Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Violence In Iraq Reaches New High In May 2014 After Election Dip

 
Iraq held parliamentary elections at the end of April 2014. Security measures meant to protect the vote were successful in deterring the insurgents from carrying out widespread attacks. The week afterward there was a continued lull in violence. That was the calm before the storm, because the second week of May saw the most casualties of the year.

During the balloting in April and the following week there was a decided dip in fighting in Iraq. From April 29 to 30 when the general election was held there were 61 attacks, 82 deaths and 179 wounded. The number of security incidents was around the yearly average, but the number of casualties was slightly below the previous month’s. That showed that the militants were not able to disrupt the voting as planned. The first week of May security was still good. There were 200 attacks, 246 killed, and 486 wounded. Those were all the lowest amounts of the year below the 204 incidents seen February 1-7, and the 258 killed and 505 wounded February 8-14. Since the security measures were over for the voting there must have been another explanation for the decline in violence that week. The likely reason was that the insurgents were simply reloading for another wave of attacks, which occurred the second week of May. This has happened before as attacks and casualties always go up and down.

From May 8-14 the insurgency came back with a vengeance. There were 257 attacks leading to 469 fatalities and 752 wounded. Those were the highest figures seen this year surpassing 423 killed and 736 wounded March 15-21. In 2014 Iraq has averaged 32.9 attacks per day, 48.7 deaths, and 92.9 injured. During the second week of May those went up to 36.7, 67.0, and 107.4 respectively.

Amongst the more notable incidents was the continued government shelling of Fallujah. Almost all of the casualties in Anbar from May 15-21 were due to the Iraqi Army. Of the 87 deaths and 175 wounded seen in the province 76 of the former and 152 of the latter were due to artillery and mortar fire on Fallujah. Government forces are now responsible for nearly half of the casualties in the province each month since the start of the year. This is the way the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is attempting to keep pressure on the city. Some of these are targeted strikes against insurgent targets within Fallujah, but too many appear to just be indiscriminate firing into a city with ever more deadly results. The latter has been confirmed by soldiers talking to the Iraqi press and directly contradicts statements by Baghdad that it is attempting to avoid harming the civilian population of the city. These strikes are coming every day now as the ISF has launched a major operation to clear the area around Fallujah. The press has called this the start of the battle for the city, but a more careful reading of press reports shows that the army and police are actually concentrating upon the surrounding towns and have only carried out probing actions into the city itself. Unfortunately the ISF has proven incapable of holding an area after clearing it. That’s why it is currently carrying out operations in places like Saqlawiya, which is just northwest of Fallujah even though it has claimed to have captured it several times already.

The worst day of the week was May 13 when fourteen car bombs went off. Ten areas of Baghdad were hit leaving 41 dead and 118 wounded, another exploded in a hospital garage in Balad, Salahaddin that cost 11 lives and injured another 16, and finally Riyad in Kirkuk saw 6 dead soldiers. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) launches car bombs in waves. This month has seen two so far. The first started May 3 with an attempt upon Shiite pilgrims in Salahaddin, followed by one in Ramadi and another in Mosul the next day, then five on May 5 across Anbar, Ninewa, and Salahaddin provinces, and another five on May 6 in Anbar, before tapering off with two on May 7. There was a two-day reprieve before four attacks were carried out in Baghdad and Salahaddin on May 7, two on May 11, and four on May 12. May 13 was the obvious climax with 14 car bombs, and then just one in Ninewa on May 14. In total there have been 41 vehicle bombs this month with 133 fatalities and 284 wounded. These are by far the deadliest form of attack used by the insurgency, and a specialty of ISIS.
Smoke from Sadr City on May 13, 2014 after one of three car bombs exploded there (AFP)

In Babil the latest security operation failed. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) was able to hold its ground in the Jurf al-Sakhr area of northern Babil and cause a large number of casualties. For the week there were 20 killed in the governorate, 16 of which were from the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Likewise of the 37 wounded, 29 were ISF members. ISIS now has a ring of bases stretching from Anbar into Babil. These are used to infiltrate fighters into Baghdad as well as facilitate car bombs into the southern provinces. The ISF has made several attempts to dislodge the organization from Babil, but failed. It is currently engaged in another such endeavor, which will likely to end like the others.



Insurgent images of destroyed ISF vehicles in northern Babil May 2014

Security Incidents In Iraq By Week 2014
Date
Attacks
Deaths
Wounded
Shootings
Bombings
Car
Bombs
Suicide Bombs
Jan 1-7
245
363
736
121
111
19
7
Jan 8-14
273
364
683
127
131
23
12
Jan 15-21
205
358
615
85
111
33
4
Jan 22-28
236
305
618
106
121
13
10
Jan 29-31
57
93
237
29
28
8
7
Jan
1,016
1,483
2,890
468
502
96
40
Feb 1-7
204
296
700
107
104
33
17
Feb 8-14
226
258
505
93
126
9
10
Feb 15-21
264
346
703
132
124
22
8
Feb 22-28
251
374
618
110
112
9
8
Feb
945
1,274
2,526
442
466
73
43
Mar 1-7
253
412
702
116
172
21
11
Mar 8-14
206
324
612
86
101
9
13
Mar 15-21
216
423
736
87
134
27
11
Mar 22-27
211
279
580
83
113
13
4
Mar 28-31
110
168
271
47
59
3
4
Mar
996
1,606
2,901
419
579
73
43
Apr 1-7
238
259
550
95
134
18
12
Apr 8-14
223
362
646
96
119
26
9
Apr 15-21
251
406
786
98
132
20
16
Apr 22-28
226
347
744
79
143
14
24
Apr 29-30
61
82
179
8
55
1
8
Apr
999
1,456
2,905
376
583
79
69
May 1-7
198
246
483
88
82
13
9
May 8-14
257
469
752
102
148
25
10
Total
4,411
6,534
12,457
1,895
2,360
359
195
Averages
32.9
48.7
92.9
14.1
17.6
2.6
1.4

Car Bombs In Iraq May 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
5/1/14
Ramadi, Anbar


5/2/14



5/3/14
Jazeera, Salahaddin


5/4/14
Ramadi, Anbar, Mosul, Ninewa
4
12
5/5/14
6
23
5/6/14
Hit x4, Ramadi, Anbar
4
8
5/7/14
Hit, Anbar, Mosul, Ninewa
5
10
5/8/14



5/9/14



5/10/14
Husseiniya, Meshahda, Tarmiya, Baghdad, Dujail, Salahaddin
34
57
5/11/14
West, Baghdad, Mosul, Ninewa
4
10
5/12/14
Shaab, Tarmiya, Baghdad, Mosul, Ninewa, Baiji, Salahaddin
18
27
5/13/14
Amil, Arab Jabour, Baladiyat, Dora, Ghaziliya, Karrada, Maamil, Sadr City x3, Tarmiya, Ur, Baghdad, Riyad, Kirkuk Balad, Salahaddin
58
134
5/14/14
Rabia, Ninewa

3
Total
41
133
284


After a short dip in violence in late April/early May 2014 it was only a matter of time before the insurgency made a comeback. By the second week of May ISIS was able to launch its second wave of car bombs this month with far deadlier results than the first, and fight off the security forces in Babil. The government is also taking a heavy toll on civilians in Fallujah. Far more people are dying there than should be largely because the army indiscriminately fires artillery and mortars into the city every day. This has become the routine for security in Iraq. There are short reprieves as the militants have to reload, but overall they are expanding their operations throughout central Iraq. More importantly they are engaging in set battles with the Iraqi security forces not only in Anbar, but now Babil as well. As the weeks pass more of these confrontations are likely to occur as the insurgency is marching towards Baghdad.

SOURCES

AIN, "3 Car bombs explode in Heet," 5/6/14
- "11 persons killed, injured southern Mosul," 5/12/14
- "13 persons killed, injured due to car bombing in al-Baladiyat area," 5/13/14
- "Car bomb explodes in Samarra," 5/4/14
- "Casualties of eastern Tikrit bombing rise to 60 deaths, injuries," 5/5/14
- "Urgent…Tarmiya bombing casualties increase," 5/12/14

Associated Press, "Car bomb blasts kill 34 as Iraqis await vote count," 5/13/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "5 soldiers, Sahwa killed, 6+ wounded south Beiji," 5/13/14

Buratha News, "Martyrdom and wounding at least 20 people in a suicide bombing south of Tikrit," 5/10/14

Al Forat, "2 persons injured in Amil's neighborhood bombing," 5/13/14
- "4 IAs injured northern Salah il-Din," 5/5/14
- "5 Policemen killed, wounded northern Ramadi," 5/5/14
- "Anbar: Suicide bombing followed by violent clashes," 5/1/14
- "IA force kills Suicide bomber in Mosul," 5/5/14
- "Tuz Khurmatu bombing death toll hits 18 deaths, injuries," 5/5/14

Iraq Times, "The death of six soldiers and the kidnappings of four others in armed attack southwest of Kirkuk," 5/13/14

Al Jazeera, "Many dead in fresh wave of violence in Iraq, "5/10/14

Lateef, Ali, "Hundreds of thousands said to have fled fighting in Falluja," 5/18/14

Al Mada, "100 killed or wounded in the bombing of the nine car bombs in Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "Killing and injuring six policemen detonation of a suicide car bomb north of Ramadi," 5/4/14
- "Killing and wounding 13 members of the army and the police in a suicide car bomb attack in Tarmiya," 5/12/14
- "Killing and wounding 23 people in explosion of two car bombs east of center of Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "Killing and wounding nine people, a car bomb west of Baghdad," 5/13/14
- "Killing and wounding nine people in detonation of a car bomb northeast of Baghdad," 5/12/14
- "Wounded three policemen by a car bomb targeting their headquarters west of Mosul," 5/14/14

NINA, "Army kills a suicide bomber in Baghdad," 5/11/14
- "Breaking News…/7/ soldiers killed and wounded by a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber western Anbar," 5/6/14
- "Breaking News…A second car bomb driven by a suicide bomber in Anbar," 5/6/14
- "Four civilians wounded in northern Mosul," 5/7/14
- "Interior Ministry: The explosion north of Baghdad, targeted a vehicle of the army and led to the killing of 5 soldiers and wounding others, including civilians," 5/10/14
- "Nine people killed, three others wounded in a suicide bomber north of Tikrit," 5/12/14
- "Suicide bomber attack a hospital in Anbar, kills and injures 11 soldiers and police," 5/7/14
- "A suicide bomber was targeting visitors of Imam Ali al-Hadi killed in Salhuddin," 5/3/14
- "Toll of victims of the bombing of Balad up to 27 killed and wounded," 5/13/14

Radio Nawa, "The end of the outcome of the bombing in the center of Mosul at four dead and ten injured," 5/11/14

Al Rafidayn, "Tight security measures in the vicinity of the Green Zone after the fall of about 70 people dead and wounded," 5/13/14

Al Rayy, "The death of one soldier and sounding seven others, and an officer in a car bombing west of Mosul," 5/4/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding 14 people in a car bomb explosion in the granular," 5/10/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding seven soldiers, including an officer in bomb west of Mosul," 5/5/14

Xinhua, "29 killed in wave of attacks across Iraq," 5/4/14

Yacoub, Sameer, "Bombing, shootings kill 5 people in Iraq," Associated Press, 5/5/14

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