The Islamic State is operating throughout Ninewa, but at a very low level. Three insurgents were arrested attempting to lay IEDs along the road from Qayara in the southeast to Mosul. Every day there are a few such incidents. They do not present a real threat to security, but it shows the militants have access to nearly every part of the province.
The Federal Police gave more contradictory reports about their work in Mosul. Yesterday, the chief of staff of the 5th Federal Police Division said that 80% of the west had been cleared. That was the same figure they gave last month. On August 13, the head of the Federal Police General Jawadat reported only 45% of their work was done. Nothing is ever definitive with this type of information given the great propensity for exaggeration by the Iraqi forces. The Federal Police were just given two more areas of the city to secure, so who knows how much they’ve accomplished.
The United States is sending some forces to the Tal Afar district to assist with the upcoming operation to seize the town. IS fired rockets at one location where some of them were stationed at and killed two American soldiers and wounded five others. The insurgents issued a statement claiming responsibility soon afterwards, so they were probably targeting the U.S. forces.
For several weeks now the Iraqi forces have said they were ready to take on Tal Afar. The Joint Operations Command and the Rapid Reaction police were the latest to do so. It is still unclear when exactly the assault will start.
The Syriac Catholic Bishop of Mosul let it be known that 600 Christian families returned to the Ninewa Plains. Many Christian groups were trying to rebuild various towns in the plaints for several weeks. This was the first report that a large number of civilians had finally gone back. There was a debate within the community about whether people should return or not. Some wanted out of Iraq, while some wanted to stay where they were because they feared for their security and future. After so much time passed, and the plain freed many have decided to try to rebuild in their historical home.
Former Governor Atheel Nujafi again attacked his rivals. Nujafi recounted June 9, 2014 when Mosul was under attack by the militants. According to him that night the Iraqi forces had withdrawn from west to east Mosul. The Defense Minister called him and ordered Nujafi to ask the Peshmerga for help. Nujafi said the Kurds refused to provide aid without a direct order from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The premier however refused to make the call and said one of his aides would do it. The U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Bret McGurk confirmed part of Nujafi’s recollection saying that the Americans pushed Maliki to ask the Kurds for help, but he refused claiming the situation was under control. The PM was also concerned that if the Peshmerga were brought in they would not leave the city. A few days later Mosul fell. This was the just the latest example of Nujafi going after his opponents. In the last few weeks he has talked to the press more and more attacking his political enemies, attempting to blame them for Mosul. This time he picked an easy target as Maliki was responsible.
Baghdad Post, “Nujaifi: Maliki’s refusal to call Barzani led to fall of Mosul,” 8/12/17
- “RRF announces readiness to liberate Tal Afar from ISIS terrorists,” 8/13/17
Al Ghad Press, “The federal police announced the completion of 45% of its tasks in West Mosul,” 8/13/17
Al Mada, “600 Christian families return to their homes in the Ninewa Plain,” 8/13/17
McGurk, Brett, “Statement for the Record: Deputy Assistant Secretary Brett McGurk,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: Terrorist March in Iraq: the U.S. Response, 7/23/14
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Islamic State members arrested booby-trapping Mosul road,” Iraqi News, 8/13/17
New Sabah, “Joint operations confirm the readiness of the military requirements and plans for the liberation of Tal Afar,” 8/13/17
NINA, “Chief of Staff of the Fifth Federal Division: 80% of the clearance and removal of waste disposal of Daesh accomplished in right side of Mosul,” 8/11/17
Reuters, “IS claims deadly attack on US forces in northern Iraq,” 8/13/17
- “Two U.S. service members killed, five injured in northern Iraq,” 8/13/17