ISHM: May 5 – 11, 2017

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Security Forces Push into Western Mosul; Civilians Return to Cleared Western Neighborhoods – Iraqi Security Forces continued their advance into ISIS-held western Mosul along two axes, making slow progress this week. On May 5, Federal Police Chief Rawad Shakir Jawdat announced that Federal Police cleared three villages northwest of Mosul, killing 23 ISIS militants. On the same day, the Ninth Armored Division of the Iraqi Army cleared the Kanisa and Mushirfa al-Thani neighborhoods in northwestern Mosul. On May 8-9, Iraqi Army and Counter-Terrorism Service forces cleared several additional neighborhoods in western Mosul, including the industrial areas of Valley Ekab and Ghanem al-Saeed, Haramat neighborhoods, and the Tammuz 30 neighborhood. American troops are reportedly embedded with these advancing forces, and on May 10, Member of Parliament for Ninewa Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, announced that one U.S. soldier was killed. As fighting continues, ISF reportedly transported 300 families sheltered at the Hamam al-Alil 1 camp, back to their areas of origin in western Mosul on May 9. The UNHCR reported that IDPs sheltered in eastern Mosul frequently return to cleared neighborhoods in the west to monitor their property. UNHCR has requested US$ 578 million in 2017 to support IDPs in Iraq and Iraqi refugees in the region; only 18% of that request has been funded.
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  • Humanitarian Situation in Mosul Evolves, UNHCR Opens New Camp for IDPs – On May 7, the UNHCR reported that some families have decided to return home to eastern Mosul, with 975 IDPs leaving camps north and east of Mosul between May 3 and 4. These returns come as humanitarian conditions inside Mosul’s liberated eastern neighborhoods and its environs evolve. On May 9, the Iraqi government and the UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization reopened the as-Salamiyah Water Treatment Plant in Nimrud, which will provide clean water for the Ninewa Plains – the first of 202 major stabilization projects approved by the Iraqi government in April. In western Mosul, where fighting against ISIS militants continues, civilians remain at great risk. On May 10, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that as many as 450,000 civilians could still be trapped in ISIS controlled areas of western Mosul. On May 9, the UNHCR opened the Hassan Sham U2 camp, located 32 kilometers east of Mosul. The facility can currently host 6,000 people, with an additional capacity of 3,000 after the second phase of construction is complete. Hassan Sham U2 is one of 12 IDP camps established by the UNHCR to manage the constant outflow of families from Mosul following the October 2016 start of operations against ISIS militants in the city. Since Iraqi Security Forces opened a new front against ISIS in western Mosul on May 4, the Iraqi government stated that nearly 22,000 civilians have fled militant-held territory in the city, risking their lives as they do so. more…
  • Anti-ISIS Forces Continue Operations in Anbar – Iraqi Security Forces and local armed groups continued their advance against ISIS in western Anbar Province this week, with air support from the U.S.-led international coalition and Iraqi Air Force. On May 7, ISF ground troops destroyed four ISIS headquarters in Rutba, 308 kilometers west of Ramadi. In recent weeks, airstrikes have increased against ISIS targets in Anbar, which is expected to remain an active theater of operations well after Mosul’s liberation. On May 9, Iraqi airstrikes killed 100 ISIS militants in multiple locations near the border with Syria. One day earlier, ISF backed by U.S.-led international coalition air support conducted search operations south of Haditha (160 kilometers west of Ramadi), killing 20 ISIS militants.
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  • U.S. Combat Troops to Maintain Advisory Role in Iraq Post-ISIS – On May 5, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that after ISIS’s defeat, the role of U.S. troops would end. He noted that there are no foreign combat troops on Iraqi soil. In response, an unnamed U.S. official reemphasized that negotiations are still early and that “nothing has been finalized.” Abadi confirmed that U.S. forces will continue to advise and train Iraqi forces, but not engage in active fighting. Meanwhile, on May 7, a delegation from the U.S.-led international coalition met with Iraqi Kurdish officials to discuss restructuring the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga. There are currently around 7,000 American soldiers in Iraq. more…
  • ISIS Launch Attack on Peshmerga Base with U.S. Presence; Hawija Security Continues to Deteriorate – On May 7, five ISIS suicide bombers dressed as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers attacked K1 Base, 20 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk City. Although U.S. troops are stationed at the K1 Base, none were injured in the incident. The attack highlights ongoing insecurity in Kirkuk Province, stemming in part from the ISIS-held town of Hawija. The militants have planned similar attacks from the town in the past, including a dramatic assault in Kirkuk City in October 2016 (as previously reported in ISHM). On May 8, ISIS militants executed 47 civilian prisoners including 12 of their own members near the al-Bakara airbase in Hawija, located 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.


Iraqi Security Forces Push into Western Mosul; Civilians Return to Cleared Western Neighborhoods

On May 5, Federal Police Chief Rawad Shakir Jawdat announced that Federal Police cleared three villages northwest of Mosul, killing 23 Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. Jawdat also reported that Federal Police have surrounded the western Mosul neighborhood of Hermat, and are moving toward the Fifth Bridge.

On May 5, the Ninth Armored Division of the Iraqi Army cleared the Kanisa and Mushirfa al-Thani neighborhoods in northwestern Mosul. The area cleared included the Monastery of Michael, less than a kilometer south of the Tigris.

On May 6, responding to social media criticism, the Military Media Cell stated that the fighting in Mosul is going as planned, and that casualties are within expected limits. The same day, Nayef al-Shammari, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Security and Defense, reported that ISIS lines are fracturing as the militants retreat from the Tammuz 17 and Zanjili neighborhoods before the oncoming Ninth Armored Division advances from the north.

On May 6, Jawad al-Tlabawi, a PMU leader in western Ninewa Province, stated that the anticipated fight to clear Baaj and al-Qiruwan (80 and 50 kilometers southwest of Tal Afar, respectively) will be difficult due to their proximity to the Syrian border, and ”the U.S. and Turkish interventions.” The PMUs have stated that their next goal is to clear Baaj, 160 kilometers southwest of Mosul, of ISIS.

On May 7, Mosul security forces and officials from the Department of Security discovered an improvised explosive device (IED) factory in the Faisaliyah neighborhood of eastern Mosul. The facility produced TNT and manufactured parts and explosives for IEDs.

On May 7, ISIS militants fired a number of Katyusha rockets onto a market in the New Mosul neighborhood of western Mosul, killing four civilians and wounding 13 others. An anonymous source reported that the dead were taken to a forensic medicine lab, and the wounded were treated at a nearby hospital.

On May 8, Iraqi Counter-terrorism Services (CTS) cleared the industrial areas of Valley Ekab and Ghanem al-Saeed on the western edge of Mosul. The same day, the Ninth Armored Division and the Rapid Response division of the Federal Police cleared the first of the Haramat neighborhoods.

On May 9, the Ninth Armored Division of the ISF cleared the Tammuz 30 neighborhood of western Mosul. The move gives them access to two more neighborhoods, Tammuz 17 and Haramat al-Thulatha. The CTS also cleared the northern industrial area in western Mosul.

On May 9, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reportedly transported 300 families sheltered at the Hamam al-Alil 1 camp, back to their areas of origin in western Mosul, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) teams tracked 11 families who voluntarily returned to that part of the city. The families report that basic services such as electricity and water, are still in short supply; however, they also report that they will try to stay in western Mosul unless the situation “significantly deteriorates”. The UNHCR also reported that internally displaced persons (IDP) sheltered in eastern Mosul frequently return to cleared neighborhoods in the west to monitor their property. The UNHCR has requested US$ 578 million in 2017 to support IDPs in Iraq and Iraqi refugees in the region, of which only 18% has been funded.  

On May 10, CTS cleared a grain warehouse that was reportedly an important center for ISIS’ car bomb operations in western Mosul, as well as the Maamel neighborhood. The same day, Federal Police cleared the neighborhood of Haramat al-Thani.

On May 10, Member of Parliament for Ninewa Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, stated that U.S. soldiers are fighting in Mosul, claiming that one died within the past five days. Jabouri alleged an unspoken agreement between the Iraqi government and U.S. forces, permitting American soldiers to engage in combat rather than just advise and train Iraqi troops. This contradicts a statement made by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on May 5, in which Abadi said that foreign troops fighting in Iraq would be a violation of their sovereignty.  

On May 10, Iraqi F-16s destroyed two IED factories in the Tal Afar district, 70 kilometers west of Mosul. The Military Media Cell stated that the airstrikes also “killed many terrorists and damaged ammunition and weapons.”

On May 11, the 15th Brigade of the Iraqi Army repelled an ISIS attack on the town of Sheikh Ibrahim, 50 kilometers west of Mosul. ISF killed four militants, wounded 14, and seized three vehicles.   


Humanitarian Situation in Mosul Evolves, UNHCR Opens New Camp for IDPs

May 5 May 6  May 7 May 8 May 9 May 10 May 11
Total IDPs No data No data 363,228 No data 368,706 No data 369,594
Daily Net Change No data No data +3,978 No data +5,478 No data +888

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Displaced from Mosul and Surrounding Areas Since Military Operations Began on October 17.

On May 6, The Washington Post reported that pool halls, which were prohibited under Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) rule, have reopened in eastern Mosul; yet another sign that life in that part of the city is returning to normal. Faris al-Abdali, owner of The Captain, a pool hall, spent 37 days in “pitch-dark solitary confinement” in an ISIS prison after he refused to close his establishment in 2014. He noted that he was hesitant to reopen The Captain after ISIS militants were expelled from eastern Mosul, stating “I was very nervous. We still don’t have full trust in the army.” In 2005, under al-Qaeda occupation, Abdali was forced to pay US$ 200 a month to al-Qaeda militants in order to keep The Captain open. He explained, “We had no choice…If you didn’t, they’d put a bomb outside.” For the first time in decades, Abdali does not have to pay bribes to keep his business open. Despite an eight o’clock curfew and that many people in eastern Mosul still struggle to pay for necessities, Abdali explained that many of his regular customers are slowly coming back. Salim Younes, a former Iraqi air force pilot and frequent patron of The Captain, noted that his life has been on “standby” until recently, adding “Step by step we will get there.” Mohammed Fathi, a 37-year-old gym teacher, added “The joy has returned, but it’s not complete yet…Not until the western side is finished. As for the future, we don’t know what will happen.”

On May 7, the Japanese government contributed US$ 16.7 million to the UN Development Program’s (UNDP) Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) and Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP), bringing Japan’s total funding to FFS and ICRRP to US$ 60 million since 2014. The additional funds will be used to support infrastructure and housing rehabilitation projects, support small businesses, and generate employment activities in areas that host large populations of internally displaced persons (IDP) and in areas recently cleared of ISIS militants. UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, noted “Helping to stabilize cities and districts is one of the most important things UNDP is doing in Iraq. Most of Mosul is already liberated, and the rest will be soon. We are moving very quickly to repair public infrastructure but there is a huge amount to do. Japan’s contribution will help us to rapidly expand our work. This is going to make a big difference.”

On May 7, Firas Abdullah Musait Shahab, a father of five from western Mosul, described the life-changing injuries he and his family sustained as a result of their escape from the city; injuries that will leave them permanently disabled. Shahab noted, “When the bomb went off, I collapsed…When I regained consciousness, I was still holding the hands of two of my children. They were both alive but badly injured. In a daze, I could see that one of them had lost an eye, while the other’s back was severely burnt. Next to me, I saw the lifeless body of my third son, whose abdomen had been ripped open, and my wife, also dead.” Shahab stated that he never wants to return to Mosul, adding “This war has caused me and my children a lot of psychological torment. It is difficult to come to terms with the loss of my wife, my son, and everything we owned.” The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 8,000 people, many of them civilians, have been treated for trauma injuries at field hospitals in and around Mosul since the western Mosul operation began on February 19, 2017. Many of these patients face permanent disability as a result of their injuries. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that at least 625 civilians from Mosul have lost an arm or a leg since the operation to clear the city started in October 2016.

On May 7, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported that 12,081 patients have been referred to hospitals in Mosul and the surrounding area since the operation to clear the city began on October 17, 2016. Nearly half of those cases were from western Mosul alone. In addition to high casualty rates, access to clean water and primary health services remains a concern in both eastern and western Mosul. In the east, humanitarian partners continue to truck in 3.1 million liters of water per day. The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has implemented a water treatment unit at Hamam al-Alil 1 camp, 20 kilometers south of Mosul, that will deliver an additional 50m³ of water to the camp per day. UNICEF also plans to install an interim water treatment plant in the Abu Saif area of western Mosul to provide water to newly accessible areas until other water treatment plants in the area are rehabilitated. Since the operation to clear Mosul began on October 17, 2016, more than 835,000 people in Mosul and the surrounding area received health consultations, with over 36,000 consultations taking place between May 1 and May 7. Of those consultations taking place over the last week, more than 8,000 were for children under the age of five.

