Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Violence Up In Anbar?

In mid-July 2009 Aswat al-Iraq reported that officials and tribal sheikhs in Anbar were worried about an up-tick in violence in their province. Sheikh Hashim Khalifa blamed the attacks on political factions vying for position before the January 2010 parliamentary elections. He said the provincial security forces were unable to deal with this violence because they were afraid of offending political parties. A former Iraqi Army officer had a slightly different take blaming the political blocs for selecting unqualified personnel to join the security forces. These accusations come in the midst of a drive by the new provincial council to oust the police chief. They voiced similar concerns saying that he has not been able to stop recent attacks, and that his force, while numbering around 28,000 are not qualified. Almost all of the local police and soldiers are made up of tribesman and Awakening members. A review of English language news reports shows that there has been an increase in attacks over the last two months, and a doubling of the number of casualties. In April 2009 there were 11 security incidents resulting in 95 casualties. May like the rest of the country had a large dip with 9 incidents and only 23 casualties. June saw a big jump with 24 attacks and over 82 dead and wounded. July had just about the same number of attacks, 22, and deaths, 33, but a huge increase in wounded, 126. This mirrored casualties in Iraq in general in July with a surge in wounded.

Security Incidents In Anbar April-July 2009

July 09
Attacks/Incidents: 22
Deaths: 33
Wounded: 126

June 09
Attacks/Incidents: 24
Deaths: 29
Wounded: 53+

May 09
Attacks/Incidents: 9
Deaths: 12
Wounded: 11

April 09
Attacks/Incidents: 11
Deaths: 31
Wounded: 64

As for the causes and culprits behind the attacks little is know. The favorite targets are Awakening members and local police. Al Qaeda in Iraq who usually gets blamed for almost all incidents only has a marginal presence left in a few of the province’s cities. Tribal rivalries could also be playing a role as well. The U.S. and Baghdad, because of their weaknesses and inadequacies, largely abrogated the security responsibilities in the province to the tribes, offering them money and jobs in return for their support. This led to the Awakening movement that was always a loose confederation of groups that broke apart into different factions in the 2009 elections. With Anbar turned over to Iraqi control in September 2008 the tribes now have pretty much free sway in Anbar, and their rivalries could be a cause of the violence.

Overall, the number of incidents and casualties in Anbar are still relatively low compared to the more violent areas of central and northern Iraq. At the same time it shows that the sources of attacks have changed in Iraq. Most are no longer based upon sectarian differences, the insurgency has largely been defeated, with most of its fighters having switched sides through the Sons of Iraq, and the Mahdi Army is largely dormant. Political differences and terrorism are some of the main causes of attacks today, as shown in Anbar.


Abdul-Zahra, Qassim and Riechmann, Deb, “Iraq PM flies to US to meet Obama, seek investment,” Associated Press, 7/20/09

Abouzeid, Rania, “US Allies Angry at Anbar Handover,” Time, 9/1/08

Agence France Presse, “Four Iraqi cops killed,” 6/25/09

Aswat al-Iraq, “2 cops wounded in armed attack in Anbar,” 6/25/09
- “2 kids killed by IED in Anbar,” 4/20/09
- “2 policemen wounded in blast in Ramadi,” 7/26/09
- “4 civilians wounded in 2nd Falluja blast,” 7/25/09
- “4 cops wounded in Falluja,” 5/27/09
- “4 cops wounded in Falluja twin blasts,” 6/22/09
- “4 Islamic party’s guards inured in Falluja,” 4/30/09
- “4 wounded in car bomb blast in Anbar,” 7/9/09
- “5 cops killed, wounded in Anbar blast,” 6/6/09
- “Attacks on the rise in Anbar amidst violence scare,” 7/18/09
- “Car bomb dismantled in Ramadi,” 7/29/09
- “Car bomb explodes near IPP HQ, 12 wounded,” 7/25/09
- “Car bomb wounds Anbar police chief,” 6/6/09
- “Civilian shot down in Falluja,” 4/6/09
- “Cop found dead in northern Ramadi, 6/15/09
- “Cop found dead in western Anbar,” 6/22/09
- “Cop killed, 3 wounded in southern Falluja,” 4/24/09
- “Emergency police chief killed by IED,” 7/27/09
- “Falluja blast casualties reaches 7,” 7/2/09
- “Gunman killed in attack on police in Falluja,” 6/8/09
- “IED attack foiled in Falluja,” 4/20/09
- “IED wounds 2 cops in Anbar,” 6/9/09
- “IED wounds 3 in Anbar,” 7/18/09
- “IED wounds 3 Sahwa fighters in Anbar,” 4/8/09
- “Intelligence officer survives assassination attempt in Falluja,” 7/2/09
- “Katyushas kill 2, wound 7 in Anbar,” 7/8/09
- “Kidnapped officer found dead in Anbar,” 4/13/09
- “Mass grave found in Anbar,” 5/26/09
- “Police commander killed by IED in Falluja,” 6/25/09
- “Police gun down man while planting bomb in Anbar,” 7/1/09
- “Policeman killed, 2 others wounded in Anbar blast,” 7/29/09
- “Qaem blast kills 4, wounds 8,” 7/30/09
- “Senior officer escapes attempt in Falluja,” 5/23/09
- “Suicide blast sets U.S. vehicle ablaze in Falluja,” 5/7/09
- “Tribal official wounded in bomb blast in Anbar,” 4/21/09
- “U.S. soldier wounded in Falluja,” 6/4/09
- “Unknown body found in Anbar,” 6/24/09
- “Urgent/Sahwa leader survives assassination attempt,” 6/24/09
- “Urgent/Toll from Falluja car bomb reaches 7,” 6/20/09

BBC, “Suicide blast hits Iraq army base,” 4/16/09

DPA, “One child killed, eight wounded in Iraq rocket attacks,” 6/20/09

Fayad, Ma’ad, “Al-Anbar Salvation Council to Run in Parliamentary Elections,” Asharq Al-Awsat, 9/21/08

Hammoudi, Laith, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Sunday 26 July 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 7/26/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 25 June 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/25/09

Hammoudi, Laith and Kadhim, Hussein, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Monday 25 May 2009,” 5/25/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Saturday 6 June 2009,” 6/6/09

IANS, “Twin blast in Iraq kills nine policemen,” 4/5/09

Issa, Sahar, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Friday 17 July 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 7/17/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Sunday 5 April 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 4/5/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Sunday 14 June 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/14/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 16 July 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 7/16/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 7 April 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 4/7/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 23 June 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/23/09

Issa Sahar and Kadhim, Hussein, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 9 June 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 6/9/09

Javno, “Angry Iraqis Demand Protection From Bombings,” 6/25/09

Kami, Aseel, “Bus terminal bombing kills seven in Baghdad,” Reuters, 6/8/09

Knights, Michael, “The Status and Future of the Awakening Movements,” Arab Reform Bulletin, June 2009

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Niqash, “anbar police chief faces council hostility,” 7/14/09

Paley, Amit, “Uncertainty After Anbar Handover,” Washington Post, 9/2/08

Raghavan, Sudarsan, “A New Breed Grabs Reins in Anbar,” Washington Post, 10/21/08

Reuters, “Emergency declared in Iraq’s Ramadi,” 7/21/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 6,” 6/6/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, June 29,” 6/29/09
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Riechmann, Deb, “US military in Iraq says 3 soldiers killed,” 7/17/09

Yacoub, Sameer, “Bombs kill 11 in Iraq, highlight security fears,” Associated Press, 7/15/09


AndrewSshi said...

What do you think of the possibility that the uptick of violence in al Anbar might be from folks who've been turned out of camp Bucca? There seems to have been a lot of worry by folks in the security forces that they would go back to IED's once they had returned home.

Joel Wing said...

Anbar has been one place where the security forces have been rounding up ex-prisoners out of this very fear. How many have actually gone back to the insurgency, who knows.

Joel Wing said...

Here's a different take on the released prisoners story:


According to this article family members are seeking revenge on the released prisoners and hoping tribal justice will take care of them once they're out.

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