Thursday, September 3, 2015

Secret Prisons Alive And Well In Iraq

The United Nations’ Committee Against Torture was the latest organization to comment on Iraq’s continued use of torture and secret prisons. The committee made up of several experts reviewed Iraq’s history of abuse and called for the government to stop the practice. They specifically mentioned one secret facility at the Muthanna air base in Baghdad that was originally exposed in 2010, which the government said it would close down, but is still up and running to this day.

The United Nations’ committee called on Baghdad to close down its secret detention centers. The U.N. said that thousands of people were being held in secret prisons, some for as long as ten years. High threat suspects were routinely arrested without warrants and put into covert prisons run by the Defense and Interior Ministries where they were held incommunicado and tortured to obtain confessions. It wasn’t just high profile insurgents however that were thrown into these jails and abused, but people rounded up in mass arrests as well.

One specific secret location named by the committee was one at the Muthanna Air Base in western Baghdad. The center is run by the 54th Brigade of the 6th Army Division and the 56th Brigade, also known as the Baghdad Brigade, which reports to the prime minister. In May 2010 the facility was first exposed. Human Rights Watch interviewed 42 prisoners from the jail who said they were tortured. At that time there were 6 women and 8 children being held there. Two of the former were the wives of Islamic State leaders Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Masri who were arrested after their husbands were killed. Others however were being detained to pressure their husbands who were also prisoners. In September, Amnesty International added that more than 400 detainees were at Muthanna, and confirmed the earlier Human Rights Watch claim that torture was used there. This included electric shock, beatings, and rape by the guards. After this exposure then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki denied that it was a covert prison and that he was in control of it, but the Defense Ministry later confirmed that he was. This facility has now been passed down to the Abadi administration, which continues to use it.

Abuse has a long history in Iraq and is a lasting legacy of the Saddam dictatorship. It is a common practice, accepted by the courts, and carried out by all the post-2003 governments. Its routine application is a direct threat to the democracy developing in the country, yet there are no moves by the authorities to end it.


Amnesty International, “New order, same abuses: Unlawful detentions and torture in Iraq,” September 2010

Arraf, Jane al-Dulaimy, Mohammed, “Witness: Secret Iraq prison for women and children,” Christian Science Monitor, 5/26/10

Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office, “Report on the judicial response to allegations of torture in Iraq,” February 2015

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: Secret Jail Uncovered in Baghdad,” 2/1/11

International Crisis Group, “Loose Ends: Iraq’s Security Forces Between U.S. Drawdown And Withdrawal,” 10/26/10

Nebehay, Stephanie, “U.N. urges Iraq to close secret detention centres,” Reuters, 8/14/15

Parker, Ned, “Elite units under an office of Maliki’s linked to secret jail where detainees face torture, Iraq officials say,” Los Angeles Times, 7/14/11
- “The Iraq We Left Behind,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2012

United Nations Human Rights, “Committee against Torture considers the initial report of Iraq,” 7/30/15

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How The Baath Turned Iraq Into A Nation Of Victims, Tale Of A Torturer

In Kanan Makiya’s famous Republic of Fear, The Politics of Modern Iraq, he wrote about how torture and horror had become the norm under the Baath Party in Iraq, and how that brutalized the entire society. The whole country was ruled and united by the fear generated by the regime. The government made violence the norm, and implicated hundreds of thousands of people in its use as informers, members of the security forces, etc. This was all part of the system of control that kept Saddam Hussein in power for so long. Makiya said that this made everyone a victim of the oppression, even the perpetrators. That was aptly shown by an interview with an Iraqi man named Jasim who became a torturer for the Baath, and who was later interviewed by the Iraq History Project.

Jasim got a job with one of the five man security agencies in Iraq as a torturer. His first day on the job, Jasim saw a woman electrocuted, which made him sick to his stomach. Then when it came time for him to beat his first prisoner he couldn’t do it, and his supervisor ordered his hand broken as a result. Eventually he began applying punishments, and with money from his new job he was able to buy his family a home making them beneficiaries of the abuse that he was dealing out. He became an alcoholic to try to forget all that he saw, and later left the agency, and turned to religion to try to ease his conscience. Jasim perfectly encapsulates the brutality of the Baath rule, and how it victimized everyone involved. Here is a transcript of part of the interview with Jasim.

I felt ill as I watched Abu Husam torturing people. It was hard for me to control myself.
            A short while later, they brought in a woman who refused to inform on her husband, who was a member of the Dawa Party. Abu Husam undressed her. He made her sit on a chair and tied her down. He connected electric wires to her hands, feet, and breasts. He began to shock her. She was shaking and screaming. She began to drool and then she fainted. Abu Husam took her out of the chair, dressed her, and called the guards to take her away.
            At that moment, I hated myself. I knew that soon I would become like this man.
            At the end of my training that day, Nazem came in and ordered me to go home. When he saw my condition, he took me home and we spoke. “What happened to you, Jasim? This is only the first day. You were only watching. What would you be like if it were you that had been working?
            “What did those people do?” I asked. “They did a terrible, unforgivable thing. They want to overthrow the government. They want to destabilize the country. If that happened, there would be chaos, terror, killing, and looting. Don’t believe that any of them are innocent! We are the innocent ones!”
            He dropped me home. My mother saw I was sad and asked, “Is there something wrong, son?”
            I looked in her eyes, shining with happiness, seeing me return from my first day at work and filled with the hope that we would soon have a better, more settled life. I couldn’t tell her what happened that day. “Nothing, Mother, I am just not used to this new job.” “Everybody finds things difficult at the beginning,” she said, “but they get used to it”
            I spent that night thinking about how I was supposed to hold the cable and beat people. I was filled with pain. Then, I remembered Nazem’s words, saying those people were criminals and traitors. I began to tell myself that they deserved what was happening because they had betrayed our nation. I convinced myself that they must be punished. Soon, the three days of training were over and the day I was to start working had arrived. I didn’t sleep that night. I knew that from then on I would be a torturer.
            The first person I was to torture was a man in his forties who was accused of joining the Dawa Party. I held the cable, but my hand was trembling. How could I beat this man who was older than me and whose eyes were beginning for mercy?
            Abu Husam shouted at me, “Don’t let your hands shake! Don’t be a coward!”
            I raised the cable to beat the man, but I couldn’t find the strength to hit him. Then Abu Husam slapped me hard in the face. An officer who was in the room said, “You’re a soldier here. Those who volunteer to work in the Security Directorate are the servants of the government. They follow orders. This time, I will have mercy on you. Your punishment will be minimal.”
            He turned to Aub Husam and said, “Carry out the orders!” Abu Husam tied my hand down and hit it with a metal pipe until it broke. After my hand healed, I returned to work. This time, the officer decided to supervise me personally. I was forced to torture a woman with electricity. I undressed her and connected her private parts to wires in the way Abu Husam had done. I shocked her until she fainted. I don’t know how my heart could be filled with such cruelty.
            “Well done!” said the officer. “That’s the way to do it! Those people are a plague! They’re trying to destroy our country. You must show them no mercy!” His words filled me with complicated feelings. After that day, I committed many violations as a torturer. I rented a house for my family. When they said, “good job!” it meant a lot to me.
            The officer ordered me to torture a man who was a member of the insurgents. I connected his penis to high voltage. I was merciless. I disconnected the wires and he urinated. His urine was mixed with blood. Then, I broke one of his legs.
            We had an arrangement with a lieutenant colonel that whenever a beautiful girl was sent, I was to beat her. Then, I would take her to his room to spend the night. I would stand next to the door and listen to the women screaming or begging him to leave her alone. I could hear how he would beat them. He raped so many women.
            At this time, I drank heavily. I tried not to think about all the things I was doing. It was my job.


Hagan, John, Kaiser, Joshua, and Hanson, Anna, Iraq and the Crimes of Aggressive War, The Legal Cynicism of Criminal Militarism, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Central & Kurdish Governments Turning Blind Eye To Sex Trafficking In Iraq

The latest annual report on trafficking by the State Department noted that Iraq remains an important hub for the sex trade and human trafficking in the Middle East. People are both shipped to and out of the country, which has only gotten worse since the Islamic State’s onslaught in the summer of 2014.

The State Department found that Iraq continues to have an active sex trade. Iraqi females are often victims of temporary marriages, where their husbands then put them into the sex trade. Syrian refugee women are often targeted for exploitation. Foreign women are told that they are going to be taken to Kurdistan for work, but are put into prostitution instead. This includes women from Iran, China, and the Philippines. Women are brought into brothels and hotels in Baghdad, Basra, and other large cities. Iraqi and Syrian refugee women are also trafficked to other Middle Eastern countries and Turkey. The Islamic State’s seizure of most of Ninewa during 2014 has only increased these negative trends. The group’s rape and enslavement of Yazidi women in that province is well documented, and continues to this day. The United States has made similar reports about the exploitation of women in Iraq for the last several years.

Prostitution rings are run by criminal gangs and family members, and are supported by members of the security forces and government. In 2014 for example, a member of the Basra intelligence directorate was accused for working with a gang involved in kidnapping and selling girls. Members of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Asayesh, and government officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have all been accused of taking bribes and working with crime organizations involved in the trade. In the KRG non-government organizations said that Asayesh and Kurdish government workers were involved with a group turning Syrian women at the Domiz refugee camp into prostitutes. This is just one more example of the widespread corruption within the Iraqi government.

The State Department found both the central and Kurdish regional government’s efforts to stop the sex trade lacking. State found only limited efforts in trying to arrest and prosecute gangs involved in trafficking. The U.S. believed that was due to judges not understanding the anti-trafficking law passed in 2012. The KRG on the other hand, does not have any anti-trafficking legislation and did not endorse or adopt the one passed by the national parliament. Neither governments provide adequate services for victims of the sex trade, and instead usually arrest women and deport the foreign ones. Iraqi courts have prosecuted girls as young as nine years old and given them long prison terms from 15 years to life. In 2014 the KRG arrested 28 young girls and charted four with prostitution and 24 with begging. Neither Baghdad nor Irbil appears to be interested in this matter, and some from both governments are instead profiting from it.

The reason why Iraq has failed to adequately tackle this problem is two fold. First, the government has never taken the sex trade as a real problem. That means it has not appropriated any real resources to tackle the issue. Second, the corruption endemic within the government gives political cover to the gangs involved in the trade. The result is that the only ones ever facing the consequences are the women victims who are faced into this trade.


U.S. Department of State, “2015 Trafficking In Persons Report,” July 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Islamic State Continues With Car Bomb Campaign In Iraq

During the fourth week of August 2015 the security situation in Iraq was unchanged from the week before. The number of attacks and casualties were just about the same. The Islamic State (IS) continued with its latest car bomb campaign launching almost one hundred during the week. The government continued to push into Ramadi and fight for control of Baiji in Salahaddin, while the Kurds began a new campaign, which recaptured several towns in southern Kirkuk.

From August 22-28, 2015 there were 136 reported attacks. That was the exact same number as the week before. So far this month there has been an average of 19.9 attacks per day, almost exactly the same as July’s 19.6 average. There is always more violence in Iraq then what gets in the media.

Those incidents led to 342 killed and 296 wounded. The former consisted of 12 Sahwa, 19 Peshmerga, 32 Hashd al-Shaabi, 114 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and 165 civilians. The former was made up of 2 Hashd, 6 Sahwa, 29 Peshmerga, 73 ISF, and 186 civilians. The 638 total casualties were slightly below August 15-21’s 699. The number of dead and wounded is always undercounted in Iraq. There are many incidents that don’t get covered and the government is actively suppressing losses to maintain morale.

By province, there were 102 killed in Ninewa, 83 in Anbar, 73 in Salahaddin, 58 in Baghdad, 21 in Kirkuk, 4 in Babil, and 1 in Diyala. Usually the capital province leads the way in fatalities, but IS executions in Ninewa and heavy fighting in Anbar and Salahaddin made Baghdad fourth overall this week.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Jan 1-7
Jan 8-14
Jan 15-21
Jan 22-28
Jan 29-31
Feb 1-7
Feb 8-14
Feb 15-21
Feb 22-28
Mar 1-7
Mar 8-14
Mar 15-21
Mar 22-28
Mar 29-31
2,553 + 4
2,381 + 150
Apr 1-7
Apr 8-14
Apr 15-21
Apr 22-28
Apr 29-30
162 + 7
182 + 299
May 1-7
May 8-14
May 15-21
May 22-28
341 + 1,499
May 29-31
164 + 646
2,417 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
Jun 8-14
522 + 405
Jun 15-21
Jun 22-28
Jun 29-30
Jul 1-7
Jul 8-14
Jul 15-21
597 + 4,024
Jul 22-28
Jul 29-31
453 + 8
3,079 + 4,024
Aug 1-7
650 + 760
Aug 8-14
Aug 15-21
Aug 22-28

Violence In Iraq August 2015 by Province
Aug 1-7
Aug 8-14
46 Incidents
76 Killed: 5 Hashd, 6 Sahwa, 22 ISF, 43 Civilians
42 Wounded: 5 Sahwa, 17 ISF, 20 Civilians
22 Shootings
4 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
12 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
2 Car Bombs Destroyed
18 Incidents
45 Killed: 14 ISF, 31 Civilians
44 Wounded: 10 ISF, 34 Civilians
6 Shootings
2 IEDs
10 Suicide Bombers
6 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
6 Car Bombs Destroyed
6 Incidents
5 Killed: 2 Sahwa, 3 Civilians
15 Wounded: 1 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 12 Civilians
3 IEDs
2 Sticky Bomb
10 Incidents
14 Killed: 4 ISF, 10 Civilians
26 Wounded: 5 ISF, 21 Civilians
3 Shootings
3 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
46 Incidents
57 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 3 ISF, 53 Civilians
154 Wounded: 1 Sahwa, 2 ISF, 151 Civilians
9 Shootings
22 IEDs
7 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
1 Rocket
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
48 Incidents
130 Killed: 130 Civilians
404 Wounded: 404 Civilians
11 Shootings
29 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
3 Car Bombs
8 Car Bombs Destroyed
8 Incidents
15 Killed: 1 Hashd, 3 ISF, 11 Civilians
29 Wounded: 29 Civilians
1 Shooting
4 IEDs
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
11 Incidents
73 Killed: 1 Hashd, 2 Sahwa, 5 ISF, 65 Civilians
123 Wounded: 123 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
1 Mortar
1 Incident
12 Killed: 3 PKK, 9 Civilians
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
1 Turkish Air Strike
7 Incidents
64 Killed: 7 ISF, 57 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
6 Shootings
1 Grenade
9 Incidents
31 Killed: 11 Civilians, 20 ISF
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
4 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
24 Incidents
374 Killed: 30 ISF, 344 Civilians + 760 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Civilians
12 Shootings
2 Rockets
18 Incidents
254 Killed: 13 Peshmerga, 241 Civilians
10 Wounded, 5 Peshmerga, 5 Civilians
6 Shootings
10 IEDs
2 Rockets
3 Mortars
16 Incidents
47 Killed: 5 ISF, 8 Civilians, 34 Hashd
39 Wounded: 5 ISF, 34 Civilians
11 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
17 Incidents
49 Killed: 7 Hashd, 12 ISF, 30 Civilians
24 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 10 ISF, 9 Civilians
11 Shootings
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
12 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Car Bomb Destroyed

Aug 15-21
Aug 22-28
24 Incidents
71 Killed: 22 ISF, 49 Hashd
23 Wounded: 23 ISF
12 Shootings
4 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Rockets
8 Suicide Bombers Killed
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
27 Car Bombs Destroyed
30 Incidents
83 Killed: 12 Sahwa, 35 ISF, 36 Civilians
71 Wounded: 6 Sahwa, 12 Civilians 53 ISF
11 Shootings
2 IEDs
6 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Mortar
2 Rockets
11 Suicide Bombers Killed
9 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
6 Car Bombs Destroyed
7 Incidents
9 Killed: 1 ISF, 8 Civilians
23 Wounded: 9 ISF, 14 Civilians
3 Shootings
4 IEDs
4 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
1 Shooting
35 Incidents
67 Killed: 1 Hashd, 2 Sahwa, 3 ISF, 61 Civilians
237 Wounded: 3 Sahwa, 13 ISF, 221 Civilians
5 Shootings
21 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
4 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
48 Incidents
58 Killed: 13 ISF, 45 Civilians
163 Wounded: 10 ISF, 153 Civilians
12 Shootings
21 IEDs
8 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
10 Incidents
8 Killed: 1 ISF, 2 Hashd, 5 Civilians
12 Wounded: 2 Hashd, 10 Civilians
2 Shootings
5 IEDs
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
6 Car Bombs Destroyed
2 Incidents
29 Killed: 29 PKK
1 Incident
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
11 Incidents
26 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 25 Civilians
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 Car Bomb
1 Rockets
15 Incidents
21 Killed: 2 Hashd, 3 ISF, 11 Peshmerga
34 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 8 ISF, 24 Peshmerga
5 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Motorcycle Bomb
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Rocket
15 Incidents
76 Killed: 21 Peshmerga, 55 Civilians
1 Wounded: 1 Peshmerga
3 Shootings
4 Mortars
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
15 Incidents
102 Killed: 8 Peshmerga, 47 ISF, 47 Civilians
13 Wounded: 5 Peshmerga, 8 Civilians
5 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Mortar
31 Incidents
59 Killed: 3 ISF, 17 Civilians, 39 Hashd
55 Wounded: 16 Civilians, 39 Hashd
14 Shootings
5 IEDs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
11 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
98 Car Bombs Destroyed
22 Incidents
73 Killed: 16 ISF, 30 Hashd, 27 Civilians
12 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 2 ISF, 9 Civilians
15 Shootings
4 IEDs
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
61 Car Bombs Destroyed

Car Bombs In Iraq, August 2015
Aug 1
Saqqara, Anbar – 8 destroyed

Aug 2

Aug 3

Aug 4
Balladries, Diyala
Aug 5
? x3, Anbar
Sadr City x2, Baghdad
Khalkis, Diyala
Anbar Unit, Saqlawiya, South of Fallujah, Anbar – 6 destroyed
Amiriya, Husseiniya & Sadiya, Baghdad – 3 destroyed
Aug 6

Aug 7

7 & 17 Destroyed
Aug 8
Ramadi, Anbar – 4 destroyed
Amiriya, Baghdad – 1 dismantled

Aug 9
Abadi, Mukhayb, Tal Al-Mushahid, Anbar – 4 destroyed

Aug 10
Howaider & Kanaan, Diyala
Baghdad – 7 destroyed
Aug 11
Samarra, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed

Aug 12
New Baghdad & Shomook, Baghdad
Khalis, Diyala
Aug 13
Sadr City, Baghdad
East Husaiba & Saqlawiya, Anbar – 2 destroyed
Mahawil, Babil – 1 destroyed
Aug 14
Yarmouk, Kirkuk
Baiji x 12, Salahaddin
Albu Jassim, Anbar – 2 destroyed
19 & 22 Destroyed
Aug 15
Habibiya & Shuhada, Baghdad
Salam Bridges, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed
Aug 16
Outside Fallujah x4, Anbar
Jisr Diyala, Baghdad
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Ajeel & Baiji, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
Aug 17
Habibiya, Baghdad
5 Kilo & Ramadi, Anbar – 4 destroyed
Gwar, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
Albu Jwari, Durr Tal Abu Jarad & Baiji, Salahaddin – 56 destroyed
Aug 18
Asri, Salahaddin
Albu Athea, Garma & Humaira, Anbar – 12 destroyed
Ain al-Tamur, Karbala – 1 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 5 destroyed
Aug 19
Kirkuk, Kirkuk
Baiji, Salahaddin
Baiji & Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 16 destroyed
Aug 20
Hawish, Salahaddin
Albu Athea & Zaqareed, Anbar – 10 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 28 destroyed

Aug 21
Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed

12 & 141 Destroyed
Aug 22

Aug 23
Albu Haya, Baghdadi, Haditha, Outside Fallijah – 4 destroyed

Aug 24
35 Kilo x3, Anbar
Baghdadi, Anbar – 4 destroyed
Aug 25
Southeast of Ramadi
Southeast of Ramadi – 1 destroyed
Zafaraniya, Baghdad – 1 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 60 destroyed
Aug 26
Shuhada, Baghdad
Albu Shajal, Garma, Husaiba – 5 destroyed
Hamrin Mountains, Diyala – 6 destroyed
Aug 27
North x2, Anbar
Kirkuk-Debas Road, Kirkuk
Albu Metairai – 1 destroyed
Baiji & Samarra Island, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
Aug 28
Zafaraniya, Baghdad
9 & 84 Destroyed

After taking one day off on August 22, the Islamic State launched 93 vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) during the week. 84 of those were destroyed before reaching their target. IS has been using the vast majority of these bombs to repel the on going security offensives in Anbar, which had a total of 21 car bombs, and in Salahaddin with 62. Another 6 were destroyed in Diyala, two went off in Baghdad and one was dismantled, and another suicide bomber exploded in Kirkuk. All of those together led to 37 deaths and 50 wounded, but the real numbers are likely higher.

