Sunday, August 20, 2017

Security In Iraq Aug 8-14, 2017


Violence in Iraq remained incredibly low during the second week of August 2017. There were only 88 incidents reported in the media. There were 20 in Ninewa, 18 in Baghdad, 15 in Diyala, 11 in Anbar, 8 in Kirkuk and Salahaddin each, 3 in Babil, 2 in Maysan, and 1 each in Dhi Qar, Karbala, and Irbil. For years, there have regularly been over 100 incidents per week in the country. Since Mosul was liberated, and the Islamic State has been thrown on the defensive the number of attacks has fallen off considerably.  

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Aug 8-14, 2017
Ninewa 20
Baghdad 18
Diyala 15
Anbar 11
Kirkuk 8
Salahaddin 8
Babil 3
Maysan 2
Dhi Qar 1
Irbil 1
Karbala 1

During the week, there were 955 dead and 124 wounded. The large number of fatalities despite the few attacks was due to Ninewa, which had 857 deaths. There were also 50 casualties in Karbala, 45 in Kirkuk, 33 in Anbar, 32 in Baghdad, 27 in Salahaddin, 14 in Diyala, 9 in Babil, and 2 in Irbil. 3 Peshmerga, 9 Hashd al-Shaabi, 14 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 929 civilians lost their lives, and 12 Peshmerga, 15 Hashd, 21 ISF, and 76 civilians were injured.

Casualties In Iraq By Province Aug 8-14, 2017
Ninewa 867 (857 Killed, 10 Wounded)
Karbala 50 (28 Killed, 22 Wounded)
Kirkuk 45 (35 Killed, 10 Wounded)
Anbar 33 (13 Killed, 20 Wounded)
Baghdad 32 (5 Killed, 27 Wounded)
Salahaddin 27 (8 Killed, 19 Wounded)
Diyala 14 (9 Killed, 5 Wounded)
Babil 9 (9 Wounded)
Irbil 2 (2 Wounded)

Almost all the incidents in Anbar during the week were in the west where the Islamic State still controls the border region. The number of attacks remained low at 11, but the militants did attempt two suicide bombings which were intercepted before reaching their targets. A Coalition air strike was also blamed for 10 civilians being killed, and 9 injured in Qaim.

There were continued attacks by IS in northeast Babil. Three IEDs went off all targeting the Hashd, two of which occurred in Jurf al-Sakhr. That left 7 injured Hashd fighters. Jurf al-Sakhr was freed in 2014. Afterward the ISF and Hashd emptied the district of civilians, turned it into a military base, and have not allowed anyone to return since then. This was because Jurf straddles the main highway pilgrims from Baghdad and the north take to the shrine city of Karbala. Various politicians have called for this policy to change, but with no luck. Babil officials claimed if people were allowed to return it would endanger not only the area but the entire province. The deputy head of the Babil council went on to threaten to sue any lawmaker that demanded civilians be allowed back to Jurf. The expulsion strategy worked for two years when there were few incidents in Babil. In the last year and a half however the insurgents have been moving back into the province. Some of that is from within the governorate, some is probably from rural south Baghdad, but most is likely coming from Anbar to the west. The Hashd and provincial government are afraid if people are allowed to live in the district again, IS cells will re-infiltrate, and make the situation worse.

Baghdad used to be the most violent area of the country, but has completely changed since the end of last year when the Mosul campaign started. There used to be 5-10 incidents per day, now there are only an average of 2-3. The second week of August was no different with 18 incidents. As usual, most were in the north, 6, and south, 5, with 3 each in the east and west, and 1 in the center. Most attacks were low level like planting IEDs, 9 of which happened. The insurgents were still trying mass casualty bombings as well. One car bomb was dismantled and two suicide bombers were arrested in an attempt at a large bombing in the middle of Baghdad. One vehicle borne explosive did make its way through security and detonated in Baladiyat in the east. Luckily only four people were wounded. Part of the reason for the massive decrease in insurgent activity in the province is due to a new Baghdad Operations commander that focused upon the Baghdad belts. Something else must have happened as well, because attacks dramatically declined as soon as the Mosul operation began in October 2016 pointing to something else besides better security.

Diyala continued to face low level insurgent operations. For the second week, IS targeted electricity towers in three separate attacks. There was also mortar fire on rural villages. Diyala is the main area the Islamic State is attempting to rebuild. That’s seen in the variety of attacks from the regular shootings and IEDs to bombing infrastructure to indirect fire. The security forces constant sweeps have not been able to retard the militants’ plans.

Nearly every week Turkey shells or bombs Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the mountains of northern Kurdistan. On August 12, artillery left two civilians wounded in the Haji Omaran area of Irbil.

In another sign that the Islamic State was transitioning from an occupying force to an insurgency was a rare attack in Karbala. The Hashd tried to white-wash the story claiming it killed a driver of a suicide car bomb, but neglected to mention a suicide bomber set off his device, accompanied by other fighters that engaged in a gunfight with the Iraqi forces. In the end, 28 people were left dead and 22 wounded. Last month, IS attempted two suicide bombings as well. Most of these operations originate from the Anbar desert region that adjoins Karbala.

Most of the violence in Kirkuk remained executions by the Islamic State, but there was one major attack as well. First, 29 people were executed in the Hawija district by the militants for various offenses such as attempting to escape. IS also attacked a Peshmerga base in Daquq that left 3 Peshmerga dead and 8 wounded. Incidents in the governorate have remained at a very low level, but recently the insurgents have been going after the Kurdish forces.

Maysan witnessed two rare incidents. An IED went off and the director from the Maysan Oil Company had his house shot up, both in Amarah. Rather than the Islamic State, this could have been the work of political, tribal or criminal factions attempting to intimidate their rivals.

The security forces were still hunting down IS elements in west Mosul. At the start of the week, the Federal Police closed off the Old City and imposed a curfew after some militants emerged from tunnels in the district. Gunfire could be heard most days in the city, and IS also attempted a suicide bombing in the Yarmouk neighborhood. IEDs left behind in houses were another threat. The Civil Defense forces continued removing bodies from the rubble of the west. 1700 corpses had been taken out of the Old City and surrounding neighborhoods, and a Civil Defense official estimated there were 3,000 more left. The security incidents, unexploded ordinance, and destruction are all reasons why the rebuilding of the western section of the city is lagging behind the rest of Mosul, and so few people have returned to that part.

A member of the Ninewa council claimed there were no more civilians left in the Tal Afar district save IS families. Kurdish President Massoud Barzani seconded that saying that all the Sunni Turkmen in the area supported the insurgency. The reality was there were plenty of regular people in Tal Afar shown by the fact that insurgents were herding them into the town to be used as human shields. During the Mosul battle IS used civilians to cover their retreats.

The United States sent 70 advisers, and some other troops to provide fire support for the Tal Afar battle. On August 13, the Islamic State claimed it killed 2 American soldiers and wounded 5 in a rocket attack on a base in Bewer. It turned out they mishandled an artillery shell, which exploded. During the Mosul campaign the Coalition had its advisers working with front line Iraqi units to call in air strikes and help with operations. They were also firing artillery and rockets. The same type of support will be extended to Tal Afar.

This presence is resented by the pro-Iran Hashd factions who have increased their propaganda against the Americans. First, Asaib Ahl Al-Haq’s Jawad al-Talabawi told the press that President Barzani had pushed the U.S. to pressure Prime Minister Haider Abadi to exclude the Hashd from Tal Afar. The Hashd’s spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi immediately shot back that only three people could speak for the Hashd and Talabawi was not one of them, while assuring that the Hashd would be part of the operation. Deputy Commander of the Hashd Abu Muhandis then said that he had photographic evidence and documents to prove that U.S. aircraft had landed in IS areas to assist them. Hashd leader Hashim al-Moussawi added that the Americans had evacuated insurgent leaders from Tal Afar, and according to Kataib Hezbollah the U.S. was building a baes in the district to help IS. Nearly every week the forces aligned with Tehran make these types of statements. The goal is to discredit the Coalition, and apply pressure upon Baghdad to reduce their role in the war.

For a second week, IS picked up the intensity of its attacks in Salahaddin. First, a suicide bomber was killed in Tikrit, while a car bomb was destroyed in the Shirqat district. Then, the insurgents cut the road to Tikrit in Zawiya in Shirqat. The firefight left 3 soldiers dead and 8 wounded. Last week the insurgents shot down an ISF helicopter, while cutting the Baghdad-Mosul highway. Salahaddin is another province where IS is trying to rebuild. For months though, its operations remained mostly shootings and IEDs sprinkled in with a few mass casualty bombings. These new attacks show a decided increase in their plans.

Security In Iraq 2017
Week
Security
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
188
509
1,346
Jan 8-14
168
371
1,036
Jan 15-21
137
585
1,262
Jan 22-28
145
289
310
Jan 29-31
74
127
338
JAN
712
1,881
4,292
Feb 1-7
123
388
176
Feb 8-14
164
434
390
Feb 15-21
148
393
508
Feb 22-28
185
647 + 399
1,390 + 1,634
FEB
620
1,862 + 399
2,464 + 1,634
Mar 1-7
179
749
622
Mar 8-14
171
551
614
Mar 15-21
143
571
1,166
Mar 22-28
152
1,233
575
Mar 29-31
71
374 + 278
288 + 2,925
MAR
716
3,478 + 278
3,265 + 2,925
Apr 1-7
174
903
487
Apr 8-14
126
599
669
Apr 15-21
108
479
449
Apr 22-28
122
698
328
Apr 29-30
39
138
51
APR
569
2,817
1,984
May 1-7
106
405
468
May 8-14
109
601
386
May 15-21
132
363
224
May 22-28
106
433
150
May 29-31
69
214
236
MAY
522
2,016
1,464
Jun 1-7
136
1,403
487
Jun 8-14
127
658
174
Jun 15-21
114
480
101
Jun 22-28
119
340
246
Jun 29-30
37
349
127
JUN
533
3,230
1,135
JAN-JUN
3,669
15,262 +
677
14,497 +
4,559
Jul 1-7
141
798
331
Jul 8-14
105
298
86
Jul 15-21
87
124
72
Jul 22-28
107
189
122
Jul 29-31
37
50
25
JUL
477
1,459
636
Aug 1 -7
80
143
188
Aug 8-14
88
955
124

Violence By Province Aug 8-14, 2017
Province
Violence
Anbar
11 Incidents
13 Killed: 3 Hashd, 10 Civilians
20 Wounded: 2 ISF, 5 Hashd, 13 Civilians
4 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Mortar
1 Rockets
1 Grenade
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
Babil
3 Incidents
9 Wounded: 9 Hashd
3 IEDs
Baghdad
18 Incidents
5 Killed: 5 Civilians
27 Wounded: 9 ISF, 18 Civilians
5 Shootings
9 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
2 Suicide Bombers Arrested
1 Car Bomb Dismantled
Dhi Qar
1 Incident
Diyala
15 Incidents
9 Killed: 2 Civilians, 7 ISF
5 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 2 Peshmerga, 2 Civilians
5 Shootings
6 IEDs
3 Mortars
Irbil
1 Incident
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
1 Turkish Shelling
Karbala
1 Incident
28 Killed: 1 ISF, 27 Civilians
22 Wounded: 22 Civilians
1 Shooting
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
Kirkuk
8 Incidents
35 Killed: 1 ISF, 3 Peshmerga, 31 Civilians
10 Wounded: 10 Peshmerga
7 Shootings
Maysan
2 Incidents
1 Shooting
1 IED
Ninewa
20 Incidents
857 Killed: 2 ISF, 5 Hashd, 850 Civilians
10 Wounded: 2 ISF, 8 Civilians
10 Shootings
6 IEDs
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
Salahaddin
8 Incidents
8 Killed: 1 Hashd, 3 ISF, 4 Civilians
19 Wounded: 8 Soldiers, 11 Civilians
3 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
1 Car Bomb Destroyed

SOURCES

Anadolu Agency, “US builds military base in Iraq for Tal Afar offensive,” 8/9/17

Baghdad Post, "2 civilians injured in blast at Baldyat in Baghdad," 8/13/17
- "11 Peshmerga personnel killed, injured in ISIS attack Kirkuk," 8/12/17
- "Suicide bomber killed before blowing himself up in Anbar," 8/11/17

Buratha News, “Popular crowd leader: terrorists began using human shields in Tal Afar,” 8/14/17
- "A suicide bomber failed to target displaced people north of Rutba," 8/10/17

Al Ghad Press, "4 mortar shells landed on an agricultural village in Abu Saida in Diyala," 8/12/17
- "19 civilians killed and injured in bombing by the International Coalition targeted Daesh in Qaim," 8/13/17
- “Civil Defense: The removal of 1700 bodies from West Mosul,” 8/9/17
- "For the third time in Diyala .. The fall of four mortar shells southwest of Baquba," 8/12/17
- "One of the popular crowd was injured by a bomb explosion in Babil," 8/12/17
- “Pentagon: US Army artillery mistake caused killing of soldiers in Iraq,” 8/15/17

Iraq News Network, “Babil Council: We will sue every deputy demanding the return of the people of Jurf al-Sakhr to their homes,” 8/9/17

Iraq Newspaper, "Iraqi Newspaper Reporter In Karbala: 50 Dead And Wounded In Cement Factory Attack," 8/12/17

Al Maalomah, "Daash executed two women under the pretext of trying to escape Hawija," 8/12/17
- "Four people, including a child, were injured by a car bomb explosion east Baghdad," 8/14/17
- “Kataib Hezbollah: We will not let the Americans run away with Iraq and our weapons will be directed against them,” 8/14/17
- “Ninewa Council: Tal Afar is free of civilians and there are only Daesh families in the area,” 8/7/17

Al Masalah, "Car bomb explosion west of Karbala," 8/12/17

Al Mayadeen, “Iraq: Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the popular crowd Abu Mahdi Muhandis: We have photographs and documents proving the landing of US aircraft in Daesh areas,” 8/11/17
- “Iraq: reporter in the field: the arrival of a US military force of 70 advisers at the Khariz base in the Kisk axis in Ninewa province,” 8/10/17

Mohammed, Araz, Ali, Amir, Al-Atbi, Adam, Al-Najar, Kamaran, Hussein, Mohammed and Van Heuvelen, Ben, “IS insurgency targets energy sites interrupting oil exports,” Iraq Oil Report, 8/17/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Barzani says Turkmens of Tal Afar loyal to Islamic State,” Iraqi News, 8/9/17
- "Islamic State execute 27 civilian prisoners in Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 8/9/17
- "Soldier dies in car bombing west of Karbala," 8/13/17
- “Three thousand corpses remain under rubbles in Mosul’s Old City,” Iraqi News, 8/9/17

Mostafa, Nehal, “Paramilitary official says troops not to take part in Tal Afar battle,” Iraqi News, 8/10/17
- “Paramilitary troops to take part in Tal Afar liberation: Spokesperson,” Iraqi News, 8/11/17

NINA, “Council of Babylon: The return of displaced to Jurf al-Sakhr would endanger them and the province,” 8/8/17
- "Popular Mobilization Detonates A Car Bomb North Of Salahuddin," 8/10/17
- "Seven members of the popular crowd injured in two bombs exploded northwest of Babylon," 8/12/17
- "Two Fighters From PMF Injured Northwest Of Hilla," 8/9/17

Noor News, "URGENT: Clashes between Peshmerga forces and Daash members in Daquq, south Kirkuk," 8/11/17

Reuters, “IS claims deadly attack on US forces in northern Iraq,” 8/13/17

Shafaaq News, “The imposition of a movement ban in old Mosul after sudden emergence of armed group supporters,” 8/8/17

Sherwani, Leyla, "Two Civilians Wounded in Iranian Bombardments against Kurdistan Borders," Bas News, 8/12/17

Sulaivany, Karzan, "Iraqi forces foil IS attack, kill 12 militants in Salahuddin," Kurdistan 24, 8/14/17

Al Sumaria, "Four mortar shells landed in the vicinity of a Peshmerga outpost northeast Diyala," 8/12/17
- "Interior Ministry reports two explosives experts were injured during the dismantling of a car bomb near the Al Mehsan complex," 8/13/17
- "Security source: At least one soldier was wounded by foiling a car bomb attack west Karbala," 8/12/17
- "Two suicide bombers were arrested and a car bomb was seized in central Baghdad," 8/13/17
- "Two towers in the main power line taken down northeast Diyala," 8/11/17

Wardana, “Popular crowd: American forces have evacuated the leaders of Daesh from Tal Afar,” 8/13/17

Xinhua, "Iraq's paramilitary units kill 9 IS militants in fierce clash," 8/12/17
- "Iraqi paramilitary units kill suicide bomber in Iraq's Tikrit," 8/12/17

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