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04 June 2013

Comprehensive Information on Complex Crisis

Iraq Lebanon Syria IED & Demining 1 2 3 4

This document provides complex coverage of global events from 28 May – 03 June 2013 with hyper-links to source material highlighted in blue and underlined in the text. For more information on the topics below or other issues pertaining to events in the region, contact the members of the Complex Coverage Team or visit our website at www.cimicweb.org.

The Civil-Military Fusion Centre (CFC) is an information and knowledge management organisation focused on improving civil-military interaction, facilitating information sharing and enhancing situational awareness through the CimicWeb portal and our Weekly and monthly publications. CFC products are based upon and link to open-source information from a wide variety of organisations, research centres and media outlets. However, the CFC does not endorse and cannot necessarily guarantee the accuracy or objectivity of these sources. CFC publications are independently produced by Desk Officers and do not reflect NATO policies or positions of any other organsiation. The CFC is part of NATO Allied Command Operations.



Linda Lavender


The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) reports that more than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in May, making it the deadliest month since the widespread sectarian violence of 2006-2007, reports BBC. The vast majority of deaths were civilian. Baghdad was the worst-hit region of the country. The increase in attacks has been accompanied by rumours of sectarian militias roaming Baghdad seeking revenge-killings. UN Special Representative in Iraq Martin Ko bler warned, “[s]ystematic violence is ready to explode at any moment if all Iraqi leaders do not engage immediately to pull the country out of this mayhem”, reports United Press International (UPI). Later, Kobler reported that a weekend meeting with political leaders included the Prime Minister, religious leaders and key administrative officials addressing the uptick in violence, reports UPI. Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al Shahristani warned Israel on 03 June that Baghdad would respond to any attempts to use Iraqi airspace for a strike against Iran’s controversial nuclear energy programme, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Iraq’s defence ministry reports it interrupted an al Qaeda cell operating in Baghdad, working to produce poisonous gas for terrorist attacks, according to Al Jazeera. The five-man cell used instructions obtained from another al Qaeda group to build two facilities for production of sarin and mustard gas. The cell intended to launch domestic attacks, as well as attacks in Europe, Canada and the United States. An al Qaeda plot to pack tanker trucks with explosives and attack a key Baghdad oil facility was thwarted by Iraqi security, reports Al Jazeera.

For further information contact: Complex Coverage Team Leader Linda Lavender linda.lavender@cimicweb.org

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03-Jun-13: Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK1) militants fired on Turkish troops in southeast Turkey, the first such incident since the announcement of the PKK withdrawal from Turkey, reports Reuters. 02 Jun-13: Al Jazeera reports that at least six were killed and five others kidnapped in a series of attacks in Anbar province. 30-May-13: Associated Press (AP) reports that a string of bombings in the northern city of Mosul killed at least thirty people. The same day, The Daily Star reports that at least 26 people were killed in Baghdad. 29-May-13: A wedding party in the southern Jihad district of Baghdad was attacked. resulting in 16 deaths and 42 others wounded, reports Al Jazeera. In the Abu Ghraib district, twelve people were killed when a roadside bomb and a subsequent car bomb exploded near a market. In Mosul, an anti-government Sunni activist was assassinated; he was one of ten people killed, or found dead, from acts of violence on 29 May, according to CNN. 28-May-13: Twenty-eight people were killed during attacks in Baghdad and in villages north of the capital, according to The Daily Star.

Russian oil company Lukoil Vice President Andrei Kuzyaev stated that his company will invest USD 4 billion in West Qurna, the oil complex near the Iraqi port city of Basra, one of the largest undeveloped oil fields in the world, according to UPI. Lukoil predicts the first oil from the West Qurna-2 oil field will flow within six months. The New York Times (NYT) reports that China is now Iraq’s largest oil customer, purchasing nearly 1.5 billion barrels per day (bpd). China continues to move aggressively towards expanding its role in Iraq’s petroleum industry, as the Iraqi government is increasingly at odds with some foreign oil companies that previ ously cut deals with the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. One of the world’s most famous wetlands is enjoying a major restoration, after being drained and destroyed under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, reports BBC. Some regard the lush Iraqi marshes as the original Biblical Garden of Eden. Also, BBC reports that although the Kurdish region of Iraq has progressed economically and socially, the northern region continues to be a very patriarchal and conservative society where women continue to experience domestic violence, social injustice and discrimination. As a result, doctors report that each month they see “hundreds of cases of self-immolation”.


Linda Lavender

linda.lavender @cimicweb.org

Citing a deteriorating security situation in Lebanon, the parliament announced they would delay general elections schedule for July 2013, reports France 24. Elections will instead be held in November 2014, according to The Guardian. Hezbollah Member of Parliament Nawaf Musawi warned on 02 June that victory by Islamists in Syria spelled doom for Lebanon, according to The Daily Star. Musawi claims that opposition groups in Syria sought a puppet state to be “a toy in the hands of Americans and Israelis”. The Guardian reports President Michel Suleiman delivered a “veiled rebuke” to Hezbollah’s leader saying, “I wish [he] would not involve the resistance in Syria’s war”. It is the resistance of Lebanon and not of Syria. I hope Nasrallah abides by this”. Lebanese President Sleiman asked Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to file an urgent complaint to the United Nations over continued airspace violations by neighbouring Israel, according to The Daily Star. For the first time since the Syrian uprising, on 03 June, fighting between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels took place on Lebanese soil, according to The Guardian. Reports indicate that light and medium weapons were used in fighting that took place east of the city of Baalbek, where Hezbollah maintains several bases of operation. Also, France 24 reports on 02 June that three rockets from Syria struck northeastern Lebanon, a day after eighteen rockets and mortar rounds struck Lebanon’s eastern Baalbek region. UPI reports that Hezbollah fighters continue to play a key role in the battle for Qusayr, but the movement has lost many battle-seasoned veterans. Lebanese sources identified two senior Hezbollah commanders, Abu Ajib and Hamza Ramloush, as casualties in the Qusayr siege. As Hezbollah becomes more deeply involved in Syria, thereby drawing “fragile Lebanon” along with it, analysts question how long the organisation’s “near-monopoly support” among Lebanese Shi’ites will last, according to The Washington Post. Hezbollah operations in Syria, against a largely Sunni Syrian opposition, has a “sectarian flavor and is quickly deepening divides in Lebanon”. Six people were killed in clashes in the northern city of Tripoli on 03 June, reports Reuters. The clashes ended a week of calm, after 29 people were killed in May between gunmen sympathetic to the Syrian opposition and Alawite supporters. A day earlier, twelve people were killed just over the Lebanese border in clashes between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels. An attack against a Sunni-cleric Maher Hammoud in southern Sidon occurred as he entered a mosque. Hammoud is a close ally of Hezbollah and strong critic of prorebel Sunni-cleric Sheikh Ahmed al Assir. A staunch supporter of Syrian uprising, Assir has called up Lebanese Sunnis to join the fight.


The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the European Union an d NATO.

04 June 2013



Linda Lavender


“The Syrian conflict is no longer an internal struggle between Assad and the internal opposition. It’s an open -ended war by proxy – Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, plus Russia and the United States,” acc ording to Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. Meanwhile, Gerges suggests that Syrian society is collapsing and the conflict continues to cross borders into neighbouring countries, reports CNN. AFP reports that one of the Arab world’s most influential Sunni clerics, Yusaf al Qaradawi, urged Sunni Muslims to join Syrian rebels fighting against Shi’ite Hezbollah. Qaradawi is viewed as a controversial leader by the West and has millions of supporters, primarily from the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi strongly criticised Iran’s role in the war saying, “Ira n is pushing forward arms and men [to back the Syrian regime], so why do we stand idle?” He also re -branded Hezbollah, which means Party of God in Arabic, as the “party of Satan”. Meanwhile, an estimated 2,000 Hezbollah fighters were reportedly amassing near the city of Aleppo and appeared to be preparing for attack, according to rebels, reports The Washington Post. Hezbollah’s alleged presence in Syria’s north follows a pledge by Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah to back Assad to victory and demonstrates that the group can be used as a guerilla force where needed within the country. The battle for Qusayr, which began two weeks ago, has trapped an estimated 1,500 wounded residents, reports AFP. Syrian warplanes pounded the town as a regime offensive backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters sought to retake Qusayr from opposition forces. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was still seeking permission from the Syrian government to access residents within Qusayr, reports Reuters. Alex Heeb of the ICRC stated, “We remain alarmed about the current situation in Qusayr where food, water and medical supplies are reported to be very scarce”. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on 01 June that all sides in the Syrian conflict will be held accountable for the killing of civilians in the besieged city, according to CNN. US Senator John McCain, upon his return from a recent trip to Syria, delivered a bleak assessment of the hostilities and suggested that opposition fighters were being massacred, according to The New York Times (NYT). McCain described the “battlefield situation in Syrian now favouring Assad over opposition forces”. UPI reports that sophisticated Russian and Iranian technology already utilised in Syria have bolstered the government’s fighting capabilities. Iranian -made surveillance drones and jamming devices have allowed proregime forces to gather intelligence about rebel force movements and block communications. In response to the European Union’ s (EU) easing of its arms embargo, Russia is allegedly ready to start supplying offensive weaponry to the Assad regime, reports Christian Science Monitor (CSM). Russian Defense Minister Sergia Shoigu stated on 29 May, “[e]very decision has two sides. If one side lifts restrictions, the other may consider itself free from observing earlier commitments” , reports RIA Novosti. The US and Germany continued to urge Russia against transferring advanced anti-aircraft missiles to the Assad regime, according to VOA. CNN reports that Russia will provide at least ten more Russian MiG-29 fighter jets to the Assad government in order to fulfill an earlier contract. A Syrian delegation in Russia is reportedly pressing for additional fighter jets. The escalating war of words between Syrian and Israeli leadership threatens to reignite a conflict that has been dormant for more than 45 years, and has villagers on the Golan Heights fearing an outbreak of fighting, according to The Guardian. On 30 May, Assad threatened Israel, saying he would “open a front on the Golan Heights” should Israel attempt to prevent Russian S -300 anti-aircraft missile systems from becoming operational within Syria. Assad told Hezbollah’s al Manar TV “[t]here is a clear popular pressu re to open a front of resistance in t he Golan and there is Arab enthusiasm and a desire to come and fight against Israel”. Meanwhile, Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon told an Israeli parliamentary committee that Russia would not be able to deliver advanced S-300 anticraft missiles to Assad’s government before 2014, according to AFP. Yaalon did not elaborate on how he arrived at his conclusion on the time frame but warned the international community that Israel “[knew] what to do” if Russia fulfilled the delivery of the S-300 system. Peace talks, tentatively scheduled for June 2013, will be postponed after a series of diplomatic setbacks, including Moscow’s announcement confirming its intention to ship addition weapons to the Syrian government, reports The Guardian. The peace talks were already in peril after the Syrian National Coalition leader ruled out participating while civilians continued to be killed an d “in light of Hezbollah and Iran’s militia’s invasion in Syria”. Diplomats remain hopeful that talks will take place in either July or August. The Syrian Revolutionary General Commission (SRGC), a key bloc from the internationally recognised opposition group, the National Coalition, is withdrawing from the body amid allegations that coalition leadership are misusing funds and are motivated by personal ambition, according to AFP. The SRGC, which comprises a country wide network of rebel-linked activists, is one of the longest-established opposition groups operating on the ground in Syria. A statement released by the SRGC states, “We are withdrawing from the Coalition…because it is taking initiatives far removed from the true revolut ion and cannot represent the revolution in an authentic way”. Meanwhile, in efforts to project legitimacy, al Qaeda branches in Iraq and Syria announced t he

04 June 2013


opening of a complaints department, reports The Telegraph. The organisation vowed to ensure accountability for anyone committing violations and send them to the Sharia court of Iraq and Syria. On 29 May, The Guardian reports that Ali Almanasfi and Nicole Mansfield, citizens of the UK and US, respectively, were killed while fighting for the Syrian opposition in Idlib, Syria. A third foreign fighter, whose nationality was unknown, was also killed in the fighting, says Abdul Rahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A car bomb detonated near a Damascus police station on 02 June, killing eight Assad soldiers, according to UPI. The attack came as clashes between rebels and Assad forces in a suburb of Damascus were underway. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Voice of America (VOA) that intervention in Syria “is always an option” adding that it is “an option of last resort”. The US has been slowly increasing its presence in neighbouring Jordan, which has been deeply affe cted by the instability in the region. Outwardly, Jordan has tried to stay neutral in the conflict, but hosting US troops places it more firmly in alliance with the Syrian opposition. Dozens of citizen militias have hastily formed to protect Jordanians living close to the Syrian border, reports The Washington Post. Militia members patrol Jordan’s mountainous frontier in order to monitor Syrian military escalation along the Jordanian border. Syrian refugees, sheltering in neighbouring countries, now surpass 1.6 million people, reports VOA. The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) states that the flow of refugees from Syria continues to overwhelm capacity in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that outbreaks of hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and dysentery are inevitable realities this summer, according to The Guardian. Infections are already on the rise, resulting from the lack of medical care. Additionally, diseases already present in Syria are being transmitted to neighbouring countries along with the flow of refugees.

IED & Demining

Linda Lavender


The CFC publishes a weekly IED and Demining Events map. This global compilation links to articles reporting significant IED related-events and demining efforts. This report covers 28 May to 03 June 2013.

Bahrain: A homemade bomb planted by terrorists exploded in a Shi’ite village outside the Bahraini capital, wounding seven policemen on patrol, on 31 May, reports Al Jazeera.Click on the map for more IED events. Iraq: At least 25 people were killed in a series of bomb blasts in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on 29 May, according to BBC. Click on the map for more IED events. Ireland: Two police officers escape injury after pipe bombs landed within metres of them during an emergency callout in north Belfast, according to The Guardian. Click on the map for more IED events.

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04 June 2013


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