Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Major Drop In Violence In Iraq November 2014 As Insurgency Stalls


There was a dramatic decline in violence in Iraq in November 2014. Attacks had been going down since September, but casualties remained high. Last month broke that trend with the fewest attacks, deaths and injured for the year. This was largely due to a major change in fighting in the country. While the Islamic State (IS) was still making a major push in Anbar in the rest of the country it was losing territory and largely regrouping.

In November there were a total of 593 reported security incidents. Baghdad had the most with 177, followed by 140 in Salahaddin, 110 in Anbar, 54 in Ninewa, 42 in Diyala, 35 in Babil, 24 in Kirkuk, four in Basra, three in Maysan, and one each in Irbil and Wasit. Attacks have steadily been going down since August when there were 813 attacks, followed by 690 in September, and 741 in October. That averaged out to 26.2 attacks per day in August, 23.0 attacks in September, 23.9 in October, before hitting 19.7 per day in November. In contrast, there were over 900 attacks per month from February to July averaging out to 31.3 attacks per day. During the start of 2014 the militants were ramping up their operations to soften up targets for their big summer push. Now that has stalled and the insurgents have lost the initiative in much of the country resulting in the decline in incidents.

Casualties dropped in November as well. There were 1,687 deaths for the month and 2,648 wounded. The latter consisted of 308 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 46 peshmerga, 20 Sahwa, 3 Asayesh, and 1,310 civilians, while the former was made up of 420 ISF, 85 peshmerga, 37 Sahwa, 10 Asayesh, and 2,096 civilians. Anbar had the most deaths at 560, then 488 in Baghdad, 286 in Salahaddin, 129 in Ninewa, 83 in Diyala, 72 in Babil, 51 in Kirkuk, 10 in Irbil, three in Wasit, two in Maysan and Basra each, and one in Qadisiyah. For the month that averaged out to 56.2 deaths per day and 88.2 injured. That broke a trend of very high casualties while attacks were doing down in the second half of the year. From January to May for example, there were an average of 39.5 fatalities per day. That more than doubled from June to October to 90.3 deaths per day. A major cause for the jump was a number of large scale massacres by the Islamic State in its captured territory along with heavy fighting. In November IS killed several hundred members of the Albu Nimr tribe in Anbar, but in the rest of the country it was losing ground causing a decline in both its operations and ability to inflict casualties.

Violence In Iraq By Month 2014
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
JAN
1,014
1,483
2,890
FEB
955
1,285
2,531
MAR
992
1,606
2,889
APR
990
1,456
2,924
MAY
905
1,462
2,602
JUN
901
4,172
3,701
JUL
937
2,299
3,319
AUG
813
2,834
3,623
SEP
690
2,176
3,047
OCT
741
2,347
3,151 + 1,230
NOV
593
1,687
2,648

