Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do Dead Bodies In The Street’s Of Iraq’s Capital Point Towards A Renewed Civil War?

Talk of a new civil war emerging in Iraq has already begun to be discussed by some media outlets. The Islamic State (IS) has been working for at least a year if not more to infiltrate its people into Baghdad to restart street fighting there. It already has extensive networks in and out of the capital city, which have allowed it to carry out several attacks a day in the province from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to sticky bombs to drive by shootings to larger car bomb operations. The Baathist Naqsibandi is active in northern Baghdad province as well. At the same time the Shiite militias have been mobilizing since at least January 2014 and are now seen in the streets of several neighborhoods and are deployed in the western section of the governorate around Abu Ghraib. Together these forces have been carrying out a series of executions and assassinations, and dumping the bodies on the streets. The recent increase in such incidents could be one indicator that a civil conflict is returning to the capital.

When reviewing and analyzing the number of bodies found in Baghdad province it’s important to first note that not all are due to insurgents or militias. Several women have been found stabbed for example, which could be the result of honor killings by their families. Others could be the result of common crime. It is impossible to tell what the causation was of all of these incidents. People found handcuffed and blindfolded or multiple bodies dumped in the same place however point to insurgents and militias. The first incident of the year for example was four bodies found in Arab Jabour in the southeast of the province, which the press believed was the work of a death squad on January 1. Then on January 3 two women were found in the Tigris River in northern Baghdad, which could have been the work of criminals, their families, or militants. Today there continues to be a mix of such incidents. July 6 a man was found in an empty lot strangled to death in Zafaraniya in the southern part of the city, while July 7 a man was shot and dumped in the east. What led to each death is impossible to know and can only be inferred by how the body was found and the cause of death, but even then a lot of speculation is involved.

The first thing that stands out is that the number of bodies found has not followed a straight trajectory, but rather has gone up and down and then up again. In January 2014 31 bodies were found in the province. Then 35 were discovered in February, 28 in March and April each. Then they began to climb with 39 in May and 42 in June. The aggregate statistics show that there could be a correlation between the recent militia mobilization in Baghdad and the number of unidentified bodies found as they have reached a new high in the last two month just as the Shiite gunmen began re-organizing in Iraq. Insurgents were also ramping up their activities for their summer offensive, which could also be a factor.

Bodies Dumped In Baghdad Province 2014
# of Bodies Found
Order and Location Found
Jan 1-7
Arab Jabour, North, Hurriya, Obeidi
Jan 8-14
Sabi al-Bour, Mansur x2
Jan 15-21
Mamil, East
Jan 22-28
Amil, Baya, Kadhimiya, Sadr City
Jan 29-31
Arab Jabour, New Baghdad
Jan Total

Feb 1-7
Saidiya, Amil, Elam, North,
Feb 8-14
East, Abu Ghraib, Sadr City, Obeidi, Husseiniya, New Baghdad
Feb 15-21
North, Obeidi, Shula, Talabiya, South
Feb 22-28
Sadr City, Southwest, Jkok, Mashtil Army Base, Shamiya, Abu Ghraib, Arab Jabour, Sadr City
Feb Total

Mar 1-7
Rasheed, Yusifiya, Meshahda, Saidiya, Ghaziliya, Sadr City, Rashad
Mar 8-14
Arab Jabour
Mar 15-21
Sadr City, Abu Ghraib, East
Mar 22-28
Yusifiya, Hurriya, Arab Jabour, Hurriya, Qahira, Sadr City
Mar 29-31
Husseiniya, Obeidi, Rasheed
Mar Total

Apr 1-7
Sadr City, Shurta Rabia, Ghaziliya
Apr 8-14
Obeidi, Abu Ghraib, Latifiya
Apr 15-21
Arab Jabour, Dora
Apr 22-28
Dora, Shula. Madain, Arab Jabour, Sadr City
Apr 29-30

Apr Total

May 1-7
Shula, Madain, Yusifiya, Obeidi, East
May 8-14
Jadriya, Zafaraniya, Jkok, Kadhimiya, East, Shula, Abu Ghraib
May 15-21
South, Zafaraniya, East
May 22-28
May 29-31
Sadr City
May Total

