Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Number Of Displaced In Iraq Passes 3 Million Mark


The on going fighting in Iraq has now displaced over three million people. Not only have they lost their homes, but their plight is also made more difficult by a number of other issues. That includes the government not letting people return to certain areas and facing prejudice, while the official agencies in charge of providing them aid have continuously been charged with corruption. That leads many of these people to fend for themselves, and some will likely never be able to go back to their homes.

In June 2015 it was announced that the number of displaced in Iraq had surpassed three million people. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) counted 3,087,372 people who had lost their homes by the middle of June. The last major displacement occurred in Anbar after the Islamic State (IS) seized the provincial capital of Ramadi in the middle of May. The IOM said over 276,330 people fled the city from April to the middle of June. According to the group, Anbar has the most displaced with 1,162,998, followed by 1,052,016 from Ninewa, and 453,054 from Salahaddin. The United Nations noted that Dohuk is the home to the most displaced with more than 200,000 people, followed by Anbar, Kirkuk, Ninewa with 100,000-200,000 displaced each, and then Baghdad and Najaf with 50,000-100,000 each. The real number of people who have lost their homes is much higher. Many do not register with the government or aid groups for a number of reasons including squatting illegally in areas and entering provinces without official approval.

According to a U.N. timeline there were 87,630 families displaced in June 2014 when IS seized Mosul, Tikrit, and parts of Kirkuk province. That quickly grew to over 196,000 families by September, before almost doubling to 353,890 families at the end of the year after further insurgent successes in taking most of Anbar. By February 2015 there were over 422,000 families that had lost their homes, finally passing the 500,000 mark in June.

The plight of the displaced has been complicated by government polices, discrimination, and corruption. First, pro-Baghdad forces have not allowed people to return to some areas. Places like Jurf al-Sakhr in Babil, Jalawla and Sadiya in Diyala, and others remain empty of people months after they were freed from the Islamic State. The reasons vary from there still being explosive devices in the towns to political disputes over who should control the areas to tribal arguments to not trusting the locals because they are accused of being supporters of IS. That last issue has led to families from Anbar, Diyala and Ninewa being stereotyped as security threats. For example, in January Kirkuk expelled displaced people from Diyala accusing them of fomenting violence. The next month, IRIN reported on Turkmen from Tal Afar in Ninewa who were not allowed into Kurdistan because the authorities accused them of backing the Islamic State. Finally, in Baghdad people from Anbar have been blamed for bombings, face harassment from the security forces, and are often confined to certain areas. On top of that the Ministry of Migration, a special committee for refugees under Deputy Premier Salah al-Mutlaq, and other officials have been accused of stealing money meant for the displaced. These charges have gone on for months and include everything from government workers registering themselves as displaced to get aid money to refugees having to pay bribes to get help to skimming money off of goods bought for them. In one specific example, the former governor of Diyala was charged with stealing around $4.3 million meant for the displaced in his province. This all points to a breakdown in the government’s ability to serve and protect the populace. This has been driven by fears of the Islamic State that has led to the persecution of some of the displaced. At the same time, the rampant corruption within the government has denied people the money and services they are supposed to be provided. That has led the U.N. and other aid groups to provide the bulk of the assistance to the displaced. Again, these organizations don’t reach all of those that have lost their homes, and they also lack the resources to fully assist those that have registered with them because of a lack of adequate funding.

As fighting continues in Iraq more people are going to be displaced. They will join the others that are being neglected by the government due to theft and graft that steals their aid, and because some of them will be labeled as Islamic Stat backers. Some will never return to their homes, joining the over one million who never went back after the 2005-2008 civil war. International organizations such as the U.N. and IOM are strained to cope with this crisis because of the size of the catastrophe. They were already lacking money before the fall of Mosul, and that problem has only increased since then. This all adds up to a humanitarian disaster, which Iraq is proving ill prepared to deal with.

SOURCES

Abbas, Mushreq, “Displaced Iraqis still wait to return home,” Al Monitor, 6/24/15

Arango, Tim, “Sunnis Fleeing ISIS Find Few Doors Opened Elsewhere in Iraq,” New York Times, 5/27/15

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement in Iraq Tops 3 Million,” 6/23/15

Iraq News Network, “Union forces demanding Abadi remove Mutlaq from Commission on Displaced,” 5/22/15

IRIN, “Corruption disrupts government aid to Iraq’s displaced,” 10/22/14

Al-Jawoshy, Omar and Arango, Tim, “Iraqi Families Return to Fragile Stability in Tikrit After Liberation From ISIS,” New York Times, 6/22/15

Al-Kadhimi, Mustafa, “Ramadi’s displaced find restrictions, not refuge, in Baghdad,” Al Monitor 5/28/15

Al Mada, “Member of the parliamentary integrity calls for the abolition of the Commission for relief to the displaced due to corruption and return its work to another,” 11/2/14

Morris, Loveday, “Iraqi Sunni flee Anbar only to find new dangers in Baghdad,” Washington Post, 5/17/15

New Sabah, “Kirkuk to expel thousands of displaced people from Diyala and pierce their identity cards,” 1/1/15

Al Rafidayn, “Parliamentary Integrity Committee: Financial corruption within displaced commission,” 10/28/14

Rudaw, “Diyala governor accused of stealing millions in refugee money,” 3/25/15

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq – CCCM: IDP Populations & Settlements Situation,” 6/25/15

Wolf, Mat, “No-man’s land: the Iraqis trapped between IS and the Kurds,” IRIN, 2/12/15

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Islamic State Increase Attacks In Last Week Of June 2015, But Casualties Remain The Same

 
During the fourth week of June 2015, the Islamic State increased its attacks to the highest so far this month. That did not lead to an increase in casualties however that remained at the same level as the previous week. The main focus of fighting continued to be Anbar and Salahaddin where government offensives have been going on for more than a month each.

From June 22-28, 2015 Musings On Iraq counted 162 security incidents in the press. The real number is always higher. 162 was the most incidents since April 15-21. Attacks have averaged 20.0 per day this month, which is just above May’s 18.6. Usually the Islamic State likes to launch a Ramadan offensive at this time, but none has materialized so far. The taking of Ramadi was the culmination of its spring push, and it has not launched any large attacks since then.

Baghdad and Anbar remain the most violence provinces in Iraq. There were 59 attacks in the capital province and 45 in Anbar. After that there were 17 in Salahaddin, 16 in Ninewa, 10 in Diyala, 7 in Babil, 5 in Kirkuk, and 3 in Basra.

Those incidents led to 306 deaths and 474 wounded. That was a total of 780 casualties, just around the same as the 738 casualties seen the week before. The week’s fatalities broke down to 3 Sahwa, 9 Hashd al-Shaabi, 28 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 266 civilians. The wounded was made up of 5 Sahwa, 17 Hashd, 45 ISF, and 407 civilians.

Anbar, Baghdad and Ninewa were the deadliest provinces during the week. Anbar saw 100 killed, while Baghdad and Ninewa had 76 each. After that there were 28 in Salahaddin, 16 in Diyala, 5 in Babil, 3 in Basra, and 2 in Kirkuk.


Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
184
434
464
Jan 8-14
170
730
493
Jan 15-21
182
390
515
Jan 22-28
189
466
894
Jan 29-31
90
288
529
JAN
815
2,308
2,895
Feb 1-7
155
380
688
Feb 8-14
170
406
559
Feb 15-21
165
573
364
Feb 22-28
165
371
687 + 386
FEB
655
1,730
2,683
Mar 1-7
172
372
587
Mar 8-14
133
348
656
Mar 15-21
142
1,299
503
Mar 22-28
170
235
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
689
2,459 + 4
2,371 + 150
Apr 1-7
121
212
422
Apr 8-14
133
626
525
Apr 15-21
169
722
714
Apr 22-28
160
483
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
633
2,212
2,625
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
420
549
May 15-21
124
963
387
May 22-28
108
341 + 1,499
348
May 29-31
38
66
164 + 646
MAY
578
2,416 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
132
431
476
Jun 8-14
127
523 + 405
394
Jun 15-21
141
365
373
Jun 22-28
162
306
474

