Monday, August 24, 2020

While PM Kazemi Visits Pres Trump Pro-Iran Groups Target US And Kill Protesters To Embarrass Govt


Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi recently paid a trip to the United States to meet with President Donald Trump. The two countries are in negotiations for a new security agreement. Iran objects to these talks and wants the U.S. to leave and therefore has ordered its proxies to pick up attacks upon American targets in Iraq. Those same groups are carrying out an intimidation campaign against protest activists in the country as well. Both of these are meant to humiliate the premier and show that he has no control over them. They are doing an effective job.


The attacks on U.S. targets started in early June. That began with a rocket attack upon the Baghdad International Airport on June 8. There were 8 such incidents in June, 9 in July  and 10 from Aug 1-23. This tactic has been used for years by groups linked with Iran dating back to the U.S. occupation when the Mahdi Army and Special Groups used to lob rockets at the Green Zone all the time. A twist was added in July when a convoy carrying supplies to the Americans in Muthanna was attacked on the 11th. That was followed by an IED used against another convoy in Dhi Qar on July 22, which has now become the norm with 8 more occurring in August. When these attacks started Prime Minister Kazemi promised the perpetrators would be found. That led to a raid upon the offices of Kataib Hezbollah, one of the organizations widely believed to be behind these incidents in Baghdad a few days later, but the men arrested were turned over the Hashd Commission and released with no punishment. The Hashd are only nominally under the command of the prime minister. The Kataib Hezbollah episode showed how precarious that situation is. The government has taken no action since then even though these attacks have increased from 8 in June to 12 in July to 19 from August 1-23. Iran has ordered these attacks to show its disapproval of the American presence in Iraq and that it can hit U.S. targets in the country anytime it wants. The surge in August was timed to coincide with Kazemi’s trip to Washington D.C.


Attacks by Pro-Iran Groups July-August 2020


Rockets – Baghdad International Airport


Rockets – Baghdad’s Green Zone


Rockets – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


Rockets – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


Rockets – Baghdad International Airport


Rockets found - Rashidiya, Baghdad


Rockets – Baghdad’s Green Zone


Rockets – Baghdad’s International Airport


June Total - 8


Rockets – Baghdad’s Green Zone


Rockets found – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


Rockets found – Aimed at Baghdad’s Green Zone


Burned trucks carrying supplies to US - Muthanna


Rockets – Baghdad’s Green Zone


IEDs trucks carrying supplies to US – Dhi Qar


Drone and bomb found – Jadriya, Baghdad


Rockets – Baghdad’s Besmaya Base


Rockets – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


Rockets – Salahaddin’s Camp Speicher


Rockets – Baghdad’s International Airport


Rockets found – Jabour al-Shaarah, Baghdad


July Totals – 12


Rockets – 2 areas of Meshada Dist, Baghdad


Rockets – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Dhi Qar


Rockets – Baghdad’s Green Zone


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Dhi Qar


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US - Basra


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


Rockets – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


Rockets – Landed in Tigris River, Baghdad


Rockets – Baghdad International Airport


Rockets – Salahaddin’s Balad Air Base


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Diwaniya


Rockets – Baghdad’s Camp Taji


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Dhi Qar


Rockets – Baghdad’s Green Zone


Rockets – Baghdad International Airport


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Baghdad


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Baghdad


IED on convoy carrying supplies to US – Baghdad


August Totals - 19


Even more embarrassing for the Iraqi leader was the latest wave of assassination of social activists. In July, the annual protests began demanding electricity and water, wages to be paid to public workers, contract workers to be given full time jobs, and for better governance and accountability. Immediately pro-Iran groups, which have accused the demonstrators of being American puppets started a campaign to terrorize those involved. That started on July 16 when an activist was kidnapped in Baghdad. Then a series of assassinations and bombings began across Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Maysan, and Wasit. That was topped off by a bomb placed outside an activist’s house in Dhi Qar and the assassination of a woman doctor involved in the protests and two of her friends being wounded in a shooting in Basra City on August 19 the day Kazemi arrived in America. Then three more people escaped an assassination attempt the next day in Babil. That led the State Department to issue a statement condemning this campaign of murders. Here Tehran’s allies achieved exactly what they wanted. What should have been a trip centered around U.S.-Iraqi ties was overshadowed by the deaths of protesters. Again, the prime minister ordered a crackdown, this time in Basra, but it’s questionable whether anything will be achieved especially because attacks have occurred in six other provinces.


Kazemi was already in a difficult situation when he took office. He has no political party. He runs an interim administration until the next elections. The country is facing the greatest economic crisis since 2003, and some of Iran’s allies blamed him for helping with the deaths of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Suleimani and the deputy head of the Hashd Commission Abu Muhandis. Now he’s directly being challenged by some members of the Hashd who are thumbing their noses at his authority. His warning to Kataib Hezbollah completely failed, and he has not called out any specific group since then. It’s unclear whether he wants a direct confrontation with them or not and what that means for the future of his government.


