Tuesday, July 3, 2018

June 2018 Islamic State Rebuilding In Rural Areas Of Central Iraq


Since the Islamic State lost the last piece of Iraqi territory at the end of 2017 it has gone through three trends. First, for a few months after the group’s defeat, there was a period of residual violence. At the very end of that time, there was a decided change in tactics away from the usual mix of bombings and shootings to the rural areas in the center of the country. Then there was a sharp decline in attacks as the militants regrouped. Now IS is attempting to regain control of those agriculture and border places, while also increasing its direct confrontations with the security forces, which was what happened in June 2018.

Anbar, Babil, Baghdad and Ninewa are a sign of the reorganizing that the Islamic State made. In the first two there was an uptick in violence at the start of 2018, but since then there has been a sharp decline. Babil followed the same pattern, but incidents peaked in the fall of 2017. In Anbar, there were an average of just 0.3 incidents per day in January 2018, climbing to 0.8 in March, before falling back afterward. Similarly, in Baghdad, there was a terrorist campaign starting in January with 3.3 incidents per day then declining to 1.1 by June. Babil reached a high of 0.4 incidents per day from August to October before dipping down to 0.1-0.2 for the last four months. Attacks in Ninewa have constantly dropped since the start of 2017, and reached a new low of just 0.4 incidents per day in June 2018. These were all once essential areas of operation for the insurgency. For instance, the vast desert regions and small towns along the Euphrates River in Anbar were perfect for IS to set up camps and traverse the length of the province. Babil was the main base for attacks into southern Baghdad and southern Iraq, while the capital was the main target for mass casualty bombings. Ninewa on the other hand, was where the organization regrouped after the Surge and eventually established its Iraqi capital in Mosul. The Islamists have since withdrawn from these areas to concentrate upon three core provinces.

Diyala, Kirkuk and Salahaddin are now the focus of Islamic State activity. The group is operating in all the rural areas of Diyala. There are an increasingly number of direct clashes with the security forces and attacks upon villages. In Kirkuk, most incidents occur in the two southern districts of Hawija and Daquq. IS is trying to re-establish its economic base there taxing farmers. There were more attacks upon towns there as well, along with kidnappings. In July, there were an average of 1.8 incidents per day in that governorate, the most since 1.9 in May 2016. Finally, in Salahaddin incidents jumped as well to 1.4 per day in June, the highest since January. There were several kidnappings there, which caused a huge controversy for the government after several were found executed at the end of the month. The same tactics were being used in all three provinces. Intimidation of rural towns through demanding taxes, burning fields for those that refused, killing and kidnapping local officials and security forces (ISF), and more attacks upon the ISF. These areas were never really cleared by the government. Current security operations have proven ineffective, going through an area and then leaving. IS still has enough sway that locals are not coming forward in large numbers with information to the government to stop it. If the Iraqi forces were receiving good intelligence many of these incidents would be stopped before they occurred. That doesn’t mean they have much support, but they are able to impose a level of threats and violence to subdue the public for now.

Diyala
Shootings
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
Mortars
Gun Battles
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
18
23
6
2
2
-
1
1
Feb
10
13
-
4
-
-
1
-
Mar
16
21
5
13
3
1
-
-
Apr
12
17
3
1
1
-
-
-
May
9
11
4
1
2
3
1
-
Jun
22
17
4
5
1
5
-
-

Kirkuk
Shootings
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
Mortars
Gun Battles
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
9
6
3
4
-
-
3
1
Feb
14
13
4
7
-
-
1
-
Mar
14
15
3
8
4
1
1
1
Apr
11
4
1
2
-
8
-
1
May
12
28
4
2
2
1
4
-
Jun
17
12
6
5
4
8
-
-

Salahaddin
Shootings
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
Mortars
Gun Battles
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
3
9
2
8
-
-
-
1
Feb
6
5
-
1
2
-
-
-
Mar
13
8
-
9
3
-
1
-
Apr
4
8
-
2
-
-
1
-
May
3
10
1
10
-
1
1
-
Jun
10
15
1
5
8
-
-
1

This was the third month of the Turkish operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Its army is making a slow march towards the PKK headquarters in the Qandil Mountains. That has led to a constant barrage of artillery and air strikes that left 120 PKK members dead. The Kurdish group has responded by killing 22 Turkish soldiers and wounding 1 more. When and if Ankara finally reaches the PKK’s mountain redoubt there could be heavy fighting and even greater casualties.

In June, there were 239 incidents reported. That averaged out to 7.9 incidents per day, the highest since March’s 9.9. Minus the ones in Kurdistan there were 217 incidents in the rest of Iraq. Kirkuk, 56, Diyala, 51, and Kirkuk, 42, had the most as could be expected.

There were 371 deaths and 218 wounded. 44 bodies were found during the month leaving 327 violent fatalities. If the Turkish-PKK confrontations were subtracted there were 228 killed and 217 injured in the rest of the country in June. 22 Turkish soldiers, 25 Hashd al-Shaabi, 43 ISF, 120 PKK, and 161 civilians lost their lives. 1 Turkish soldiers, 6 ISF and Hashd, 37 Hashd, 66 ISF, and 108 civilians were wounded Kurdistan had the most casualties with 138, followed by 115 in Diyala, 99 in Salahaddin and 96 in Kirkuk.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province May-June 2018
Province
May
June
Anbar
9
13
Babil
4
8
Baghdad
46
33
Basra
-
2
Diyala
38
51
Halabja
-
1
Irbil
2
3
Kirkuk
48
56
KRG
15
18
Ninewa
20
12
Salahaddin
30
42

Casualties In Iraq By Province May-June 2018
Province
May 2018
June
Anbar
25 (6 K, 19 W)
11 (4 K, 7W)
Babil
4 (4 W)
19 (6 K, 13 W)
Baghdad
146 (61 K, 85 W)
40 (18 K, 22 W)
Basra
-
1 (1K)
Dhi Qar
2 (2 K)
-
Diyala
80 (46 K, 34 W)
115 (41 K, 74 W)
Irbil
5 (5 K)
6 (6 K)
Kirkuk
90 (43 K, 47 W)
96 (35 K, 61 W)
KRG
80 (72 K, 8 W)
138 (137 K, 1 W)
Ninewa
65 (34 K, 31 W)
63 (57 K, 6 W)
Salahaddin
48 (29 K, 19 W)
99 (65 K, 34 W)

Security In Iraq 2017-18
Week
Security
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
JAN 2017
719
1,923
4,374
FEB
628
1,891 + 399
2,511 + 1,634
MAR
720
3,504 + 278
3,302 + 2,925
APR
578
2,933
1,955
MAY
528
2,038
1,563
JUN
534
2,038
1,563
JUL
478
1,490
650
AUG
359
1,949
584
SEP
306
728
549
OCT
286
913
865 + 1,700
NOV
296
1,282
425
DEC
261
763
300
Jan 1-7
71
50
66
Jan 8-14
64
62
70
Jan 15-21
68
156
151
Jan 22-28
68
148
66
Jan 29-31
27
23
22
JAN 2018
298
439
(218 Violent
Deaths)
375
Feb 1-7
66
196
67
Feb 8-14
65
63
93
Feb 15-21
59
346
43
Feb 22-28
55
44
72
FEB
245
649
(233 Violent Deaths)
275
Mar 1-7
78
120
84
Mar 8-14
60
84
61
Mar 15-21
67
168
98
Mar 22-28
81
213
61
Mar 29-31
21
26
35
MAR
307
611
(466 Violent Deaths)
339
Apr 1-7
40
174
29
Apr 8-14
64
175
83
Apr 15-21
44
63
72
Apr 22-28
44
62
48
Apr 29-30
12
12
4
APR
204
486
(240 Violent Deaths)
236
May 1-7
51
57
56
May 8-14
56
68
49
May 15-21
39
58
82
May 22-28
51
73
51
May 29-31
21
42
15
MAY
218
298
(273 Violent Deaths)
253
Jun 1-7
55
100
32
Jun 8-14
72
108
88
Jun 15-21
42
83
19
Jun 22-28
52
58
65
Jun 29-30
18
22
14
JUN
239
371
(327 Violent Deaths)
218

Violence By Province June 2018
Province
Violence
Anbar
13 Incidents
4 Killed
2 Civilians
2 ISF
7 Wounded
2 ISF
3 Civilians

4 Shootings
3 IEDs
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
Babil
8 Incidents
6 Killed
1 Civilian
5 ISF
13 Wounded
2 Civilians
3 ISF
8 Hashd

2 Shootings
5 IEDs
Baghdad
33 Incidents
18 Killed
18 Civilians
22 Wounded
22 Civilians

1 Shootings
10 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Grenade
1 Car Bomb Dismantled
Basra
2 Incidents
1 Killed
1 Hashd

1 Shooting
1 Grenade
Diyala
51 Incidents
41 Killed
2 Hashd
14 ISF
25 Civilians
74 Wounded
4 Hashd
30 ISF
40 Civilians

32 Shootings
16 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
4 Mortars
Halabja
1 Incident
1 IED
Irbil
3 Incidents
6 Killed
1 Civilian
5 Turkish Soldiers

1 Shooting
1 Turkish Shelling
Kirkuk
56 Incidents
35 Killed
4 Hashd
7 ISF
24 Civilians
61 Wounded
15 Hashd
17 ISF
29 Civilians

25 Shootings
12 IEDs
6 Mortars
1 Rocket
Kurdistan
18 Incidents
137 Killed
17 Turkish Soldiers
120 PKK
1 Wounded
1 Turkish Soldier

3 Shootings
1 Rocket
16 Turkish Air Strikes
Ninewa
56 Incidents
35 Killed
4 Hashd
7 ISF
24 Civilians
61 Wounded
15 Hashd
17 ISF
29 Civilians

25 Shootings
12 IEDs
6 Mortars
1 Rocket
Salahaddin
42 Incidents
65 Killed
10 ISF
18 Hashd
37 Civilians
34 Wounded
4 Civilians
6 ISF & Hashd
10 Hashd
14 ISF

15 Shootings
14 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Car Bomb
1 Mortar


3 comments:

Patrick B. Johnston said...

Thanks for the trend analysis, Joel. Really good stuff, if discouraging.

Joel Wing said...

Thanks Pat Unfortunately things are repeating themselves

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