Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Musings On Iraq January 2014 Security Report For Iraq UPDATED

 
January 2014 was an especially bloody month in Iraq. Not only was there widespread violence in Anbar, but there were a huge number of deaths in Baghdad and Salahaddin as well. The latter appeared to be the only province that saw a decided increase in attacks since the uprising in Anbar started. There were also scattered attacks throughout the south, and low-level operations in Babil, Diyala, and Tamim. This month may set a precedent for what security could be like the rest of the year.

Musings On Iraq has started its own security report. It is based upon tracking violence through the major western news agencies in the country including the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Presse, China’s Xinhua, major media outlets like Al Jazeera and the BBC as well as several Iraqi newspapers such as the Iraqi National News Agency, AIN, Al Forat, Aswat al-Iraq, Al Sabah, the Independent Press Agency, Buratha News, Al Rayy, the Iraq Times, Al Mada, Radio Nawa, Alsumaria, and Al Masalah. These sources will be used to compile a monthly tally for violence across 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces including deaths, wounded, and types of attacks. The three governorates in Kurdistan will not be covered since that region is largely secure, and not a real focus of the insurgency.

In the first month of 2014 there was a huge amount of death and destruction. There were 1,031 reported security incidents. Most of those were concentrated in Baghdad, 261, Anbar, 241, Ninewa, 185, and Salahaddin, 184. Anbar obviously had many more acts of violence than that due to the on going fighting there. Diyala with 70 attacks, Tamim with 50, and Babil with 23 saw low-militant activity, while Basra, 4, Dhi Qar, 2, Maysan, 3, Muthanna, 1, Qadisiyah, 1, and Wasit, 6, only had sporadic violence. Karbala and Najaf saw no attacks at all. In comparison, just a year ago in January 2014 there were only 564 attacks spread over Baghdad, 140, Diyala, 112, Ninewa 102, Salahaddin, 81, Anbar, 53, Tamim, 43, Babil, 20, Karbala, 8, Wasit and Basra with 2 attacks each, and Maysan with 1. Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Najaf, and Qadisiyah had no security incidents. Anbar alone cannot account for the huge increase in violence. Rather the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) was able to rebuild itself in 2013, and carried out attacks up and down the length of the country. The Baathist Naqshibandi were also active in areas such as Tamim, Ninewa, Diyala, and Salahaddin, while Ansar al-Islam was working in Ninewa. Now other groups that have not really been heard of since the civil war years like the Islamic Army, Hamas Iraq, the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades, the Mujahadeen Army, and others are all said to be fighting in Anbar. All those organizations making a comeback point to a more violent year ahead.


Security Incidents In Iraq Jan. 2014
Province
Number of Reported Security Incidents
Shootings
Bombings
Anbar
241+
143
46
Babil
23
2
20
Baghdad
261
99
166
Basra
4
1
3
Dhi Qar
2
2
0
Diyala
70
38
41
Karbala
0
0
0
Maysan
3
2
1
Muthanna
1
1
0
Najaf
0
0
0
Ninewa
185
95
69
Qadisiyah
1
0
0
Salahaddin
184
75
120
Tamim
50
11
44
Wasit
6
1
5
TOTAL
1,031
470
515



The two main forms of attack in January were small arms fire and bombings. There were 468 shootings and 515 bombings last month. Most of the latter were small IEDs, but there were also 78 car bombs and 45 suicide bombings, 14 of which included vehicles. Those types of operations take more planning and infrastructure to prepare. Almost all of those were carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), and highlights its rebirth. According to the Institute for the Study of War ISIS probably has created a series of car bomb factories in areas of Baghdad, northern Babil, northern Diyala, and parts of Anbar. The group’s trademark was coordinated car bombings on a single day. There were twelve days with three or more such attacks. The deadliest were January 5 when five car bombs went off in Baghdad’s Shaab, Sadr City, Suq al-Arabi, and Jamila neighborhoods that left 22 dead and 61 wounded. January 9 vehicle laden bombs were used in Ramadi, Anbar, Albu Ghanem, Anbar, Muthanna Airport, Baghdad, and Tikrit, Salahaddin killing 44 and wounding 67. January 13 Shula, Shaab, (1) Adhamiya,  and Bab Muadham all in Baghdad were hit resulting in 21 fatalities and 80 wounded. January 15 Shula, Shaab, Karrada, Husseiniya, Palestine Street, Mamil, and Sadr City in Baghdad, and Dujail, Salahaddin were bombed with 35 killed and 101 wounded. January 18 Ghazaliya, Mansour, Jamila, Utafiya, and Tobji in Baghdad were attacked along with Baiji, Salahaddin leaving 51 killed and 61 wounded. January 20 Dora, New Baghdad, Hurriya, Shuhada, Baya, Iskan, Shurta, Abu Dishir in Baghdad along with Tuz Kharmato in Salahaddin were all bombed leading to 36 fatalities and 118 wounded. While those days were the ones that grabbed all the headlines it was the daily grind of IEDs, drive by shootings, and attacks upon checkpoints that accounted for the vast majority of casualties. Ninewa for instance only had three car bombs in January, but ended up with 170 deaths and 193 wounded. These types of security incidents were usually the work of the other insurgent groups like the Naqshibandi and Ansar al-Sunna.