Violence In Iraq By Province, June 2015
Province
Jun 1-7
Jun 8-14
Anbar
31 Incidents
181 Killed: 64 ISF, 23 Hashd, 40 Sahwa, 54 Civilians
162 Wounded: 77 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 7 Hashd, 74 Civilians
12 Shootings
3 IEDs
5 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Artillery
4 Mortars
2 Rockets
9 Car Bombs Destroyed
27 Incidents
55 Killed: 15 ISF, 27 Hashd, 13 Civilians
71 Wounded: 15 ISF, 24 Hashd, 32 Civilians
14 Shootings
2 IEDs
4 Suicide Bombers
8 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Missile
1 Rockets
18 Suicide Bombers Killed
5 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
3 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
1 Shooting
2 IEDs
5 Incidents
9 Killed: 3 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 4 Civilians
26 Wounded: 3 Sahwa, 23 Civilians
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
52 Incidents
73 Killed: 6 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 65 Civilians
185 Wounded: 13 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 170 Civilians
12 Shootings
28 IEDs
5 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
1 Grenade
49 Incidents
78 Killed: 7 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 68 Civilians
200 Wounded: 16 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 183 Civilians
17 Shootings
23 IEDs
5 Sticky Bombs
1 Sound Bomb
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Car Bombs
7 Car Bombs Destroyed
Basra
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
10 Incidents
23 Killed: 1 ISF, 22 Civilians
41 Wounded: 41 Civilians
1 Shooting
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Mortar
12 Incidents
18 Killed: 1 ISF, 1 Peshmerga, 3 Sahwa, 4 Hashd, 9 Civilians
8 Wounded: 8 Civilians
8 Shootings
2 IEDs
Karbala
-
1 Incident
7 Car Bombs Destroyed
Kirkuk
4 Incidents
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
2 Wounded: 1 Peshmerga, 1 Civilian
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
2 Incidents
127 Killed: 2 Peshmerga, 125 Civilians
13 Wounded: 13 Peshmerga
1 Shooting
Ninewa
13 Incidents
96 Civilians: 1 ISF, 95 Civilians
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
8 Shootings
8 IEDs
9 Incidents
188 Killed: 33 ISF, 155 Civilians
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
5 Shootings
3 Suicide Bombers Killed
Salahaddin
17 Incidents
50 Killed: 3 ISF, 36 Hashd, 11 Civilians
68 Wounded: 5 ISF, 44 Hashd, 19 Civilians
9 Shootings
5 IEDs
4 Suicide Bombers
1 Grenades
7 Car Bombs Destroyed
21 Incidents
47 Killed: 30 ISF, 13 Hashd, 4 Civilians
63 Wounded: 12 ISF, 44 Hashd, 7 Civilians
8 Shootings
3 IEDs
5 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
2 Mortars
29 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
2 Car Bombs Destroyed

Province
Jun 15-21
Jun 22-28
Anbar
42 Incidents
153 Killed: 73 ISF, 80 Civilians
140 Wounded: 14 ISF, 126 Civilians
28 Shootings
1 IED
3 Suicide Bombers
1 Rockets
7 Mortars
45 Incidents
100 Killed: 2 ISF, 98 Civilians
188 Wounded: 10 ISF, 178 Civilians
24 Shootings
1 Car Bomb
1 Rockets
3 Mortars
16 Suicide Bombers Killed
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
8 Incidents
14 Killed: 4 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 9 Civilians
34 Wounded: 2 ISF, 3 Hashd, 29 Civilians
1 Shooting
6 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
7 Incidents
5 Killed: 1 Hashd, 4 Civilians
17 Wounded: 4 ISF, 4 Hashd, 9 Civilians
5 IEDs
1 Sound Bomb
Baghdad
46 Incidents
53 Killed: 6 ISF, 2 Hashd, 5 Sahwa, 40 Civilians
126 Wounded: 8 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 10 Hashd, 106 Civilians
12 Shootings
17 IEDs
8 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Mortars
59 Incidents
76 Killed: 4 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 69 Civilians
194 Wounded: 8 ISF, 5 Sahwa, 181 Civilians
15 Shootings
27 IEDs
7 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
Basra
1 Incident
1 IED
3 Incidents
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 IED
Diyala
9 Incidents
8 Killed: 8 Civilians
18 Wounded: 1 ISF, 17 Civilians
1 Shooting
6 IEDs
10 Incidents
16 Killed: 2 ISF, 14 Civilians
25 Wounded: 3 ISF, 2 Hashd, 20 Civilians
9 IEDs
1 Suicide Car Bombs
Kirkuk
1 Incident
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
1 Rocket
5 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
Muthanna
1 Incident
-
Najaf
1 Incident
1 Suicide Car Bomb Dismantled
-
Ninewa
9 Incidents
86 Killed: 70 ISF, 16 Civilians
5 Shootings
16 IEDs
1 Mortar
16 Incidents
76 Killed: 10 ISF, 66 Civilians
9 Shootings
46 IEDs
5 Suicide Bombers Killed
Salahaddin
22 Incidents
50 Killed: 20 ISF, 1 Peshmerga, 14 Hashd, 15 Civilians
52 Wounded: 15 ISF, 3 Peshmerga, 11 Hashd, 23 Civilians
13 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Rocket
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
17 Incidents
28 Killed: 10 ISF, 8 Hashd, 10 Civilians
45 Wounded: 20 ISF, 11 Hashd, 14 Civilians
5 Shootings
7 IEDs
4 Suicide Bombers
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Mortars
Wasit
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
-

