ISHM: January 13 – 19, 2017


Key Takeaways:

  • ISIS Brutality Worsens for Those in Western Mosul – The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mosul continued to climb over the past week to an estimated total 160 to 187 thousand since military operations to clear the city of ISIS militants began on October 17, representing an 11% increase in total displacements from Mosul in one week. The vast majority of IDPs are housed in temporary camps and emergency sites in Ninewa Province. The number of IDPs in need of immediate medical attention and trauma care rose significantly as well, with a 10% increase in new cases reported at facilities in Erbil. Despite the fact that 80% of Mosul’s infrastructure has been destroyed by ISIS and ongoing military operations, civilians are being encouraged to return to recently cleared parts of the city’s eastern half. In western Mosul, which remains tightly controlled by ISIS militants, reports of brutality, hostage-taking, torture, and execution of civilians refusing to cooperate with ISIS have steadily emerged. Food and water supplies in the west remain extremely limited (if available at all), contributing to a growing humanitarian crisis for trapped residents there. On January 14, 30 civilians were killed by an airstrike in western Mosul targeting a senior ISIS militant. The intended target escaped unharmed. The civilian fatalities signal the hazards of carrying out military operations in the west, which is considerably more densely populated and difficult to navigate for security forces. ISIS tactics, including the use of civilians as human shields, also create serious challenges for civilian protection. more…
  • Security Forces Clear ISIS from Eastern Mosul, Prepare for Protracted Battle in the West – On January 18, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi indicated that Iraqi Security Forces successfully cleared the eastern half of Mosul of ISIS militants. However, ISF operations commander Lt. General Abdul Amir Yarallah suggested that there are still several neighborhoods where ISIS militants are holding ground in the east. On January 15, ISF and the Iraqi Army’s elite Counter-terrorism Service (CTS) cleared militants from Mosul University and nearby facilities on the north end of the city as U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes continue to assist in targeting militants, IED factories, and arms depots. According to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation, an estimated 750,000 civilians remain trapped in western Mosul, where military operations will commence within the next two months. more…
  • Shakeups in Security Force Leadership in Western Anbar – A source in Anbar Operations Command reported that efforts to clear western Anbar Province of ISIS militants (begun one week prior, as previously reported in ISHM), have been put on pause until military operations in Mosul are complete. The source suggested that security forces do not have enough troops on the ground to hold land already cleared, raising concerns about leaving holes in the defense through which ISIS militants could pass. U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes continued to target ISIS positions, however. Perhaps unrelated, the Chairman of the Anbar Provincial Council, Abdel Wahab al-Sarhan, announced an agreement with National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayed that the leader of certain key popular militias in Anbar, Rashid Falih, would be replaced. more…
  • Conditions in Hawija Remain Dire, Though Military Operations May Begin Soon – ISIS militants burned a woman and her four children alive as they attempted to flee Hawija under the pretext of “leaving the caliphate.” The militants intercepted the family near the Hamrin Mountains, 59 kilometers south of the city. PMU Commander Hadi al-Amiri stated on January 17 that the clearing of Hawija (one of ISIS’s last strongholds outside of Mosul) would not take place until after military operations in Mosul conclude. However, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Shakhuan Abdullah, a Member of Parliament on the Committee for Security and Defense, have both said that operations in Hawija would begin soon. Also on January 17, Governor of Kirkuk Province Najmaddin Karim met with local security officials to discuss the coordination of security forces and announced his intention to travel to Baghdad to lobby Parliament for immediate assistance for the “liberation” of Hawija. (For more on Hawija, please see our report.) more…
  • Elections Pushed to September – The Council of Ministers officially selected September 16, 2017 as the date for the next provincial elections – an extension of five months from the original date in April. The Council of Ministers and Parliament have agreed that the ongoing operations in Mosul and security situation throughout the country necessitated the delay. more…
  • Protesters Demand Better Security, Abadi Responds and Baghdad Governor Dismissed – On January 13, influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to protest insufficient security in Baghdad. Thousands of protesters occupied Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, objecting to Baghdad’s “worsening security vacuum” and security force efforts to shut down protests on the same subject the week prior. The following day, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Iraq’s security council to discuss a renewed emphasis on raising public awareness of terrorist threats and means to prevent attacks. On January 18, al-Abadi directed security agencies to increase their presence around schools throughout the country in order to protect teachers, administrators, and students from potential acts of terrorism. On January 19, the Baghdad Provincial Council voted to dismiss Baghdad Governor Ali al-Tamimi, ostensibly on charges of corruption, but perhaps due – in part – to recent failed security efforts as previously reported in ISHM. 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.

