Thursday, September 18, 2014

Government Shelling Of Civilian Areas In Iraq Continues Despite Premier Abadi’s Pledge Not To

 
On September 13, 2014 new Prime Minister Haider Abadi ordered the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to stop the shelling of civilian populations in urban areas. This had been an on going complaint by civilians, politicians and human rights groups with hundreds of people having been killed and wounded by artillery, mortar and missile strikes in several different provinces. Despite the announcement there have been three days straight of civilian casualties in Anbar due to government shelling.

The ISF has been hitting civilian areas for months now. The insurgent uprising in Anbar started at the very end of December 2013. Within a few days there were the first reports of civilian casualties in the province’s cities due to ISF shelling and bombing. January 3 6 were killed and 87 wounded by mortar fire on eastern Fallujah. The next day the city was hit by air strikes, mortar and artillery fire resulting in 47 people being injured. At the same time, ISF mortars hit Ramadi killing one and wounding 7. By the end of the month 85 people were dead and 446 wounded in Anbar by what became more and more indiscriminate fire. This was a leading cause for mass displacement within the governorate. Since then these types of attacks occur almost every day in the province. When the militant summer offensive began these government strikes were expanded to Ninewa, Salahaddin, Diyala and Kirkuk. Sunni politicians and human rights groups have complained about these attacks for the huge human costs. Militarily the shelling and bombardment have had no visible affect upon the insurgency. The vast majority of incidents appeared to be simply firing into insurgent held territory with little regard for who or what is hit.

Premier Abadi’s order to the ISF was an attempt to appease the Sunni population and politicians, but it has not been followed through with. From September 15 to 17 there has been daily shelling of Fallujah. September 15 6 people died and 22 were wounded. September 16 another 4 were killed and 21 injured, followed by 3 fatalities and 20 wounded the next day. The new prime minister knows that he has to win over disaffected Sunnis if he hopes to turn around the security situation. His announcement about shelling civilian areas therefore, was an early concession to show that his government would not be the same as the previous one. Unfortunately the Iraqi forces have not gotten the order.

A concession is only a concession if it is followed through with. Premier Abadi’s order to stop hitting civilian populations was a necessary one. There is no military value gained from the tactic, and the costs have been huge. The ISF however has not stopped the shelling of Fallujah. The fact that this happened three days straight pointed to this not being some kind of mistake. The ISF also denied hitting Fallujah hospital the day after Abadi’s pledge showing that they know about his pronouncement. This is not a good start to the new Iraqi government as the prime minister has so many challenges in front of him with seemingly so little time to achieve them. As commander and chief he has the authority to stop the practice of targeting civilian areas meaning his announcement was just for show, it has not gotten through the chain of command or he’s not being followed. It would seem that the premier’s words were for propaganda purposes. That needs to change if Abadi is going to make any kind of mark in the country.

SOURCES

Ali, Ahmed, "Iraq Update #42: Al Qaeda in Iraq Patrols Fallujah; Aims for Ramadi, Mosul, Baghdad," Institute for the Study of War, 1/5/14

Alsumaria, "Fallujah Hospital announces receiving 28 dead and wounded in renewed shelling of the city," 9/15/14

BBC, “Residents flee occupied Fallujah amid army bombardment,” 1/5/14

Coles, Isabel, “Bewildered Falluja residents flee feared Iraq army assault,” Reuters, 1/10/14

Al Mada, "Killing and wounding 23 civilians in bombing of the army on Fallujah," 9/17/14

National Iraqi News Agency, "9 Civilians wounded in bombing Falluja," 1/4/14
- "/25/ people killed and wounded in Fallujah," 9/16/14
- "Civilian killed, 7 wounded in shells fall in Ramadi," 1/4/14
- “Displacement of Hundreds of Families Continued in Fallujah as a result of shelling,” 1/21/14

Reuters, "Iraqi army shells Falluja to try to dislodge militants," 1/4/14

Xinhua, “Iraq PM orders halt of shelling populated areas in fight with IS,” 9/13/14

Yacoub, Sameer, “UN: More than 140,000 Iraqis flee Anbar violence,” Associated Press, 1/24/14

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Islamic State Mass Executions In Northern Iraq Since Summer Offensive Started


The brutality of the Islamic State’s (IS) rule was well known from its control of parts of northern Syria. There are pictures on the Internet of the group beheading people, crucifying them, and shooting their opponents in that country. Now that it has conquered territory in Kirkuk, Ninewa, and Salahaddin IS has brought its violent form of governance to Iraq. There are growing reports of executions of members of the security forces (ISF), Turkmen, Yazidis, those that refuse to pledge allegiance to it, and those found guilty in its sharia courts. There are more and more reports coming out of these mass killings, and the group is far from over.

Bodies discovered in a mass grave in Sulaiman Bek, Salahaddin Sep 5, 2014 (EFE/EPA)

In June the Islamic State took Mosul and then moved south into Salahaddin. Immediately afterward the first stories of mass executions appeared. The first was in the Tikrit area involving soldiers captured at Camp Speicher. IS claimed that it killed 1,700 of them from June 11-14. The murders were video taped, photographed and extensively spread through social media by the organization to brag about its victory over the Iraqi government. It’s not clear whether that many were actually killed, but Human Rights Watch has estimated at least 770 died there in several different locations around the city. That was just the beginning. Three days later IS executed 25 soldiers it captured outside of Samarra. On June 21 84 members of the ISF and government workers were murdered in Tikrit, and then seven more soldiers in Shirqat on June 26. In August another 200 bodies of students were discovered in Camp Speicher after the area had been cleared by the ISF. Then in September when Sulaiman Bek in eastern Salahaddin was freed from the Islamic State a series of mass graves were discovered with a total of 89 bodies in them. So far there have been at least 1,411 killed by IS in Salahaddin.

Islamic State Executions In Salahaddin Jun-Sep 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Jun 11-14
Tikrit
770 Soldiers
Jun 17
Outside Samarra
25 Soldiers
Jun 21
Tikrit
84 ISF & Govt workers
Jun 26
Shirqat
7 Soldiers
Jul 9
Azwip
15
Jul 16
Tikrit
5
Jul 17
Tikrit
5
Jul 19
Shirqat
1 Police
Jul 25
South of Tikrit
6 Sahwa

Abbasid
18 Police
Jul 31
Shirqat
17
Aug 2
Shirqat
14 Police

Tikrit
1 Police
Aug 7
Tikrit
3
Aug 8
Baiji
7
Aug 9
Camp Speicher
200
Aug 14
Tikrit
12
Aug 18
Albu Jwari
1 Sahwa
Aug 23
Awija
6 Soldiers

Hegeel
1 Police
Aug 26
Shirqat
15
Aug 28
Shirqat
15 Sahwa
Sep 3
Baiji
60

Sulaiman Bek
24
Sep 5
Amerli
24

Sulaiman Bek
35
Sep 11
Sulaiman Bek
30
Sep 12
Jumash
1
Sep 13
Jumash
8
Sep 15
Shirqat
1
Total
-
1,411

Northern Ninewa was the first part of Iraq to fall to the Islamic State and has seen its own share of massacres. Right after the fall of Mosul 12 clerics were murdered on June 14. There have been a steady flow of people executed in Mosul and the surrounding area since then for people who refused to pledge allegiance to the IS or were found guilty for breaking its rules or were members of the security forces. More deaths were reported after the fall of the Sinjar area on August 3. That day the Islamic State killed 250 Yazidis in Sinjar, Solagh, Qiniyah, and Qahtanya in part of its organized campaign to wipe out the religious group. August 5 another 300 Yazidis died in Sinjar, and then 90 more in Kojo when that town was taken on August 15. Recently 500 bodies were found of prisoners from Badush prison outside of Mosul on September 10, and 30 were shot in Tal Afar on September 14. In total, there have been 1,426 deaths in Ninewa connected to IS executions since June.