Car Bombs In Iraq, June 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jun 1
Fallujah & Thar Thar x3, Anbar
58
57
Jun 2
Palestine St, Baghdad
6
13
Jun 3



Jun 4
Thar Thar, Anbar
Baya, Baghdad
5
14
Jun 5



Jun 6
Baladrooz, Diyala
14
37
Jun 7



Totals
8
83
121
Jun 8



Jun 9
Palestine St, Baghdad
10
24
Jun 10
Shula, Baghdad
6
20
Jun 11



Jun 12
Baiji x2, Salahaddin
8
20
Jun 13
Garma x4 & Haiyakil x2, Anbar
Hijjaj x4, Salahaddin
42
49
Jun 14
Baghdadi x2, Anbar
Shaab, Baghdad
3
10
Totals
17
69
123
Jun 15



Jun 16



Jun 17
Kadhimiya, Baghdad
7
16
Jun 18



Jun 19



Jun 20



Jun 21



Totals
1
7
16
Jun 22
Nukhaib, Anbar
2
8
Jun 23



Jun 24
Mandali, Diyala
16
22
Jun 25
Shaab, Baghdad
6
16
Jun 26
Baiji, Salahaddin
3
5
Jun 27
Karrada, Baghdad
5
13
Jun 28



Totals
5
32
64

The Islamic State launched 9 vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) during the week. That was up from just three the week before. Of those nine, four were dismantled or destroyed before reaching their targets. The successful ones were in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala and Salahaddin targeting both the security forces and civilian targets. In total 32 were killed and 64 wounded by these explosions. During the second week of the month IS used a massive 67 VBIEDs. That used up most of its stocks and accounts for the small numbers of car bombs since then.

In Anbar, most of the week’s casualties were due to government shelling and air strikes. There were a total of 100 killed and 188 wounded during the fourth week. 88 of the dead and 176 of the wounded came from shelling of Fallujah, Ramadi, and Garma, along with an air strike on Fallujah, and helicopter gunships firing on Hit. This was the highest amount of casualties from government actions in weeks.

With the operation to free Ramadi indefinitely on hold, government forces focused upon its month plus offensive to take Garma, plus a push on Husaiba, which is outside of Ramadi. On June 25 an offensive was announced to the east of Husaiba. There have been re-occurring clashes there with the Islamic State since the fall of Ramadi. The ISF, Hashd and tribes were also trying to surround the city and needed to make sure Husaiba was secure to accomplish that. Despite earlier statements by government forces that Ramadi was in fact contained, on June 28 it was announced that only 80% of the city was encircled. As for Garma, it was said that 75% of the district was cleared on March 28. This operation is in its second month, and progress has been very slow.

The Islamic State continued with its weekly executions in Ninewa. 60 of the 76 fatalities for the week in the province died in that manner. Another 16 were killed in a coalition air strike.

The effort to retake Baiji continued on for its second month. On June 22 the government claimed it had 80% of the area under control. There was still fighting there every day. IS originally attacked the facility as a diversionary attack to draw away forces to hide its real target, which was Ramadi. After that city fell, IS pulled out most of its fighters from the Baiji Refinery and proceeded to destroy as much of it as possible. The on going fighting therefore, is against the rear guard units, which have still been able to hold off an overwhelming force for over a month now. IS is said to still control much of the surrounding countryside and its supply routes to neighboring provinces are in tact meaning this is not the last time they will make a big push into the area.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, "14 killed in Iraq suicide bombing claimed by IS," 6/24/15

Associated Press, "Iraq officials: Attacks in Baghdad, town south of Iraqi capital kill at least 8 people," 6/25/15

Iraq Oil Report, “Baiji refinery devastated by IS scorched earth tactics,” 5/26/15

Al Mada, "The Popular Crowd: Liberated 75% of Garma," 6/28/15,

New Sabah, "A security source: in the next few hours will see the purge of all of Chinese Baiji," 6/22/15

NINA, "Breaking News …/17/ civilians killed in bombing the residential neighborhoods by the international coalition south of Mosul," 6/25/15
- "Military Operation Launched To Free East of Husaybah Area, In Anbar," 6/25/15
- "Security Forces, PD Surrounding Ramadi From Two new repel sites," 6/28/15

Reuters, “Islamic State fight requires new tactics: Iraqi commanders,” 6/23/15

Shafaq News, "Eight soldiers killed and wounded by a suicide bombing in Baiji," 6/26/15
- "Mandali bombing toll rises to 34 casualties," 6/24/15

Sotaliraq, "Killing two soldiers and wounding eight others by a truck bomb in Nukhayb," 6/22/15