Monday, August 18, 2014

Attacks Down But Casualties Remain High In 2nd Week of August, 2014


Violence continued across central Iraq in the second week of August 2014. The press had fewer security incidents than the previous week, but casualties remained high due to figures being released about peshmerga casualties in Ninewa and massacres carried out by the Islamic State (IS) in Salahaddin. U.S. air strikes and the arrival of Kurdish fighters from Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian groups also helped stabilize the front in Ninewa and Diyala, while the security forces and insurgents continued to battle over several cities in Anbar. In Baghdad there were continued car bombs and terrorist attacks in Kirkuk. Overall, August 8-14 saw the return of foreign powers to Iraq, but it was not enough to slow down the insurgency across the country.

Like the first week of August there were over 1,800 casualties in Iraq from August 8-14. The media had 178 security incidents, down from 265 the previous week, which was the most seen this year. The number of dead dropped as well from 951 the first week to 709 the second. That was made up of 217 peshmerga, 26 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 10 Sahwa, and 456 civilians. The wounded went up however from 885 August 1-7 to 1,152 the following week. That consisted of 542 peshmerga, 74 ISF, 4 Sahwa, and 532 civilians. The huge number of Kurdish casualties was actually the result of fighting across both weeks of August in the Sinjar area of Ninewa, but they were not reported until the 8th. Shootings decreased from 124 to 84 across the two weeks, while bombings remained steady at 104 versus 106 and 17 car bombs in both weeks. Although the number of dead and wounded declined they were still some of the highest figures seen since the middle of June when Mosul fell and the insurgency swept across Ninewa, Salahaddin and Kirkuk provinces. June 8-14 for example there were 658 killed, followed by 729 June 15-21 and 720 from June 22-28. The injured on the other hand was the most since the start of 2014.

Security Incidents In Iraq Aug 1-14, 2014
Incidents
Dead
ISF
Sahwa
Peshmerga
Dead
Civilian Dead
Wounded
ISF
Sahwa
Peshmerga Wounded
Civilian Wounded
Gunfire
Bombs
Car Bombs
Suicide Bombers
265
951
126 ISF
19 Sahwa
56 Peshmerga
750
885
218 ISF
7 Sahwa
23 Peshmerga
637
124
104
17
7
178
709
26 ISF
10 Sahwa
217 Peshmerga
456
1,152
74 ISF
4 Sahwa
542 Peshmerga
532
84
106
17
25

Violence In Iraq 2014
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
244
363
736
Jan 8-14
272
364
683
Jan 15-21
205
358
616
Jan 22-28
236
305
618
Jan 29-31
57
93
237
JAN
1,014
1,483
2,890
Feb 1-7
204
296
700
Feb 8-14
226
258
505
Feb 15-21
264
346
703
Feb 22-28
251
374
618
FEB
945
1,274
2,526
Mar 1-7
253
412
702
Mar 8-14
206
324
612
Mar 15-21
216
423
736
Mar 22-27
211
279
580
Mar 28-31
110
168
271
MAR
996
1,606
2,901
Apr 1-7
238
259
550
Apr 8-14
223
362
646
Apr 15-21
251
406
786
Apr 22-28
226
347
744
Apr 29-30
61
82
179
APR
999
1,456
2,905
May 1-7
198
246
483
May 8-14
257
469
752
May 15-21
183
256
426
May 22-28
204
407
817
May 29-31
63
90
132
MAY
905
1,468
2,610
Jun 1-7
224
588
1,021
Jun 8-14
227
658
887
Jun 15-21
170
729
564
Jun 22-28
170
720
775
Jun 29-30
56
127
236
JUN
877
2,822
3,483
Jul 1-7
200
511
622
Jul 8-14
211
577
625
Jul 15-21
225
398
1,000
Jul 22-28
223
549
801
Jul 29-31
65
162
230
JUL
924
2,197
3,278
Aug 1-8
265
951
885
Aug 9-14
178
709
1,152