Islamic State Executions In Ninewa Jun-Sep 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Jun 14
Mosul
12 clerics
Jun 20
Kokjla
2 Shabaks
Jan 30
Shura
6 Police
Jul 2
Shura
4 Police
Jul 3
Mosul
9
Jul 14
Kokjla
10
Jul 27
Mosul
5
Aug 3
Sinjar
80 Yazidis

Solagh
20 Yazidis

Qiniyah
90 Yazidis

Qahtanya
60 Yazidis
Aug 5
Sinjar
300 Yazidis
Aug 15
Kojo
90 Yazidis
Aug 26
Mosul
5
Aug 28
Mosul
7
Sep 1
Sinjar
15 Yazidis
Sep 2
Mosul
7
Sep 4
Mosul
15
Sep 5
Mosul
3
Sep 6
Mosul
5
Sep 7
Mosul
46
Sep 8
Mosul
31

Wadi Hajar
2 Police
Sep 10
?
31 Police

Humaidiyat
500 Badush prisoners

Barzak
35 Yazidis
Sep 11
Mosul
2
Sep 13
Mosul
1
Sep 14
Tal Afar
30
Sep 15
Mosul
3
Total
-
1,425

Western Kirkuk was taken after the fall of Mosul in June and has seen the fewest mass killings so far. Most of the victims have been Turkmen with 55 killed on June 24 and July 3 in Bashir. Several Sahwa and others have been shot as well for a total of 116 since June 23.

Islamic State Executions In Kirkuk Jun-Sep 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Jun 23
Taza
40
Jun 24
Bashir
15 Turkmen
Jun 25
Hawija
4 Sahwa
Jul 3
Bashir
40 Turkmen
Jul 22
Copalh
7
Aug 26
Abbasi
3 Sahwa
Sep 11
Riyad
3
Sep 14
Zab
4
Total
-
116

How the Islamic State plans to rule is revealed in these mass killings. The true cost of their conquering of northern Iraq will not be known until it is expelled from the area. The 2,952 people who have been reported killed in the press and by human rights groups is undoubtedly only a fraction of those that have lost their lives so far. IS is determined to wipe out those that do not agree with it or who do not fit its vision of the Caliphate, which will lead it to more of these massacres in the future.

SOURCES

AIN, "5 corpses discovered in Tikrit," 7/16/14

Alsumaria, "Daash executed two policemen in center and south of Mosul," 9/8/14
- "Found a mass grave containing the remains of 30 bodies east of Tikrit," 9/11/14
- "Found the bodies of six soldiers were killed by firing squad south of Tikrit," 8/23/14

Amnesty International, "Ethnic Cleansing On A Historic Scale: Islamic State's Systematic Targeting of Minorities In Northern Iraq, 9/2/14

Buratha News, "7 bodies found of police officers kidnapped by Daash terrorists north of Tikrit," 8/8/14
- "200 bodies found near Base Speicher believed to be students killed by Daash gang," 8/9/14
- "After the expulsion of Daash rates found 25 bodies, mostly soldiers who have died by firing squad, west of country," 6/17/14
- "The bodies of the martyrs lying on the roads of Bashir by Daash," 7/3/14
- "Daash delivers to the forensic medicine in Mosul 30 bodies including senior officers executed within a week," 9/8/14
- "Daash executed 7 civilian residents of Mosul," 9/2/14
- "Daash gang executes 17 citizens of Sharqat," 7/31/14
- "Daash terrorist gang execute five people after torturing them in the streets of Tikrit," 7/17/14
- "Daash terrorist gang executes 30 people including one tribal leader in Tal Afar,
west of Mosul," 9/14/14
- "Daash terrorists executed 40 people including children shot dead in Mosul," 9/7/14
- "Daash threaten the population of Mosul flogging 80 times for each and executed 12 clerics who refused to pledge allegiance in Mosul," 6/14/14
- "Found 60 bodies from Baiji north of Tikrit," 9/3/14
- "Found a grave containing the bodies of 15 of Awakening abducted by Daash north of Tikrit," 8/28/14

Dolamari, Mewan, "500 Bodies Found in IS Mass Grave in Northern Iraq," 9/10/14

eKurd, "After Peshmerga pullout,hundreds of missing Iraqi Kurdish Yazidis feared dead," 8/4/14

Al Forat, "3 unveiled women executed by ISIL northern Tikrit," 8/7/14
- "6 Corpses belong to IP discovered in Mosul," 6/30/14
- "14 Intelligence officers executed by ISIL in Shurqat," 8/2/14
- “ISIL executes 3 western Kirkuk,” 9/14/14
- "ISIL executes woman, throws her body in Tigris River," 9/4/14
- "ISIS terrorist gangs execute 4 policemen in southern Mosul," 7/2/14
- "ISIL terrorists execute kidnapped officer in northern Tikrit," 8/2/14
- "ISIS terrorists execute police colonel in Shurqat," 7/19/14
- "Policeman slaughtered in front of his family in Tikrit," 8/23/14

Hauslohner, Abigail, "Shiite villagers describe 'massacre in northern Iraq," Washington Post, 6/23/14

Human Rights Watch, "Islamic State Executions in Tikrit," 9/3/14

Independent Press Agency, "Daash executed 5 because of their opposition to the demolition of shrines," 7/27/14

Iraq Times, "Daash displaces Kurds and Shiites and execute ten of them in Sinjar," 8/3/14

Jaffe, Greg, "In Amerli, an unusual alliance defeated Islamic radicals. Don't count on that lasting," Washington Post, 9/5/14

Kirkuk Now, "15 Bodies are Buried in Taza," 6/24/14

Al Mada, "Found the bodies of 15 executed elements of the security forces by Daash east of Tikrit," 8/26/14
- "Peshmerga announces finding the bodies of seven drivers who were kidnapped by Daash and delivered them to their relatives," 7/22/14
- "Six bodies found of elements of the Awakening south of Tikrit," 7/25/14

Mamuzini, Hazhar, "IS Militants Behead Five Fortunetellers in Mosul," Bas News, 9/6/14

Al Masalah, "Daash kidnap 20 citizens near Mosul," 6/20/14
- "Found 10 bodies west of Mosul," 7/14/14

NINA, "/9/ unidentified bodies found with signs of torture in Mosul," 7/3/14
- "/12/ Bodies of people kidnapped by the IS found in Tikrit," 8/14/14
- "/35/ Bodies found in Sulaiman Bek district south of Kirkuk," 9/5/14
- "The bodies of 18 members of policemen found south of Tikrit," 7/25/14
- "Daash gangs execute one of Sahwa forces commander in Salahuddin," 8/18/14
- "Daash kidnaps 20 members of the former Sahwa forces west of Kirkuk," 9/11/14
- "The IS executed three young men in Mosul, for unknown reasons," 9/15/14
- "ISIS executes four members of the awakening of Hawija, west of Kirkuk," 6/25/14
- "Islamic State executed 14 civilians in Mosul," 9/4/14
- “Islamic State executes an engineer in Kirkuk,” 9/14/14
- "The Islamic State executed five men in Mosul," 8/26/14
- "Islamic State executes 31 police officers in Nineveh refused to cooperate with them," 9/10/14
- "The Islamic State executes three women in Mosul," 9/5/14

Nordland, Rod, "As Fighting Spreads Through Iraq, Sunni Allies Turn on One Another," New York Times, 6/21/14

Osgood, Patrick and Tahir, Rawaz, "Iraq's Yezidi minority faces massacre," Iraq Oil Report, 8/6/14

Radio Nawa, "Daash executed two women residents of Mosul," 9/11/14

Al Rayy, "Daash executed seven soldiers southwest of Kirkuk," 6/26/14
- "Daash executed six people including former candidate in Mosul," 9/7/14
- "Daash executes seven civilians from the people of Mosul, the second such incident within 24 hours," 8/28/14
- "Daash executes three members of the tribal council in Mentved west of Kirkuk," 8/26/14
- "Daash gangs execute 15 people in northern Salahuddin," 7/9/14

Reuters, “Islamic State executes eight Sunnis in northern Iraq,” 9/14/14

Saad, Mustafa, "Mass grave found east of Tikrit," Alsumaria, 9/3/14

Shafaq News, "ISIS kills 15 Yazidi elders by blowing a shrine in Sinjar," 9/1/14