Friday, May 25, 2018

Review Ballard, John, from storm to Freedom, America’s Long War with Iraq

Review Ballard, John, from storm to Freedom, America’s Long War with Iraq, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010

from storm to Freedom, America’s Long War with Iraq by John Ballard attempts to take the long view of the conflict between the United States and Iraq starting with the Gulf War through the sanctions to the 2003 invasion and Iraq War. This seems a natural history as the Gulf War was when Washington first came into conflict with Baghdad, and Saddam Hussein remaining in power afterward set the stage for the following decades. The main drawback is that Ballard is a military historian so the big political issues such as whether the 2003 war was justified and its impact are never adequately dealt with.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 25

1940 Iraq For Min Said said England and France should grant Syria and
            Palestine Independence to counter Axis propaganda
1941 Hitler Order 30 Germany would support Arabs against British especially in Iraq
1948 Iraqi forces took Geulim and reached Kfar Yona and Ein Vered 1st Arab-
Israeli War
1983 7,000 Turkish troops moved 18 mi into Kurdistan to attack PKK bases Iraq and
            Turkey had agreement to allow cross border ops vs Kurds
1988 Iraq using chemical weapons pushed Iran out of Shalmache bridgehead in
1999 Clinton Natl Sec Adv Berger met with 7 Iraqi opposition parties receiving US
            funds Told them president wanted Saddam removed by end of his term
2003 5,000 Iraqis protested outside Green Zone demanding a new govt security
            salaries for soldiers
2003 CPA order 5 created DeBaathification Council Would be run by Ahmed Chalabi
2003 Inspection team examined 2 captured trailers Immediately found they were not
            mobile WMD labs as originally thought
2003 Kirkuk council elected 6 members then arrested by US for alleged Baathist
2007 Ret Gen Keane told VP Cheney Surge needed to be sustained until 2008
2008 Report insurgents fled to Tikrit and Ramadi during Mother of Two Springs
            operation in Mosul
2008 Mayor of Mosul escaped 4th bombing attempt on his life in 10 days
2008 USAmb Crocker said ISI had been severely disrupted in Iraq
2008 US and ISF conduct weapons searches in Sadr City Arrested 200 Mahdi Army
            militiamen in Amil and Baya
2008 Report Sadrists paid $300 for anyone that attacked British forces in Basra Money
            came from Iran
2009 Maliki accepted resignation of Trade Min Sudani charged with corruption
2011 Iraq ranked 2nd to last in Global Peace Index
2011 Dep PM Shahristani said Iraq could not defend itself after US withdrawal at
            end of year
2012 Dawa held march in Baghdad to support Maliki during no confidence drive
            against him
2012 Baghdad said that all Kurdish oil deals with Turkey had to be approved by the
            central govt
2013 Mutahidun accused Maliki of backing militias with government money
2014 Anbar Operations Command claimed 90% of Ramadi freed ISIS still occupied
            major parts of city
2014 Anbar Operations Command said 40 attempts to take Fallujah from Jan-May
            2014 and all failed
2014 Sadrists threatened to go into opposition if Maliki got 3rd term as PM

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Iraq’s Election Fraud Controversy

After every election in Iraq parties claim there was cheating. Some of this is due to actual fraud that took place, but others are simply upset with their poor showing. This year seems more serious as a variety of parties are threatening lawsuits, boycotts and demonstrations, along with the prime minister and United Nations asking the Election Commission to take these charges seriously.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 24

1922 Cleric Khalisi informed southern tribes British were trying to get their
            way in new Anglo-Iraq Treaty
1941 Mufti of Jerusalem told Italians Arab revolt hinged on Iraq and it needed more
1980 Iraq backed failed coup vs Khomeini in Iran
1982 Iran’s Op Beit al-Moqaddas ended with Iraqi forces pushed back to Iran-Iraq
border in Khuzistan province 12,000-15,000 Iraqis captured Iran regained 2077 sq mi of Iranian land
1982 Israeli press reported US sent arms to Egypt which were then sold to Iraq
1990 US National Security Council deputies meeting told that US still sharing
            intelligence with Iraq
1999 Sec State Albright met with 7 Iraqi opposition groups receiving US funds Said US
            would provide them nonlethal aid
2002 Rumsfeld issued order to Joint Chiefs to begin Phase Four postwar planning
            for Iraq
2004 Bush said US would stay the course in Iraq and move towards returning
            sovereignty and creating democracy in Iraq
2005 SCIRI’s Hammoudi named head of constitutional drafting committee
2006 Joint Chiefs intel report said insurgency enduring despite political progress and
            growth of ISF
2006 Report police and army full of militias insurgents and criminals carrying out
            abuses and sectarian violence
2006 Report US officials and military apologized for former Inter Min Jabr from ISCI
            and Badr saying they weren’t responsible for police abuses
2006 Maliki said he wanted to reign in militias and demobilize them Went to Najaf to
            try to get Ayatollah Sistani to make statements against militias
2006 Iraqi Army’s 16th Brigade in charge of Dora south Baghdad ran death squads and
            assassinations in conjunction with insurgents Killed its own commander
2007 Sheikh Issawi assassinated and funeral hit by suicide bomber in Anbar
leading to parts of his tribe to join fight against ISI in Fallujah
2009 Hashemi resigned as head of Islamic Party
2011 Anbar councilman blamed Syria for allowing insurgents to cross its
            border into Iraq
2011 Trade Min Sudani accused of wasting $245 mil while in office
2011 Report US forces coming under increased attacks as withdrawal date at end of
            year approached
2011 US Def Sec Gates went to Iraq to lobby for US troop presence past end of year
2012 KRG PM Barzani said that if Baghdad cut off fuel deliveries KRG would
            export oil independently
2012 Sadr asked National Alliance to replace Maliki
2013 Integrity Comm said it was opening investigation into buying fake bomb
            detectors Went nowhere
2013 Clash at Ramadi protest site between those for and against turning Anbar
            into federal region
2013 Imam at Mosul protest site argued for making Ninewa federal region
2013 Sadrist killed fighting in Syria had funeral attended by movement members    
            showing Sadr’s participation in Syria war
2015 Iranian Ground Forces commander said Iranian military moved 40km into
            Diyala to protect border from IS
2015 KRG claimed it met its oil export quota set in 2015 budget and therefore
            should receive it full monthly payment from Baghdad
2015 US Def Sec Carter questioned Iraqis’ will to fight after Ramadi fell to IS
2017 Interior Min announced investigation into abuses by Iraqi forces during Mosul
            campaign in response to Der Spiegel article Nothing came of it

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Security In Iraq, May 15-21, 2018

The third week of May saw another record low in violence. There were only 38 incidents reported, which surpassed the previous low of 40 in the first week of April. Unfortunately, that dip did not mean a decrease in casualties. After a super violent March, it appears that the Islamic State is back to regrouping.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 23

1941 German planes attacked British forces in Fallujah Iraqi artillery shelled
1941 UK Mid-East cmdr Gen Wavell and Indian cmdr Gen Auchinlek met in Basra
            Decided to send forces to Baghdad and more to be sent from India to Iraq
1969 Pres Bakr offered self-determination to Kurds
1982 Iraq invoked Arab League 1950 defense agreement to get military aid from
            members Got nothing League divided over war
1988 Iraq launched offensive to re-capture all of its lost territory from Iran
1988 Towns in Balisan Valley, Sulamaniya hit by chemical weapons in 5th Anfal
(Musings On Iraq article on Anfal campaign)
1991 For third time Kurds attacked police station in Zakho
2002 During trip to Germany Bush said he had no Iraq war plans
2003 Bush said he supported Bremer’s political plan for Iraq
2003 CPA Order 2 disbanded Iraqi military
2003 Congress asked CIA to look into its pre-war intel on WMD after none found
2004 Sadr’s brother in law Riyadh Nouri arrested
2005 Sunni MPs accused Badr Brigade of carrying out sectarian killings
2007 Dep PM Zubaie wounded by suicide bomber
2008 Clerics denied Sistani issued fatwa allowing attacks on U.S. forces
2010 ISF blamed U.S. releasing prisoners for increase in violence In 2008 Maliki had
            negotiated quicker release of prisoners by US
2011 Adviser to Diyala governor arrested by Maliki to intimidate province to not
            move towards federal region
2012 Iraq hosted nuclear talks between Iran and six countries
2013 Al Qaeda’s Zawahiri said that Baghdadi was wrong for declaring ISIS without
            asking permission first
2013 Mutahidun accused Maliki of supporting militias and targeting civilians
2013 Sheikh Hayes said Ramadi protesters had 2 days to turn over those who killed
            5 soldiers
2013 State of Law offered SIIC control of 3 southern provinces in return for control of
            Basra SIIC turned down offer
2014 Babil Operations Command claimed Jurf al-Sakhr freed from IS Would not be
            liberated until Oct 2014
2014 Gorran accused PUK of cheating in Sulaymaniya vote
2014 KRG said it sold 1st tanker of independent oil exports Oil Ministry filed legal
            papers over sale
2015 Report Iranians operating rockets, artillery and drones in Baiji operation
2016 Final campaign to liberate Fallujah started Five weeks later city would be freed
2017 Der Spiegel article on abuse and torture by Rapid Reaction Division unit during
Mosul campaign Unit denied story released video of its victims denying that they had been abused Attacked author
2017 Joint Operations Command claimed Der Spiegal story of abuse during Mosul
campaign made up and if any torture had taken place magazine was partly responsible
2017 Hashd freed Qairawan subdistrict of Sinjar Ninewa

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sadr-Communist Alliance And Iraq’s 2018 Elections Interview With Benedict Robin

The results of the 2018 parliamentary elections in Iraq were a shock to many. Seemingly out of nowhere the Sairoon list made of the Sadrists and the Iraqi Communist Party won the most seats. To have an Islamist religious figure align with a secular leftist was another twist. The two actually aligned several years beforehand during the annual protests that hit the country. To help explain Sairoon and its victory is University of Edinburgh PhD student Benedict Robin. He can be followed on Twitter @Benrobinz.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 22

1919 Sheikh Mohmoud Barzanji started rebellion against British in
1941 Iraq attempt to recapture Fallujah failed
(Musings On Iraq article on 1941 Battle of Fallujah)
1941 Regent of Iraq along with Nuri al-Said arrived at British base at Habaniya, Anbar
            Said sent letter to Iraqi commander in Ramadi who agreed to switch sides
1948 Iraqi army defeated in Battle of Gesher and retreated to West Bank in 1st Arab-
            Israeli War
1975 PUK formed when Maosit Komala led by Nirshurwan Mustafa social
            democratic Bezutnawa led by Ali Askari and KDP’s Talabani joined
1979 Start of 9 days of protests in Iraq led by Dawa
1982 Iran broke through Iraqi defenses around Khorramshahr Took 22,000 Iraqi
1984 Reagan briefed on study that said there should be a military embargo on both
            Iran and Iraq Reagan agreed to policy
1986 US Amb to Iraq asked Eximbank to open up new lines of credit to Iraq to help
            it through Iran-Iraq War
2003 UN Res 1483 made US and England occupying powers of Iraq and ended
sanctions on Iraq Also created Development Fund for Iraq to help pay for rebuilding using oil revenue
2003 Bremer told Bush Iraq needed new constitution then elections then sovereignty
2003 CPA and official from Sec Def Rumsfeld’s office drafted CPA Order 2 to
            disband Iraq’s military
2003 Bremer told Bush about CPA’s plan to disband Iraqi military
2003 Story CIA started internal review of its pre-war Iraq intelligence
2004 Neocon supporters of INC’s Chalabi told NatlSecAdv Rice that US needed to
stop harassing him Came after US forces raided Chalabi’s house claiming he had passed intel to Iran
2004 INC met with Nat Sec Adv Rice complaining US had abandoned Chalabi
2005 Joint US-Iraqi operation started to clear Abu Ghraib in west Baghdad
2005 Sadr sent delegation to meet Sunni clerics in an attempt to stop sectarian violence
2006 Bush said Iraq at a turning point and heading in right direction towards democracy
            Said Maliki govt turning point for Middle East
2006 Report US failure to adequately plan for Iraqi police led to militia and criminal
            take over 2004 US military took over police training and still inadequate
2006 Report audit found 5,000 Iraqi police had criminal records including taking part
            in insurgency
2006 Report pre-war Bush admin thought Iraqi police not an issue and rejected Justice
            Dept plan to use 1000s of police advisers
2006 US initially hoped Basra police would be early success because back on duty in 03
            and no insurgency but quickly taken over by gangs political parties militias
2006 Politicians appointed police chiefs in Basra who hired friends relatives tribesmen
            Came to be dominated by Badr and Mahdi Army
2006 Report Basra police carrying out sectarian violence and enforcing religious rules
            of militias Demanding kickbacks to join force Helping smugglers
2006 Summer 05 Basra police chief Gen Sawadi said he didn’t trust his own force and
            couldn’t control them
2006 Report Inter Min tried to reform Basra police but failed Started with Internal
            Affairs which turned into crime ring Trials failed against corrupt officers
2006 Mar 04 Gen Eaton put in charge of US military training program for Iraqi police
            Budget cut 20% Said showed not priority in Washington
2006 Gen Petraeus took over US military training program for Iraqi police in summer
            05 and claimed carried out meaningful reforms
2006 Gen Petraeus also militarized Iraqi police with combat training and military
2006 Report British Gen Mackay warned that unless Coalition regulated Iraqi police
            commandos would become personal army for Interior Minister
2006 Report Fmr Inter Min Nakib warned Rumsfeld in April 05 that Shiite parties
            were going to take over police commandos with their militias
2006 Report 2005 when ISCI Jabr made Interior Min had Badr take over police and
2006 Report US military played down sectarian killings and abuses by Iraqi police
2006 Report Inter Min Jabr denied any abuses by police and blamed other ministries
2006 Report corruption endemic in Iraq Transportation Min bought planes 2 for $3 mil
            each that should have been less than $1 mil
2006 Defense Min made $1 bil in questionable arms purchases Interior Min had at least
            1100 ghost employes costing $1.3 mil a month
2006 Report of 3000 corruption cases only 780 went to court only few dozen got
2006 Of 40 corruption cases against high ranking Iraqi officials only 1 got verdict for
            Interior Ministry official
2011 Red Cross interviewed people tortured by ISF at Camp Honor in Baghdad
2013 Pres Barzani attacked PYD for arresting KDP affiliated group in Syria
2014 KRG provincial election results released Gorran won most seats in Sulaymaniya
2014 Oil Ministry warned potential buyers not to buy 1st shipment of independent KRG
2014 Mutahidun and Sadrists rejected 3rd term for Maliki
2015 Joint Chiefs Head Gen Dempsey said would take 3 years or more to defeat IS
2016 Abadi announced start of attack upon Fallujah

View the Iraq History Timelines 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Breakdown Of The Iraq Election Results

Analyzing the returns from Iraq’s May 2018 parliamentary elections shows some interesting trends. First, the most well organized parties did the best. Some lists were focused upon the wrong themes, and there was widespread charges of fraud.

This Day In Iraqi History - May 21

1847 Treaty of Arzurum tried to set border between Ottoman Empire and Persia
            Gave Sulaymaniya to Ottomans Shatt al-Arab to Persia
1847 Treaty of Arzurum set up commission to demarcate border between Ottomans and
            Persia but never finished
1919 UK PM George abrogated Long-Berenger UK-French oil deal due to disagreement
with France over Iraq-Syrian border George wanted Iraq to extend to Mediterranean
1928 British official said Iraqi provincial administrators picked who would be elected to
1941 Iraqis launched counterattack attempting to retake Fallujah from British Entered
1941 German planes bombed UK air base at Habaniya for a second day
1970 Pres Bakr issued Agrarian Reform Law to increase living conditions
            for peasants and increase farm production
1974 UN Sec Gen said Iran and Iraq agreed to withdraw forces and open talks over
            border disputes
1987 2nd phase of campaign to destroy Kurdish villages started
1991 Kuwait asked for half of Iraq’s oil earnings as reparation for invasion
1999 UN Res 1242 renewed Oil For Food Program for 6th months
2002 Gen Franks lied to press saying he had no Iraq war plans and had not been
            asked to make any
2003 Dep Sec Def Wolfowitz ordered army to help CPA with staff and
            contracting because CPA undermanned
2003 Report CIA believed 3 trailers found in Iraq were mobile WMD labs Sec of
            State Powell talked about in UN speech
2003 Report that US showed picture of trailers to Iraqi in Germany known as
            CURVEBALL who confirmed they were WMD labs
2004 CPA set up group to integrate militias into ISF never happened
2006 Report Iran thought to have trained 40,000 militia in Iraq
2006 Report US failed to adequately plan to rebuild Iraqi police After invasion
            went through 3 failed plans By 2004 only sent 500 police advisers for all of Iraq
2008 CENTCOM commander Gen Dempsey said ISI at its weakest point in Iraq
2008 US commander for northern Iraq said attacks in Mosul down 85% after
            Mother of Two Springs op there
2008 Pres Talabani said Iraq would be able to handle its own security without help
            of US after 2008
2010 Reports that both Iran and US supported 2nd term for Maliki
2012 KRG announced energy deals with Turkey Baghdad warned KRG it could not sign
            independent oil deals with Turkey
2012 Oil Min Shahristani ordered ministry to stop petrol deliveries to KRG Would
            later deny he gave order
2013 Sheikh Hayes threatened to tear down protest tents in Ramadi if didn’t disperse
            after attacks on ISF and kidnappings
2013 KRG said it wanted to build a second independent oil pipeline to Turkey
2015 Asaib Ahl Al-Haq blamed US and Abadi for fall of Ramadi Claimed US had
            kept Hashd out

View the Iraq History Timelines