The government’s plans for Anbar appeared to be disjointed during the week. There was continued news of progress in Ramadi where the joint forces pushed into more of the city’s suburbs. At the same time, new security operations were announced in the west around Haditha, Hit, and Baghdadi. There was another offensive in Garma predating all of these as well, which has been deadlocked for months now. Baghdad only has roughly half the forces it used to attack Tikrit committed to Fallujah-Ramadi, which has led to constant problems holding territory it has cleared. For example, another operation in East Husaiba was reported on August 25, the fifth since July. Sending forces out to the west only increases these manpower difficulties.

In Diyala, a new operation was started to clear the insurgent base of the Hamrin Mountains. 30 villages were said to have been freed in the process. This area has never been firmly under government control leading to these sweeps. After the offensives are over, the militants move right back in.

The Peshmerga attacked the Daquq district of southern Kirkuk province during the week. Press reports had them freeing fourteen villages. The operation was meant to help bolster the defense of Kirkuk city. 11 Peshmerga were killed and 24 reportedly injuring as a result. This was a rather rare occurrence as the Kurds have dug into their positions and showed no real motivation to move forward having captured most of the disputed territories they seek to annex.

IS continued with its executions in Ninewa. During the week, 86 people were killed in Mosul, Qayara, and Issa. That included members of the security forces, a reporter, three lawyers, and nine people accused of being homosexuals.

The ISF and Hashd were still trying to take back lost ground in Baiji and the refinery there. The amount of propaganda being dispensed by those groups often makes it difficult to determine whether real progress is being made there or not. For example, on July 2 90% of the district was supposedly cleared but IS still held 60% of the refinery. By July 21 the center of Baiji town was reached along with the northern section of the refinery. Despite those advances the joint forces said that it was now in control of 85% of the area. Two days later a Hashd spokesman claimed it had 80% of the refinery, but then Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) contradicted that by saying only 40% of the facility was cleared. Finally, by the end of July all but one neighborhood was declared freed in Baiji town. After that IS counter attacked to try to draw forces away from the Anbar operation. Early in August IS took back several neighborhoods and surrounding towns, forcing AAH to send in reinforcements. Despite these setbacks the joint forces continued to claim that they were advancing with a series of contradictory announcements. For example, the Baiji Refinery went from 40% cleared to 60% to 70% at the beginning of August down to 50% towards the end of the month. Similarly 80%-90% of the district was claimed freed with only three neighborhoods of the town still under insurgent control, only to have reports putting that figure at only half of Baiji being under government control. This is all part of the victory narrative being promoted by government forces, which continually exaggerate their accomplishments. On the other hand, IS has consistently used attacks in Salahaddin to distract Baghdad away from its real goal, which is the taking of Anbar. The government played right into the insurgent’s hands with Prime Minister Abadi saying that taking Baiji was crucial in the war against IS and Hashd elements sending in more forces to retake the area during August. In fact, Baiji has lost its value after IS destroyed most of the facility after Ramadi was taken in May. There are questions of whether the facility will ever be used again. Despite that, Baghdad continues to throw forces into the area whenever IS threatens it, which will not end as the group controls the surrounding towns. The district has already changed hands several times, something that will continue into the foreseeable future.


Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Iraq PM says defense of refinery town crucial to IS defeat,” Associated Press, 8/25/15
- "Iraq's top Shiite cleric says government must show nation it's seeking genuine change," Associated Press, 8/28/15
- "Iraqi officials say 2 army generals killed in Islamic State suicide bombing in Anbar province," Associated Press, 8/27/15
- "Iraqi PM says defense of refinery town crucial to IS defeat," Associated Press, 8/25/15
- "Suicide attacks against Iraqi security outpost kill 8," Associated Press, 8/24/15

Al Mada, "Freed 30 villages in security operation in the Hamrin mountains northeast of Baquba," 8/29/15
- "Killing and injuring five police officers from the Oil Police including an officer in a car bomb northwest of Kirkuk," 8/27/15
- "The killing of seven members of Daash including four car bombs in western Anbar," 8/24/15
- "Popular Crowd confirms freeing 80% of the Baiji refinery and stresses: We need reinforcements," 7/23/15
- "Security forces dismantle a car bomb southeast Baghdad," 8/25/15
- "Toll rises northwest of Kirkuk in bombing to 11 dead and wounded and the arrest of 19 suspects," 8/27/15

Mamoun, Abdelhak, "Kurdish Peshmerga and Anti-Terrorism forces liberate 7 villages south of Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 8/26/15
- "Peshmerga liberates villages of Albu-Najam and tel al-Basel south of Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 8/26/15

Al Masalah, "Brigade announces Baiji nearly fully purged," 7/22/15
- "League of the Righteous: Arrival of reinforcements to Baiji to resolve the battle there," 8/16/15
- "Obeidi: Baily fully liberated except for one neighborhood," 7/30/15
- "Popular crowd: We control 90% of Baiji," 8/25/15

New Sabah, "Extensive preparations for the liberation of Baiji refinery and adjacent areas," 8/15/15
- "Security file," 8/25/15
- "Security file," 8/26/15

NINA, "/18/ Terrorists killed, /20/ others injured in Albu Shajal area north of Fallujah," 8/26/15
- "An armored destroyed and killed those in it fro the terrorists in al-Qarma," 8/26/15
- "A cache and a cannon to Daash elements destroyed in the operation of cleaning the island of Samarra," 8/27/15
- "Federal Police Kill 6 Terrorists In Ramadi," 8/25/15
- "The joint security forces continue to liberate the Island of Samarra from Daash dens," 8/22/15
- "A number of terrorists killed in al-Qarma," 8/27/15
- "The Security Forces Kill A Suicide Bomber West Of Anbar," 8/23/15
- "Three policemen killed and seven others wounded in southern outskirts of Baghdad," 8/28/15
- "Two people killed, nine others wounded in southwest Baghdad," 8/26/15

Qassim, Abdul Zahra, "Iraq PM says defense of refinery town crucial to IS defeat," Associated Press, 8/25/15

Al Rafidayn, "Popular crowd leading. Our fighters fought off more than sixty car bombs in Baiji," 8/25/15

Al Rayy, "The destruction of a tank bomb aimed at a convoy loaded with food in Baghdadi," 8/23/15
- "Killing of five terrorists and the destruction of a bulldozer bomb on the outskirts of Fallujah," 8/23/15
- "Popular crowd move into area north of Husaybah city and destroy three car bombs," 8/26/15
-"The Security forces and popular crowd move towards the north of Baiji refinery," 7/21/15

Rudaw, "Iraqi forces recapture Samara, kill 150 ISIS," 8/21/15

Sarhan, Amre, "Iraqi security forces repel ISIS attack west of Ramadi," Iraqi News, 8/25/15
- "Security forces destroy 2 boast for ISIS, kill 9 militants west of Ramadi," Iraqi News, 8/22/15

Shafaq News, "13 ISIS elements killed and control regained on Baiji's Deputy Governor's building," 8/27/15
- "16 Iraqi security elements killed in ISIS progress in Baiji," 8/3/15
- "Car bomb explosion targeted Kirkuk oil company workers causes casualties," 8/27/15
- "ISIS controls three new areas in Baiji," 8/15/15
- "ISIS dismantles the thermal energy devices in Baiji and transfers them to Reqqa," 8/6/15
- "ISIS penetrates five areas in Baiji," 8/8/15
- "New deployment of Iraqi forces and ISIS in Baiji after Sunday's attacks," 7/6/15
- "Nine months of fierce fighting turned Baiji to rubble..and details of the methods used by Daash," 8/5/15
- "Security forces and fighters of PMU begin to liberate west of Hit Anbar process," 8/24/15
- "Security operation for the Liberation of al-Baghdadi outskirts starts," 8/24/15
- "Sources: Half of Baiji is controlled by ISIS , we lost 17 elements of our forces," 8/24/15
- "Sources: Most of Baiji neighborhoods re-controlled from ISSI except three regions," 8/23/15
- "We made a special plan for the Liberation of Baiji refinery plan , League of the Righteous says," 7/25/15

Sotaliraq, "The destruction of a car driven by a suicide bomber west Anbar," 8/23/15
- "Joint Operations announces its control over 80% of Baiji," 8/16/15

Today's Zaman, "Iraqi forces say most of Baiji town recaptured from ISIL," 7/2/15

Xinhua, "Kurdish troops launch offensive against IS in northern Iraq," 8/26/15