Another tactic insurgents have been using is the bombing of houses. Sometimes these are simply booby traps set outside, but other times entire buildings have been destroyed. There were 27 such incidents in January destroying 46 houses in Anbar, Babil, Diyala, Ninewa, Salahaddin, and Tamim. Many of these were the residences of politicians or members of the security forces and were obviously aimed at scaring these people.

Going through the types of attacks also highlights the different nature of violence throughout the country. In Baghdad ISIS and others were aiming at mass casualty bombings. A total of 166 bombs went off in the capital province in January. The majority of those were IEDs, 85, and sticky bombs attached to vehicles, 23, but there were also 47 car bombs the most in the country. In comparison, in Ninewa 95 of the 172 incidents involved shootings. 104 of those were also in Mosul where ISIS maintains a large urban base and operates more like a mafia extorting money from businesses. The vast majority of incidents there appeared to be aimed at intimidating the community and security forces so that the militants could maintain their financial base. There are plenty of stories of the Islamic State bombing a café or restaurant that didn’t pay protection money. In Tamim, most of the attacks were small bombings or shootings with civilians being the main targets. In Salahaddin the security forces accounted for the majority of the dead and wounded. The nine provinces of the south only saw 40 incidents, and 23 of those were in Babil where ISIS has bases. January was the second month in a row where the group did not carry out any car bombings in southern Iraq. The Islamic State was apparently focusing their attention upon Baghdad and Anbar.


Casualties In Iraq Jan. 2014
Province
Killed
ISF + Sahwa
Civilians
Wounded
ISF + Sahwa
Civilians
Anbar
300
91 + 19 Awakening
187
730
80 + 15 Awakening
635
Babil
8
4
4
50
23
27
Baghdad
564
76 + 12 Sahwa + 3 FPS
473
1,199
148 + 10 Sahwa
1,041
Basra
3
0
3
1
0
1
Dhi Qar
1
0
1
1
0
1
Diyala
156
37 + 13 Sahwa
106
150
56
94
Karbala
0
0
0
0
0
0
Maysan
2
1
1
0
0
0
Muthanna
1
0
1
0
0
0
Najaf
0
0
0
0
0
0
Ninewa
183
92
91
197
120 + 9 FPS
68
Qadisiyah
1
0
1
0
0
0
Salahaddin
235
113 + 24 Sahwa
98
389
155 + 15 Sahwa
219
Tamim
37
5 + 2 Asayesh + 2 Sahwa
28
151
31 + 5 Sahwa
115
Wasit
4
1
3
8
4
4
TOTALS
1,495
419 + 70 Sahwa + 3 FPS + 2 Asayesh
997
2,876
617 + 45 Sahwa + 9 FPS
2,205



In total 1,495 people were killed and 2,876 were wounded last month. In comparison, back in January 2013 there were 724 fatalities and 1,311 wounded. The insurgents have been able to more than double their effectiveness over the last twelve months. Civilians were the main victims of these operations accounting for 997 of the dead and 2,205 of the wounded.

The rest of 2014 may be like January. Fighting may die down in Anbar, but it has brought back many insurgent groups that have not been heard of since the civil war years. They along with the Naqshibandi and ISIS will create a deadly combination. The result could be 1,000 or more deaths per month for the rest of the year. The April elections may be effected if the government doesn’t feel like it can secure dangerous provinces. More importantly the arduous negotiations that will follow the vote to create a new government will mean that there will be no political moves that might sway those that support the insurgency away from the militants and no change in security policy either. This will give the insurgency at least a year if not more to organize and rebuild.

