Monday, April 20, 2015

Iraq’s Ramadi Has Not Fallen But The Islamic State Has Gained Ground


In April 2015 the Islamic State (IS) made another attempt to take Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar. The city has been a major battlefield in Iraq since December 2013. Every few months IS has made a charge into Ramadi only to be beaten back. Over that same period however the militants have gained more ground and hold a larger sway over the city then they had before.

The Islamic State’s most recent attempt to seize Ramadi up ended the government’s plans for a major offensive in Anbar. On April 8 the head of the Anbar council announced that the latest security operation in Shjariya just outside of Ramadi was the beginning of a larger campaign to free the entire province. The next day IS attacked Ramadi and a string of surrounding villages. The Iraqi Security Forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi withdrew from their positions in Ramadi to the Habaniya base to the south, opening the way for the insurgents to move into large sections of the city. They then made an attempt to seize the government complex in downtown. By April 16, for example, an Anbar council said that IS controlled most of the eastern part of the city, while a security source was even direr telling the National Iraqi News Agency that up to 70% of Ramadi had fallen. This caused a huge humanitarian crisis as thousands of families began fleeing the area. On April 19 major reinforcements arrived in the city to try to reverse the situation. The panic caused by the militant surge had several locals claim that the provincial capital was about to fall. In doing so, IS completely up ended Baghdad’s plans for Anbar. Instead, major forces are once again being committed to Ramadi to retake sections that have gone back and forth for the last seventeen months.

Ramadi nearly fell to armed groups back in December 2013. That month Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided to shut down the protest site there under the pretext that it had become a base for Al Qaeda in Iraq. Open fighting broke out immediately, and there was one report that mosques could be heard in the city calling for jihad. Insurgents were able to burn four police stations, and seized the major entrances to Ramadi. On January 8, (1) Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha claimed that 90% of the city had been retaken. Still the militants had a strong presence in certain sections of the city such as 60th Street, Malaab, Howaz, and Zankura. (2) By the middle of 2014 fighting had spread to places like Tamim and Andalus. These areas would be contested for months with sudden advances and then collapses by both sides. That would characterize the combat in Anbar overall.

The back and forth nature of the fight for Ramadi was highlighted at the end of 2014. For example, at the end of September militants took three districts in the center of the city, as the army withdrew to the Anbar Operations Command north of the city. It appeared then that Ramadi was about to fall once again as the insurgents were said to hold 60% of it. This was part of a large offensive by IS in Anbar, which led to it taking Hit. By the middle of October the government forces began a counter attack, and with the support of Coalition air strikes were able to push IS back over the following weeks. Then in November, IS attacked again, this time using the element of surprise using Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) uniforms to fool the defenders. (3) Once again the city center was threatened (4) with IS taking the Anbar Directorate building. This once again raised fears that Ramadi was about to be taken. The security forces were able to regain some of the neighborhoods by the end of the month, only to have IS start another attempt at the beginning of December and then again in the middle of the month, only to be pushed back in early January 2015. The fact that IS was able to continuously threaten the government center in the second half of last year showed that it had improved its position within the city. By February 2015 for instance, a member of the Anbar council told Al Mada that 60% of the Ramadi was in the hands of the Islamists. The fighting in April then, was just the latest example of the militants trying to assert total control.

The Islamic State will likely be turned back once again in Ramadi, but that obscures the strong position it holds in Anbar. The fact that the city has been under such threat for over a year now shows the precarious situation the province is in overall. The militants are said to control 80% or more of the governorate, and it is one of the few places where IS still launches major offensives. Today, many of the neighborhoods in Ramadi that were once contested like 60th Street are said to be under its control. Instead fighting seems to be concentrated in the downtown section more and more. Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced that Anbar would be a new focus for the government’s forces, but Ramadi shows how hard that will be. Major reinforcements are being committed to take back what was just lost in the city rather than going on the offensive. Because of the vast size of the governorate, when those forces move on to other sections, IS will re-infiltrate and launch another large attack in a month or two. Even with the Hashd, which has moved back into Anbar in recent weeks, the government may simply lack the manpower to hold many areas. When the Americans were in the country they faced a similar problem until they made local alliances with tribes. Baghdad has reached out to many of these same groups, but they and other local officials have continuously complained that they are not getting the supplies and arms to match those owned by the Islamic State. There are also suspicions amongst Shiite parties that any weapons provided might fall into the hands of the enemy. Still, until locals are adequately brought into the fight, Ramadi and the remaining sections of the province under government control will remain under threat.