On May 7, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 975 IDPs left camps north and east of Mosul between May 3 and May 4, and returned to areas in and around eastern Mosul. Based on interviews with more than 1,000 displaced families and 200 returnee families, the UNHCR concluded that lack of employment, lack of freedom of movement, and crowded conditions in IDP camps are the major reasons why families are leaving camps and returning to eastern Mosul. Families also noted that their decision to leave IDP camps was influenced by relatives in eastern Mosul who report that “the general situation in terms of services is slowly improving.” The UNHCR also reported that over 11,000 of the 18,736 family plots in UNHCR built camps ready to receive IDPs are currently occupied. Upon completion, the al-Salamiyah 2 camp, located 5 kilometers south of Hamam al-Alil, will be able to host an additional 60,000 IDPs.

On May 9, the UNHCR opened the Hassan Sham U2 camp, located 32 kilometers east of Mosul, and already received 150 IDPs. The camp can currently host a total of 6,000 individuals and will be able to accommodate an additional 3,000 upon completion of the second phase of construction. Each family that arrives to the camp will receive a tent, blankets, mats, and cooking supplies. UNHCR’s Iraq Representative, Bruno Geddo, noted “More than six months since start of the military offensive in Mosul, there is still massive displacement. Despite the enormous risks, the number of people fleeing West Mosul shows no sign of slowing down,” adding “We still fear more large outflows of people from the west of the city, which is why UNHCR and partners continue to prepare new camps ready to receive those fleeing Mosul, who are desperately in need of assistance.” Hassan Sham U2 camp is one of 12 camps the UNHCR has built in response to the continuous flow of IDPs from Mosul and the surrounding area. Al-Salamiyah 2 camp, an additional UNHCR camp under construction, will have a total capacity of 60,000 individuals once completed.

On May 9, the Iraqi government and the UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) reopened the as-Salamiyah Water Treatment Plant in Nimrud, located 30 kilometers south of Mosul. The plant is one of the first major stabilization projects completed since the Iraqi government approved 202 additional FFS projects in April, and will provide clean water to thousands of people in the Ninewa Plains. Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Dr. Mahdi Al-Alaq, noted “We are doing everything we can to help liberated areas rebuild after the destruction caused by terrorist Daesh. Providing basic services, such as clean water, is key to ensuring that displaced Iraqis can return home with dignity.” UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq and UN Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande added, “A lot needs to be done and we have promised the government and the people of Mosul that we will do everything possible to speed-up stabilization.” Since it was established in 2015, more than 800 FFS projects were completed or are being implemented across 22 locations in Iraq.

On May 9, the Public Library of Science published Mortality and kidnapping estimates for the Yazidi population in the area of Mount Sinjar, Iraq, in August 2014: A retrospective household survey. The purpose of the study was to provide the “first population-based estimates of the number and demographic profile of Yazidis killed and kidnapped” by ISIS militants when they overran Mount Sinjar in 2014. Current UN estimates put the number of Yazidis killed by ISIS militants between 2,000 and 5,500, with more than 6,000 kidnapped. Because the UN has not been able to independently verify these figures, the Public Library of Science used this study to glean more verifiable data that can be used to support a formal genocide investigation. The study found that 3,100 Yazidis were killed and 6,800 were kidnapped in the few days that ISIS attacked Mount Sinjar. While children were as likely as adults to be executed, they accounted for 93% of deaths on Mount Sinjar, and only accounted for 18.8% of those who were able to escape. While the study provides more clear data, analysis suggests that the “actual toll of killings and kidnappings” may be “underestimated” due to survival bias. In addition, the study uses a baseline figure of 400,000 for the number of Yazidis living Iraq in 2014, which is not an exact number.

On May 10, Iraqi government authorities reported that 22,000 civilians fled western Mosul since the new front opened in the north on May 4, with more than 11,000 civilians arriving to the Hamam al-Alil transit center in the last two days alone. Iraqi government figures also put the cumulative number of civilians displaced from Mosul at more than 600,000 since the operation started on October 17, 2016, with more than 400,000 currently displaced. Umm Abdul Rahman, who fled the city on Tuesday, revealed that ISIS militants are targeting any civilians who try to escape, but that some men are allowed to leave the city in exchange for helping militants’ families escape. Abdul Rahman noted that ISIS militants are forcing upwards of ten families into each house in northwestern Mosul, ostensibly to use them as human shields. Umm Mohammed, a 62-year-old woman who recently escaped the city, reported that she and her family burned everything they owned in order to cook when fuel ran out. She explained, “We saw fear and hunger and death. I am an old woman and I have never seen anything like this.”  

