Thursday, July 16, 2015

Battle Of Anbar Begins In Iraq


The biggest news during the second week of July 2015 was obviously the announcement that the battle of Anbar had begun. After over a month of delay, the Iraqi government announced that it was moving to re-take not only Ramadi, but Fallujah as well. Baghdad’s forces made quick progress clearing out the surrounding towns and suburbs, but the real fight will began when they reach the core of each city. The Islamic State responded with a huge wave of car bombs across the center of the country in retaliation. If the government is successful the fight for Anbar could be a real game changer.

Musings On Iraq counted 140 security incidents from July 8-14, 2015. That was down from 162 the week before. So far this month there have been an average of 21.5 attacks per day just above June’s 20.7. The real number of attacks is always higher.

Baghdad was the most violence province as usual with 53 attacks. After that there were 32 in Anbar and 20 in Salahaddin, which were the focus of the fighting in the country, and then 12 in Diyala and Ninewa each, 5 in Babil, 4 in Kirkuk, and 1 each in Basra and Wasit.

Those incidents led to 436 killed and 725 wounded. The dead were made up of 1 sahwa, 12 Hashd, 110 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 261 civilians. The wounded were 10 Hashd, 45 ISF, and 525 civilians. Baghdad was also the deadliest province with 140 fatalities, and then 100 in Anbar, 65 in Salahaddin, 54 in Ninewa, 19 in Diyala, 4 in Babil, and 1 each in Basra and Wasit.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
189
466
464
Jan 8-14
172
733
518
Jan 15-21
189
403
528
Jan 22-28
195
492
899
Jan 29-31
91
306
568
JAN
836
2,400
2,977
Feb 1-7
155
408
688
Feb 8-14
177
443
566
Feb 15-21
169
592
383
Feb 22-28
171
391
705
FEB
672
1,834
2,342
Mar 1-7
176
373
595
Mar 8-14
137
398
656
Mar 15-21
146
1,304
505
Mar 22-28
174
273
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
705
2,553 + 4
2,381 + 150
Apr 1-7
127
218
422
Apr 8-14
137
676
542
Apr 15-21
172
729
717
Apr 22-28
163
497
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
649
2,282
2,346
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
420
549
May 15-21
124
963
387
May 22-28
108
341 + 1,499
348
May 29-31
38
66
164 + 646
MAY
578
2,416 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
132
431
476
Jun 8-14
126
522 + 405
394
Jun 15-21
141
365
373
Jun 22-28
162
306
474
Jun 29-30
61
122
189
JUN
622
1,804
2,012
Jul 1-7
162
436
725
Jul 8-14
140
384
570

Violence In Iraq July 2015 by Province
Province
July 1-7
July 8-14
Anbar
42 Incidents
216 Killed: 17 ISF, 19 Hashd, 180 Civilians
287 Wounded: 16 ISF, 20 Hashd, 251 Civilians
23 Shootings
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Car Bomb
4 Mortars
2 Rockets
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
18 Car Bombs Destroyed
32 Incidents
100 Killed: 24 ISF, 76 Civilians
135 Wounded: 9 ISF, 126 Civilians
14 Shootings
15 IEDs
17 Suicide Car Bombs
4 Mortars
1 Rockets
22 Suicide Bombers Killed
4 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
22 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
4 Incidents
7 Killed: 7 Civilians
15 Wounded: 15 Civilians
3 IEDs
5 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
25 Wounded: 2 ISF, 23 Civilians
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
56 Incidents
112 Killed: 3 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 13 ISF, 92 Civilians
282 Wounded: 6 Hashd, 12 Sahwa, 28 ISF, 236 Civilians
14 Shootings
28 IEDs
5 Sticky Bombs
5 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
53 Incidents
140 Killed: 2 Hashd, 29 ISF, 109 Civilians
336 Wounded: 13 ISF, 323 Civilians
11 Shootings
28 IEDs
6 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
6 Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Basra
1 Incident
1 IED
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
5 Incidents
13 Killed: 2 Hashd, 11 Civilians
22 Wounded: 22 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
12 Incidents
19 Killed: 2 ISF, 3 Hashd, 14 Civilians
25 Wounded: 4 ISF, 21 Civilians
3 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Car Bomb
Kirkuk
10 Incidents
9 Killed: 3 Civilians, 6 Peshmerga
33 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 32 Peshmerga
9 Shootings
1 IED
4 Incidents
2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Mortar
Ninewa
15 Incidents
31 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 30 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Peshmerga
9 Shootings
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
12 Incidents
54 Killed: 10 ISF, 44 Civilians
7 Wounded: 7 Civilians
8 Shootings
Salahaddin
29 Incidents
48 Killed: 5 Civilians, 19 ISF, 24 Hashd
82 Wounded: 9 ISF, 35 Civilians, 38 Hashd
10 Shootings
7 IEDs
8 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Rocket
10 Suicide Bombers Killed
2 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
20 Incidents
65 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 7 Hashd, 13 Civilians, 44 ISF
40 Wounded: 10 Hashd, 15 ISF, 15 Civilians
9 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
9 Car Bombs Destroyed
Wasit
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 ISF
2 Wounded: 2 ISF
1 IED

Car Bombs In Iraq, June 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jul 1
Riyahah, Salahaddin
1
Jul 2
Nukhaib, Anbar
Fatah & Tal Abu, Salahaddin
Baiji-Tikrit Road, Salahaddin– 2 destroyed
9
12
Jul 3
Jul 4
Baya x2, Baghdad
Baiji x2, Salahaddin
Khursabad & Nouran, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
20
22
Jul 5
Amil & Dora, Baghdad
Baladrooz, Diyala
Hadith Dam, Anbar – 7 destroyed
16
55
Jul 6
Jubba, Anbar
New Baghdad, Baghdad
Haditha, Outside Haditha & Saqlawiya, Anbar - 12 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
11
11
Jul 7
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
Sinjar, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
10
35
Totals
16 & 32 Destroyed
66
136
Jul 8
Sakran, Anbar
Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed
1
1
Jul 9
Alwa, Baghdad
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
1
Jul 10
Khalidiya x7, Anbar
Amil & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
23
48
Jul 11
Abu Fleis x3, Anbar
Husaiba & Saqlawiya, Anbar – 11 destroyed
Bjara, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
8
5
Jul 12
Bunuk, Iskan, Kadhimiya, &Shaab, Baghdad
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
Sadr City, Baghdad – 1 destroyed
Albu Juari & Hawi, Salahaddin – 4 destroyed
43
103
Jul 13
Fallujah x5, Anbar
Jul 14
Nukhaib, Anbar
Khalis, Diyala
East of Husaiba, Saqlawiya, Shehan, Anbar – 13 destroyed
8
16
Totals
26 & 36 Destroyed
83
174

The Islamic State upped the number of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) once again. There were 16 the first week of July and another 32 destroyed. That was followed by 26 the second week and 36 destroyed. The main target was Anbar where IS tried to stave off the government’s offensive using these types of attacks. There were 17 successful suicide car bombings there with another 26 VBIEDs destroyed. After that there were 7 in Baghdad where IS continued with its terrorist campaign there against civilians. Finally there was 1 in Baiji in Salahaddin where Baghdad has another operation going on, and another 9 were destroyed there. The last bombing was in Diyala, which has seen one of these types of attacks about every other week.

Anbar has been the main focus of the Islamic State in 2015 and the government finally recognized it needed its full attention. Baghdad has been trying to re-take Garma to the east of Fallujah for the last two months. That is still going on, but after surrounding the city and taking the suburbs it has been unable to take the center for the last several weeks.

At the start of July, ISF, Hashd and tribes started preparatory work to take back Ramadi and Fallujah. That started in places like Saqlawiya and Khalidya, which are between Ramadi and Fallujah. Habaniya is between them, which is home to an army base and U.S. trainers, and was probably used as a jumping off point for some of these attacks.

On July 13 the official announcement was made that the Ramadi-Fallujah operation had started, although there was still a bit of confusion about that, which has characterized the fight in Anbar. The head of the Badr Organization Hadi Ameri said that the campaign would not start for another week showing the discord between all the groups involved, but that appeared to have been worked out. 10,000 ISF, Hashd and tribes were said to be involved. That’s actually smaller than the battle for Tikrit, which involved three times as many fighters. Still, the government announced immediate results taking more towns and entering the suburbs of the two major cities. The real struggle however, begins when the center of Ramadi and Fallujah are reached. IS has not been able to stop any overwhelming force, but it has been able to draw out operations for a long time and cause heavy casualties like what happened in Tikrit. Fallujah has been under insurgent control for more than a year and a half, while Ramadi was taken two months ago. That gave IS plenty of time to build up its defenses. On the other hand, the ISF is supposed to be in the lead in this operation, and that will mean it will have U.S. air strikes at its disposal, which was crucial for the final clearing of Tikrit. If IS is driven from both Ramadi and Fallujah, it would be a major loss for the group as Anbar has been its main base, and the only province where it continues to gain territory.

As the war has come to Anbar the number of civilian casualties due to government shelling has increased as well. In the second week of July the ISF and Hashd were responsible for more than half of the casualties. 49 civilians were killed and 80 wounded by shelling in Fallujah out of 100 dead and 135 injured total in Anbar during the week.

Baghdad has been the other major target of IS. It has been increasing the number of bombings there since the winter of 2014. During the second week of July there were 1 suicide bombings, 6 sticky bombs, 28 IEDs, 1 suicide car bomb, and 6 car bombs, with another one dismantled before it went off. The south and east have been the main targets, but IS has shown the ability to hit any part of the capital when it wants to. This is despite the fact that Prime Minister Haider Abadi has committed more and more forces to Baghdad to try to secure it, which has obviously not worked.

Baghdad Attacks, July 7-14, 2015
Center – 3: 1 Car Bomb, 2 IEDs
East – 13: 1 Car Bomb dismantled, 1 Kidnapping, 1 Sticky Bomb, 4 Shootings, 6 IEDs
North – 5: 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 Suicide Bomber, 1 Suicide Car Bomb, 2 Car Bombs
Outer East – 1: 1 IED
Outer North – 4: 2 Shootings, 2 IEDs
Outer South – 7: 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 6 IEDs
South – 12: 1 Car Bomb, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Shootings, 9 IEDs
West – 7: 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Car Bombs, 3 IEDs

In Ninewa, almost all of the casualties come from IS executions, while the organization continues to probe the Kurdish lines. From July 8-14, 38 people were killed by IS along with a mass grave being discovered with 9 IS victims found in it. Coalition air strikes were blamed for another 15 dead and 7 wounded in three towns. IS also conducted three attacks upon the peshmerga in Sinjar, Bashiqa and Gabarra. The frontlines are set all along the north with trenches and fortifications, but that hasn’t stopped IS from giving the peshmerga a poke about once a week. This usually ends with coalition air strikes destroying the attacking forces.

Finally, the struggle to re-take Baiji and the refinery there continued for another week. IS originally attacked the area as a diversion from its real goal, which was taking Ramadi. After that was accomplished it left behind a holding force, which has successfully held off the government for two months now. IS also continues attacks up and down the length of the province all of which are meant to hold down the government, which it has been very successful at so far. That’s just starting to change with the Anbar operation.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, "Car bomb kills at least 5 in Iraq town of Khalis," 7/15/15

AIN, "3 citizens killed, 14 others wounded by car bomb west of Baghdad," 7/13/15
- "Campaign to liberate Anbar starts with participation of 10 thousand fighters," 7/13/15

Alsumaria, "A truck bomb exploded near a vegetable market in Alwa northeast of Hilla," 7/9/15

Bradley, Matt and Adnan, Ghassan, “Iraq Security Forces Launch Operation to Oust Islamists From Anbar Province,” Wall Street Journal, 7/13/15

Buratha News, "A car bomb resulted in four martyrs and 17 wounded," 7/14/15
- "Federal Police Chief announced the destruction of seven car bombs and the dismantling of 17 booby trapped homes east of Ramadi," 7/14/15
- "Federal police foil attack of two car bombs north of Tikrit," 7/11/15

Ersoy, Erol, "Iraq: 72 dead, 24 injured in Baghdad attacks," Videonews.US, 7/10/15

Al Forat, “Anbar Liberation Operation starts with participation of 10 thousand fighters,” 7/13/15
- "Death toll of Za'afarniyah bombing increases," 7/10/15
- "ISIL attack foiled in eastern Ramadi, says Muhamadi," 7/8/15

Fox News, "Iraq launches operation against ISIS in Anbar province," 7/13/15

Al Mada, "Bomb toll rises to 34 people dead and wounded," 7/13/15
- "Death toll rises to 18 dead and wounded in bombing in Iskan," 7/12/15
- "Killing and injuring 13 people in a suicide bombing targeting a gathering of security forces," 7/12/15

Mamuzini, Hazhar, "Islamic State Launches Attacks East of Sinjar," Bas News, 7/12/15

NINA, "10 terrorists killed in east of Ramadi," 7/9/15
- "22/ civilians killed and wounded by air strikes of the international coalition in southern areas of Mosul," 9/7/15
- "Five policemen killed and wounded in east of Ramadi," 7/10/15
- "Peshmerga Repulse An Attack For Daash In Bashiqa, North Of Mosul," 7/14/15
- "Popular Defense Forces Destroy 4 Car Bombs In Baiji Sector," 7/12/15
- "Security Forces Blow Up Three Car Bombs East Of Ramadi," 7/11/15
- "Security forces thwart an attack by Daash in north of Fallujah," 7/1/15
- "Security forces thwart an attack by Daash in north of Fallujah," 7/14/15
- "Three car bombs blown up in Baiji," 7/9/15

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "Islamic State Militants Attack Iraqi Forces In Anbar," 7/10/15

Al Rayy, "Popular crowd forces destroyed two car bombs in the village of Shehan west of Fallujah," 7/14/15

Reuters, "Baghdad car bombs and suicide attacks kill 35 - sources," 7/12/15

Shafaq News, "33 people dead and wounded by a car bomb in Baghdad," 7/10/15
- "Truck bomb at a security location causes casualties near Fallujah," 7/8/15

Sotalirq, "Killing 31 militants, most of them suicide bombers in clashes east of Ramadi," 7/11/15
- "Eight people killed and wounded by a roadside bomb in Bunuk north Baghdad," 7/12/15
- "The killing of three border guards in a suicide bombing in Nukhayb," 7/14/15
- "Peshmerga thwart an attack by Daash in Sinjar," 7/14/15

Xinhua, "Clashes, bomb attacks kill 38 in Iraq," 7/12/15

Yacoub, Sameer, "Iraqi officials say bombings in Baghdad, town south of Iraqi capital have killed 16 people," Associated Press, 7/9/15

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