Jun 1-7
Yusifiya, Ghaziliya, Yusifiya, North
Jun 8-14
Shurta Rabia, Zafaraniya
Jun 15-21
East, Benuk, Qahira, Abu Dishir, Zafaraniya
Jun 22-28
Amil, Canal St, Amil, Shula
Jun 29-30
Jun Total

Jul 1-7
Amil, Jihad, Ahrar, Sadr City, Shula, Zafaraniya, Obeidi

Multiple bodies found in the same location is usually a harbinger of armed groups. The monthly totals have not followed the exact same pattern as those for the number of dead bodies overall. There were 25 in January, 18 in February, 14 in March, 22 in April, 32 in May, and 36 in June. That showed a dip after January before reaching a new high by the summer. Looking at the location of these incidents also shows that many took place in the outskirts of Baghdad province or the perimeter of the city. Arab Jabour for example is just outside of the city limits to the south. 21 bodies have been found there from January to July 7. Not only that but five were members of the Sahwa. Zafaraniya is to the east of Arab Jabour by the Rasheed Airport. Bodies only began appearing there in May, but nine have been discovered so far. Dora is in southern Baghdad proper and six bodies have turned up there. All these incidents appear to be the work of the Islamic State that has attempted to infiltrate southern Baghdad province from Babil. On the other hand, 12 bodies have been discovered in Sadr City, which is a Shiite stronghold. The question was who were the victims however? Were they residences of that neighborhood or people abducted in other areas and dumped there? There’s no telling. Militias carrying out murders in Baghdad however was confirmed by a parliamentarian from State of Law who told Reuters that after the June 10 fall of Mosul there were a number of retaliatory killings and dumping of bodies in the capital.

Incidents Of Multiple Bodies Found In Baghdad Province 2014
Jan 1 4 Bodies Arab Jabour
Jan 3 2 Bodies North
Jan 4 2 Bodies Hurriya
Jan 8 3 Bodies Sabi al-Bour
Jan 14 4 Bodies Mansour
Jan 18 2 Bodies East
Jan 22 2 Bodies Sadr City
Jan 29 3 Sahwa Arab Jabour, 3 Bodies New Baghdad
Feb 3 4 Bodies Amil
Feb 6 3 Bodies North
Feb 12 3 Bodies Obeidi
Feb 16 3 Bodies North
Feb 28 3 Bodies Sadr City 2 Bodies Arab Jabour
Mar 2 2 Bodies Meshahda
Mar 6 2 Bodies Rashad
Mar 8 3 Bodies Arab Jabour
Mar 16 3 Bodies Abu Ghraib
Mar 25 2 Sahwa Arab Jabour
Mar 31 2 Bodies Obeidi
Apr 6 4 Bodies Shurta Rabia
Apr 15 3 Bodies Arab Jabour
Apr 19 3 Bodies Dora
Apr 25 3 Bodies Dora
Apr 26 3 Bodies Madain 4 Bodies Arab Jabour
Apr 27 2 Bodies Sadr City
May 4 3 Bodies Shula 7 Bodies Madain
May 7 3 Bodies East
May 12 3 Bodies Jkok 3 Bodies Kadhimiya
May 13 2 Bodies East
May 19 5 Bodies Zafaraniya
May 21 2 Bodies East
May 28 2 Bodies Obeidi
May 31 2 Bodies Sadr City
Jun 5 4 Bodies Ghaziliya
Jun 6 2 Bodies North 2 Bodies Yusifiya
Jun 9 2 Bodies Zafaraniya
Jun 16 4 Bodies East
Jun 17 4 Bodies Benuk
Jun 18 4 Bodies Abu Dishir
Jun 21 2 Bodies Zafaraniya
June 22 3 Bodies Amil
Jun 24 9 Bodies Amil
Jul 1 3 Bodies Sadr City 2 Bodies Ahrar
Jul 5 2 Bodies Shula

Some have attempted to use dumped bodies in Baghdad province as a sign that a civil war might be re-emerging in Iraq. The statistics show there is some substance to that argument. There have been more of these types of deaths in the last two months. The return of the militias was one cause, but the insurgents have increased their infiltrate into the capital as well. Either way it is obvious that this type of violence is becoming more prominent in Baghdad province and may get worse in the coming months.


