Friday, May 1, 2015

IS Seizes Major Dam as Sectarian Bombings Strike Baghdad - Olivia McCoy



by Olivia McCoy

This location is key for the Islamic State because it can be used  as a transit point for supplies and forces through Anbar, which IS continues to dominate, to other provinces. Additionally, the area surrounding the dam and the Lake Tharthar can be utilized for launching attacks on both Shiite militias and Iraqi regular forces.

At least eight people were killed in Baghdad Wednesday morning as a result of several bombings occurring in and around the capital. The largest attack was in a commercial area in the neighborhood of Amiriyah. In this attack alone, 3 civilians were killed and another 12 were wounded.

One bomb targeted a convoy of Shiite militiamen, killed two fighters and wounded four more. The Shiite militias have been integral to the force the Iraqi government has utilized against the Islamic State.

Attacks on Sunday, the 26th of April, claimed the lives of 12 civilians. Five people were killed as a result of a car bomb parked in front of a Sunni mosque.

Also on Sunday, the Islamic State’s major news outlet, Amaq News, released a video showing Islamic State fighters near the Tharthar dam. Baghdad lies just 75 miles south of the Tharthar dam. The video documented the result of an attack on the dam and military base nearby.

The video documented  slain Iraqi soldiers, as well as Islamic State fighters manning the military base with an ISIS flag flying above. It has been reported that 127 Iraqi soldiers were killed during this attack and that the Islamic State has now gained control in the area.

This location is key for the Islamic State because it can be used  as a transit point for supplies and forces through Anbar, which IS continues to dominate, to other provinces. Additionally, the area surrounding the dam and the Lake Tharthar can be utilized for launching attacks on both Shiite militias and Iraqi regular forces.

Next, the dam controls the flow of water from both Lake Tharthar and Habaniya into the Tigris River, which lies to the west of Baghdad. Control of the dam could mean flooding if Islamic State chooses to open the dam’s gates or drought if they choose to refuse to let any water through as the summer season begins. Islamic State has previously been documented to use water as weapon.

While the Iraqi forces have made large strides by putting more effort into reclaiming territory from the Islamic State, they have been unable to fend the jihadists off entirely, and the need to stage and coordinate large numbers of troops and equipment in order to seize key IS-held cities and towns (as was the case in Tikrit) has enabled Islamic State to conduct operations and achieve successes in other areas.


Olivia McCoy

Source: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/04/29/is-seizes-major-dam-as-sectarian-bombings-strike-baghdad/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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