ISIS Brutality Worsens for Those in Western Mosul

Jan. 13 Jan. 14 Jan. 15 Jan. 16 Jan. 17 Jan. 18 Jan. 19
Total IDPs 144,588 145,068 148,092 156,126 160,836 162,042 158,928
Daily Net Change -24 +480 +3,024 +8,034 +4,710 +1,206 -3,114

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Displaced from Mosul and Surrounding Areas Since Military Operations Began on October 17.
Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM).

On January 13, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 144,588 internally displaced persons (IDP) are currently displaced from Mosul and the surrounding areas since operations to clear Mosul of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants began on October 17, 2016.  Over 126,000 IDPs are housed in camps and emergency sites operated by IOM, various UN agencies, and the Iraqi government, and the vast majority are still in need of humanitarian assistance. IOM visited the town of Gogjali, located on the outskirts of eastern Mosul, and distributed 700 non-food item relief kits containing blankets, hygiene kits, kerosene heaters, and other essential items to IDPs living in the town. Gogjali is a “hub to where Iraqis escaping Mosul arrive” and has seen thousands of IDPs pass through on their way to other camps and emergency sites.

On January 13, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) reported that a total of 16,361 civilian deaths occurred in 2016, with an average of 1,300 deaths each month. This number is vastly different from the UN civilian death figures for 2016, which amounted to 6,876 deaths. The UN does not have data regarding civilian deaths in Anbar Province for the months of May, July, August, and December; a possible explanation for why their figures are lower than IBC’s. However, according to IBC, Anbar Province experienced 1,742 civilians deaths, a far cry from the nearly 10,000 civilian deaths that are not included in the UN data. It should be noted that UN figures regarding civilian deaths in Iraq tend to be conservative, while IBC figures tend to be more liberal. IBC reported that executions account for the largest number of civilian deaths, totaling 7,170 deaths in 2016, while death by non-suicide improvised explosive device (IED), air attack and shelling, and suicide bombing remained high, accounting for a total of 8,015 deaths. However, airstrikes and shelling account for 41% of child deaths, while executions are responsible for 29% of child deaths. Of the cases for which perpetrator information was available, ISIS militants were responsible for approximately 88% of adult male deaths, 65% of adult female deaths, and 59% of child deaths. Unsurprisingly, Ninewa Province experienced the highest death toll in 2016 with 7,431 deaths, followed by Baghdad Province with 3,714 deaths, and Anbar Province with 1,742 deaths. IBC records civilian deaths as a result of military intervention in Iraq since 2003 using media reports, reports of bodies found, and reports from hospitals, morgues, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). When available, IBC records details about the deceased and the circumstances of their death.

On January 14, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that a total of 3,254 injuries were recorded at the Emergency and West Emergency hospitals in Erbil, 85 kilometers east of Mosul, since the operation to clear Mosul of ISIS militants began on October 17, 2016. The WHO recorded 287 new cases from January 7 to January 14, an increase of almost 10%. An estimated 48% of cases were civilians and 11% were children under the age of 15. Trauma Stabilization Points in eastern Mosul recorded 2,406 injury cases, of which 8% were children. The WHO also announced that the new Primary Health Care Center is under construction at Qayara Airstrip Camp, located 77 kilometers south of Mosul, that will offer services including vaccinations, reproductive health, and outpatient services to the 15,000 IDPs who currently live in the camp.

On January 14, an airstrike targeting senior ISIS militant Harbi Abdel Qader killed 30 civilians in the al-Jadida neighborhood in western Mosul. Qader was not in his house at the time, however, several of his family members were killed in the airstrike. It is not clear if the airstrike was part of the U.S.-led coalition or carried out by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

On January 15, ISIS militants burned five houses in the al-Andalus neighborhood of western Mosul when residents refused to pay donations to the militants. Due to the incident, the families are now displaced, however, the number of individuals displaced as a result of the incident is unclear.

On January 16, dozens of displaced families fled Mosul and reached al-Wafa, 35 kilometers west of Ramadi in Anbar Province. The families will be relocated to a camp 18 kilometers west of Ramadi to better access humanitarian assistance. The Human Rights Committee in Parliament reported that 187,000 IDPs have been displaced from Mosul and the surrounding areas since operations to clear Mosul of ISIS militants began on October 17, 2016, however, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that there are 160,836 IDPs displaced from Mosul and the surrounding area.

On January 16, Member of Parliament Nora Albjara warned of “acute” shortages of medical supplies and an increase in chronic diseases in IDP camps, and urged the Ministry of Health to intervene immediately to “save the lives of hundreds of patients.” Albjara made site visits to all IDP camps in Ninewa including Khazar Camp, 47 kilometers northeast of Mosul, and Hassan Sham camp, 32 kilometers northeast of Mosul.  

On January 16, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) distributed food and relief kits to more than 4,000 people and provided health services to more than 1,500 people in the al-Bakir and al-Tamim neighborhoods of eastern Mosul. In addition, IRCS teams received more than 832 IDPs at Khazar camp, located 47 kilometers northeast of Mosul, and distributed 2,000 ready-to-eat meals, as well as cooking supplies and water to the newly displaced. Established in 1932, the IRCS is an “independent national humanitarian society” that seeks to provide relief to those suffering in times of “peace, war, natural disasters, and non-natural disasters” by providing medical assistance and disaster relief, searching for missing persons, and providing first aid training to volunteers to prepare them for emergency situations.

On January 16, the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported that there is a severe lack of mental health care providers in Iraq, noting that there are only 80 clinical psychologists working in the country, an increase of just 33 practitioners since 2010. Universities in the country do not offer clinical psychology as a degree and many of the existing mental health care providers are overworked. Despite the disparity, there is a growing need for practitioners as more people are subjected to ISIS violence and forced to flee their homes. Cases of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal ideation are very common. Currently, Médecins Sans Frontières‎ (MSF) is the only aid group with specialists that treat severe mental health cases of those displaced from Mosul. From January 2016 to April 2016, MSF reported a total of 48,341 consultations, of which 8,524 related to mental health, and facilitated 5,363 group counseling sessions. MSF’s mental health specialists currently see 45 patients per day.  

On January 17, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 160,836 IDPs are displaced from Mosul and the surrounding areas, an 11% increase since January 13. One percent of IDPs are living in shelters “unsuitable for habitation,” 73% of IDPs are housed in camps while another 11% are housed in emergency sites, and the vast majority of IDPs are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.  

On January 17, an anonymous source reported that ISIS militants are taking women and children hostage in the al-Zinjili neighborhood in central Mosul in the event that men refuse to join ISIS. The source indicated that ISIS militants “stormed” into the homes of seven families who refused to join the terrorist group and took members of their families hostage. While exact numbers and the location of the hostages is unknown, the anonymous source believed that children as young as five years old were abducted.  

On January 17, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) announced that it will build five schools and three medical clinics in Erbil and Dohuk Provinces to serve IDPs displaced from Mosul and the surrounding areas. In addition, the KRCS will supply the students with desks, backpacks, and other classroom supplies and estimates that construction will be completed in two months.

On January 18, Member of Parliament Majid Chenkali called for an expedited security clearance procedure to allow IDPs to return to cleared areas of eastern Mosul, despite the precarious security situation. In addition, nearly 80% of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed, and ISIS maintains control of one of the city’s three hospitals.

On January 18, Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization, opened a field hospital 10 kilometers outside Mosul to treat soldiers and civilians injured by ISIS violence. The hospital consists of an emergency room, 50 beds, and two operating rooms. This field hospital is the closest facility to Mosul and will treat the most seriously injured patients. Established in 1970, Samaritan’s Purse provides “spiritual and physical aid” to victims of war, poverty, disease, and natural disasters worldwide.

On January 18, the Ministry of Migration and Displacement announced the return of 1,200 IDPs to the Kokjla neighborhood in eastern Mosul. In coordination with the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Migration and Displacement allocated 15 buses and seven trucks to transport the IDPs and their belongings from Khazar camp, 47 kilometers northeast of Mosul, where they were housed. Khazar camp official Hassan Sham Mustafa Hamid noted that in the coming days, more IDPs should be able to return to their homes in Mosul, however, the security situation in the city remains uncertain.

On January 19, IOM reported that 158,928 IDPs are currently displaced from Mosul and the surrounding areas since operations to clear the city of ISIS militants began on October 17, 2016, an increase of 14,316 individuals since January 12. Ninewa Province still hosts the largest number of IDPs totalling 154,182 individuals, or 97% of all IDPs. Currently, 84% of IDPs are hosted in camps or emergency sites, with the greatest number of IDPs living in Khazar camp located 47 kilometers northeast of Mosul. In the last week alone, the population of camps and emergency sites increased by 6%.

