Monday, August 17, 2015

Mixed Bag In Iraq’s Anbar Op As Islamic State Counterattacks In Baiji


In Anbar Iraq’s forces had mixed news on their progress, while in Salahaddin’s Baiji district the Islamic State (IS) struck back during the second week of August 2015. IS’s on going car bomb campaign also continued with a sharp increase in those types of attacks compared to the previous week. That resulted in a jump in casualties.

From August 8-14, 2015 Musings On Iraq counted 132 security incidents. That was a drop from 154 the week before. Baghdad had the most attacks with 48, Anbar and Ninewa had 18 each, Salahaddin had 17, Diyala 11, Babil 10, Kirkuk 9, and Karbala 1. The reason for the drop appeared to be the media’s focus upon the protests that occurred during the week against corruption and to demand better services. Iraq lacks good national news coverage so when there is a major event it gets all the headlines and the rest of the country gets neglected.

There were 726 deaths and 654 wounded in the press during the week. That was a jump from the first week of August when there were 650 killed and 298 injured. The increase was due to several large car bombs in Baghdad and Diyala. Even then casualties always get under reported in Iraq largely because the government is not revealing its losses. The second week of August was a perfect example as there were no official casualties in Anbar despite constant fighting there.

During the week there were 2 Sahwa, 8 Hashd al-Shaabi, 13 Peshmerga, 55 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 130 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and 518 civilians killed. Another 1 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 5 Peshmerga, 25 ISF, and 610 civilians were wounded.

By province there were 254 dead in Ninewa, 130 in Baghdad, 73 in Diyala, 49 in Salahaddin, 45 in Anbar, 31 in Kirkuk, and 14 in Babil. Another 404 were wounded in Baghdad, 123 in Diyala, 44 in Anbar, 26 in Babil, 24 in Salahaddin, 13 in Kirkuk, 10 in Ninewa, and 1 in Karbala.

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
161
435
719
Jul 8-14
140
384
570
Jul 15-21
109
359
597 + 4,024
Jul 22-28
145
527
590
Jul 29-31
53
453 + 8
603
JUL
608
2,166
3,079 + 4,024
Aug 1-7
154
650 + 760
298
Aug 8-14
132
726
645

Violence In Iraq August 2015 by Province
Provinces
Aug 1-7
Aug 8-14
Anbar
46 Incidents
76 Killed: 5 Hashd, 6 Sahwa, 22 ISF, 43 Civilians
42 Wounded: 5 Sahwa, 17 ISF, 20 Civilians
22 Shootings
4 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
12 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
2 Car Bombs Destroyed
18 Incidents
45 Killed: 14 ISF, 31 Civilians
44 Wounded: 10 ISF, 34 Civilians
6 Shootings
2 IEDs
10 Suicide Bombers
6 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
6 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
6 Incidents
5 Killed: 2 Sahwa, 3 Civilians
15 Wounded: 1 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 12 Civilians
3 IEDs
2 Sticky Bomb
10 Incidents
14 Killed: 4 ISF, 10 Civilians
26 Wounded: 5 ISF, 21 Civilians
3 Shootings
3 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Baghdad
46 Incidents
57 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 3 ISF, 53 Civilians
154 Wounded: 1 Sahwa, 2 ISF, 151 Civilians
9 Shootings
22 IEDs
7 Sticky Bombs
2 Car Bombs
1 Rocket
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
48 Incidents
130 Killed: 130 Civilians
404 Wounded: 404 Civilians
11 Shootings
29 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
3 Car Bombs
8 Car Bombs Destroyed
Diyala
8 Incidents
15 Killed: 1 Hashd, 3 ISF, 11 Civilians
29 Wounded: 29 Civilians
1 Shooting
4 IEDs
2 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
11 Incidents
73 Killed: 1 Hashd, 2 Sahwa, 5 ISF, 65 Civilians
123 Wounded: 123 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 IED
2 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
1 Mortar
Irbil
1 Incident
12 Killed: 3 PKK, 9 Civilians
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
1 Turkish Air Strike
-
Kirkuk
7 Incidents
64 Killed: 7 ISF, 57 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
6 Shootings
1 Grenade
9 Incidents
31 Killed: 11 Civilians, 20 ISF
13 Wounded: 13 Civilians
4 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
Ninewa
24 Incidents
374 Killed: 30 ISF, 344 Civilians + 760 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Civilians
12 Shootings
2 Rockets
18 Incidents
254 Killed: 13 Peshmerga, 241 Civilians
10 Wounded, 5 Peshmerga, 5 Civilians
6 Shootings
10 IEDs
2 Rockets
3 Mortars
Salahaddin
16 Incidents
47 Killed: 5 ISF, 8 Civilians, 34 Hashd
39 Wounded: 5 ISF, 34 Civilians
11 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
17 Incidents
49 Killed: 7 Hashd, 12 ISF, 30 Civilians
24 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 10 ISF, 9 Civilians
11 Shootings
1 IED
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
12 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Car Bomb Destroyed

