Sunday, May 20, 2018

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was quoted by Wladimir van Wilgenburg in "Experts: Low voter turnout shows disappointment of Iraqis in political system" for The Region, and by Paul Iddon in "Would a Kurdish speaker in Iraq's parliament change Kurd's fortunes in Baghdad?" for Rudaw.

Seat Allocation Announced For Iraq’s New Parliament

(Getty Images)
Iraq’s Election Commission announced the seat allocation amongst the winning lists. The previous results, which just covered which parties won in each province did not include the early votes case by the Iraqi Security Forces. Moqtada al-Sadr’s alliance with the Communists Sairoon remained in first place with 54 seats. It was followed by the pro-Iran Hashd Fatah with 47 seats, and Prime Minister Haidar Abadi’s Nasr with 42 seats. Vice President Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law moved up. Previously its best finish was 3rd in Baghdad. The extra votes moved it into fourth overall with 26 seats. The Kurdish vote was divide this year. The Kurdistan Democratic Party got the most seats with 25, followed by 18 for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, 5 for Gorran, 2 each for the Coalition for Democracy and Justice, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, the Kurdistan Islamic Group, and the New Generation. After the disastrous independence referendum, the KDP and PUK are attempting to rejoin national politics. The other major lists were Vice President Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya that got 21 seats, Ammar Hakim’s Hikma with 19, and Vice President Osama Nujafi’s Qarar with 13. The final results have still not been certified as there will likely be court cases against the results. The Kurdish opposition, Arabs and Turkmen are all accusing the PUK of cheating in Kirkuk for example. Some other parties are threatening lawsuits as well in other provinces.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 20


1941 German planes attacked British Habaniya air base in Anbar
1950 1st flight of Near East Air Transport Took Iraqi Jews to Israel Airline was
            owned by Jewish Agency who worked to get Jews to move to Israel
1950 When Israel created Iraqi govt banned immigration Mar 1950 govt allowed
temporary immigration for one year Stripped Jews of Iraqi citizenship and govt confiscated their property
1982 Iraq counterattacked against Iran’s Op Jerusalem in Khorramshahr
1984 Iraq sank Panamanian oil tanker in Persian Gulf in tanker war
1985 Iranian offensive into Iraqi southern marshes to seize Basra-Baghdad
            highway ended in failure
1985 Saudis offered peace deal while Prince Faisal visited Iran Rejected by Tehran
1987 Iraq ended 1st phase of attacks upon Kurdish villages
1991 Bush said he would oppose lifting sanctions on Iraq as long as Saddam
            was in power
1994 SCIRI claimed start of military campaign in Maysan marshes against Iraqi
            govt forces
1996 Iraq and UN signed memo allowing Oil for Food program
2002 Rumsfeld asked Gen Franks to plan for a fortress Baghdad scenario
2003 Iraqis met with British rep to Iraq and demanded an interim govt
2003 US forces arrested Saddam’s Min of Industry Hwaish and VP Marouf
2004 CIA and US military raided Chalabi’s home in Baghdad Accused him of
providing intel to Iran Chalabi claimed it was retaliation for his criticism of US
2004 US had arrest warrant for INC intelligence head Habib but he’d fled
2004 US called off assault on Mahdi Army in old city Karbala
2004 NSC meeting asked what would happen if new sovereign Iraq asked US to
            leave
2004 Report US interrogators told guards at Abu Ghraib prison to strip prisoners make
            them wear women’s close before questioning
2004 US army admitted lost Red Cross reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison due to
            bureaucracy
2005 US 1st Cav Div collected more than 100 abuse cases by ISF over 6 months
            including beatings, electrocutions, choking in Baghdad
2005 US 3rd Inf Div collected 28 cases of abuse by Iraqi units in Baghdad
2006 1st Maliki cabinet approved but with no Interior Defense or National
            Security Ministers
2006 Interior Min Jabr switched to Finance Min in new cabinet because he allowed Badr
            Brigade to take over ministry and police under Jaafari govt
2006 Maliki laid out 33 point program with terrorism fighting corruption and services
            top 3
2006 Defense Min adviser said violence so bad in Basra murderers were running free
2007 Hezbollah operative Daqduq captured Was liaison between Iran and militias
2008 Mother of Two Springs op ended in Mosul without success
2008 4,000-5,000 soldiers deployed to Sadr City after Sadr ceasefire finally took
            effect
2009 Report only 17,000 of 94,000 Sahwa given govt jobs so far
2010 Sadr said he was returning to Iraq after leaving for Iran in 07 over fear of US
assassination during Surge
2010 Sadr leader said that Sadrists opposed 2nd term for Maliki
2010 US said Iran training and arming militiamen to destabilize Iraq
2010 KRG said it would start oil exports the next day and Baghdad okayed it
            Demanded Baghdad pay oil companies in KRG
2011 5 Madhi Army commanders escaped Taji prison
2012 PUK and KDP Finance Ministries said they had merged
2012 KRG said it was building independent oil pipeline to Turkey Said it would reach 2
            mil/bar/day in production by 2014 Didn’t make that mark
2012 Meeting of political leaders decided to hold off on no confidence vote against
            Maliki
2013 ISIS launched 11 car bombs leaving 137 dead
2013 Maliki said some of the fake bomb detectors worked 20-50% of the time
2013 Anbar councilman said foreign companies were fleeing province due to
            increasing violence
2013 Cabinet announced provincial elections in Anbar and Ninewa would occur
            Jun 20
2014 Iraqi intel warned army that large ISIS attack on Mosul coming in June
2014 Iraqi army said it was surrounding Fallujah
2014 KRG parliament voted Qubad Talabani Dep PM
2014 Electricity and Municipality depts. in Sulaymaniya protested over not being
            paid salaries
2014 KRG oil started being loaded on tanker in Turkey for first time
2015 Gorran said it would support extending Pres Barzani’s term if KRG switched to
            parliamentary system
2016 Sadrists took over Green Zone for second time Led to clash with ISF 4 protesters
            killed

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review Hamdi, Dr Walid, Rashid Ali al-Gailani, The Nationalist Movement in Iraq 1939-1941


Review Hamdi, Dr Walid, Rashid Ali al-Gailani, The Nationalist Movement in Iraq 1939-1941, London: Darf Publications Ltd., 1987

The government of Prime Minister Rashid Ali al-Gaylani and the Golden Square officers are an important, yet little known period of Iraqi and World War II History. At the very start of the war, a small group of pan-Arabist army officers backed Premier Gaylani who overthrew the monarchy, and aligned the country with the Axis powers of Germany and Italy. The draw wasn’t fascism, but rather the belief that the war offered their country a means to escape British hegemony, which remained after London created Iraq and ruled it as mandate from 1920-32. That led to a war with German and Italian intervention, which Iraq lost. While there are a few other books that cover this period, Rashid Ali al-Gailani, The Nationalist Movement in Iraq 1939-1941 is the most extensive and focuses upon the Iraqi rather than the British side of the conflict.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 19

1941 British took Fallujah from Iraqi forces after heavy bombing Was necessary
to cross Euphrates to move onto Baghdad 300 Iraqis captured
(Musings On Iraq article on 1941 Battle of Fallujah)
1941 Iraqi command found out about loss of Fallujah and decided to launch
            counterattack
1941 Iraq Def Min Shawkat returned from Turkey Was accused of being a traitor by
            Golden Square officers for talking about mediation with England Fled to Turkey
1941 Mullah Mustafa Barzani arrived in Sulaymaniya after escaping Baghdad
1958 Ahmad Baban became premier Was a Kurd
1992 Kurds held election for 105 seat regional parliament and leader 7 parties ran 4
            candidates for leader
1992 KDP won 51 seats PUK 49 in new Kurdish parliament Barzani gave 1 seat to PUK
            to maintain Kurdish unity
1997 KDP attacked PKK in Irbil with support of Turkey 53 KDP and 58 PKK killed
2003 ORHA head Garner told Congress ORHA was ad hoc and didn't have enough time
            to plan for postwar Iraq
2003 10,000 Sadrists protested in Baghdad against US occupation
2003 500 Iraqis protested outside Green Zone over pending disbandment of army
2003 CPA head Bremer sent Sec Def Rumsfeld final draft of order to disband Iraqi
            military
2003 US intel paper to White House said captured Iraq trailers were mobile WMD
            labs
2004 Dep Sec of Defense Wolfowitz told Congress no timeline for U.S. withdrawal
            from Iraq
2004 US soldiers involved in Abu Ghraib prison abuse sentenced one year in prison
2005 Report that US attempt to push ISF into lead in war failing because Iraqi forces
            not ready yet
2007 US killed Asaibh Al Ahl-Haq’s Karbala commander Dulaimi in raid
2009 Pentagon said foreign fighters still coming to Iraq from Syria and Iranian
            weapons still being found
2009 US organized meeting between Sahwa and govt after 17 Sahwa leaders arrested
2010 Talks held between Hadbaa and Kurds over Ninewa provincial council which
            Kurds had boycotted since 09 elections
2011 Twin bombs in Kirkuk left 120 casualties
2012 Sadr called conference with Kurds Speaker Nujafi Ahmed Chalabi about
            Maliki
2012 Ayatollah Haeri called on Sadr to stop trying to divide Shiites showing Iran’s
            displeasure with moves against Maliki
2012 France’s Total announced talks with KRG about oil deals there over objections
            of Baghdad
2012 Protest in Basra against Turkey hosting wanted ex-VP Hashemi
2013 Provincial election results finalized State of Law won 112 seats Down from 126
            in 2009
2013 Maliki responded to protest movement Said provinces could become regions if
            followed constitution
2013 Sheikh Saadi religious leader in Anbar protests said he gave up on his initiative to
hold talks with Baghdad
2014 Election results announced with Maliki’s State of Law coming in first
2014 Sulaymaniya Educ dept went on strike over not getting paid and protests in 2
            towns over lack of services in KRG
2014 ISF went on rampage in Khalis, Diyala after checkpoint attacked burned mosque
            fields 2 houses
2015 State of Law MP said Iraq should rely on Iran not US for military aid Claimed
            fall of Ramadi proved US helping IS
2015 Hashd spokesman claimed retaking Ramadi would be easier than Tikrit
2016 ISF freed Rutba, Anbar from IS opening road from Baghdad to Jordan

View the Iraq History Timelines

Friday, May 18, 2018

Growing Crisis Over Elections In Kirkuk and Kurdistan

While the Shiite parties have started meeting in Baghdad to try to form a new government there is nothing but turmoil going on in Kirkuk and Kurdistan. Since the day of the election on May 12 there have been widespread claims of voting fraud. In Kurdistan, the complaints are being made by the opposition parties against the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). In Kirkuk however, all the major communities are claiming irregularities again aimed at the PUK. If this doesn’t get resolved not only would the legitimacy of the balloting be undermined, but there could be widespread turmoil as well.
Bullet holes from PUK gunfire at Change office in Kirkuk City (Dr. Nussaibah Younis)

