Friday, February 10, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 115, Feb 9, 2017


Despite there being no more combat operations in Mosul for over two weeks now there is still violence in east Mosul. Two car bombs were discovered and destroyed in two separate neighborhoods. Those were probably the work of Islamic State sleeper cells who are active in the city. The 9th and 16th Divisions ran into an IS cell in Kuba, killing four who were all wearing suicide belts. Rockets, mortars and drone strikes by IS hit three areas killing 11 and wounding another 15. The shelling has gotten so bad that clean up operations to get rubble, etc. off the streets have been halted. Authorities had already imposed a curfew on northeastern sections of the city where the IS strikes have been the heaviest. This points to the situation getting worse, highlighted by the growing casualty figures.

What gets far less coverage is the fact that Coalition air strikes and Iraqi shelling are taking a toll as well. A Coalition hit upon east Mosul was blamed for killing three and wounding 10. That was reported in a few Iraqi papers, but it would seem odd that the Iraqi forces (ISF) would call in an air strike on liberated east Mosul so this story may be false. ISF artillery fire also hit a market in west Mosul leading to 20 deaths and 7 injured. The Iraqis are hitting west Mosul every day so there are likely casualties all the time, but because that side of the city is under IS control they are rarely reported.

The Islamic State was still killing people in west Mosul to maintain its hold over the population. 13 civilians were executed for trying to get across the Tigris River to the government controlled side. Over the last few days the group was also accused of taking the lives of 46 young men who refused to join the group’s armed wing. These are daily occurrences, and meant to instill fear in the population so that the militants can keep them under control.

The Nujafi brothers are still a point of controversy in Ninewa. Vice President Osama Nujafi claimed that after his brother’s Ninewa Guards were told to leave Mosul there was looting, burning of property and kidnappings. He was then accused of lying and making these stories up. Osama and Atheel Nujafi hail from Mosul and have attempted to rebuild their base via participating in the battle for the city. That has angered their rivals who are increasingly attacking them, and caused Atheel to receive an arrest warrant forcing him out of Mosul.

Prime Minister Haidar Abadi took aim at Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW released a report at the start of February accusing a Sunni Hashd unit of detaining people at displaced camps that were not on government want lists. The premier claimed that the paper was full of fallacies. Baghdad has become increasingly hostile to any bad press. It criticized the United Nations for its high casualty figures for November 2016. It banned embedded reporters in Ninewa in December, and now it’s going after Human Rights Watch. These have all been political moves meant to discredit anything that questions the government’s victory narrative that it has been pushing as propaganda since 2014.

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) latest Factsheet provided added information to earlier United Nation’s reporting that more people were going back to their homes than leaving them in Ninewa. From February 3 to 9 the number of registered displaced went down from 161,094 to 152,922. In total, IOM counted 46,278 people having returned in the province since the start of the Mosul campaign in October 2016.

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "WMC: Security forces detonate car bomb in eastern Mosul," 2/9/17

AIN, "Daesh executed 46 young men and boys in East Mosul," 2/9/17

Buratha News, “Osama Najafi back to his lies about witnessing riots and burning during operations,” 2/9/17

Al Forat, "Car bomb in al-Nassir neighborhood in Mosul dismantled," 2/9/17

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: Men Fleeing Mosul Held in Secret,” 2/2/17

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix Emergency Tracking Factsheet #15 – Mosul Operations From 17 October to 9 February,” 2/9/17

Iraq Oil Report, “Inside Mosul: Feb. 9, 2017,” 2/10/17

Al Maalomah, “Why did the cleaning work stop in east Mosul?” 2/9/17

Al Mada, “Coalition forces surprised by Abadi’s criticism of Human Rights report,” 2/9/17

Al Masalah, "The martyrdom of three children in coalition raid on school east Mosul," 2/9/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraq puts out fires at Qayyara oil field in northern Iraq – ministry,” Iraqi News, 2/9/17
- "IS rockets kill school student in east Mosul, unknown rockets kill 8 in west," Iraqi News, 2/9/17

Roblin, Sebastien, “Baghdad Doesn’t Want You to Know How Many of Its Soldiers Are Dying,” War Is Boring, 1/4/17


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