Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Violence Has Leveled Off In Iraq


After a big surge in violence during the summer of 2014, things have slowly leveled off in Iraq. Attacks have decreased this year, while casualties have also inched down ever so slowly since June. While the Islamic State (IS) is still attempting to gain back ground and counter attack in certain parts of the country, the government has been able to seize back important territory. Overall, that has led to the security situation stabilizing in Iraq.

After a spike in attacks in January 2015 their numbers have gone down since then. At the start of the year there were 817 security incidents, followed by 655 in February, 689 in March, and 632 in April. When those figures are averaged out it is a more pronounced decline going from 26.3 per day in January, 23.3 per day in February, 22.2 in March, and 21.0 in April. This was happening despite the constant offensives by the Islamic State. While the group might be able to seize the initiative like it did in April by attacking Baiji in Salahaddin and Ramadi in Anbar, its overall capabilities appear to be declining as shown by the attack statistics.

Casualties have been going down as well. In June 2014 there were a total of 7,873 dead and wounded reported in the press. From September 2014 to January 2015 there were just over five thousand casualties, and since February that has dropped to the four thousand range. In January there were 5,203 casualties, 4,413 in February, 4,830 in March, and 4,836 in April.

Deaths and injuries in Iraq have fluctuated over the last few months. In December 2014 there were 2,032 fatalities, but then in January IS went on the offensive in Ninewa and there was heavy fighting in Salahaddin that led to 2,308 deaths. They then went down to 1,730 in February, but then back up to 2,459 in March because of the retaking of Tikrit. In April they declined again to 2,211. That averaged out to 74.4 deaths per day in January, 61.7 in February, 79.3 in March, and 73.7 in April. That’s right around the levels seen in September and October of last year. The number of wounded followed a more straight line going from 2,895 in January to 2,683 in February to 2,371 before going up to 2,625 in April due to the battle for Ramadi. The cause of the discrepancy between the dead and injured is due to the fact that the government is not disclosing casualty figures and the press not being able to cover the entire country adequately. Usually there is anywhere from two to four times as many wounded as killed in armed clashes or bombings. Instead what the press is reporting is almost equal figures for both.

In April the 2,211 dead broke down to two members of the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG), 29 Sahwa, 38 peshmerga, 93 Hashd al-Shaabi, 491 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 1,558 civilians. Anbar had the most fatalities due to the fighting in Ramadi with 871, then Salahaddin with 624, Baghdad with 392, 102 in Kirkuk, 97 in Ninewa, 81 in Diyala, 36 in Babil, five in Irbil, two in Maysan, and one in Basra.

The 2,625 wounded were made up of 47 peshmerga, 53 Sahwa, 238 Hashd, 315 ISF, and 1,972 civilians.


Violence In Iraq By Month 2014-2015
Month
Attacks
Deaths
Wounded
Attacks
Avg Per Day
Deaths
Avg Per Day
Jan 2014
1,014
1,483
2,880
32.7
47.8
Feb
955
1,285
2,531
34.1
45.8
Mar
992
1,606
2,889
32.0
51.8
Apr
990
1,456
2,924
33.0
48.5
May
905
1,462
2,602
29.1
47.1
Jun
905
4,172
3,701
30.1
139.0
Jul
937
2,299
3,319
30.2
74.1
Aug
815
3,211
3,623
26.2
103.5
Sep
713
2,230
3,139
23.7
74.3
Oct
755
2,435
3,170
24.3
78.5
Nov
605
1,931
3,089
20.1
64.3
Dec
689
2,032
3,106
22.2
65.5
Jan 2015
817
2,308
2,895
26.3
74.4
Feb
655
1,730
2,683
23.3
61.7
Mar
689
2,459
2,371
22.2
79.3
Apr
632
2,211
2,625
21.0
73.7

Violence In Iraq Apr 2015 By Province
Province
Violence
Anbar
141 Incidents
871 Killed: 322 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 545 Civilians
832 Wounded: 148 ISF, 1 Hashd, 31 Sahwa, 652 Civilians
91 Shootings
9 IEDs
7 Suicide Bombers
22 Suicide Car Bombs
7 Car Bombs
16 Mortars
2 Rockets
Babil
20 Incidents
36 Killed: 11 ISF, 6 Sahwa, 19 Civilians
78 Wounded: 18 ISF, 60 Civilians
3 Shootings
14 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
Baghdad
217 Incidents
392 Killed: 18 ISF, 6 Sahwa, 9 Hashd, 359 Civilians
1,160 Wounded: 39 ISF, 10 Sahwa, 20 Hashd, 1,091 Civilians
37 Shootings
118 IEDs
24 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bobs
23 Car Bombs
3 Mortars
2 Rockets
1 Grenade
Basra
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 ISF
1 Shooting
Diyala
57 Incidents
81 Killed: 18 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 3 Hashd, 57 Civilians
150 Wounded: 30 ISF, 10 Sahwa, 74 Hashd, 36 Civilians
28 Shootings
17 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
2 Rockets
Irbil
1 Incident
5 Killed: 5 Civilians
17 Wounded: 2 Peshmerga, 15 Civilians
Kirkuk
23 Incidents
102 Killed: 2 ISF, 10 Hashd, 18 Peshmerga, 72 Civilians
170 Wounded: 8 ISF, 39 Peshmerga, 94 Hashd, 29 Civilians
14 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Mortars
1 Rockets
Maysan
2 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
Ninewa
54 Incidents
97 Killed: 9 ISF, 2 YPG, 4 Hashd, 20 Peshmerga, 62 Civilians
25 Wounded: 6 Peshmerga, 19 Civilians
35 Shootings
24 IEDs
1 Artillery
Salahaddin
115 Incidents
624 Killed: 110 ISF, 10 Sahwa, 67 Hashd, 437 Civilians
193 Wounded: 72 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 49 Hashd, 70 Civilians
83 Shootings
17 IEDs
7 Suicide Bombers
5 Suicide Car Bombs
4 Car Bombs
5 Mortars
1 Grenade

Car Bombs in Iraq Apr 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Apr 1



Apr 2
Bab al-Mudham, Baghdad
7
26
Apr 3



Apr 4
Mansour, Baghdad


Apr 5



Apr 6
Imam Abdullah bin Imam Ali al-Hadi shrine, Diyala
4
7
Apr 7



Total
3
11
33
Apr 8



Apr 9



Apr 10
Albu Faraj x5, Ramadi x2, Anbar
Karrada, Baghdad
5
13
Apr 11
Baiji Refinery x3, Salahaddin


Apr 12
Amiriya Fallujah, Anbar
Baiji Refinery x2, Salahaddin


Apr 13
Amil & Baya, Baghdad
15
60
Apr 14
Mahmudiya, Babil
East, Mashtal, Waziriya, Wihda x2, Yarmouk, Baghdad
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
46
97
Total
24
66
170
Apr 15
Shjariya & Sufiya x4, Anbar
1

Apr 16



Apr 17
Baghdadi, Anbar
Amil & Habibiya, Baghdad
Irbil, Irbil
41
73
Apr 18
Baghdadi x3, Anbar
Bashir, Kirkuk
2
7
Apr 19



Apr 20
West of Baiji, Salahaddin
2
4
Apr 21



Total
14
46
84
Apr 22
West of Albu Hayat, Anbar
Talibiya, Baghdad
Ishaqi, Salahaddin
16
36
Apr 23
Thar Thar x3, Anbar


Apr 24
Thar Thar & Trebil x4, Anbar
21
20
Apr 25
Sakarah, Anbar


Apr 26
Nukhaib, Anbar
Mahmudiya, Babil
Amil & Khilani Sq, Baghdad
22
58
Apr 27
Amil, Baya, Mansour, Baghdad
Qazanya, Diyala
19
50
Apr 28



Total
20
78
164
Apr 29
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
4

Apr 30
Hurriya, Mansour x2, Sadr City, Talibiya, Baghdad
19
73
Total
6
23
73
APRIL
TOTAL
67
224
524


The Islamic State has been ramping up its car bombings since the start of the year. There were 45 in January, 52 in February, 63 in March, and 68 in April. Their frequency has increased as well from 16 days of bombings and an average of 1.4 per day in January to 20 days of explosions and 2.2 per day by April. Vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are increasingly being used to soften up hard targets in preparation for large operations, and then used in the actual assaults. They are also being employed in counter attacks. In April however IS moved back to striking just as many civilian targets in terrorist attacks as military ones. IS could be turning to more terrorist bombings to make up for its losses on the battlefield. It may also point to an impending summer offensive, which actually usually starts in the spring. Car bombs have traditionally gone up before IS goes into attack mode.

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