Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Security Slightly Improved In Iraq In 2011

2011 just came to a close, and the end of the year statistics for deaths and attacks in Iraq showed a slight improvement from the previous year. The number of casualties, attacks, and averages all went down from 2010 to 2011. Baghdad and the surrounding provinces remained the center of violence in the country, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were the weapons of choice for militants. All of this showed the changed security situation in Iraq. No longer is the country in the middle of a civil war. In fact, it’s barely an insurgency anymore, but more of a major terrorist threat. The situation may improve even more this coming year, as some groups appear willing to give up their arms now that the United States has withdrawn its forces.

Death statistics in Iraq were lower in 2011 compared to the previous two years. In 2011, there was an average of 299 deaths per month, and 9.8 per day. That was down from 350 per month and 11.5 per day in 2010 and 347 a month in 2009 and 11.4 in 2009. The three main agencies that track Iraqi casualties had divergent totals for the year. Iraq Body Count had deaths slightly up from 4,045 in 2010 to 4,125 in 2011. The other two groups, the United Nations and the Iraqi ministries saw declines. The U.N. recorded 4,855 deaths in 2010, going down to 4,056 in 2011. The Iraqi ministries’ deaths were cut in half from 3,713 in 2010 to 1,591 in 2011. The Iraqi government’s figures have been consistently lower than other counts. Whether that’s because officials had not finished their tallies by the time they had to report at the end of each month, or they were told to keep their numbers down for political reasons is unknown. Despite the large number of bombs that went off in Baghdad on December 22, which gave the impression that the security situation in Iraq was deteriorating, it was actually getting better overall. The averages for casualties by month and by the day were down nearly 15% from 2010 to 2011.
Comparing Deaths In Iraq 2009-2011
Month
Iraq Body Count
Iraqi Ministries
United Nations
Avg. Monthly Deaths
Avg. Daily Deaths
Jan.
387
259
265
303
9.7
Feb.
250
167
267
228
8.1
Mar.
307
247
268
274
8.8
Apr.
285
211
279
258
8.6
May
378
177
319
291
9.3
Jun.
385
271
424
360
12.0
Jul.
305
259
381
315
10.1
Aug.
398
239
455
364
11.7
Sep.
394
185
405
328
10.9
Oct.
355
258
416
343
11.0
Nov.
272
187
264
241
8.0
Dec.
409
155
313
292
9.4
TOTALS
4,125
1,591
4,056
-
-
2011 Mo. Avg.
343
217
338
299
9.8
2010 Mo. Avg.
337
309
404
350
11.5
2009 Mo. Avg.
392
291
358
347
11.4

There was also a reduction in attacks in Iraq in 2011. According to the United Nations, there were a total of 5,470 security incidents in 2011, for an average of 455.8 per month. In 2009, there were a total of 8,909 attacks, and a monthly average of 742.4, while in 2010, there were 9,213 incidents, breaking down to 742.4 per month. For 2011, the main device used in these operations was the improvised explosive device (IED). IEDs were used 3,624 times last year, 66% of all attacks. After that the other means were far less frequent with small arms fire being second with 892, 16% of the total, followed by 530 indirect fire incidents using rockets and mortars, 9%, 259 sticky and car bombs, 4%, 135 grenades, 2%, and 30 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 0.5%. The use of IEDs has been the modus operandi of militants for the last two years. Before that, car bombs and small arms fire played a larger role in their operations. That shows a change in tactics, as insurgents and militias are using smaller bombs, and more indirect tactics. The overall numbers for attacks, also showed a rough correlation with the number of deaths the country has faced, as both went down in 2011. Security incidents on average dropped 311 per month from 2010 to 2011, a 40% decline.

