Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Iraq’s New Refugee Crisis

The fighting in Iraq has led to a new internally displaced crisis. Nearly 900,000 people have fled their homes over the last seven months. The initial cause was the battle in Anbar, which began when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided to shut down the protests sites there at the end of December 2013. The insurgent summer offensive, which led to the fall of Mosul and roughly half of Salahaddin and Kirkuk provinces in June 2014, has led to a new wave of refugees. The displacement continues to this day as the fighting spreads and the Islamic State (IS) begins to enforce its rule on northern Iraq.

Christians who fled Qaraqosh, Ninewa for Irbil in June 2014 (AFP)

There have been two waves of displacement this year. From January 1 to May 31, 2014 the International Organization for Migration (IOM) counted 79,627 families leaving their homes, which was 477,762 individuals (IDPs). These were mostly people fleeing the fighting in Anbar, which started at the very end of December 2013. Most came from Fallujah and Ramadi. 48% went to Irbil, 31% went to Sulaymaniya, and 15% are along the eastern border with Kurdistan waiting to get in. From June 1 to July 16 almost the same amount of people were displaced this time by the insurgent offensive, which swept across Ninewa, Salahaddin, and Kirkuk governorates. During that period another 79,627 families, 477,762 people, left their homes. 49% of those, 33,312 families, 199,872 individuals were from Ninewa, while 40%, 27,231 families, 163,386 people were from Salahaddin. Additionally, another 1,400 families from Anbar, 650 from Diyala, and 100 from Baghdad lost their residences. In total, there were 2,882 families, 17,292 people displaced form Diyala, 2,570 families, 15,200 individuals from Anbar, 902 families, 5,412 individuals from Kirkuk, 706 families, 4,236 people from Baghdad, 446 families, 2,676 individuals from Babil to join those from Ninewa and Salahaddin. Most are within Ninewa, 17,206 families, followed by Irbil, 16,155 families, Sulaymaniya, 8,231 families. Another 7,091 families were on the move. These are only families that have been registered by IOM. The actual numbers are probably higher. In Anbar for example it’s estimated that nearly 150,000 have been displaced, and IOM only counted a fraction of that.

Displacement Waves
1st Wave Jan. 1-May 31, 2014 79,627 families, 477,762 individuals
2nd Wave Jun. 1-Jul. 16, 2014 68,049 families, 408,294 individuals
TOTAL: 147,676 families, 886,056 individuals

Displaced By Province
Ninewa: 33,312 families, 199,872 individuals
Salahaddin: 27,231 families, 163,386 individuals
Diyala: 2,882 families, 17,292 individuals
Anbar: 2,570 families, 15,200 individuals
Kirkuk: 902 families, 5,412 individuals
Baghdad: 706 families, 4,236 individuals
Babil: 446 families, 2,676 individuals

Locations Of Displaced
Ninewa: 17,206 families, 103,236 individuals
Irbil: 16,155 families, 96,930 individuals
Sulaymaniya: 8,231 families, 49,386 individuals
Salahaddin: 3,890 families, 23,340 individuals
Kirkuk: 3,815 families, 22,890 individuals
Dohuk: 2,763 families, 16,578 individuals
Karbala: 1,965 families, 11,790 individuals
Diyala: 1,880 families, 11,280 individuals
Najaf: 1,786 families, 10,716 individuals
Anbar: 849 families, 5,094 individuals
Babil: 769 families, 4,614 individuals
Baghdad: 767 families, 4,602 individuals
Qadisiyah: 282 families, 1,692 individuals
Wasit: 219 families, 1,314 individuals
Basra: 184 families, 1,104 individuals
Maysan: 124 families, 744 individuals
Dhi Qar: 73 families, 438 individuals
On the move: 7,091 families, 42,546 individuals

As fighting continues across central Iraq and the Islamic State imposes its will on its conquered territory more people are fleeing. July 19 IS gave an ultimatum to Mosul’s Christians telling them they had to leave the city leading hundreds to pack up and go. On July 18 a member of the security committee on the Babil provincial council said that around 600 families had been displaced from Jurf al-Sakhr, which the security forces have unsuccessfully cleared of IS.  July 16 a police source told Alsumaria that 200 families had left Jalawla in Diyala. The peshmerga moved into the area after the fall of Mosul and it has seen nearly constant fighting with insurgents since then. Flashpoints like these are where people are likely to continue to be displaced.

Groups like IOM and the United Nations were caught off guard by the recent fighting. They were already hard pressed to deal with the existing IDPs, which number over 1 million and date from the civil war of 2005-2008. When the new conflict started in Anbar the U.N. made an emergency call for $106 million to deal with the refugees. When the summer offensive started in June the world body asked for an additional $312 million. Both groups were not getting enough money to begin with to deal with the existing internal refugees and now it is dealing with the current tidal wave.

Iraq has suffered from decades of refugees. The renewed insurgency is just adding the latest wave. Central Iraq is caught in on going fighting, and the Islamic State’s control of places like Mosul is causing more people to flee. The battle with militants is likely to last for years and that means these people will be homeless for the long run. International organizations like the IOM and U.N. did not have enough money to deal with the existing IDPs and are now faced with the current crisis. Not many people are that concerned with Iraq anymore, which means donations to deal with the displaced may be hard to come by. That puts added pressure upon the communities the refugees are staying with. Eventually these people will have to find jobs, schools for their children, etc., and integrate into their new provinces, because they will not be able to return home any time soon.


Alsumaria, “The displacement of nearly 200 families from the neighborhood South Jalawla controlled by “Daash,”” 7/16/14

Arango, Tim, “Concern and Support for Iraqi Christians Forced by Militants to Flee Mosul,” New York Times, 7/20/14
- “A Reignited War Drives Iraqis Out in Huge Numbers,” New York Times, 6/28/14

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix|DTM Iraq Crisis 2014,” 7/16/14

Al Rayy, “Daash displace 600 families from Jurf al-Sakhr,” 7/18/14

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunnis In Baghdad Fleeing Militias And Harassment By Iraqi Security Forces

Iraq is suffering through yet another internal refugee crisis. Previous to the current insurgent offensive there were over 1 million Iraqis who lost their homes during the civil war period and never returned. Now there is another wave of internally displaced, which started with the fighting in Anbar in January, and increased after the fall of Mosul in June. The majority of these new refugees come from Anbar, Ninewa and Salahaddin. In the midst of this new crisis several thousand families have fled Baghdad province. Most of these Iraqis appear to be Sunnis that are fleeing random arrests and harassment by the Iraqi Security Forces as well as the return of militias to the streets.

Over 4,000 Baghdadis have become displaced in 2014. In a July report the International Organization for Migration (IOM) counted 706 families displaced from Baghdad province, a total of 4,236 individuals since January. 54% of the families went to Anbar, while the rest were spread across Basra, Babil, within Baghdad, Qadisiyah, Maysan, Karbala, Wasit and Dhi Qar. Around 100 of those families left their homes recently from June 1 to July 16 showing that the displacement is on going. Since most of them went to Anbar they are likely Sunnis. The IOM gave no reason for why people fled, but the return of militias and increased harassment by the security forces could be major causes. Overall violence in Baghdad could be another reason, but the number of attacks and casualties has remained relatively the same in 2014, and the number of car bombs has actually decreased. In January there were 47 vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), then 38 in February, 29 in March, 18 in April, 23 in May, and 12 in June. What has changed about the security situation in the capital is that armed Shiite groups are back on the streets. With that more bodies have been dumped in Baghdad. In January 31 bodies were found in the capital, followed by 35 in February, 28 in March, 28 in April, 39 in May, and 42 in June. In June for instance the Muslim Scholars Associated accused militias of killing an imam and two of his aides. The re-birth of the insurgency has also led to increased security measures aimed at Sunni neighborhoods. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have been accused of cordoning off Sunni areas, not allowing people to leave or enter, and carrying out mass arrests. For example, on January 11, a parliamentarian from Speaker Osama Nujafi’s Mutahidun demanded that the prime minister stop the lockdown of Abu Ghraib, Latifiya, and Radwaniya. In June, the New York Times talked with people from Amiriya who said that men in unmarked vehicles wearing military uniforms took away a woman’s two sons in the middle of the night. In July the Los Angeles Times interviewed people in Adhamiya who accused the government forces of random arrests, and harassment. One man said that his father was in jail, while his younger brother had been arrested seven times forcing him to flee to Kurdistan. It appears that many others have followed him in leaving Baghdad. If more open sectarian violence were to return to the capital there would be an even greater exodus as happened before.

Sunnis fleeing Baghdad is yet another sign that Iraqi society is fraying. The fact that militias are again openly operating there and being accused of taking people away and dumping their bodies shows the breakdown of order. Not only that but government forces are carrying out group punishment of Sunni neighborhoods singling them out for blockades, raids, and mass and arbitrary arrests. Together these are probably leading factors for thousands of Sunni families fleeing the governorate. The demographics of Baghdad went through a dramatic transformation during the sectarian war as militias and the security forces forced most of the Sunni population out. This could all be happening again as the newest wave of displaced points to.


International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix|DTM Iraq Crisis 2014,” 7/16/14

McDonnell, Patrick, “Proud Sunni neighborhood writhes under Iraq’s Shiite security forces,” Los Angeles Times, 7/20/14

Rubin, Alissa and Nordland, Rod, “Shiite Violence Traps Baghdad’s Sunnis, Haunted by a Grim Past,” New York Times, 6/25/14

Shafaq News, “MP demands Maliki to lift the siege of Baghdad areas belt,” 1/11/14

Sly, Liz, Hauslohner, Abigail and Morris, Loveday, “Fears of sectarian killings rise in Baghdad after Sunni imam, two aides found dead,” Washington Post, 6/17/14

Saturday, July 19, 2014


RADIO FREE IRAQ VIDEO: Iraqi Shiite Turkmen Flee Rebel Controlled City

PBS NEWSHOUR VIDEO: International Military Aid To Iraq May Offer Little Help

POPULAR NEWS: Iraq Forces 'Killed 255 Sunni Prisoners'

NEWSY VIDEO: Kurds Move Toward Independence In Northern Iraq

BBC VIDEO: 'We Terrify ISIS' Say Iraq's Shia Militias

Friday, July 18, 2014

Costs Of Iraq’s Kurds Moving Into The Disputed Territories

Since the June 2014 fall of Mosul many articles have been written that the Kurds are the winner of the on-going conflict. For instance on June 15 Time published “The Only Winners in Iraq’s Chaos; the Kurds,” June 16 the Financial Times had “Iraq’s Kurds look the biggest winners in militants’ push,” June 19 the Associated Press printed “Kurds win land and oil in Iraq’s chaos but face new challenges,” and July 16 the Guardian ran “Revisiting Kurdistan: ‘If there is a success story in Iraq, it’s here,’” They usually talk about how the Kurds have finally been able to seize the disputed city of Kirkuk and its oil wealth, and then the people’s desire for independence being just around the corner. What many of those reports missed were the high costs the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is incurring during this period. It has greatly expanded its territory and now borders the Islamic State (IS), which it is getting into constant battles with. This is costing the KRG lots of money during a period of financial crisis and almost daily casualties as well.
The Kurdish peshmerga moved into positions abandoned by the ISF during its collapse in northern Iraq in June (KNN)

The Kurdish peshmerga is now facing off against the Islamic State (IS) across northern Iraq. When Mosul fell in mid-June 2014 most of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) units in Ninewa, Salahaddin, Kirkuk, and Diyala disintegrated. The peshmerga moved into this vacuum and secured the disputed territories that had been abandoned by the army and police. Shortly afterward fighting started with the Islamic State (IS) across this new border. On June 11 for example there was a gunfight in Sinjar, Ninewa, and then another the next day along the Dohuk border. That quickly escalated as two peshmerga were kidnapped in Mosul on June 16, and a peshmerga captain was killed in Zahra, Ninewa on June 20 by a sniper. In Diyala the Kurds moved into Jalawla in the northeast, which has been a constant flashpoint with insurgents. On June 13 gunfire was exchanged there. After that there was constant fighting in that area. June 15 4 peshmerga were killed and 37 wounded in three different incidents, June 16 2 more died, and June 18 there was one more fatality and six injured in and around Sadiya and Jalawla. In Salahaddin the peshmerga moved into the Tuz Kharmato district, and fighting started there on June 21 with 2 killed and 7 wounded in Tuz and 2 more injured in Sulaiman Bek. Finally in Kirkuk, much of the conflict has been in the Hawija area with 2 Asayesh killed and 3 peshmerga wounded in two separate incidents there on June 11, and the outskirts of Kirkuk City where an Asayesh was wounded June 12, and then 2 peshmerga killed and four wounded by an IED on June 15. Since then Diyala and Kirkuk have seen the most casualties by far. From June 8 to July 14 34 peshmerga have died and 88 have been wounded in Diyala and 33 peshmerga and Asayesh killed and 98 injured in Kirkuk. That compares with 4 killed and 20 wounded in Salahaddin and 15 killed and 26 wounded in Ninewa during that same period. In total 86 Kurdish fighters have lost their lives with 232 wounded across those four governorates over five weeks.

Peshmerga/Asayesh Casualties In Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salahaddin Since Insurgent Offensive
Weekly Totals
Jun 8-14
21 Wounded
1 Killed
1 Killed
21 Wounded
Jun 15-21
8 Killed
43 Wounded
16 Killed
41 Wounded
1 Killed
2 Killed
6 Wounded
27 Killed
90 Wounded
Jun 22-28
9 Killed
11 Wounded
11 Killed
20 Wounded
11 Killed
26 Wounded
1 Killed
14 Wounded
32 Killed
71 Wounded
Jun 29-30
2 Killed
5 Wounded
8 Wounded
2 Killed
13 Wounded
Jul 1-7
8 Killed
5 Wounded
4 Killed
5 Wounded
12 Killed
10 Wounded
Jul 8-14
7 Killed
24 Wounded
2 Killed
3 Wounded
3 Killed
12 Killed
27 Wounded
34 Killed
88 Wounded
33 Killed
98 Wounded
15 Killed
26 Wounded
4 Killed
20 Wounded
86 Killed
232 Wounded

The human costs are only part of the story, because there are financial ones as well. Before the start of the insurgent summer offensive Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cut off Kurdistan’s 17% share of the national budget starting in January 2014. This caused widespread problems as the KRG relies upon Baghdad for 95% of its own budget, and like the rest of the country the government is the largest employer. While the premier ended up making two partial payments since then, public employees and the peshmerga were going without pay and many development projects were stopped. This led to almost weekly protests for six months straight. Now the Kurds are spending more money on the disputed territories to keep their forces deployed and mobilized there. The attempt to sell oil via tankers has largely failed as only one sold its cargo, while the other three remain at sea. The regional government did get some loans as a result, but the situation has forced the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party to dip into their own coffers to pay for government operations. The security situation is therefore putting more strains upon the Kurds’ budget.

Many have talked about the acquisition of Kirkuk and other disputed territories as the last step towards Kurdish independence without examining the stress this is putting upon the regional government. Moving into these areas has not been free as there have been over 300 casualties and near constant fighting especially in Diyala and Kirkuk. The KRG has also been forced to spend more money at a time when it is short of cash. This doesn’t mean the Kurds aren’t moving towards independence, but some of the celebratory articles about it are a little premature. Kurdistan now has a long border with the Islamic State, which has proven it is no fan of the KRG, and is making the it pay for its newly acquired territory. The Kurds are also not financially independent at this time


AIN, "3 ISIL elements killed northeastern Baquba," 6/18/14
-"14 Peshmerga elements killed, injured northeastern Baquba," 6/15/14
- "Urgent……ISIL clash with Peshmerga in Dohouk," 6/11/14

Associated Press, "Iraq fights militants as foreigners feared seized," 6/18/14

Barzinji, Shwan, “KRG asks international companies for loans to make up for budget,” Bas News, 6/3/14

Bas News, "ISIS kidnap two Peshmerga officers near Mosul," 6/16/14

Beauchamp, Zac, “A guide to the bitter political fights driving the Iraq crisis,” Vox, 6/15/14

Buratha News, "Clashes between the Peshmerga and the Daash terrorists in Sinjar west of Nineveh and the Peshmerga able to defeat the terrorists," 6/11/14
- "Violent clashes between the Peshmerga and Daash terrorist in Jalawla," 6/13/14

Dolamari, Mewan, "KRG: So far six Peshmerga has been killed 30 more injured," Bas News, 6/15/14

Hadid, Diaa and Matti, Emad, “Kurds win land and oil in Iraq’s chaos but face new challenges,” Associated Press, 6/19/14

Harding, Luke, “Revisiting Kurdistan: ‘If there is a success story in Iraq, it’s here,’” Guardian, 7/16/14

Kirkuk Now, "Gunmen Attacked an Asaish Checkpoint," 6/13/14
- "ISIS Ask Residents to Nominate New Head," 6/11/14

KNN, "Kurdish Peshmarga Inflict Heavy Losses on ISIS Insurgents," 6/22/14

Al Mada, “Experts warn of economic paralysis as a result of the crisis in Kurdistan and Baghdad contend with: the Government of the Territory of alternative solutions,” 3/2/14
- "Mayor of Tuz confirms the death and injury of 21 elements of Peshmerga and Daash in clashes yesterday," 6/22/14

Al Masalah, "The death of a captain in the Kurdish peshmerga shot by a sniper from the Daash organization north of Mosul," 6/20/14

Muhammed, Hussein, van den Toorn, Christine, and Osgood, Patrick, "Clashes and tension along Kurdistan's new border," Iraq Oil Report, 6/26/14

Newton-Small, Jay, “The Only Winners in Iraq’s Chaos: the Kurds,” Time, 6/15/14

NINA, "7 Peshmerga fighters killed, /36/ others injured in Nineveh, Salahuddin and Diyala," 6/16/14
- "Six elements of Peshmerga and policemen wounded in confrontations with the ISIS west of Kirkuk," 6/11/14

Osgood, Patrick, Van Heuvelen, Ben, and Lando, Ben, “UPDATE: Kurdistan sidesteps Baghdad legal challenge to exports,” Iraq Oil Report, 6/28/14

Solomon, Erika, “Iraq’s Kurds look the biggest winners in militants’ push,” Financial Times, 6/16/14

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Islamic State Carries Out Intimidation Campaign Destroying Homes And Kidnapping And Murdering People In Northern Iraq

Since the Islamic State (IS) swept through northern Iraq in early June 2014 it has started a two-pronged strategy to govern the millions of people that have come under its control. While carrying out a hearts and mind campaign in large cities like Mosul it has also set about threatening and intimidating the population especially in the rural areas. This has led to the destruction of hundreds of homes, over one hundred kidnappings, and dozens of reported executions.

The Islamic State (IS) has used violence to maintain and expand its hold over northern Iraq. In contested areas along the front lines with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) the Islamic State has proven ruthless and bloodthirsty. On July 7, 2014 for instance, the group tried to take the town of Ziwiya in Salahaddin. The locals resisted and ran the insurgents off. The next day the IS renewed its attack and killed 50 villagers. Now firmly in control it went about destroying 25 houses in the town using explosives on July 9. A similar situation occurred in Azwip, Salahaddin. July 9 insurgents moved into the town and executed 15 people, and then set about leveling the entire place. In two days some 300 homes were said to have been blown up. There have also been cases of mass kidnappings such as on July 2 when 30 Shabak were taken away in Omar Kan, Ninewa. Executions have taken place as well. On July 3 40 Turkmen were killed in Bashir, Kirkuk by IS, and July 14 10 bodies were found in Kokjla, Ninewa west of Mosul. In places more under its control there have been similar acts as well. July 10 15 people were carted in away in Mosul, and another six on July 11. In aggregate numbers, 348 houses have been destroyed in Salahaddin since the beginning of July, 24 in Ninewa, and 20 in Kirkuk. 33 of those belonged to police, which has been a long-standing tactic to intimidate the security forces. This month another 72 people in Ninewa, 46 in Salahaddin, and 1 in Kirkuk have been kidnapped, and 40 executed in Kirkuk, 15 in Salahaddin, and 10 in Ninewa by the Islamic State.

All together these policies show how the Islamic State will run northern Iraq. While it does have programs meant to reach out to the public like offering to pay public employees in Mosul, it also hopes to rule with an iron first. Where it comes up against the security forces it will be even harsher as it wants to win territory and will cajole and threaten those that stand in its way like what happened in the towns of Ziwiya and Azwip in Salahaddin. As time wears on it is likely that more people will be taken away in places like Mosul as well as it imposes itself more and more upon the population. This will show Iraqis exactly what it means to be under the new Caliphate.


AIN, "ISIL terrorists detonate 10 residences northern Tikrit," 7/9/14
- "ISIL terrorists detonate 20 residences western Kirkuk," 7/15/14
- "ISIL terrorists kill 4 children in Salah il-Din," 7/4/14
- "ISIL terrorists kill more than 50 civilians, including children northern Tikrit," 7/8/14

Alsumaria, "Daash kidnap ten from two villages north of the city of Mosul," 7/13/14

Buratha News, "The bodies of the martyrs lying on the roads of Bashir by Daash," 7/3/14
- "Daash demolished three houses of civilians north of Tikrit," 7/12/14
- "Daash terrorists blow up 200 residential houses in the village of Azwaip north of Baiji," 7/10/14

Al Forat, "25 houses detonated by ISIL terrorists in northern Tikrit," 7/9/14
- "ISIL terrorist gangs blow up policeman's house in Salah al-Din," 7/6/14
- "ISIS blow up 6 police members' houses in Sharqat," 7/1/14
- "ISIS terrorists blow up key police officer's house in Sharqat," 7/1/14
- "ISIL kidnap 15 officers of Iraq former regime in Mosul," 7/10/14
- "ISIL kidnaps 30 citizens of Shabak community," 7/2/14
- "ISIL terrorists blow up 20 policemen's houses in Mosul," 7/12/14
- "ISIL terrorist gangs blow up policeman's house in Salah al-Din," 7/6/14
- "Nineveh :ISIL terrorists kidnap 4 Shabak community citizens," 7/13/14

Independence Press Agency, "Deputy of Mutahidun house bombed in Mosul," 7/11/14

Al Mada, "Daash kidnap 6 in central Mosul," 7/11/14

Al Masalah, "Found 10 bodies west of Mosul," 7/14/14

NINA, "Daash avenge of the Obeid tribe for refusing to pledge allegiance," 7/5/14
- "Elements of Daash kidnap a journalist and his son south of Mosul," 7/4/14
- "ISIS Elements kidnap /11/ farmers southeast of Tikrit," 7/10/14
- "A priest and a nun kidnapped in Mosul," 7/6/14

Al Rafidayn, "Daash blow up 100 extra homes in Azwaip village north of Tikrit," 7/11/14

Al Rayy, "Daash gangs execute 15 people in northern Salahuddin," 7/9/14
- "Daash terrorist gangs kidnap three people south of Mosul," 7/5/14
- "The kidnapping of 35 peasants by elements of Daash south of Tikrit," 7/10/14

Xinhua, "Villagers repel Sunni extremists militants, battles continue in Iraq," 7/8/14

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do Dead Bodies In The Street’s Of Iraq’s Capital Point Towards A Renewed Civil War?

Talk of a new civil war emerging in Iraq has already begun to be discussed by some media outlets. The Islamic State (IS) has been working for at least a year if not more to infiltrate its people into Baghdad to restart street fighting there. It already has extensive networks in and out of the capital city, which have allowed it to carry out several attacks a day in the province from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to sticky bombs to drive by shootings to larger car bomb operations. The Baathist Naqsibandi is active in northern Baghdad province as well. At the same time the Shiite militias have been mobilizing since at least January 2014 and are now seen in the streets of several neighborhoods and are deployed in the western section of the governorate around Abu Ghraib. Together these forces have been carrying out a series of executions and assassinations, and dumping the bodies on the streets. The recent increase in such incidents could be one indicator that a civil conflict is returning to the capital.

When reviewing and analyzing the number of bodies found in Baghdad province it’s important to first note that not all are due to insurgents or militias. Several women have been found stabbed for example, which could be the result of honor killings by their families. Others could be the result of common crime. It is impossible to tell what the causation was of all of these incidents. People found handcuffed and blindfolded or multiple bodies dumped in the same place however point to insurgents and militias. The first incident of the year for example was four bodies found in Arab Jabour in the southeast of the province, which the press believed was the work of a death squad on January 1. Then on January 3 two women were found in the Tigris River in northern Baghdad, which could have been the work of criminals, their families, or militants. Today there continues to be a mix of such incidents. July 6 a man was found in an empty lot strangled to death in Zafaraniya in the southern part of the city, while July 7 a man was shot and dumped in the east. What led to each death is impossible to know and can only be inferred by how the body was found and the cause of death, but even then a lot of speculation is involved.

The first thing that stands out is that the number of bodies found has not followed a straight trajectory, but rather has gone up and down and then up again. In January 2014 31 bodies were found in the province. Then 35 were discovered in February, 28 in March and April each. Then they began to climb with 39 in May and 42 in June. The aggregate statistics show that there could be a correlation between the recent militia mobilization in Baghdad and the number of unidentified bodies found as they have reached a new high in the last two month just as the Shiite gunmen began re-organizing in Iraq. Insurgents were also ramping up their activities for their summer offensive, which could also be a factor.

Bodies Dumped In Baghdad Province 2014
# of Bodies Found
Order and Location Found
Jan 1-7
Arab Jabour, North, Hurriya, Obeidi
Jan 8-14
Sabi al-Bour, Mansur x2
Jan 15-21
Mamil, East
Jan 22-28
Amil, Baya, Kadhimiya, Sadr City
Jan 29-31
Arab Jabour, New Baghdad
Jan Total

Feb 1-7
Saidiya, Amil, Elam, North,
Feb 8-14
East, Abu Ghraib, Sadr City, Obeidi, Husseiniya, New Baghdad
Feb 15-21
North, Obeidi, Shula, Talabiya, South
Feb 22-28
Sadr City, Southwest, Jkok, Mashtil Army Base, Shamiya, Abu Ghraib, Arab Jabour, Sadr City
Feb Total

Mar 1-7
Rasheed, Yusifiya, Meshahda, Saidiya, Ghaziliya, Sadr City, Rashad
Mar 8-14
Arab Jabour
Mar 15-21
Sadr City, Abu Ghraib, East
Mar 22-28
Yusifiya, Hurriya, Arab Jabour, Hurriya, Qahira, Sadr City
Mar 29-31
Husseiniya, Obeidi, Rasheed
Mar Total

Apr 1-7
Sadr City, Shurta Rabia, Ghaziliya
Apr 8-14
Obeidi, Abu Ghraib, Latifiya
Apr 15-21
Arab Jabour, Dora
Apr 22-28
Dora, Shula. Madain, Arab Jabour, Sadr City
Apr 29-30

Apr Total

May 1-7
Shula, Madain, Yusifiya, Obeidi, East
May 8-14
Jadriya, Zafaraniya, Jkok, Kadhimiya, East, Shula, Abu Ghraib
May 15-21
South, Zafaraniya, East
May 22-28
May 29-31
Sadr City
May Total

Jun 1-7
Yusifiya, Ghaziliya, Yusifiya, North
Jun 8-14
Shurta Rabia, Zafaraniya
Jun 15-21
East, Benuk, Qahira, Abu Dishir, Zafaraniya
Jun 22-28
Amil, Canal St, Amil, Shula
Jun 29-30
Jun Total

Jul 1-7
Amil, Jihad, Ahrar, Sadr City, Shula, Zafaraniya, Obeidi

Multiple bodies found in the same location is usually a harbinger of armed groups. The monthly totals have not followed the exact same pattern as those for the number of dead bodies overall. There were 25 in January, 18 in February, 14 in March, 22 in April, 32 in May, and 36 in June. That showed a dip after January before reaching a new high by the summer. Looking at the location of these incidents also shows that many took place in the outskirts of Baghdad province or the perimeter of the city. Arab Jabour for example is just outside of the city limits to the south. 21 bodies have been found there from January to July 7. Not only that but five were members of the Sahwa. Zafaraniya is to the east of Arab Jabour by the Rasheed Airport. Bodies only began appearing there in May, but nine have been discovered so far. Dora is in southern Baghdad proper and six bodies have turned up there. All these incidents appear to be the work of the Islamic State that has attempted to infiltrate southern Baghdad province from Babil. On the other hand, 12 bodies have been discovered in Sadr City, which is a Shiite stronghold. The question was who were the victims however? Were they residences of that neighborhood or people abducted in other areas and dumped there? There’s no telling. Militias carrying out murders in Baghdad however was confirmed by a parliamentarian from State of Law who told Reuters that after the June 10 fall of Mosul there were a number of retaliatory killings and dumping of bodies in the capital.

Incidents Of Multiple Bodies Found In Baghdad Province 2014
Jan 1 4 Bodies Arab Jabour
Jan 3 2 Bodies North
Jan 4 2 Bodies Hurriya
Jan 8 3 Bodies Sabi al-Bour
Jan 14 4 Bodies Mansour
Jan 18 2 Bodies East
Jan 22 2 Bodies Sadr City
Jan 29 3 Sahwa Arab Jabour, 3 Bodies New Baghdad
Feb 3 4 Bodies Amil
Feb 6 3 Bodies North
Feb 12 3 Bodies Obeidi
Feb 16 3 Bodies North
Feb 28 3 Bodies Sadr City 2 Bodies Arab Jabour
Mar 2 2 Bodies Meshahda
Mar 6 2 Bodies Rashad
Mar 8 3 Bodies Arab Jabour
Mar 16 3 Bodies Abu Ghraib
Mar 25 2 Sahwa Arab Jabour
Mar 31 2 Bodies Obeidi
Apr 6 4 Bodies Shurta Rabia
Apr 15 3 Bodies Arab Jabour
Apr 19 3 Bodies Dora
Apr 25 3 Bodies Dora
Apr 26 3 Bodies Madain 4 Bodies Arab Jabour
Apr 27 2 Bodies Sadr City
May 4 3 Bodies Shula 7 Bodies Madain
May 7 3 Bodies East
May 12 3 Bodies Jkok 3 Bodies Kadhimiya
May 13 2 Bodies East
May 19 5 Bodies Zafaraniya
May 21 2 Bodies East
May 28 2 Bodies Obeidi
May 31 2 Bodies Sadr City
Jun 5 4 Bodies Ghaziliya
Jun 6 2 Bodies North 2 Bodies Yusifiya
Jun 9 2 Bodies Zafaraniya
Jun 16 4 Bodies East
Jun 17 4 Bodies Benuk
Jun 18 4 Bodies Abu Dishir
Jun 21 2 Bodies Zafaraniya
June 22 3 Bodies Amil
Jun 24 9 Bodies Amil
Jul 1 3 Bodies Sadr City 2 Bodies Ahrar
Jul 5 2 Bodies Shula

Some have attempted to use dumped bodies in Baghdad province as a sign that a civil war might be re-emerging in Iraq. The statistics show there is some substance to that argument. There have been more of these types of deaths in the last two months. The return of the militias was one cause, but the insurgents have increased their infiltrate into the capital as well. Either way it is obvious that this type of violence is becoming more prominent in Baghdad province and may get worse in the coming months.


AIN, "Mortar shell targets Green Zone," 2/4/14

Alsumaria, "Found five unidentified bodies in different parts of Baghdad," 6/23/14
- "Found the body of a young man shot and spent the east of Baghdad," 2/14/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies north of Baghdad," 2/16/14
- "Four bodies were found in different pars of Baghdad," 7/1/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "3 bodies found in New Baghdad area," 1/29/14
- "8 persons killed after kidnapping in Baghdad," 5/4/14

Buratha News, "Body Found "charred" in eastern Baghdad," 3/16/14
- "Finding the bodies of three unidentified men who were killed by firing squad in the Dora district of southern Baghdad," 3/8/14
- "Finding the bodies of three unknown women north of Baghdad," 1/8/14
- "Found an unidentified body with infected wounds in the area of the embankment east of Baghdad," 3/18/14
- "Found dead an awakening dump shot dead south of Baghdad," 4/13/14
- "Found four unidentified bodies in different parts of Baghdad," 6/5/14
- "Found four unidentified bodies in western Baghdad," 4/6/14
- "Found the bodies of four out of eight people kidnapped two days ago in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad," 3/1/14
- "Found the bodies of two elements of the awakening dumped and shot in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad," 2/4/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men dumped and shot in the chest," 4/27/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men in the area of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 7/1/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men shot and dumped east of Baghdad," 5/21/14
- "Found the body of a child from an awakening member strangled in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad," 1/23/14
- "Found the body of a former Awakening dumped and shot dead south of Baghdad," 5/5/14
- "Found the body of a leading role in awakening dumped stabbed to death south of Baghdad," 6/2/14
- "Found the body of a man who was shot and dumped north of Baghdad," 2/22/14
- "Found the body of a woman killed by firing squad in eastern Baghdad," 2/9/14
- "Found the body of a young man spent shot south of Baghdad," 2/21/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped to the west of Baghdad," 4/10/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies in Dora, south of Baghdad," 4/25/14
- "Recover the body of an unidentified man from the Tigris River south of Baghdad," 5/17/14
- "Unidentified bodies found in Shurta Rabia," 6/8/14

Dziadosz, Alexander, “Bruised Iraqi army leans on Shi’ite militias, volunteers,” Reuters, 7/10/14

Al Forat, "Dead body discovered in Abo Gharib," 5/14/14
- "Unidentified body found northwest Baghdad," 4/26/14

Iraq Times, "Found four unidentified bodies in Arab Jabour, south of Baghdad," 4/26/14
- "Found two unidentified bodies in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 5/31/14
- "unidentified bodies: the phenomenon of returning to the streets of the provinces," 4/19/14

Al Mada, "Body found with severed hands of an unidentified young man dumped and stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 4/8/14
- "The body of a woman found stabbed to death west of Baghdad," 1/9/14
- "The body of a young woman found strangled south of Baghdad," 2/2/14
- "Finding the bodies of four unidentified men who were killed by firing squad in eastern Baghdad," 6/16/14
- "Finding the bodies of four unidentified men who were killed by firing squad, west of Baghdad," 1/14/14
- "Finding the bodies of three elements of the awakening dumped and shot south of Baghdad," 1/29/14
- "Found four unidentified bodies riddled with gunshots south of Baghdad," 6/18/14
- "Found the bodies of a woman and two men who died faceless shot in eastern Baghdad," 5/7/14
- "Found the bodies of four people who were killed by death squad south of Baghdad," 1/1/14
- "Found the bodies of two elements of the Awakening south of Baghdad," 3/25/14
- "Found the bodies of two men dumped shot south of Baghdad," 2/28/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men shot and dumped north-west of Baghdad," 1/4/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified men shot and spent to the south west of Baghdad," 1/22/14
- "Found the bodies of two unidentified women stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "Found the bodies of two young unidentified spent shot dead in eastern Baghdad," 1/18/14
- "Found the body of a child dumped and shot southeast of Baghdad," 5/11/14
- "Found the body of a man who was strangled inside his home north of Baghdad," 1/26/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man dumped and shot in central Baghdad," 5/10/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped in east Baghdad," 3/28/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped in the east of Baghdad," 2/11/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped in the east of Baghdad," 3/3/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped to the west of Baghdad," 4/6/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified man shot and dumped west of Baghdad," 2/26/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified woman who was shot dead south west of Baghdad," 1/24/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified young man dumped and shot dead in northwest Baghdad," 2/24/14
- "Found the body of an unidentified young man dumped stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 2/17/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies north of Baghdad," 5/11/14
- "Killing and wounding three soldiers in Tarmiyah and found two bodies in al-Obeidi east of the capital," 3/31/14
- "The killing of three civilians in armed attack south of Baghdad," 4/26/14
- "Recover the body of an unidentified man south west of Baghdad," 2/24/14
- "Recovered the bodies dated back to unidentified young women from the Tigris River north of Baghdad," 1/3/14
- "Three bodies of women found who had been dumped unknown identity stabbed to death in eastern Baghdad," 2/12/14
- "Three bodies were found in the awakening of the elements and the police dumped and shot dead north of Baghdad," 2/9/14

Al Masalah, "Finding the bodies of two unidentified men north of Baghdad," 6/6/14
- "Finding the bodies of two unidentified men south of Baghdad," 6/6/14
- "Found 9 unidentified bodies in Baghdad," 6/24/14
- "Found an unidentified body southeast of Baghdad," 6/3/14
- "Found the body of a civilian in the area of Hurriya," 3/24/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies in western Baghdad," 6/22/14
- "Killing nine civilians and wounding 16, the explosion of two car bombs in the area of Abu Dshir," 2/3/14
- "A man's body was found east of Baghdad," 2/25/14
- "Three civilians were killed in an armed attack in different parts of Baghdad," 2/24/14

NINA, "A body found southeast of Baghdad," 2/25/14
- "Breaking News..14 Bodies for People Shot Dead were Found North of Baghdad," 1/16/14
- "Civilian body found northeast of Baghdad," 3/31/14
- "Dead bodies of two unidentified men found in eastern Baghdad," 5/28/14
- "Dead body of an employee found northwest of Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "A dead body of an unidentified woman found in Husseiniya northeast of Baghdad," 2/13/14
- "Five unidentified bodies found in Baghdad," 5/19/14
- "Police find our bodies in north and east of Baghdad," 1/15/14
- "Police find three unidentified bodies west of Baghdad," 5/4/14
- "Police finds a civilian body south of Baghdad," 3/31/14
- "Six people killed, 22 others wounded in five separate incidents in Baghdad," 6/9/14
- "Three bodies found in Baghdad," 3/2/14
- "Three bodies found in different parts in Baghdad," 1/26/14
- "Three bodies found northwest of Baghdad," 5/12/14
- "Three unidentified bodies found in Arab Jabour area south of Baghdad," 4/15/14
- "Two bodies found in Baghdad," 2/18/14
- "Two bodies found in two different areas in Baghdad," 3/2/14
- "Two women bodies found east of Baghdad," 3/6/14
- "Unidentified body found east of Baghdad," 7/7/14
 "Unidentified body found in Baghdad," 3/25/14
- "Unidentified body found in northeast of Baghdad," 3/26/14
- "An unidentified body found northwest of Baghdad," 6/25/14
- "Unidentified body found in northeast of Baghdad," 6/17/14
- "Au unidentified body found in southwest of Baghdad," 6/30/14
- "Unidentified body found in west of Baghdad," 2/10/14
- "Unidentified body found in Sadr city," 4/1/14
- "Unidentified body found in south of Baghdad," 7/6/14
 - "Unidentified body found south of Baghdad," 3/23/14
- "Unidentified body found west of Baghdad," 3/3/14

Nordland, Rod, "As Fighting Spreads Through Iraq, Sunni Allies Turn on One Another," New York Times, 6/21/14

Al Rafidayn, "Found three unidentified bodies in Baghdad dumped and shot," 3/16/14

Al Rayy, "Found the bodies of two unidentified men, west of Baghdad," 7/5/14
- "Found three unidentified bodies north of Baghdad," 2/6/14

Rubin, Alissa and Al-Salhy, Suadad, "44 Sunni Prisoners Killed as Iraqi Violence Spreads," New York Times, 6/17/14

Salman, Duraid, Hamid, Ghassan, "Found three unidentified bodies in eastern Baghdad," Alsumaria, 2/28/14

Xinhua, "49 killed in violence across Iraq," 5/12/14