ISHM 53: March 4 – March 10, 2016

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ISHM LOGOKey Takeaways

  • This week, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) cleared the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) from the villages of Albu Obeid and Albu Bali in eastern Ramadi, and from al-Asaria and Zankura villages to the northwest of the city. In the district of Garma, east of Fallujah, an ISIS assault on a Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) headquarters killed six members of the PMUs. This continues a pattern of leadership targeted attacks by ISIS, likely intended to disrupt the momentum of Iraqi forces and associated militias operating in Anbar. Also in Garma, the ISF repelled four vehicle-born improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks by ISIS. In northern Iraq, ISIS launched 37 Katyusha rockets loaded with what is thought to be chlorine gas into the center of Taza, 25 kilometers south of Kirkuk, reportedly suffocating an undisclosed number of civilians. Over the past year, there have been a number of unverified reports — primarily by Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga sources — of ISIS using chlorine and other chemical agents, suggesting the need for an independent investigation.
  • The provincial capital of Babil, al-Hilla, witnessed a deadly bombing that targeted a security checkpoint at the entrance of the city. The attack killed 33 people and injured 115 others. In Salah ad-Din, ISIS attacked a power plant in northeastern Baji, 40 km north of Tikrit.
  • In conjunction with International Women’s Day, UN Women, in partnership with Iraq’s parliamentary committee on women, held a high-level meeting at the Iraqi Council of Representative, calling for a greater role for women in decision-making. At the event, Hiba Qosas, UN Representatives for Women’s Affairs in Iraq, said that 51% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq are women and currently there are 1.6 million widows in the country.
  • Iraq’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs signed a two-year cooperation plan with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which aims to protect children, empower young people, and provide social support for families under the poverty line. In Diyala, the Director of the Migration and Displacement office in the province, Ebtehal al-Dayni, announced the return of 4,871 displaced families to their homes to the areas of Jalawla and Sa’adia, in northeast Baquba. This week, the security advisor to the Governor of Salah ad-Din, Ibrahim Dhiab, announced that more than 3,800 families have been displaced from Tikrit and Samarra, due active combat operations against ISIS.
  • Members of Iraq’s Council of Representatives have not received their salaries for January  and February of this year due to failure to pass the government 2016 budget. Also, Iraq’s fiscal crisis forced the province of Babil to suspend five major water filtratration projects this week, three of which were at least 90% complete.
  • Last Saturday, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk said in a meeting with Iraqi government and security officials in Baghdad that the United States is committed to helping Iraq defeat ISIS, supporting post-conflict stabilization in newly liberated areas, facilitating humanitarian assistance, promoting safe and voluntary return of IDPs, and overcoming the economic crisis.

The Fight Against ISIS in Iraq

On March 4, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) attacked a Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) in the district of Garma, east of Fallujah. The attack killed six PMU soldiers and injured four others and destroyed four of their vehicles.

On March 4, the International Coalition bombed an Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) convoy in Barwanah, 170 kilometers west of Ramadi. The strike killed 20 ISIS militants and destroyed the seven vehicles in which they were traveling.

On March 4, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) repelled four vehicle-born improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham on an ISF base in the Garma district, 19 kilometers east of Fallujah.

On March 5, aircraft of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) dropped hundreds of leaflets on the city of Fallujah, 58 kilometers west of Baghdad. The leaflets were directed at civilians, urging them to prepare for the imminent invasion of the ISIS-controlled city by the ISF and other anti-ISIS factions.

On March 5, Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) killed nine Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants and injured 13 others in an artillery attack on the village of Bashir, 30 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk.

On March 5, Turkmen forces attacked an Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) base in the village of Bashir, 30 kilometers southwest of Mosul. The artillery strike killed “three senior leaders” of ISIS.

On March 5, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) bombarded the villages of Sultan Abdullah and Tal al-Sha’ir, 60 kilometers south of Mosul. The attack killed 13 Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants and destroyed several of their defensive positions.

