Monday, August 3, 2015

Anbar Operation And Turkey’s Bombing Of Kurdistan Leads To Jump In Casualties In Iraq


July 2015 saw a jump in casualties in Iraq. That was due to two events. First, Baghdad finally launched its operation to recapture Anbar province from the Islamic State. The government flooded the media with propaganda limiting casualty reports, but a little glimpse into what the offensive was costing slipped through. Second, Turkey also began bombing and shelling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Kurdistan, and claimed it hit hundreds of the group’s fighters. It wasn’t possible to determine whether that was hype from Ankara or not. Either way, the reported number of dead and wounded was much higher in July then the previous month.

There were 607 security incidents reported in the press in July. That was roughly the same as June’s 622. The real number was probably much higher as there was a dip in the middle of the month after the Anbar operation started. The media focused upon that province and not others. Baghdad had the most incidents with 215, followed by 148 in Anbar, 95 in Salahaddin, 55 in Ninewa, 43 in Diyala, 19 in Babil and Kirkuk each, 6 in Basra, 4 in Dohuk, and 1 each in Irbil and Wasit.

July averaged out to 19.5 attacks per day, just a bit down from June’s 20.7. Incidents had been declining from the start of the year, which began with an average of 26.9 in January and then hit a low of 18.6 in May. They have been creeping up ever so slightly during the summer.

Musings On Iraq counted 2,165 dead and 3,085 wounded in July. That was up from June’s 1,804 killed and 2,012 injured. July’s deaths consisted of 2 Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) fighters, 9 Peshmerga, 19 Sahwa, 259 Hashd al-Shaabi, 273 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters, 446 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 1,157 civilians. 30 Sahwa, 45 Peshmerga, 265 ISF, 286 Hashd, 413 PKK, and 2,046 civilians were also injured. Hundreds more probably lost their lives or limbs but never got into the press, because the government is suppressing casualty reports.

Avg. # of Attacks Per Day In Iraq 2015
Month
Avg # Of Attacks Per Day
Jan
26.9
Feb
24.0
Mar
22.7
Apr
21.6
May
18.6
Jun
20.7
Jul
19.5

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
189
466
464
Jan 8-14
172
733
518
Jan 15-21
189
403
528
Jan 22-28
195
492
899
Jan 29-31
91
306
568
JAN
836
2,400
2,977
Feb 1-7
155
408
688
Feb 8-14
177
443
566
Feb 15-21
169
592
383
Feb 22-28
171
391
705
FEB
672
1,834
2,342
Mar 1-7
176
373
595
Mar 8-14
137
398
656
Mar 15-21
146
1,304
505
Mar 22-28
174
273
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
705
2,553 + 4
2,381 + 150
Apr 1-7
127
218
422
Apr 8-14
137
676
542
Apr 15-21
172
729
717
Apr 22-28
163
497
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
649
2,282
2,346
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
Jul 1-7
162
436
725
Jul 8-14
140
384
570
Jul 15-21
109
359
597 + 4,024
Jul 22-28
145
527
590
Jul 29-31
51
451 + 8
603
JUL
607
2,165
3,085 + 4,024

Violence In Iraq July 2015 by Province
Province
July
Anbar
148 Incidents
791 Killed: 6 Sahwa, 157 Hashd, 260 ISF, 368 Civilians
779 Wounded: 3 Sahwa, 127 ISF, 163 Hashd, 486 Civilians
75 Shootings
30 IEDs
28 Suicide Car Bombs
3 Car Bombs
12 Mortars
3 Rockets
32 Suicide Bombers Killed
30 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
45 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
19 Incidents
27 Killed: 3 ISF, 24 Civilians
77 Wounded: 12 ISF, 65 Civilians
4 Shootings
12 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Grenade
Baghdad
215 Incidents
436 Killed: 7 Hashd, 11 Sahwa, 49 ISF, 369 Civilians
1,108 Wounded: 12 Hashd, 20 Sahwa, 53 ISF, 1,023 Civilians
45 Shootings
112 IEDs
25 Sticky Bombs
4 Suicide Bombers
1 Suicide Car Bomb
18 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Basra
6 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
3 Shootings
2 IEDs
Diyala
43 Incidents
219 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 4 ISF, 15 Hashd, 199 Civilians
294 Wounded: 1 Peshmerga, 4 ISF, 289 Civilians
12 Shootings
17 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
6 Car Bombs
3 Mortars
1 Rockets
Dohuk
4 Incidents
12 Killed: 12 PKK
16 Wounded: 13 PKK, 3 Civilians
2 Turkish Air Strikes
2 Turkish Shelling
Irbil
1 Incident
3 Killed: 1 PKK, 2 PJAK
1 Turkish Air Strike
Kirkuk
19 Incidents
26 Killed: 6 Peshmerga, 20 Civilians
33 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 32 Peshmerga
12 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Mortar
KRG
260 Killed: 260 PKK
400 Wounded: 400 PKK
Turkish Air Strikes
Ninewa
55 Incidents
149 Killed: 2 Peshmerga, 40 ISF, 107 Civilians
44 Wounded: 12 Peshmerga, 32 Civilians
33 Shootings
18 IEDs
1 Mortar
1 Rockets
1 Artillery
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
8 Car Bombs Destroyed
Salahaddin
95 Incidents
238 Killed: 2 Sahwa, 67 Civilians, 80 Hashd, 89 ISF
329 Wounded: 7 Sahwa, 67 ISF, 111 Hashd, 144 Civilians
35 Shootings
28 IEDs
1 Suicide Bombers
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
10 Suicide Car Bombs
5 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Rockets
16 Suicide Bombers Killed
2 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
17 Car Bombs Destroyed
Sulaymaniya
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
1 Mortar
Wasit
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
2 Wounded: 2 ISF
1 IED
 
Anbar led the way with 791 reported deaths and 779 wounded. Government shelling and air strikes killed 287 civilians, and injured another 429. As soon as the Fallujah-Ramadi offensive began coverage of those types of incidents faded away so a lot more people were likely hit, but did not get into the press. Likewise, the government does not report losses during these major operations, but in the middle of July a few security sources leaked that 233 soldiers and Hashd had died and 130 were wounded in just two days of fighting in the province. The Islamic State also executed 73 Anbaris during the month.

Besides IED fields and snipers the main way IS responded to the Anbar offensive was to launch a massive number of car bombs against the government’s forces. 31 vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) hit their targets and another 75 were destroyed.

Baghdad had the most casualties with 436 dead and 1,108 injured. Besides Anbar, the capital has been the other main focus of the Islamic State. That has meant more car bombs, but more importantly, more IEDs and sticky bombs, which are the main drivers of violence in Baghdad. There were 19 car bombs during the month, with another discovered before it exploded. There were also 112 IEDs and 25 sticky bombs. The majority of these bombings occurred in the eastern and southern sections of the province that saw 69 and 77 incidents respectively. 41 bodies were also discovered dumped on the streets, fields or in lots. The number of extrajudicial killings is in direct relation to the threats felt by the population. When there was an influx of displaced from Anbar who were then blamed for violence and believed to be IS supporters there was a jump in these types of murders in February and May. Afterward they dropped. Baghdad and its belts have the largest concentration of ISF units, but they have not been able to protect the capital as attacks have skyrocketed there since the winter of 2014.

Attacks In Baghdad July 2015
Center: 16 – 2 Car Bombs, 2 Kidnappings, 2 Shootings, 3 Sticky Bombs, 8 IEDs
East: 58 – 1 Car Bomb Dismantled, 1 Burning, 1 Robbery, 3 Car Bombs, 3 Suicide Bombers, 5 Kidnappings, 6 Sticky Bombs, 18 Shootings, 21 IEDs
Outer East: 11 – 2 Shootings, 9 IEDs
North: 16 – 1 Suicide Car Bomb, 1 Suicide Bomber, 1 Kidnapping, 3 IEDs, 3 Shootings, 4 Sticky Bombs, 4 Car Bombs
Outer North: 15 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 3 Shootings, 11 IEDs
South: 51 – 2 Sticky Bombs, 3 Car Bombs, 3 Kidnappings, 4 Car Bombs, 10 Shootings, 31 IEDs
Outer South: 26 – 2 Shootings, 5 Sticky Bombs, 20 IEDs
West: 8 – 2 Sticky Bombs, 2 Shootings, 4 IEDs
Outer West: 6 – 1 Mortar, 3 IEDs, 3 Shootings

Extra Judicial Killings In Baghdad

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Bodies Found
47
61
42
38
65
45
41

Diyala has been relatively quiet since the summer, but in July casualties jumped due to a massive car bombing. On July 17 a VBIED went off in Khan Bani Saad killing 130 and wounding 155. That was the major reason why there were 219 fatalities and 294 wounded there during the month, up from 87 dead and 157 injured in June. IS has been increasing its car bombings in Diyala recently as July showed with 6 total compared to 2 in June.

149 people died and 44 were wounded in Ninewa in July. Of those 89 were executed by the Islamic State, and another 39 were discovered in two separate mass graves. Every week the militants also attacked Kurdish positions in the northern and eastern sections of the governorate. That included 1 suicide bomber, 3 suicide car bombs, and 8 car bombs, which were killed or destroyed before reaching their targets.

Salahaddin saw 238 deaths and 329 injured. The government continued to try to retake Baiji and the nearby refinery. That attempt was met with a steady stream of car bombs. IS also continued to carry out operations in the southern section of the province from Samarra down to the towns just outside of Baghdad such as Taji and Tarmiya. IS has used Salahaddin for diversionary attacks to hold down government forces while it concentrates on seizing territory in Anbar. That worked out successfully until this month when Baghdad finally moved on Fallujah and Ramadi.

Turkey also got American approval to attack the PKK in northern Kurdistan in return for fighting the Islamic State in Syria. Ankara’s real intention is to take on the former as PKK areas have faced a steady bombing and artillery campaign starting at the end of July. The PKK reported 13 of its fighters and 2 PJAK fighters dying in these attacks, along with 13 PKK and 3 civilians being wounded. Turkey claimed it killed 260 PKK members and wounded another 400. It was impossible to tell whether that was propaganda or a good estimate of the real losses.

Car Bombs In Iraq, July 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jul 1
Riyahah, Salahaddin
1
Jul 2
Nukhaib, Anbar
Fatah & Tal Abu, Salahaddin
Baiji-Tikrit Road, Salahaddin– 2 destroyed
9
12
Jul 3
Jul 4
Baya x2, Baghdad
Baiji x2, Salahaddin
Khursabad & Nouran, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
20
22
Jul 5
Amil & Dora, Baghdad
Baladrooz, Diyala
Hadith Dam, Anbar – 7 destroyed
16
55
Jul 6
Jubba, Anbar
New Baghdad, Baghdad
Haditha, Outside Haditha & Saqlawiya, Anbar - 12 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
11
11
Jul 7
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
Sinjar, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
10
35
Totals
16 & 32 Destroyed
66
136
Jul 8
Sakran, Anbar
Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed
1
1
Jul 9
Alwa, Baghdad
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
1
Jul 10
Khalidiya x7, Anbar
Amil & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
23
48
Jul 11
Abu Fleis x3, Anbar
Husaiba & Saqlawiya, Anbar – 11 destroyed
Bjara, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
8
5
Jul 12
Bunuk, Iskan, Kadhimiya, &Shaab, Baghdad
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
Sadr City, Baghdad – 1 destroyed
Albu Juari & Hawi, Salahaddin – 4 destroyed
43
103
Jul 13
Fallujah x5, Anbar
Jul 14
Nukhaib, Anbar
Khalis, Diyala
East of Husaiba, Saqlawiya, Shehan, Anbar – 13 destroyed
8
16
Totals
26 & 36 Destroyed
83
174
Jul 15
Baiji, Salahaddin
1
10
Jul 16
Nukhaib, Anbar
Jul 17
Khan Bani Saad, Diyala
East of Ramadi, Anbar – 3 destroyed
130
155
Jul 18
Khalidiya, Anbar
2
3
Jul 19
Hardan, Ninewa – 5 destroyed
Jul 20
Khalis, Diyala
4
18
Jul 21
New Baghdad & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
Mandali, Diyala
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
North of Fallujah, Anbar – 2 destroyed
39
83
Totals
9 & 10 Destroyed
176
259
Jul 22
Fallujah, Anbar
Baya & Shaab, Baghdad
Fallujah, Anbar – 3 destroyed
East of Tikrit, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
50
58
Jul 23
East & North of Fallujah, Anbar
81
Jul 24
Fallujah x2, Anbar
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
21
24
Jul 25
Albu Bali, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Jul 26
Anbar University, Anbar – 3 destroyed
Jul 27
Bob al-Sham, Baghdad
Sijer, Anbar – 3 destroyed
4
Jul 28
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
Anbar University & East Husaiba, Anbar – 4 destroyed
28
44
Totals
11 & 18 Destroyed
180
130
Jul 29
Anbar Univ x2 & Deraa Dijla, Anbar
New Baghdad & Shomook, Baghdad
Mandali, Diyala
Baghdad-Samarra Hwy, Salahaddin
Saqlawiya, Anbar – 2 destroyed
34
60
Jul 30
Baghdad & Mazraa Army Base, Anbar
North of Ramadi, Anbar – 4 destroyed
14
24
Jul 31
 East of Ramadi, Anbar – 4 destroyed
Totals
9 & 10 Destroyed
48
84
Grand Total
71 & 106 Destroyed
553
783

Finally, IS started its new car bomb campaign in July. There were a total of 71 successful VBIEDs with another 106 destroyed. Anbar had the most with 31 exploding there and another 75 being destroyed. 15 went off in Salahaddin with 19 destroyed. There were 19 successful car bombings in Baghdad and 1 dismantled. Finally there were 6 bombings in Diyala, and 11 destroyed in Ninewa. Of the 177 total VBIEDs, over 100 of them were used in tactical attacks against the government’s forces mostly trying to repel offensives in Anbar and Salahaddin or attacking the Kurds in Ninewa. The rest were terrorist attacks upon civilians. The intensity of the campaign was shown by the fact that there were car bombs every day of the month except July 3, and bombings 28 days straight from July 4-31.