• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Iraq. Militants take back Mosul, Tikrit and march on Baghdad

Fear of Iranian general left Iraqi Kurdish oil fields deserted
Time will tell if Baghdad will learn from the mistakes made in the past by alienating the Sunni population that initially welcomed IS. We’ve already had Tillerson saying the Shi’a militia’s should go and a response by a Shia cleric in Iraq and the removal of US troops. The Kurds may have called the referendum too early and acted on it rather than discussed it thinking (hoping?) the US would help. I wouldn’t write them off personally as they’ve caused Turkey a few headaches and of course took most of that territory in 2003/4. They were the only ones to stand up to IS whilst the Syrian and Iraqi armies did not.

Iraq seems to be squeezing their sources of income. I’m unsure how this, an attack on the Kurdish ‘homeland’ will play out, 50% or more of the SDF who’ve been fighting IS for years are Kurds.

The article talks about Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia the IRGC Major General and his assistance to the Iraqi armed forces:
“No one wanted to risk their life and decided to evacuate as stories about the Shi‘ite militia and Qassem Soleimani were spreading fast,” said a senior Kurdish oil industry source, referring to the head of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. The source declined to be identified.
It’s not just the oil in Kirkuk, the Kurds have been given $Bn’s in loans based on future oil production:
Iraqi engineers arrived to the sound of alarm bells warning about system malfunctions, prompting them to immediately shut down wells. Now, they need passwords and expertise from their Kurdish counterparts to restore oil output fully.

The loss of control of Kirkuk oil fields is likely to starve the KRG of vital oil revenue and cause deep concern to global trading houses such as Vitol and Glencore, which have granted the semi-autonomous government billions of dollars in loans against future oil sales.
A quick exit by the oil workers:
“We went inside the oilfield facilities after Kurdish workers fled and we found overalls and safety boots thrown on the ground,” said an engineer from the Baghdad-run North Oil Company, who declined to be named because he was ordered not to speak publicly about the issue.

“It seems that workers took them off and escaped very quickly.”
The pumps are still not working:
NOC crews entered oil facilities in the Bai Hassan and Avana fields on Oct. 17 for the first time since 2014, when Peshmerga forces drove Islamic State from the area and found all crude oil stations unmanned. Peshmerga fighters had also withdrawn.

“After we discovered that some of the key equipment was missing and the control panel was ringing alarms of crude processing malfunction, we immediately shut down oil wells,” the NOC engineer said.
Bearing in mind the reports of looting, the oil workers are reluctant to return without safety guarantees:
“Energy facilities in Kirkuk are more like a locked box and only their crew have the password,” the Iraqi engineer said.

Kar Group has, however, so far refrained from going back without security guarantees, according to sources close to the engineering company.
Some of the money involved:
Vitol, Glencore, Petraco and Trafigura have loaned Kurdistan some $2.5 billion and Russia’s Rosneft has loaned some $1.2 billion. Glencore’s boss Ivan Glasenberg said last week he could not rule out a rescheduling of the payments.
 
Last edited:
Iraq, Syria converge on Islamic State's last strongholds
Meanwhile, Iraqi mil units are taking on the last areas of Iraq held by IS. SAA are also planning to take on the last IS strongholds around the Euphrates:
“Tell those among your children and relatives who took up a weapon against the state to throw it aside immediately, and to go to any house on top of which a white flag has been raised when the liberation forces enter al-Qaim,” said the text.

Regular Iraqi army units, Sunni tribal forces and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation are taking part in the offensive towards the Syrian border, the Joint Operations Command said.

In a statement welcoming the offensive, the U.S.-led coalition said approximately 1,500 Islamic State fighters were estimated to be still in the immediate vicinity of al-Qaim.
I don't think 'be killed or surrender and then be executed' is going to get many positive responses:
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Islamic State fighters would have “to choose between death and surrender” as he announced the offensive on the region of Rawa and al-Qaim, which is located at the Syrian border.
A(l)bu Kamal next for SAA and allies:
A report issued by a military news service run by Hezbollah, which is fighting in support of Damascus, said on Thursday that the army and its allies had captured the “T2” pumping station from Islamic State.

