Monday, September 9, 2019

Islamic State’s New Game Plan In Iraq

(Iraqi News)

Two contradictory trends occurred in Iraq during the month of August. For the first time in three months security incidents went up in the country. At the same time, the Islamic State largely withdrew from most of the country and became solely focused upon Diyala province. There were also continued reports that people were fleeing towns and being left unprotected from the intimidation of the militants. This supports recent papers by the United States and United Nations that IS is de-emphasizing operations in Iraq right now to preserve and rebuild its core.

There were a total of 104 security incidents recorded during August. One of those was an IED set off by a pro-Iran Hashd group targeting a security unit working for British Petroleum at the Rumaila oil field in Basra. Still, the 103 incidents likely committed by the Islamic State were the highest since 135 in May, and marked the first increase in attacks since that month as well. In the preceding two months incidents had gone down from 93 in June to 82 in July.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province
Province
Aug 1-7
Aug 8-14
Aug 15-21
Aug 22-28
Aug 29-31
TOTALS
Anbar
1
-
1
1
1
4
Babil
3
1
1
2
1
8
Baghdad
7
1
-
5
1
14
Basra
-
-
-
1
-
1
Diyala
7
7
8
14
5
41
Kirkuk
1
6
8
4
-
19
Ninewa
2
1
2
1
3
9
Salahaddin
5
2
-
-
-
7
Sulaymaniya
1
-
-
-
-
1
TOTAL
27
18
20
27
11
104

Casualties In Iraq By Province
Province
Aug 1-7
Aug 8-14
Aug 15-21
Aug 22-28
Aug 29-31
Anbar
2 (2W)
-
-
11 (4K, 7W)
2 (2K)
Babil
5 (5W)
1 (1W)
1 (1K)
44 (4K, 40W)
2 (2W)
Baghdad
13 (3K, 10W)
2 (2K)
-
4 (3K, 1W)
1 (1K)
Diyala
13 (5K, 8W)
12 (6K, 6W)
14 (3K, 11W)
21 (6K, 15W)
7 (1K, 6W)
Kirkuk
1 (1K)
9 (3K, 6W)
28 (24K, 4W)
15 (6K, 9W)
-
Ninewa
3 (2K, 1W)
1 (1K0
5 (5K)
1 (1K)
17 (15K, 2W)
Salahaddin
8 (3K, 5W)
1 (1K)
-
-
-
TOTAL
45 (14K, 31W)
26 (13K, 13W)
48 (33K, 15W)
96 (24K, 72W)
29 (19K, 10W)

There were a high number of casualties as well. There were 103 deaths consisting of 1 U.S. soldier, 24 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 37 Hashd al-Shaabi and 41 civilians. 10 bodies of Yazidis killed by IS were found in the Sinjar district of western Ninewa. That left 93 violent fatalities during the month. Another 141 were wounded made up of 12 Hashd, 48 ISF, and 81 civilians. Diyala had the most casualties with 21 killed and 46 wounded as it continues to be the most violent province in the country.

Despite the increase in overall security incidents during the month, IS operations have been in decline across central Iraq. In Anbar there were only 4 incidents during the month the lowest ever recorded since 2003. Just a few months ago there were 27 in February, 16 in April, and 13 in June. Even with those spikes it has been apparent the province is no longer considered a main front for the insurgents. Rather it is using Anbar to move men and material into the nation from Syria. Incidents in Kirkuk have been flat for the last three months. After 35 in May there were 18 in June, 15 in July and 19 in August. Attacks there have followed that pattern since the summer of 2018 with a jump and then a few months with little activity, and then another jump. The spikes however have been happening less frequently. Likewise, in Ninewa, there were 10 incidents in June, 6 in Jul and 9 in August, while in Salahaddin incidents went from 9 in June to 8 in July and 7 in August. The militants used to be active in the western Anbar deserts, in southern Kirkuk, in the western border of Ninewa and south of Mosul, and northern and eastern Salahaddin. Now there are only sporadic attacks in all those areas. Salahaddin almost went three weeks straight without a single attack. During the insurgents last rebuilding after the Surge it was still setting off IEDs every day, taking shots at the security forces and would often carry out mass casualty bombings. That has all disappeared this time around. The U.N. and U.S. reported that IS is focusing its attacks in Syria, while looking to preserve its core leadership and fighters in Iraq. Still, this is a remarkable change in the country’s security situation.
There are a few exceptions to that trend. Babil saw 8 attacks in August. That was the most since June 2018. Not only that, but IS carried out a mass casualty bombing with a motorcycle bomb hitting a market in the northern section of the province. The insurgents have also been attempting to infiltrate into Baghdad, but at a very slow pace. There were just 4 incidents in that governorate in March, then 10 in April and May respectively, 13 in June, 15 in July, and then 14 in August. Almost all of these attacks occur in the periphery of the province in the north and south, but the effort is on-going, and is proving difficult. In both cases, the Islamic State appears to be probing the defenses of the two governorates and looking for opportunities. Babil is a much easier target because IS has access to it from Anbar. Jurf al-Sakhr is a favorite district because there are no civilians there and has been turned into a Hashd base providing lots of targets.

Diyala however, has become the bastion of the Islamic State. Attacks saw a large jump from 27 in June to 28 in July and then 41 in August. That was the most attacks since 43 in August 2018. IS never seized any territory there in 2014, and immediately transitioned to an insurgency. Even here there has been a transition. Earlier on the militants were active in every rural area of the province. Now around half of the attacks are in the Jalawla-Khanaqin districts in the northeast and most of the rest are in the north or center. There are few attacks in the south or west anymore. Here you see both sides of the group’s rebuilding. On the one hand it has forced people out of several rural areas allowing it to set up new bases. On the other hand, it has constantly hit local administrators and the security forces. In the middle of the month for instance, there was a large attack upon an army camp. The result is that Diyala is consistently the most violence area of the country. A major issue for the government is that there are too many security units in the province and a lack of coordination between them. In the Jalawa-Khanaqin districts for instance, the Hashd have moved in after the areas were taken from the Kurds after the 2017 independence referendum. Those brigades do not have enough troops there and there are gaps between them and the Peshmerga. The rest of the province is supposed to be under control of the Badr organization that also runs the local army units, but other Hashd units are also there that do not follow Badr. This hodgepodge of units has provided ample space for IS to operate in.

A third main goal of IS is to set up new camps to rebuild its cadres. That includes killing local officials, attacking towns, collecting taxes, and driving out residents. This appears to be going well for the group. There are constant reports of people fleeing after IS attacks. In August there were stories that 20 villages in Diyala’s Khanaqin had been abandoned, that families were fleeing Diyala’s Maya Basin, Kirkuk’s Daquq district, and the Shura district of Ninewa, that the security forces were not protecting people in Diyala’s Kanaan from the insurgents, and that IS was regrouping in the Makhmour area of Ninewa. Since IS lost so many fighters in the war, it is now trying to get new recruits. That requires secure areas to train them. That’s what these stories point out, where the insurgents are finding places to create bases. These are just as important as the individual attacks, because it lays out where the militants may emerge in the future.

Islamic State Activity in Iraq 2018-19
Diyala
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
2018
Totals
219
198
47
43
5
13
25
3
1
Jan 2019
21
2
3
8
-
-
1
-
-
Feb
18
2
5
7
-
-
3
-
-
Mar
7
6
1
2
-
-
-
-
-
Apr
13
15
2
4
1
-
1
-
-
May
11
13
3
5
-
-
13
(9 Farms Burned)
-
-
Jun
15
8
2
4
-
1
-
1
-
Jul
7
12
2
4
-
-
2
-
-
Aug
21
12
3
7
-
1
1
1
-
2019
Totals
113
70
21
41
1
2
21
2
-

Kirkuk
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
2018
Totals
172
182
39
18
10
14
29
9
6
Jan 2019
8
17
-
4
2
3
-
-
1
Feb
9
5
3
-
-
2
1
-
-
Mar
5
11
2
1
2
-
2
-
-
Apr
5
9
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
May
11
18
2
3
1
-
13
(13 Farms Burned)
-
-
Jun
5
10
1
2
-
-
-
-
-
Jul
2
10
-
-
-
1
2
-
-
Aug
9
6
10
-
-
1
-
-
-
2019
Totals
54
86
21
10
5
7
18
-
1

Ninewa
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
2018
Totals
139
74
43
7
5
6
6
2
3
Jan 2019
6
-
-
-
1
-
-
-
-
Feb
8
3
2
2
-
-
1
-
1
Mar
6
1
3
-
-
-
1
-
1
Apr
6
6
1
-
1
2
2
-
-
May
8
8
1
-
1
2
6
(5 Farms Burned)
-
1
Jun
2
5
-
-
1
-
4
(4 Farms Burned)
-
-
Jul
2
2
-
-
1
1
2
-
-
Aug
3
2
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
2019
Totals
41
27
7
2
5
5
17
-
3

Salahaddin
Shootings
(Totals)
IEDs/
Sticky Bombs
(Totals)
Gun Battles
Attacks on Checkpoints
Attacks on Mukhtars/
Sheikhs
Kidnappings
Attacks on Towns
Suicide Bombers
Car Bombs
2018
Totals
110
102
41
18
1
16
4
9
5
Jan 2019
5
5
3
1
-
3
-
-
1
Feb
7
11
3
-
-
2
1
1
-
Mar
3
5
2
-
-
-
-
-
1
Apr
2
2
1
-
-
-
-
-
1
May
10
9
4
1
1
-
6
(5 Farms Burned)
-
-
Jun
4
3
2
-
1
-
-
-
-
Jul
3
6
2
1
-
-
-
-
-
Aug
5
1
1
-
-
1
1
-
1
2019
Totals
39
42
18
3
2
6
8
1
4

Suicide-Car Bombs In Iraq 2018-19
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
Jan
1
(1 – Anbar)
3
(1 – Anbar
1 – Kirkuk
1 – Salahaddin/Tikrit)
4
Feb
1
(1 – Salahaddin)
1
(1 – Ninewa/Mosul)
2
Mar
-
1
(1 – Ninewa/Mosul)
1
Apr
-
2
(1 – Anbar
1 - Salahaddin)
2
May
1
(1 – Baghdad)
3
(2 – Anbar
1 – Ninewa)
4
Jun
1
(1 – Diyala)
-
1
Jul
2 (2 – Baghdad/Malif)
-
2
Aug
1
(1 – Diyala)
1
(1 – Salahaddin)
2