Violence In Iraq By Province Nov 2014
Province
Oct
Nov
Anbar
174 Incidents
624 Killed: 105 ISF, 24 Sahwa, 495 Civilians
487 Wounded: 69 ISF, 15 Sahwa, 403 Civilians
122 Shootings
14 IEDs
3 Suicide Bombers
6 Suicide Car Bombs
3 Car Bombs
110 Incidents
560 Killed: 96 ISF, 14 Sahwa, 450 Civilians
453 Wounded: 86 ISF, 16 Sahwa, 351 Civilians
65 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
8 Suicide Car Bombs
3 Car Bombs
Babil
44 Incidents
250 Killed: 22 ISF, 228 Civilians
202 Wounded: 25 ISF, 177 Civilians
17 Shootings
19 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
3 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
35 Incidents
72 Killed: 15 ISF, 57 Civilians
207 Wounded: 39 ISF, 168 Civilians
6 Shootings
19 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
3 Car Bombs
Baghdad
152 Incidents
590 Killed: 32 ISF, 6 Sahwa, 552 Civilians
1,399 Wounded: 60 ISF, 11 Sahwa, 1,328 Civilians
48 Shootings
73 IEDs
11 Sticky Bombs
7 Suicide Car Bombs
16 Car Bombs
177 Incidents
488 Killed: 35 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 450 Civilians
1,263 Wounded: 63 ISF, 6 Sahwa, 1,194 Civilians
40 Shootings
91 IEDs
13 Sticky Bombs
8 Suicide Car Bombs
18 Car Bombs
Basra
15 Incidents
6 Killed: 6 Civilians
1 Wounded: 1 ISF
6 Shootings
2 IEDs
4 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
Diyala
57 Incidents
173 Killed: 41 ISF, 42 Peshmerga, 90 Civilians
205 Wounded: 33 ISF, 16 Peshmerga, 2 Sahwa,
154 Civilians
34 Shootings
25 IEDs
2 Suicide Bombers
4 Suicide Car Bombs
42 Incidents
83 Killed: 22 ISF, 25 Peshmerga, 3 Asayesh, 33 Civilians
182 Wounded: 68 ISF, 45 Peshmerga, 10 Asayesh, 59 Civilians
26 Shootings
7 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
Irbil
-
1 Incident
10 Killed: 2 ISF, 8 Civilians
23 Wounded: 23 Civilians
1 Suicide Car Bomb
Karbala
1 Incident
26 Killed: 26 Civilians
55 Wounded: 55 Civilians
4 Car Bombs
-
Kirkuk
23 Incidents
13 Killed: 1 ISF, 2 Peshmerga, 10 Civilians
56 Wounded: 5 ISF, 8 Peshmerga, 43 Civilians
11 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Motorcycle Bombs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
24 Incidents
51 Killed: 17 Peshmerga, 34 Civilians
52 Wounded: 40 Peshmerga, 12 Civilians
16 Shootings
5 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Car Bomb
Maysan
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
3 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 Stun Bomb
Najaf
1 Incident
1 Car Bomb
-
Ninewa
65 Incidents
201 Killed: 5 ISF, 33 Peshmerga, 163 Civilians
68 Wounded: 2 ISF, 51 Peshmerga, 15 Civilians
40 Shootings
15 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Car Bombs
54 Incidents
129 Killed: 52 ISF, 4 Peshmerga, 73 Civilians
31 Shootings
5 IEDs
Qadisiyah
1 Incident
1 IED
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Salahaddin
205 Incidents
461 Killed: 137 ISF, 22 Sahwa, 2 Peshmerga, 300 Civilians
678 Wounded: 154 ISF, 18 Sahwa, 506 Civilians
90 Shootings
202 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Motorcycle Bomb
8 Suicide Bombers
12 Suicide Car Bombs
13 Car Bombs
140 Incidents
286 Killed: 86 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 197 Civilians
453 Wounded: 162 ISF, 15 Sahwa, 276 Civilians
62 Shootings
140 IEDs
10 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
Wasit
2 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 Incident
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
15 Wounded: 2 ISF, 13 Civilians
1 IED

Not only did overall attacks go down for the month, but so did the number of car bombs. In October IS was able to launch 75 such attacks, which might have meant a new vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) campaign was beginning. Instead they dropped to 59 in November, which was in line with the 60 seen in September, 58 in August, 42 in July and 58 in June. In comparison there were 94 in January, 104 in February, 96 in March, 79 in April and 85 in May. Again, at the beginning of the year IS was picking up its attacks in preparation for its offensive. Since then it has used fewer VBIEDs even though it has a huge stockpile of explosives to draw upon from all the ISF bases it capturing during the summer. IS could return to the heavy use of VBIEDs in the future however as it is forced to give up on conventional military operations and return to guerrilla and terrorist tactics.

Car Bomb Attacks In Iraq Nov 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Nov 1
Yusifiya, Babil
Dora & Palestine St, Baghdad
47
119
Nov 2
Yusifiya, Babil
Bayaa, Sadoun St, Sadr City, Baghdad
38
103
Nov 3
Tunis, Baghdad
36

Nov 4



Nov 5
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
4
7
Nov 6
Hit & Baghdadi, Anbar
Baiji, Salahaddin
18
26
Nov 7
Baghdadi, Anbar
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
11
30
1st Wk Totals
16
154
285
Nov 8
Southeast of Hit, Anbar
Sadr City, Amin, Amil x2 & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
42
125
Nov 9



Nov 10



Nov 11
Shaab, Baghdad
Kirkuk, Kirkuk
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
36
27
Nov 12
Yusifiya, Babil
Mansour x2 & Rasheed, Baghdad
Edheim, Diyala
26
68
Nov 13
Mamil, Baghdad
Bani Saad & Kirfri, Diyala
13
33
Nov 14
Ramadi x2, Anbar
Adhamiya & Morocco St, Baghdad
Baiji & Tikrit, Salahaddin
42
83
2nd Wk Totals
23
159
336
Nov 15
Hamamiyat, Baghdad
Taji, Salahaddin
18
54
Nov 16
Abbas Ibn Firmas Sq & Amiriya, Baghdad
2
8
Nov 17
Jubba x2, Anbar
Meshtal & Amiriya, Baghdad
14
42
Nov 18