Car Bombs In Iraq, August 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Aug 1
Saqqara, Anbar – 8 destroyed


Aug 2



Aug 3



Aug 4
Balladries, Diyala
7
10
Aug 5
? x3, Anbar
Sadr City x2, Baghdad
Khalkis, Diyala
Anbar Unit, Saqlawiya, South of Fallujah, Anbar – 6 destroyed
Amiriya, Husseiniya & Sadiya, Baghdad – 3 destroyed
32
40
Aug 6



Aug 7



Totals
7 & 17 Destroyed
39
50
Aug 8
Ramadi, Anbar – 4 destroyed
Amiriya, Baghdad – 1 dismantled


Aug 9
Abadi, Mukhayb, Tal Al-Mushahid, Anbar – 4 destroyed


Aug 10
Howaider & Kanaan, Diyala
Baghdad – 7 destroyed
63
101
Aug 11
Samarra, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed


Aug 12
New Baghdad & Shomook, Baghdad
Khalis, Diyala
10
40
Aug 13
Sadr City, Baghdad
East Husaiba & Saqlawiya, Anbar – 2 destroyed
Mahawil, Babil – 1 destroyed
76
221
Aug 14
Yarmouk, Kirkuk
Baiji x 12, Salahaddin
Albu Jassim, Anbar – 2 destroyed
3
4
Totals
19 & 22 Destroyed
152
366


The Islamic State’s latest car bomb campaign entered its second month. The number of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) went from 24 launched the first week of August to 41 the next. 22 of the latter were destroyed with only 19 hitting their targets. Several of these caused mass casualties. Starting on August 10 VBIEDs hit Howaider and Kanaan in Diyala leaving 63 dead and 101 injured. This was part of IS’s new campaign of hitting that province roughly every other week with a car bomb. On August 13 Sadr City was bombed leaving 76 fatalities and 221 wounded. In total there were 13 such attacks upon Salahaddin, 12 in Anbar, 11 in Baghdad, 3 in Diyala, and one each in Babil and Kirkuk. The intensity of the bombings was shown by the fact that from August 1-7 were only three bombings out of seven days. The next week there were VBIEDs every day.

The operation to free Fallujah and Ramadi started on July 13 with mixed news about its progress. On the good side, Ramadi was finally surrounded, and the government’s forces entered the southern and eastern neighborhoods. At the same time the government’s forces have found it difficult to hold some of the larger towns it has taken. East Husaiba for example was declared cleared on July 21, 23 and August 6, with another sweep through the area starting on August 10. Likewise an operation to clear Khalidiya Island was begun on August 4, and then a second one on August 12. The operation to clear Garma, which started back on June 1 has been stalled for weeks with IS holding the center of the town. The government is unlikely to be able to hold all of these towns due to a lack of manpower. That raises a larger question of whether the joint forces will be able to secure Ramadi and Fallujah. IS will not be able to hold those two cities against a concerted government offensive. The militants can however continue to threaten those two cities for the foreseeable future afterward as shown by their ability to re-infiltrate the surrounding towns during the government’s current effort.

In Baghdad IS slightly changed its focus. The first week of the month there were 17 incidents in the eastern section of the province and 15 in the south. The next week the south had the most attacks with 16, while the north had the second most going from 7 to 11. Despite the differences, the insurgents still have access to every sector of the capital as shown by the fact that it detonated two car bombs in the east, one in the south, were able to plant one in the west, although it was defused, and seven more were discovered in undisclosed locations across the city.

Attacks In Baghdad Aug 8-14, 2015
Center – 3: 1 Shooting, 1 Attempted Kidnapping, 2 IEDs
East – 8: 2 Shootings, 2 Car Bombs, 5 IEDs
Outer East – 1: 1 IED
North – 6: 2 Shootings, 5 IEDs
Outer North – 5: 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 3 IEDs
South – 9: 1 Kidnapping, 1 Car Bomb, 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 5 IEDs
Outer South – 7: 1 Shooting, 6 IEDs
West – 4: 1 Car Bomb defused, 3 Shootings
? – 1 IED, 7 Car Bombs defused

Diyala was hit by three car bombs during the week. This is part of a new trend where IS has been targeting the province with VBIEDs more and more. In January there were just two car bombs during the entire month. The next month there were five, then just one in March, and two in April, four in May, and two in June. Then in July there were six. So far there have been five in August. There is a reported car bomb plant in Baladrooz in the middle of the governorate. Otherwise, IS has mostly used Diyala as a base for launching operations into neighboring Salahaddin and most importantly Baghdad.

