Saturday, December 30, 2017

Security In Iraq, Dec 22-28, 2017


Attacks were up in the third week of December in Iraq, but that was after hitting a yearly low the week before. The rise in violence was largely due to incidents in Kirkuk and Baghdad. Casualties remained low however.

There was a total of 61 security incidents reported in the media from December 22-28. That was up from 49 the week before. This was still the 20th straight full week where there were fewer than 100 incidents recorded.

There was 1 incident each in Anbar, Basra, Dohuk, 4 in Babil and Kurdistan each, 5 in Salahaddin, 6 in Ninewa, 9 in Diyala, 12 in Kirkuk, and 18 in Baghdad. Those led to 2 casualties in Dohuk, 3 in Babil, 7 in Kurdistan, 8 in Diyala, 14 in Salahaddin, 32 in Baghdad, 33 in Ninewa, and 35 in Kirkuk. Those figures were made up of 1 Sahwa, 7 members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 16 Hashd al-Shaabi, 21 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 48 civilian deaths, and 1 Sahwa, 2 ISF, 13 Hashd, and 25 civilian wounded.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Dec 15-21, 2017
Anbar 1
Basra 1
Dohuk 1
Babil 4
Kurdistan 4
Salahaddin 5
Ninewa 6
Diyala 9
Kirkuk 12
Baghdad 18

Casualties In Iraq By Province Dec 15-21, 2017
Dohuk 2 (1 Killed, 1 Wounded)
Babil 3 (2 Killed, 1 Wounded)
Kurdistan 7 (7 Killed)
Diyala 8 (4 Killed, 4 Wounded)
Salahaddin 14 (7 Killed, 7 Wounded)
Baghdad 32 (11 Killed, 21 Wounded)
Ninewa 33 (33 Killed)
Kirkuk 35 (28 Killed, 7 Wounded)

There was only one incident reported in Anbar when a car bomb was discovered in the Qaim district in the west. The previous week there were several attacks in that region along with Islamic State fire coming from the Syrian side of the border. In response, the 13th Hashd Brigade, which is loyal to Karbala was sent to the area for added security.

There was continued violence in northeast Babil. This week however, there were no incidents in Jurf al-Sakhr, which has been a favorite target of the Islamic State. Instead, the four incidents were spread across Iskandirya, Hillah and Musayib. Just one of those was likely the work of IS, a shooting in Hillah, while a lawyer was assassinated, along with a robbery and kidnapping that could’ve been the work of criminals, IS or other elements.

There were 8 IEDs, 6 shootings, 1 sticky bomb, and 1 sound bomb in Baghdad during the week. 5 of those occurred in the north and 6 in the south, which have been the most violent areas of the province for years. Still there were just 18 incidents total as Baghdad continued to see the best security situation since 2003.

Officials in Diyala continued to warn that the insurgents are still active in the province. A parliamentarian called on the prime minister to intervene in Abu Saida to stop attacks there. Abu Saida has been an IS stronghold for years. There was another sweep in the governorate, this time in Buhriz-Kanan which is in the western section, just south of the provincial capital of Baquba. These operations have been largely ineffective in deterring the militants from rebuilding in the province. During the summer, they launched a relatively large number of attacks, but that has since subsided during the winter as usually happens in Iraq. During the third week of December there were 9 incidents. One of which was an attack upon a village, and another was a shootout with the army, both in the northeast.

Since mid-October when the Prime Minister sent the federal forces to take control of Kirkuk the governorate has seen a mix of political and insurgent violence. The third week of December was different because all but one of the 12 incidents recorded were the work of IS. That included a gun battle with the Hashd, a senior police officer and his family being assassinated, and three IEDs aimed at patrols. In total, there were 28 killed including 7 Hashd and 9 ISF, and 7 wounded, all of which were Hashd and soldiers. Those attacks coincided with a Kirkuk councilman, the governor, the Joint Operations Command, and a British general all warning that the insurgents were still active in Kirkuk, specifically the Hawija district that was recently freed. Ironically, the War Media Cell criticized a Saudi paper for reporting just that, and claimed that there were no IS sleeper cells in the district. That area is largely rural, which is the type of territory the security forces have a hard time controlling because they do not maintain a constant presence in most places.

Finally, there were reports that Arabs and a Federal Police unit told Kurds to abandon a town in the Dibis district. The Interior Ministry responded by removing the commander of the 11th Federal Police Brigade. This is part of the ongoing conflict that has occurred in Kirkuk in the aftermath of the federal takeover.

Turkey bombed Kurdistan for another week killing 8, 7 of which were from the PKK, and wounded 1 civilian.

Rural and western Ninewa along with Mosul remain danger areas. There was another attack along the Syrian border by the insurgents, and IS killed four police in Mosul. Another mass grave was found in Sinjar with the bodies of 24 Yazidis killed by the Islamists. Since the end of the Mosul battle, IS has fallen back into the small towns, carried out hit and run attacks inside Mosul, and tested security along the border every week.