Security In Iraq 2018-19
Week
Security
Incidents
(Total/By IS)
Dead
(Total/By IS)
Wounded
(Total/By IS)
Jan 1-7
62/60
45
63
Jan 8-14
58/56
58/56
66/63
Jan 15-21
62/59
151
151
Jan 22-28
59/51
140/136
65/63
Jan 29-31
24
21
21
JAN 2018
265/
250 by IS
417/
409 by IS
(196 Violent Deaths)
366/
361 by IS
Feb 1-7
58/56
192/141
62/60
Feb 8-14
57
58
91
Feb 15-21
53/52
343
43
Feb 22-28
46/44
38/37
70/68
FEB
214/
209 by IS
631/
579 by IS
(215 Violent Deaths)
266/
262 by IS
Mar 1-7
68/64
115/108
79/77
Mar 8-14
52
75
59
Mar 15-21
64/59
165/119
98
Mar 22-28
77/64
210/87
61/60
Mar 29-31
19/18
26/25
34
MAR
280/
257 by IS
591/
414 by IS
(446 Violent Deaths)
331/
328 by IS
Apr 1-7
38/34
172/140
27/25
Apr 8-14
60/52
173/136
81/72
Apr 15-21
43/35
63/18
72/70
Apr 22-28
40/31
60/30
39/33
Apr 29-30
12/11
14/11
4
APR
193/
163 by IS
482/
335 by IS
(236 Violent Deaths)
223/
204 by IS
May 1-7
45/39
52/43
55/54
May 8-14
55/51
68/46
49
May 15-21
35/32
55/26
80/75
May 22-28
49/46
72/62
51/49
May 29-31
16/13
39/30
15
MAY
200/
181 by IS
286/
207 by IS
(261 Violent Deaths)
250/
242 by IS
Jun 1-7
50/44
96/87
29/28
Jun 8-14
67/59
107/47
88
Jun 15-21
40/35
82/28
19
Jun 22-28
45/44
53/38
62
Jun 29-30
17/15
21/16
14
JUN
219/
197 by IS
359/
216 by IS
(315 Violent Deaths)
212/
211 by IS
Jul 1-7
50/49
56/52
90
Jul 8-14
42/39
56/47
31
Jul 15-21
50/45
59/42
63
Jul 22-28
29/24
61/53
19/15
Jul 29-31
23/21
25/13
11
JUL
194/
178 by IS
257/
207 by IS
(212 Violent Deaths)
214/
210 by IS
Aug 1-7
43/39
49/45
30/29
Aug 8-14
43/42
38
44
Aug 15-21
38/35
24/21
40/37
Aug 22-28
35/31
25/19
61
Aug 29-31
27/24
68/30
43
AUG
186/
171 by IS
204/
153 by IS
(189 Violent Deaths)
218/
214 by IS
Sep 1-7
38
44
54
Sep 8-14
48/43
63/55
127
Sep 15-21
44/38
90/74
70
Sep 22-28
36/33
22/17
27/26
Sep 29-30
9/6
19/10
29/25
SEP
175/
158 by IS
237/
200 by IS
(179 Violent Deaths)
307/
302 by IS
Oct 1-7
54/49
85/25
92
Oct 8-14
43/41
161/152
41
Oct 15-21
54/50
87/72
35
Oct 22-28
24/23
24/20
53
Oct 29-31
23
10
24
OCT
198/
186 by IS
367/
279 by IS
(177 Violent Deaths)
245 by IS
Nov 1-7
32/31
75/69
36
Nov 8-14
39/31
111/63
19
Nov 15-21
30/27
51/43
29
Nov 22-28
26/21
35/25
30
Nov 29-30
9/8
4
27
NOV
136/
118 by IS
276/
204 by IS
(183 Violent Deaths_
141 by IS
Dec 1-7
22/15
21/8
11
Dec 8-14
22
15
22
Dec 15-21
23/21
23/16
17
Dec 22-28
30/28
24/18
37
Dec 29-31
15/14
225/220
4
DEC
112/
100 by IS
308/
277 by IS
(96 Violent Deaths)
91 by IS
Jan 1-7
32/31
17/10
24
Jan 8-14
32/30
94/31
53
Jan 15-21
22/18
17/11
16/14
Jan 22-28
27/22
36/17
31
Jan 29-31
12
7
6
JAN
114
139
130/128
Feb 1-7
29/28
76/16
30
Feb 8-14
24
26
18
Feb 15-21
40
112/37
12
Feb 22-28
25
36
70
FEB
118
250/115
130
Mar 1-7
13
22
45
Mar 8-14
19/18
75/10
37
Mar 15-21
12/11
66/37
21/11
Mar 22-28
13/12
8/5
1
Mar 29-31
6
8
7
MAR
61
147
101
Apr 1-7
20
22
13
Apr 8-14
41
28
42
Apr 15-21
17/16
9/8
26
Apr 22-28
19/18
45/10
15
Apr 29-30
2
1
4
APR
99
105
100
May 1-7
20/19
15
18
May 8-14
24
31
41
May 15-21
37/36
62/25
39
May 22-28
43
39
54
May 29-31
13
16
48
MAY
137/136
163/125
200
Jun 1-7
26
19
44
Jun 8-14
25/24
29
15
Jun 15-21
21/16
6
13/10
Jun 22-28
18
17
41
Jun 29-30
9
3
9
JUN
99/93
74
122/119
Jul 1-7
20
11
39
Jul 8-14
14
31
10
Jul 15-21
17
14
37
Jul 22-28
23
14
20
Jul 29-31
8
13
13
JUL
82
83
119
Aug 1-7
27
14
31
Aug 8-14
18
13
13
Aug 15-21
20
33
15
Aug 22-28
27
24
72
Aug 29-31
11
19
10
AUG
104/103
103
141

Violence By Province August 2019
Province
Violence
Anbar
4 Incidents
6 Killed
2 Hashd
4 ISF
9 Wounded
2 Civilians
7 ISF

2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Car Bomb Dismantled
Babil
8 Incidents
5 Killed
1 Hashd
4 Civilians
48 Wounded
8 Hashd
40 Civilians

2 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Grenade
1 Mortar
1 Motorcycle Bomb
Baghdad
14 Incidents
9 Killed
2 Hashd
2 ISF
5 Civilians
11 Wounded
4 ISF
7 Civilians

7 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Grenade
Basra
1 Incident

1 IED
Diyala
41 Incidents
21 Killed
6 Civilians
6 Hashd
9 ISF
46 Wounded
3 Hashd
15 Civilians
28 SF

21 Shootings
12 IEDs
6 Mortars
1 Grenade
1 Rocket
1 Suicide Bomber
Kirkuk
19 Incidents
34 Killed
1 Civilian
8 ISF
25 Hashd
19 Wounded
1 Hashd
7 ISF
11 Civilians

9 Shootings
5 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
3 Mortars
Ninewa
9 Incidents
24 Killed
1 US Soldier
23 Civilians
3 Wounded
1 Civilian
2 ISF

3 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Mortar
Salahaddin
7 Incidents
4 Killed
1 Hashd
1 ISF
2 Civilians
5 Wounded
5 Civilians

5 Shootings
1 IED
1 Car Bomb
Sulaymaniya
1 Incident

1 IED

SOURCES

Baghdad Post, “15 families displaced from their village to Mosul,” 8/26/19

Bas News, “Hundreds of IS Jihadists Regroup in Makhmour: Mayor,” 8/21/19
- “IS Bombardments Kill One, Injure Another near Khanaqin,” 8/9/18

Iraq Newspaper, "ISIS Launches A Fierce Attack On the 3rd Battalion, 74th Brigade, 5th Division In Diyala," 8/22/19

Lead Inspector General, “Operation Inherent Resolve, Lead Inspector General Report To The United States Congress,” 4/1/19

Al Maalomah, “Daini calls for urgent measures to stop the displacement of the villages in the heart of Imam Weis in Diyala,” 8/13/19

Al Mirbad, “Explosion of a bomb on a security vehicle charged with protecting the BP company west of Basra,” 8/7/19

Mostafa, Mohamed, “50 families flee town in Iraqi Kurdistan fearing Islamic State threat,” Iraqi News, 8/15/19

NINA, "Army Kill 4 Terrorists In Clashes Northeast Of Baquba," 8/22/19
- “Council of Kanaan in Diyala: “The Area Was Subjected To /10/ Terrorist Attacks Without Deterrent,” 8/26/19
- “In Diyala, Villages Cry For Help From ISIS Mortars,” 8/28/19

United Nations Security Council, “Twenty-fourth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team submitted in pursuant to resolution 2368 (2017) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities,” 7/15/19

Xinhua, "4 IS militants, 2 soldiers killed in clashes in eastern Iraq," 8/22/19
- "4 Killed, 30 wounded in motorcycle bombing south of Iraqi capital," 8/24/19

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