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Second Iraqi Civil War

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Second Iraqi Civil War
File:/files/2009/07/dvids-july-1-6.jpg


Iraqi troops following the recapture of Hillah in November 2014.
Beginning:

August 2nd 2014

End:

ongoing

Place:

Southern and Central Iraq, technically a spillover of the war with ISIS

Outcome:

ongoing

Major battles:

(in order of earliest to latest)


Battle of Hillah (concluded)

Battle of Umm Qasr (concluded)

Battle of Al Diwaniyah (concluded)

First Battle of Basra (concluded)

Battle of Faw (ongoing)

Battle of Chibayish (ongoing)

Combatants

Republic of Iraq

United States of America

United Republic of Iraq and Mesopotamia

Commanders

Haider al-Abadi (President of Iraq)

Barack Obama (President of the USA)

Jamil Hussein (Basra faction)

Hafiz al-Qurati (Umm Qasr faction)

Strength

80,000 - 100,000 (Iraq)

50,000 (USA)

40,000 - 80,000 (Basra faction)

5,000 - 10,000 (Umm Qasr faction)

Casualties and Losses

3,700 Iraqis

560 Americans

25,000 altogether

The Second Iraqi Civil War is a civil war that began in August 2014, when after ISIS took over large swarves of Northern Iraq, Ba'athists and former loyalists of Saddam Hussein, took the opportunity to rise up in the south and proclaim a new Ba'athist state. As of present (June 2015), not only is Iraq in civil war, so are the Ba'athists, as they are divided between rival leaders.

Background

Iraq suffered a First Civil War in 2006, at the peak of insurgency following the US invasion. After Iraq managed to stabilise itself, US troops left in 2011, only to return in June 2014 following the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's destructive campaign across Northern Iraq caused the outbreak of sectarian violence across the country.

The peace dies

In July 2014, it was reported that neo-Ba'athists were attempting to take over the city of Basra, in the south of Iraq, near the border with Iran. Concerned, US president Barack Obama announced that, as long as the reports could be confirmed, which they were on July 26th, he would send troops in. Subsequently, on July 27th, Obama ordered an invasion of Southern Iraq to quell the uprising. Unfortunately, by that time, Basra had fallen and they had expanded towards the Iranian border.

On August 1st 2014, a man by the name of Hafiz al-Qurati, long rumoured to be the leader of this rebellion, announced the proclamation of the United Republic of Iraq and Mesopotamia, denouncing the existance of both the democratic Iraqi state and of ISIS. He also stated that "this project intends to revive the glory days of when our soul brother; Saddam Hussein, reigned with a heavy, yet fair, fist" and he denounced the west for destroying Saddam's regime in the 2003 invasion. Following this statement, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki declared Iraq to be in a state of complete civil war.

On August 4th 2014, al-Qurati released another statement 'The pathetic Americans won't know what we have planned next for this beautiful nation of ours. We shall conquer Anbar, Baghdad, Mosul, and eventually, they will have but no choice other than to bow to us as the legitimate Iraqi state, so help me god, I would go out on to the battlefield myself, but I must govern my country without putting myself at risk'. Not long after, Governer al-Qurati released yet another statement, disclosing the details of his state, that they adhere to the Ba'athist policy, and strictly enforce Shari'ah law, as well as their forced conscription of males aged between 18 and 25 to the military.

Throughout August, the Ba'athists gradually expanded north, along the Iranian border, and west, towards Nasiriyah, cutting off the coast from the rest of Iraq. In September, they began an offensive against American positions in Umm Qasr; Iraq's most important port city. Rumour had it that the city fell within six hours due to American reluctance, though it was later confirmed Umm Qasr had indeed fallen to the Ba'athists. al-Qurati then declared Umm Qasr to be the URIM's capital on September 16th, moving away from Basra. Not long after, the URIM began a large offensive (September Sweep) across Southern Iraq, seizing much of the Iraqi border with Kuwait and, at its extent, came within 75 miles of Baghdad. Iraq was now facing a new threat, this time, from the south.

Events of Late 2014

The effects of September's offensive lasted well into October. The Baghdad government could no longer handle two threats in simulcast, so it found itself being torn apart as President Fuad Masum did nothing to prevent his Council of Representatives practically shatter into pieces. Governer al-Qurati then suggested a meeting with President Masum to sort out some kind of resolution, as he was now willing to scale back his territorial claims.

Masum turned him down, so Ba'athist forces advanced north towards Baghdad, until they were halted at Hillah by the Iraqi Army on October 11th. The Battle of Hillah subsequently ensued. American ships were then found to be setting up along the Iraqi coast by Saudi naval guards. Iran did not comment on how they allowed US ships to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, considering they kept a very tight space on it, though President Ali Khamenei later confessed they were convinced by American captains that they were refugee ships coming to rescue survivors of a large massacre in Southern Iraq. Feeling tricked, the Iranian Navy shut off all access into the Persian Gulf and threatened to sink all American ships if they attempted to leave. Now compromised, American ships requested bases in Dammam and Jubail, which the Saudi government accepted, but only until December, after which they would need to pay a sum of money or find another base.

Meanwhile, al-Qurati released his first statement in a month, declaring 'The events of the last week between Iran and America shows just how weak US foreign policy can be. Having to rely on the menace that is Saudi Arabia also shows how the US can never stay self-dependent for a space of time. For releasing this statement, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia condemned the Ba'athists, and encouraged Baghdad to branch out for help from neighbours.

On October 22nd, Masum announced his resignation as President of Iraq. The statement caused utter chaos to break out. On October 24th, new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was announced as Masum's successor. However, co-Vice President Usama al-Nujayfi challenged al-Abadi for the position. Subsequently, Baghdad became factionalised, and the Iraqi Army was left broken as a major split occured due to the presidential crisis.

With the Bagdad government effectively left in tatters, America was forced to accept that Iraq's dissolution was imminent. Meanwhile, Governer al-Qurati took the opportunity to use Baghdad's split in his favour. He attempted to advance north in an effort to finally capture Hillah and continue until they reached the capital. Unfortunately, the split hadn't had much effect on the battle, as those still loyal to al-Abadi continued to hold the area. On November 3rd, al-Qurati announced his claims to land in Kuwait, and sent the first troops into the country just hours after. The following day, Kuwait declared war on the URIM. On November 6th, al-Qurati announced he was moving the capital of the URIM back to Basra, as American naval forces had begun shelling Umm Qasr.

Throughout November, the URIM found its military conscription programme to be failing, as forces would go AWOL and evacuate into either Iran or Saudi Arabia to escape being captured for abandoning thier post. As a result, the group began losing the Battle of Hillah. al-Abadi loyalists then retook the entire town on November 29th, ending the battle and the URIM's northern expansion. On December 1st, American troops landed at Umm Qasr and began a fierce battle for the city; since the port had already been seized, the enemy was at a deep deficit. Fighting quickly descended into stalemate as URIM forces continued to hold their position along the coast and American naval troops could not break the blockade. Elsewhere, the first confrontations between the URIM and ISIS took place on December 10th as they fought over a border crossing into Saudi Arabia, at which point al-Qurati announced that the death penalty would be enforced for anyone who tried to go AWOL. Figures of soldiers abandoning their post sharply dropped after this announcement.

On December 21st 2014, it was reported by an Iraqi newspaper that Governer al-Qurati had been killed in an Iranian airstrike on Basra, which had occured on December 18th. The following day, American forces announced they were now willing to negotiate with the URIM in the wake of al-Qurati's supposed death, which most URIM forces strongly denied. However, on December 24th 2014, it was announced that Abu Omar bin-Dhu would take over al-Qurati as governer of the URIM, further fuelling rumours as to the latter's death. Almost immediately after his inauguration, bin-Dhu rejected the American proposition to negotiate, deeming them an enemy of the state. On December 28th, URIM forces began a battle to keep the city of Al Diwaniyah, which had been besieged by al-Abadi forces, who had almost quelled the al-Nujayfi faction. The following day, al-Qurati was supposed to have been seen in a prison cell nearby Al Diwaniyah being tortured, opening a new rumour that there may have been a coup of power within the organisation, and that al-Qurati was alive.

Gradual downfall

On January 1st 2015, in his first New Year's Speech, Governer bin-Dhu denied that he had gained power through a coup, and that al-Qurati had simply handed the position over to him. However, this theory was disproven when al-Qurati rounded up a mob and attacked the Governer's Offices in Basra on January 3rd, announcing to the world that there had indeed been a coup, and he was forcibly removed from power. Subsequently, bin-Dhu was found shot dead in the main office that night. al-Qurati then retook his position and his administration of the URIM resumed. On January 6th, Al Diwaniyah fell to the reunited Iraqi Army, under the administration of President al-Abadi. The next day, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, France, al-Qurati condemned the attackers, deeming them "betrayers of Islam", unlike ISIS, who praised the attackers as "heroes". Throughout January, the URIM lost large amounts of territory to the north and west, and Basra was eventually surrounded on three sides, much like Mosul, which was under ISIS control. al-Qurati then announced on January 21st that military service would now be mandatory for every able man under URIM-controlled territory. The dissatisfaction with al-Qurati's governance begins to grow.

All through February and into early March 2015, the URIM continues to lose territory in the west to ISIS, yet by the end of February, the Iraqi Army pushes them back towards the Syrian border. On March 9th, an attempt on al-Qurati's life is undertaken by an Iraqi loyalist. Meanwhile, the US siege on Umm Qasr collapsed as naval forces surrendered the main port to URIM forces. On March 11th, following the assassination attempt, al-Qurati announces he is going into hiding and handing over governance of the URIM to his deputy, the much older Abdul Abdullah-al-Ifizi. Abdullah takes office the same day.

At the end of March 2015, Iraqi troops are said to be less than 15 miles away from Basra. Governer Abdullah then releases a statement, calling on Ba'athists in Syria to defect to the URIM, declaring that their state, unlike Syria, is actually succeeding. In actual fact, this is far from true. On April 2nd, a massive bombing campaign leaves Basra completely destroyed and deals a devastating blow to Ba'athist morale. Abdullah then mishandles much of the assets of the organisation, leaving them flat broke as foreign governments are able to get into URIM banking accounts and seize millions, attained from looting banks and selling oil. Elsewhere, in Kuwait, the URIM expansion there has largely failed, and the group now only controls less than one square mile of land in the very north of the country. Despite this, Abdullah orders an assault from the coast on April 9th, which proves disastrous after troops are driven out less than 48 hours later. Realising the war in Kuwait is lost, Abdullah orders all URIM forces to retreat on April 12th, and begins planning to invade at a later date. On April 14th, URIM military commander Jamil Hussein, said to be the great-nephew of Saddam Hussein (though it is not true), demands he become "co-governer" of the group, declaring that the URIM could lose everything if Abdullah continues what he is doing to them. On April 15th, Abdullah welcomes Hussein's "invitation" as he puts it.

This proves to be a horrible decision for Abdullah, as on April 17th, Hussein has Abdullah arrested for treason, initiating a second coup. The URIM is then transformed into a military dictatorship, and begins to drift away from Ba'athist policies, now more intent on restoring the military nation introduced after the 1958 coup. Upon hearing of this, former Governer al-Qurati makes his presence known. On April 21st, al-Qurati releases a video, filmed at his hideout in an unknown southern region of Iran, urging Hussein to respect the Ba'athist ideals of the URIM. In response, Hussein announces he is to have Abdullah executed and, after ordering the high court to do so, sentences al-Qurati to death in-absentia.

Events of late Spring 2015

On April 29th, Governer Hussein announces he is to spare Abdullah, instead sentencing him to life in prison. On the same day, Iraqi troops begin arriving on the outskirts of Basra. Desperate citizens run towards them, clearly stressed by what they have been going through. It turns out the government had been torturing people who resisted military conscription. Now realising just how brutal the URIM can be, Iraqi president al-Abadi announces the go-ahead for a battle to recapture Basra. Elsewhere, Iran announces it is dropping its blockade on the Strait of Hormuz, but American ships have 24 hours to leave the Persian Gulf, otherwise, all will be sunk, even if they are docked. Saudi king Salman warns Iran not to shell Dammam or Jubail. Tensions rise between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

On May 1st, the Battle of Basra begins as Iraqi troops pour into the city. Hussein escapes into the countryside to the village of Abu Al Khasib, declaring it the "capital-in-exile" until the democratic "scum" can be relinquished. All military operations of the URIM throughout the first half of May are focused on Basra. Hussein later announces he is reviving some Ba'athist policies. Rumour spreads that al-Qurati is returning to the URIM, which Hussein strongly denies after being asked, and threatens to execute the person who asked the question, declaring al-Qurati to be "gone for good", which starts another rumour that he has had al-Qurati killed.

On May 25th 2015, al-Qurati releases a video, confirming his return to the URIM, and calling on soldiers of the group to return to his governance, declaring he is the only one that can rule. Infuriated by this, Hussein later announces that anyone who defects to al-Qurati or attempts to will face execution. On May 27th, al-Qurati rounds up some defectors and begins a self-titled "crusade" to take Umm Qasr. The city falls on May 29th, and al-Qurati declares a parallel URIM. A major split occurs as more than 10% of all the Hussein-governed URIM defects to al-Qurati's administration. Subsequently, President al-Abadi states that the URIM is now in a state of civil war much like Iraq as whole. On June 4th, al-Qurati loyalists were seen leaving Umm Qasr at dawn, heading north. Not long after, oil fields were besieged by the forces. al-Qurati subsequently announced that the Umm Qasr faction would be making advancements to the north in the coming days, in hopes of taking Basra. Speaking of which, by June 8th, the Iraqi Army has largely been pushed back to the western outskirts of the city, and Hussein announces the gradual re-establishment of URIM administrative offices in the city. Not long after, al-Abadi announces they are once again collaborating with the US for another naval invasion of the coastline. The day after, Iran's president gives his approval to the idea at last, greatly decreasing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Year 2

On June 10th, President al-Abadi announces that the Iraqi Army have lost the "First Battle of Basra" after troops began to pull out of the city in the early hours. Subsequently, Hussein announced that Abu Al Khasib was no longer the capital-in-exile and that most offices would be moved back to Basra by the end of the month. Throughout the day, Iraqi forces are pushed five miles away from Basra. This sudden burst of morale among Hussein loyalists is driven by the fact that al-Qurati's loyalists are advancing north. On June 13th, the Battle of Faw ensues as al-Qurati launches an assault on the city to capture Hussein's last coastal holding. In just the one day, most of Faw falls to al-Qurati's faction. The situation deteriorates.

Meanwhile, Hussein declares a turning point in the war, and announces claims to land in Saudi Arabia! These claims extend as far south as Jubail and as far west as Sakaka. al-Qurati denounces these claims as "childish antics" and an "ISIS-like approach to independence". On June 16th, Hussein loyalists manage to reclaim the city center of Faw, but renewed American shelling on the city is quickly draining resources, allowing al-Qurati to get the upper hand. The following day, the city center is completely destroyed as Hussein forces battle to retake the rest of the city. Not long after, President al-Abadi sets a date for a landing in Southern Iraq; June 22nd.

The landing at Umm Qasr takes place, and is largely successful, bringing much of the city itself under American control and forcing al-Qurati's administration to evacuate to nearby Zubayr. That same day, the Karbala massacre occurs, as URIM supporters carry out the murders of 81 people in Karbala city centre and injure 127 more in a bombing. President al-Abadi declares that urgent action is required to stop the URIM expanding north again. Hussein warns him that the URIM will become reality, whether or not through war.

Current situation

As of June 28th 2015, a renewed assault in Kuwait is planned, al-Qurati loyalists have seized almost all of the coastline, Baghdad is cooperating with Washington for a landing in Southern Iraq, with the (rumored) help of Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Faw is embroiled in an extremely destructive battle.

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