AIN, "Mortar shell targets Green Zone," 2/4/14

Alsumaria, "Found five unidentified bodies in different parts of Baghdad," 6/23/14
- "Found the body of a young man shot and spent the east of Baghdad," 2/14/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies north of Baghdad," 2/16/14
- "Four bodies were found in different pars of Baghdad," 7/1/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "3 bodies found in New Baghdad area," 1/29/14
- "8 persons killed after kidnapping in Baghdad," 5/4/14

Buratha News, "Body Found "charred" in eastern Baghdad," 3/16/14
- "Finding the bodies of three unidentified men who were killed by firing squad in the Dora district of southern Baghdad," 3/8/14
- "Finding the bodies of three unknown women north of Baghdad," 1/8/14
- "Found an unidentified body with infected wounds in the area of the embankment east of Baghdad," 3/18/14
- "Found dead an awakening dump shot dead south of Baghdad," 4/13/14
- "Found four unidentified bodies in different parts of Baghdad," 6/5/14
- "Found four unidentified bodies in western Baghdad," 4/6/14
- "Found the bodies of four out of eight people kidnapped two days ago in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad," 3/1/14
- "Found the bodies of two elements of the awakening dumped and shot in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad," 2/4/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men dumped and shot in the chest," 4/27/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men in the area of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 7/1/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men shot and dumped east of Baghdad," 5/21/14
- "Found the body of a child from an awakening member strangled in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad," 1/23/14
- "Found the body of a former Awakening dumped and shot dead south of Baghdad," 5/5/14
- "Found the body of a leading role in awakening dumped stabbed to death south of Baghdad," 6/2/14
- "Found the body of a man who was shot and dumped north of Baghdad," 2/22/14
- "Found the body of a woman killed by firing squad in eastern Baghdad," 2/9/14
- "Found the body of a young man spent shot south of Baghdad," 2/21/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped to the west of Baghdad," 4/10/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies in Dora, south of Baghdad," 4/25/14
- "Recover the body of an unidentified man from the Tigris River south of Baghdad," 5/17/14
- "Unidentified bodies found in Shurta Rabia," 6/8/14

Dziadosz, Alexander, “Bruised Iraqi army leans on Shi’ite militias, volunteers,” Reuters, 7/10/14

Al Forat, "Dead body discovered in Abo Gharib," 5/14/14
- "Unidentified body found northwest Baghdad," 4/26/14

Iraq Times, "Found four unidentified bodies in Arab Jabour, south of Baghdad," 4/26/14
- "Found two unidentified bodies in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 5/31/14
- "unidentified bodies: the phenomenon of returning to the streets of the provinces," 4/19/14

Al Mada, "Body found with severed hands of an unidentified young man dumped and stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 4/8/14
- "The body of a woman found stabbed to death west of Baghdad," 1/9/14
- "The body of a young woman found strangled south of Baghdad," 2/2/14
- "Finding the bodies of four unidentified men who were killed by firing squad in eastern Baghdad," 6/16/14
- "Finding the bodies of four unidentified men who were killed by firing squad, west of Baghdad," 1/14/14
- "Finding the bodies of three elements of the awakening dumped and shot south of Baghdad," 1/29/14
- "Found four unidentified bodies riddled with gunshots south of Baghdad," 6/18/14
- "Found the bodies of a woman and two men who died faceless shot in eastern Baghdad," 5/7/14
- "Found the bodies of four people who were killed by death squad south of Baghdad," 1/1/14
- "Found the bodies of two elements of the Awakening south of Baghdad," 3/25/14
- "Found the bodies of two men dumped shot south of Baghdad," 2/28/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men shot and dumped north-west of Baghdad," 1/4/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men shot and spent to the south west of Baghdad," 1/22/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified women stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "Found the bodies of two young unidentified spent shot dead in eastern Baghdad," 1/18/14
- "Found the body of a child dumped and shot southeast of Baghdad," 5/11/14
- "Found the body of a man who was strangled inside his home north of Baghdad," 1/26/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man dumped and shot in central Baghdad," 5/10/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped in east Baghdad," 3/28/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped in the east of Baghdad," 2/11/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped in the east of Baghdad," 3/3/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped to the west of Baghdad," 4/6/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped west of Baghdad," 2/26/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified woman who was shot dead south west of Baghdad," 1/24/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified young man dumped and shot dead in northwest Baghdad," 2/24/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified young man dumped stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 2/17/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies north of Baghdad," 5/11/14
- "Killing and wounding three soldiers in Tarmiyah and found two bodies in al-Obeidi east of the capital," 3/31/14
- "The killing of three civilians in armed attack south of Baghdad," 4/26/14
- "Recover the body of an unidentified man south west of Baghdad," 2/24/14
- "Recovered the bodies dated back to unidentified young women from the Tigris River north of Baghdad," 1/3/14
- "Three bodies of women found who had been dumped unknown identity stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 2/12/14
- "Three bodies were found in the awakening of the elements and the police dumped and shot dead north of Baghdad," 2/9/14

