Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Iraq Sees 30% Drop In Violence In 2015

Since the start of the year attacks have steadily declined throughout Iraq. At the start of 2015, the Islamic State was making a major surge into Anbar, Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Ninewa. It was turned back by the Kurds in the latter two provinces and quickly gave up. It then began curtailing its operations in Anbar after it took Ramadi in May. Together that led to the decline. When looking back even farther IS has been reducing its operations since the start of 2014. It appears that overall, the group was looking to consolidate its hold upon the territory it seized after Mosul fell.

From January to October 2015 there has been a 31.9% drop in attacks. There were an average of 26.9 per day in January, and by October that was down to 18.3. While there are plenty of security incidents that do not get reported they are still the most reliable metric for violence in Iraq. Attacks are something the government is more likely to acknowledge and get into the newspapers because it highlights the threat the state is facing. High numbers of deaths on the other hand could affect morale. That’s the reason why the authorities are censoring them so much, and they not as useful anymore to track the security situation.

When going back even further incidents have been going down since 2014. At the start of that year there were an average of 32.7 per day in January before reaching a low of 20.1 in November. They then went up to 26.9 in January 2015, and then dramatically fell off once again. These figures are surprising because attacks were down even when Mosul and Tikrit was seized during the summer. In May 2014 there were 29.1 incidents per day, 30.1 in June, and 30.2 in July, and then a sharp decline afterward. That compared to January to April when there was an average of 32.9 attacks. What the figures reveal was that IS was ramping up attacks in the beginning of 2014 to weaken the state’s defenses so that it could launch its summer offensive. Once it took much of Ninewa, Salahaddin, and Kirkuk it went on the defensive to consolidate the territory that conquered. Then from November to February IS launched a new mini-offensive. In Kirkuk attacks were at 0.8 in November, 1.0 in December, 1.7 in January, and then 0.4 in February. Ninewa had 1.8 incidents in November, 1.9 in in December, 4.3 in January, and 3.6 in February. Salahaddin had 4.7 in November, 5.3 in December, 5.5 in January, and 4.3 in February. After that operation failed, violence went back down across the country until hitting its current low rate in October.

There were two provinces that IS continued to focus on for almost all of 2015. One was Anbar where IS was still attempting to take territory, which culminated in its victory in Ramadi in May. After that attacks went down there as well. From November to June there was an average of 4.4 incidents per day in the province. After that there was 4.3 in August, 3.4 in September, and 2.8 in October. The other was Baghdad. Rather than making a push on the capital, IS was more focused upon terrorizing the public and stoking sectarian tensions by hitting Shiite areas. There were 5.9 incidents in November, going up to 6.6 in December and January, before hitting 7.6 in February. Then from March to October incidents fluctuated, but averaged 7.0 per day.

As further proof that the Islamic State has been focused upon the defense in most of Iraq since 2014 is the fact that attacks have continued to go down even when the government was able to free parts of the country. Tuz Kharmato in Salahaddin, Jurf al-Sakhr in Babil, Tikrit and most recently Baiji both in Salahddin have all been secured, but incidents continued on their downward trend. It’s been said that IS believes in offense as its main defense, but even after it lost these areas overall attacks continued to dip.

One of the Islamic State’s main slogans is endure. After the group’s stunning success in the summer of 2014 that was what the group focused upon. It announced the restoration of the caliphate in June 2014, and then set about consolidating its hold and creating governance for the tens of thousands of people that were now under its control. It did make another surge in the winter of 2014-2015, but then returned to its defensive position that it continues to hold to this day. The group could have also realized its offensive limitations as it failed to seize important Shiite and Kurdish areas of Iraq, and therefore gave up on further expansion. That could also explain why it is still hitting Baghdad, because it cannot take any more land, but it can continue with its terrorist attacks into the foreseeable future.

Avg Attacks Per Day In Iraq Jan 2014-Oct 2015
Month
Avg Attacks Per Day
Jan 2014
32.7
Feb
34.1
Mar
32.0
Apr
33.0
May
29.1
Jun
30.1
Jul
30.2
Aug
26.2
Sep
23.7
Oct
24.3
Nov
20.1
Dec
22.2
Jan 2015
26.9
Feb
24.0
Mar
22.7
Apr
21.6
May
18.6
Jun
20.7
Jul
19.6
Aug
19.8
Sep
19.1
Oct
18.3

Avg Attacks Per Day In By Province Jan 2014-Oct 2015
Month
Anbar
Avg Attacks Per Day
Baghdad
Avg Attacks Per Day
Diyala
Avg Attacks Per Day
Kirkuk
Avg Attacks Per Day
Ninewa
Avg Attacks Per Day
Salahaddin
Avg Attacks Per Day
Jan 2014
7.7
7.1
2.2
1.6
5.4
6.7
Feb
6.1
6.6
2.3
2.5
6.5
7.7
Mar
6.8
6.6
2.2
1.6
5.8
6.5
Apr
6.0
6.0
2.3
2.2
6.2
7.3
May
4.4
6.1
1.9
0.7
5.9
6.4
Jun
5.2
6.0
4.4
2.1
3.4
6.5
Jul
4.7
7.0
4.8
2.0
2.6
5.9
Aug
4.6
5.5
3.0
1.8
2.4
5.5
Sep
3.5
6.2
1.8
1.4
2.0
6.2
Oct
5.8
5.0
1.9
0.8
2.0
6.6
Nov
3.7
5.9
1.4
0.8
1.8
4.7
Dec
4.1
6.6
1.7
1.0
1.9
5.3
Jan 2015
5.1
6.6
1.8
1.7
4.3
5.5
Feb
4.4
7.6
1.8
0.4
3.6
4.3
Mar
3.7
7.5
1.9
0.8
3.5
4.0
Apr
4.8
7.2
1.9
0.8
2.1
3.8
May
4.8
6.8
1.5
0.9
1.4
2.4
Jun
5.2
7.6
1.4
0.6
1.6
3.1
Jul
4.7
6.9
1.3
0.6
1.7
3.0
Aug
4.3
6.1
1.2
1.3
2.5
3.0
Sep
3.4
7.6
1.1
0.9
2.1
3.0
Oct
2.8
6.9
1.3
1.0
1.1
3.7

No comments: