Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Islamic State Went Into Hibernation In Winter 2018

(Reuters)
Since the summer of 2018 incidents have declined in Iraq. That ended in December with the lowest number of security incidents ever recorded for a month by Musings On Iraq. The Islamic State largely retreated from Anbar, Baghdad and Salahaddin at the end of the year resulting in the low level of violence.

There were a total of 112 security incidents reported in December 2018, the fewest ever recorded. In June there were 219, 194 in July, 186 in August, 175 in September, 198 in October, and 136 in November showing a steady decline in the second half of the year.

There were 307 deaths and 91 wounded. 200 bodies were found in a mass grave in the Hawija district in south Kirkuk and another 11 were pulled from the rubble of the Old City in Mosul. That left just 95 violent deaths during the month, another low. 1 Peshmerga, 2 Hashd al-Shaabi, 27 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 34 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and 243 civilians lost their lives. 6 PKK, 8 Hashd, 26 ISF, and 51 Civilians were also injured. Removing the dead bodies found Ninewa had the most casualties during the month with 25 killed and 37 wounded.

The Islamic State made forays into Anbar, Baghdad and Salahaddin throughout the year, but then pulled back in the winter. During the fall the Islamic State made some attempts at mass casualty bombings in Anbar. There were suicide and car bombs from August to October. After that attacks declined to single digits with just 8 in December. Baghdad and Salahaddin also saw a sharp decline during the winter. In the capital province incidents went from 30 in October to 13 in November to 14 in December. Likewise, attacks in Salahaddin went from 20 in September, to 15 in October, to 17 in November, down to 8 in December. Like Anbar, there were suicide-car bombs during the fall to early winter in the province, but then all incidents fell off. These trends were the main reasons why December had the lowest total casualties of the year.

Diyala, southern Kirkuk and southern Ninewa remained the main areas IS was rebuilding in. there were 28 incidents in Diyala during the month including 3 gun battles, 3 attacks on checkpoints, and one town was attacked. In Kirkuk, a mukhtar was attacked, there were three kidnapping incidents including one day towards the end of the month were 18 people were snatched in one day and then one more two days later, and one town was assaulted. Finally, in Ninewa there was one gun battle, 3 attacks upon mukhtars and a car bomb, the only one of the month in Tal Afar in the west. In these three provinces, IS has established effective control of many of the rural areas. The government has been ineffective in countering this rebirth. The security sweeps, which occur all the time don’t work as the insurgents move out when they happen, and then return when they are over. Like the rest of the country, attacks in these three governorates went down at the end of the year, but that is not a sign that their influence is down there.

Finally, Turkey continued with its constant air strikes upon PKK positions in northern Kurdistan. Usually these go without comment by Baghdad even though it is a violation of its sovereignty. During December however Ankara raised the ire of the government when it struck two areas in Ninewa. The Mahdi administration objected, but Turkey declared that it would continue with these operations. Iraq simply is too weak militarily to do anything about this. It doesn't have the air force strength to monitor its own air space, the areas in Ninewa that were struck are under control of various different security forces that are only under nominal control of the central government, and neither Baghdad nor the Kurdistan Regional Government has any presence in the northern border area. That means these attacks upon the PKK will continue until Turkey changes its policy.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province
Province
Dec 1-7
Dec 8-14
Dec 15-21
Dec 22-28
Dec 29-31
Anbar
2
-
5
1
-
Babil
1
-
-
1
-
Baghdad
-
3
2
6
4
Diyala
4
8
3
8
5
Kirkuk
3
4
4
5
2
KRG
7
-
2
2
1
Ninewa
2
5
5
7
3
Qadisiya
-
1
-
-
-
Salahaddin
3
1
2
2
-
TOTALS
22
22
23
30
15

Casualties In Iraq By Province
Province
Dec 1-7
Dec 8-14
Dec 15-21
Dec 22-28
Dec 29-31
Anbar
2 (2K)
-
19 (6K, 13W)

-
Babil
4 (4W)
-
-
2 (2W)
-
Baghdad
-
1 (1K)
2 (2K)
5 (5K)
2 (2K)
Diyala
2 (1K, 1W)
11 (3K, 8W)
3 (2K, 1W)
8 (4K, 4W)
7 (5K, 2W)
Kirkuk
5 (1K, 4W)
10 (3K, 7W)
2 (2W)
1 (1W)
202 (200 K, 2W)
KRG
13 (13K)
-
7 (7K)
6 (6K)
5 (5K)
Ninewa
2 (2K)
14 (8K, 6W)
6 (5K, 1W)
39 (9K, 30W)
12 (12K)
Qadisiya
-
1 (1W)
-
-
-
Salahaddin
4 (2K, 2W)
-
1 (1K)
-
-
TOTALS
32 (21K, 11W)
37 (15K, 22W)
40 (23K, 17W)
61 (24K, 37W)
228 (224K, 4W)