Al Masalah, "Finding the bodies of two unidentified men north of Baghdad," 6/6/14
- "Finding the bodies of two unidentified men south of Baghdad," 6/6/14
- "Found 9 unidentified bodies in Baghdad," 6/24/14
- "Found an unidentified body southeast of Baghdad," 6/3/14
- "Found the body of a civilian in the area of Hurriya," 3/24/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies in western Baghdad," 6/22/14
- "Killing nine civilians and wounding 16, the explosion of two car bombs in the area of Abu Dshir," 2/3/14
- "A man's body was found east of Baghdad," 2/25/14
- "Three civilians were killed in an armed attack in different parts of Baghdad," 2/24/14

NINA, "A body found southeast of Baghdad," 2/25/14
- "Breaking News..14 Bodies for People Shot Dead were Found North of Baghdad," 1/16/14
- "Civilian body found northeast of Baghdad," 3/31/14
- "Dead bodies of two unidentified men found in eastern Baghdad," 5/28/14
- "Dead body of an employee found northwest of Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "A dead body of an unidentified woman found in Husseiniya northeast of Baghdad," 2/13/14
- "Five unidentified bodies found in Baghdad," 5/19/14
- "Police find our bodies in north and east of Baghdad," 1/15/14
- "Police find three unidentified bodies west of Baghdad," 5/4/14
- "Police finds a civilian body south of Baghdad," 3/31/14
- "Six people killed, 22 others wounded in five separate incidents in Baghdad," 6/9/14
- "Three bodies found in Baghdad," 3/2/14
- "Three bodies found in different parts in Baghdad," 1/26/14
- "Three bodies found northwest of Baghdad," 5/12/14
- "Three unidentified bodies found in Arab Jabour area south of Baghdad," 4/15/14
- "Two bodies found in Baghdad," 2/18/14
- "Two bodies found in two different areas in Baghdad," 3/2/14
- "Two women bodies found east of Baghdad," 3/6/14
- "Unidentified body found east of Baghdad," 7/7/14
 "Unidentified body found in Baghdad," 3/25/14
- "Unidentified body found in northeast of Baghdad," 3/26/14
- "An unidentified body found northwest of Baghdad," 6/25/14
- "Unidentified body found in northeast of Baghdad," 6/17/14
- "Au unidentified body found in southwest of Baghdad," 6/30/14
- "Unidentified body found in west of Baghdad," 2/10/14
- "Unidentified body found in Sadr city," 4/1/14
- "Unidentified body found in south of Baghdad," 7/6/14
 - "Unidentified body found south of Baghdad," 3/23/14
- "Unidentified body found west of Baghdad," 3/3/14

Nordland, Rod, "As Fighting Spreads Through Iraq, Sunni Allies Turn on One Another," New York Times, 6/21/14

Al Rafidayn, "Found three unidentified bodies in Baghdad dumped and shot," 3/16/14

Al Rayy, "Found the bodies of two unidentified men, west of Baghdad," 7/5/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies north of Baghdad," 2/6/14

Rubin, Alissa and Al-Salhy, Suadad, "44 Sunni Prisoners Killed as Iraqi Violence Spreads," New York Times, 6/17/14

Salman, Duraid, Hamid, Ghassan, "Found three unidentified bodies in eastern Baghdad," Alsumaria, 2/28/14

Xinhua, "49 killed in violence across Iraq," 5/12/14


bb said...

Illuminating post. This is what I was expecting you would provide back on an earlier thread when I asked for evidence of Maliki's atrocities, sectarian and otherwise.