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Aug 8-14, 2014
Province
Security
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Types of
Attack
Anbar
30
52
10 ISF
4 Sahwa
38 Civilians
77
8 ISF
2 Sahwa
67 Civilians
15 Shootings
2 IEDs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
Babil
15
16
5 ISF
3 Sahwa
8 Civilians
25
18 ISF
2 Sahwa
5 Civilians
6 Shootings
7 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
46
108
9 ISF
1 Sahwa
98 Civilians
259
30 ISF
229 Civilians
13 Shootings
19 IEDs
7 Car Bombs
6 Sticky Bombs
Basra
7
6
6 Civilians
21
21 Civilians
4 Shootings
2 IEDs
Diyala
18
55
1 ISF
17 Peshmerga
36 Civilians
128
8 ISF
42 Peshmerga
78 Civilians
15 Shootings
5 IEDs
2 Car Bombs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
20 Suicide Bombers
Kirkuk
18
33
33 Civilians
78
2 ISF
76 Civilians
4 Shootings
11 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
Ninewa
14
205
200 Peshmerga
5 Civilians
509
500 Peshmerga
9 Civilians
11 Shootings
2 IEDs
Qadisiyah
3


3 IEDs
Salahaddin
26
235
1 ISF
2 Sahwa
232 Civilians
55
8 ISF
47 Civilians
16 Shootings
11 IEDs
Wasit
1


1 Car Bomb

Anbar saw 30 security incidents resulting in 52 killed and 77 wounded. Like most weeks the majority of those casualties were caused by indiscriminate government shelling, which struck Falllujah and Garma. In total 29 people died and 66 were wounded by ISF artillery. Fighting was concentrated in two areas. First, insurgents continued to lay siege to Haditha attempting to take over the dam there. 4 units of the ISF were sent there as reinforcements. The other main battlefront was in the Ramadi area. In July militants were able to move from the south into the western section of the city. The security forces were able to battle back and launch a counter offensive in August. Up to 85% of the province remains under insurgent control however.

Fighting in Anbar in August has been centered around Haditha while the ISF is trying to clear Ramadi and the surrounding area (Institute for the Study of War)
Casualties From Government Shelling In Anbar Aug 8-14, 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Aug 8
Fallujah
4
7

Garma
3
7
Aug 9
Fallujah
3
8

Garma
1
9
Aug 10
Fallujah
7
12
Aug 11
-
-
-
Aug 12
Fallujah
6
10

Garma
3
5
Aug 13
Fallujah
2
8
Aug 14
-
-
-
TOTALS
-
29
66


The ISF continues with security operations in northern Babil’s Jurf al-Sakhr. This has led to clashes with the Islamic State almost every day with 3 civilians, 3 police, 3 Sahwa, 4 soldiers and 4 militiamen killed and 1 Federal Police, 2 Sahwa, 6 civilians, 8 volunteers, and 9 soldiers wounded.

Iraqi Special Forces seen taking part in on going security operation in Jurf al-Sakhr, Babil (Reuters)

The Islamic State has been able to maintain its car bombs campaign in Baghdad. In each week of the month a wave of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) were detonated. From August 6-8 8 exploded in Sadr City, Ur, New Baghdad, and Kadhimiya leaving 65 dead and 161 wounded. Then from August 11-13 another six went off in Diyala Bridge, Karrada, Zafaraniya, New Baghdad, Baya, and Amil causing 39 fatalities and 95 injuries. Bodies continued to pile up in the province as well with 14 being found during the week most of which were likely due to militias. In total 108 people died and 259 were wounded in Baghdad governorate.