This was “a launch pad for the army and its allies to advance towards the town of Albu Kamal ... which is considered the last remaining stronghold of the Daesh organisation in Syria”, it said.
 
Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga agree on ceasefire, U.S.-led coalition says
To quote Blackadder, maybe "The big knobs have gone round the table and yanked the iron out of the fire!"
Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters reached an agreement on Friday to stop fighting in northern Iraq, the media office of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition said.

A spokesman for the coalition in Baghdad told Reuters the ceasefire agreement covered all fronts.

Iraqi government forces and the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation launched a surprise offensive on Oct. 16 in retaliation to a Sept. 25 referendum on independence organised by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.

The offensive aims to capture so-called disputed territories, claimed by both the KRG and the Iraqi central government, as well as border crossings and key oil facilities.

The oil-rich city of Kirkuk fell to Iraqi forces without much resistance on Oct. 16 but the Peshmerga began to fight back forcefully as they withdrew closer to the core KRG territory.

The most violent clashes happened in the northwestern corner where Peshmerga are defending land crossings to Turkey and Syria and an oil hub that controls KRG crude exports.
E2A:
 
Last edited:
The Iraqis and Kurds have reached a 24 hour cease fire.
Iraq, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters suspend hostilities
The 24-hour truce "should allow a joint technical committeee ... to work on the deployment of federal Iraqi forces in all disputed areas, including Fish-Khabur, and the international border," Abadi said in a statement.

He wants to take control of border crossings with neighbouring countries, including one in the Fish-Khabur area through which an oil export pipeline crosses into Turkey, carrying Iraqi and Kurdish crude oil.
It sounds though as if this is a technical cease fire, rather than a final resolution of the dispute. Baghdad want control of all the border crossing points, including for oil pipelines. This would give them a stranglehold on Kurdistan's economy.

However, the KRG still want negotiations with Baghdad, something which the latter have rejected. It would appear to me that Baghdad see any sort of "negotiations" as being on the terms of Kurdish independence, whether official or defacto, and don't even want to start down that road.
The KRG on Wednesday proposed an immediate ceasefire, a suspension of the referendum result and "starting an open dialogue with the federal government based on the Iraqi constitution" – a call rejected by Baghdad.
The US of course is not happy, as the US wants everyone to focus on the US agenda. The Kurds on the other hand see the recent civil war with IS as being a historic opportunity to pursue their own agenda, which is independence. This conflict was predicted a while ago by a number of observers. It is difficult to say at this point whether the Kurds will let this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity slip through their fingers.
 
Canada has suspended training Iraqi and Kurdish troops due to the fighting between them. Canada suspends special forces training mission in Iraq amid Iraqi-Kurdish tensions
Canada's special operations troops have put a temporary hold on their training of Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the wake of escalating fighting between the two factions.
Training won't be resumed until there is "clarity" on what the future relationships will be between the various security forces.
Once greater clarity exists regarding the interrelationships of Iraqi security forces, and the key priorities and tasks ahead, the task force will resume activities.

In the meantime, Canadian forces will monitor the situation and plan for the next potential phases of operational activity.
It's not clear at this point whether other countries will do the same, or how shipments of arms and other supplies may be affected.
 
The Kurds worst enemy is themselves. They are disunited and suspicious of each other. All it took was Suleimani (of the IRGC) to pull on the strings of the PUK and their support of the (KDP originated) independence move collapsed.
 
Kurdish leader Barzani resigns after independence vote backfires
He’s gone (wef 01.11.2017). Fallen on his sword as it were. Gunshots heard at the Parliament as some fighters wanted to punish MPs for insulting Barzani:
Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said he would give up his position as president on Nov. 1, after an independence referendum he championed backfired and triggered a regional crisis.
US (as always) blamed despite saying not to hold the referendum:
Barzani condemned the United States for failing to back the Kurds. “We tried to stop bloodshed but the Iraqi forces and Popular Mobilization Front (Shi‘ite militias) kept advancing, using U.S. weapons,” he said.

“Our people should now question, whether the U.S. was aware of Iraq’s attack and why they did not prevent it.”
 
