Saturday, July 4, 2015

Musings On Iraq in The News


My interview with Tom Ricks on U.S. military policy in Iraq from 2003-2006 was listed on Real Clear Defense. Real Clear Defense will also start regularly listing my articles and created an "Authors listing" for me. I was also cited in the new book Iraq and the Crimes of Aggressive War by John Hagan, Joshua Kaiser, and Anna Hanson.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Violence On the Decline In Iraq


June saw a slight uptick in attacks in Iraq, but casualties were lower than May. The majority of the violence during the month was in Baghdad, Anbar, and Salahaddin, which has been true for most of the year. There were also a large number of fatalities in Ninewa due to Islamic State executions. Overall, attacks have been steadily going down after the start of the year.

Musings On Iraq counted 622 security incidents in June 2015. At the start of the month attacks were relatively low, but then began increasing towards the end, especially during the fourth week. There were an average of 20.7 attacks per day, which was up from 18.6 per day in May, but below the figures for the rest of the year, which saw 26.3 in January, 23.3 in February, 22.2 in March, and 21.1 in April, which shows a downward trend. Many attacks go unreported so the real numbers are much higher.

As usual, Baghdad, Anbar and Salahaddin saw the most incidents. Baghdad had 229 during the month. Anbar had 157 and Salahaddin 93. Anbar has been the main focus of the Islamic State for the last year, and it has recently picked up attacks in Baghdad as well. On the other hand, the government has been spending most of its time in Salahaddin. After those three provinces there were 48 attacks in Ninewa, 42 in Diyala, 24 in Babil, 18 in Kirkuk, 7 in Basra, and one each in Karbala, Muthanna, Najaf, and Wasit. In Karbala and Najaf the security forces discovered car bombs and successful disarmed them before they exploded. In Muthanna a house was burned, and in Wasit a man was shot and killed. The Karbala and Najaf incidents showed that IS was still trying to hit the south with mass casualty car bombs, but has not been successful for several months now.

The press reported 1,804 killed and 2,012 wounded during the month. The former was made up of 4 Peshmerga, 60 Sahwa, 136 Hashd al-Shaabi, 406 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 1,198 civilians. The latter consisted of 17 Peshmerga, 25 Sahwa, 157 Hashd, 308 ISF, and 1,505 civilians. Overall, that was 3,816 casualties, which was lower than May’s 4,314 despite the increase in attacks. The number of dead and injured is being grossly under reported because the Iraqi government does not want to be open about its losses fearing that it would hurt morale. There are probably thousands and thousands of casualties that have been kept secret as a result.

The deadliest governorates were not the ones with the most attacks. Anbar had 552 deaths. After that was Ninewa with 446. That was because 80 Yazidi bodies were found in a mass grave in Badush at the start of June, and 70 soldiers in a mass grave in Tal Afar in the middle of the month. The Islamic State executed another 234 people, mostly in Mosul. Then there were 323 killed in Baghdad, 200 in Salahaddin, 133 in Kirkuk, 87 in Diyala, 35 in Babil, 5 in Basra, and one in Wasit. Kirkuk has been relatively quiet for months now, but a grave with 125 bodies was found in a warehouse used by IS in Hawija in the middle of the month accounting for the high casualty rate there.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
184
434
464
Jan 8-14
170
730
493
Jan 15-21
182
390
515
Jan 22-28
189
466
894
Jan 29-31
90
288
529
JAN
815
2,308
2,895
Feb 1-7
155
380
688
Feb 8-14
170
406
559
Feb 15-21
165
573
364
Feb 22-28
165
371
687 + 386
FEB
655
1,730
2,683
Mar 1-7
172
372
587
Mar 8-14
133
348
656
Mar 15-21
142
1,299
503
Mar 22-28
170
235
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
689
2,459 + 4
2,371 + 150
Apr 1-7
121
212
422
Apr 8-14
133
626
525
Apr 15-21
169
722
714
Apr 22-28
160
483
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
633
2,212
2,625
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
420
549
May 15-21
124
963
387
May 22-28
108
341 + 1,499
348
May 29-31
38
66
164 + 646
MAY
578
2,416 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
132
431
476
Jun 8-14
126
522 + 405
394
Jun 15-21
141
365
373
Jun 22-28
162
306
474
Jun 29-30
61
122
189
JUN
622
1,804
2,012

Violence In Iraq June 2015 By Province
Province
Attacks
Dead
Wounded
Type
Anbar
157
552
40 Sahwa
50 Hashd
158 ISF
304 Civilians
585
4 Sahwa
31 Hashd
116 ISF
434 Civilians
85 Shootings
6 IEDs
7 Suicide Bombers
13 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
1 Artillery
15 Mortars
5 Rockets
1 Missiles
34 Suicide Bombers Killed
12 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
24
35
1 Hashd
3 Sahwa
7 ISF
24 Civilians
100
3 Sahwa
6 ISF
7 Hashd
84 Civilians
2 Shootings
18 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Sound Bomb
Baghdad
229
323
2 Hashd
14 Sahwa
23 ISF
284 Civilians
804
2 Hashd
18 Sahwa
49 ISF
735 Civilians
61 Shootings
108 IEDs
27 Sticky Bombs
1 Sound Bomb
2 Suicide Car Bombs
6 Car Bombs
2 Grenades
2 Mortars
7 Car Bombs Destroyed
Basra
7
5
5 Civilians
4
4 Civilians
5 Shootings
2 IEDs
Diyala
42
87
1 Peshmerga
3 Sahwa
4 Hashd
6 ISF
73 Civilians
157
2 Hashd
7 ISF
148 Civilians
10 Shootings
22 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Mortar
Karbala
1


7 Car Bombs Destroyed
Kirkuk
18
133
1 ISF
2 Peshmerga
130 Civilians
44
12 ISF
14 Peshmerga
18 Civilians
5 Shootings
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Rockets
2 Grenades
Muthanna
1



Najaf
1


1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
Ninewa
48
446
114 ISF
332 Civilians
16
16 Civilians
27 Shootings
70 IEDs
1 Mortar
8 Suicide Bombers Killed
Salahaddin
93
200
1 Peshmerga
75 ISF
45 Civilians
79 Hashd
258
3 Peshmerga
74 ISF
66 Civilians
115 Hashd

42 Shootings
22 IEDs
8 Suicide Bombers
6 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
5 Mortars
1 Rockets
1 Grenades
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
31 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
12 Car Bombs Destroyed
Wasit
1
1
1 Civilian

1 Shooting

Car Bombs In Iraq, June 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jun 1
Fallujah & Thar Thar x3, Anbar
58
57
Jun 2
Palestine St, Baghdad
6
13
Jun 3



Jun 4
Thar Thar, Anbar
Baya, Baghdad
5
14
Jun 5



Jun 6
Baladrooz, Diyala
14
37
Jun 7



Totals
8
83
121
Jun 8



Jun 9
Palestine St, Baghdad
10
24
Jun 10
Shula, Baghdad
6
20
Jun 11



Jun 12
Baiji x2, Salahaddin
8
20
Jun 13
Garma x4 & Haiyakil x2, Anbar
Hijjaj x4, Salahaddin
42
49
Jun 14
Baghdadi x2, Anbar
Shaab, Baghdad
3
10
Totals
17
69
123
Jun 15



Jun 16



Jun 17
Kadhimiya, Baghdad
7
16
Jun 18



Jun 19



Jun 20



Jun 21



Totals
1
7
16
Jun 22
Nukhaib, Anbar
2
8
Jun 23



Jun 24
Mandali, Diyala
16
22
Jun 25
Shaab, Baghdad
6
16
Jun 26
Baiji, Salahaddin
3
5
Jun 27
Karrada, Baghdad
5
13
Jun 28



Totals
5
32
64
Jun 29



Jun 30



GRAND TOTAL
31
191
324



There were just 31 successfully detonated vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) in June. That was the lowest amount since 21 in December. In the second week IS launched 67 car bombs, the vast majority of which were destroyed. After that IS seemed to have used up its ready-made stockpiles with just 6 going off over the next sixteen days. This was a change in tactics as IS had been using more VBIEDs each month since January.

SOURCES

Alsumaria, "Buried 125 unidentified bodies that were recovered from the warehouse site in Hawija, Kirkuk," 6/14/15

eKurd, "Iraqi Kurdistan News in brief - June 1, 2015," 6/1/15

Rudaw, "Mass grave found in Tal Afar and several homes detonated in Mosul," 6/22/15