Islamic State Activity in Anbar 2018
Anbar
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jun
4
3
2
-
-
1
-
-
Jul
3
5
1
-
-
-
-
-
Aug
4
4
2
1
-
-
-
1
Sep
3
8
-
-
-
-
2
-
Oct
9
5
3
1
1
2
1
1
Nov
1
3
-
-
1
1
-
-
Dec
1
4
-
-
1
-
-
-

Islamic State Activity in Central Iraq 2018
Diyala
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Mortars
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
20
24
2
7
-
1
-
6
1
1
Feb
14
13
4
3
-
-
-
-
1
-
Mar
29
21
14
5
1
2
1
5
-
-
Apr
13
18
2
2
-
-
-
2
-
-
May
11
11
1
3
1
1
3
4
1
-
Jun
32
17
5
12
-
1
5
4
-
-
Jul
20
19
2
3
-
2
3
1
-
-
Aug
17
18
2
2
1
1
3
3
-
-
Sep
20
12
5
1
-
2
5
5
-
-
Oct
11
22
2
-
1
1
-
4
-
-
Nov
17
13
5
2
1
1
4
4
-
-
Dec
15
10
3
3
-
1
1
2
-
-

Kirkuk
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Mortars
Rockets
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
13
6
4
1
-
-
-
3
3
1
Feb
21
10
7
3
-
-
-
4
1
-
Mar
22
15
11
2
-
2
1
3
1
1
Apr
18
4
3
1
-
-
8
1
-
1
May
14
28
2
-
2
1
1
4
4
-
Jun
25
12
4
2
-
2
10
6
-
-
Jul
7
20
1
2
-
-
-
-
-
1
Aug
7
20
2
1
2
-
-
2
-
1
Sep
14
25
2
2
1
3
4
2
-
-
Oct
16
29
1
4
4
1
4
2
-
1
Nov
7
7
2
-
-
2
-
1
-
-
Dec
8
6
-
-
1
3
1
2
-
-

Ninewa
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jun
7
2
3
1
-
-
-
-
-
Jul
9
9
1
1
1
1
2
-
-
Aug
9
9
2
-
-
1
1
-
-
Sep
8
3
2
-
-
-
-
1
-
Oct
13
5
-
1
-
1
-
-
1
Nov
9
7
2
1
-
-
3
-
1
Dec
8
6
1
-
3
1
-
-
1

Salahaddin
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Mortars
Rockets
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Jan
11
9
8
-
-
-
-
2
-
1
Feb
7
5
1
1
-
2
-
-
-
-
Mar
23
8
9
2
-
3
-
-
1
-
Apr
6
8
2
2
-
-
-
-
1
-
May
14
10
10
1
1
-
-
1
1
-
Jun
15
15
4
1
-
7
-
-
-
1
Jul
9
6
-
4
-
-
2
1
1
-
Aug
9
15
1
3
-
1
1
1
1
-
Sep
5
10
1
1
-
-
1
1
3
1
Oct
2
9
1
-
-
1
-
1
1
-
Nov
5
7
2
2
-
1
-
1
-
2
Dec
4
-
2
1
-
1
-
1
-
-
(Gun Battles, Attacks on Checkpoints, Attacks on Mukhtars, Attacks on Towns are all subsets of the total number of shootings and IEDs/Sticky Bombs reported)

Suicide-Car Bombs In Iraq 2018
Month
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
Totals
Jan
7
(1- Diyala,
3 – Baghdad/Baghdad,
3 - Kirkuk)
6
(1- Anbar,
1 – Diyala,
1 – Kirkuk,
1 – Salahaddin,
2 - Babil)
13
Feb
4
(1 – Anbar/Ramadi
1 – Diyala
1 – Kirkuk
1 - Ninewa)
-
4
Mar
2
(1 – Kirkuk/Kirkuk
1 - Salahaddin)
1
(1 – Kirkuk)
3
Apr
4
(1 - Salahaddin
3 – Anbar)
1
(1 – Kirkuk/Kirkuk)
5
May
8
(1 – Diyala
1 - Salahaddin)
2 – Baghdad/1 - Baghdad
4 - Kirkuk)
-
8
Jun

1
(1 – Salahaddin/Tikrit)
1
Jul
1
(1 – Salahaddin/Tikrit)
1
(1 – Kirkuk/Kirkuk)
2
Aug
1
(1 – Salahaddin)
2
(1 – Anbar,
1 – Kirkuk)
3
Sep
6
(1 – Ninewa)
2 – Anbar
3 – Salahaddin)
2
(1 – Kirkuk
1 – Salahaddin)
8
Oct
2
(1 – Anbar/Fallujah
1 – Salahaddin)
3
(1 – Anbar/Fallujah
1 – Kirkuk/Kirkuk
1 - Ninewa)
5
Nov
-
3
(1 – Ninewa/Mosul
2 – Salahaddin/Tikrit)
3
Dec
-
1
(1 – Ninewa)
1

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
62
45
63
Jan 8-14
58
58
70
Jan 15-21
62
151
151
Jan 22-28
59
140
65
Jan 29-31
24
21
21
JAN 2018
265
417
(196 Bodies Found)
366
Feb 1-7
58
192
62
Feb 8-14
57
58
91
Feb 15-21
53
343
43
Feb 22-28
46
38
70
FEB
214
631
(215 Violent Deaths)
266
Mar 1-7
68
115
79
Mar 8-14
52
75
59
Mar 15-21
64
165
98
Mar 22-28
77
210
61
Mar 29-31
19
26
34
MAR
280
591
(446 Violent Deaths)
331
Apr 1-7
38
172
27
Apr 8-14
60
173
81
Apr 15-21
43
63
72
Apr 22-28
40
60
39
Apr 29-30
12
14
4
APR
193
482
(236 Violent Deaths)
223
May 1-7
45
52
55
May 8-14
55
68
49
May 15-21
35
55
80
May 22-28
49
72
51
May 29-31
16
39
15
MAY
200
286
(261 Violent Deaths)
250
Jun 1-7
50
96
29
Jun 8-14
67
107
88
Jun 15-21
40
82
19
Jun 22-28
45
53
62
Jun 29-30
17
21
14
JUN
219
359
(315 Violent Deaths)
212
Jul 1-7
50
56
90
Jul 8-14
42
56
31
Jul 15-21
50
59
63
Jul 22-28
29
61
19
Jul 29-31
23
25
11
JUL
194
257
(212 Violent Deaths)
214
Aug 1-7
43
49
30
Aug 8-14
43
38
44
Aug 15-21
38
24
40
Aug 22-28
35
25
61
Aug 29-31
27
68
43
AUG
186
204
(189 Violent Deaths)
218
Sep 1-7
38
44
54
Sep 8-14
48
63
127
Sep 15-21
44
90
70
Sep 22-28
36
22
27
Sep 29-30
9
19
29
SEP
175
237
(179 Violent Deaths)
307
Oct 1-7
54
85
92
Oct 8-14
43
161
41
Oct 15-21
54
87
35
Oct 22-28
24
24
53
Oct 29-31
23
10
24
OCT
198
367
(177 Violent Deaths)
245
Nov 1-7
32
75
36
Nov 8-14
39
111
19
Nov 15-21
30
51
29
Nov 22-28
26
36
30
Nov 29-30
9
4
27
NOV
136
276
(183 Violent Deaths_
141
Dec 1-7
22
21
11
Dec 8-14
22
15
22
Dec 15-21
23
23
17
Dec 22-28
30
24
37
Dec 29-31
15
224
4
DEC
112
307
(95 Violent Deaths)
91

Violence By Province Dec 2018
Province
Violence
Anbar
8 Incidents
8 Killed
1 Hashd
3 Civilians
4 ISF
13 Wounded
4 Civilians
9 ISF

1 Shooting
4 IEDs
1 Rockets
2 Car Bombs Dismantled
Babil
2 Incidents
6 Wounded
6 Hashd

2 IEDs
Baghdad
15 Incidents
10 Killed
10 Civilians

9 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Rockets
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
Diyala
28 Incidents
15 Killed
2 Civilians
13 ISF
16 Wounded
7 Civilians
9 ISF

15 Shootings
10 IEDs
2 Mortars
Kirkuk
17 Incidents
204 Killed
1 Peshmerga
203 Civilians
16 Wounded
16 Civilians

8 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Mortars
Kurdistan
12 Incidents
31 Killed
31 PKK

12 Turkish Air Strikes
Ninewa
21 Incidents
36 Killed
3 PKK
9 ISF
24 Civilians
37 Wounded
6 PKK
8 ISF
23 Civilians

8 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
1 Grenade
1 Turkish Artillery
Qadisiya
1 Incident
1 Wounded
1 ISF

1 Sticky Bomb
Salahaddin
8 Incidents
3 Killed
1 Civilian
1 Hashd
1 ISF
2 Wounded
2 Hashd

4 Shootings
1 Mortar
1 Suicide Bomber Killed

2 comments:

يوسف said...

Very interesting analysis. What do you attribute the decrease in activity by the Islamic State to?

Also, as a journalist who has been keeping a very close eye on the national state of Iraq for so long, what is your outlook on Iraq in the next year? Are you optimistic with the new leadership?

Joel Wing said...

Hi,

You can't tell why IS pulled back in the winter you can just note the downward trend. One factor was weather as there were heavy rains and lots of flooding at the end of the year, but that can't account for the change overall. Might not never know why they pulled back.

As for Iraq, they are survivors. They are enjoying the increased security but there is widespread cynicism that things will ever change with the lack of jobs corruption etc. The Mahdi govt has also gotten off to a bad start and not sure it will ever do much for the foreseeable future as a result.

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