Thursday, June 19, 2014

Background To The Fall Of Mosul, Insurgents’ Relentless Attacks Upon Security Forces Set Stage For The Taking Of City

 
On June 10, 2014 Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul fell to insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). While there have been some conspiracy theories circulating there is solid evidence to back up the theory that a collapse at the top of the Iraqi Security Forces’ (ISF) leadership led to the route that spread to other units throughout northern and central Iraq. The capture of Mosul furthered ISIS’s long term goal of reclaiming territory that it lost during the Surge, which it outlined in its July 2013 Soldiers’ Harvest campaign. The first part of that strategy was to relentlessly target the ISF to loosen up their control so that militants could eventually move in. In Mosul the police and army were targeted more than just about any other city in the country, which helps explain why they fell apart so quickly in June.

For several years now Ninewa has been one of the most violent provinces in all of Iraq, and most of the security incidents there occur in Mosul. From January to May 2014 the press reported 481 attacks in the city. That led to 508 deaths and 746 wounded. Of those 274 of the killed and 412 of the injured were members of the ISF. That averaged out to 53% of the fatalities and 55% of the wounded. Not only that but the number of attacks and casualties were ramping up during that time period foreshadowing the June raid on the city. For instance, the number of incidents went from 79 and 85 in January and February respectively to 109, 101, and 107 from March to May. Conversely the number of dead and wounded started off at 71 and 81 in January, then 76 and 188 in February, before jumping to 109 and 161 in March, 135 and 176 in April, and then 117 and 210 in May. In its Soldiers’ Harvest campaign the Islamic State laid out its plan to seize territory by weakening the security forces. That was what they achieved in Mosul. The relentless attacks upon the army and police gave rise to a siege mentality. Niqash for example reported that the security forces would withdraw from some areas of the city at night because they were afraid for their safety. The situation was so bad that the Ninewa Operations Command had to set up special air flights from Mosul to Baghdad for its members to commute from their homes to work because the highway between those two cities was too unsafe. The targeting of the ISF obviously took a toll on the morale of the forces in Mosul, which helped lead to them breaking when the insurgents attacked in June.


Violence In Mosul 2014
Month
Attacks
Dead
Wounded
ISF
Dead
ISF
Wounded
ISF %
Of Dead
ISF % Of
Wounded
Jan
79
71
81
37
63
52%
77%
Feb
85
76
118
43
74
56%
62%
Mar
109
109
161
60
71
55%
44%
Apr
101
135
176
77
111
57%
63%
May
107
117
210
57
93
48%
44%
Total
481
508
746
274
412
53%
55%


Attacks upon the Iraqi forces help explain why the army and police barely put up a fight when the Islamic State and other insurgent groups laid siege to Mosul. There were other factors as well like reports that the leadership of the Ninewa Operations Command was extorting money from people or that insurgents were stealing most of the salaries of the ISF in the province. These claims of corruption at the top, being unpaid for months, and the constant targeting by insurgents pointed to a weakened force in Mosul who were in no state to put up determined resistance to protect the city.    

SOURCES

Bas News, “Mosul operations commander takes money from citizens,” 4/19/14

Habib, Mustafa, “did they or didn’t they? Iraqi army did not desert mosul, they were ordered to leave,” Niqash, 6/15/14

New Sabah, “Armed groups earn money from imported food..and “royalties” on hot spots up to 8 million dollars a month,” 3/15/14

Al Rafidayn, “Maliki’s office agrees to conduct flights to transport security personnel in Mosul,” 3/25/14

Sabah, Mohammad, “Mosul deputies: Nineveh become under control of insurgents and gunmen moving openly,” Al-Mada, 11/2/13

6 comments:

bb said...

You really have to wonder how complicit the Nujaifi family is in all this.

Joel Wing said...

Insurgents blew up much of the family's property in Mosul so don't think the Nujafi's were in on it

bb said...

But they must have been aware of what's been happening under their noses there since end of 2012. Most likely they would be complicit with the Baathist element leeching off the jihadis.

The blowing up would have been a a Mafia style reminder to the family that others hold the power of them now.

Joel Wing said...

ISIS and other insurgent groups were deeply imbedded into Mosul just like a Mafia as you mentioned. It seemed like they had free reign of the city. Doesn't mean the Nujafi's knew that an attack on the city was coming.

bb said...

It would be passing strange if the Nujaifi horse trader family, one of whom is Governor of Mosul and another the Speaker of the Iraqi national parliament, was unaware of what was happening on their home patch given the far reaching strategic and tactical planning you have just detailed?

If so, could you please post their expressions of shock, outrage and repudiation of events? Even shock and outrage might help.

Joel Wing said...

As I said ISIS acted like a Mafia in Mosul and everyone knew about it. Just like the mafia in southern Italy it was nearly impossible to uproot and the insurgents actually appeared to have the upper hand. Gov Nujafi mostly blamed Maliki after the fall of the city claiming that the army wouldn't work with him, that he tried to tell Maliki about what was happening etc. What he failed to say was that he had argued for months that the Army needed to leave the city because they were so detested and that the police would be up for the job of securing the city. I think Speaker Nujafi tried to differentiate between ISIS and the rest of the insurgency but don't remember off the top of my head.

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