This Day In Iraqi History – May 18


1941 British bombed Fallujah while troops began surrounding town
1941 Transjordan force arrived at Habaniya base in Anbar Were attacked by German planes
1948 Port of Basra protest against Anglo-Iraq Treaty
1991 Massoud Barzani announced deal with Saddam for greater Kurdish autonomy
1994 US pushed through UN call for Iraq to stop attacks on southern marshes as part of
            ending sanctions
2002 British govt issued order to prepare for military action against Iraq
2003 Former NY City Police Commissioner Kerik sent to be Iraq’s Interior Minister
            under CPA
2003 Kerik said he found no plan in place in Baghdad and Interior Ministry was
            staffed by 12 Americans plus him
2003 UK Foreign Office memo looting continued in Baghdad Interior and Information
            Ministries were recently looted
2003 ORHA restored pay to Iraqi govt workers
2003 Sheikh Naifus of Albu Alwan tribe in Babil who had been arrested for executions
            following 91 uprising released by US
2003 Fighting broke out in Kirkuk between Kurds and Arabs 5 killed 40 injured
            Armed Kurds from Hawija arrived in city to join in
2004 Sadr called on Iraqis to rise up against US in Najaf
2004 Ayatollah Sistani called on all armed forces to withdraw from Najaf and not to join
            Sadr’s uprising
2004 Pentagon announced it would end funding INC in June 2004
2004 DepSecDef Wolfowitz wouldn’t give timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq after
            sovereignty returned in Senate testimony
2005 Several US generals said it would take years for the US to withdraw from Iraq
            because taking long time to rebuild Iraqi forces
2005 Report Only 3 of 81 Iraqi army battalions capable of acting independently
            Only 1 of 26 army brigades able to work independently
2008 Maliki promised $100 mil for rebuilding Mosul after Mother of Two Springs
            operation
2008 Accordance Front MP said Baghdad agreed to integrate 20% of Ninewa Sahwa
            and 7,000 locals into security forces
2008 Sadr ceasefire in Baghdad finally took effect
2008 Police raided Sadr offices in Basra and captured large weapons cache and arrested
            militiamen
2009 Integrity Comm official said Def Min officials charging $500 to join army Trade Min selling
            food rations to businesses
2009 Defense and Interior Min fired 12,000 ghost soldiers and 70,000 ghost police US
            officials thought 25% of Def Min payroll stolen
2009 Head of Islamic Party in Diyala Khazraji and Sawha leader arrested on terrorism
charges as part of Operation Promise of Good II
2009 Warrants for 3 other members of Diyala council issued by Maliki dropped due to
protests by parliament
2009 Arrest of Khazraji part of Maliki arrests of Islamic Party and Sahwa members in
Diyala before and after provincial elections
2009 Baghdad released tape of man they claimed was ISI leader Baghdadi confessing
            Was not Baghdadi
2010 Interior Ministry source claimed Iranian explosives and shells used in recent
            bombing in southern Iraq
2010 Sadrists said they supported Jaafari to be PM not Maliki
2012 Human Rights Watch reported secret prison in Green Zone run by Maliki said to
            be closed in March 2011 still operating
2012 KRG began preparations to build independent oil pipeline to Turkey
2013 Protest leaders in Mosul Anbar Salahaddin Diyala Kirkuk had meeting saying
            armed struggle or regions only options left
2013 Ramadi protest leader called for a Sunni region in Iraq
2013 Arrest warrant for Mohammed Abu Risha Ramadi protest leader led to
            gunfight with ISF in city
2014 Head of Mosul intelligence claimed he received report ISIS planning to attack
            Mosul and told Ninewa Operations Command
2014 Babil police chief claimed Jurf al-Sakhr mostly cleared Town actually wouldn’t
            be freed until Oct 2014
2014 Financial experts warned Iraqi economy heading towards recession
2014 Maliki said no 2014 budget until a new government was formed
2014 Report that 400,000 people fled Fallujah due to shelling and barrel bombing by
            ISF
2015 Mahmoud Othman criticized Pres Barzani for talking about independence and
            acting like sole leader of Kurds
2015 Foreign diplomat in Baghdad said Iran using Maliki against Abadi Opposed his
            pro-Western policies
2015 Fighting broke out between Bani Tamim tribe and Asaib Ahl Al-Haq in Basra
2015 Badr head Amiri blamed Anbar council for loss of Ramadi because kept Hashd out
            of province Untrue Hashd were there for months

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Security In Iraq, May 8-14, 2018


There was a positive and a negative aspect to security in Iraq during the second week of May. First, there were no major Islamic State attacks during the elections which were on May 12. On the other hand, the number of incidents remained the same between the first and second week of the month despite the heavy security deployment for the balloting.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 17


