Saturday, November 22, 2014

Musings On Iraq In The News


I was mentioned in Defense Industry Daily about insurgent car bomb waves in Iraq. My article on insurgent networks was republished by Business Insider.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fighting The Insurgency In Iraq 2004 vs 2014


Many of the current events in Iraq harken back to previous times. In 2004 the insurgency made a major progression from hit and run tactics and setting off roadside bombs to making a surge into some of the country’s urban areas. The American and Iraqi forces responded with the two battles of Fallujah and other smaller clearing operations. By the end of the year, American commanders were claiming that they had broken the back of the insurgency. A series of intelligence reports were saying the opposite. They warned that the militants were actually getting stronger. The parallels with the current situation are obvious. The insurgency launched a major summer offensive and captured sizeable territory in Ninewa, Salahaddin, Kirkuk and Anbar provinces in June 2014. Now the ISF are attempting to regain the initiative just as the U.S. did in 2004 via a number of large-scale campaigns. The clearing of major urban areas in 2004 was hailed as victories then, just as the current operations by the ISF are. Despite those setbacks, the insurgency showed great resiliency and was able to regenerate its losses and actually increase the pace of its attacks in 2005. The lesson to be learned from 2004 is that defeating the insurgents in urban areas does not mean their end, and that their dispersal over other regions may actually lead to an increase in overall violence in the country in the future.

At the beginning of 2004 the United States had a false sense of security. The commander of the 82nd Airborne Division General Charles Swannack said that the insurgency was defeated in March. The Americans were moving their forces out of Iraq’s cities and into large bases. There were also plans to pull out frontline troops and replace them with National Guard units that were supposed to be 40% of the force after June. The number of attacks betrayed a different story. There were around 300 incidents in November 2003, going up to 370 in the first week of April, before hitting roughly 600 the next week. The Americans didn’t notice it at the time, but at the start of the year the militants were building up their networks in Iraq’s cities in preparation for a major uprising to be launched in the spring.
The 1st battle of Fallujah in April 04 ended almost as soon as it began due to political complaints about civilian casualties (U.S. Marine Corps)

The trouble started at the end of March in Anbar’s Fallujah and would spread to other areas of the province. On the last day of the month, a convoy of Blackwater security contractors was stopped and four members killed in an ambush. Their bodies were later strung up on a bridge. Marine General James Mattis who was then commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force wanted to conduct a police operation to quietly find and kill the insurgents responsible for the attack. The television coverage generated by the ambush however led the Coalition Provisional Authority and the White House to demand a major military operation to pacify the city. That led to Operation Vigilant Resolve, which started on April 5. The Americans wanted to give an Iraqi face to the assault and deployed the 2nd Iraqi Battalion to participate. The unit proved not ready with 106 of the 695 soldiers deserting and another 104 refusing to fight. Many of the Iraqi interpreters that worked with the unit also quit. The Marines went ahead. After surrounding the city they attempted to move into its environs. Suddenly, four days after the start of the operation it was called off. Just as the media played a role in the start of the operation, the coverage of civilian casualties led America’s political leadership to call it off. General Mattis was incensed and questioned the decision when none of the goals of the operation had been achieved. At the same time heavy fighting broke out in Ramadi on April 6. The Marines there were almost overrun as militants attacked them in four different locations. It started when a routine patrol was fired upon in the northwest section of the city. Then by the Euphrates in the north another contingent of fighters was seen and intercepted leading to another firefight. The shooting would then spread to other sections of the city, and would last until April 10. At the same time, militants attacked Husaybah near the Syrian border with 300 fighters in an attempt to draw away American forces from the assault upon Fallujah. These attacks highlighted the strength of the insurgents in Anbar. They were able to mass forces and carry out large-scale military operations in multiple locations at the same time. They were also emboldened by the U.S. withdrawal from Fallujah. This would give the militants a strong foothold in Anbar that would take the next few years to reverse.  

By June, the Americans were paying for the failure to carry through with Vigilant Resolve. Various Islamist factions within Fallujah began imposing their version of Islam upon the city. Many participated in a ceremony that month to pledge allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and named him the emir of the Islamic caliphate of Fallujah. At the same time, U.S. and Iraqi officials admitted that the decision to pull back from the city was a mistake, and that insurgents were now in control of it. This was all setting a stage for the second battle of Fallujah, but that was still a few months away.

