Thursday, March 6, 2014

Musings On Iraq Security Report February 2014 Over 900 Attacks And 1200 Deaths

 
February 2014 saw a slight decline in the number of attacks and deaths. One major cause for the drop was less intense fighting in Anbar, and fewer security incidents in Baghdad. There was still a tremendous amount of violence. Most of that was concentrated in just six of Iraq’s eighteen provinces, those being Anbar, Babil, Baghdad, Diyala, Ninewa, and Salahaddin. There was sporadic violence in Tamim, and a few attacks in the south as well. February still highlighted how the insurgency has been reborn in recent months.

There were 944 reported security incidents in February 2014. As usual Baghdad had the most at 218, followed by 196 in Salahaddin, 184 in Ninewa, 173 in Anbar, 64 in Diyala, 59 in Tamim, 36 in Babil, 7 in Basra, 2 each in Karbala, Maysan, and Wasit, and one in Dhi Qar. Compared to January, most of those governorates saw the same level of violence. Ninewa for example was almost unchanged going from 185 attacks in January to 184 in February. Diyala went from 70 to 64. Baghdad and Anbar however had 261 and 241 incidents in January respectively, combining for 111 fewer attacks in February. That was one reason why the number of deaths went down for the month.


Reported Security Incidents in Iraq Jan. vs. Feb. 2014

Anbar
Babil
Baghdad
Diyala
Ninewa
Salahaddin
Tamim
South
Jan
241
23
261
70
185
184
50
17
Feb
173
36
218
64
184
196
59
14

Last month there were 1,296 deaths and 2,518 wounded. That was topped by 390 killed and 926 injured in Baghdad. Salahaddin was next with 274 fatalities and 441 wounded, and 206 deaths and 277 wounded in Ninewa. Those were largely in line with January. What changed was a sharp drop off in the fighting in Anbar. The number of fatalities there went from 300 in January to 184 in February. On the other hand, there was a big increase in violence in Babil where the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) picked up attacks in the middle of the month. That led to 92 killed and 207 wounded compared to just 8 deaths and 50 injured in January. Diyala also witnessed a decline going from 156 killed and 150 wounded in February to 71 and 138 the next month. Southern Iraq remained largely untouched. In Basra 6 people were killed in February, five in Karbala, and two each in Maysan and Wasit. There was only one car bomb in the region on February 3 in Wasit that wounded three. From November 2011 to December 2012 ISIS launched a series of coordinated bombings in the south. Now their focus appears to be on other areas, and those types of attacks have largely ended.

In terms of targets civilians were by far the greatest victims in February. Of the 1,296 killed, 515 were members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 58 were members of the Awakening or Sons of Iraq, also known as Sahwa, and two were peshmerga. That compared to 694 civilian deaths. The disparity was even greater when it came to those injured. Of the 2,518 wounded 1,717 were civilians, 682 were from the ISF, 93 were from the Sahwa, and three were peshmerga. In different provinces, different groups were singled out. In Ninewa for example, the ISF made up the majority of casualties, 135 out of 206 killed and 162 out 277 wounded. Same thing happened in Tamim where 26 of 36 killed were from the ISF. There, insurgents are trying to intimidate the security forces and establish their control of areas. In Baghdad however civilians were the overwhelming victims with 337 of 390 deaths and 815 of 926 injured. In the capital ISIS is the main perpetrator of violence and has gone after both Sunni and Shiite targets trying to turn the two groups against each other. 


Reported Deaths in Iraq Jan. vs. Feb. 2014

Anbar
Babil
Baghdad
Diyala
Ninewa
Salahaddin
Tamim
South
Jan
300
8
564
156
183
235
37
12
Feb
184
92
390
71
206
274
36
16

Reported Wounded in Iraq Jan. vs. Feb. 2014

Anbar
Babil
Baghdad
Diyala
Ninewa
Salahaddin
Tamim
South
Jan
730
50
1,200
150
197
389
151
10
Feb
437
207
926
138
277
441
80
12