Nov 19
Irbil, Irbil
Kirkuk, Kirkuk
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
19
37
Nov 20
Ramadi, Anbar
6
7
Nov 21



3rd Wk Totals
12
59
148
Nov 22



Nov 23
Ramadi, Anbar
Yusifiya, Babil
Outside Sadiya, Diyala
16
41
Nov 24
Trebil, Anbar
Shaab, Baghdad
20
44
Nov 25
Dora, Baghdad
5
8
Nov 26
Sadr City, Baghdad
7
15
Nov 27



Nov 28



4th Wk Totals
7
48
68
Nov 29
Outside Samarra, Salahaddin
6
5
Nov 30



NOV TOTALS
59
426
842

Car Bombs In Iraq 2014
Month
Car Bombs
Jan
94
Feb
104
Mar
96
Apr
79
May
85
Jun
58
Jul
42
Aug
58
Sep
60
Oct
75
Nov
59


A comparison between October and November shows how fighting has dramatically changed in Iraq recently. In October, IS scored a major victory when it seized Hit and a military base just outside it and was able to surround other major cities and towns such as Baghdadi and Amiriya Fallujah in Anbar. It also started a concerted effort to take Ramadi in the middle of the month before moving onto other areas of the province. IS also massacred several hundred members of the Albu Nimr tribe at the end of October into early November to intimidate other tribes in Anbar not to oppose it. That backfired as many shiekhs came forward to join the security forces. In November IS returned to attacking Ramadi and fighting went off and on throughout central and western towns. The ISF and tribes on the other hand appeared to be giving a haphazard defense of the province. They have tried to regain lost territory in Ramadi, were able to break the siege of Baghdadi by the end of the month, did hold onto Amiriya Fallujah, but were otherwise focused upon small towns around Hit and the rest of the middle of the province rather than making a big move on any urban center. The government has said a big campaign is in the making, but that may be just talk for now. Ultimately the battle for Anbar is undecided. After the big surge in October IS attacks have stalled and failed to gain any real territory besides some neighborhoods in Ramadi. That leaves the fate of the province still up in the air.

In other governorates the ISF, militias, and peshmerga were able to put the insurgents on the defensive. In Babil, the ISF and militias were able to clear out Jurf al-Sakhr a long time IS stronghold in the northeast section of the province by the end of October. The Islamists are now regrouping in the north, and this has also led to an end of successful car bombs in southern Iraq as well as Jurf al-Sakhr was a major VBIED production area. In Diyala IS made a major push on Qara Tapa in the middle of the governorate and took it for a day, but were forced to withdraw. In comparison, in November it lost control of Edheim Dam, Sadiya and Jalawla, and then the ISF, militias and peshmerga started clearing areas of Qara Tapa. In Ninewa IS was able to surround Mount Sinjar by the second week of October, but the Yazidi and Kurdish forces there have been able to hold out. On the other hand, militants were pushed out of Rabia, Zummar, while the peshmerga picked away at small towns in the Sinjar area and attacked Makhmour and Gwar at the end of the month. Finally, in Salahaddin pro-government forces retook the entire Tuz Kharmato district in the northeast, broke the siege of the Baiji refinery, and started attacks into Balad at the end of November. Militants still appear to have freedom of movement in much of Salahaddin as shown by their capacity to carry out attacks in nearly every district. The overall picture in these provinces is that the insurgents are being pushed out of selected areas, which is curtailing their ability to operate for now.

November was a positive sign for security in Iraq. Attacks and casualties finally both went down for the lowest figures of the entire year. The IS and other groups are losing territory slowly but surely. Only in Anbar, Baghdad and Salahaddin do the armed factions still have the capabilities to attack largely when and where they want. What history shows however is that Iraq’s anti-government groups have amazing staying power and have repeatedly been able to reconstitute themselves after major losses. As IS and others lose territory they’ll likely regroup and restart their campaign all over again, but this time it will be more dispersed.

SOURCES

Alsumaria, "Two people from the popular brigades killed and five others injured by a suicide bombing south of Tikrit," 11/29/14

Al Mada, “Peshmerga popular brigades in Diyala: Daash fought with us,” 11/30/14

NINA, “Five Villages, Northeast Of Baquba, Freed,” 11/29/14

Radio Free Iraq, “29 November 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/29/14

Shafaq News, “ISIS lose new locations southern Tikrit and the crowd re-deploy themselves,” 11/30/14
- “Peshmerga liberate surroundings of Kewer and Makhmor completely,” 11/30/14

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