FOOTNOTES

1. Al Masalah, "Killing 18 people and wounding 73 in terrorist attacks rock Baghdad," 1/13/14

SOURCES

A note about sources. Usually all of the articles consulted are listed in the bibliography. Since this report is based upon roughly 1,000 separate news articles it is impossible to have them all in the piece. For the sake of space then only the reports that were linked are included here.

Agence France Presse, "Toll from wave of Baghdad bombs up to 25 dead," 1/19/14

AIN, "12 Persons killed, wounded in Dejel district," 1/15/14
- "19 persons killed, injured in Tuz Khurmatu," 1/6/14
- "Urgent…10 Civilians killed, wounded in Tikrit," 1/9/14
- "Urgent…19 persons killed, wounded in Baghdad," 1/13/14

Associated Press, "Bombings kill 20 in Baghdad," 1/5/14
- "Iraq Bombings and Fighting Kill Dozens," 1/18/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "9 persons killed, 35+ wounded in two explosions in Baghdad," 1/5/14

Buratha News, "Bomb explosion near a restaurant Habaybna east of the capital resulting in the fall of martyrs and wounded," 1/11/14
- "The martyrdom of one of the leaders of the Awakening and 3 civilians and wounding five others injured when a car bomb targeting his house in Tuz Khurmatu, east of Tikrit," 1/6/14

Al Forat, "Tuz Khurmatu: Car bomb explosion injures 12," 1/20/14

Al Hayat, “Anbar: Conflict mosque and the clan … And the development of the mysterious “Daash,”” 1/10/14

Iraq Times, "martyrs and injured in the bombing of Al-Muthanna 75 airport," 1/9/14
- "Suicide bomber blows himself up inside the headquarters of the army continued to lead the operations of the Tikris in Baiji," 1/6/14

Al Jazeera, "Dozens killed in string of Baghdad bombings," 1/20/14

Lewis, Jessica, “Further Indications of al-Qaeda’s Advance in Iraq: Iraq Update #39,” Institute for the Study of War, 11/15/13

Al Mada, "126 dead and injured in attacks in Baghdad yesterday," 1/19/14
- "Baghdad operations confirms death and injury of 47 people in bombings," 1/20/14
- "Injury suicide bombing targeting a military post west of Kirkuk," 1/11/14
- "Killed 7 people and wounded in a car bomb explosion near college house north of Baghdad," 1/20/14
- "Killing and injuring at least 11 people detonated a car bomb near a market," 1/5/14
- "Killing and injuring at least 13 people blown up in a car bomb in eastern Baghdad was the third this day," 1/5/14
- "Killing and wounding nine elements of the "SWAT" suicide bombing north of Ramadi," 1/9/14
- "The outcome of the end of the bombings in Baghdad yesterday at 107 dead and wounded," 1/21/14
- "Wounding four soldiers detonated a car bomb near a mosque north of Tikrit," 1/18/14

Al Masalah, "5 killed 23 civilians wound wounded by a roadside bomb west of Baghdad," 1/13/14
- "Civilian killed and another wounded by a car bomb in Ramadi," 1/9/14
- "Killing 18 people and wounding 73 in terrorist attacks rock Baghdad," 1/13/14
- "Toll rises bomb explosion in Adhamiya to 3 dead and 29 wounded," 1/13/14

National Iraqi News Agency, "9/civilians killed and wounded, southwest of Baghdad," 1/20/14
- "BREAKING NEWS 7 Civilians wounded north of Tikrit," 1/6/14
- "BREAKING NEWS 10 SWAT Elements killed, wounded in eastern Ramadi," 1/9/14
- "Car bomb goes off in northeast of Baghdad, kills five and injures 12 others," 1/15/14
- "killing and wounding / 18 people in eastern Baghdad," 1/15/14
- "Policeman killed, 4 civilians wounded in car bomb explosion in Tikrit," 1/9/14
- "Ten people Killed and wounded, northwest of Baghdad," 1/20/14

Al Rayy, "The death of a policeman and wounded three others when a roadside bomb exploded near a police station in Mosul," 1/11/14

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Bombings in Iraq striking markets, funeral kill 44," Associated Press, 1/15/14

Al-Salhy, Suadad and Markey, Patrick, “Al Qaeda, Sunni insurgents exploit iraq’s sectarian woes,” Reuters, 6/11/13

Sowell, Kirk, “Inside Iraqi Politics No. 30,” 1/3/12

Wicken, Stephen, and Lewis, Jessica, “From Protest Movements to Armed Resistance: 2013 Iraq Update #24,” Institute for the Study of War, 6/14/13

Xinhua, "14 killed in bomb attacks in Baghdad," 1/20/14

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