Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Premier Abadi’s Attempt To Reform Iraq’s Security Forces


Prime Minister Haider Abadi had the unfortunate experience of becoming Iraq’s leader after the fall of Mosul. When he stepped into office the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) had collapsed in the north in the face of the insurgency. This was due to deep institutional problems and the politicization of the force by his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki. Abadi has attempted to reform the ISF by getting rid of Maliki loyalists and those deemed unqualified. This is a necessary step in a very long process to create a professional military and police that can defend the country.
(EPA)

Given the dire security situation in the country cleaning up the ISF was going to be Premier Abadi’s top priority. He got right to business by retiring the Ground Forces Commander General Ali Ghidan and the deputy chief of staff of operations General Abboud Qanbar al-Maliki on September 23, 2014 shortly after coming into office. At the same time, Abadi got rid of the Office of Commander in Chief, which Nouri al-Maliki had used as an alternative chain of command to directly give orders to officers and units. On September 25, he replaced the commander in Salahaddin General Ali Furaiji with General Abdul Wahab. Four days later, Abadi took a more sweeping step when he dismissed 132 officers including three senior ones and 24 brigade commanders. The next month he fired another 150 high-ranking officers, most of which were in Ninewa, Salahaddin and Kirkuk when insurgents overran those provinces in June. Then on November 12 the premier cleaned out another 36 top officers in what he said was to increase professionalism and get rid of corruption. Some of those dismissed and retired included the Army Chief of Staff General Babaker Zebari, four of his deputies, the secretary general of the Defense Ministry General Ibrahim al-Lami, chief of the Baghdad Operations Command General Abed al-Amir Shammari, the head of the Anbar Operations Command General Rasheed Flayh, commander of the Samarra Operations Command General Sabah Fatlawi, and the director of Military Intelligence at the Defense Ministry General Hatem Magsusi. Then on November 17 the two top officers at the Babil Operations Command were reassigned to the Defense Ministry. Finally, on November 23 the prime minister replaced the deputy Interior Minister Adnan Asadi who ran the ministry for Maliki, and a new head of intelligence was appointed as well. These were all necessary moves to reform the ISF. Many of these men like General Ghidan and Adnan Asadi were Maliki loyalists who owed their positions to the former premier. Generals Ghidan and al-Maliki were also blamed for the fall of Mosul. Others like General Flayh were known for stealing supplies from his men, while the majority of Anbar the province under his command fell to insurgents. If Abadi is intent upon cleaning up the police and army he had to start at the top.

All these officers were symptomatic of the deeper problems facing the Iraqi Security Forces. First, corruption is endemic. Many soldiers and police do not want to serve and pay their officers a portion of their salaries so they don’t have to show up to work. In turn, their commanders register fake names to collect more money. Another issue is that officers are in charge of requisitioning supplies for their units, but often take the funds for themselves. Some of these men bought their positions as well from their higher ups. This creates a culture of graft and abuse within the police and armed forces, and leads to a leadership gap as well as many commanders are in it for the money rather than to serve their country. Additionally, Maliki politicized the ISF. Like many leaders in developing countries he was afraid of a coup, so he placed his own men in leadership positions, many of which had no right to be there. He also used the Office of Commander and Chief and the operations commands to get around the chain of command, so that he could directly control the forces. Abadi’s moves have attempted to address some of these problems, but ultimately he has to repair the institutions. If not then new officers will simply fall into the same pattern as their predecessors. It will take years to really solve these problems, and require more firings, court martials, retraining and other steps to create a professional, competent and accountable security forces in a country where those attributes are sorely lacking in the government overall.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq PM sacks 36 army officers in anti-corruption drive,” 11/12/14

AIN, “Gen. Ghanimi nominated Deputy Chief of Staff,” 11/12/14
- “INA MP: INA requests to dismiss Asadi, unqualified security officials,” 11/25/14

Ali, Ahmed, “Iraq’s Prime Minister Reshuffles the Security Commanders,” Institute for the Study of War, 11/13/14

Buratha News, “Abadi sacks 132 officers, including three senior officers and 24 brigade commanders!” 9/28/14

Al Forat, “Asadi appointed as advisor for security affairs,” 11/23/14
- “Let. Gen. Qasim Mohamadi appointed as Commander of Anbar OC,” 11/12/14

Independent Press Agency, “Abadi decides to refer Abboud Qanbar and Ali Ghaidan to retirement,” 9/23/14

Kirkpatrick, David, “Graft Hobbles Iraq’s Military in Fighting ISIS,” New York Times, 11/23/14

Al Masalah, “Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces ordered the transfer of Furaiji and the appointment of Abdul Wahab commander instead of him,” 9/25/14

Naji, Jamal, “Abadi shakes up military leadership after Anbar massacre,” Iraq Oil Report, 9/24/14

National Iraqi News Agency, “/150/ High-rank officers dismissed,” 10/12/14

Al Rafidayn, “Abadi orders retirement of 36 military commanders..publishes names in detail,” 11/12/14

Al Rayy, “Source: Aqeel al-Khazali to Ministry of Interior and Mohammed Samir Haddad Head of Intelligence,” 11/25/14

Shafaq News, “Abadi dismiss 26 senior military leaders,” 11/12/14

Shafiq, Mohammed, “The appointment of Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir al-Zaidi, the new chief of operations of Babylon,” Alsumaria, 11/17/14

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Controversy Over Supporting Iraq’s Tribes In Anbar


Anbar was where fighting first broke out in Iraq at the very end of December 2013. The conflict split many of the province’s tribes with some supporting the government, some revolting against the authorities but opposing the Islamic State (IS), and some throwing in their lot with the Islamists. Since then some of those tribes have re-aligned again as many had bad relations with IS previously, and when it became the main fighting force in Anbar they decided to fight them as well and went to Baghdad for support. New Prime Minister Haider Abadi has come out for recruiting and training tribes in the governorate and incorporating them into the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The U.S. has been pushing this idea as well. Not all in Abadi’s coalition agree however, and the implementation of the strategy has gone anything but smoothly.

Premier Abadi and the Americans have both been pushing the formation of tribal fighting forces in Anbar. In the middle of October the Interior Ministry okayed the creation of a new 3,000 member Special Task Force Brigade for the province. It would consist of three brigades of 1,000 fighters each drawn from local tribes. The idea for the brigade came after meetings between representatives from Abadi’s office and sheikhs in Jordan. The Americans facilitated these talks as they have been pushing Baghdad to reach out to tribes and others to create Sunni allies to fight the insurgency. Both before and after this announcement, sheikhs in Anbar had complained that the central government was not supporting them, and were not giving them weapons despite their fighting the insurgents and the worsening security situation in the province. The problem is the Shiite parties are split over this idea. Some do not trust the tribes, some of which were once with the insurgents. They worry that if any weapons are given to them they could later be used against the government. There are also those that oppose decentralization of the security forces out to the provinces believing that it could lead to the break up of the country. These are long time concerns and existed under the former government of Nouri al-Maliki when the Awakening emerged in Anbar and later the Americans formed the Sahwa.

Despite these worries, Abadi and the Americans are pushing forward with this plan, but it is being criticized. First, the U.S. sent in advisers to the Habaniya and Al-Assad bases in central Anbar. The provincial council claimed this occurred in the middle of October, but the Americans didn’t officially announce this move until the start of November. At the same time, tribesmen from Ramadi, Haditha, Ana, Rawa, and Qaim began arriving at Al-Assad. 200 were to be trained every two weeks. When all 3,000 have completed this process they are supposed to assist with a major military push in Anbar. Sheikh Gaood from the Albu Nimr tribe, which has recently experienced mass executions by the IS complained on November 18 that this new brigade was not getting the support it was supposed to. He claimed that the unit received no ammunition and only 100 guns. A local official told Al Mada that the tribesmen had no weapons at all. If these charges are true they could have been the result of several factors. As already stated, some ruling parties are against the formation of this unit, and may be holding up its completion. The ISF’s logistics are horrendous and they may not have been able to come up with the equipment for the new unit in such as short amount of time. Whatever the case the lack of adequate supplies for the new brigade perpetuates the belief amongst many sheikhs that Baghdad is unwilling to stand behind them.

The creation of Sunni allies is a must if Baghdad hopes to turn around the security situation. Clearing out cities alone will not stop the insurgency or turn people away from supporting it. Only with local allies within the Sunni community can things be reversed. The creation of the Special Task Force Brigade in Anbar is a step in the right direction, but all the issues it is facing points to the problems in making this policy a reality. Members of Abadi’s ruling coalition do not trust the tribes’ loyalty. The institutional deficiencies within the ISF may delay the equipping of the unit. The fighters are also only scheduled for two weeks of training, which cannot provide them with much besides basic weapons training. That may mean the Brigade is just for show and will remain an auxiliary force like the current tribal forces are doing now in the province. Whatever the case, until there is full political and military backing for this plan there is little hope that it will be successful.

SOURCES

BBC, “Islamic state crisis; US troops sent into Iraq’s Anbar,” 11/11/14

Al Mada, “Abadi in dialogue with the elders of Anbar: competition between the two groups over recruiting 30 thousand fighters .. stuck on political demands,” 10/30/14
- “Americans are training “special missions” brigade in Anbar for the Liberation of cities,” 10/18/14
- “Americans are training volunteers from the clans but Baghdad only gave 200 guns,” 11/18/14

National Iraqi News Agency, “Anbar provincial council: /100/ American military personnel arrived to the province to train the security forces and the sons of the tribes,” 10/15/14
- “MoI approves forming a special force in Anbar under the supervision of US,” 10/17/14

Radio Free Iraq, “05 November 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/5/14
- “16 November 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/16/14

Rasheed, Ahmed, “Iraq’s Abadi struggles to gain Sunni tribal support,” Reuters, 10/29/14

Al Rayy, “Anbar declares that the first batch of the Brigade of Martyr Ahmed Dulaimi will complete its training this week,” 11/4/14

Shafaq News, “Abadi agrees to form a force of 30 thousand fighters from Anbar,” 10/28/14
- “A leader in Albu-Nimr tribe: the government did not arms only 100 of our men without ammunition,” 11/18/14

Monday, November 24, 2014

Attacks and Casualties In Iraq See Large Drop In 3rd Week of November 2014


The third week of November 2014 saw a sizeable decrease in both dead and wounded in Iraq. This was due to the continued low rate of reported security incidents in the country. In the provinces the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and insurgents continued to fight for control of central and eastern Anbar. In Babil, the Islamic State (IS) has been pushed out of its long time base in Jurf al-Sakhr and has relocated to the north. The capital saw more car bombs, while there was a sizeable clash in Abu Ghraib to the west. The ISF and peshmerga launched a coordinated campaign in eastern Diyala, and were both at work in Kirkuk. Kurdistan saw a rare attack as IS tried to strike the governor of Irbil’s office with a suicide car bomb. Finally, Salahaddin remains the other main battlefront between the government and armed factions as the ISF finally broke the siege of the Baiji refinery. Overall, violence was way down for the week, while the ISF continued to make sizeable gains in the northern section of the country.

Attacks remained at a low level during the third week of November. There were 134 security incidents reported in the press from November 15-21. That was the second lowest amount of the year with the previous week having the lowest at 128. Baghdad witnessed the most attacks with 42. Next was Anbar with 30, followed by 27 in Salahaddin, 12 in Diyala, 10 in Ninewa, 6 in Babil, 5 in Kirkuk, and one each in Qadisiyah and Irbil.

Those attacks led to 283 dead and 453 wounded. The fatalities were made up of 77 members of the ISF, 9 Sahwa, and 197 civilians, while the injured consisted of 70 ISF, 21 Sahwa, and 362 civilians. The last time there were roughly 200 killed was back in May 15-21. Likewise, the 449 wounded was the second least of 2014 with only the 426 of May 15-21 lower. Anbar had the most deaths at 94 due to continued executions by the Islamic State. 68 were killed in Salahaddin, 61 in Baghdad, 22 in Ninewa, 18 in Diyala, 10 in Irbil, 8 in Babil, and two in Kirkuk.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2014
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
244
363
733
Jan 8-14
272
364
676
Jan 15-21
205
358
616
Jan 22-28
236
305
618
Jan 29-31
57
93
237
JAN
1,014
1,483
2,890
Feb 1-7
211
306
706
Feb 8-14
229
258
505
Feb 15-21
264
347
703
Feb 22-28
251
374
617
FEB
955
1,285
2,531
Mar 1-7
252
412
702
Mar 8-14
205
323
610
Mar 15-21
216
423
736
Mar 22-27
211
279
580
Mar 28-31
108
169
261
MAR
992
1,606
2,889
Apr 1-7
238
259
550
Apr 8-14
224
362
646
Apr 15-21
241
406
805
Apr 22-28
226
347
744
Apr 29-30
61
82
179
APR
990
1,456
2,924
May 1-7
198
246
483
May 8-14
257
466
752
May 15-21
183
256
426
May 22-28
203
403
810
May 29-31
64
91
131
MAY
905
1,462
2,602
Jun 1-7
228
612
1,020
Jun 8-14
234
1,889
890
Jun 15-21
179
803
759
Jun 22-28
203
733
777
Jun 29-30
59
127
236
JUN
901
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
269
1,122
885
Aug 9-14
179
710
1,152
Aug 15-21
150
354
499
Aug 22-28
156
523
798
Aug 29-31
59
125
289
AUG
813
2,834
3,623
Sep 1-7
168
616
751
Sep 8-14
156
433
722
Sep 15-21
166
620
749
Sep 22-28
153
395
573
Sep 29-30
47
112
252
SEP
690
2,176
3,047
Oct 1-7
170
451
687
Oct 8-14
188
532
875
Oct 15-21
156
449
770
Oct 22-28
159
345
592 + 1,230
Oct 29-31
68
570
227
OCT
741
2,347
3,151 + 1,230
Nov 1-7
153
601
828
Nov 8-14
128
420
593
Nov 15-21
134
283
453

