Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 192, Apr 26, 2017

A market in Nabi Younis, east Mosul (Reuters)

There were clashes in west Mosul, and the Hashd were advancing towards the Syrian border. The Golden Division was fighting in Zinjali, and the Federal Police were battling in Rifai, Harmat, and the Wadi Akab cemetery, both in the eastern section of the city. The Hashd on the other hand captured four towns, including the historical Hatra, west of Mosul. Hatra is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Islamic State destroyed part of it after it was captured in 2014. In 2015 the group released a video of it smashing walls, shooting statues, and destroying other structures. That was for propaganda purposes however, as the main goal of IS was not to wreck the place, but rather to loot it and sell the antiquities to help raise funds. The police and Golden Division are attempting to link up in the Old City district, while the Hashd are pushing towards the Syrian border, because the government will not let it take Tal Afar.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 191, Apr 25, 2017

The Golden Division freed the Tanak neighborhood located on the far left. The police are still fighting over the Old City on the far right along the Tigris River. Green = liberated, White = IS control, Blue = Tigris River. (Ninewa Media Center)

There was a large advance in the western section of west Mosul, and very limited movement in the east. The Golden Division freed Tanak, which it fought over for almost a month. It is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city and is along the western edge. In the east the police inched ahead. It was still attacking the Old City along four axes and was said to have seized some streets in Bab al-Tob and Bab al-Jadid. The police recently restarted their operations in the district after a month long pause, but have only advanced a few meters.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 190, Apr 24, 2017

Federal Police mortar position east Mosul (Reuters)

The Joint Operations Command announced that only 30% of west Mosul remained under Islamic State control. Based upon daily reports and maps available that sounded roughly correct. In the last several weeks the Golden Division has seized much of the center of west Mosul greatly expanding the government’s control of the city.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 189, Apr 23, 2017

People fleeing the fighting in central West Mosul (Reuters)

The Islamic State launched a surprise attack upon a Federal Police base south of Mosul. A group of ten insurgents, four of which were suicide bombers, assaulted the police in the town of Arij in the Hamam al-Alil district. They were dressed in police uniforms, which allowed them to infiltrate the base. The fighting lasted for over an hour before most of the militants were killed and the rest escaped. Three police died as a result. While IS is surrounded in west Mosul it has not stopped it from launching offensive operations. Just this week it set off a car bomb in liberated east Mosul. Fortunately these attacks do not happen that often.

Security In Iraq, April 8-14, 2017

Security incidents reported in the press took a dip in the second week of April in Iraq, while casualties remained largely unchanged from the previous week. There was very little violence around most of the country, with almost all the incidents taking place in Ninewa due to the Battle for Mosul.

There were 124 incidents reported in the press in Iraq from April 8-14, 2017. There were 58 in Ninewa, 28 in Baghdad, 14 in Diyala, 9 in Anbar, 8 in Salahaddin, 3 in Basra and Kirkuk each, and 1 in Babil. That was the lowest weekly total since the first February 1-7 when there were 123.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Musings On Iraq In The News

My interview with Charlie Winter on how the Islamic State is dealing with its defeat in Mosul was reprinted by Vox Pol.

Mosul Campaign Day 188, Apr 22, 2017

The Iraqi forces were active across all sections of west Mosul. First, the Golden Division took the Siha neighborhood in the middle of the city. It was still fighting in Tanak as well. General Maan Saadi claimed that the Golden Division was surrounding the Old City, but it continues to move north rather than to the east where the Old City is. The police were still assaulting that district from four directions, but the fight still appeared to be deadlocked. A brigade from the army’s 16th Division, which was doing security duties in east Mosul was transferred to the northwest of the city to join the 9th Division and the Hashd. Those units reached just outside of Mosul a few days ago, but there have been no reports of movement since then, although government maps claim they have seized several areas in the northern perimeter of west Mosul. Since the Iraqi government always likes reporting its victories the maps may be an exaggeration. The Golden Division remains the most effective force of the government. It has continued to gain neighborhood after neighborhood in the west and center of west Mosul. The police on the other hand announced that they were renewing operations in the Old City after a month long pause, but have still not made much headway. Fighting in the district is very intense going from street to street, house to house, sometimes room to room. The police may be over relying upon artillery and air strikes as well rather than clearing out areas on the ground. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 187, Apr 21, 2017

The Iraqi forces were involved in heavy fighting across west Mosul. There were clashes between the Islamic State and Golden Division in the Siha neighborhood, and with the police in the Old City district. The Golden Division has been making steady progress up the middle and western section of the city, while the police have been stuck in the Old City for more than a month. The narrow streets, dense layout of buildings, and Islamic State defenses have all held up taking the district.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 186, Apr 20, 2017

April 19 Iraqi police claimed they had liberated 30-40% of the Old City. Newest map shows no changes in district. Bulge on left was recent 200m advance police made April 16, otherwise no movement in south for over month now (Ninewa Media Center)

The Golden Division was still advancing in the center of west Mosul. The Nasr neighborhood was declared freed, and there was fighting in Haramat, Siha, and Tanak. The unit has been making steady progress in the middle and western section of the city.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 185, Apr 19, 2017

PM Abadi visiting west Mosul (Rudaw)

Iraqi propaganda again obscured what was going on in west Mosul. First, the Golden Division freed the Thawra neighborhood in the center of the city on April 18. Then on April 19 a spokesman for the Rapid Reaction Division claimed that 30% of the Old City had been taken, while a police major had it at 40%. The major said this was the result of 38 days of fighting in the district. The police have largely been on pause for the last month however, and no neighborhoods were named as being liberated. The Federal Police also reported that it was destroying Islamic State sites in the district, fighting in Farouq Street like they have for weeks now, and attempting to connect with the Golden Division in Thawra. All the previous reports had the police advancing block by block with no large sections being seized. To add to the confusion, the daily map released by the government showed the Golden Division’s latest movement in the center of the city, but no change in the Old City. Not only that it had new sections in the north being taken, yet this was not announced in any press releases. Recently the 9th Division and Hashd took the towns that were just outside of the city, but nothing else has been heard from them since then. The Iraqi government is notorious for exaggerating and making claims before they happen and it would seem this was another example.

Mosul Campaign Day 192, Apr 26, 2017

A market in Nabi Younis, east Mosul (Reuters) There were clashes in west Mosul, and the Hashd were advancing tow...