 Aftermath of one of the six car bombs that went off in Baghdad Aug 6 (EPA)


Car Bombs In Baghdad Aug 1-14, 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Aug 1
Sadr City
16
25
Aug 2
-
-
-
Aug 3
-
-
-
Aug 4
-
-
-
Aug 5
-
-
-
Aug 6
Sadr City x2, Ur x2, New Baghdad x2
47
117
Aug 7
Kadhimiya
16
37
Aug 8
Sadr City
2
7
Aug 9
-
-
-
Aug 10
-
-
-
Aug 11
Diyala Bridge
4
8
Aug 12
Karrada & Zafaraniya
17
44
Aug 13
New Baghdad, Baya, Amil
18
43
Aug 14
-
-
-
Total
15
120
281

Bodies Dumped In Baghdad Aug 1-14, 2014
Date
Location
Bodies Found
Aug 1
-
-
Aug 2
-
-
Aug 3
-
-
Aug 4
Kadhimiya
2
Aug 5
East & ?
5
Aug 6
Zafaraniya & Obeidi
3
Aug 7
-
-
Aug 8
Rasheed
4
Aug 9
Obeidi & ? x2
8
Aug 10
Fudhliya
1
Aug 11


Aug 12
Abu Dishr
1
Aug 13


Aug 14


TOTAL
11
24


Diyala was the sight of a major setback for the peshmerga. On August 10, Jalawla in the eastern section of the province fell to insurgents. Using one car bomb, two suicide car bombs, and 20 suicide bombers militants led by the Islamic State were able to seize the town from the peshmerga. The next day it used a suicide bomber driving a tanker truck on a checkpoint. Another car bomb was detonated on August 14. The Kurds have been fighting to take back the area since then, but without success so far.  In total, 17 peshmerga were killed in the fighting, and another 42 wounded with some 20 captured as well. In the rest of the province the ISF carried out three operations claiming to secure the Hamrin Mountains, Muqtadiya, and Diam.

Peshmerga firing rockets in Jalawla area which they are currently trying to retake from IS led insurgents (Bas News)

Ninewa saw continued fighting in the Sinjar area between insurgents and peshmerga. The Kurds were able to retake Gwar, Makhmour and Zumar after the fall of Sinjar. That came at a heavy cost as the media reported around 200 dead and 500 wounded. Still the Islamic State offensive caught the Kurds by surprise just like it did in Jalawla. Before the Kurdistan Regional Government seemed to feel like it was safe from the insurgents, but they were proven wrong. Kenneth Pollack argued that the Kurds fought harder to retake those towns, because it was territory that they claimed. The real reason appeared to be the arrival of PKK fighters who were already in the area, and additional forces from Syria and Iran from the PYD and PJAK. The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan was also involved. The IS offensive highlighted the shortcomings of the peshmerga. Despite their reputation as heady fighters they have not fought any battles since the 1990s and as one analyst coined them were more of a checkpoint force like the Iraqi army and police. They lack the experience, leadership and weapons to fight the insurgency, unlike the PKK who have been fighting in Syria, Turkey and Iran for years now.

In Salahaddin insurgents continued attacks in Amerli, Dhuluiya, the Tuz Kharmato and Tikrit districts. There was heavy use of indirect fire using mortars on Dhuluiya, Albu Ajeel, Tarmiya, Tikrit, Tuz Kharmato, Tikrit, Amerli, and Awija. Amerli and Dhuluiya have been surrounded by insurgents for weeks and have received very little aid from the Iraqi security forces. At Camp Speicher on the outside of Tikrit 200 bodies were found executed by IS. Another 35 were killed and 55 wounded for the week.

In Kirkuk violence was more subdued consisting mostly of terrorist attacks upon Kirkuk City, while the government carried out a series of indiscriminate air strikes. In the city of Kirkuk there were ten IEDs, two shootings and a car bomb causing 13 deaths and 85 wounded. The Iraqi army air arm also struck Hawija, Shamar, Bado, and Daquq leaving 35 dead and 49 injured. Unlike Ninewa and Diyala IS has not decided to directly confront the peshmerga here.