While I appreciated all the references you provided and spent several days chasing up most of them there was nothing, Joel, just nothing, that approached the levels of state wide terrorism, brutality and atrocity against the Iraqi people as occurred for 30 years under Saddam's Baath and are now occurring under the salafi/Baath insurgency in the over-run Sunni areas.

What is Maliki's real crime? Incompetence?

Joel Wing said...


your argument seems to be well they only caught 3-4 secret prisons being run by Maliki and torture is common for almost anyone who gets arrested by the ISF, but it's not 30 years worth so what's the problem? It's obviously a problem in Iraq and was a major complaint of over 1 year of protests. I mean really do you think the people that get raped in prison think well it's not as bad as Saddam?

Anonymous said...

Joel - are you seriously suggesting that 3-4 secret prisons and the generalised allegations that torture is "common" in those prisons (which is actually a exaggeration) - are you seriously suggesting these equate to the systematic state terror practised by the Baath and also on the systematic atrocities that you have just outlined here, which are being perpetrated by ISI in their occupied areas?

Is that what you are saying the Maliki and the ISF have been practising in Iraq? Systemic state terror? Where is this delusion coming from?

For your info, in all the references you gave me it was the annual human rights reports of Amnesty and the US state department that were clearly persuasive that what was being alleged in Iraq, Joel, was replicated in every single arab country in the ME and Iran. Every single one.
And yet nobody would suggest that in all these countries was being practiced the systematic state terror of Saddam's Baath or the systematic atrocities of ISIS and their Baath comrades to compel obedience in the areas they now occupy?

btw - I inadvertently posted this comment in the wrong thread - it should be in the thread "Islamic State Carries Out Intimidation Campaign Destroying Homes And Kidnapping And Murdering People In Northern Iraq"

I would appreciate if you could move these comments to there, if it is not too much trouble.Otherwise they are out of context.

Joel Wing said...

How can you say the claims of torture are exaggerations? Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, the U.N., the Iraqi government itself have all documented torture as a common practice in Iraqi prisons for years no. The U.S. forces found numerous cases of torture when they were in the country. Why don't you provide some evidence that all this reporting over so many years is an "exaggeration."

Otherwise this argument is getting ridiculous. Saddam was in power longer and ran a totalitarian regime. Is Maliki like that no. But to argue torture is therefore not as bad as under one government as another is crazy. All those human rights reports will tell you that this is a same system under both regimes. Police and army routinely beat and torture suspects in order to gain confessions as that is the main basis of the criminal system.

Joel Wing said...

Here's a video from 2014 from Human Rights Watch interviewing women who were tortured, beaten and raped in Iraqi prisons. I'm sure each one of them is thinking their experience was better than Saddam.

Joel Wing said...

In Baghdad, Hadi al-Mahdi was among four journalists picked up by security forces at a restaurant Friday and driven to the headquarters of the army's 11th Division. After he was beaten, given electric shocks and threatened with rape, he was taken to a relatively luxurious office, he said.

There, he realized from signs and from his own questions that he was in the care of an army intelligence unit.

As he waited to be released, Mahdi was asked to sign a statement saying that he had not been tortured. On the way out, he said he saw a room filled with hundreds of detainees wearing hoods. There were so many that they spilled out into the hallway, while others were crammed inside restrooms. A security official in the 11th Division headquarters who declined to give his name confirmed the scene.

Mahdi limped outside, his head bloodied, his leg swollen. There, he saw American soldiers who are stationed at the building.

"I said, 'Look! Look at what happened to me!' " he recalled. The soldiers, he said, shook their heads.

Mahdi was later assassinated in Sep 2011 by the way. Mahdi lived in exile for 18 years and only came back to Iraq in 2008. He ended up joining the anti-govt protests in 2011 and ran a popular radio show. Many of his followers believe that the government assassinated him.

Joel Wing said...

From the new UN paper "Report on Human Rights in Iraq: July-December 2013."

"Furthermore, torture is a legacy issue; the Iraqi police “rely on old practices” deeply engrained in the institutional culture."

The legacy being referred to is that from the Saddam period.

The problem therefore is the institution of the ISF not Maliki. There was torture before him, there is torture under him, and if he gets replaced the torture will continue. It is engrained within the security forces' practices and is something they learned and continue to use from the Saddam era.