ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING

ISHM: June 24 – 30, 2016

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Key Takeaways:

  • Since military operations to clear Fallujah of ISIS militants began on May 23, more than 85,000 residents have been displaced from the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, according to the UNHCR. Humanitarian conditions in the six vastly overcrowded camps near the city are dire, with many still lacking shelter and adequate clean water as temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, there are ongoing concerns about the treatment of some 7,000 or more men and teenage boys who remain in custody by Iraqi Security Forces awaiting further security screenings to determine which among them may be ISIS sympathizers. According to Agence France-Presse, of the 20,000 men and teenage boys initially detained, approximately 1,600 have been arrested under anti-terrorism legislation. With confirmed reports of serious abuses and hundreds of detainees missing, particularly among those held by Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), the treatment of those who remain in custody is an ongoing concern.
  • Iraqi Security Forces, assisted by U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes have continued operations to clear pockets of ISIS resistance that remain in and near Fallujah, especially in areas south of the city. On June 29, a U.S. airstrike targeted ISIS convoys on their way to al-Amiriyah Fallujah, 22 kilometers south of the city. The airstrike successfully killed an estimated 250 ISIS militants and destroyed 50 vehicles.
  • The Governor of Anbar Province, Suhaib al-Rawi, was voted out of office by the Anbar Provincial Council for “administrative and legal violations.” Calling the Council “incompetent,” he has vowed to appeal the vote to the Supreme Court.
  • On June 28, the Iraqi Supreme Court ruled that Parliamentary sessions on April 14 and April 26 were unconstitutional because a quorum was not present. As a result, votes that would have removed Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri from office as well as votes to confirm Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s appointments to the Council of Ministers are null and void. Al-Jubouri announced later in the week that Parliament will recommence its legislative term on July 1 and that its first session will take place on July 12.
  • Iraqi Security Forces are preparing to clear Mosul of ISIS militants through continued combat operations south and southeast of the city. Assisted by U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes, ISF are concentrating efforts to secure the road connecting Mosul and Baghdad.
  • Few preparations are being made to accommodate the estimated 600,000 people who will be displaced during the impending military campaign to clear ISIS militants from Mosul. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, the humanitarian complex is “not prepared” for the displacements that will inevitably occur. Debaga and Gawarma Camps, two of the largest in Iraq and in relatively close proximity to Mosul are already far past capacity. The Iraqi government has granted the UNHCR permission to construct Debaga 2 Camp, which will house 6,000 people or 12,000 in an emergency.
  • Iraqi Security Forces continued to clash with ISIS militants west of Ramadi in Anbar Province. U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted ISIS transports and convoys in the area as part of a “widespread mission” to clear ISIS from Anbar north and west of Ramadi, according to ISF command.
  • Following Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s dismissal or transfer of several ministerial inspectors last week for allegations of incompetence or complicity, calls criticizing the Prime Minister’s actions have largely subsided. Speaking for Parliament’s largest political bloc, the State of Law Coalition, Member of Parliament Walid al-Hilli criticized opponents of the Prime Minister’s actions, asserting that they are constitutional and in line with public demand for reforms to fight corruption.

IDPs from Fallujah Face Continuing Humanitarian Crisis, Despite Efforts

On June 24, UNICEF reported that 40,000 of the 85,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) displaced from Fallujah are children. The organization installed latrines and showers for 12,500 people and installed six water filtration systems in the Anbar Province camps. Between June 1-20, the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) Consortium distributed 14,000 RRM kits to 80,000 people from Fallujah; the kits included safe drinking water, food, and hygiene supplies.

On June 24, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) continued to voice concern over the humanitarian conditions in the six IDP camps surrounding Fallujah. Camps lack shaded areas and enough tents; a major problem in an area where temperatures exceed 45 degrees celsius (113 degrees fahrenheit). The DRC installed water infrastructure in Habbaniyah Tourist City, 21 kilometers west of Fallujah, and provided hygiene items, psychosocial support, water, and non-essential food items.

On June 25, Iraqi authorities released 430 people from security screenings, intended to determine which civilians fleeing Fallujah may be ISIS sympathizers. 6,100 displaced men from Fallujah are still in custody as they await screening. Security forces arrested 1,600 ISIS sympathizers who have attempted to evacuate Fallujah alongside innocent civilians. UNHCR reported that these detention stations are below average facilities; lacking water, food, and basic sanitation and are located in areas where temperatures are extreme.

On June 25, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that 20,000 men and boys who fled Fallujah were detained for security screenings, citing statements made from the Iraqi Joint Command Operations Forces. 7,000 are still reported to be in custody, while 11,605 have been released.

On June 27, the UNHCR reported that a total of 85,374 people are displaced from the Fallujah area. The organization reported extreme temperatures in excess of 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit) and overcrowded facilities where 1,000 families are still living without shelter. The UNHCR is in the process of constructing 2 Rubb Halls (large tent-like structures) for each major campsite: Amiriyat al-Fallujah, al-Khalidiyah, and Habbaniyah, all approximately 20-40 kilometers from Fallujah.

On June 27, the UNHCR completed a project to aid farmers displaced in the Anbar Province. An irrigation canal was restored in the al-Khairat and al-Garma districts, 27 kilometers northeast of Fallujah, and will allow at least 500 families to cultivate 6,500 hectares of land in the district.

On June 27, around 12,000 people have returned to al-Khairat in the Anbar Province, which previously had a population four times that size. The UNHCR installed two reverse osmosis units to provide safe drinking water to returnees.

On June 28, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) reported that they were the first to respond to Fallujah evacuations and that the magnitude of the crisis exceeded expectations, with 12,587 families having left the Fallujah district. Since the start of the Fallujah Operation on May 22, the IRCS provided 92,000 loaves of bread, 7,000 meals, and 54,000 bottles of water mainly in Amiriyat al-Fallujah (37 kilometers south of Fallujah) and Habbaniyah camps (21 kilometers northwest of Fallujah).

On June 28, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) evacuated 400 families from al-Khalidiyah and escorted them 17 miles west to Kilo 18 Camp in Ramadi.1,000 more families still remain in al-Khalidiyah, 35 kilometers west from Fallujah, and will likely be displaced, according to the UNHCR.

On June 28, the UNHCR erected 160 tents in al-Khalidiyah camp, 35 kilometers west from Fallujah, to ease overcrowding. They provided 2,311 tents and 10 Rubb Halls (large tent-like structures) to shelter over 16,000 new arrivals from Fallujah. UNHCR has also distributed nearly 8,500 kits of “core relief items” such as blankets, mattresses and jerry cans to help an estimated 50,000 people who fled Fallujah.

On June 28, the World Food Programme (WFP) spoke of their efforts and inability to provide food to the 75,000 IDPs coming into Habbaniya Tourist City and Amiriyat al-Fallujah, two major displacement areas approximately 21 – 37 kilometers from Fallujah. They spoke of the urgent need to secure $US 34 million in order to meet the growing need of food assistance for IDPs from Fallujah.  

On June 28, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited a displacement camp housing IDPs from Fallujah and spoke of the efforts being made to provide a “decent living” to those displaced. He maintained that many efforts are also being made to restore infrastructure and services so IDPs can return to their homes.

On June 30, several NGOs spoke of the failure of humanitarian organizations and Iraqi authorities to provide decent living conditions for IDPs from Fallujah. Lack of shelter and latrines, as well as dangerous placement of facilities were listed as avoidable problems. Lack of funding and accusations of mismanagement of UN funds were also areas of major concern.

On June 30, the Head of the Municipal Council of al-Khalidaya, Ali Dawood, reported that 3000 people have fled the al-Khalidaya peninsula, 35 kilometers west from Fallujah. The 10th division of the ISF escorted the IDPs 18 kilometers west to a camp in Ramadi.


Progress by Iraqi, U.S.-led Coalition Forces Continues in Clearing Greater Fallujah of ISIS

On June 25, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) began operations to clear Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants from al-Joulan, an area in the north of Fallujah. According to an anonymous source in the ISF, the operation to clear al-Joulan will focus on al-Ma’amaleen al-Oula, al-Jomhouriya al-Mahdaniya, and Saba’a al-Nisan, neighborhoods in al-Joulan with pockets of ISIS resistance.

On June 26, ISF cleared ISIS militants from multiple areas in Fallujah Qadeema, an area in the north of the city, meeting only “minimal” resistance from ISIS fighters who have remained in Fallujah.

On June 26, commander of Fallujah operations Lieutenant General Abdul al-Wahhab al-Saedi announced that military operations in Fallujah “have completed” and that ISIS militants had been fully cleared from the city. al-Saedi also mentioned that with the completion of military operations, security in Fallujah will be transferred to the al-Anbar police force in the next two days.

On June 26, the Fallujah Provincial Government estimated that “30%” of the city had been destroyed as a result of fighting between ISIS and ISF forces in the last two years. According to Fallujah Provincial Government spokesman Salam Ajami al-Halbousi, the estimate does not include the amount of buildings booby-trapped by ISIS militants prior to their retreat.

On June 27, ISF opened the road linking Baghdad with Fallujah for the first time in two years. According to Lieutenant General Abdul al-Wahhab al-Saedi, ISF will continue to monitor the safety of civilian and commercial traffic along the road until other operations in al-Anbar have concluded.

On June 28, ISF have cleared ISIS militants from “80%” of al-Halabsa, al-Bu Alwan, and al-Bu Hirat, areas directly south and west of the city. According to the Head of Municipal Council in al-Khalidiya, Ali Dawid, ISF have made significant headway throughout the areas and will continue to clear ISIS from “small areas” of resistance as well as disarm Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) left in the area.

On June 28, according to the U.S.-led international coalition, ISIS has lost “40%” of the land area they had once controlled as a result of combined military action in the past six months. According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Chris Garver, efforts by ISF and Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) and airstrikes have been successful after a “hard combat operation” in Fallujah, and that the international coalition will continue to cooperate in bringing civilians back to their homes in the recently cleared city.

On June 28, ISIS militants launched a large attack against ISF in al-Amiriyah Fallujah, an area 22 kilometers south of Fallujah. According to the Ministry of the Interior, “over 400” ISIS militants were involved in the attack but have made no territorial advances against ISF positions.

On June 29, the al-Amiriyah Fallujah local council announced a “total curfew until further notice” throughout the entirety of al-Amiriyah Fallujah, an area 22 kilometers to the south of Fallujah. Citing the recent infiltration of 40 ISIS militants into the area, member of the al-Amiriyah Council Sabah al-Issawi said that ISF will continue operations to clear pockets of resistance in addition to shutting down “all roads and major entrances” to al-Amiriyah Fallujah.

On June 29, U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted ISIS convoys on their way to al-Amiriyah Fallujah, an area 22 kilometers south of Fallujah. According to Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi the “devastating” strikes “broke the back” of the ISIS assault on al-Amiriyah Fallujah, killing an estimated 250 ISIS militants as well as destroying 50 vehicles.


Governor of Anbar Ousted by Provincial Council

On June 28, Governor of Anbar Suhaib al-Rawi was voted out of office by the Anbar Provincial Council. 18 of 30 members voted to dismiss al-Rawi based on charges of “administrative and legal violations.”

On June 28, Governor of Anbar Suhaib al-Rawi claimed that, if necessary, he will turn to the courts and the federal government to keep his position. Al-Rawi defended his term by stressing the complexity of the conflict in Anbar, and the security and humanitarian achievements under his office. While maintaining respect for the democratic process, al-Rawi regretted the decision made by the Provincial Council in light of the current security situation.

On June 28, Raja Barakat al-Issawi announced after meeting with Governor of Anbar Suhaib al-Rawi, that al-Rawi will appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the Provincial Council met twice in one day. Furthermore, al-Rawi claimed that the majority of councilmen who voted for his dismissal have been politically inactive and physically absent from the region since ISIS invaded Anbar; therefore, he will also ask the Supreme Court to address the “incompetence” of the council.


Supreme Court Declares Key Parliament Sessions Unconstitutional

On June 28, the Supreme Court ruled that the decisions made at the April 14 and April 26 sessions of Parliament were invalid due to the lack of a quorum. According to the ruling, the procedure of the session was a violation of the 14th and 38th articles of the Iraqi constitution guaranteeing a freedom of expression and assembly for Members of Parliament. The vote to remove Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri from office, as well as votes to appoint certain Members to the Council of Ministers have been declared void as a result. The sessions had confirmed five, now void, ministerial appointments to: the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Water Resources and Agricultural Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Electricity.

On June 28, the State of Law Coalition claimed that by the Supreme Court’s ruling, “there are neither winners nor losers.” Spokesman Abdul Razak declared a functioning Parliament to be vital to any successful democracy, and that the Supreme Court has “restored life” to the Parliament. However, the coalition expressed worry that the Parliament will return to the same state of “atrophy” that existed prior to the recess. The State of Law Coalition clarified that efforts to eliminate the quota system in Iraqi politics  should not disrupt Parliament to the point of closure.

On June 28, the Citizens Coalition called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to propose a new Council of Ministers in light of the rescinded parliamentary sessions that had voted on al-Abadi’s previous proposals and subsequently declared void by the Supreme Court.

On June 29, Speaker of the House Salim al-Jubouri announced that the beginning of the next legislative term will begin July 1, and the first Parliamentary session will take place July 12.

On June 29, Member of Parliament Niyazi Oglu, member of the Reform Front, announced that the Reform Front will work with “full force” for the removal of the Speaker of the House Salim al-Jubouri upon the return of Parliament. The Reform Front is the second largest bloc in Parliament with 98 members.


Preparations for Clearing Mosul Continue to the South and Southeast of the City

On June 24, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) cleared ISIS militants from Makhoul, a town 160 kilometers south of Mosul. During operations, ISF facilitated the evacuation of 150 families from the area to the south.

On June 25, ISF cleared ISIS out of “parts” of al-Sharqat, a town 100 kilometers south of Mosul. According to Salah al-Din Provincial Council member Ahmad al-Jabouri, the advance took place mainly along the road connecting Mosul with Baghdad and efforts to secure the road will continue.

On June 26, ISF reached within “20 kilometers” of the center of al-Sharqat, a town 100 kilometers south of Mosul. At the end of protracted clashes throughout the day, ISF destroyed over 30 ISIS vehicles.

On June 28, a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted an ISIS rocket position in al-Qayyarah, a town 60 kilometers south of Mosul. Four militants were reported killed as a result of the strike.

On June 29, ISF cleared ISIS from the road connecting al-Biji with al-Sharqat, key towns 100 kilometers from Mosul. According to a statement by the Ministry of Defense, the continuing advance along the roads leading to Mosul is “important” in preparing for the eventual assault on the city.

On June 29, ISF cleared ISIS militants from Talool al-Baj, a village 110 kilometers south of Mosul. According to the Salah al-Din Provincial council, Federal Police units carried out most of the operation to clear Talool al-Baj and killed 12 ISIS militants in the process.

On June 30, ISF cleared ISIS militants from al-Bu Awi and al-Darabas, villages 70 kilometers south of Mosul. According to an anonymous source in the ISF, 15 ISIS militants were killed in the process.


As Security Efforts Focus on Mosul, Displacement Preparations are Insufficient

On June 24, the UNHCR announced that they are in talks with the Iraqi government to find land and facilities to accommodate 10,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) leaving areas southeast of Mosul to the Makhmur District. Most IDPs living in the province are located in Debaga Camp, around 30 kilometers southeast of Erbil city, which has been double its capacity for two weeks.

On June 25, After visiting the Debaga Displacement Camp south of Mosul, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri spoke of the need to speed up operations to clear ISIS militias and restore major cities to return IDPs back to their homes. He called on government agencies to develop solutions to the urgent humanitarian crisis.

On June 26, 300 families left Sharqat, a village in the northern region of Salah ad-Din, for Baiji (73 kilometers north of Tikrit), according to tribal council leader Hussein al-Lahibi. The Iraq Organization of Human Rights called on the Government of Salah ad-Din Province to rapidly accommodate IDPs before a humanitarian crisis “like Fallujah” unfolds. They argued that security forces neglected to aid civilians in Fallujah and suggested they divide humanitarian responsibilities between the ISF and PMUs.

On June 26, the Governor of Salah ad-Din Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri called on humanitarian organizations and the central government to provide relief in the form of food and health assistance to people displaced from Makhoul and al-Sharqat, 71 and 120 kilometers north of Tikrit.

On June 27, the Governor of Salah ad-Din Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, confirmed that 5,500 remain displaced from al-Sharqat, 120 kilometers north of Tikrit, one of the last cities to be cleared of ISIS militants. He claimed that the government is unable to address their needs and looked to humanitarian organizations to provide shelter, water, health assistance, and transportation.

On June 27, 23,827 individuals are displaced from the Mosul area, according to the UNHCR. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) transported families 50 – 70 kilometers from the city to al-Hajjaj and Tikrit. The organization warns that an estimated 600,000 people will be displaced during proposed military efforts to clear Mosul of ISIS militants.

On June 27, the only two camps in Erbil Province, the Debaga and Gawarma Camps, continue to house far more IDPs than their capacities allow. The UNHCR has worked to reassign IDPs to other camps, release those with proper documentation, and install new Rubb Halls (large tent-like structures). The Iraqi government allocated 25 hectares in the Province to the UNHCR to create Debaga 2 Camp that should house 6,000 people, or 12,000 in an emergency.

On June 28, more than 500 families left al-Sharqat and arrived in the al-Hajaj area, 30 kilometers north of Tikrit. Authorities estimate that 2,000 more families will arrive in the area and expressed concern about the lack of facilities that have not sufficiently accommodated IDPs so far. Although authorities are calling on humanitarian organizations to step in, the UNHCR has not yet been able to gain access to the area due to security concerns.

On June 28, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced they will provide tents, health services, and food assistance for 1,300 IDPs from the Baiji district, 73 kilometers north of Tikrit. They will distribute 3,000 food baskets, electric fans, and refrigerators.

On June 28, Mayor Yacoub Yusuf Ali of Julawla, a town 150 northwest kilometers from Baghdad in the Diyala Province, announced the end of the city’s water crisis after international organizations helped restore a water station. The station provides 60% of Julawla residents with water and was heavily damaged during occupation by ISIS militants.

On June 28, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced they will begin a ration card system to distribute rice to 15,000 displaced families in the Anbar Province and 2,000 families in the Ninewa Province. They also approved the release of 5 billion dinars (approximately US$4.25 million), to deal with ongoing water shortages.

On June 28, Regional Media Advisor at the Norwegian Refugee Council explained that the humanitarian complex is not prepared for the displacements that will inevitably occur from the military operation in Mosul.

On June 29, 540 displaced families returned to their homes in the Diyala and Salah ad-Din Provinces, according to the Department of Displacement and Migration in Babil.


ISIS and ISF Continue to Clash West of Ramadi

On June 25, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) killed 13 Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants during operations in al-Doulab, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. According to ISF command, the operations are part of a “widespread” mission to clear ISIS from Anbar Province north and west of Ramadi.

On June 25, Kirkuk Director of Civil Affairs Hatem Karim al-Hamdani was assassinated in al-Hamzali, a neighborhood in the center of Kirkuk. Al-Hamdani was shot repeatedly by gunmen while walking with his wife and son, both of whom were unharmed.

On June 26, a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted ISIS transports taking militants across the Euphrates River near Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. During the strike, over 30 ISIS militants were killed and two ferries carrying them were “completely destroyed.”

On June 27, U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes destroyed two weapons factories in al-Qa’im, a town on the Syrian border 240 kilometers west of Ramadi.

On June 28, ISF clashed with ISIS militants in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. During operations, ISF killed five ISIS militants, destroyed five vehicles, and dismantled 17 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).


Reaction to Prime Minister’s Dismissal/Transfer of Ministerial Inspectors Subsides

On June 23, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed the government’s continued “commitment” to transfer various federal powers to the provinces as an act of reform. Al-Abadi attributed the transfer delay to a lack of consensus in Parliament regarding which powers should be transferred and those which the federal government will retain.

On June 23, member of the State of Law Coalition, the largest political bloc in Parliament, Walid al-Hilli criticized the opposition of the Members of Parliament to the recent transfers and dismissals of inspection officers, claiming Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s actions were within the confines of both the Constitution and the aims of the reform movement.  

On June 26, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office asserted that the dismissal, transfer, and appointment of Inspectors General was done legally and in accordance with a public law signed in 2011, which gives the Prime Minister authority to appoint, dismiss, and transfer inspection officials upon the “recommendation” of the Commission of Integrity.


 

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
06/30/16al-Za'afraniyah, Southeast of Baghdad17
06/30/16al-Shorta al-Raba'a, Southwestern Baghdad69
06/30/16al-Bakria, West of Baghdad37
06/29/16al-Amin, East of Baghdad18
06/29/16Abu Ghraib, West of Baghdad618
06/29/16al-Abidi, East of Baghdad28
06/29/16al-Huriyah al-Thaniyah, Northwest of Baghdad10
06/28/16al-Yousifiyah, South of Baghdad22
06/28/16al-Sidiyah, South of Baghdad18
06/28/16al-Tawbiji, West of Baghdad15
06/28/16al-Mishtal, East of Baghdad16
06/28/16al-Armiyah, West of Baghdad26
06/28/16Jisr Diyala al-Qadeem, Southeast of Baghdad29
06/27/16al-Talibiyah, East of Baghdad18
06/27/16al-Nahrwan, East of Baghdad27
06/27/16al-Lahees, South of al-Nasiriyah01
06/27/16al-Sharqat, South of Mosul820
06/27/16Hayy Tariq, Eastern Baghdad15
06/27/16al-Doura, Southern Baghdad25
06/26/16al-Tarmiyah, North of Baghdad39
06/26/16al-Ridwaniyah, Southwest of Baghdad14
06/26/16al-Salikh, Northern Baghdad10
06/26/16al-Baladiyat, East of Baghdad18
06/26/16al-Kafah, Central Baghdad111
06/25/16al-Latifiyah, Southern Baghdad28
06/25/16al-Sha'ab, Northeast of Baghdad16
06/25/16al-Hamreen, East of Tikrit30
06/24/16al-Mada'in, South of Baghdad
25
06/24/16al-Hosseiniyah, North of Baghdad18
06/24/16al-Za'afraniyah, Southeast of Baghdad26

 

Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations.


Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. ISHM’s research methodolgy was developed by EPIC’s Senior Visiting Fellow Ahmed Ali. 


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