FOOTNOTES

1. National Iraqi News Agency, “Abu Risha: Anbar tribes and police dominate on 90% of Ramadi,” 1/8/14

2. National Iraqi News Agency, “The outbreak of clashes between the army and armed groups in Ramadi,” 2/14/14

3. National Iraqi News Agency, “The IS attacks Ramadi in army uniform of 5 axes, with security and tribal reinforcements to repel the attack,” 11/23/14

4. National Iraqi News Agency, “The government complex in central Ramadi came under mortar fire,” 11/23/14

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq militants free prisoners, burn police stations,” 1/1/14
- “Iraqi forces beat back assault on city, reinforce town,” 10/15/14
- “Tribes, police seize parts of Iraq city from militants,” 1/10/14

AIN, “Gunmen control police station central Ramadi,” 12/31/13
- “Security forces clash with gunmen in Ramadi,” 2/15/14
- “Security forces liberate 5 areas in Anbar,” 12/25/14
- “Security forces liberate some areas central Ramadi,” 10/21/14
- “Urgent….4 tribes announce supporting ISF in Anbar,” 1/1/14

Ali, Ahmed, “Iraq Update 2014 #9: Anbar Standoff Continues With Clashes in Ramadi and Fallujah,” Institute for the Study of War, 1/17/14

Alsumaria, “Daash control Anbar Directorate building central Ramadi,” 11/25/14
- “Daash imposes its control over two regions east of Ramadi after the withdrawal of police and army,” 8/5/14

Al Forat, “ISF declares liberating Wafa’a area of ISIL,” 12/21/14

George, Susannah, “Key provincial capital in Iraq may be about to fall to Islamic State,” McClatchy Newspapers, 11/26/14

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: Protect Anbar Residents From Abuses,” 1/9/14

Al Jazeera, “Iraqi army launches major assault on Ramadi,” 1/19/14

Lewis, Jessica, Ali, Ahmed, and Adnan, Sinan, “ISIS Offensives in Ramadi City and Al-Asad Airbase in Al-Anbar, Iraq,” Institute for the Study of War, 12/24/14

Al Mada, “Albu Alwan Fighters: Daash besieged government compound after entering the center of Ramadi,” 4/17/15
- “Albu Alwan tribe threatens to “withdraw” from Ramadi and warns of its “fall within hours,”” 4/17/15
- “Anbar Council: Daash controls 60% of Ramadi,” 2/1/15
- “Anbar Council declares “cleanse” Albu Diab north of Ramadi,” 10/17/14
- “Anbar: officers “hold truce” with the militants .. And the targeting of 3 train stations “cut supplies” for the army,” 11/17/13
- “Anbar Operations regain control of Qaim after the storming of Daash,” 6/17/14
- “Anbar police confirm the control of the security forces on 70% of Ramadi,” 10/1/14
- “Army enters Khalidiya and violent clashes east of Ramadi to coincide with the closure of Fallujah,” 1/20/14
- “Army troops withdraw from the city of Ramadi and stationed in Anbar Operations Command headquarters north of the city,” 10/5/14
- “Daash approaching “the government complex,” the center of Ramadi and warning of an imminent fall,” 4/17/15
- “Gunmen were about to occupy the Anbar government compound .. and 700 Albu Alwan fighters prevented the fall of Ramadi,” 11/24/14
- “Joint force initiates process to cleanse Ramadi and its surroundings from Daash with support of international air coalition,” 10/15/14

Naji, Jamal, Van Heuvelen, Ben, “Ramadi battles foreshadow bloody campaign for Anbar,” Iraq Oil Report, 4/10/15

National Iraqi News Agency, “49 Citizens Killed, Wounded In Ramadi Battles, Security Source Says,” 4/16/15
-  “Abu Risha: Anbar tribes and police dominate on 90% of Ramadi,” 1/8/14
- “Anbar Operations announces, police and tribes men entirely control Ramadi city,” 1/6/14
- “Anbar police chief: Liberating /7/ km area in Ramadi from the control of the IS,” 9/19/14
- “Anbar Police Chief: The Security Forces Controlled 85% of the City of Ramadi,” 2/5/14
- “Army Helicopters Bombed Areas in Ramadi and Fallujah,” 2/7/14
- “Clashes erupt in Ramadi and Fallujah between army and armed groups,” 2/13/14
- “Clashes Renewed Between the Army and Armed Groups in Ramadi and Fallujah,” 1/25/14
- “Clashes renewed in Ramadi,” 1/1/14
- “The government complex in central Ramadi came under mortar fire,” 11/23/14
- “The imposition of a curfew in the western and northern areas of Ramadi,” 12/12/14
- “The IS attacks Ramadi in army uniform of 5 axes, with security and tribal reinforcements to repel the attack,” 11/23/14
- “(IS) Takes Control on A district Nearby Government Departments Complex Amid Ramadi,” 10/31/14
- “A massive campaign starts in Ramadi to expel armed elements,” 7/28/14
- “The outbreak of clashes between the army and armed groups in Ramadi,” 2/14/14
- “Security forces and the sons of the tribes in Ramadi control al-Tash area and Street 60 after the expulsion of the terrorists,” 6/21/14
- “A security source: Military units carried out operations on the areas of the IS holed up in Ramadi,” 9/6/14
- “Shelling and Armed Clashes Renewed in Ramadi,” 2/23/14
- “The start of a security crackdown to liberate Ramadi from the control of the IS,” 11/14/14

New Sabah, “Anbar Council: We have 5 cities battling Daash fiercely,” 10/13/14

Nordland, Rod, “Iraq Starts Drive Against ISIS, but Reports on Scale Differ,” New York Times, 4/8/15

Prothero, Mitchell, “Islamic State proves resilient, presses attack in Iraq’s Ramadi, Baiji,” McClatchy, 4/16/15

Radio Free Iraq, “02 December 2014, Daily Updates from Anbar, 12/2/14
- “02 July 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 7/2/14
- “08 December 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 12/8/14
- “12 October 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 10/12/14
- “13 October 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 10/13/14
- “14 October 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 10/14/14
- “15 April 2015,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 4/15/15
- “15 December 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 12/15/14
- “15 October 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 10/15/14
- “19 April 2015,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 4/19/15
- “19 October 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 10/19/14
- “26 June 2014,” Daily Updates from Iraq,” 6/26/14
- “26 November 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/26/14
- “28 September 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 9/28/14
- “29 November 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/29/14

Salaheddin, Sinan, “Iraqi police dismantle Sunni protest in west,” Associated Press, 12/30/13

Shafaq News, “Maliki: Al-Qaeda has lost its safe haven in the sit-in square,” 12/30/13
- “Security elements and tribes wage an attack on ISIS in Ramadi and surround the terrorists inside homes,” 1/7/15

Shallal, Azhar, “Clashes kill 10 as Iraq forces clear Sunni protest camp,” Agence France Presse, 12/30/13

Xinhua, “11 killed in insurgent attacks in Iraq,” 2/13/14
- “IS militants seize new areas in Iraq’s Ramadi,” 4/15/15

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Musings On Iraq In The News

I did my very first TV interview with CCTV – America on Iraq’s economy and political situation. My article on problems with the peshmerga fighting IS was reprinted in Business Insider. I was also interviewed by Diane Maye and her blog Absolute Power, and cited in "A Short Profile of Iraq's Shi'a Militias" by Zana Gulmohamad for the Jamestown Foundation.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Islamic State Goes On The Offensive In Iraq’s Anbar & Salahaddin April 8-14, 2015


Anbar and Salahaddin have been two of the three provinces where the Islamic State (IS) has retained its offensive capabilities. Over the last several months IS has been attempting big pushes in the former especially in and around the governorate’s capital Ramadi. In the second week of April it launched a major campaign in that area. In Salahaddin, IS tried to make up for its loss of Tikrit by assaulting the Baiji Refinery. IS also launched a major wave of car bombings in Baghdad. The result was a major spike in casualties in Iraq.

In the second week of April, 2015 there were a reported 132 security incidents in the press. That was slightly up from the 121 Musings On Iraq recorded the week before. Baghdad had the most with 36. After that it was Anbar with 33, Salahaddin with 30, Ninewa with 17, Diyala with eight, Babil with four, Kirkuk with three, and Maysan with one. The actual number is much higher as there is plenty of violence that never gets into the media.

The number of fatalities tripled from the first to second week of April. There were 626 reported deaths from April 8-14. That broke down to 101 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 9 Sahwa, 18 Hashd al-Shaabi, and 498 civilians. By province there were 411 killed in Anbar, 90 in Baghdad, 70 in Salahaddin, 34 in Ninewa, seven each in Babil and Kirkuk, six in Diyala, and 1 in Maysan. The week before there were 212 killed, lowest amount recorded since the start of 2014. Again, the real numbers are probably much higher.

There were also another 525 wounded, consisting of 28 ISF, 4 peshmerga, 42 Sahwa, 43 Hashd, and 408 civilians. There were 299 injured in Baghdad, 128 in Anbar, 50 in Salahaddin, 18 in Diyala, 16 in Babil, eight in Ninewa and six in Kirkuk. The week before there was 423 injured.

Violence In Iraq By Week Jun. 2014-2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jun 1-7
228
612
1,020
Jun 8-14
234
1,889
890
Jun 15-21
177
804
755
Jun 22-28
207
740
800
Jun 29-30
59
127
236
JUN
905
4,172
3,701
Jul 1-7
203
526
651
Jul 8-14
214
577
628
Jul 15-21
230
444
1,009
Jul 22-28
224
589
801
Jul 29-31
66
163
230
JUL
937
2,299
3,319
Aug 1-8
270
1,122
885
Aug 9-14
180
710
1,152
Aug 15-21
150
731
499
Aug 22-28
156
523
798
Aug 29-31
59
125
289
AUG
815
3,211
3,623
Sep 1-7
169
616
751
Sep 8-14
168
467
731
Sep 15-21
170
625
794
Sep 22-28
157
396
576
Sep 29-30
49
126
287
SEP
713
2,230
3,139
Oct 1-7
175
456
687
Oct 8-14
189
560
880
Oct 15-21
159
499
780
Oct 22-28
160
346
596 + 1,230
Oct 29-31
72
574
227
OCT
755
2,434
3,170 + 1,230
Nov 1-7
154
611
828
Nov 8-14
134
470
607
Nov 15-21
139
323
479
Nov 22-28
139
321
640
Nov 29-30
40
206
535
NOV
606
1,931
3,089
Dec 1-7
148
581
482
Dec 8-14
156
233 + 166
444 + 1,113
Dec 15-21
133
377
340
Dec 22-28
161
558
494
Dec 29-31
91
117
233
DEC
689
2,032
3,106
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
423
Apr 8-14
132
626
525

Violence In Iraq By Province Apr 2015
Province
Apr 1-7
Apr 8-14
Anbar
22 Incidents
60 Killed: 4 ISF, 56 Civilians
72 Wounded: 72 Civilians
13 Shootings
2 IEDs
4 Mortars
1 Rocket
33 Incidents
411 Killed: 66 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 343 Civilians
128 Wounded: 9 ISF, 31 Sahwa, 88 Civilians
21 Shootings
2 IEDs
4 Suicide Bombers
7 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
5 Mortars
1 Rockets
Babil
3 Incidents
4 Killed: 1 ISF, 3 Civilians
11 Wounded: 4 ISF, 7 Civilians
2 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
4 Incidents
7 Killed: 7 Civilians
16 Wounded: 16 Civilians
1 Shooting
3 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
Baghdad
44 Incidents
63 Killed: 7 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 55 Civilians
196 Wounded: 13 ISF, 183 Civilians
8 Shootings
25 IEDs
4 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Rocket
1 Grenade
36 Incidents
90 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 7 Hashd, 82 Civilians
299 Wounded: 1 ISF, 5 Sahwa, 16 Hashd, 277 Civilians
5 Shootings
17 IEDs
4 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
8 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
Basra
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 ISF
1 Shooting
-
Diyala
10 Incidents
23 Killed: 10 ISF, 1 Hashd, 12 Civilians
92 Wounded: 12 ISF, 69 Hashd, 11 Civilians
7 Shootings
1 IED
1 Car Bomb
8 Incidents
6 Killed: 2 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 3 Civilians
18 Wounded: 7 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 7 Civilians
3 Shootings
5 IEDs
Kirkuk
4 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Hashd
2 Shootings
1 IED
3 Incidents
7 Killed: 7 Civilians
6 Wounded: 3 Hashd, 3 Civilians
1 Shooting
1 IED
1 Mortar
Maysan
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
Ninewa
7 Incidents
12 Killed: 2 YPG, 4 Hashd, 6 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Peshmerga
5 Shootings
17 Incidents
34 Killed: 34 Civilians
8 Wounded: 4 Peshmerga, 4 Civilians
13 Shootings
3 IEDs
Salahaddin
30 Incidents
48 Killed: 26 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 14 Hashd, 5 Civilians
50 Wounded: 25 ISF, 14 Hashd, 11 Civilians
22 Shootings
3 IEDs
2 Suicide Bombers
2 Mortars
1 Grenade
30 Incidents
70 Killed: 34 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 11 Hashd, 21 Civilians
50 Wounded: 11 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 24 Hashd, 13 Civilians
21 Shootings
5 IEDs
5 Suicide Bombers
4 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Car Bombs
2 Mortars