Attacks Upon Protest Activists In Iraq July-August 2020






Gunmen kidnapped activist



Activist shot and wounded



Activist’s house hit by RPG



Sound bomb placed outside activist’s house



Activist assassinated



Activist’s house raided by unknown force


Dhi Qar

Activist escaped assassination attempt



Activist assassinated


Dhi Qar

Bomb placed outside activist’s house



Activist assassinated two more injured



3 activists escaped assassination attempt



Activist assassinated


Dhi Qar

IED on protest site




Baghdad Post, “Activist Hamzah Kazim, kidnapped, and Tahrir Square protesters threaten to escalate,” 7/16/20

- “A sound bomb exploded at the home of one of the activists in Wasit,” 8/10/20


Bas News, “Eleven Protesters Injured in Nasiriyah Explosion,” 8/22/20

- “Iran Labelled Iraqi Female Activist as “US Mercenary” Before Her Assassination: Report,” 8/20/20

- "Iraqi Trucks Delivering Logistic Support to US Forces Hit by Roadside Bombings," 7/22/20

- "Multiple Rockets Hit Iraqi Base Housing US-led Coalition Forces," 7/27/20

- “Protests Activist Survives Assassination in South of Iraq,” 8/19/20


France 24, "Rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone for the fifth time in ten days," 6/18/20


Ghafuri, Lawk, “Kadhimi calls emergency security force meeting after Baghdad rocket attacks,” Rudaw, 6/17/20


Al Hurra, “Basra..Riot control police attack Al-Hurra reporter while covering the protests,” 8/16/20

- “A campaign to liquidate Basra activists … the assassination of Dr. Reham Yacoub and her friend by unknown fire,” 8/19/20


Kullab, Samya, "Rocket fired toward US Embassy in Iraq injures child," 7/5/20


Al Maalomah, "A bomb targeting the International Coalition supplies convoy on the Basra and Dhi Qar road," 8/15/20

- "An explosion targets an American convoy west of Baghdad," 8/22/20


Al Masalah, "The Green Zone is targeted by Katyusha missiles," 8/16/20

- "Insurgents burn 3 vehicles shipping for American forces in Al-Muthanna on the international highway," 7/11/20


Al Monitor, "Iraqi forces thwart rocket attack near US troops," 6/16/20

- "Rockets hit Iraqi base used by coalition troops, no casualties," 7/24/20

- "Three Katyusha rockets land near Baghdad's airport," 6/16/20


Al Nasiriya, “A civilian activist in the city of Nasiriya was subjected to a failed assassination attempt,” 8/15/20


NINA, "2 Katyusha Rockets Hit Al-Mashahada Area, North Of Baghdad," 8/3/20

- “2 Women Killed, Including A Doctor, And 2 Wounded By Gunfire In Central Basra,” 8/19/20

- “A Civilian Activist Wounded By Gunmen In The Center Of Basra,” 7/17/20

- "Explosions Heard Near Al-Taji Camp, North Of Baghdad," 6/14/20

- “Gunmen Target The House Of A Civilian Activist With An RPG In The Center Of Maysan Governorate,” 8/4/20

- "A Katyusha rocket prepared for launch was found in one of the Baghdad areas," 7/31/20

- "A Missile Hits The Green Zone / More," 6/10/20

- "A Missile Prepared To Be Launched Towards The Green Zone, Found And Dismantled East Of Baghdad," 7/10/20

- "Targeting the Green Zone with a Katyusha missile," 8/11/20

- “Three activists survived an assassination attempt with silencer weapons in the South Hilla,” 8/20/20

-"Two Katyusha rockets fell in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport," 7/30/20


Al Noor, "An Explosive Device Targeting A Truck Carrying Equipment For The American Army In Nasiriya," 8/4/20


NRT, "Blast Hits US Coalition Convoy North Of Baghdad, No Casualties: Iraq Military," 8/11/20

- "Drone Carrying 2 KG Mortar Seized In Baghdad: Security Media Cell," 7/23/20

- "Katyusha Rocket Falls Near Baghdad International Airport," 8/18/20

- "Katyusha Rocket Fired Toward Green Zone In Baghdad: Security Media Cell," 8/5/20

-"Logistics Convoy Targeted Near Diwaniya: Security Media Cell," 8/14/20

- "Two Rockets Fall In Iraq's Taji Base, No Casualties Reported: News Agency," 6/13/20


Reuters, "Explosion Targets Convoy With U.S. Gear Near Iraq-Kuwait Crossing, Sources Say," 8/10/20

- "Rockets fall inside Iraq's Taji camp," 8/15/20

- "Rockets land near Baghdad airport after week of anti-U.S. attacks," 8/14/20


Shafaaq News, "A missile landed in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport," 6/8/20

- "Targeting a camp near Baghdad with two Katyusha rockets," 8/3/20

- “An “unknown” force raids the home of a civilian activist who participated in demonstrations in Diyala,” 8/15/20


Sherwani, Halgurd, "Rocket lands inside Baghdad International Airport," 6/23/20


Al Sumaria, “The killing of a civilian activist in an armed attack in central Basra,” 8/14/20

- "Security media: A bomb exploded on a company contracting with the International Coalition near Taji," 8/23/20

- "Security media confirms that a Katyusha rocket landed near the suspension bridge in Baghdad," 8/11/20


Wataniq, “The assassination of the civilian activist Mohammed Zamel in Baghdad,” 8/21/20


Xinhua, "3 rockets land near U.S. embassy in Iraq's Baghdad," 7/19/20

- "Roadside bomb hits U.S.-led coalition trucks in southern Iraq," 8/10/20

- "Roadside bomb hits U.S.-led coalition trucks near Iraq's Baghdad," 8/21/20


No comments:

Security In Iraq May 15-21, 2024

The Islamic State and the Iraqi Islamic Resistance were both active in Iraq during the third week of May.