ISHM 45: January 8 – 14, 2016

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and tribal fighters conducted various missions targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Anbar and Nineveh provinces. Ramadi is not 100% cleared of ISIS as ISF and tribal forces continue to encounter pockets of resistance in Albu Aitha and al-Jazeera to the north of the city. Meanwhile, operations are underway to cut off supply lines to Mosul and increase pressure on ISIS as possible steps toward the retaking of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city that has been held by ISIS since June 2014.
  • The U.S. Department of State warned Iraqi officials that the Mosul dam, Iraq’s largest, is in danger of collapsing due to its unstable foundation and lack of maintenance for over a year. If the dam collapses, officials estimate that the resulting flood could kill 500,000 people and displace more than a million.
  • A new mumps epidemic has broken out in central Iraq. To date, the Iraqi Ministry of Health has recorded 7,000 cases with 80% of them occurring in al-Sadr city in eastern Baghdad. Additionally, as winter temperatures continue, six people have died of the flu.
  • Baghdad witnessed a bloody week, with ISIS carrying out bombings across the city killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens more. The attacks targeted mostly Shia neighborhoods. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones condemned these attacks and expressed his “sincere condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured in these brutal crimes.”
  • The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the Government of Iraq spent 1.25 trillion Iraqi dinars ($1.13 billion) in 2015 to assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq. Based on current estimates, 3.2 million Iraqis have been displaced since January 2014. In Kirkuk, local authorities reported a new wave of displacement from al-Hawija district as 2,000 families flee ISIS militants who continue to hold the area. In Sinjar, 5,000 IDP families returned to their homes, although local government authorities report that 80% of the city’s infrastructure is in need of repair.
  • Over the past 15 months, Iraq’s monthly oil revenue plummeted from 8 billion to less than 3 billion dollars, contributing to the country’s financial crisis. Despite the fall in revenue, provincial governors remain under tremendous public pressure to improve essential services and infrastructure. Baghdad’s governor is working with Chinese, Thai and European companies to improve the capital’s public education, health sector, and infrastructure. To the south, Maysan and Muthanna governorates announced multi-million dollar projects to improve access to clean water for residents.

Security Forces Clash with ISIS in Anbar and Nineveh

On January 8, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) killed 9 leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in al-Jawlan area in central Fallujah. Among those killed was Abi Khalil al-Afghani, one of the most prominent ISIS leaders in Fallujah.

On January 8, member of Anbar tribal council, Turkey al-Ayed al-Shimary, called on the United States security forces to put boots on the ground and participate with the ISF to help clearing out Heet, Qa’im, Rawah, Fallujah, and other towns captured by ISIS.

On January 8, joint security forces, accompanied by the Iraqi Air Force, killed 35 members of ISIS in Barwana, which is west of Anbar.

On January 9, International Coalition airstrikes killed 14 ISIS members in Nimrood subdistrict, 70 kilometers north of Mosul.

On January 11, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces killed nine ISIS members and wounded tens more in an artillery attack on Khorsibat village in Bashiqa subdistrict in northern Mosul.

On January 12, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) evacuated 500 families in al-Jwaiba, al-Sjariah, and al-Sofya areas 17 kilometers east of Ramadi. Security forces relocated the families to areas further away from the front with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) so as to more easily provide them with food, water, and medical services.

On January 13, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) killed 16 ISIS fighters. The fighting took place in al-Sofya, Jwaiba, and al-Toq areas east of Ramadi.

On January 13, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reported that 90% of the areas of Albuaath and al-Jazeera have been cleared of ISIS militants. It was further stated that the ongoing fighting in these areas north of Ramadi will be resolved in the next few hours.

On January 13, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) conducted an airstrike on an ISIS base in the al-Jamaheer neighborhood, located in al-Qa’im district in western Anbar. The strike killed seven senior ISIS members and wounded 11 others.

On January 13, the Jabour tribe killed 11 fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The fighting took place in Qayyarah, 55 kilometers south of Mosul.

Iraq’s Largest Dam Might Collapse, Threatening the lives of over 1.5 Million People

On January 10, United States officials warned the Iraqi government that the Mosul dam, Iraq’s largest, might collapse due to lack of maintenance for over a year. State Department officials estimated that “500,000 people could be killed while more than a million could be rendered homeless if the dam, Iraq’s largest, were to collapse in the spring, when the Tigris is swollen by rain and melting snow.”

On January 10, the Salah ad-Din Water Resources Directorate warned residents that live along the Tigris River of increased flood risk. Discharge of water from the Mosul Dam’s basin as well as heavy rainfall have contributed to high water levels and increased water speeds. Civilians living near the river have been warned to move to higher ground leave low-lying areas.