Car Bombs in Iraq Apr 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Apr 1



Apr 2
Bab al-Mudham, Baghdad
7
26
Apr 3



Apr 4
Mansour, Baghdad


Apr 5



Apr 6
Imam Abdullah bin Imam Ali al-Hadi shrine, Diyala
4
7
Apr 7



Total
3
11
33
Apr 8



Apr 9



Apr 10
Albu Faraj x5, Ramadi x2, Anbar
Karrada, Baghdad
5
13
Apr 11
Baiji Refinery x3, Salahaddin


Apr 12
Amiriya Fallujah, Anbar
Baiji Refinery x2, Salahaddin


Apr 13
Amil & Baya, Baghdad
15
60
Apr 14
Mahmudiya, Babil
East, Mashtal, Waziriya, Wihda x2, Yarmouk, Baghdad
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
46
97
Total
24
66
170

The Islamic State has been ramping up its car bombs since the new year and the 2nd week of April was a perfect example. There were just three vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) the first week, but then 24 the next. That led to 66 dead and 170 wounded. 23 of those bombings occurred in Salahaddin, six, Anbar, eight, and Baghdad, nine. That was the most VBIEDs in the capital since November 8-14. Although most car bombs these days are targeting the security forces, this week was an exception. This time nine of the fifteen targets were civilian ones.

After the fall of Tikrit, the Anbar provincial council and elements of the Hashd both said that the next big operation would be in Anbar. That was to begin in Shjariya outside of Ramadi where government forces were going to clear the supply route to the Habaniya base, which lies to the east. As part of this planned offensive members of Kataib Hezbollah and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Peace Brigades were deployed to Shjariya, the Badr Brigade was sent to Baghdadi and Haditha, and other Hashd forces to the Assad base. The sweep began in Shjariya on April 7, and by the next day it was declared cleared during a visit by Prime Minister Haider Abadi to the province. April 9 another operation was begun in the Howaz district of Ramadi, which has been a contested neighborhood for months. Initially things looked like they were going well, but the Islamic State had other plans.

Starting on April 9-10, IS began its own counter offensive. It launched attacks in Ramadi’s Howaz, Albu Faraj, Albua Etha, Albu Jassim, Albu Risha, Shjariya, and Amiriya Fallujah. Reinforcements were sent in to the area, and Coalition air strikes were called in, but were only able to reverse a small portion of IS’s gains. Heavy casualties were reported, and Sheikh Naim al-Gaood of the Albu Nimr tribe claimed that the Islamists executed 300 people in Qaim. The poor showing of the government forces was another sign that they had not been properly armed by Baghdad to take on the insurgents. This is something that Anbaris had been complaining about for months. The result was that the ISF, tribes, and Hashd were thrown on the defensive right after all of their talk about the province being the next focal point.

When the Tikrit campaign in Salahaddin began in March, the Kurds began a supporting operation pushing into southern Kirkuk. The goal was to reach Hawija the main IS base in the province. At the same time elements of the Hashd began moving northward from Salahaddin to pinch the insurgents between the two forces. The peshmerga were able to take lots of ground, but then stopped at the beginning of April. By April 9, the Kurds announced that they were not moving any further, and said that the army and Hashd should be responsible for clearing Hawija. The result was that many IS elements were able to flee Tikrit and northeast Salahaddin into Hawija. It also marked a breakdown of the cooperation between the central and regional government’s forces. Perhaps the Kurds felt like the fall of Tikrit meant that their services were no longer needed. Alternatively, they could have expended their supplies and not been able to advance any further. Whatever the case, Hawija remains under IS control.