On March 6, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in conjunction with Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) and the International Coalition cleared the villages of Albu Obeid and Albu Bali, 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants.

On March 6, the Iraqi Air Force dropped thousands of leaflets over areas of Ninewa, including Mosul, instructing civilians to prepare for their liberation from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

On March 7, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) aircraft targeted Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants as they prepared to conduct suicide bombing missions. The airstrike killed 50 of them in Hawija, 45 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. In addition, those 50 casualties included a Sharia judge and seven of his aides who served under the judicial system of ISIS.

On March 7, Colonel Christopher Garver, spokesman for the international military coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), said Mosul will not be liberated in 2016. He estimated the number of soldiers required for the operation to be 24,000-36,000 and said there are several thousand ISIS fighters occupying Mosul, but not more than 10,000.

On March 8, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) cleared the village of Zankura, 10 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) forces. The ISF killed “dozens” of ISIS militants and destroyed their strongholds in the village.

On March 8, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) launched 37 Katyusha rockets loaded with what is thought to be chlorine gas into the center of Taza, 25 kilometers south of Kirkuk. There were “many cases” of suffocation amongst civilians caused by these rockets.

On March 9, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) killed nine Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The battle took place in Amiriyah Fallujah, 22 kilometers south of Fallujah.

On March 9, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) cleared the village of al-Asaria, 12 kilometers west of Ramadi, of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. In addition, ISF soldiers evacuated 6,000 families from the area to safer places where aid could then be distributed.

On March 9, Peshmerga forces began a bombing campaign on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)-controlled village of Beşiir Kasabasi, 30 kilometers south of Kirkuk. The campaign was started after hundreds of protesters in Taza Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk, called for the Iraqi government to approve operations to clear Beşiir Kasabasi.

On March 9, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) attacked a power plant northeast of Baiji, which is 40 kilometers north of Tikrit. The attack killed five policemen and wounded six other officers who were protecting the plant.

A Bloody Terrorist Attack in al-Hilla

On March 6, a deadly bombing targeted a security checkpoint at the entrance of the city of al-Hilla, 100 kilometers south of Baghdad. The attack killed 33 people and injured 115 others. The city has declared an official period of mourning for three days to honor the victims of the attack.

On March 9, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) attacked a power plant northeast of Baiji, which is 40 kilometers north of Tikrit. The attack killed five policemen and wounded six other officers who were protecting the plant.

International Women’s Day Highlights the Suffering of Iraqi Women

On March 7, the UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) UN Women, in partnership with the Women Parliamentary Committee, held an event at the Iraqi parliamentary Council of Representatives in Baghdad to commemorate International Women’s Day. At the event, the UN said women make up 51% of displaced persons and noted that there are 1.6 million widows in Iraq, further exacerbating their difficult condition.  A statement on the event stressed women as an untapped resource for government leadership and political involvement. It emphasized the need to respond to women’s issues broadly, and particularly humanitarian concerns for displaced women.

On March 8, the Iraqi Women’s League released a statement on International Women’s Day calling on the government to end gender discrimination and implement programs to give women equal opportunities. The League also highlighted humanitarian abuses suffered by displaced women, and called for expedient approval of the Domestic Violence Act to protect women.

The Humanitarian Situation in Iraq

On March 4, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs signed a two-year joint cooperation plan with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that includes three objectives: the protection of children, the rights of young people, and  providing social support for families that are below the poverty line. The plan also ensures to support displaced children and re-integrate them into society.

On March 4, the Jalula Directorate in Diyala province announced the return of 500 displaced families of employees from various departments of Jalula and are being assisted as part of a reintegration program for the displaced.

On March 4, the Director of Jalula in Diyala province, Jacob Yusuf Ali, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the non-governmental organization (NGO) Doctors Without Borders and Jalula General Hospital, indicating that the NGO’s doctors will begin working soon within the parameters of a year long program. The memorandum also includes medical equipment repair, emergency electricity, and an Advisory Division.

On March 4, the Displacement and Migration Office in Diyala announced that 4,871 families had returned to the liberated areas of Jalawla and Saadia, 55km northeast of Baghdad.

On March 4, the Governor of Salah ad-Din announced the return of 150 families to the peace village in Baiji.

On March 6, the government of Salah ad-Din announced more than 3,800 families had been displaced by liberation operations. It requested that the government and humanitarian organizations provide aid to the displaced.

On March 8, a source in the Peshmerga security forces reported that 200 people have fled to Kirkuk from areas southwest and north of the city which are controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

Iraq’s Financial Crisis Forces the Suspension of Major Projects

On March 6, the Babil Directorate reported it had been forced to suspend five major water filtratration projects due to insufficient funding, three of which were at least 90% complete.

On March 4, Turkmen Deputy Niyazi Moamar Owghlu said Members of the House of Representatives have not received their salaries for January and February due to the failure to pass the government budget.

The United States Re-Affirms its Commitment to Help Iraq

On March 5, the American officials announced that the US Air Force would begin deploying the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber in Iraq and Syria to help lead the International Coalition. The aircraft will be replacing the currently deployed Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber and could begin conducting bombing missions as soon as early April.

On March 5, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk said the U.S. is committed to helping Iraq overcome its economic challenges. In accordance with the Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, the U.S. will defer a $2.7 billion payment for security equipment in order to accelerate Iraqi security operations in the coming months.

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
03/04/16Al-Amin al-Thaniyah,
Eastern Baghdad
27
03/04/16al-Wardia,
South of Baghdad
110
03/04/16Mahmudiya,
South of Baghdad
16
03/04/16Husseiniya,
North of Baghdad
27
03/04/16Dora,
Southern Baghdad
15
03/05/16al-Kraat,
Northern Baghdad
25
03/05/16al-Mada'in District,
South of Baghdad
23
03/05/16al-Za’franiyah,
Southeastern Baghdad
17
03/05/16Palestine Street,
Eastern Baghdad
11
03/06/16al-Gazaliyah,
Western Baghdad
17
03/06/16Sabaa al-Bour,
North of Baghdad
29
03/06/16Jamila,
Northeastern Baghdad
12
03/06/16Hilla,
South of Baghdad
33115
03/07/16Abu Ghraib,
West of Baghdad
28
03/07/16al-Kifah,
Central Baghdad
25
03/07/16al-Dawanim,
Southwestern Baghdad
15
03/07/16Husseiniya,
North of Baghdad
25
03/07/16al-Bayaa,
Southern Baghdad
16
03/07/16Hawija,
Southwest of Kirkuk
50
03/07/16al-Sha'ab,
Northeast of Baghdad
17
03/07/16Dora,
Southern Baghdad
15
03/08/16Bakri,
Western Baghdad
37
03/08/16al-Tarmia District,
North of Baghdad
24
03/08/16Abu Dashir,
Southern Baghdad
17
03/08/16Furat,
Southwestern Baghdad
24
03/09/16Nahrawan,
Southeast of Baghdad
24
03/09/16Mahmudiya District,
South of Baghdad
29
03/09/16Husseiniya,
Northern Baghdad
16
03/09/16Sheikh Omar,
Central Baghdad
27
03/09/16Mansour,
Northwestern Baghdad
16
03/10/16Arab Jibor,
Southern Baghdad
14
03/10/16al-Mada'in District,
South of Baghdad
28
03/10/16Husseiniya,
Northern Baghdad
16
03/10/16al-Gazliyah,
Western Baghdad
16
03/10/16Al-Amin al-Thaniyah,
Eastern Baghdad
25

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 (ISHM No. 53) was compiled and authored by EPIC Program Manager Taif Jany (@TaifJany).


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