Daesh


Coalition Announces Shift in Focus as Iraq Campaign Progresses

Enabled by accelerated successes following the liberation of Mosul, the coalition will shift its focus in Iraq from enabling combat operations to sustaining military gains against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials announced today.

“The coalition will tailor our forces in consultation with our Iraqi partners in order to ensure the lasting defeat of [ISIS],” said CJTF-OIR director of operations, Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan Braga.

As a result of the successful operations by the coalition and its partners, ISIS has lost about 98 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. However, coalition commanders have noted ISIS is likely to transition back into an insurgency. ISIS still retains the ability to carry out lethal attacks and poses a potent threat to civilians and to the stability of the region.

“We’re clear the enemy is still capable of offensive action and retains the ability to plan and inspire attacks worldwide,” Braga said. “Although OIR’s force composition may change over time to ensure we have the best forces on hand for the task, we will retain an appropriate amount of capabilities as well as an advisory presence to continue training, advising and equipping our partners in the continued fight against [ISIS], all with the approval of the government of Iraq.

“Our enduring presence as invited guests in Iraq will shift to focus more on policing, border control and military capacity building. We will sustain the successful momentum and enhance the capacities of the Iraqi security forces in pursuing [ISIS], now and in the future,” Braga said.

Preventing ISIS’ Return

To prevent the conditions under which ISIS can re-emerge, coalition-partnered military operations will enable diplomatic and economic efforts by the international community that will capitalize on the military gains of the past year. “Military success has bought time, space and security for non-military stabilization efforts to help the people of Iraq, and we look to facilitate the return of normalcy for Iraqis,” Braga said.

Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq.

“We will redouble our efforts to develop the Iraqi security forces, ensuring they have the necessary capability and expertise to meet current and future security threats,” said British Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, OIR’s deputy commander for strategy and support. “We remain committed to working with our Iraqi partners.”

Although the coalition will not provide specifics on individual nations’ plans and contributions, it asserts 2018 will be a critical year in adjusting coalition forces as it consolidates gains against [ISIS] and brings hope for a better future to the Iraqi people.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Latest Strikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria between Jan. 19-25, conducting 60 strikes consisting of 93 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

CJTF-OIR officials reported that a significant precision strike involving exhaustive intelligence and observation to confirm ISIS concentrations and ensure no civilian casualties killed 145-150 ISIS terrorists in Iraq’s Middle Euphrates Valley Jan. 20.

In addition, officials reported details of the most recent strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Yesterday in Syria, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of 12 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS supply routes, four fighting positions, a front-end loader, a road grader and an ISIS line of communication.

On Jan. 24, coalition military forces conducted 11 strikes consisting of 15 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged six ISIS tactical units and destroyed a front-end loader, two ISIS supply routes, four fighting positions and an ISIS line of communication.

On Jan. 23, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of 10 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed three pieces of ISIS construction equipment, three fighting positions and two ISIS supply routes.

On Jan. 22, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of seven engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS supply routes, a command-and-control center and an ISIS-held building.

On Jan. 21, coalition military forces conducted 10 strikes consisting of 13 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units and destroyed a staging facility, two ISIS supply routes, a munitions storage site, an ISIS-held building, an ammunition truck and a fighting position.

On Jan. 20, coalition military forces conducted 12 strikes consisting of 19 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged 12 ISIS tactical units and destroyed two fighting positions, a staging facility, a vehicle-borne bomb, three weapons caches, two ISIS headquarters, an ISIS motorcycle, an ISIS construction vehicle and an ISIS-held building.

On Jan. 19, coalition military forces conducted seven strikes consisting of 13 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes destroyed two ISIS supply routes, three ISIS equipment vehicles, six fighting positions, two ISIS vehicles and a command-and-control center.

Strikes in Iraq

There were no reported strikes in Iraq Jan. 23-25.

On Jan. 22, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets near Qara Tapa. The strike destroyed an ISIS weapons cache.

On Jan. 21, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Hawija, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position and an ISIS command-and-control center.

— Near Rutbah, a strike destroyed two ISIS tactical vehicles.

On Jan. 20, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets near Qayyarah. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on Jan. 19.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Anbar eyes Political Battle as Displaced Return

By Shelly Kittleson for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Two months after government forces retook Iraq’s last major city from the Islamic State (IS), the country is preparing for parliamentary elections slated for May.

Anbar, its largest and westernmost region, is where IS took control of its first Iraqi city in January 2014. Fighters from the international terrorist group are reportedly still hiding in parts of its vast desert.

How the shift from fighting a terrorist group with roots in the area to competition at the political level plays out will affect the years to come.

Provincial Gov. Mohamed al-Halbusi, who took office in the fall, told Al-Monitor that voter turnout had been very low in the province for many years due to the fear of insurgents but that he expected this to change in the upcoming elections.

Local officials, security forces and a tribal leader echoed that sentiment to Al-Monitor over a number of days in the province in early January. “About 85%” of the province’s inhabitants are home, Halbusi said, and “I think about 60% of them will vote.”

However, with many of the displaced still not back in their homes, some have called for the elections to be postponed.

Recent reports of forced returns from internally displaced person (IDP) camps scattered around the Sunni-dominant Anbar region and elsewhere in the country have also raised concern.

In an interview in Ramadi, provincial police chief Gen. Hadi Rizej Kessar told Al-Monitor, “We decided to close all IDP camps and send families back to their homes because the security is now good. But if we have some families that remain in the camps, we can arrange for them to vote inside the camps.”

Coalition Aims to Defeat ISIS’ Brand

The physical caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is in pieces and operations against ISIS [Islamic State group, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh] continue in the Euphrates River valley, but the ISIS “brand” remains to be defeated, Pentagon officials said on Thursday.

Remnants of the terror group continue to operate in Iraq, but improved Iraqi security forces are able to manage that threat, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. told reporters during the weekly Pentagon briefing. McKenzie is the director of the Joint Staff.

And, McKenzie denied Russian claims that the United States was responsible for drone attacks on Russian airfields in Syria. “I can tell you unequivocally that the United States was not involved in any way with the drone attack on the Russian base at any time,” he said.

ISIS ‘Broken, Fractured’

“[The physical caliphate] has been broken and fractured, but the work still continues,” White said. “We are going to continue our operations because we ultimately have to ensure we have conditions on the ground that ISIS can never re-emerge.”

McKenzie said trends against the remnants of the physical caliphate in the Middle Euphrates River valley are good. “We seem to be having success there with our allies and partners, but … I wouldn’t put a timeline on that,” he said. “There is also an enduring global element to it — the enfranchisement of ISIS. Even though they failed as a caliphate, there are global manifestations of their brand that we see pop-up. I think there is plenty for the global coalition to do in the year ahead, aside from the physical end of the caliphate in the Euphrates River valley.

Pentagon Details Progress in Defeating ISIS

Coalition and partnered forces are building upon progress in Iraq and Syria to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the director of press operations at the Pentagon told reporters here today.

Recent developments include Iraqi forces securing more than 20 improvised explosive devices and bombmaking materials in Baghdad, Army Col. Rob Manning said.

Iraqi forces cleared 20 IEDs in operations near Bashika in Ninewah province. Security operations continue in and around Tal Afar, Manning said.

In Hawijah, Iraqi forces cleared more than 11 square miles and 32 villages. Iraqi forces also killed eight ISIS terrorists and destroyed 10 ISIS fighting positions and six tunnels, he added.

Additionally, Manning noted, Iraqi forces conducted security operations and seized explosive caches with more than 45 IEDs and five suicide vests near Qaim in Anbar Province.

“The [Iraqis] conducted a large controlled detonation containing confiscated IEDs, mortar rounds, [rocket-propelled grenades] and other illegal explosives,” he said.

Coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets Jan. 7, Manning said.

Progress in Syria

Coalition precision strikes in Syria killed 11 ISIS terrorists, as the Syrian Democratic Forces continued clearance operations along the eastern Euphrates River, Manning said. The SDF advanced about a half mile in the wake of heavy ISIS resistance, he reported.

Manning said coalition military forces conducted nine strikes on Jan. 7 in Syria, consisting of 14 engagements against ISIS targets.

“Near Abu Kamal, nine strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS headquarters, a command-and-control center, three logistical centers, a fighting position, two [vehicle-borne bombs] and two ISIS vehicles,” Manning said.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria between Dec. 29, 2017, and yesterday, conducting 58 strikes consisting of 84 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported on Friday.

Officials reported details of the most recent strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

On Jan. 4, near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of five engagements against ISIS target, destroying an ISIS supply route, a fighting position and a vehicle-borne bomb.

On Jan. 3, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 12 engagements against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS lines of communication, a heavy weapon, four fighting positions, an ISIS vehicle, a logistics center and an ISIS supply route.

On Jan. 2, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 10 engagements against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS supply route, an indirect fire weapon, two fighting positions, two heavy machine guns, two unmanned aerial vehicles and an ISIS line of communication.

On Jan. 1, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS command-and-control center, two fighting positions, an ISIS vehicle, two heavy machine guns and three ISIS tunnel entrances.

On Dec. 31, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted eight strikes consisting of eight engagements against ISIS targets, destroying a heavy weapon, an ISIS headquarters, eight ISIS supply routes, a fighting position and two ISIS-held buildings.

On Dec. 30, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted 10 strikes consisting of 17 engagements against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS command-and-control centers, a fighting position, an ISIS headquarters and two ISIS vehicles.

On Dec. 29 near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted 10 strikes consisting of 15 engagements against ISIS targets, destroying nine ISIS fighting positions and two logistics centers.

Strikes in Iraq

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq Jan. 1-4.

On Dec. 31, near Beiji, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of four engagements against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS fighting position.

On Dec. 30, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of seven engagements against ISIS targets:

  • Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS tunnel system.
  • Near Mosul, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed five ISIS fighting positions, two tunnel entrances and a weapons cache.

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq Dec. 29, 2017.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Is Islamic State back in Kirkuk?

By Mahmut Bozarslan for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In the last week of December, an armed group ambushed a convoy on the Kirkuk-Hawija road in Iraq, killing seven people. Iraqi security forces couldn’t track the attackers. The identities of those killed were determined quickly: They were Col. Fazil Sebawi of the Iraqi police, his son and five bodyguards.

Shortly afterward, reports of another attack came from south of Kirkuk. Walid Nuri, the leader of the Jiheshad tribe and commander of Hashd al-Ashayer forces southwest of Kirkuk, his wife and son were killed.

Nobody could explain the attacks. After ousting Kurdish forces from Kirkuk, the Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) had imposed total control over the area and ensured its security. However, the Islamic State (IS) soon claimed responsibility for both attacks.

After seizing Mosul in 2014, IS had turned toward Kirkuk but was repelled by Kurdish forces controlling the town. Yet, possibly because of the region’s oil wealth, IS never gave up on Kirkuk. Although the extremist group couldn’t control the city center, its influence over the province’s southern regions never waned.

Although IS was not active after it left Kirkuk, it resurfaced after the Iraqi army took control of the region. Iraqi forces went after the IS militants, killing 10 of them in two attacks. Six militants were killed, three in Sadiye and three in Beshir villages. Military commander of Kirkuk army operations announced the six killed were the attackers who had staged the two attacks.

But how did IS resurface even after the region came under the total control of the Iraqi army and the PMU? Security sources in the region, who asked not to be identified, said IS has resumed operations south of Kirkuk. They said sleeper cells of the group have been reactivated and are preparing for new operations.

Coalition Trains, Equips Iraqi Border Guard Force

The first group of Iraqi Border Guard Force members graduated today from a 12-day program conducted by members of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

The coalition works by, with and through its Iraqi partners to ensure the lasting defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and prevent its ability to transit borders, officials said.

Border Guard Training Program

The coalition-enabled training is the first part of an ongoing program to train and equip Iraqi border guards, who will secure Iraq’s borders using new, rapidly deployable, self-contained border guard equipment sets, according to officials.

Enhanced border guard capabilities will improve national security and international commerce and travel, officials said.

“Coalition trainers at Besmayah Training Complex are instructing border guard units in the employment of this new system, which is scheduled for distribution along Iraq’s western border during the coming year,” said Army Col. Brian Ellis, CJTF-OIR director of partner force development. “The training focuses not only on operation of the equipment but also on the tenets of community policing, ethical conduct, human rights, first aid, self-defense and explosive hazard awareness.”

Specialized Equipment

Standardized shipping containers are pre-packaged for efficient transport and setup, and contain essential equipment for border enforcement and security, including two vehicles, defensive barriers, night vision equipment, radios, metal detectors, first aid, checkpoint supplies, a tent and a generator, officials said.

The self-contained border guard equipment program represents a multinational effort, with the U.S. allocating more than $300 million to Iraq’s border security efforts, and with members of Spanish Guardia Civil, or Civil Guard, leading the training, according to officials.

Many other coalition forces will be involved in the delivery of the training and rollout of the program throughout the year, officials said. The Iraqi Border Guard Force will control cross-border movement and prevent the passage of terrorists across borders.

Following the liberation of ISIS-occupied areas in Iraq, the coalition is working with Iraqi security forces “to ensure remnants of the terrorist group cannot resurface or enjoy freedom of movement,” Ellis said.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Coalition Trains, Equips Iraqi Border Guard Force

The first group of Iraqi Border Guard Force members graduated today from a 12-day program conducted by members of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

The coalition works by, with and through its Iraqi partners to ensure the lasting defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and prevent its ability to transit borders, officials said.

Border Guard Training Program

The coalition-enabled training is the first part of an ongoing program to train and equip Iraqi border guards, who will secure Iraq’s borders using new, rapidly deployable, self-contained border guard equipment sets, according to officials.

Enhanced border guard capabilities will improve national security and international commerce and travel, officials said.

“Coalition trainers at Besmayah Training Complex are instructing border guard units in the employment of this new system, which is scheduled for distribution along Iraq’s western border during the coming year,” said Army Col. Brian Ellis, CJTF-OIR director of partner force development. “The training focuses not only on operation of the equipment but also on the tenets of community policing, ethical conduct, human rights, first aid, self-defense and explosive hazard awareness.”

Specialized Equipment

Standardized shipping containers are pre-packaged for efficient transport and setup, and contain essential equipment for border enforcement and security, including two vehicles, defensive barriers, night vision equipment, radios, metal detectors, first aid, checkpoint supplies, a tent and a generator, officials said.

The self-contained border guard equipment program represents a multinational effort, with the U.S. allocating more than $300 million to Iraq’s border security efforts, and with members of Spanish Guardia Civil, or Civil Guard, leading the training, according to officials.

Many other coalition forces will be involved in the delivery of the training and rollout of the program throughout the year, officials said. The Iraqi Border Guard Force will control cross-border movement and prevent the passage of terrorists across borders.

Following the liberation of ISIS-occupied areas in Iraq, the coalition is working with Iraqi security forces “to ensure remnants of the terrorist group cannot resurface or enjoy freedom of movement,” Ellis said.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria between Dec. 18 and yesterday, conducting 11 strikes consisting of 21 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the most recent strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Yesterday near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted a strike engaging an ISIS tactical unit and destroying an ISIS vehicle and an ISIS staging area.

On Dec. 20 near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of 13 engagements against an ISIS tactical unit, destroying two ISIS indirect-fire weapons, two explosive hazards, two maneuver elements and an ISIS headquarters command-and-control center.

On Dec. 19 near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of three engagements against an ISIS tactical unit, damaging an ISIS supply route and a command-and-control center.

On Dec. 18 near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of two engagements against an ISIS tactical unit, destroying a heavy weapon.

Strikes in Iraq

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on Dec. 21, 2017.

On Dec. 19 near Qaim in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike that destroyed an ISIS tunnel.

On Dec. 18 near Baaj in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against an ISIS tactical unit.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)