ISHM: April 14 - 20, 2017

Report
from Education for Peace in Iraq Center
Published on 20 Apr 2017 View Original

Key Takeaways:

  • ISIS Grows More Brutal Against Civilians Trapped in Mosul; Flooding Slows IDPs Struggling to Flee the City – Flooding along the Tigris River temporarily slowed the outflow of IDPs from western Mosul earlier this week. According to UN estimates, as many as 500,000 IDPs remain trapped in that half of the city, approximately 200,000 of which are children. Critical shortages of food, water, and medical care, coupled with the ISIS tactic of using innocent civilians as human shields, is making the likelihood of a sharp increase in casualties more and more likely. Speaking to the number of children in harm’s way, Derek Coleman, an American volunteer with Global Response Management who has been in Mosul treating trauma victims, said “When we started…we had one little box labeled ‘pediatric.’ But when we entered Mosul, [it] ran out almost immediately.” The World Health Organization cites the need for primary health services in newly accessible areas of western Mosul and in newly established displacement camps as a top priority. (For more on healthcare in Mosul, read EPIC’s recent trip report.) more…

  • Prime Minister Abadi Visits Mosul; Federal Police Progress Cautiously into Old City and ISIS May Have Used Chemical Weapons Again – On April 19, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited western Mosul to receive on-the-ground briefings on the progress of ISF efforts to clear ISIS from the city. The same day, Majid al-Gharawi, a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Committee on Security and Defense criticized the use of Federal Police in clearing operations, suggesting they do not have experience in military operations. Earlier in the week, the Federal Police reportedly took control of southern portions of fortified tunnels in the Old City of western Mosul, where fighting is at its most intense. The tunnel networks have been used by ISIS to move militants and munitions. On April 15, ISIS militants allegedly used mortar shells packed with toxic chemicals to target Iraqi Security Forces and U.S. advisors. U.S. Major General Joseph Martin said that the U.S. is testing the residue from those weapons, and acknowledged that their use did not result in any casualties at the time. more…

  • ISIS Continues to Execute Innocent Civilians in Hawija – ISIS militants in Hawija publicly executed 17 civilians charged with “facilitating the escape of civilians” from the ISIS-controlled city in Kirkuk Province. Iraqi and U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted ISIS convoys nearby, killing at least eight members of ISIS leadership. (For more on Hawija’s needs and neglect, read EPIC’s analysis.) more…

  • Diyala, Salah ad-Din Security Remains Tenuous – Uday Khaddran, Mayor of Khalis (15 kilometers north of Baquba in Diyala Province), reported that over the past few weeks, over 50 ISIS militants have fled into the Mutibija area on the boarder of Diyala and Salah ad-Din from Hawija in neighboring Kirkuk Province. Khaddran and other local officials have been calling for greater security assistance from the Iraqi government for fear that the area will become a permanent haven for ISIS militants. Nearby schools and markets have closed out of security concerns after a security patrol was attacked on April 20. more…

  • VP Allawi Speculates ISIS and al-Qaeda Reunite; New Iranian Ambassador Arrives in Baghdad; U.S. Recommits to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga – On April 17, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi suggested a growing relationship between ISIS and al-Qaeda, a result of international coalition forces closing in on the last “caliphate” strongholds. On April 19, Iran’s new ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masiedi, arrived in Baghdad, and announced that Iran is prepared to help Iraq in its quest for stability and peace. Masjedi is a former Brigadier General with Iran’s Quds Force. On the same day, Secretary-General of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Ministry of Peshmerga Jabbar Yawar, revealed in a news conference that the U.S. has approved a US$ 295.6 million sale of equipment to the Peshmerga, part of a strategic agreement of security cooperation begun during the Obama Administration. more…

  • Update on Captured Yazidis, Christian Minorities – On the occasion of the Yazidi New Year on April 19-20, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jan Kubis, reiterated calls for the release of all Yazidis held in ISIS captivity. The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Directorate of Yazidi Affairs reports that 3,454 Iraqi Yazidis are still held in ISIS captivity. Separately, on April 17, The New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi described a sparsely attended Easter service she attended in Qaraqosh, a predominantly Assyrian city 32 kilometers southeast of Mosul. Although the city was cleared of ISIS militants five months ago, most civilians have not returned citing a lack of public services, and fears of insecurity. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the country was home to approximately 1.5 million Christians; however, only an estimated 400,000 remain today. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.