Violence In Iraq By Province Nov 2014
Province
Nov 1-7
Nov 8-14
Anbar
29 Incidents
290 Killed: 12 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 275 Civilians
191 Wounded: 28 ISF, 163 Civilians
14 Shootings
2 Car Bombs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
19 Incidents
107 Killed: 9 ISF, 98 Civilians
62 Wounded: 11 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 51 Civilians
9 Shootings
1 IED
1 Car Bomb
2 Suicide Car Bombs
Babil
11 Incidents
30 Killed: 5 ISF, 25 Civilians
84 Wounded: 5 ISF, 79 Civilians
3 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Car Bombs
9 Incidents
16 Killed: 7 ISF, 9 Civilians
48 Wounded: 21 ISF, 27 Civilians
1 Shooting
5 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Car Bomb
Baghdad
41 Incidents
172 Killed: 14 ISF, 158 Civilians
389 Wounded: 9 ISF, 380 Civilians
10 Shootings
22 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
4 Car Bombs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
41 Incidents
145 Killed: 12 ISF, 133 Civilians
359 Wounded: 24 ISF, 335 Civilians
9 Shootings
16 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
8 Car Bombs
4 Suicide Car Bombs
Basra
1 Incident
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
7 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
5 Wounded: 4 ISF, 1 Civilian
5 Shootings
2 IEDs
9 Incidents
18 Killed: 5 ISF, 3 Asayesh, 10 Civilians
47 Wounded: 24 ISF, 10 Asayesh, 133 Civilians
4 Shootings
1 IED
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Car Bomb
2 Suicide Car Bombs
Kirkuk
3 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
8 Wounded: 8 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
9 Incidents
31 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 30 Civilians
24 Wounded: 20 Peshmerga, 4 Civilians
7 Shootings
1 IED
1 Suicide Car Bomb
Maysan
-
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
1 Stun Bomb
Ninewa
11 Incidents
13 Killed: 2 ISF, 11 Civilians
9 Shootings
1 IED
12 Incidents
26 Killed: 4 Peshmerga, 22 Civilians
5 Shootings
Qadisiyah
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Salahaddin
49 Incidents
87 Killed: 31 ISF, 56 Civilians
136 Wounded: 75 ISF, 61 Civilians
15 Shootings
73 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
4 Suicide Car Bombs
24 Incidents
74 Killed: 35 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 38 Civilians
51 Wounded: 40 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 7 Civilians
9 Shootings
26 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
Wasit
1 Incident
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
15 Wounded: 2 ISF, 13 Civilians
-

Province
Nov 15-21
Anbar
29 Incidents
90 Killed: 37 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 51 Civilians
54 Wounded: 10 ISF, 10 Sahwa, 34 Civilians
18 Shootings
1 IED
2 Suicide Bombers
Babil
6 Incidents
8 Killed: 1 ISF, 7 Civilians
26 Wounded: 6 ISF, 20 Civilians
5 IEDs
Baghdad
42 Incidents
61 Killed: 8 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 51 Civilians
211 Wounded: 28 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 181 Civilians
9 Shootings
22 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
3 Car Bombs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
Diyala
12 Incidents
18 Killed: 12 ISF, 6 Civilians
30 Wounded: 2 ISF, 28 Civilians
6 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Irbil
1 Incident
10 Killed: 2 Police, 10 Civilians
23 Wounded: 23 Civilians
1 Suicide Car Bomb
Kirkuk
5 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Car Bomb
Ninewa
10 Incidents
22 Killed: 22 Civilians
5 Shootings
1 IED
Qadisiyah
1 Incident
1 IED
Salahaddin
27 Incidents
68 Killed: 16 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 50 Civilians
109 Wounded: 24 ISF, 9 Sahwa, 76 Civilians
12 Shootings
34 IEDs
2 Suicide Car Bombs


Not only were overall attacks down for the week, but so were the number of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). There were just twelve during the week, down from 23 during the 2nd week of November and 16 seen from November 1-7. IS has been carrying out more car bombs overall however and November 11-17 saw one of the longest waves in recent months with a total of 25 across Anbar, Babil, Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahaddin. Another wave did not start during the rest of the week, which was unusual.