In terms of types of attacks there were 427 shootings and 442 bombings. Of the latter there were 73 car bombs and 43 suicide bombers. Car bombs are usually the cause of mass casualty attacks and are launched in waves by ISIS. That happened in the beginning of February in Baghdad. February 1 two car bombs went off in Sadr City and Palestine Street. On February 3, Mahmudiya, Hurriya, Baladiyat, and Abu Dashir were hit with six car bombs, one of which was a suicide attack, which left 25 dead and 64 dead. The next day two went off in Shurta Rabia and Baya resulting in 7 killed and 28 wounded. February 5 saw eight more in the Green Zone, Khilani Square, Tarmiya, Zafaraniya, and Dora leaving 40 fatalities and 82 wounded. February 6 seven detonated in Jamila, Karrada, Camp Sara, Hurriya, Ubaidi, and Kadhimiya with 17 dead and 64 wounded. February 7 just one car bomb went off in Sadr City. There was a small break until February 9 when Mahmudiya and Sadr City were hit, and then there was just one car bombing in Bab al-Muadham the next day. January 12 Shaab and Tarmiya faced explosions. Then things picked up again with 3 car bombs in Ur, Karrada, and Ghaziliya on February 17, followed by four on February 18 in Baya, Shurta, Karrada, and Amil. Then there was another pause with only one car delivered bomb on February 23 in Sadr City, another on February 25 in Karrada, one on Meshada on February 27. In total there were 42 car bombs causing 167 deaths and 482 wounded. This is just one of many signs that ISIS has made a comeback.
Scene of the Feb 6 Camp Sara bombing (Ali Al-Saadi, AFP)


Car Bomb Waves In Baghdad February 2014
Date
Location
# of Car Bombs
Dead
Wounded
2/1
Sadr City, Palestine St.
2
6
22
2/3
Mahmudiya, Hurriya, Baladiyat, Abu Dashir
6
25
64
2/4
Shurta Rabia, Baya
2
7
28
2/5
Green Zone, Khilani Square, Tarmiya, Zafaraniya, Dora
8
40
82
2/6
Jamila, Karrada, Camp Sara, Hurriya, Ubaidi, Kadhimiya
7
17
64
2/7
Sadr City
1
3
8
2/9
Mahmudiya, Sadr City
2
4
16
2/10
Bab al-Muadham
1
-
6
2/12
Shaab, Tarmiya
2
2
6
2/17
Ur, Karrada, Ghaziliya
3
23
38
2/18
Baya, Shurta Rabia, Karrada, Amil
4
17
83
2/23
Sadr City
1
6
21
2/25
Karrada
1
15
36
2/27
Meshada
1
2
8
Totals

42
167
482


There were more in February when twice the Islamic State attempted to seize or hold ground in central Iraq. First, in northern Babil’s Jurf al-Sakhr the Islamic State stood up to an assault by the ISF. The fighting started on February 6 when there was a shoot out. That continued two days later when a combination of gunfire and an IED left 2 soldiers dead and 36 wounded, and then the following day two more soldiers were wounded. February 11 there were more IED explosions with 2 police and 2 soldiers dying and 22 ISF members wounded, and then fighting for the next five days, and then a few more attacks until the end of the month. Jurf al-Sakhr is a major base for ISIS, and a likely car bomb factory used to carry out attacks in both Baghdad and southern Iraq. The fact that ISIS stood up to the ISF and fought it for several weeks shows the importance of the area. Around just the same time ISIS stormed Sulaimen Bek in northern Salahaddin. That started February 2, and escalated February 5 when four villages were taken over. The security forces then claimed that they retook the area, but left as soon as they arrived to the alarm of the local council. The result was that the insurgents moved right back in. February 16 the ISF tried to secure the area again, but were driven off by sniper fire. A week later district officials said that ISIS was still in control. By the end of the month it seemed like the Islamic State had pulled out. ISIS has been launching these large operations since December 2013. It is another signal that the group has not only reformed, but is going on the offensive challenging the government throughout central Iraq looking for weak points where they can gain control of territory.

The drop in violence and casualties in February 2014 was not a positive sign. There were still a huge number of attacks and over 3,800 casualties. The Islamic State was not only able to carry out its latest wave of car bombings in Baghdad, but fought off the security forces in northern Babil and attempted to take over a town in Salahaddin. The fighting continued in Anbar as well, which involves both tribes and other militant groups besides the Islamic State. All together that meant last month was very bloody and there are more to come just like it.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, "Iraq violence kills 35," 2/27/14

AIN, "13 soldiers killed, injured northern Babel," 2/11/14
- "Bombings of MoF headquarters, Karada area result in killing, injuring 19 persons," 2/5/14
- "IED explodes in northern Babel," 2/9/14
- "Urgent…3 ISIS leaders killed within northern Babel armed clashes," 2/9/14
- "Urgent…Casualties due to Filisteen St. hit 12 deaths, injuries," 2/1/14

Associated Press, "Car bombings in Iraq kill at least 23 people," 2/3/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "2 civilians killed, 10+ wounded in Sadr city," 2/9/14

Buratha News, "The high number of victims of the explosion of Karrada to the death and injury of 29 people," 2/17/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding at least 11 people in a car bombing in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 2/7/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding five soldiers by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad," 2/9/14
- "The outbreak of clashes between terrorist and security forces in three villages Suleiman Beck," 2/2/14

Al Forat, "Car bomb partially goes off in Baghdad," 2/10/14
- "Death toll of three bombings in Baghdad hit 42 deaths, injuries," 2/5/14

Independent Press Agency, "A car bomb, a police said fourth 17 people dead and injured," 2/18/14
- "Killing and wounding nine people in a car bombing in Baghdad's Amil district,' 2/18/14
- "More than 50 people were killed or wounded in the Karrada blast toll," 2/18/14

Iraq Times, “Army withdraws again from the hand of Solomon Beck because of sniper fire,” 2/16/14
- "The death of 20 people and wounded by a car bomb southwest of Baghdad," 2/4/14
- "martyrs and injured in the bombing of four cars in 40 Baghdad's al-Obeidi and Ataa," 2/6/14

Al Jazeera, "Iraq bombers target crowds and council HQ," 2/25/14

Karim, Ammar, “Iraq PM announces training, funds in battlefield city,” Agence France Presse, 2/15/14

Al Mada, "Killing and injuring at least 12 people blown up in a car bomb in eastern Baghdad is the sixth of the day," 2/6/14
- "Killing and wounding 11 people in a car bomb south of Baghdad," 2/5/14
- "Killing and wounding 15 people in a car bomb detonated southwest of Baghdad," 2/4/14
- "Killing and wounding 56 people, the outcome of the Baghdad bombings," 2/18/14
- "Killing and wounding at least eight people blown up in a car bomb in central Baghdad is the eight," 2/6/14
- "Killing and injuring at least six people blown up in a car bomb in northwest Baghdad, is the seventh of the day," 2/6/14
- “”Sulaiman Bek” surprised by the withdrawal of the army: “Daash” returned to occupy some neighborhoods,” 2/16/14

Al Masalah, "Killing nine civilians and wounding 16, the explosion of two car bombs in the area of Abu Dshir," 2/3/14
- "Killing one person and wounding three in bomb explosion in Diyala Bridge area," 2/12/14

NINA, "/3/ Civilians Injured by a Car Bomb North of Wasit," 2/3/14
- "3 Elements of al-Qaeda killed in Jurf al-Sakhar in Babylon," 2/6/14
- "Army officer killed by a sniper fire, northwest of Hilla," 2/8/14
- "Breaking News..14 Civilians Killed and Wounded by the Car Bomb in Muzaffar Square," 2/1/14
- "Car bomb goes off southern Baghdad," 2/9/14
- "Five soldiers injured, north of Babil," 2/8/14
- "Interior Ministry: Victims of the two suicide bombings, near ministry of foreign affairs, up 20 dead, 28 wounded," 2/5/14

Al Rayy, "The death of four people and wounding 15 others, the outcome of explosive Camp Sara area and people," 2/6/14
- "Gunmen in control of four villages in the area east of Solomon Beck Salahuddin," 2/5/14
- "Killing five people and wounding 13 others in the outcome can be increased to the bombings of freedom and beautiful," 2/6/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding 13 soldiers, including two officers by a roadside bomb north of Babylon," 2/11/14
- "Urgent…the martyrdom of one civilian and wounding four civilians in a car bombing in the area of Madain south of Baghdad," 2/12/14

Rudaw, “Iraq Army Fails to Oust ISIS Fighters from Suleiman Beg, Local Officials Say,” 2/21/14

Salah, Amjad, "Killing an officer and wounding 31 soldiers, the bombing was followed by a gun battle north of Babylon," Alsumaria, 2/8/14

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Bombings In Iraqi Capital Kill At Least 23 People," Associated Press, 2/17/14
- "Iraq officials say attacks around capital kill 10," 2/23/14

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