Total Number Of Attacks In Iraq 2009-2010
2009: 8,909 attacks, avg. 742.4 per month
2010: 9,213 attacks, avg. 767.7 per month
2011: 5,470 attacks, avg. 455.8 per month


Most of 2011’s attacks were concentrated in central Iraq, with far fewer in the rest of the country. Baghdad had 1,801 attacks, accounting for 32% of the total. Ninewa was second at 803, then Salahaddin with 695, Diyala with 551, Anbar with 419, followed by Tamim 417, Babil 283, Basra 125, Wasit and Qadisiyah with 83, Maysan with 70, Dhi Qar with 68, Karbala with 33, Sulaymaniya with 18, Najaf with 14, Muthanna had 4, Irbil had 3, and Dohuk 1. The southern and northern governorates accounted for just over 7% of attacks. Baghdad has always been at the center of the conflict in Iraq as it has the largest population, and is the seat of government. The surrounding provinces, Ninewa, Salahaddin, Diyala, Anbar, Tamim, and Babil either have mixed populations of Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds like Ninewa and Diyala, which militants are trying to exploit, or had large number of Baathists and former soldiers such as Salahaddin and Anbar. These elements are still playing out it in the country, although at lower levels than before as already noted.

Attacks In Iraq By Province 2011
Baghdad 1,800 – 32%
Ninewa 803 – 14%
Salahaddin 695 – 12%
Diyala 551 – 10%
Anbar 419 – 7%
Tamim 417 – 7%
Babil 283 – 5%
Basra 125 – 2%
Wasit 83 – 1%
Qadisiyah 83 – 1%
Maysan 70 – 1%
Dhi Qar 68 – 1%
Karbala 33 – 0.6%
Sulaymaniya 18 – 0.3%
Najaf 14 – 0.2%
Muthanna 4 – 0.007%
Irbil 3 – 0.005%
Dohuk 1 – 0.001%

During the course of 2011, deaths and attack did not always correlate, because a few well planned mass casualty bombings could keep the former high. In April for instance, there was an average of 258 deaths and 486 attacks. The next month both went up to 291 deaths and 581 attacks. In June, there were almost as many incidents at 576, but deaths jumped to 360, because of four mass casualty attacks that month. On June 3, a bomb went off outside a mosque in Tikrit, Salahaddin, killing 19. When the victims were taken to a local hospital, and officials went to visit them, a suicide bomber attacked the facility killing another 17. On June 21, 27 were killed outside the governor’s residence in Diwaniya, Qadisiyah, by a number of suicide car bombs. Then two days later, a series of bombs went off in a market in Jihad Shurt al-Rabaa in southwestern Baghdad, killing 34. In July and August, attacks went down to 433 and 389 respectively, while casualties remained high at 315 and 364. Again, a few deadly bombings led to a large number of deaths in August. By the end of the year, deaths were going down from 343 in October, to 241 in November, and 292 in December, while attacks remained high at 438, 536, and 422 respectively. 


Details Of Attacks And Deaths In Iraq 2011 (Deaths: Iraq Body Count/Attacks: U.N.)

January 2011
 Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
8
34
Babil
3
15
Baghdad
125
180
Diyala
36
45
Dohuk
3
-
Irbil
1
1
Karbala
89
8
Maysan
2
6
Ninewa
34
53
Salahaddin
74
31
Tamim
8
13
Wasit
3
1
Qadisiyah
0
19
Basra
0
5
Dhi Qar
0
4
Muthanna
0
1
TOTAL
386
416
Type
Number
IEDs
246
Small Arms Fire
67
Sticky/Car Bombs
48
Indirect Fire
45
Grenades
6
RPGs
4

February 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
41
38
Babil
6
13
Baghdad
24
107
Basra
2
8
Diyala
22
36
Irbil
3
-
Karbala
1
2
Ninewa
36
49
Qadisiyah
4
5
Salahaddin
67
52
Sulaymaniya
10
3
Tamim
28
33
Wasit
4
4
Dhi Qar
0
6
Maysan
0
2
TOTAL
249
358
Type
Number
IEDs
199
Indirect Fire
57
Small Arms Fire
57
Stick/Car Bombs
36
Grenades
5
RPGs
4