1639 Treaty of Zuhab ended Ottoman-Safavid War and gave Ottomans most
            of Mesopotamia
1920 Huge joint Sunni-Shiite demonstration in Baghdad during Ramadan against
            British rule
1941 British forces set out from Habaniya base to try to take Fallujah
1941 More British planes landed at Habaniya air base from Egypt and launched attack
            on German planes in Mosul
1941 British planes shot down 2 German fighters over Baghdad
1941 German liaison officer with Iraqi govt killed by an Iraqi soldier flying into
            Baghdad
1972 Oil Ministry took hardline with Iraq Petroleum Company in 1st move towards
            nationalization
1973 Iraq rejected border agreement with Kuwait saying never ratified by Iraqi
            constitution
1986 Iraq attacked area around Mehran and seized 60 sq mi of Iranian territory Saddam
            said offensive meant to drive Iran to negotiate peace
1987 Iraqi fighter hit USS Stark with 2 missiles killing 37 US sailors
2003 Iraqi Leadership Group of exiles and Iraqis put together by Barzani and Talabani
            to advise ORHA head Garner disbanded by Bremer
2003 ORHA head Garner told Bremer he was leaving Iraq Bremer talked Garner into
            staying for a bit
2003 US-Kurdish agreement allowed 6,000 Peshmerga to be deployed in Diyala Kirkuk
            Ninewa Salahaddin beyond Green Line
2003 500 Arabs from Hawija attacked Kurds in Kirkuk City Lasted 36 hrs Were heard
            shouting Saddam slogans Protesting Kurds moving into city after war
2003 Baghdad Univ faculty held election for new leadership as part of democratiziation
            move pushed by US
2003 CIA interviewed head of Iraq’s centrifuge program Mahdi Obeidi who asked for
            asylum in US
2004 Report Mahdi Army recruiting Baathist security and intel officers in Kirkuk for
            militia along with Shiite Arabs and Turkmen
2004 CIA warned that political factionalism in Mosul leading to instability
2004 Zarqawi killed Iraqi Governing Council head Salim with a suicide bomber in
            Baghdad
2004 Report Rumsfeld authorized special interrogation program that helped lead to
            Abu Ghraib abuse scandal
2004 Report INC provided defector Adnan Haideri’s stories about Iraq WMD used by
US pre-war proved false Was used in CIA DIA White House reports May 02 labeled fabricator by DIA
2005 Association of Muslim Scholars accused police of being involved in massacres of
            Sunni civilians
2005 Report Albu Mahal and Albu Nimr tribes in Qaim formed Hamza Forces to fight
            Al Qaeda in Iraq Wento to Marines in Fallujah asking for help
2005 Albu Mahal and Albu Nimr criticized US Op Matador in western Anbar for
            targeting them when they were fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq
2006 US cmdr in Iraq Gen Casey told NSC sectarian violence up in Iraq New Baghdad
security plan not working Casey told Bush Iran providing more EFPs to attack US forces
2009 Head of parliamentary integrity comm said Trade Min Sudani covered up
            his brothers’ involvement in corruption at ministry
2009 Protest in Shikhan against Hadbaa led Ninewa government
2009 Oil Ministry criticized KRG’s independent oil deals
2010 China’s CNOOC and Turkey’s TPAO signed deal to develop Maysan oil field
2010 KRG Natural Resource Min said Kurdish oil exports wouldn’t start until new
            Iraqi govt formed
2011 Interior Min investigation found IS prison break in Baghdad had inside help
2011 Baghdad Operations Command said most assassinations of ISF personnel were
            done by militias not ISI
2011 Pres Barzani said he was ready to talk with opposition parties in KRG parliament
            about reforms
2012 Asayesh arrested 3 Yazidis for attending govt sponsored conference to intimidate
            them to stay away from Baghdad
2012 Maliki withdrew no confidence request to parliament against Dep PM Mutlaq to try
            to stop no confidence move against himself
2014 Sheikh Hayes blamed protesters for creating environment for return of insurgency
in Anbar
2014 4 Kurdish parties accused PUK of cheating in Sulaymaniya voting
2014 Kurdish parties announced united stance when negotiation to form new Iraqi govt
2015 Anbar council voted to allow Hashd to deploy to province Were already there
2015 IS unilaterally began withdrawing from Baiji refinery after Ramadi taken Used
            fighting in Baiji as diversion
2015 Intl Org of Migration reported 2.8 mil displaced in Iraq since start of 2014
2016 PUK and Gorran signed power sharing-cooperation deal Gorran would get
Sulaymaniya governor PUK Sulaymaniya city mayor

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Iraq Election Results All 18 Provinces


Iraq’s Election Commission finished reporting its early returns for all 18 provinces. Sadr’s Sairoon list remained in the lead with 6 first place finishes and 4 2nd place ones. The pro-Iran Hashd list Fatah had five 1st place finishes and now has 8 second place ones adding Kirkuk. (There is a recount going on in that province so the standings could change). Prime Minister Haidar Abadi’s Nasr only won Ninewa, but otherwise finished third in seven governorates. Vice President Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya could only pull three 2nd places and two 3rd places. The two main Kurdish parties the KDP and PUK took Dohuk, Irbil, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniya. Change’s best showing was 2nd in Sulaymaniya, while the New Generation came in 3rd in Irbil and Sulaymaniya. Vice President Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya finished 2nd three times and 3rd twice. Vice President Osama Nujafi’s Qarar won Diyala, but otherwise did poorly. Vice President Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law and Ammar Hakim’s Hikma didn’t do well either finishing 3rd in Baghdad and Maysan and Muthanna respectively.
(CNN)