Last edited:
Article on the toxic remains in Mosul. I expect that most of IS territory will be the same.

When the sheep turn black, war's toxic legacy can no longer be ignored | Erik Solheim

Pools of thick oil ran in the streets. In the sky above the town, the black smog mixed with white fumes from a nearby sulphur plant that the jihadists had also set on fire as they retreated. The plant burned for months, spewing as much sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere as a small volcanic eruption. Hundreds of people were hospitalised.

The fires may have been extinguished, and Isis ousted from the city, but the environmental devastation caused by the battle for Mosul will linger for decades. The destruction of hospitals, weapons factories, industrial plants and power stations has left behind a toxic cocktail of chemicals, heavy metals and other harmful waste. Many of these pollutants are mixed up with unexploded bombs and mines in the vast amount of rubble generated by the fighting.

Our team has already found high levels of lead and mercury in Mosul’s water and soil. This is the toxic legacy of one of the fiercest urban battles of the modern age.
 
An Iraqi court has sentenced to death a German woman who had joined IS. Iraqi court sentences to death German woman who joined ISIS
An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced to death a German woman of Moroccan origin for membership in ISIS, a spokesperson said.
She was captured by Iraqi forces during the battle for Mosul last year. She had apparently travelled from Germany with her two daughters and joined IS. She was convicted of participating in attacks in Iraq and providing logistical support to IS.

The German national was captured by Iraqi forces during the battle for Mosul last year, the spokesman said, declining to identify her. (...)

"She confessed that she travelled with her two daughters from Germany to Syria and then joined Daesh in Iraq," Birqdar said, referring to ISIS by an Arabic acronym.

The woman was convicted of participating in attacks on Iraqi security forces and offering the militant group logistical support, said Birqdar.
The German foreign ministry has so far declined to comment.
A German foreign ministry spokeswoman declined to comment.
I believe I posted a previous story on trials for IS members in Iraq, including foreigners. This case is notable for being the first western women in this series of trials to receive a death sentence. As noted in the story she can still appeal the sentence.

Should death sentences be handed out rather liberally, this may do much to resolve the question of what to do about western IS members who were captured in Iraq.

Edit to add pic of Mosul, just because it's a good pic:
 
Last edited:
For some reason I was struggling to find this thread.

Anyway, here's an interesting account of post IS Mosul:

The bureaucracy of Isis

For me it demonstrates what's happening to the Sunni population of Iraq and the retribution against the families of IS members.

As for the Iraqis stretching the necks of Western IS members left behind, es tut Mir leid aber das ist mir sheis igal, wie mann sagt.

It'll probably be useful to publicise these executions as much as possible to make caliphate dreamers understand that their brand of colonialism isn't better than anyone else's.
 
For some reason I was struggling to find this thread.

Anyway, here's an interesting account of post IS Mosul:

The bureaucracy of Isis

For me it demonstrates what's happening to the Sunni population of Iraq and the retribution against the families of IS members.
The article is well worth reading. It's also not as long as it appears at first sight, as the text of the story has been duplicated, so when you start thinking "haven't I just read this bit already?", you can stop.

As for the Iraqis stretching the necks of Western IS members left behind, es tut Mir leid aber das ist mir sheis igal, wie mann sagt.
I can't find the spot where I posted a story earlier, but if I recall correctly the Canadian government position on this issue is that if any Canadian citizens or landed immigrants are arrested by the Iraqi government, the Canadian government will offer normal consular services, but this is sovereign Iraqi territory and the laws of Iraq apply.

The point of offering normal consular services (within the limitations afforded by the security situation of course) is that this is what would be done in any other country. It is very important that Canadian officials not do anything out of the ordinary in these cases as that might possibly implicate them in any unfortunate perceived miscarriages of justice which may take place in Iraq.

The government of Canada have recommended against travel or tourism in Iraq for some time now, and their ability to assist anyone who had travelled to Mosul purely for religious study or to brush up on their Arabic and now find themselves in the midst of a misunderstanding with the authorities will be somewhat limited.

It'll probably be useful to publicise these executions as much as possible to make caliphate dreamers understand that their brand of colonialism isn't better than anyone else's.
Those executed will be seen as martyrs, so I'm not sure how much deterrence it will provide to the naive in future. It's main effect may be to prevent recidivism amongst those arrested.

It may have a bigger effect on parents who will come to the realisation that they stand a very good chance of never seeing their son or daughter again if they should decide to go off for "study" abroad. Those parents perhaps might then take a greater interest in whom their children associate with while at home.

I get the impression that Canadian security officials place great emphasis on maintaining close relations with Muslim community leaders in Canada and ensuring they have a suitable phone number to call if they see someone dodgy. That should probably continue to be the main thrust of future efforts.
 
The article is well worth reading. It's also not as long as it appears at first sight, as the text of the story has been duplicated, so when you start thinking "haven't I just read this bit already?", you can stop.


I can't find the spot where I posted a story earlier, but if I recall correctly the Canadian government position on this issue is that if any Canadian citizens or landed immigrants are arrested by the Iraqi government, the Canadian government will offer normal consular services, but this is sovereign Iraqi territory and the laws of Iraq apply.

The point of offering normal consular services (within the limitations afforded by the security situation of course) is that this is what would be done in any other country. It is very important that Canadian officials not do anything out of the ordinary in these cases as that might possibly implicate them in any unfortunate perceived miscarriages of justice which may take place in Iraq.

The government of Canada have recommended against travel or tourism in Iraq for some time now, and their ability to assist anyone who had travelled to Mosul purely for religious study or to brush up on their Arabic and now find themselves in the midst of a misunderstanding with the authorities will be somewhat limited.


Those executed will be seen as martyrs, so I'm not sure how much deterrence it will provide to the naive in future. It's main effect may be to prevent recidivism amongst those arrested.

It may have a bigger effect on parents who will come to the realisation that they stand a very good chance of never seeing their son or daughter again if they should decide to go off for "study" abroad. Those parents perhaps might then take a greater interest in whom their children associate with while at home.

I get the impression that Canadian security officials place great emphasis on maintaining close relations with Muslim community leaders in Canada and ensuring they have a suitable phone number to call if they see someone dodgy. That should probably continue to be the main thrust of future efforts.
These chuffers would call themselves martyrs no matter how they got the good news. Supporting the Iraqis in their judicial endeavours has the added benefit of disappointed parents putting pressure on government and other organisations to tackle Islamism whereas at the moment the government is a bit more wary of the 'phobe' tag.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
An Iraqi court has sentenced to death a German woman who had joined IS. Iraqi court sentences to death German woman who joined ISIS


She was captured by Iraqi forces during the battle for Mosul last year. She had apparently travelled from Germany with her two daughters and joined IS. She was convicted of participating in attacks in Iraq and providing logistical support to IS.



The German foreign ministry has so far declined to comment.


I believe I posted a previous story on trials for IS members in Iraq, including foreigners. This case is notable for being the first western women in this series of trials to receive a death sentence. As noted in the story she can still appeal the sentence.

Should death sentences be handed out rather liberally, this may do much to resolve the question of what to do about western IS members who were captured in Iraq.

Edit to add pic of Mosul, just because it's a good pic:
Windsor Davies meme...
 
A group based in Turkey called Sound and Picture are collecting information on who is associated with IS and passing this information on to FSA affiliated groups, including those associated with Turkey. The purpose is to allow various authorities and pseudo-authorities to collar escaping IS members who are attempting to flee through checkpoints.
Group helps identify ISIS fighters fleeing northern Syria

As ISIS militants flee their falling strongholds, a Syrian human rights group is trying to track them and make sure they don't infiltrate other parts of the world.

(...) Between June and October 2017, when the U.S.-backed forces drove ISIS out of Raqqa, many of the militants headed for Aleppo and across the border to Turkey.

When the Turkish-backed FSA established roadside checkpoints in the area, guards set up a group chat with Sound and Picture using the WhatsApp messaging service.

"They needed to know who is [an] ISIS member and who is just civilian," Kheder said.

Every man who arrives at one of the checkpoints has his name and photo taken, which guards send to the WhatsApp group.
They claim to have provided information which identified hundreds iof IS members attempting to pass through other rebel check points, most of them locals, but also people from Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and France.
Sound and Picture says it has identified hundreds of ISIS members trying to flee through FSA checkpoints — most of them are locals, but there are also nationals from Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and France.
Exactly what happens to the alleged IS members after that isn't the concern of Sound and Picture.
Sound and Picture's involvement ends with the identification. Any suspected ISIS members are taken into custody — and that's where things get murky. The FSA is the only group Sound and Picture works with, but it isn't the only rebel group on the ground.

Areas in Northern Syria are controlled by various FSA, Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkish-backed rebel groups, who are often in conflict with one another. No one group has jurisdiction.

Because of the patchwork of jurisdictional control, it's unclear what happens to the detainees.
An interesting side of the news story is it talks about what the Turks do with IS suspects they catch who enter or attempt to enter Turkey.
They have a list with more than 50,000 names of suspects on it, have arrested more than 10,000 IS "affiliates", and have deported nearly 6,000 to other countries where the authorities there can deal with them if they wish.

Turkey's foreign affairs ministry declined to comment on whether or not it works with Sound and Picture and the FSA to identify ISIS members. A spokesperson from the Directorate General for Information told CBC News only that the country's "non-entry list" now has more than 56,300 people on it.

The Turkish government says it has arrested more than 10,000 ISIS "affiliates" and deported around 5,800 foreign terrorist fighters.
Kuwait and Qatar pay to have their citizens returned, while Ukraine, Chechnya, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan refuse to accept people Turkey attempts to extradite to them.
... Kuwait and Qatar have reportedly offered to pay to have their citizens returned, while Ukraine, Chechnya, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have turned down Turkey's extradition requests.
There are more details at the story link above.
 
The cost of rebuilding Iraq has been estimated at more than $88 billion.
Iraq says reconstruction after war on ISIS to cost $88B US
Rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will cost $88.2 billion US, with housing a particularly urgent priority, Iraqi officials told an international donors conference on Monday.
Donors and investors met in Kuwait this week to discuss this.
Donors and investors have gathered in Kuwait this week to discuss efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a devastating conflict with the hardline militants who seized almost a third of the country.
Iraq will need $22 billion in the short term, and $66 billion in the medium term.
About $22 billion US will be required in the short term and another $66 billion US in the medium term, the director general of the country's planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, told the conference, without indicating any time frame.
The following are a couple of pictures of Mosul which were in the story. Apparently the recent urban renewal efforts there have not worked out to everyone's satisfaction.




Everything from Mosul airport to homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses, and telecommunications will need to be rebuilt.
The projects include rebuilding destroyed facilities such as Mosul airport and new investments to diversify the economy away from oil sales, by developing transport, agriculture and industries based on the nation's energy wealth, including petrochemicals and oil refining.

Rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses and telecommunications will be key to providing jobs for the young, ending the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and putting an end to decades of political and sectarian violence.
138,000 homes were damaged, and half of them were completely destroyed.
Around 138,000 housing units have been damaged and half of them are completely destroyed, Mustafa al-Hiti, who runs Iraq's Reconstruction Fund for Areas Affected by Terroristic Operations, told the conference.


The Iraqis are looking for countries to act as loan guarantors so Iraq will be able to borrow money from lenders to fund reconstruction.

The US have said they're not interested. There was no information in the story on whether anyone else has stepped in.
But U.S. officials said the United States, which leads an international coalition that provided Iraq with key air support in the fight against ISIS, does not plan to pledge any money at the Kuwait conference.
 
^
But U.S. officials said the United States, which leads an international coalition that provided Iraq with key air support in the fight against ISIS, does not plan to pledge any money at the Kuwait conference.

Just asking but where is Bushe's original pledge for American Contractors?
 
I'm sure Iraq will prioritise rebuilding in the Sunni areas of Iraq. 88 billion to rebuild, 87 billion of that will be a 6 mile high rotating golden statue of a Shia militiaman visible to residents between Ramadi and Mosul.
 

Latest Threads