Security Forces Clear ISIS from Eastern Mosul, Prepare for Protracted Battle in the West

On January 15, Al-Shafaaq News reported that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is using drones to drop bombs on civilians in Mosul. According to one medic, this use of drones is a new tactic by ISIS forces.

On January 15, Operations Command in Mosul announced the clearing of the Presidential Palaces and Kafaat Thani, two areas around Mosul University. The University itself was cleared on Saturday, although the effort to clear it of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other dangers continues.

On January 16, the mosque of the Nabi Yunus, which is about a kilometer south of the Ninewa Ruins, was cleared by ISF forces. The mosque was taken in 2014, and subsequently destroyed by ISIS in July 2014. On January 18, a mass prayer gathering was organized at the ruins of the mosque, including people from different backgrounds and sects. On January 19, the mastermind of the destruction of the mosque, a man known as Abu Talha Afri, was killed by unknown assailants in a vehicle-based IED attack.  

On January 17, the commander of operations for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in Mosul, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, announced the clearing of the neighborhoods of Bab al-Shams and Souq al-Aghnam. Both neighborhoods are in the eastern Mosul, near the already cleared industrial district. It is reported that 60 of 80 neighborhoods in eastern Mosul are now cleared of ISIS militants.

On January 17, ISF cleared the neighborhoods of Suez, Sennacherib, and Algeria in eastern Mosul, near the Ninewa Ruins. Also cleared were the Canadian Facility and the former headquarters of the Second Brigade north of Mosul University, and the Namaniya area to the south of Mosul.  

On January 17, a local source reported the sound of an explosion in the Ekab area, about 7 kilometers west of the Tigris in Mosul. The incident is reported to have been in one of the largest workshops creating vehicle-based IEDs in west Mosul, but it is unknown if the explosion was due to a miscalculation by ISIS militants, or the result of an airstrike by ISF or U.S.-led coalition forces.

On January 17, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that ISF troops fighting ISIS had begun “moving” in western Mosul. Iraqi forces do not yet have complete control of the east side of the city, but have been making rapid progress.

On January 18, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation (ECHO) reported that operations to clear western Mosul of ISIS militants could begin within two months, culminating in Tal Afar, a city in western Ninewa Province located 63 kilometers west of Mosul. ECHO estimates that 750,000 individuals are still inside western Mosul, while 30-50,000 individuals are inside Tal Afar.

On January 18, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi released a statement announcing that the basic plan to clear eastern Mosul was complete, despite pockets of resistance still present in some wooded areas and neighborhoods in the north. Later that day, Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah stated that eastern Mosul is not yet fully cleared. The Counter-terrorism Force (CTS) has completed its assignments on the east bank, but there are still areas where ISIS militants are holding ground.

On January 18, the Directorate of Military Intelligence announced that they had found the headquarters of ISIS in eastern Mosul, in which they found laptops and communication devices, as well as military uniforms. The report stated that there were documents and books in Arabic, Russian, and Tajiki on the topic of “obscurantist ideas,” as well as important information on the organization of ISIS.  

On January 18, the Military Media Cell announced an airstrike on ISIS militants at the al-Kindi Military Facility on the north side of eastern Mosul. They reported that the strike killed 21 militants, and destroyed several of their vehicles.

On January 18, an unnamed security source reported the deaths of nine police officers at a security checkpoint on the border of Diyala and Salah ad-Din Provinces. Member of Parliament, Raad al-Maas, demanded an immediate investigation into the event, saying that backup for the police under fire did not arrive for hours.

On January 19, Mosul Operations command announced the clearing of the town of Tilkaif, 15 kilometers northeast of Mosul. Progress was also made in the areas around Mosul University, where pockets of ISIS are still present, despite the majority of The University being cleared this week.

Shakeups in Security Force Leadership in Western Anbar

On January 13, an anonymous source in Anbar Operations Command reported that the efforts to clear western Anbar Province of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants, which began the week before, have been put on pause until the clearing of Mosul is complete. The source said that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) did not have enough troops on the ground to hold the land that they had already cleared, raising concerns about leaving holes in the defence through which ISIS can pass. Local sources suggested that the pause is due to a desire to not impede the progress in the clearing of Mosul, and it has been reported that the commander of the ISF forces in Anbar, Major General Ismail Mahlawi, has been dismissed from his position.

On January 14, Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) commander Colonel Shakir Obeid al-Dulaimi reported significant shortages of medical supplies, drinking water, petroleum products, and an increase in school closures in the town of Ar-Rutba, a predominantly Sunni town where the al-Waleed border crossing is located, approximately 110 kilometers from the Syrian border. Col. al-Dulaimi urged for increased government support to rehabilitate drinking water treatment plants, and reported that the security situation in the town was “stable”.

On January 14, ISIS militants attacked a security checkpoint, leaving one policeman dead and three others wounded west of Ramadi (110 kilometers west of Baghdad). The next day in Diyala Province, one police officer was killed and four policeman were wounded in a similar attack on a checkpoint in the Muqdadiyah Province, 35 kilometers northeast of Baquba.

On January 17, the Chairman of the Anbar Provincial Council, Abdel Wahab al-Sarhan, announced that an agreement had been reached with National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayad to replace the captain of the PMUs in Anbar, Rashid Falih, as well as other leaders within those organizations.

On January 18, state television announced the bombing of ISIS positions in western Anbar Province, resulting in the deaths of multiple militants, including foreigners from Russia and Tajikistan. The report did not specify where the U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes happened within the province.

On January 19, the Security and Defense Committee of the Iraqi Parliament reported three unfavorable aspects about the leadership of the PMUs in Anbar Province. Committee member Mohammed al – Karbouli confirmed that there had been complaints made, and that investigations were still underway.

Conditions in Hawija Remain Dire, Though Military Operations May Begin Soon

On January 13, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants burned a woman and her four children alive as they attempted to flee Hawija, located 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City, under the pretext of “leaving the caliphate.” ISIS militants intercepted the family in the village of al-Hamal near the Hamrin Mountains, 59 kilometers south of Hawija, doused them with gasoline, and burned them alive in front of a group of civilians.

On January 13, a Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) operating in the area around Hawija, announced that they had shot down an ISIS drone in the Hamrin mountains. Hawija is located 60 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, and is currently under ISIS control.

On January 17, PMU commander Hadi al-Amiri stated that the clearing of the city of Hawija would not begin until after Mosul is under control of the government, as the splitting of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is unadvisable. However, Shakhuan Abdullah, a member of the Iraqi Parliament who sits on the Committee for Security and Defense, and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi have both stated that the effort to retake Hawija would begin soon.  

On January 17, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that over 16,000 IDPs have fled Hawija in the last two weeks alone, with most being housed in camps in Kirkuk. However, as camps in Kirkuk reach capacity, many IDPs are fleeing to Salah ad-Din Province to Al Alam 2 camp in Tikrit. The UNHCR has prepared 4,300 tents and plots, and 3,500 kits of essential items in existing camps in Kirkuk to facilitate new arrivals. The UN has requested US$ 578 million for 2017 to support IDPs and Iraqi refugees, of which two percent has been funded.

On January 17th, The Governor of Kirkuk Province, Dr. Nejmadin Karim, met with local security officials to discuss coordination and communication with security forces based in Baghdad to ensure the defeat of ISIS in his territory. Of chief concern was ISIS’s control of Hawija, an important industrial city in Dr. Karim’s province. Dr. Karim stated that he intends to travel to Baghdad to lobby Parliament for assistance for the “liberalization” of Hawija.

Elections Pushed to September

On January 16th, Iraqi Parliament met to consider four draft laws as well as candidates for Federal Public Service. The four laws under consideration are: new rules for how shares of oil revenue are allocated between province and producere (1), changes to the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (2), amendments to Iraq’s General Amnesty Law, adding new restrictions on who can apply for amnesty (3), and lastly, a revamping of Iraq’s Companies Act of 1997 (4). The Independent Higher Electoral Commission regulates Iraqi elections. Created in 2004, the commission is headed by a 9 member board, 7 of which are voting Iraqis, as well as Chief Electoral Officer, and an outside advisor. Some criticism has been levied at the commission for arbitrarily banning candidates due to political differences. The new amendment is engineered to increase transparency. Iraq’s General Amnesty Law can be traced back to 2004 when the provisional government jailed thousands of Shia protesters. The law split Iraqi Parliament along sectarian lines, and is indicative of ongoing tension between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni community. Some claim that the amnesty law gives a reprieve to terrorists, and the recent rules were introduced to refine who can apply for amnesty and under what circumstances. The Companies Act of 1997 is designed to prevent creditors and shareholders from fraud and conflicts of interest, essentially to ensure greater transparency for the business sector. The law’s updates coincide with Iraq’s central bank’s intentions to modernize the country’s financial sector to better integrate with modern finance.

On January 18th, the head of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, Mohsen al-Sadoun suggested that rules for provincial legislative and district council elections could, hypothetically, change. In regard to the constitution of district councils, numbers would be reduced to a base of ten, and following that, for every additional 200,000 citizens after the first million, another council member would be added. The Iraqi Council of Ministers selected September 16, 2017 as the date for the next provincial legislative elections.

Protesters Demand Better Security, Abadi Responds and Baghdad Governor Dismissed

On January 13th, thousands of protesters occupied Baghdad’s Tahrir Square in opposition to the Iraqi government’s suppression of last week’s protests (as previously reported in ISHM). This controversy revolves around Baghdad’s worsening security vacuum, which has facilitated a rapid increase in terrorist activity. Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to stage a sit-in to force the government to dedicate more resources and attention to Baghdad’s state of security. Al-Sadr leads the Sadrist movement, an organization mainly supportive of poverty-stricken Shias. According to the protesters, the Iraqi government inexplicably utilized riot police to destroy the protester’s tents and encampments, arresting many in the process. Hundreds also took to the streets of Babylon in the Babil Province in support of al-Sadr’s followers in Baghdad.

On January 14th, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with his security council to discuss ongoing operations against ISIS, with an emphasis on Mosul. Military and security intelligence officers briefed al-Abadi as well. Finally, al-Abadi discussed renewed emphasis on working with the public to raise awareness of threats to prevent terrorist attacks.

On January 16th, Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr met with Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) leader Abu Mahdi Mohandes to discuss security and humanitarian concerns throughout Iraq. The PMU is mainly comprised of Shia groups and receives funding from the state. Because of their Shia composition, some have alleged ties to Iran.

On January 17th, Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Vice Presidents Nouri al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi released a statement stressing the importance of reunifying Iraq’s disparate communities after ISIS is expelled from Iraqi territory. The leaders claim to understand that the only tenable path forward is for a unification of the multiple political factions, arguing that if unification efforts fail, terrorism will continue. The leaders placed special emphasis on finding common ground between the communities, such as economic growth, in order to help build a common ethos and promote stronger inter-identity ties.

On January 18th, president of the National Alliance, Anmar al-Hakim, and president of the National Coalition, Iyad Allawi, met to discuss political relations after ISIS is defeated. The leaders spoke of the need for a comprehensive joint-political project (no specifications of how this would manifest were given) with an emphasis on building relationships between formerly segmented communities to engineer a more unified society. The National Alliance is a joint list, originally comprised of 22 parties, and acts as a political body for many in Iraq’s Shia communities. The National Coalition, also known as the Iraqi National Movement, was formed in 2010 to contest the parliamentary election. Ideologically, the National Coalition identifies as secular and centrist. The National Coalition also has officials from both the Shia and Sunni communities.

On January 18th, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi directed security agencies to increase their presence around schools to protect teachers, administrators, and students from terrorist attacks. Additionally, al-Abadi announced he would prosecute those that would abuse students or teachers for prejudiced reasons. This comes as Iraq begins to plan for its post-ISIS rebuilding.

On January 18, Iraq’s ambassador to Turkey, Hisham al-Alawi, stated that Iraq has, and continues to, provide intelligence to Turkey on everything from ISIS to cyber security. In regard to intelligence concerning ISIS, al-Alawi described how militants fleeing Mosul may have crossed the border into Turkey. Al-Alawi also stressed the importance of resettling ethnic minorities ISIS forced into exile, describing lingering grievances as potential security threats.

On January 19, a simple majority of the Baghdad Provincial Council voted to dismiss Baghdad Governor Ali al-Tamimi. The Governor had been questioned in sessions last week and this week over allegations of corruption.

01/19/17Hawija, Hamrin Mountains, Southwest of Kirkuk78
01/19/17Farat, West Baghdad02
01/18/17Madain, Southeast of Baghdad14
01/18/17Arab Jabour, South of Baghdad03
01/17/17Nahrawan, South of Baghdad14
01/17/17Rashidiyah, North of Baghdad05
01/17/17Abu Dashir, South of Baghdad28
01/017/17Abu Dashir,
 South of Baghdad
North of Baquba
01/15/17Khalis, North of Baquba920
South Baghdad
01/15/17Madain, South of Baghdad04
01/14/17Khalis, North of Baquba, Diyala Province24
 West of Baghdad02
01/14/17Central Baghdad13
01/13/17Suwaib, Southwest 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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