March 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
28
60
Babil
24
22
Baghdad
63
229
Basra
10
9
Dhi Qar
1
6
Diyala
23
52
Maysan
2
7
Najaf
2
2
Ninewa
60
76
Qadisiyah
1
13
Salahaddin
79
43
Sulaymaniya
2
-
Tamim
11
37
Wasit
1
8
Muthanna
0
1
TOTAL
305
565
Type
Number
IEDs
381
Small Arms Fire
78
Indirect Fire
68
Grenades
24
Sticky/Car Bombs
12
RPGs
2

April 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
43
45
Babil
13
14
Baghdad
60
170
Dhi Qar
1
5
Diyala
75
32
Maysan
2
11
Ninewa
46
61
Qadisiyah
1
6
Salahaddin
13
41
Sulaymaniya
1
1
Tamim
25
50
Wasit
4
12
Basra
0
14
Najaf
0
8
Karbala
0
4
Muthanna
0
2
TOTAL
193
486
Type
Number
IEDs
335
Small Arms Fire
68
Indirect Fire
63
Grenades
9
Sticky/Car Bombs
6
RPGs
5

May 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
51
57
Babil
41
24
Baghdad
101
229
Basra
1
16
Dhi Qar
12
3
Diyala
27
38
Irbil
1
1
Karbala
3
-
Muthanna
1
-
Ninewa
51
68
Qadisiyah
4
9
Salahaddin
25
65
Sulaymaniya
1
-
Tamim
49
45
Wasit
1
9
Maysan
0
17
TOTAL
371
581
Type
Number
IEDs
398
Small Arms Fire
81
Indirect Fire
74
Grenades
12
Sticky/Car Bombs
9
RPGs
7

June 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
33
41
Babil
31
34
Baghdad
116
202
Basra
2
35
Diyala
34
53
Ninewa
80
79
Qadisiyah
27
12
Salahaddin
55
54
Tamim
10
31
Wasit
1
12
Dhi Qar
0
18
Maysan
0
4
Sulaymaniya
0
1
TOTAL
384
576
Type
Number
IEDs
365
Small Arms Fire
95
Indirect Fire
74
Sticky/Car Bombs
22
Grenades
18
RPGs
2

July 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
22
28
Babil
8
25
Baghdad
52
122
Dhi Qar
1
14
Diyala
49
64
Dohuk
1
1
Karbala
14
9
Maysan
3
5
Ninewa
55
53
Salahaddin
59
29
Tamim
33
42
Wasit
1
16
Basra
0
14
Qadisiyah
0
8
Sulaymaniya
0
3
TOTAL
300
433
Type
Number
IEDs
273
Small Arms Fire
86
Indirect Fire
36
Sticky/Car Bombs
28
RPGs
6
Grenades
4

August 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
14
28
Babil
23
28
Baghdad
49
103
Basra
4
5
Diyala
75
63
Irbil
1
-
Karbala
8
1
Najaf
8
3
Ninewa
37
51
Salahaddin
11
36
Sulaymaniya
3
3
Tamim
11
55
Wasit
41
7
Maysan
0
3
Qadisiyah
0
2
Dhi Qar
0
1
TOTAL
305
389
Type
Number
IEDs
253
Small Arms Fire
66
Indirect Fire
31
Sticky/Car Bombs
29
Grenades
10

September 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
71
20
Babil
31
24
Baghdad
71
60
Diyala
56
36
Irbil
3
-
Karbala
18
5
Ninewa
42
63
Qadisiyah
5
5
Salahaddin
51
30
Sulaymaniya
2
2
Tamim
19
18
Maysan
0
8
Wasit
0
5
Dhi Qar
0
4
TOTAL
389
280
Type
Number
IEDs
171
Small Arms Fire
71
Grenades
16
Sticky/Car Bombs
11
Indirect Fire
11