Car Bomb Attacks In Iraq Nov 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Nov 1
Yusifiya, Babil
Dora & Palestine St, Baghdad
47
119
Nov 2
Yusifiya, Babil
Bayaa, Sadoun St, Sadr City, Baghdad
38
103
Nov 3
Tunis, Baghdad
36

Nov 4



Nov 5
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
4
7
Nov 6
Hit & Baghdadi, Anbar
Baiji, Salahaddin
18
26
Nov 7
Baghdadi, Anbar
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
11
30
1st Wk Totals
16
154
285
Nov 8
Southeast of Hit, Anbar
Sadr City, Amin, Amil x2 & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
42
125
Nov 9



Nov 10



Nov 11
Shaab, Baghdad
Kirkuk, Kirkuk
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
36
27
Nov 12
Yusifiya, Babil
Mansour x2 & Rasheed, Baghdad
Edheim, Diyala
26
68
Nov 13
Mamil, Baghdad
Bani Saad & Kirfri, Diyala
13
33
Nov 14
Ramadi x2, Anbar
Adhamiya & Morocco St, Baghdad
Baiji & Tikrit, Salahaddin
42
83
2nd Wk Totals
23
159
336
Nov 15
Hamamiyat, Baghdad
Taji, Salahaddin
18
54
Nov 16
Abbas Ibn Firmas Sq & Amiriya, Baghdad
2
8
Nov 17
Jubba x2, Anbar
Meshtal & Amiriya, Baghdad
14
42
Nov 18



Nov 19
Irbil, Irbil
Kirkuk, Kirkuk
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
19
37
Nov 20
Ramadi, Anbar
6
7
Nov 21



3rd Wk Totals
12
59
148

(Institute for the Study of War)
 
Heavy fighting has been going on in central and eastern Anbar since October. During that month insurgents seized several towns and an army base in the middle of the governorate in an attempt to take the entire province. The government promised a counter attack, but so far has only been carrying out small scale operations outside of the major urban centers. For example, on November 15, an adviser to the governor said that the ISF had cleared Albu Nimr and then Dolab on November 20 both outside of Hit. Pro-government forces were also moving on Barwana near Haditha, continued operations in the southeast towards Karbala, and was clearing up the area between Amiriya Fallujah and Jurf al-Sakhr in Babil in the east. During the week there were also reports of fighting inside and out of Ramadi, in Baghdadi, Amiriya Fallujah, Habaniya, and Fallujah. The government claims it is waiting for tribal forces to be trained for a new brigade before it starts a major campaign in Anbar, but that’s still weeks away. Until then the insurgents and ISF and aligned tribes will continue to battle it out. Finally, the IS carried out more executions of the Albu Nimr tribe with 36 killed on November 15 in Hit, and another 6 on November 16.

(IraqSlogger)
The recent clearing operation in Babil’s northeastern Jurf al-Sakhr has had two main impacts upon security not only there, but in the south. First, IS has relocated to the northern section of the governorate. From November 15-21 there were 6 incidents with five IEDs and a mortar attack in Mahmudiya, Iskandiriya and Yusfiya. That’s where most of the violence in the province is going to be centered from now on as IS attempts to re-coup its losses. Second, Jurf al-Sakhr was a major staging area for VBIEDs into southern Iraq. None has occurred there since the area was secured drastically improving the situation in the south, which was getting hit a couple times a month by car bombs.

Baghdad remained a major target of car bombs, and also saw a large clash in the western section of the province. During the week there were five VBIEDs. The first was on November 15 in Hamamiyat, followed by an attack upon a U.N. convoy outside of Baghdad airport the next day. Amiriya was then bombed on November 16 and 17, along with Meshtal. IS aims to stir sectarian tensions with most of these attacks. November 15 there was also a firefight in Abu Ghraib that left two soldiers dead and 17 wounded. In recent weeks there have been similar incidents with the ISF getting hit by IEDs and assaults upon checkpoints. The insurgents have been active there for quite some time and are letting their presence being known.

The government and peshmerga forces carried out several clearing campaigns in Diyala during the third week of November. On November 18 a new operation began in Sadiya in the northeast by the ISF, militias, and the Kurds. That same day the army moved into Imam Weis just to the south of Baquba. Finally from November 20-21 there was a battle for Babilan with the army and militias victorious. Right after the fall of Mosul Diyala was a major front in the battle against the insurgents, but it has faded in importance since then. There are still a good number of attacks there, but it appears that the militants might be using the governorate more as a staging area for operations in the rest of the country rather than looking to gain territory there.

Similarly the peshmerga and ISF are trying to clear out areas of Kirkuk. November 15 the Kurds said it had gone into Kharaba Rot in the Dibis district in the northwest, while the ISF took control of Fatha Bridge in Hawija in the south. November 19 Jarabrot in Dibis was also said to have been freed by the Kurds. In June IS swept into the southern section of the province as the security forces collapsed after the fall of Mosul. Violence has been going down there since then.

Kurdistan witnessed a rare attack in November. The Islamic State carried out a suicide car bombing in Irbil on November 19 killing 10 and wounding 23. It appeared that the bomber was trying to get into the governor’s compound, but after being turned back detonated the bomb at a checkpoint instead.

Mount Sinjar continues to be surrounded by the Islamic State. The peshmerga said it would break the siege, but has been making very slow progress. November 16 it claimed it had freed three areas in the region including Kilma, Saraya and Monaya. The peshmerga may be waiting for heavy weapons to arrive from the west before it does much more in the region.

(Wikipedia)
Salahaddin has been where the ISF and militias have made big strides recently. In the middle of the month the government forces and militias made their way into the Baiji district in the north and broke the siege of the Baiji refinery, which had been holding out for months. After that the ISF and militias move to secure important roads in the area in preparation for a move on Tikrit. On November 20 the ISF also began an operation in Balad in the south. The insurgents are not going without a fight. At the end of the week there were heavy clashes in Dujail, Dhuluiya, Samarra, Ishaqi, Ramailat, and Balad. That showed that militants were still active in different parts of the province despite the progress of the ISF and militias. The attacks might have also been an attempt to draw forces away from Baiji, which is important for the militants to maintain their supply lines. The fighting in Salahaddin is far from over and will remain a center of the conflict in the coming months.


SOURCES

Alsumaria, "The killing and wounding of 23 elements of the Awakening and army, including an officer in detonation north of Baghdad," 11/20/14

Associated Press, "Car bombings in Baghdad kill 14 people," 11/17/14

Iraq Times, "Armed clashes between the army and Daash west of Baghdad leave 19 martyrs and wounded," 11/15/14
- "martyrs and injured in suicide bombing north of Baghdad 47," 11/15/14

Al Mada, "Daash executed five people form the Albu Nimr tribe western Anbar and threw their bodies in the Euphrates River," 11/16/14
- "Killing and injuring ten elements of the popular brigades in clashes south of Tikrit," 11/21/14
- "Killing and injuring ten people proceeds of bombing Baghdad International Airport entrance," 11/16/14
- "Toll doubles to 37 dead and wounded in bombing north of Baghdad," 11/15/14

Al Masalah, "Martyrdom and wounding 9 of the popular brigades while repelling  Daash attack Tikrit," 11/20/14

NINA, "Clashes Erupt south of Tikrit," 11/20/14
- "The IS elements attack Balad of three axes, and the killing and wounding of 30 civilians," 11/21/14

Radio Free Iraq, "15 November 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/15/14
- "20 November 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/20/14

Radio Nawa, "Five civilians were injured by a car bomb south of Kirkuk," 11/19/14

Al Rayy, "6 elements of Daash surrender to the Army south of Tikrit," 11/20/14
- "Killing and injuring eight Daash militants south of Tikrit," 11/20/14

Shafaq News, "25 casualties by a car bomb explosion near a popular market northern Baghdad," 11/15/14
- "Baghdad Operations: A suicide bomber blows himself after being trapped in America area," 11/16/14
- "Two explosions in Baghdad, one targeted the popular crowd fighters," 11/17/14

Shafiq, Mohammed, "Sons of Khazraj tribe deter a Daash attack on one of the regions of the country south of Tikrit," Alsumaria, 11/20/14

Xinhua, "28 killed in clashes, car bombings in Iraq," 11/17/14