Christians were one of the many minority groups that suffered under IS rule, and rebuilding their communities has been difficult. Al Monitor reported on Bartella and Qaraqosh two of the larger towns where Christians used to have a presence. In Bartella 700 families returned, but over 1,000 were still in Kurdistan. There Christians have complained that Shabaks looted their homes and took their farm land and have kept out a Christian militia because it was affiliated with the Kurds. In Qaraqosh things were much better with much of life back to normal. Still, nearly half of the Christian population has left Ninewa. Their population has consistently shrunk since 2003 due to constant threats and attacks by insurgents, but also violence by religious Shiite parties and militias.

Human Rights Watch reported that Yazidis targeted members of the Arab Imteywit and Jahaysh tribes in revenge for the Islamic State. In June, a Yazidi militia took away 52 people who were fleeing fighting and allegedly executed some of them, and the rest have not been seen since. Tribesmen complained of two other smaller incidents in August and February when tribesmen went missing supposedly at the hands of Yazidi armed groups. There have been other reports of Yazidis going after Arabs who were accused of cooperating with the Islamic State. Given the trauma the religious group has suffered there are likely to be more of these types of events. There is little government presence in these areas so local groups are basically able to do what they want.

The Islamic State is rebuilding in Salahaddin as well. There were three mortar attacks during the week showing that the group was stepping up its attacks. One of those occurred in Metiebeja just after the security forces claimed they cleared it the week before. Likewise, the Hashd said it had neutralized the White Flag militants in Tuz Kharmato, and carried out a new sweep through the Hamrin Mountains, another area the government forces said they had secured recently. A major problem in the war against the Islamic State has been the constant claims of victory by the Iraqi forces in these types of areas where an operation is conducted and then the militants move right back in afterward as no permanent presence is maintained to keep them out.

Security In Iraq 2017
Week
Security
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
188
509
1,346
Jan 8-14
168
371
1,036
Jan 15-21
137
585
1,262
Jan 22-28
145
289
310
Jan 29-31
74
127
338
JAN
712
1,881
4,292
Feb 1-7
123
388
176
Feb 8-14
164
434
390
Feb 15-21
148
393
508
Feb 22-28
185
647 + 399
1,390 + 1,634
FEB
620
1,862 + 399
2,464 + 1,634
Mar 1-7
179
749
622
Mar 8-14
171
551
614
Mar 15-21
143
571
1,166
Mar 22-28
152
1,233
575
Mar 29-31
71
374 + 278
288 + 2,925
MAR
716
3,478 + 278
3,265 + 2,925
Apr 1-7
174
903
487
Apr 8-14
126
599
669
Apr 15-21
108
479
449
Apr 22-28
122
698
328
Apr 29-30
39
138
51
APR
569
2,817
1,984
May 1-7
106
405
468
May 8-14
109
601
386
May 15-21
132
363
224
May 22-28
106
433
150
May 29-31
69
214
236
MAY
522
2,016
1,464
Jun 1-7
136
1,403
487
Jun 8-14
127
658
174
Jun 15-21
114
480
101
Jun 22-28
119
340
246
Jun 29-30
37
349
127
JUN
533
3,230
1,135
JAN-JUN
3,669
15,262 +
677
14,497 +
4,559
Jul 1-7
141
798
331
Jul 8-14
105
298
86
Jul 15-21
87
124
72
Jul 22-28
107
189
122
Jul 29-31
37
50
25
JUL
477
1,459
636
Aug 1-7
80
143
188
Aug 8-14
88
955
124
Aug 15-21
73
97
100
Aug 22-28
85
674
132
Aug 29-31
31
30
40
AUG
357
1,958
1,261
Sep 1-7
62
68
73
Sep 8-14
78
412
176
Sep 15-21
91
145
180
Sep 22-28
52
78
104
Sep 29-30
23
25
16
SEP
306
728
549
Oct 1-7
64
64
84
Oct 8-14
72
133
85
Oct 15-21
60
321
449
Oct 22-28
65
372
222 + 1,700
Oct 29-31
25
23
25
OCT
286
913
865 + 1,700
Nov 1-7
72
135
97
Nov 8-14
62
445
64
Nov 15-21
79
138
159
Nov 22-28
59
149
76
Nov 29-30
24
415
29
NOV
296
1,282
425
Dec 1-7
59
252
61
Dec 8-14
56
135
115
Dec 15-21
49
144
27
Dec 22-28
61
93
41

Violence By Province Dec 22-28, 2017
Province
Violence
Anbar
1 Incident

1 Car Bomb Dismantled
Babil
4 Incidents
2 Killed
2 Civilians
1 Wounded
1 Civilian

2 Shootings
Baghdad
18 Incidents
11 Killed
1 Sahwa
5 ISF
5 Civilians
21 Wounded
1 Sahwa
3 Hashd
17 Civilians

6 Shootings
8 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Sound Bomb
Basra
1 Incident

2 Sound Bombs
Diyala
9 Incidents
4 Killed
2 Civilians
2 ISF
4 Wounded
4 Civilians

5 Shootings
1 IED
1 Mortar
Dohuk
1 Incident
1 Killed
1 Civilian
1 Wounded
1 Civilian

1 Turkish Air Strike
Kirkuk
12 Incidents
28 Killed
7 Hashd
9 ISF
12 Civilians
7 Wounded
2 ISF
5 Hashd

7 Shootings
4 IEDs
Kurdistan
4 Incidents
7 Killed
7 PKK

4 Turkish Air Strikes
Ninewa
6 Incidents
33 Killed
3 Hashd
4 ISF
26 Civilians

5 Shootings
Salahaddin
5 Incidents
7 Killed
1 ISF
6 Hashd
7 Wounded
2 Civilians
5 Hashd

2 Shootings
1 IED
3 Mortars

SOURCES

Aboulenein, Ahmed, “Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitaries deploy to Syrian border,” Reuters, 12/22/17

Baghdad Post, "2 conscripts, officer killed in IED bombing southern Kirkuk," 12/26/17

Baghdadiya News, "The dismantling of a car bomb west of Ramadi," 12/22/17

Bas News, "Four Iraqi Soldiers Killed, Injured in IED Blast in Kirkuk," 12/27/17

Buratha News, “Araji orders the transfer of an officer from Kirkuk accused by a deputy of displacing Kurdish families from the province,” 12/29/17

Ebraheem, Mohammed, "Military operation launched to pursue IS militants between Diyala, Baghdad," Iraqi News, 12/26/17
- "Three army personnel killed, injured in bomb attack in Hawija," Iraqi News, 12/26/17

Fadel, Leith, "Turkish warplanes kill 7 PKK fighters in northern Iraq," Al Masdar News, 12/27/17

Al Forat, "Unknown gunmen shoot at citizens in central Hilla," 12/27/17

Hath Al-Youm, “Daesh In Hawija … A new method of secret returns and warning of their fall,” 12/27/17
-  “Governor wars: Daesh still operating in Kirkuk,” 12/25/17

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: Yezidi Fighters Allegedly Execute Civilians,” 12/27/17

Iraq Newspaper, "Iraqi Newspaper: The Assassination Of A Lawyer Ghazwan Obeid Shayhan And His Client And His Family In The Province Of Babil," 12/25/17

Al Maalomah, "One civilian was killed and another wounded by Turkish air strikes near Dohuk," 12/28/17
- “The popular crowd succeeds in neutralizing the White Flags in the outskirts of Kirkuk and Al-Tuz,” 12/23/17

Al Mada, “Deputy demands Abadi intervene to prevent sedition in Diyala,” 12/24/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Senior officer shot dead by unknown gunmen on Kirkuk road," Iraqi News, 12/25/17

Mostafa, Nehal, "Four policemen killed in Islamic State attack, west of Mosul," Iraqi News, 12/25/17
- "Relics of 24 Yazidi victims found in mass grave in Nineveh's Sinjar," Iraqi News, 12/26/17
- "Six tribal fighters killed in confrontations with Islamic State, west of Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 12/24/17
- "Tribal figure killed in Islamic State attack against village, northeastern Diyala," Iraqi News, 12/28/17

Neurink, Judit, “Iraqi Christians return after IS amid safety concerns,” Al Monitor, 12/24/17

NINA, "Five members of the popular crowd wounded west of Kirkuk," 12/28/17
- "Gunmen kidnapped a former army employee north of Babylon," 12/26/17
-  "Gunmen Steal 20,000 Dollars From A Banking Office In Mussayab, Babylon Province," 12/22/17
- "The PMF Repulse An Attack To Daesh On Iraqi-Syrian Border," 12/28/17
- “The War Media Cell denies existence of sleeper cells for Daesh in Kirkuk,” 12/26/17

Rudaw, "Clashes between Daash gunmen and the Iraqi army in rural Khanaqin," 12/28/17
- “Coalition acknowledges ‘reports’ of ISIS presence in Hamrin, Hawija,” 12/28/17
- “Officials sound alarm over Arabization: Kurds given 72-hrs to leave,” 12/28/17

Shafaaq News, “Arab Bedouins use Iraqi forces to displace 35 Kurdish families south Kirkuk,” 12/27/17

Watan News, “Kirkuk Council: Daesh exists in Hawija and not completely cleared,” 12/25/17

Xinhua, "5 killed in IS ambush in northern Iraq," 12/25/17
- "Iraqi forces launch anti-IS operation in mountainous area in central Iraq," 12/24/17


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