Sunday, June 24, 2018

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was quoted by Paul Iddon twice for Ahval. First in "Turkish operations in Iraq aim at PKK's Qandil base", and then in "Erodgan's opportune attack on Qandil faces uncertain end."

Review Compulsion In Religion, Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the Roots of Insurgencies In Iraq

Review Helfton, Samuel, Compulsion In Religion, Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the Roots of Insurgencies In Iraq, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018

Samuel Helfton and Compulsion In Religion, Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the Roots of Insurgencies In Iraq deals with the much debated topic of the role of religion during the period of Saddam Hussein. Some have argued that Saddam embraced religion during the last few years of his regime, others believed that the Iraqi state weakened under sanctions allowing for more freedom at mosques and Islamists, others think the Baathists co-opted religion to maintain its control. Helfton takes that latter approach, but in a much more thorough way than previous authors based upon extensive research within the captured Baathist documents that now resident in the United States.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 24

1981 UK signed trade pact with Baghdad that would expand trade to more than
            $2 bil/yr
1982 9th Regional Baath Party Congress held in secret Saddam said party infiltrated by
            enemies and suffered bad decisions
1982 After 9th Regional Baath Party Congress Saddam changed party leadership
            to ensure his control
1984 Iraq bombed Iran’s main oil terminal Kharg Island 2nd time Only minimal damage
1994 SCIRI claimed govt building new canal to drain southern marshes and drive
            out displaced and rebels
2003 Rumsfeld said Iraq had chemical weapons but not nuclear weapons
2003 UN head inspector Blix said inspectors were not impressed with Powell’s Feb 03
            speech to UN on Iraq’s WMD
2003 Weapons search in Maysan’s Majar al-Kabir led to shootout and death of 6
            British soldiers
2003 UK intel report believed Iran backed Mujahedeen for Islamic Revolution in Iraq
            killed 6 British soldiers
2003 Fallujah’s mayor’s office hit by RPG for working with US
2004 Al Qaeda in Iraq carried out multiple car bombs and attacks on police in Baghdad
Baquba Fallujah Ramadi and Mosul killing 92 wounding 285 Took over police station and city hall in Baquba and held city center for 6 hours
2004 Sadr announced unilateral ceasefire with US in Sadr City
2014 Operation to try to free Tal Afar launched and failed

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 23

1991 US Gen said in opening day of bombing during Gulf War US tried to
            kill Saddam
1996 Iyad Allawi interviewed in WashPost saying Iraqi National Accord supported a
            military uprising in Iraq
2003 Oil Ministry made first foreign oil sale to Turkish company since invasion
2003 Official US found more evidence since Iraq invasion to prove Iraq-Al Qaeda ties
2003 US defense official complained to press Iraq-Al Qaeda ties were based on politics
            before war not based on intelligence
2003 Bush at NSC meeting asked why US wasn’t pushing elections in Iraq and maybe
            they should come before writing constitution
2003 Cheney chief of staff Libby told NYTimes reporter Miller Fmr Amb Wilson’s
wife worked at CIA in retaliation against Wilson Implied Wilson’s wife set up her husband’s trip to Niger
(Musings On Iraq article Iraq-Niger uranium story)
2003 Cheney chief of staff Libby complained that CIA was selectively leaking info to
            press to lesson its role in claims about Iraq’s WMD
2004 Pentagon report said only 6% of Iraqi police had finished training Said ISF
            lacked equipment
(Musings On Iraq article on pre-Surge US Iraq strategy)
2004 Report were two waves of foreign fighters to Iraq one before and one after 2003
2004 Report cooperation between Baathist and jihadist insurgents in Iraq and
            international terror networks including Al Qaeda
2004 DepDefSec Wolfowitz said what was going on in Iraq was not an insurgency Said
            it was former regime elements who didn't want to give up
2005 15 Sunnis and 1 Sabean added to constitutional drafting committee and 10 more
            Sunnis as advisers
2006 US Iraq Cmdr Gen Casey briefed Bush on withdrawal plan Bush approved
(Musings On Iraq article on pre-Surge US Iraq strategy)
2013 Parliament amended 2008 Provincial Powers Law but not implemented
2014 ISIS held large military parade in Mosul after city fell
2014 Fighting between ISIS and Hawija Brigades in Hawija, Kirkuk for control
2014 Jihad and Reform Front agreed to work with ISIS in summer offensive Said tribal
            revolutionaries would sweep over Anbar

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Iraqi Court Rules For Ballot Recount While Talks Continue To Form New Govt

(Al Monitor)
Iraq’s Supreme Court ruled that two-thirds of the parliament’s recent amendment to the election law were constitutional. That included saying that a manual recount of the ballots and replacing the Election Commission with judges were good, but cancelling overseas and displaced votes was not. On June 6, parliament changed the election law due to widespread complaints over voting fraud and poor conduct by the Election Commission. The recount is unlikely to change the voting results overall. The top lists all finished with roughly the same number of seats, and the main charges of cheating were within the Kurdish lists and in Anbar. The only question now is if the new counting of the ballots can happen quickly and resolve the complaints with the election. The major threat to its standing was not from the Kurds for instance, but rather the major parties that were unhappy with their results and politicians that lost their seats. They believed they could manipulate the system through charges of cheating to hold onto their positions. Hopefully this can stop their attempt.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 22

1922 Standard Oil told State Dept that it and other US companies were
            interested in exploring in Iraq
1963 Govt forces captured Saqsaq and Tobzawa from KDP Peshmerga
1982 Saddam said Iraqi forces would withdraw from Iran in 10 days Khomeini said
            that war would not end
1982 Commander in chief of Iranian army said Iran-Iraq War would continue until
            Saddam overthrown
1982 Saddam complained that Iran was defeated in 1980 but didn’t give up
1996 UN and Iraq agreed on terms for allowing UN inspectors into Republican Guard
            Special Republican Guard Special Security Organization Mukhabarat sites
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
1998 Grand Ayatollah Mirza Ali al-Gharawi assassinated by Saddam who blamed
            foreign agents
2001 US decided to provide new aid to Iraqi opposition against Saddam
2003 Bush blamed former regime elements for attacks in Iraq
2003 Bush claimed other intel services said Iraq had WMD and Iraq never proved
            it destroyed its WMD arsenal
2003 Head weapons inspector Blix thought Iraq only had “debris” of WMD program
            since none found since invasion
2003 Blix said pre-war reports by Iraqis that WMD were destroyed might prove true
            Cited Hussein Kamal in 94 who said no WMD left
2003 Report 2002 National Intelligence Estimate questioned Iraq-Al Qaeda ties
2003 2000 Sistani supporters protested outside Green Zone demanding elections and
            new Iraqi govt
2004 Al Qaeda in Iraq beheaded S Korean civilian Kim Sun-il
2004 UN audit on reconstruction in Iraq found spending and contracts full of errors and
            open to fraud
2004 UN audit found State Organization for Marketing Oil had no records on tenders
            contracts who won bids etc
2004 Report White House claims Saddam Fedayeen members were in Al Qaeda based
            upon confusion of their names
2005 US Commanding Gen in Iraq Casey got report of prisoner abuse by ISF Ordered US
            forces to stop any abuses they saw
2008 Iraqi offensive against Sadrists in Maysan expanded to Dhi Qar and Wasit
2008 Report IEDs down 90% from 2007
2008 Female suicide bomber in Baquba killed 13 wounded 30
(Musings On Iraq article on female suicide bombers)
2008 Report US reconstruction projects in Hit halted due to corruption of mayor and
            police chief
2008 Baghdad Ops Command said Maliki issued order to integrate all Sahwa in
2009 US commander in Diyala said govt had not paid 1000 Sahwa in province nor
            integrated them into govt
2009 US turned over security in Anbar to Iraqi forces
2010 Protests in Ramadi and Nasiriya over lack of electricity
2010 Army arrested sons of protest organizer in Basra demanding leader turn himself
            in Basra council condemned Army’s move
2011 Report Asaib Ahl Al-Haq carrying out recruiting program to get people to
            attack US forces before they withdrew from Iraq
2011 Basra council voted to ban US military from operating in province
2012 Def Sec Panetta asked Iraq to hold Hezbollah operative Daqduq in prison Captured
            by US and turned over to Iraqis
(Musings On Iraq article on Hezbollah presence in Iraq)
2012 Iraq’s national grid ran out of fuel shutting down electricity across entire country
            for 24 hrs
2012 Sadr criticized Ayatollah Haeri and Iran for trying to interfere with his followers
            during no confidence move vs Maliki
2013 ISF launched operation in Rawa, Anbar
2013 Early election results showed Mutahidun in 1st place in Anbar and Ninewa
            provincial elections
2013 Anbar governor claimed Iraqi Islamic Party cheated in provincial elections
            paying off voters
2014 ISF withdrew from Qaim, Anbar ISIS seized Trebil and Walid border crossings
2014 ISF withdrew from Tal Afar, Ninewa turning it over to ISIS
2014 Fighting between ISIS and pro-Naqshibandi tribes in Hawija, Kirkuk for control
2014 Human Rights Ministry report 480 Shiite prisoners were executed by ISIS
            in Badush prison after Mosul captured
2014 Iraqi forces again claimed Jurf al-Sakhr, Babil freed of insurgents Wasn’t
2014 Report Iraq lost 60 of 243 Army battalions with all of their equipment 5 of Iraq’s
            14 Divisions combat ineffective
2014 Iran objected to US sending military advisers to help Iraq against insurgency
            Claimed US supporting Baathists and ISIS

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Kirkuk In The Aftermath Of The 2003 Invasion, Interview With Kevin Petit of the 173rd Airborne Brigade

The U.S. 173rd Airborne Combat Brigade along with Special Forces were the only American units sent into northern Iraq during the 2003 invasion. Their task was to destroy the Iraqi formations in the area, and then move onto Kirkuk city. The 173rd was stationed in Kirkuk for almost the next year when the province became wracked by ethnosectarian divisions and violence between the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Christians. Kevin Petit was the executive officer or second in command of the 173rd during this time. This is an interview about his time serving in Kirkuk during and immediately after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 21

1920 Foreign Min Lord Curzon wrote that Iraq High Comm Wilson’s ideas were
            backwards and him leading Mandate was a problem Wilson rejected self-rule
1922 Nephew of cleric Khalisi arrested for posting anti-election fatwa in Khadimiya
Baghdad When police tried to arrest man for posting anti-election fatwa followers came to his aid but still detained
1922 Mujtahid Khalisi called for shop closings in Khadimiya to protest nephew’s arrest
            Few complied
1981 UN rep Palme took 4th trip to Tehran to try to negotiate ceasefire to end Iran-Iraq
1997 UN Resolution 1115 said Iraq had to fully cooperate with weapons inspectors and
            allow them into disputed sites
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
2002 CIA paper on Iraq-Al Qaeda relationship Said two had contacts since mid-90s but
            no evidence of cooperation on terrorism Differences limited relationship
2003 Sadrist march in Baghdad against US occupation
2004 9/11 Comm member claimed captured Iraqi docs showed 3 Saddam Fedayeen
members were in Al Qaeda Claimed a Fedayeen Saddam was Al Qaeda facilitator in Malaysia Just had same name
2005 PM Jaafari announced $1 bil deal with Iran to build schools hospitals and libraries
2005 US forces saw insurgents fighting other insurgents along Iraq-Syrian border
2005 Sen Hagel told Bush he should listen to outside voices on Iraq policy
2006 Saddam’s lawyer kidnapped by men in police uniform and executed
2006 Zalmay Khalilzad sworn in as new US ambassador to Iraq
2006 US Iraq Cmdr Gen Casey told Joint Chiefs plan to transfer security to Iraqis in
18 months accept Anbar Wanted to draw down US brigades in Iraq from 15 to 10 by end of yr
2006 US Iraq Cmdr Gen Casey told Joint Chiefs he wanted only 5-6 US brigades in
            Iraq by Dec 07
(Musings On Iraq article on pre-Surge US Iraq strategy)
2008 Petraeus issued new guidelines for US forces in Iraq to set up governance services
            build economy
2009 Mayors in some Ninewa district threatening to join KRG Hadbaa dispute
2010 ISF broke up protests in Nasiriya over lack of electricity Protests in Basra too
2010 Electricity Minister Hassan resigned due to protests
2012 Maliki called for Gov Nujafi to be dismissed saying he violated constitution by
            holding talks with Kurds over oil deals in disputed areas
2013 Transportation Minister and Badr head Ameri said Iraq’s Shiites would fight ISIS
            in Syria if shrines were attacked
2014 Rawa Ana Rutba Albu Hayat Jubba in western Anbar fell to ISIS
2014 ISF executed 25 prisoners in Rawa before withdrawing
2014 Fighting between Naqshibandi Ansar al-Sunna Islamic Army vs ISIS over control
            of Hamrin, Diyala
2014 ISIS fought Naqshibandi over control of Riyad, Kirkuk
2014 ISIS executed 84 ISF in Tikrit
2014 New security op to clear Jurf al-Sakhr, Babil
2014 ISIS attacked Tuz Kharmato Salahaddin and turned back
2015 KRG stopped delivering oil for export by Baghdad
2017 IS blew up historic Nouri Mosque and Hadbaa minaret in west Mosul as Iraqi
            forces approached

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What Was Behind Iran’s Social Media Campaign Promoting Gen Suleimani In Iraq?

(Al Alam)
In September 2014, a social media campaign was launched featuring Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qasim Suleimani. The conventional wisdom was that this was an attempt by Tehran to portray it as the major force leading the war against the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria. Dozens of pictures appeared on Facebook and Twitter and other outlets, and eventually found their way into the Iraqi and international media. Afshon Ostovar in Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards argued there might have been another motivation.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 20

1980 Iraq held first parliamentary elections since end of monarchy in 1958 Baath
            won 187 seats Independents 63
1982 Ayatollah Khomeini said Iran-Iraq War would end when Saddam was out
1987 Peshmerga mounted offensive in Sulaymaniya supported by Iran
1987 Ali Hassan al-Majid issued order for random attacks on Kurdish areas to kill as
many people as possible Also said that any Kurd captured between 15-70 should be interrogated then executed
2004 Interim PM Allawi said special commando units would be created
2004 Head of 9/11 Commission said Al Qaeda was closer to Iran and Pakistan than
2004 9/11 Comm member said captured Iraqi docs showed 1 Fedayeen Saddam was an
Al Qaeda member Attacked press for claiming Comm report contradicted Bush admin claims on Iraq-Al Qaeda connections
2004 White House claimed 9/11 Comm proved its argument of Al Qaeda-Iraq
            ties when Commission said no cooperation
2005 UK UN diplomat Ross said he saw 4 ½ yrs of intel on Iraq WMD and it didn’t
            support Blair’s argument for war
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said Al
Qaeda’s Libi and INC reported Iraq providing training to Al Qaeda Feb 04 Libi recanted his story which was given under torture
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said back
in 1990 Ansar al-Islam was working on WMD in Kurdistan Ansar not created until 2002
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said Iraq
            supported Ansar al-Islam Was not true
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said Iraq
ran terrorist training camp in Salman Pak with a plane fuselage next to a WMD facility raising fears Iraq giving terrorists WMD
2006 Was no active WMD facility in Salman Pak and terrorist training camp was spread
            by INC before invasion
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group said he
believed 9/11 hijacker Atta met with Iraqi intel in Prague in 2001 and never disproven
2006 2001 Czech intel said Atta-Iraq intel story untrue CIA FBI 9/11 Commission never
            found evidence of meeting
2006 Michael Maloof who was on Pentagon’s Policy Counterterrorism Group claimed
2002 NIE was attempt by CIA to win back debate on Iraq to WMD instead of terrorism
2006 Fmr head State Dept Intel Bureau Carl Ford said pre-Iraq war intel showed failure
            of tradecraft and analysis of US intel
2006 Car Ford said US got reports of things like Iraq-Niger uranium story and aluminum
            tubes and failed to analyze and question them thoroughly
(Musings On Iraq article on Iraq-Niger uranium story)
(Musings On Iraq article on the aluminum tubes story)
2006 Fmr Dep Dir CIA McLaughlin said that Feith’s Counter Terror Group found lots of
            articles of Al Qaeda-Iraq meetings but no control or operational connections
2006 Fmr Dep Dir CIA McLaughlin thought Feith’s Pentagon group was put together to
            counter CIA’s intel on Iraq-Al Qaeda
2006 Fmr CIA bin Laden desk chief Scheuer said Iraq war devastated CIA’s
            counterterrorism office by draining resources
2006 CIA’s Scheuer said it didn’t see any threat from Iraq compare to Al Qaeda Said
Dep Sec Def Feith’s office was set up to counter the CIA’s reporting no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda
2006 Scheuer headed CIA’s report on Iraq-Al Qaeda ties and found no relationship
2006 Gen DeLong Gen Frank’s deputy commader at CENTCOM said he believed Iraq
            working with Ansar al-Islam and Al Qaeda in Kurdistan pre-invasion
2008 Report several insurgent groups reaching out to parties to try to get involved in
2008 ISF arrested Sadrist deputy governor and 2 councilmen in Maysan during security
            op there vs Sadrists
(Musings On Iraq article on Op Promise of Peace)
2008 20 police accused of kidnapping and running death squads arrested Were
            members of Mahdi Army
2008 Report 4 political parties formed from 2 Anbar Awakening groups and 2 from
            insurgent Islamic Army
2009 Head of Kurdish list in Ninewa told Bashiqa teachers they should stop teaching
            in Arabic and switch to Kurdish Dispute with Hadbaa
2009 ISI bombed Shiite mosque killing 73 in Taza Kirkuk
2010 2 car bombs in front of Trade Bank of Iraq in Baghdad 27 killed 55 wounded
2010 Funeral for protester killed in Basra led to march calling for Maliki to step
2010 Ayatollah Najafi issued statement condemning electricity shortages and supported
            right of people to protest problem
2011 Sadr statement called for arrest and punishment of ex-Mahdi Army Abu Dura
            and his followers Known as Shiite Zarqawi
2011 Maliki and other political leaders met at Pres Talabani’s house in Baghdad to
            discuss power sharing
2012 Sadr MP said 3rd term for Maliki would lead to dictatorship
2012 Sadrist protest in Baghdad claimed govt cracking down on independent
2013 Chevron signed new exploration deal with KRG for work in Irbil
2013 Gazprom met with Pres Barzani to discuss oil deals in KRG
2013 Shahristani claimed Iraq’s electricity problems would be solved by end of year
2013 Election Comm said voter turnout only 35% in Ninewa and 37% in Anbar in
            delayed provincial elections
2014 Tanker sold Kurdish oil to Israel exported through KRG’s independent pipeline to
2014 Fighting between Naqshibandi and ISIS in Hawija killed 17 as IS tried to assert
            control over area
2014 45 bodies found executed by insurgents in Tigris River in Salahaddin
2014 Turkman leaders in Tuz Kharmato said happy Peshmerga moved into city but
            wanted power sharing
2014 Sistani spokesman called for new govt that “avoids past mistakes” Most took
            that as criticism of Maliki
2015 Hashd killed a Kurdish civilian in a car leading to gunfight between Hashd
            and Peshmerga in Tuz Kharmato
2015 Civil group claimed Peshmerga killing civilians and displacing people in
            Diyala’s Khanaqin Dist

View the Iraq History Timelines