Mumps Epidemic Breaks in Iraq

On January 10, The Ministry of Health disclosed that 128 people were infected with the influenza virus and that six people had died from the disease. The ministry is urging all citizens who have flu-like symptoms to go to a health clinic for a diagnosis.

On January 10, the Ministry of Health and Environment announced that it has recorded 7,000 new cases of Mumps across Iraq. The Associate Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Muhammed Jabr, said that the “70% of these cases are among children aged 10-14 years old.” The Ministry also added that 80% of the cases occurred in al-Sadr City, in eastern Baghdad.

New Episode of Bombs Rock Baghdad and ISIS Holds 60 Families Captive in Kirkuk

On January 8, an anonymous security official announced that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is holding 60 families captive because they attempted to escape from al-Hawija district, in southwestern Kirkuk. ISIS called for all tribes from which the kidnapped belong to pledge their allegiance to ISIS and that they will release those who do not support the ISF, PMUs, and other security forces fighting ISIS.

On January 12, a roadside bomb exploded, resulting in 11 casualties. The bomb exploded in the evening south of Baghdad, killing two people and injuring nine. Those injured were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

On January 12, the Human Rights Commission condemned recent bombings in Baghdad and Diyala and the subsequent burning of mosques. The commission claims that terrorists are using these attacks to create sectarian division in Iraq and to increasingly destabilize the country. Furthermore, the commission called for limiting arms possession amongst state-armed groups, citing that the New Baghdad terror attacks were carried out by fighters in police uniforms.

On January 13, a bomb detonated and caused nine casualties in the Husseiniya neighborhood of northern Baghdad. Two people were killed and the seven wounded were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

On January 13, a bomb exploded in the Jihad neighborhood of west Baghdad, causing six casualties. One man was killed and five were wounded in the attack.

On January 13, American Ambassador Stuart Jones officially condemned the recent acts of terror in New Baghdad, Diyala, and Babil, offering his sincere condolences to the victims of the attacks and their families. The ambassador also reaffirmed American and coalition support for Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and his government.

On January 13, an explosive device killed two people and injured seven others in the Sheikh Omar district of central Baghdad. The bomb exploded in the morning near a popular restaurant.

On January 13, a roadside bomb exploded in the al-Obeidi district of east Baghdad. The bomb killed two people and injured six others near a popular market.

Over 1 Trillion Iraqi Dinars Spent on IDPs and Kirkuk Announces a New Wave of Displacement

On January 12, al-Hawija Police Chief, Col. Fatah al-Khafaji, said that “more than two thousands families, mostly women and children, have fled their homes in the areas of al-Hawija, al-Zab, al-Abasi, and al-Reshad in western Kirkuk due to lack to food and water resources in addition to ISIS’ threats.

On January 12, Sinjar welcomed the return of 5,000 displaced families to the city. However, the local government stressed that infrastructure is in ruins and that 80% of homes have been destroyed due to ISIS.

On January 13, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced that the Iraqi government spent 1 trillion and 250 billion Iraqi dinars on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq. OHCHR member Haiman Bajilan said that “3 million and 250 thousands Iraqis have been displaced since June 2014.” He pointed that 500 thousands IDPs are now located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Additionally, Minister of Migration and Displacement, Jasim Muhammed, announced that “73,000 IDP families have returned to their homes.”

On January 14, the Czech Republic donated $200,000 to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS) to help with the immediate needs of displaced persons returning to the newly-liberated towns.

Iraq’s Oil Revenues Drop by 70% while Baghdad looks into Rebuilding Its Infrastructure

On January 9, Governor of Baghdad Ali Muhsin al-Timimi signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese, Thai, and European companies to rebuild and develop the capitol’s education, health sector, and infrastructure.

On January 12, Asim Jihad, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Oil, said that Iraq’s “oil revenues have dropped from 8 to less than 3 billion dollars a month.”

On January 12, The Maysan Oil Company opened a plant to provide drinking water to the people of the Halfaya. The plant has a production capacity of 2,000 liters per day and the water will be provided to homes for free. Also, the government of Muthanna province announced that a desalination plant would be built on the Euphrates River to provide up to 120,000 cubic meters of clean, fresh water each day. The deal for the building of the plant was reached through negotiations with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and will cost $360 million over a two-year period.


Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor (ISHM) was developed by EPIC’s Senior Visiting Fellow Ahmed Ali (@IraqShamel). This week’s final report was compiled and authored by EPIC Program Manager Taif Jany (@TaifJany).