January 28 was the fourth day with a pause in operations in the Mosul campaign. The biggest news however didn’t come from the battlefield, but on the political front. That came from the Joint Operations command that announced an arrest warrant for ex-Ninewa Governor Atheel Nujafi. Nujafi already had a warrant out for him from October for his collaboration with Turkey. Previously, his unit the Hashd al-Watani also known as the Ninewa Guards worked with the 16th Division and helped free nine villages and neighborhoods on the northern front, and was securing the Hadbaa neighborhood. Given that collaboration, the new warrant had to have come from political opponents. For example, one parliamentarian from Ninewa Ahmed al-Jabouri complained that turning over parts of Mosul to the Hashd al-Watani was a betrayal. Other politicians made similar statements the day before. Nujafi is extremely unpopular in Baghdad due to his alliance with Turkey and Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, and has rivals within Ninewa as well. Like the first warrant however, this new one is unlikely to be carried out as Nujafi can go back to Irbil where he has been based, and where orders from the central government are rarely carried out.
Inside Mosul there was limited activity. The Iraqi Forces (ISF) continued to shell west Mosul as it made plans to assault that side of the city. Mosul Mayor Hussein Hajim accused the Islamic State of making random arrests and executions in the west to maintain its control. There’s likely to be at least a week of inactivity while the Iraqi units rest and refit after their grueling battle to subdue east Mosul. After that an assault will be launched on the west.
There was another report that IS still has access to Syria. The Voice of America had a story that IS was moving back and forth from Mosul to Syria. The Hashd reached Tal Afar to the west of Mosul in November and were tasked with cutting off all of the insurgents’ supply lines to Syria. That apparently has not happened.
Adel, Loaa, “Islamic State conducts random arrests and executions in western Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/28/17
Buratha News, “Deputy for Nineveh: Delivery of left bank of Mosul to Atheel Nujafi a betrayal of the martyrs,” 1/28/17
Al Maalomah, “Parliamentary security said good preparation for the battle of the right bank of Mosul,” 1/28/17
Al Mada, “Joint operations Najafi’s popular crowd out of left bank of Mosul,” 1/28/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraqi forces shell Islamic State locations in western Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/28/17
- “Joint forces to arrest former Nineveh governor if found in Mosul,” Iraqi News, 1/28/17
- “Photos: Mosul activists replace Islamic State graffiti with delightful murals,” Iraqi News, 1/28/17
Shafaaq News, “Najafi: political pressure managed to pry Nineveh Guard from Mosul,” 1/28/17
Al Sumaria, “Report confirms Daesh still able to move between Mosul and Syria,” 1/28/17