Southern Iraq saw some attacks as well. There were 4 shootings and 2 IEDs in Basra, 3 IEDs in Qadisiyah, and a car bomb in Wasit. The last was the work of IS, but the others appeared to be due to disputes between Shiite parties. For instance, the followers of Mohammed Hassani Sarkhi have recently been accused of setting off bombs against their opponents’ offices in the south. Two of the three IEDs in Qadisiyah were against houses of representatives of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Ultimate responsibility will probably never be known.

SOURCES

Abdulla, Mufid, “Who will defend the KRG in the south of Kurdistan?” Kurdistan Tribune, 8/11/14

AIN, "11 persons killed, injured southwestern Baghdad," 8/13/14
- "18 Peshmerga elements killed, injured in Diyala," 8/14/14
- “Peshmerga forces liberate Zamar, Makhmour areas northern Mosul,” 8/10/14

Alsumaria, "Four dead and 11 wounded in the bombing of the Amil district south of Baghdad," 8/13/14
- "Killing and wounding ten people in the fall of mortars on Fallujah," 8/13/14

Bas News, “Peshmerga to Attack Strategic Town of Jalawla,” 8/11/14

Buratha News, "200 bodies found near Base Speicher believed to be students killed by Daash gang," 8/9/14
- "Baghdad blast toll rises to 28 new martyrs and wounded," 8/13/14
- "The high number of victims of the terrorist bombing in Karrada climbs to 13 martyrs and 25 wounded," 8/12/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding 18 people, including a police car in a bomb explosion targeting the federal police headquarters southwest of Baghdad," 8/13/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding nine people, blowing up a bus in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 8/8/14

Coles, Isabel, “Outgunned and untested for years, Kurdish peshmerga struggle,” Reuters, 8/13/14

Iraq Times, "Martyrdom and wounding 650 elements of the Peshmerga in battles with the Daash terrorist organization," 8/8/14

Al Mada, "Found four unidentified bodies south of Baghdad," 8/8/14
- "Killing and wounding 12 people in explosion of a car bomb south of Baghdad," 8/11/14
- "Killing and wounding 19 people by the army bombing Fallujah," 8/10/14
- "Zafaraniyah bombing toll rises to 16 dead and wounded," 8/12/14

NINA, "20 Peshmerga killed and wounded in suicide attack in Jalawla, Diyala province," 8/11/14
- “Army controls a large part of Muqdadiya district,” 8/10/14
- “An army force backed by the tribes liberated al-Wafaa district northwest of Ramadi,” 8/11/14
- “Defense announces cleansing series of Hamrin Heights,” 8/9/14
- “The security forces seize control on Edhaym district in Diyala,” 8/11/14
- "Two Sistani representatives' homes targeted by homemade bombs in Diwaniyah," 8/10/14
- "Unidentified body found , east of Baghdad," 8/10/14
- "Unidentified body found south of Baghdad," 8/12/14

Pollack, Kenneth, “Iraq: Understanding the ISIS Offensive Against the Kurds,” Brookings Institute, 8/11/14

Prothero, Mitchell, “U.S. airstrikes helped, but Kurds from Syria turned tide against Islamic State,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/11/14

Radio Free Iraq, "08 August 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 8/8/14
- “09 August 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 8/9/14
- “10 August 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 8/10/14
- "12 August 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 8/12/14

Al Rayy, "Found eight unidentified bodies in different parts of Baghdad," 8/9/14
- "Peshmerga pulled out of their headquarters amid Jalawla after three car bombs and 20 suicide bombers," 8/11/14
- "Violent clashes between the Peshmerga and Daash in Al Kwayr," 8/10/14

Rudaw, “Iranian Kurdish Parties Support Peshmerga With Fighters,” 8/12/14
- “Peshmerga in Push to Retake Jalawla from Militants,” 8/11/14

Yacoub, Sameer and Salama, Vivian, “Kurdish forces retake 2 towns in northern Iraq,” Associated Press, 8/10/14

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