Friday, June 13, 2014

Continued Collapse Of Iraqi Security Forces And Fighting In Baghdad Leads to Militia Mobilization And Arrival Of Iran

The continued collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) along with the advance of the insurgency towards Baghdad has brought out both the militias and Iran. June 12, 2014 there was more news that police and army units were disintegrating in the face of militants. In Diyala police and army units started pulling out of the Sadiya area throughout the day. A Baathist Military Council later posted several videos of it burning parts of an abandoned ISF base in that part of the province. In Anbar, soldiers withdrew from Kubaisa near Hit in the west after fighting with insurgents. To the west of Ramadi officers in the local police, and customs and border guards fled as well after being attacked. More importantly the security forces left their positions along the Anbar-Syria border, army and tribal forces pulled out of their assignments around parts of Fallujah allowing militants to gain control of three entrances to the city, and insurgents overran the Mazraa army base west of Fallujah after it was abandoned. The day was topped off with reports of fighting in Dora in southern Baghdad and Abu Ghraib to the west. The ISF were actually able to hold the Baiji refinery and Samarra in Salahaddin. The latter includes the Shiite Askari shrine so there was far more motivation for fighting there than say Mosul or Tikrit. There was probably foreign assistance there as well which will be discussed next. Otherwise it seemed like the police and army were withering away anytime the insurgents showed up. That has forced Baghdad to look for outside support from its neighboring Iran.

With these continued reversals and the insurgency’s march towards Baghdad there are more stories of militia and Iranian mobilization. The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) said that its men would be working with the Defense Minister to fight terrorists. They will be backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, which recently sent 2 battalions to Iraq. Quds Force leader General Qasim Suleimani who is in Baghdad will command them. Militia units have already been fighting in places like Anbar in recent months. With the threat to Baghdad and its majority Shiite population growing Tehran is getting ready to defend the capital. The security is so dire with the ISF giving up across the country the Iraqi government needs more boots on the ground to stabilize the situation. New Iraqi volunteers are not going to reverse the situation because they need weeks of basic training and if that was shortened they would be even more ineffective than the current security members have proven. The only country that is willing to commit its money, support and personnel is neighboring Iran. It does not want to see the expansion of ISIS, which it has fought in Syria, and will not stand for a friendly government that is right next door to it to fall to Sunni insurgents. This is just like Tehran did during the previous Iraqi civil war. That means when the serious fighting starts in Baghdad the militants will be in a real fight against not only the ISF, but also militias backed by Iranian advisers and leadership. That will get real ugly really fast.


AIN, “IPs, gunmen clash southern Baghdad,” 6/12/14
- "ISIL attack Samarra city," 6/11/14

Alsumaria, “Saadiya Diyala announces occurrence of security voids in some areas and demanding reinforcements,” 6/13/14
- “The withdrawal of all officers and employees of the leadership of the border and customs guards west of Ramadi,” 6/13/14

Buratha News, “In coordination with the Ministry of Defense the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council sends the first group of the righteous to fight terrorist Daash rats,” 6/12/14

Fassihi, Farnaz, “Iran Deploys Forces to Fight al Qaeda-Inspired Militants in Iraq,” Wall Street Journal, 6/12/14

Hadi, Ahmad, “cousin against cousin: iraqi militias in anbar bloody family ties,” Niqash, 6/5/14

Al Mada, “Armed groups re-open entrances to Fallujah after withdrawal of the army surrounding the city,” 6/12/14

Al Masalah, "Gunmen in 50 cars attacked Baiji refinery north of Tikrit," 6/12/14

NINA, “The withdrawal of the army from Kubaisa district western Anbar,” 6/12/14

Radio Nawa, "6 killing of Daash and a curfew in Abu Ghraib," 6/12/14

Xinhua, “Iraqi security forces withdraw from border with Syria,” 6/12/14


bb said...

Joel - in the recent election do you have a figure for the turnout in the Sunni provinces including Anbar, Ninevah, Diyala and Salah al-din. And also a breakdown of the election results in these provinces?.

On your "getting real ugly" comment : It won't be enough for the Iranians and the shia to hold the capital - they'll need to at least retake Fallujah and Anbar to get some strategic depth.

Joel Wing said...


don't have turnout. Anbar was said to have the lowest. Here are the results

Anbar Total 15 seats
Mutahidun 4 seats
Loyalty for Anbar 3 seats
Allawi Nationalists 2 seats
Unity of Iraq’s Sons 2 seats
Mutlaq/Arabiya 2 seats
Iraq Alliance 1 seat
Khalas/Salvation Alliance 1 seat

Ninewa 31 seats total
Mutahidun 12 seats
Kurdistan Alliance/KDP & Change 6 seats
Allawi/Nationalists 4 seats
Ninewa National Coalition 3 seats
Mutlaq/Arabiya Alliance 3 seats
PUK 2 seats
Iraq Alliance 1 seat

Diyala 14 seats total
Diyala Is Our Identity 5 seats
State of Law 3 seats
Sadrists/Ahrar 1 seat
ISCI 1 seat
Iraqi Kurds 2 seats
Allawi/Nationalists 2 seats

Salahaddin 12 seats total
Mutlaq/Arabiya 3 seats
Mutahidun 3 seats
Allawi/Nationalists 2 seats
Karama/Dignity 1 seat
National Alliance of Salahaddin 1 seat
National Salahaddin Coalition 1 seat
Iraq Coalition 1 seat

As for taking ground that will take forever. The ISF has proven that it can not hold any ground that it might take. Militias were deployed to Anbar and did not help with any advances. This is going to be a very long war of attrition.

Anoni said...

The Iraqi government, as ever, is entirely incompetent to respond to national security threats.

You cannot win against this new insurgency by simply deploying overwhelming military force. The insurgents will fight an unconventional war. We have seen that with the US occupation for nearly a decade. The factions that they are fighting against count on the resentment of local populations again the government.

I don't see the Iraqi government regaining real control of western Iraq for the forseeable future, in fact I'm not sure they will even see it worth trying. Iraq is now essentially finished as a functioning nation. Iran and its shiite militia proxies will assume power over Iraqs central government. Kurdistan has Kirkuk and needs little more from the rest of the country. The Syrian/Iraqi border will become a no mans land.

Faisal Kadri said...

Not so fast anoni.. The latest news talks about wide tribes endorsements of the military council, this may not sound much for an outsider but in reality it means an insurmountable challenge to Maliki. Baghdad and the Iranian hegemony will be under threat.
The simplest conclusion from recent events is that the initiative is no longer in the hand of Iran.

Joel Wing said...

which tribes? where? there are plenty of tribes both for and against Baghdad. Just looked what happened in Anbar.

And again, analysts believe that ISIS is responsible for anywhere from 75-95% of all attacks in Iraq. The JRTN's Military Council's are growing but still miniscule compared to the Islamic State. The fact that they continuously cow before ISIS when their members get killed by it is telling sign of the power relations between the two.

bb said...

Joel thanks so much for that.

One other thing - can you provide a breakdown of the votes the major parties gained nationally, and also, if not too much trouble,the % breakdowns in the provinces?

many tks in advance - and congratulations for having developed this unique resource!

Joel Wing said...


sorry don't have either of those. election results came out at end of school year and I was too swamped with work to go through the numbers. Here are the national results by party though

Anonymous said...

election results: