision does not seem to make constitutional sense, so we rechecked the story to find the reason(s) for it. Unfortunately, the original reporter did not think an explanation necessary.
Council of Representatives
CoR MP Faiq Al-Sheikh Ali tweeted about Iraqi Jews, describing them as peaceful, patriots, traders, persons of literature, and people of fine taste, but who were wrongly accused of treason by some people who attacked them, robbing their fortunes and expelling them out of the country. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. This statement reflects the opinion of many Iraqis, especially youth. They know that a country that doesn’t protect its own citizens is not a real country.
On Monday, the Foreign Ministry announced the arrival in Baghdad of the UN Secretary-General’s new Special Representative in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. She is the new UNAMI director, succeeding Jan Kubis. [Sumaria]
Hennis-Plasschaert, who is from the Netherlands, stated on Monday that the UN will continue to support all areas of development in Iraq. [Baghdadia]
The Coalition announced that there are more than 5,000 US troops presently in Iraq. [Baghdadia]
The Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) says an MOU was signed with Hungary in the field of counter-terrorism and capacity-building, as well as strategic coordination between counter-terror organizations in both countries. The MoU was signed between Lt. General Talib Shaghati, the commander of CTS, and Haji Younis, who headed the Hungarian delegation. [Sumaria]
DaeshDaily comment. Some may feel uncomfortable about doing this with Hungary, a NATO member but a problem country at odds with other NATO members over its leader’s anti-democratic and pro-Russia tendencies. We wonder who in the Iraqi government authorized this agreement.
Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, called on EU countries to “strongly” enter into investments in Iraq. He specifically named supporting IDPs, power, transportation, trade, agriculture, and health projects as sectors in which EU countries could invest. The Minister extended this invitation during his meeting with David McAllister, Chair of the EU Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, in Baghdad. [Sumaria]
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry says that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has arrived in Baghdad. Maas is in Baghdad to discuss bilateral relations in economic and security fields. This comes a day after the visit of Stef Blok, the Dutch Foreign Minister, to Iraq. [Sumaria]
CoR Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbusi, who is currently visiting Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, praised the development of Iraqi-Saudi relations in all fields, stressing the 2 countries’ joint historical, cultural, and geographic ties, according to the Saudi Press Agency. He says he looks forward to more cooperation in the future, especially given Iraq’s need for help to reconstruct its destroyed cities and infrastructure. [Rudaw]
The Iranian media network Tasnim reported on Monday that the Central Bank of Iran and the Central Bank of Iraq have begun to discuss the “finishing touches” on using riyals and dinars instead of dollars in business transactions. [Rudaw]
Baghdad Ops Command announced that 6 suspects, including women, were arrested in various parts of Baghdad for criminal and terrorist activity. [Baghdadia]
Daesh said it shot and destroyed an Iraqi Army thermal camera near Um Al-Zuhour village, in the Al-Abaichi area, on Sunday. [ICDNDec17]
The Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok visited the city to witness IDPs returning to their homes after 2 years. He inspected the projects being implemented, including the Old Bridge, finalized two months ago. He also visited the Falluja Hospital. [BasNews]
Daesh said it killed three Iraqi Army members, including an officer, and wounded two others after targeting them in a house in Ramadi city with hand grenades, on Saturday. [ICDNDec17]
Daesh said on Saturday it killed four Iraqi Army members, including an officer, and destroyed a Humvee with an IED in the Kilo 130 area. [A3maq]
The Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced that 528 IDPs from IDP camps returned home to Al-Qa’im. [Baghdadia]
Daesh said it targeted tribal PMF positions in the Al-Fatha area with 4 mortar shells, on Friday. [ICDNDec16]
Daesh said it severely wounded an Iraqi Army officer and destroyed 2 SUVs in the Al-Jam’iyat area, in Al-Mu’tasim subdistrict, on Saturday. [A3maq]
In another version, Daesh said it killed or wounded Iraqi Army members, including a major, and destroyed 2 SUVs after targeting an army convoy in the Al-Jam’iyat area on Saturday. [ICDNDec16]
Daesh said it killed or wounded Saraya Al-Salam members and damaged 2 SUVs in an ambush in the Jazeera Samarra area, on Sunday. [A3maq]
Daesh said it killed a PMF “intelligence member” with a silenced gun in his house in Gharib village, in Abbasi subdistrict, on Friday. [ICDNDec15]
Daesh said it blew up the houses of four IFP members in addition to the house of the mukhtar of Barima village, on Sunday. [ICDNDec17]
DaeshDaily comment. If true, we wonder how Daesh managed to plant a sticky IED under a military vehicle.
Mosul District (Shura)
The Minister of Planning of the Government of Kurdistan, Ali Sindi, released statistics that showed there are 7,150,000 people currently residing in Kurdistan. He stated that the current Kurdish population is 5,900,000. The number of Iraqi and other IDPs is estimated at 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 people. The number of Syrian refugees is estimated at 250,000. [BasNews]
DaeshDaily comment. Working a little with these numbers, there are 1,000,000 IDPs and 250,000 refugees in Kurdistan, who together make up the difference between the native population and the total population (1,250,000). Getting more of those people to go home is an urgent priority. However, enormous credit is owed to the KRG and the Kurdish people for taking in all those threatened people who had no place to go and adding to their own burdens at a difficult time. It is a humanitarian effort that deserves to be remembered.
Masoud Barzani expressed his worries regarding the future of the Kurdish people in Syria to a visiting US delegation, headed by Brett McGurk. During the meeting in Erbil, both sides discussed the situation in Syria, while the US delegation explained its strategy in that country. [Rudaw]
REPORTS FROM TURKEY
Military & security developments
On Monday President Erdogan stated that Turkey will begin a military campaign in Syria at any moment. He said that President Trump “responded positively” to the plan to launch a campaign east of the Euphrates. [Qasioun]
DaeshDaily comment. We doubt that the President approves, but the lack of any US statement in response might be taken to imply acceptance.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu says Turkey already carried out two major military operations in northern Syria without concern for the US reaction. Speaking from Pakistan, he says Turkey does not need to take orders from the US to start military operations. He says that the US did not approve of the Afrin operation, but Turkey carried it out anyway, and that Turkey will not allow itself to be “surrounded” from the area east of the Euphrates. [Qasioun]
Bahram Qasimi, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Minister, commented on the anticipated Turkish military operation in northeast Syria, saying that any military action should be approved by and coordinated with the legitimate Syrian government. He says this is Iran’s “fixed” position, and otherwise, the Turkish role in future cooperation regarding Syria might be affected. [ElDorar]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
The SOHR reported a Coalition convoy of over 150 vehicles carrying military and logistic supplies to its bases in northern Syria. The supplies included fuel for airplanes and Hummers. A similar reinforcement convoy was also reported by the SOHR on November 30. [SyriaHR]
Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir finished a visit to Damascus on Sunday, during which he met with President Bashar Al-Assad. Sudan’s Foreign Minister said in the Khartoum airport that any weakening of Syria was a weakening of all Arab causes. Al-Bashir is the first Arab president to visit Syria in 8 years. [Qasioun]
The SOHR says that the future of the military campaign against Daesh was discussed in a meeting between the SDF and Coalition delegates in Al-Tanak oilfield. Two Coalition helicopters were hovering over the meeting place for protection. [SyriaHR]
Daesh said on Monday it set an SDF SUV on fire in Al-Sina’i neighborhood, in Raqqa city, on Sunday. [A3maq]
Central and West
Ansar Al-Tawheed, an Islamist opposition militia, says it conducted a suicide attack on a Syrian Army position in Dhahabiya village, in eastern Idlib, causing “several” casualties. [ElDorar]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
Daesh said on Saturday it killed two SDF members and destroyed their vehicle with machine guns in an ambush near Suwaidan village, in Dhiban subdistrict. [ICDNDec15]
Albu Kamal District
Fighting continued in Albu Khater village and other areas surrounding Hajin, between Jaish Al-Thuwar, fighting under the SDF, and Daesh. The fighting is continuing under heavy shelling from several parties. 17 people were reported killed, 13 of whom were said to be Daesh fighters. It is not clear if they were killed by Coalition or Iraqi shelling. This raises the number of Daesh militants killed since September 10 to 945, versus 545 SDF fighters reported killed. [SyriaHR]
DaeshDaily comment. We would like to see some confirmation before accepting of those overall casualty numbers, as the SDF number especially seems high.
Syrian media says Coalition planes killed 17 civilians in Albu Khater village, southwest of Hajin, on Sunday. They reported that casualties included women and children. [Qasioun]
Daesh said on Sunday that 17 people were killed and others wounded in Coalition bombing on Albu Khater village, in Hajin subdistrict. [A3maq]
Daesh issued on Sunday a video of the results of a Coalition airstrike on a mosque in Albu Khater village. [A3maq]
DaeshDaily comment. Notice that Qasioun, whose airstrike stories always focus solely on alleged civilian casualties, attributes its 17 deaths estimate to “Syrian media,” while the Daesh version coincidentally also says 17 people. So who is the real source of this number?
On Sunday, the Coalition said that it had destroyed a Daesh “command and control facility” in a mosque in Hajin. The Coalition’s press release noted that Daesh continues to use “protected” facilities such as hospitals and mosques, in violation of the Law of Armed Conflict. [InherentResolve]
Daesh said on Sunday it targeted SDF positions in Hajin with 30 mortar shells and 15 SPG9 rockets. [ICDNDec16]
DaeshDaily comment. Another land mine story. There are so many of these stories when Daesh is losing.
Daesh issued on Monday a video of battles with the SDF “on the outskirts of” Hajin city. [A3maq]
The SDF made further advances against Daesh in Al-Susah on Monday, while Coalition planes executed airstrikes against Daesh in Al-Baghouz. [Qasioun]
The SOHR reported continued mutual artillery shelling between the Syrian Army and allied groups and Daesh on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates in Deir Ez-Zor. This has been ongoing for several days now, following Daesh fighters’ attempts to flee Hajin. [SyriaHR]
Hawar reported on Monday that the SDF seized a car bomb that was prepared to detonate and “dozens” of mortar shells and other weapons in liberated areas of Hajin, amid clashes. [Hawar]
Local sources say Daesh is transferring all prisoners of war and persons arrested by it from Hajin to other areas still under its rule in eastern Deir Ez-Zor. [Qasioun]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The warring parties in Yemen are preparing to implement a new ceasefire, following a message to that effect from UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. This followed heavy fighting that left several casualties on both sides. The new ceasefire is scheduled to start on Tuesday. [Anadolu]
Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, the Foreign Minister for Qatar, accused the UAE and Saudi Arabia of suspicious destabilizing activities in several countries. Talking to CNBC, he said that both nations had carried out such activities in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, as well oppressing activists and their own citizens in general. [Sumaria]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
Egyptian security officials say two roadside bombs hit a police convoy in northern Sinai, killing two conscripts. The officials say Monday’s attack just west of the border town of Rafah also wounded six conscripts. The bombs struck two armored vehicles that were part of a convoy on a search-and-destroy mission in the area. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Daesh said it “lured” an Egyptian Army convoy to an ambush in the Al-Maghara area, in Central Sinai, on Sunday. [AP]
Daesh said it set off several IEDs on the convoy then clashed with the soldiers using heavy and mid-sized weapons, killing or wounding 20 of them, destroying a Humvee and 2 SUVs, and damaging an SUV. [ICDNDec17] [A3maq]
Daesh said it damaged an Egyptian Army bulldozer with an IED in the Al-Rasm area, in Rafah city, on Sunday. [A3maq]
Daesh said on Monday its snipers killed an Egyptian Army soldier in Al-Muqata’a village, south of Rafah. [A3maq]
Greek police reported an IED explosion near Sky TV station in Athens early Monday, causing windows to shatter and other damage to the building. A warning telephone call was received by the media prior to the explosion. [Sumaria]
The US military announced that it had killed 62 armed Al-Shabaab terrorists in 6 airstrikes in Somalia from Saturday to Sunday. [Ghad]
Four air strikes on Saturday killed 32 militants and a further two on Sunday killed 28, it said in a statement. These were the deadliest air attacks in Somalia since November 2017 when the US said it had killed 100 militants. Somalia has seen a sharp increase in the number of airstrikes and casualties since President Donald Trump took office. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that at least 400 people have been killed in airstrikes since the beginning of 2017, far more than the previous 10 years combined. The latest strikes bring to at least 40 the number carried out in Somalia so far this year, compared with 35 recorded in 2017. [BBC]
Garowe Online reported that heavy fighting erupted on Saturday between Al-Shabaab and Daesh in the Bur area, resulting in casualties on both sides. The two terrorist groups are waging a war on each other over levies they impose on traders in Mogadishu and Bosaso.
DaeshDaily comment. So, now we know why several Daesh reports claimed they killed government tax and customs employees.
Daesh said that a group of Al-Qaeda in Somalia members was gathering near Bur Meirale, Puntland, southwest of Qandala city, on Saturday to attack Daesh positions, when a group of Daesh fighters attacked them, killing 14, wounding others, and capturing weapons and ammunition. Daesh said its terrorists “returned safely.” [ICDNDec16]
Leaders of countries in the Lake Chad region met in Nigeria to give fresh impetus to their fight against Boko Haram. The summit meeting, grouping Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Benin and the Central African Republic, is a follow-up to a November gathering in Chad called to tackle a surge in Boko Haram attacks in the restive region. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the meeting was “a clear demonstration of the resolute commitment” that the countries attach to the fight against Boko Haram. [ZBC]
Daesh said it killed a Nigerian Army soldier and wounded another near Gambor town, in the Lake Chad area, on Friday. [A3maq]
The Friday evening attack by Boko Haram on soldiers in the Gudumbali area of Borno State left many soldiers dead, military sources in the state have said.
The Nigerian Army, however, said only one soldier was killed in the attack. The army also said it successfully repelled the attack and killed many of the insurgents.
The Nigerian Army on Sunday said it repelled an attack on Gudumbali on Friday. One soldier was killed and another wounded in the firefight. Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement that troops “repelled an infiltration by suspected Boko Haram terrorists that came disguised as civilian Internally Displaced Persons.” Nwachukwu said the militants “took advantage of the ongoing distribution of relief materials” by the army and opened fire on troops. This was followed by fire “from other terrorists in gun trucks along the Gudumbali-Kukawa axis.” Trucks carrying humanitarian aid were set on fire, and a Cobra Armored Personnel Carrier and a military truck were also damaged.
Troops “inflicted heavy casualties” on the attackers and recovered bodies, Nwachukwu said but did not specify how many. A “large quantity of ammunition” and eight rocket propelled grenades were also recovered.
Three military sources told Reuters on Sunday that at least 12 Nigerian soldiers were killed and dozens of others were missing after the attack on a military base and a nearby community in the Gudumbali local government area. One source said 28 militants were killed. [PremiumTimes] [DefensePost]
On Sunday, Boko Haram lit on fire 100 Nigerian homes in a village near Maiduguri, Borno State, northeast Nigeria. [Ghad]
President Trump said he would review the case of Major Matt Golsteyn, a US Special Forces soldier who was charged with murder after Golsteyn shot and killed a man he suspected was a bomb-maker for the Taliban. The case was originally investigated, without any charges being filed, in 2011. [Khaama]
Taliban political leaders were expected to meet with Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, in the UAE on Monday. Earlier reports had suggested the meeting would take place in Islamabad. [Khaama]
A roadside IED explosion killed 6 civilians in Logar Province, eastern Afghanistan. Logar security says the IED exploded while a civilian car was passing by. The Taliban is suspected to have planted the IED. [Rudaw]
A “prominent Taliban leader,” Mullah Ghulam Sakhi, was killed in a drone strike in Herat Province, western Afghanistan. [Khaama]
Daesh said it killed an Afghan intelligence officer with machine guns in District 11, in Kabul city, on Friday. [ICDNDec16]
Daesh said on Monday it killed three Afghan Army members and wounded two others with an IED near the gate of the Military Airport in Jalalabad city. [A3maq]
In another version, Daesh said it killed three Afghan Army Special Forces members and wounded two others with 2 IEDs near the airport. [ICDNDec17]
Daesh published on Monday a photo of one of its terrorists, saying he was killed in the Albu Kamal area in Syria. [ICDNDec17]
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