Finally, in Salahaddin IS attempted to make up for its setback by attacking Baiji and the refinery outside of the town. That began on April 11 with a series of suicide attacks upon the oil facility, along with mortar fire on the neighboring village. The fighting lasted throughout the week and continues to the present day. Losing Tikrit was a major loss for IS, but it didn’t appear that it committed many forces to the fight. Instead, as stated before, many withdrew to the north. The attacks upon Baiji and the refinery showed that it still has offensive forces in the province. It’s main tactic has been to attack up and down an across the length of Salahaddin to stretch out the government forces. It continues to do that, with its Baiji operation just the latest example.

SOURCES

AIN, “Anbar: the arrival of the popular crowd at al-Assad base to liberate Albu Faraj,” 4/13/15
- "Bomber blows himself up amid the Baiji refinery," 4/14/15
- "One person killed and nine injured near satellite channel's headquarters in Waziriya," 4/14/15
- "Wounding two civilians, the fall of mortar shells south of Baiji," 4/11/15

Alsumaria, “Abadi order to send large quantities of weapons and ammunition to Anbar as soon as possible,” 4/11/15

Associated Press, "Attacks in Baghdad, north of Iraqi capital kill at least 15," 4/13/15

Bradley, Matt, “Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites Find Some Common Ground Against Islamic State,” Wall Street Journal, 4/13/15

Bulos, Nabih, “Fallouja illustrates Iraq’s challenge in retaking cities from Islamic State,” Los Angeles Times, 4/13/15

Al Forat, “2 volunteers brigades stationed in Sajaria,” 4/9/15
- "Baya'a death toll hits 24 deaths, injuries," 4/13/15
- "Fire break out in one of the oil stores in Baiji, the coalition intervenes and kills 15 terrorists," 4/11/15

France 24, "The Islamic State group attacks Iraq's largest oil refinery," 4/11/15

Iraq News Network, “Iraq Hezbollah Brigades involved in the liberation of Ramadi,” 4/1/15

Iraq Times, "33 martyrs and injured in car bombing in eastern Baghdad," 4/14/15

Jakes, Lara, “Iraq Eyes Small Steps For Big Gains Against Islamic State,” Foreign Policy, 4/13/15

Al Mada, “Anbar disturbed by “small” military aid and clans not a substitute for the poplar crowd in western Iraq battles,” 4/12/15
- "Toll rises in Yarmouk and Mahmudiya bombings to 41 people dead and wounded," 4/14/15

Al-Najar, Kamaran, Lando, Ben, "Baiji refinery attacks expose ongoing vulnerability," Iraq Oil Report, 4/14/15

Naji, Jamal, Van Heuvelen, Ben, “Ramadi battles foreshadow bloody campaign for Anbar,” Iraq Oil Report, 4/10/15

NINA, "BREAKING NEWS. 16 elements of Baiji refinery protection staff, including four officers killed in a suicide attack," 4/14/15
- "Two Regions, East Of Ramadi, Liberated," 4/8/15,

Nordland, Rod, “After Victory Over ISIS in Tikrit, Next Battle Requires a New Template,” New York Times, 4/7/15
- “Iraq Starts Drive Against ISIS, but Reports on Scale Differ,” New York Times, 4/8/15
- "ISIS Kills 25 Police Officers and Soldiers in Iraqi Province of Anbar," New York Times, 4/10/15

Nordland, Rod and Hassan, Falih, “U.S. Steps Up Bombing Raids in Anbar After Shiite Militias Withdraw,” New York Times, 4/12/15

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "IS Militants Launch Attack On Ramadi," 4/10/15

Radio Free Iraq, "07 April 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 4/7/15,
- "09 April 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 4/9/15,
- "10 April 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 4/10/14

Reuters, “Iraqi forces move against Islamic State in Sunni heartland Anbar,” 4/8/15

Rudaw, “Peshmerga: No Hawija offensive without Iraqi Army, Shia Militias,” 4/9/15

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Attacks kill 28 civilians in and around Baghdad," Associated Press, 4/14/15

Shafaq News, “Badr: We have hundreds of fighters from the popular crowd deployed in Haditha and al-Baghdadi,” 4/11/15
- "Car bomb explosion eastern Baghdad," 4/14/15
- "Violent clashes between security forces and Daash in Amiriyah Fallujah," 4/12/15

Xinhua, "10 killed in clashes with IS group in Iraq's Baiji oil refinery," 4/14/15
- “IS militants execute 33 people in Iraq’s Anbar,” 4/11/15
- "Security forces fight back IS militants, attacks continue in Iraq," 4/13/15