The Turkish government released another figure for the number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters it killed with its air strikes into Kurdistan. Compared to previous numbers Ankara claimed to have eliminated another 130 PKK members.

The Islamic State continued with its mass executions in Ninewa. In Mosul 149 people were executed including doctors, sheikhs, and reporters from August 8-14. IS killed four former candidates from Mutahidun and the Kurdish Alliance in Badush, and a mass grave with 70 Yazidis was discovered in the Sinjar district. That was a total of 223 people murdered by IS. The week before they killed another 392 in the province.

Finally, the government’s effort to retake the Baiji district in Salahaddin faced some setbacks. The current operation was begun at the start of July. By July 21 the center of Baiji was reached, and then by July 30 the government claimed that only one neighborhood of the city was still held by the insurgents. Starting in August however IS began counter attacking moving into one new area on August 6 and then two more on August 8. Progress in the refinery been very slow and contradictory statements have been given. The day the Baiji operation started on July 6 the joint forces claimed they controlled 40% of the facility. By August 3 it was still at 40%. August 5 however it was said they’d taken 60%. The renewed insurgent effort in the district is likely to be another diversionary effort to draw Baghdad’s attention away from Anbar. Just like there the security forces and Hashd’s control over Baiji and the refinery is likely to be tenuous as well. IS controls most of the surrounding towns and countryside allowing it to re-infiltrate the area seemingly at will to harass the joint forces.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, "Bomb attacks in Iraq's Diyala kill at least 33: police," 8/10/15

AIN, "2nd phase of campaign to liberate Ramadi begins, minister says," 8/12/15
- "Found two car bombs in Nukhayb heading towards Karbala," 8/9/15
- "ISF dismantles car bomb west of Baghdad," 8/8/15

Alsumaria, "Killing and wounding 10, mostly security men in a suicide bombing east of Baquba," 8/10/15

Independent Press Agency, "Federal police burned four cars and kill 12 Daash in East Husaiba," 8/10/15

NINA, "/4/ civilians killed and wounding /13/ others in eastern Baghdad," 8/12/15
- "/8/ terrorists of Daash killed in east of Ramadi," 8/8/15
- "10 terrorists killed in east of Ramadi," 8/13/15
- "/11/ civilians killed and wounded in southeast of Baghdad," 8/12/15
- "12 elements of the security forces killed and wounded in Baiji of Salahuddin," 8/14/15
- "The Joint Operations announce the killing of a number of terrorists and destroy their hideouts and vehicles in Anbar," 8/9/15
- "A Major Military Operation Launched To Liberate Eastern And Southern Neighborhoods In Ramadi," 8/13/15
- "A number of people killed and wounded in Diyala," 8/12/15
- "Security forces , fighters of the popular mobilization and the sons of the tribes are able to circumvent al-Ramadi completely," 8/9/15

Al Rafidayn, "Join Operations thwart the bombing of a military camp in Samarra, two suicide bombers arrested," 8/11/15

Al Rayy, "9 car bombs found in Baghdad and Nukhayb and arrested a terrorist network," 8/10/15
- "The destruction of two tank bombs and killed Daash in Army Aviation bombings in Garma," 8/14/15
- "Media cell declares Humera area south of Ramadi cleared," 8/8/15- "Popular crowd burned a truck bomb in the village al-Abadi southeast of Garma," 8/9/15

Shafaq News, "Daash responsible for explosions in Baquba killing around 60," 8/10/15
- "Four people were injured by a car bomb in Kirkuk," 8/14/15
- "Security and PMU kill 28 ISIS elements and control al-Karma Bridge," 8/11/15

Solomon, Erika, "Scores killed as Isis truck bomb rips through Baghdad market," Financial Times, 8/13/15

Sotaliraq, "Dismantling of a car bomb north Babylon," 8/13/15
- "Islamic State attacking the town of Baiji and its surroundings," 8/14/15
- "The joint forces carried out a military operation to cut off Daash supply lines in Khalidiya Island," 8/12/15
- "Popular crowd thwarts suicide attack targeting defensive lines in Saqlawiya," 8/13/15

Xinhua, "IS claims deadly bombings in Iraq's Diyala, nearly 60 killed," 8/11/15

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