October 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
24
30
Babil
5
20
Baghdad
175
114
Diyala
28
63
Karbala
1
4
Ninewa
92
75
Qadisiyah
2
2
Salahaddin
12
59
Tamim
6
28
Wasit
3
5
Basra
0
15
Maysan
0
7
Dhi Qar
0
3
Irbil
0
1
Najaf
0
1
Sulaymaniya
0
1
TOTAL
348
428
Type
Number
IEDs
258
Small Arms Fire
118
Indirect Fire
26
Sticky/Car Bombs
19
Grenades
7

November 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
23
21
Babil
10
11
Baghdad
69
89
Basra
35
2
Diyala
27
34
Ninewa
54
119
Salahaddin
37
229
Tamim
8
25
Dhi Qar
0
2
Qadisiyah
0
2
Sulaymaniya
0
1
Wasit
0
1
TOTAL
241
536
Type
Number
IEDs
451
Small Arms Fire
44
Indirect Fire
26
Sticky/Car Bombs
12
Grenades
3

December 2011
Deaths, Attacks, Types

Deaths
Attacks
Anbar
28
17
Babil
31
43
Baghdad
156
195
Basra
2
2
Diyala
45
35
Dohuk
1
-
Ninewa
77
56
Salahaddin
22
26
Sulaymaniya
2
3
Tamim
22
40
Wasit
0
3
Dhi Qar
0
2
TOTAL
387
422
Type
Number
IEDs
294
61
71
Sticky/Car Bombs
27
Grenades
21
Indirect Fire
19

With the United States having withdrawn its ground forces in December, some militant groups are coming forward to join the political process, which could continue the improvement in the country’s security situation in the new year. At the end of December, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that two of the largest Iranian-backed Special Groups, the League of the Righteous and the Hezbollah Brigades were ready to join the reconciliation process and politics. (1) Just a few days later, the head of the League, Qais Khazali announced that with the United States forces out of Iraq, there was no longer a need for armed resistance. He went on to state that his group was ready to join politics, but that they may not lay down their weapons right away. Then just before the end for the year, the Reconciliation Minister went on to tell the press that six insurgent groups were also giving up their fight after the U.S. withdrawal. That included the Islamic Army and members of Ansar al-Sunna. That left a few other small insurgent groups left, and Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Baathist Naqshibandi group, which Baghdad refuses to negotiate with. With the groups coming forward to talk with the government there could be another decline in violence in 2012.

Overall, security was better off in Iraq in 2011 compared to the previous years. Both attacks and deaths saw a steady decline from 2010. It’s important to look at the overall trends in security going on within the country, because Al Qaeda will continue with their media grabbing attacks at least once a month. That often gives the impression that Iraq is unraveling, but taking those events in context, shows that the insurgents are actually in the decline. Hopefully, with the departure of the U.S., more militants will lay down their arms, and join politics, as happened during the 2009 provincial elections, and Iraq can be even more secure in the coming years. 

FOOTNOTES

1. Radio Nawa, “Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous Andon today under the banner of national reconciliation,” 12/24/11 

SOURCES

Zahra, Hassan Abdul, “Iraqi Shiite militia ‘ready to lay down arms,’” Agence France Presse, 12/26/11

Gutman, Roy and Issa, Sahar, “Car bombs kill 65 in Baghdad, worsening crisis,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/22/11

Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit, “Security in Iraq,” United Nations

Iraq Body Count

Al-Mawsawi, Ali, “Six armed groups lay down arms in Iraq,” Azzaman, 1/1/12

National Iraqi News Agency, “Sadr accuses “Asa’ib Ahil al-Haq” of being ‘Seat lovers’, describes them of being killers,” 12/27/11

Radio Nawa, “Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous Andon today under the banner of national reconciliation,” 12/24/11

Reuters, “Iraqi civilian deaths in December lowest level in 2011,” 1/1/12

Yasin, Nazim, “Outcome of the violence in Iraq for 2011 show declining numbers of victims,” Radio Free Iraq, 1/1/12

Zahra, Hassan Abdul, “Iraqi Shiite militia ‘ready to lay down arms,’” Agence France Presse, 12/26/11

No comments: