Thursday, July 9, 2009

Little Changed In Security Situation In Mosul

Mosul remains the second most violent city in Iraq after Baghdad. From May to June 2009 little changed in the security situation. The number of attacks, deaths, and wounded only dipped slightly between the two months. In June there were a total of 73 attacks and incidents compared to 83 in May, which were reported in the press. The actual number of incidents is probably higher. The 73 attacks led to 181 casualties in June compared to 228 in June. The averages were roughly the same however with 1.93 deaths per day in June versus 2.06 per day in May, and 4.1 wounded in June against 4.7 in May. One major reason for the difference between the two months was that there was only one mass casualty bombing in June, which resulted in one killed, and 13 wounded. In May there were two such attacks, which resulted in 29 deaths and 40 wounded.

Mosul, like the rest of Iraq saw a dip in attacks and casualties at the end of 2008 as the January 2009 provincial elections neared. Insurgents seemed to hold off on attacks to allow Sunnis to participate after they had boycotted the last round of voting in 2005. In October 2008 for example, there were an average of 2.96 attacks per day, and 3.61 deaths. By January that had dipped to 1.67 attacks per day and 1.8 deaths. Since then the numbers have slowly crept back up, as they have in the rest of the country. A joint U.S.-Iraq security operation, Good Hope, launched in February 2009, has had no real impact on incidents in the city. Because of the continued violence U.S. advisers are going to stay in five joint operating bases across Mosul past the June 2009 deadline for combat troops to be out of Iraq’s cities. Originally the U.S. commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno said that he hoped that Baghdad would allow combat troops to stay in the city, but that caused problems with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who is hoping to capitalize on the U.S. withdrawal to help him in the January 2010 parliamentary vote.

The reason attacks have remained largely unabated in Mosul over the last few months is the fact that it is one of the flashpoints between Arabs and Kurds. The Kurdistan Regional Government hopes to annex several areas in northern Ninewa province, which has raised the ire of the local Arabs. Kurdish forces were also used to retake the city in November 2004 from insurgents, and stayed there for several years afterwards. Together this has allowed the insurgents to portray themselves as the protectors of the Arab population, and maintain a foothold there. Many militants were also forced north during the Surge.

A close eye needs to be kept on the city to see how it fares after most U.S. forces have withdrawn to outside Mosul’s borders. If attacks increase it could show holes in the abilities of the Iraqi security forces. If things stay relatively the same, it would show that they are capable of doing their jobs with less U.S. support. This could be a blueprint for post-2011 Iraq as U.S. combat troops will have to be withdrawn from the country, but a large contingent of U.S. advisors is expected to stay.

Attack Statistics In Mosul Based Upon Press Reports

June 2009
73 Attacks/Incidents – 2.43 attacks & incidents/day
58 Deaths – 1.93 deaths/day
123 Wounded – 4.1 wounded/day

May 2009
83 Attacks/Incidents – 3.06 attacks & incidents/day
64 Deaths – 2.06 deaths/day
164 Wounded – 4.70 wounded/day

April 2009
79 Attacks/Incidents – 2.63 attacks & incidents/day
53 Deaths – 1.76 deaths/day
191 Wounded – 6.36 wounded/day

March 2009
86 attacks/incidents – 2.77 attacks & incidents/day
69 deaths – 2.22 deaths/day
169 wounded – 5.45 wounded/day

February 2009
81 attacks/incidents – 2.89 attacks & incidents/day
58 deaths – 2.0 deaths/day
111 wounded – 3.96 wounded/day

January 2009
52 attacks/incidents – 1.67 attacks & incidents/day
56 deaths – 1.80 killed/day
85 wounded – 2.74 wounded/day

December 2008
65 attacks/incidents – 2.09 attacks & incidents/day
68 deaths – 2.19 deaths/day
181 wounded – 5.83 wounded/day

November 2008
65 attacks/incidents – 2.16 attacks & incidents/day
53 deaths – 1.76 deaths/day
249 wounded – 8.3 wounded/day

October 2008
92 attacks/incidents – 2.96 attacks & incidents/day
112 deaths – 3.61 deaths/day
188 wounded – 6.06 wounded/day


Arraf, Jane, “US troops to exit Iraq’s cities but new role still evolving,” Christian Science Monitor, 6/29/09
- “Why was top US general late for his own press conference? Iraqi security,” Christian Science Monitor, 6/15/09

Aswat al-Iraq, “2 civilians injured in Ninewa,” 6/8/09
- “2 construction workers wounded in blast in Mosul,” 6/2/09
- “2 cops wounded in eastern Mosul,” 6/1/09
- “2 Gunmen arrested while targeting military base in Mosul,” 6/15/09
- “2 policemen wounded in car bombing in Mosul,” 6/20/09
- “2 simultaneous explosions damage stores in Mosul,” 6/18/09
- “3 civilians injured by IED in Mosul,” 6/14/09
- “6 killed by car bomb blast in Ninewa,” 6/29/09
- “Body of civilian found in Mosul,” 6/7/09
- “Booby-trapped bridge kills two cops,” 6/29/09
- “Booby-trapped car leaves 14 casualties in Mosul,” 6/25/09
- “Boy killed by gunmen in Mosul,” 6/25/09
- “Car bomb injures 4 in Mosul,” 6/11/09
- “Civilian gunned down in Mosul,” 6/18/09
- “Cop killed, another wounded in Mosul shooting,” 6/3/09
- “Cop killed, father wounded by gunmen in Ninewa,” 6/20/09
- “Female body found northwest of Mosul,” 6/4/09
- “Former army officer gunned down in Mosul,” 6/15/09
- “Gunman killed in Western Mosul,” 6/30/09
- “Gunmen kill civilian in Mosul,” 6/22/09
- “Hand grenade kills child in Mosul,” 6/1/09
- “Hand grenade wounds 3 in Mosul,” 6/14/09
- “IED explodes near alcoholic beverages shop in Mosul,” 6/19/09
- “IED injures woman, daughter in Mosul,” 6/9/09
- “IED kills, wounds 4 in Mosul,” 6/21/09
- “IED wounds 3 in Mosul,”
- “Mosul car bomb casualties up to 17,” 6/4/09
- “Police officer escapes assassination attempt,” 6/8/09
- “Policeman killed, another wounded in Ninewa,” 6/24/09
- “Sniper wounds cop in Mosul,” 6/10/09
- “Soldier, civilian killed in Mosul,” 6/19/09
- “Sound bomb explodes near Ninewa province building,” 6/23/09
- “Student killed in central Mosul,” 6/8/09
- “U.S. forces injure 2 persons in Mosul,” 6/16/09
- “Woman gunned down in Mosul,” 6/22/09
- “Woman killed, cop wounded in Mosul incidents,” 6/17/09

Hammoudi, Laith, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 18 June 2009,” 6/18/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 25 June 2009,” 6/25/09

Hammoudi, Laith and Issa, Sahar, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 16 June 2009,” 6/16/09

Issa, Sahar, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Monday 8 June 2009,” 6/8/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 9 June 2009,” 6/9/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 23 June 2009,” 6/23/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday 24 June 2009,” 6/24/09

Issa, Sahar and Kadhim, Hussein, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday 10 June 2009,” 6/10/09

Joshi, Mohit, “Four Iraqis killed in Mosul violence,” Top News, 6/18/09

Kami, Aseel, “Bus terminal bombing kills seven in Baghdad,” Reuters, 6/8/09

Reuters, “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 1,” 6/1/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 11,” 6/11/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 13,” 6/13/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 18,” 6/18/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 19,” 6/19/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 21,” 6/21/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 22,” 6/22/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 24,” 6/24/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 26,” 6/26/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 28,” 6/28/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 29,” 6/29/09

Parker, Ned, “A battle for land in northern Iraq,” Los Angeles Times, 4/5/08

Tyson, Ann Scott and Raghavan, Sudarsan, “Gates Cautiously Upbeat on Iraq,” Washington Post, 12/6/07

Xinhua, “Retired officer killed, judge escapes bombing in northern Iraq,” 6/16/09
- “Suicide car bomb kills civilian in Iraq’s Mosul,” 6/4/09


AndrewSshi said...

You know, I am sure that someone must have thought of this, but I wonder why Maliki hasn't thought of standing up an Awakening in Mosul with al Hadbaa overseeing its formation like the IIP did in Diyala. That way, you get folks on the ground and in the neighborhoods and also give Maliki an ally and the Arabs a sense that the Dawa government has their backs.

Granted, the Kurds wouldn't be happy, but it seems like it would be a win-win for everyone else.

Joel Wing said...

In Jan 08 the Kurdish led provincial xouncil rejected formation of SOI there so they've never been formed there. What Maliki did instead then was to move in a new army unit and transfer out the Kurdish officers. This is what al Hadbaa wants now as well. More army to replace the peshmergas though.

AndrewSshi said...

Well, Joel, since they've shaken up the arrangement of Ninevah's legislature, I kind of wonder why they haven't broached the topic again. Because the current process of bombings, shootings, arrests, ad inifinitum doesn't seem sustainable. But then, Maliki's been canny enough to outmaneuver all rivals to date, so I figure he's got something in mind.

Joel Wing said...

Well there could be a variety of other reasons why they haven't set up an SOI program there.

1) Whatever group was created there Maliki would want to control. When the SOI were first brought up in Mosul it was by the Americans, and that's a major reason why Maliki hasn't trusted the SOI to begin with, they are an American rather than a Baghdad creation.

Also when Samarraie was elected new speaker of parliament he cut off funding for the Tribal Support Councils. The money for the SOI taken over from the U.S. also only lasts for one year, and the pay is late by months, so perhaps Maliki didn't have the money to pay for an SOI program and more importantly, to keep their loyalty.

2) Maliki has tried to reach out to the Sunni community in Mosul through reconstruction money. He put a prominent Sunni Arab in charge of the development money for the city.

3) There's lots of talk about Maliki aligning with al-Hadbaa and running with them in the 2010 parliamentary vote since Mosul is the 3rd largest city in Iraq. Not sure that will be possible if Maliki runs as part of a new United Iraqi Alliance, but it's another sign that Maliki was reaching out to the Arabs in Mosul.

4) Like I said before, Maliki also sent in a new mostly Arab Army unit and purged the Kurdish officers from it, so again, he's trying to show that he's for the Arabs rather than the Kurds in Mosul.

On the other hand, one major reason why the insurgency still has a foothold in Mosul is because of the Arab-Kurd divide, and all the steps above show that Malik is making the situation worse rather than trying to mediate. So unless al-Hadbaa and Maliki are able to kick out all the peshmerga from Ninewa, something that's probably impossible without fighting, the status quo will probably continue there for the foreseeable future.