On May 10, the ICRC warned that as many as 450,000 civilians could still be trapped in ISIS controlled areas of western Mosul. Patrick Hamilton, ICRC deputy director for the Middle East, warned that civilians still trapped in western Mosul face “very stark choices” as violence escalates and food and water supplies continue to dwindle. Hamilton explained, “This population is not only exposed to the immediate dangers of the conflict itself and being either targeted or hit as collateral damage, but is also facing the effects of just no longer really having much access to the basic essentials that they need to live.” According to UN figures, as many as 200,000 civilians could flee the city in the final stages of the operation, which are anticipated to be the most difficult. The ICRC has deployed 150 expatriate staff and 1,000 nationals for the Iraq humanitarian operation, ICRC’s second largest mission after Afghanistan. ICRC mobile surgical teams work close to the front lines in western Mosul, while other ICRC surgeons work in the Rozhawa hospital in Erbil where 80% of eastern Mosul casualties were treated.

On May 11, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 369,594 IDPs are currently displaced from Mosul and the surrounding areas as a result of the operation to clear the city of ISIS militants which began on October 17, 2016, a net increase of 10,344 IPDs since May 4. Sixty-one percent of IDPs from Mosul and the surrounding area are housed in emergency camps, 26% live in private settings, 13% live in emergency sites, and less than 1% live in critical shelter arrangements or are unaccounted for. Cumulatively, 485,670 IDPs have been impacted by the crisis in Mosul since it began in October 2016. However, to date 116,076 IDPs have returned to their homes.


Anti-ISIS Forces Continue Operations in Anbar

On May 5, Anbar Security forces destroyed an Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) gas station in the desert approximately 160 kilometers west of Ramadi. The operation also destroyed a truck with a machine gun mounted on it, killing the militants in it.  

On May 7, Iraqi Security Force (ISF) ground troops destroyed four ISIS headquarters in western Anbar Province. The operation, with air support from the U.S.-led international coalition, targeted ISIS locations in the desert around Rutba (308 kilometers west of Ramadi) and resulted in the arrests of 12 suspected militants.  

On May 8, ISF troops backed by U.S.-led international coalition air support, in western Anbar conducted search operations south of Haditha (160 kilometers west of Ramadi). Covering an area of 100 kilometers, the troops killed 20 militants and destroyed three car bombs and “heaps of hardware.”     

On May 9, Iraqi airstrikes killed 100 ISIS militants in multiple locations near the border with Syria. The airstrikes killed 47 militants near Anah, and a futher 53 near Qaim, and destroyed multiple car bombs and a VBIED factory.

On May 10, an anonymous source reported that ISIS militants in Qaim opened fire on one another in a dispute over women newly transferred from Raqqa, leaving one militant dead and two wounded. The source stated that the women were both Arab and foreign, and that fights often break out among the ranks when ISIS women are moved around.


U.S. Combat Troops to Maintain Advisory Role in Iraq Post-ISIS

On May 5, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that after the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s (ISIS) defeat at the hands of U.S.-led International Coalition forces the role of American troops would end. He noted that there are no foreign combat troops on Iraqi soil. As a reply to this, an unnamed American official reemphasized that negotiations are still early and that “nothing has been finalized.” However, Abadi confirmed that American forces will continue to advise and train Iraqi forces. At the moment, American forces assist Iraqi forces in operations as advisers because an official combat role for foreign forces requires parliamentary approval. As a result of Iraqi parliament’s reluctance to approve this role for foreign forces, this distinction will remain for American soldiers. Currently, there are approximately 7,000 American soldiers in Iraq.

On May 7, a delegation from the U.S.-led international coalition met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials to discuss restructuring the Peshmerga to optimize its unity and strength. The delegation submitted a 35-point proposal focused on training the fighters and reorganizing the hierarchy, which the KRG accepted for discussion and consideration.

On May 9, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen, and said in a statement that, “We will further accelerate this fight to free people from ISIS’ crushing occupation and [the] enemy’s terror threat to Europe and beyond.” The Danish government agreed to increase its defense budget in order to assist more substantially with the anti-ISIS fight.  


ISIS Launch Attack on Peshmerga Base with U.S. Presence; Hawija Security Continues to Deteriorate

On May 7, five Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) suicide bombers dressed as Peshmerga attacked K1 Base, 20 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk City. One of the attackers detonated his explosive belt, killing two Peshmerga fighters and wounding another six. The Peshmerga shot and killed the other militants before they were able to detonate their explosives. The U.S. military command stated that, although American troops are stationed at K1 Base, none were injured in the attack.  

On May 8, Turkish forces carried out airstrikes on Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) locations in northern Dohuk province, in the Amadiya district. A local official, Mohummed Nahila, reported pillars of flame going up from the locations hit by the airstrikes, but did not know if there were any casualties.

On May 8, ISIS militants executed 47 civilian prisoners including 12 of their own members near the al-Bakara airbase in Hawija, located 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. ISIS’s so-called “mayor” of Hawija ordered the executions, according to an anonymous source. The source also reported that ISIS militants filmed the executions, but the source did not reveal the method of execution.

On May 8, Korsat Rasul, the Deputy Secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met with General Thomas Beckett, the chief counselor of the British Defense Ministry for the Middle East. Also attending the meeting was Saadi Ahmed Pira, the Chief of PUK Public Relations. Both officials discussed their combined efforts against terrorism in general and ISIS specifically. They also touched upon which anti-terror strategies were working and which were failing, and which initiatives to push forward to defeat ISIS more quickly. Rasul also thanked the the U.S.-Led International Coalition for their assistance in the fight against ISIS. Lastly, both groups agreed that Iraq’s rebuilding would not end with ISIS’s defeat and that there would need to be a considerable commitment from outside entities, such as governments and NGOs to properly develop Iraq and build democracy.

On May 9, the Kurdistan Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research announced the establishment of a Scientific Research Board and the provision of US$ 80,000 in funding. The goal of this new board is to direct the “policy framework, encourage, develop and activate research activities in various fields and specialization in the light of the scientific, technological, economic and political needs of the Kurdistan Region.” This new initiative follows recent comments made about reinvigorating Kurdish academia and higher education. On May 9, Najmadin Karim, the Governor of Kirkuk, met with a numerous officials from the Union of Kurdistan Teachers. This follows a newly announced initiative to improve Kurdish language? education. Both sets of officials discussed preparations for preliminary examinations to achieve a placement in higher education, as well as how to foment the best atmosphere for academic achievement. That Karim is meeting with Kurdish teachers is interesting because of the recent political situation in Kurdistan and Kirkuk surrounding an independence and annexation referendum for Kurdistan and Kirkuk, respectively.

On May 9, Saleh Musallam, the joint President of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, met with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. Both leaders discussed the ongoing crisis in Syria, security threats in western Kurdistan, and ways of combating terrorism. The Kurdish contingent suggested in the following press briefing that Hollande expressed support for the Kurdish fight against terrorism as well as efforts to cement democracy.

On May 9, Lahur Shekh Jangi, the Kurdistan Intelligence Chief in Kirkuk hosted a seminar in Kirkuk. Attending the seminar was a combination of university students and professors. Lahur proffered that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) played a unifying role in Kurdistan and Iraq, but that Mam Jalal’s retirement has hindered the ability of the PUK to pursue the same path as it has become more factional. Lahur continued, arguing that he does not expect there to be a referendum on Kurdish independence without the participation of Kirkuk and other Kurdish areas under Iraqi control.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
05/11/17Shula, North Baghdad410
05/10/17Shaab, North Baghdad02
05/10/17Abu Gharib, West of Baghdad10
05/09/17Abu Gharib, West of Baghdad05
05/09/17Naharwan, East of Baghdad02
05/09/17Suwaib, Southeast of Baghdad13
05/08/17South of Ramadi20
05/07/17Tarmiyah, North of Baghdad14
05/07/17Jisr Diyala, Southeast Baghdad01
05/07/17Arab Jabour, South of Baghdad03
05/07/17K-1 Military Base, 20km Northwest of Kirkuk26
05/06/17Abu Gharib, West of Baghdad03
05/06/17Jihad, West Baghdad20
05/05/17Ramadi56
05/05/17Zerga, South of Kirkuk03
05/05/17Arab Jabour, South of Baghdad03

 


Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.


Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center.


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