Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Musings On Iraq’s January 2014 Security Report Breakdown UPDATED

There were a reported 1,031 security incidents in Iraq in January 2014. That averaged out to 33.2 attacks per day. In comparison, in January 2013 there were 564 attacks for an average of 18.1 per day. That was an 83% increase in one year’s time showing that the insurgency was reborn last year. The chart shows that there was a slight dip in attacks in the second half of the month, 461, compared to the first, 570. January 14 had the most attacks with 59 while January 29 only had 18.
Those 1,028 attacks led to 1,495 deaths and 2,876 wounded, which averaged out to 48.2 deaths and 92.7 wounded per day. January 15 was the deadliest day of the month with 110 deaths and 157 wounded. That was largely due to car bombings in Baghdad’s Shula, Shaab, Karrada, Husseiniya, Palestine Street, Mamil, and Sadr City, and Dujail, Salahaddin that left 35 killed and 101 wounded. Those along with the daily routine of shootings and IEDs led to the worst day of the month. In comparison on January 17 there were only 16 killed and 13 wounded.

Killed and Wounded Jan. 2014

There were attacks in 13 of the 15 provinces included in the security report. Najaf and Karbala escaped the violence last month. The rest of the south was relatively peaceful as it has been for the last several years. Babil has been the most violence since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has created bases there in the north, but even then there were only 23 attacks there leading to 8 deaths and 50 wounded. Wasit had 6 security incidents with 4 killed and 8 wounded. Insurgents may be active there as well. In the rest of the south Basra had 4 attacks, 3 killed, and 1 wounded, Maysan with 3 attacks and 2 killed, Dhi Qar with 2 incidents, 1 dead, and 1 wounded, and Muthanna and Qadisiyah with 1 attack and 1 death each. It’s unclear who is responsible for those acts of violence, but they could have been militias, criminals or Sunni militants. One reason for the low casualties in southern Iraq overall was the fact that ISIS did not carry out any car bombings there for the second month in a row.

Diyala and Tamim only saw mid-level violence in January. Diyala had 70 security incidents leading to 156 killed and 150 wounded, while Tamim had 50 attacks, 37 killed, and 151 wounded. Both only saw 1-2 attacks per day for most of the month. Shootings and IEDs predominated. Diyala had 38 shootings and 30 IEDs, and Tamim had 32 IEDs and 11 shooting incidents. Civilians were the main targets in both governorates accounting for 134 of the 193 dead and 209 of the 301 wounded. In Diyala, the most violent days were January 2 when a car bomb at a automobile dealership in Baladrooz killing 19 and wounded 37, and January 15 when a funeral in Buhriz was bombed leading to 18 deaths and 23 wounded, a sticky bomb killed a driver in Jalawla, eight truck drivers were stopped and executed in Baquba, and 7 brick workers were shot down in Muqtadiya. In Tamim on January 7 a suicide truck bomber struck a police station in Kirkuk leaving 4 dead and 65 wounded, while on January 26 2 car bombs in Kirkuk killed 11 and wounded 19, while shootings in Awadiya and Riyad left 3 soldiers dead and 5 soldiers wounded.

Salahaddin, Ninewa, Anbar, and Baghdad were by far the most dangerous provinces in Iraq in January. Salahaddin had 184 security incidents leading to 235 deaths and 389 wounded. Ninewa had 185 attacks, 183 killed, and 197 wounded. Anbar had 241 reported incidents, 300 fatalities and 730 wounded. Those figures are likely much higher because of the on going fighting there. Finally, Baghdad had 261 attacks, 564 killed, and 1,199 wounded. Violence in those four provinces was different. In Salahaddin the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were the main targets. They accounted for 113 of the 235 killed there. Bombs, both big and small were the favorite weapon with 87 IEDs, 17 car bombs, 11 sticky bombs, and 5 suicide bombers. In Ninewa IEDs and gunfire were the most common form of violence and most attacks averaged less than 1 death each. There the insurgents, mainly ISIS was attempting to impose their control over Mosul and surrounding areas as it is their main financial center in the country. In Anbar, most of the casualties came from on going fighting there between militants and the ISF. Finally in Baghdad mass casualty bombings accounted for most of the casualties. There ISIS has carried out a series of bombings meant to re-incite the sectarian conflict. That was shown by the fact that there were 47 car bombs and 10 suicide bombers in the capital province in January, by far the most in Iraq.

In Salahaddin, Ninewa, Anbar and Baghdad there were a large number of attacks in the first half of the month, and then a large dip in the middle before militant operations picked up again. These ups and downs often happen as insurgent groups have to reload before they can carry on.

The different levels and types of violence across Iraq are the result of the varying goals and tactics of the country’s insurgent groups. ISIS for example is most interested in hitting Shiite targets in Baghdad and southern Iraq, while in Ninewa it acts more like a mafia collecting money from people. In Salahaddin groups such as the Naqshibandi are focused upon hitting the security forces, because it tries to portray itself as a nationalist group fighting against the government. Most important is that these figures show that the insurgency has successfully rebuilt itself in 2013, which means continued high levels of casualties into the foreseeable future.

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.

Abdul-Zahra, Qassim and Salaheddin, Sinan, "Iraqis battle militant uprising in 2 Sunni cities," Associated Press, 1/2/14

AIN, "12 Persons killed, wounded in Dejel district," 1/15/14

Alsumaria, "3 killed, 57 wounded in suicide truck bombing in N. Iraq," 1/7/14

Faraj, Salam, "Iraq attacks kill 73 as gunmen make gains in Anbar," Agence France Presse, 1/15/14

Iraq Times, "69 martyrs and wounded is the outcome of the bombing of police station downtown Kirkuk," 1/7/14

Al Jazeera, "Scores die in multiple Iraq attacks," 1/15/14

Al-Mada, "Killing and injuring seven members of the army, including an officer gunshot west of Kirkuk," 1/26/14

Al Masalah, "Killed 11 wounded 19 Kurdish people explosion of three car bombs in Kirkuk," 1/26/14
- "Killing eight Truckers after burning their trucks in Baquba," 1/15/14

National Iraqi News Agency, "Car bomb goes off in northeast of Baghdad, kills five and injures 12 others," 1/15/14
- "Civilian killed in a sticky bomb in his car," 1/15/14
- "Two soldiers and one officer killed, west of Kirkuk," 1/26/14

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