Anbar was not the only trouble spot however, as Tal Afar in western Ninewa proved. At the beginning of September the U.S. began a two-week siege of the town to clear it of insurgents called Operation Black Typhoon. September 12 two U.S. battalions and an Iraqi one moved into the city only to find that most of the fighters had fled. As was the practice then, the Americans quickly withdrew to focus upon other areas. That allowed the militants to move back in. Tal Afar eventually became an important way station in bringing in weapons and foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq, and insurgents were able to impose their will over the city. A local tribe aligned with the militants and the police either disappeared or began collaborating with the fighters.

The U.S. almost repeated the same mistake in Salahaddin’s Samarra. At the beginning of September the Americans decided to pull back from the city. That allowed the insurgents to establish control there, and cut deals with local sheikhs to widen their influence. At one point, 500 fighters marched through the streets. That prompted the American and Iraqi forces to move to retake Samarra at the beginning of October. 2,000 Iraqis were deployed. There were some problems when one battalion had 300 of its 750 soldiers desert before the operation started. Others carried out their duties much more admirably and were responsible for securing the Golden Mosque at the start of the battle. Afterward the U.S. began major reconstruction projects to try to secure the city after the fighting was over. This was much different from other operations when the Americans would mostly leave. The problem was that this was still the exception rather than the norm. Samarra was also a precursor to the impending battle of Fallujah as the Coalition command wanted to clear out smaller cities before moving onto the main target.
A Marine Abrams tank engaged during the second battle of Fallujah (Dept of Defense)

Everyone knew that Fallujah would have to be dealt with again and in a much more thorough fashion. In June, General George Casey replaced General Ricardo Sanchez as the commander of Multi-National Force Iraq. Casey wanted to destroy insurgent strongholds before the January 2005 elections for an interim parliament. That led to the 2nd battle of Fallujah dubbed Operation Phantom Fury. The U.S. went in with a much larger force then the first attempt consisting of 6,500 Marines, 1,500 army soldiers, 2,500 sailors, and 2,000 Iraqi troops. At first, the U.S. told the civilian population to leave the city to avoid the conflict. The fighting started on November 8, and ended up destroying almost the entire city. 2,000 buildings were ruined and another 10,000 badly damaged. It was believed that 1,000 insurgents were killed, although many actually fled before the attack began. Clearing missions continued for six weeks afterward with more heavy clashes. General John Sattler the new commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force claimed that Phantom Fury had “broken the back of the insurgency.” The general’s comments reflected the general mood amongst the Americans at the time. Fallujah was a major insurgent base where different factions were able to openly operate and foment their rebellion against the state. The clearing of the city therefore was considered a major setback, which it was hoped the militants would not recover from. This proved to be wishful thinking.

The insurgency was far from over, which was shown in neighboring Ramadi. After the fall of Fallujah, many fighters regrouped in Ramadi just to the west. By the fall the city was considered under insurgent control. The governor’s three sons were kidnapped there and only released after he agreed to resign. The deputy governor was also abducted and executed, and the president of Anbar University was seized as well. It wouldn’t be until the emergence of the Awakening the next year that Ramadi would be fully secured. This again showed the ability of the militants to move on after their losses and re-form in new locations to carry on with their fight. This was an important trait that would be exercised again and again.

By the end of 2004 the White House and some military commanders were feeling quite good about the situation in Iraq, but there were a number of dissenters. In the fall, a senior administration official told President Bush that the U.S. was not winning. Later U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte went on to say the same ting. In November a confidential army report said that the tactics used by the Americans in Iraq such as mass arrests and holding prisoners for months could be fueling the insurgency. (1) In December the CIA station chief in Baghdad sent a report to Washington warning that the insurgency was growing. December 17 Colonel Derek Harvey a military intelligence analyst briefed the president saying that the militants were strong, and that a civil war could break out at any time. CIA Director Porter Goss then met with the president in the middle of the month telling him that the U.S. and interim government hadn’t been able to find or exploit any divisions withing the insurgency, and that they hadn’t been able to win over many Sunnis either. Finally, a study by the then Knight Ridder Newspapers showed how violence had only escalated in the country since the U.S. invasion despite the setbacks the militants faced in 2004. In May 2003 there was an average of 17 U.S. military personnel killed per month. That went up to 82 per month by the end of 2004. The number of Americans wounded during that period increased from 142 to 808. Attacks increased from 735 in November 2003 to around 2,400 by October 2004. Finally, mass casualty bombings went from 0 in the first four months of the U.S. occupation to an average of 13 per month by the end of 2004. President Bush was fully committed to the war in Iraq, and did not listen to any of these warnings. Instead, he pushed ahead despite the U.S. not having a strategy to win the war for three more years. The predictions in the briefings also proved largely true as the militants did grow stronger in the following years, and the civil war broke out in 2005. Finally, the much lauded January 2005 elections showed the level of Sunni discontent with the new Iraq rather than bringing them in. 58% of eligible voters participated, but in largely Sunni provinces the turnout was much lower with 2% in Anbar, 17% in Ninewa, 29% in Salahaddin and 33% in Diyala. Without winning over that part of the population the insurgency would persist.

A major difference between 04 and 14 is that IS is far more dependent upon holding territory and constant victories to maintain its following then previous insurgent groups (AP)

2004 has many parallels and lessons for 2014. In the former militants were attempting to take the insurgency to a new phase by not only attacking the Coalition and Iraqi government, but also seizing cities. The hope was that this would lead to a general revolt, and the much hoped for return to power for those that had lost out after the fall of Saddam. The U.S. and Iraqi forces were able to clear the militants out of several of these locations, most famously Fallujah, but at the cost of largely destroying the place. This simply dispersed the armed factions to other locations where they regrouped and regenerated their losses and capabilities. The rebellion didn’t materialize, but the violence ended up increasing. The major problem was that the United States had no strategy to defeat the insurgency. It could clear out a city, but it lacked the political and economic follow up to hold any place and win over the populace so they did not welcome the fighters back. This mirrors current events. The Islamic State planned a major offensive this summer in cooperation with other armed factions and tribes. It didn’t imagine that it would be able to take Mosul, but when the ISF collapsed and the city fell it took advantage of the opportunity to seize other territory in Kirkuk and Salahaddin. Like in ‘04 the government responded by ordering massive military campaigns to regain territory. That started with the relief of the town of Amerli in Salahaddin, and was then followed by the clearing of the rest of the Tuz Kharmato district, Jurf al-Sakhr in Babil, and now Baiji also in Salahaddin. The problem is just like in the former period the Iraqi government has no real strategy to defeat the insurgency. Like the Americans Baghdad has no plans for how to reach out to Sunnis and break up militants’ networks, which is necessary in the long run to secure the country. The major difference between then and now is that the Islamic State is much more dependent upon holding territory and winning constant victories to maintain itself. It has taken on a large number of foreigners, fighters from other organizations, and tribal elements. They have all joined because of the promise of gaining power. If IS continues to face setbacks in Iraq it could eventually reach a tipping point when these fellow travellers withdraw their loyalty and leave the group. That may not end the war however as many of these IS men are hardcore insurgents who will keep up the fight just under another guise. Ultimately, the armed factions can survive without places like Tikrit and Mosul. If they are lost the fighters will just move on to other places and violence might actually increase just like it did in 2005. The one positive to come out of that will be the loss of the Islamic State’s dominance over other armed factions, but it too has shown great staying power over the years as well. Until the Iraqi government finds a way to appeal to Sunnis so that they no longer support taking up the gun in order to assume power the war will continue at various levels for the foreseeable future.

FOOTNOTES

1. San Francisco Chronicle, “Army told of abuse before Abu Ghraib,” 12/1/04

SOURCES

Cambanis, Thanassis, “Enemies find common ground,” San Francisco Chronicle, 4/7/04

Filkins, Dexter, “Fallujah now a ‘terrorist hotbed,’” San Francisco Chronicle, 7/8/04
- “U.S. forfeiting influence in growing number of Iraqi cities,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9/5/04

Fox News, “Showdown in Samarra,” 10/11/04

Fumento, Michael, “Return to Ramadi,” Weekly Standard, 11/27/06

Hashim, Ahmed, Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency In Iraq, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2006

Kirdar, M.J., “Al Qaeda In Iraq,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2011

Lasseter, Tom and Landay, Jonathan, “Analysis: Iraqi insurgency growing larger, more effective,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, 1/21/05

Lund, Aaron, “Who Are the Soldiers of the Islamic State?” Carnegie Endowment, 10/24/14

McGeary, Johanna “Mission Still Not Accomplished,” Time, 9/20/04
- “Which Way Is The Exit?” Time, 3/15/04

Oppel, Richard, “Magnet for Iraq Insurgents Is a Crucial Test of New U.S. Strategy,” New York Times, 6/16/05

Ricks, Thomas, Fiasco, New York: Penguin Press, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle, “Army told of abuse before Abu Ghraib,” 12/1/04

Schmitt, Eric, “In Iraq, U.S. Officials Cite Obstacles to Victory,” New York Times, 10/31/04

Schrader, Esther and Mazzetti, Mark, “Insurgents threaten Iraqi elections, U.S. officials say,” San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20/04

Stannard, Matthew, “The Challenge Of Controlling Iraq,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24/04

Strobel, Warren, Walcott, John and Landay, Jonathan, “U.S. isn’t winning against Iraqi insurgents, agencies warn,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, 12/17/04

Wire Services, “Five Marines killed in battle near Syria,” St. Petersburg Times, 4/18/04

Zoroya, Gregg, “Fight for Ramadi exacts heavy toll on Marines,” USA Today, 7/12/04

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dynamics Of Iraq’s Insurgent Networks 


If and when the Islamic State is dislodged from the territory it holds in Iraq it will likely return to more traditional insurgent methods. That will require counterinsurgency tactics by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) something that it has not proven adept at in the last few years. Taking on the Iraqi insurgency in general requires not just military operations, but breaking up the complex social networks that militants rely upon, and providing an alternative vision for the country to win over passive supporters and those sitting on the fence. In 2005 military intelligence officer Colonel Derek Harvey made a presentation detailing how the insurgency recruited and maintained its fighting forces. He pointed out that the insurgency was driven by a desire by Sunnis to return to power, and relied upon multiple identities and personal relationships to sustain and organize itself.

Many of the misconceptions people had of the Iraqi insurgency in 2005 still persist to this day. One was that the insurgents were a small group. Another was that foreigners and Iraqi Islamists dominated it. Third, it could be defeated militarily by killing and capturing its leadership. These ideas ignored important aspects of the insurgency. That included how the militants were able to spread their message and appeal throughout the Sunni community via political parties, mosques, and social and religious organizations.

The first important element of the insurgency was its motivation. Many Sunnis believed that their world was turned upside down after 2003. They thought that foreign powers like the United States and Iran were taking over their country and putting into office people they had fought against during the Iran-Iraq War such as the Badr Brigade and the Shiite religious parties. That along with the vast corruption that emerged within the government was why so many came to believe that the new Iraqi politics were illegitimate and did not represent them. Another driving force was the belief that Sunnis were a majority if Sunni Kurds were included. U.S. policies such as disbanding the military and deBaathification were perceived as denying Sunnis their rightful place in society. There was also a shared belief that their standard of living declined after the American invasion, and that the Shiite led government was denying them services like electricity. Finally, U.S. military tactics such as raids and mass arrests were deeply resented. Altogether this created a new Sunni communal and sectarian identity in Iraq. Before they had no real sense of a group identity because they were in power and simply thought of themselves and their norms as Iraqi. Now that new narratives were emerging out of the Kurdish and Shiite communities and those groups were being empowered by the Americans, the Sunnis came up with their own new story of being victims of outsiders. These grievances and fears of the new Iraqi were then exploited by the Sunni oligarchy, the old leadership from the Saddam era, clerics, and tribal leaders to form the basis of the insurgency. What brought all these different groups together was a desire to regain power in the country, which they felt was rightfully theirs. They turned to violence to create the political conditions for their eventual return.

Once the insurgency got going it showed great ability to sustain violence, retain resources, and regenerate their losses. From January 2004 to July 2005 for example, a general claimed that the U.S. had killed, captured or wounded 50,000 insurgents. Despite that there was no decrease in attacks or operations by Sunnis. Instead, the militants adapted to American tactics and proved amazingly resilient. The diffuse nature of armed groups meant that there was no unified leadership, which could be taken out to end the fighting. Even today as the Islamic State (IS) has emerged as the dominant organization within the insurgency there are still many other groups and tribes fighting against the government maintaining this tradition. 

What sustained the insurgency was the ability of its members to draw upon multiple identities to organize. Early on many believed that the Baathists were the driving force, and then later on Al Qaeda in Iraq and its Islamist ideology were thought to be the strength of the militants. Neither was quite right. What the insurgents used was personal relationships forged through their professions, businesses, tribes, family, mosques, and history. Derek Harvey provided a hypothetical example of this with a cleric that came from a traditional religious family, was a member of an important tribe, had a family member in Iraqi intelligence under Saddam, was himself a former Baathist, and maintained his friendship with ex-party members. It wasn’t always the Baath Party that was organizing fighters then, but rather former Baathists who were using the connections and techniques they had learned under the former regime as well as others to recruit. There are a plethora of examples of how this worked. For one, Saddam Hussein had an outreach program to foreign Islamists in the 1990s to build up international support for his regime. He recruited many to come to Iraq for training by Iraqi intelligence and the Republican Special Forces. Those relationships between former intelligence and security officers and foreign Islamists continued after 2003, and were used to bring them back to Iraq to fight the Americans and new Iraqi government. Islam had also grown within Iraq itself especially under Saddam’s Faith Campaign in the 1990s, even amongst Baath Party members who were supposed to be secular. This overlap between Baathists and religious groups was also due to Saddam’s fear of the growth of Islamism domestically. He had the security and intelligence forces infiltrate religious groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its Iraqi Islamic Party, mosques and organizations such as Society of Islamic Scholars. After 2003 those former security members maintained these relationship and used them to organized armed groups. This also gave militants a way to operate within Iraqi politics as the Islamic Party joined the post-Saddam governments. Another example was the vast array of Iraqis who worked for state security and put that experience to work for the insurgency. Thousands served in the Special Republican Guard, the military bureau, presidential security, the Saddam Fedayeen, the Baath Party Militias, the Special Security Forces, the directorate of General Security, and the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Many of them were banned from participating in the new Iraq by the Americans, which led them to armed struggle. The Baath Party Militia and the Saddam Fedayeen had battalions in every province. They were in charge of storing weapons, putting down rebellions, running safe houses, using mosques, forging documents, etc. in compartmentalized cells, all of which were put to work by the militants. Another former connection that played out with the insurgency was Saddam’s reliance upon criminal and government run smuggling rings to break sanctions, which were imposed after the Gulf War. These organizations were used to bring in products from Europe via Syria and Jordan. After 2003 these same networks were used to appropriate cars for car bombs, as well as bring in funds, foreign fighters, and weapons. Finally, Saddam relied upon six tribes and 18 clans to help him control the provinces, and many of these would later join the opposition as well. Insurgents relied upon all of these different experiences to build and organize their networks. They also explain why there was overlap of seemingly opposing groups such as secular Baathists and religious organizations. For instance, Saddam’s number two Izzat al-Duri spread the Sufi Naqshibandi movement within the Iraqi military and Baath Party pre-2003, and later used it as the basis for his own insurgent group in 2005. The head of the Islamic Army Jassim Mohammed Mashadani was probably a member of the Iraqi Security Service and was also extremely religious. He used his connections both with former regime members and through his mosque to form the first cells of his group in 2003. The man who was said to have promoted Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi to be the head of the Islamic State (IS) was an ex-colonel in Saddam’s army Samir Abed Hamad al-Obeidi al-Dulaimi who had been brought into IS not because of his religious beliefs, but his organizational and military skills. One of Baghdadi’s current number twos, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani who is charge of IS operations in Iraq was a senior Special Forces officer and in military intelligence under the former regime. It was not just the Baathists, or the Islamists, or the foreigners as separate entities that created the insurgency, but rather a combination of all of them, which led to its birth. This reliance upon multiple identities and experiences was also why it was so hard to break up the militants.

It took years for the United States to figure out how to counter the insurgency something the current Iraqi government may not be capable of. In 2005 Colonel Harvey advocated for driving a wedge between the different insurgent groups and their supporters and playing divide and conquer with them, but that wasn’t put into policy until 2007 during the Surge. It was then that General Petraeus began advocating for dividing the militants into those that could be reconciled with and co-opted, and those that could not and had to be eliminated. In 2008 the general wrote, “We cannot kill our way out of this endeavor. We and our Iraqi partners must identify and separate the ‘reconcilables’ from the ‘irreconcilables,’” and that the U.S. had to “defeat the network, not just the attack.” That same issue is facing Iraq today as the government discusses whether to arm tribes or not. While Prime Minister Haider Abadi has supported the idea and ordered talks to be held with them in Jordan and Irbil, others within his coalition are opposed fearing that the sheikhs will use any weapons provided them against the government because many were once with the insurgents. That’s also the reason why legislation to form a new locally organized National Guard has been held up in parliament. Abadi has also only given lip service to Sunni complaints such as shelling civilian areas, federalism, and people arrested without charges. Finally, Baghdad’s heavy reliance upon militias and Iranian military support fuels Sunni fears of foreign domination. All together that may mean that Iraq is not adept enough to deal with counterinsurgency as it is proving with conventional military tactics. Without a combined strategy that includes a political, economic, and information campaign along with a military one to deal with the Sunni community the explosion of militants from the territory they currently hold won’t lead to their defeat. It will just usher in another phase of the war, one that Baghdad is not well prepared for.

SOURCES

Barrett, Richard, “The Islamic State,” Soufan Group, November 2014

Habib, Mustafa, “We Won't Be Your Trojan Horse: Sunni Muslim Militias Decide They Won't Fight With IS - or The US Alliance,” Niqash, 10/16/14

Haddad, Fanar, “Sunni Identity in Post-Civil War Iraq,” 2013

Hubbard, Ben, “Iraq and U.S. Find Some Potential Sunni Allies Have Already Been Lost,” New York Times, 11/15/14

Knights, Michael, “The JRTN Movement and Iraq’s Next Insurgency,” CTC Sentinel, July 2011

McGrath, John, “An Army at War: Change in the Midst of Conflict,” Combat Studies Institute Press, 8/2-4/05

Petraeus, General David, “Multi-National Force-Iraq Commander’s Counterinsurgency Guidance,” Headquarters, Multi-National Force – Iraq, 6/21/08

Monday, November 17, 2014

Attacks Way Down In Iraq While Security Forces Continue Advances 2nd Week of November 2014


The second week of November 2014 saw a large drop in reported security incidents while the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued to advance on several fronts. Attacks have been declining for two months now. Despite that drop casualties remained around the same level as previous weeks. In Anbar the Islamic State (IS) continued its executions of the Albu Nimr tribe while the ISF and tribes were preparing for a major offensive. In Diyala the security forces freed another water system from insurgent control. The big move happened in Salahaddin however where the ISF entered the Baiji district north of Tikrit. Overall the militants are slowly losing territory to government forces.

From November 8-14 there were just 127 reported security incidents. That was the lowest of any week of the year, surpassing the 150 seen from August 15-21. Baghdad had the most attacks at 41. That was followed by 24 in Salahaddin, 19 in Anbar, 12 in Ninewa, 9 in Babil, Diyala and Kirkuk each, two each in Basra and Maysan, and one in Qadisiyah. Attacks were down 50% in Salahaddin and 35% in Anbar accounting for the week’s decline.

The drop in incidents did not affect the number of casualties. There were 420 killed, made up of 68 members of the Iraqi Security Forces, 5 Peshmerga, 3 Asayesh, 1 Sahwa, and 343 civilians. Baghdad led the way amongst the provinces with 145 dead, followed by 107 in Anbar, 74 in Salahaddin, 26 in Ninewa, 31 in Kirkuk, 18 in Diyala, 16 in Babil, and one each in Basra, Maysan and Qadisiyah. Another 593 were wounded made up of 120 ISF, 20 Peshmerga, 10 Asayesh, 6 Sahwa, and 437 civilians.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2014
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
244
363
736
Jan 8-14
273
364
683
Jan 15-21
205
358
616
Jan 22-28
236
305
618
Jan 29-31
57
93
237
JAN
1,015
1,483
2,890
Feb 1-7
204
296
700
Feb 8-14
226
258
505
Feb 15-21
264
346
703
Feb 22-28
251
374
618
FEB
945
1,274
2,526
Mar 1-7
253
412
702
Mar 8-14
206
324
612
Mar 15-21
216
423
736
Mar 22-27
211
279
580
Mar 28-31
110
168
271
MAR
996
1,606
2,901
Apr 1-7
238
259
550
Apr 8-14
223
362
646
Apr 15-21
251
406
786
Apr 22-28
226
347
744
Apr 29-30
61
82
179
APR
999
1,456
2,905
May 1-7
198
246
483
May 8-14
257
469
752
May 15-21
183
256
426
May 22-28
204
407
817
May 29-31
64
90
132
MAY
906
1,468
2,610
Jun 1-7
228
631
1,021
Jun 8-14
233
1,893
891
Jun 15-21
178
803
759
Jun 22-28
206
740
800
Jun 29-30
56
127
236
JUN
901
4,194
3,707
Jul 1-7
203
526
651
Jul 8-14
213
577
625
Jul 15-21
227
440
1,000
Jul 22-28
224
589
801
Jul 29-31
66
163
230
JUL
933
2,295
3,307
Aug 1-8
269
1,122
885
Aug 9-14
179
710
1,152
Aug 15-21
150
354
499
Aug 22-28
178
523
798
Aug 29-31
59
125
289
AUG
835
2,834
3,623
Sep 1-7
168
616
751
Sep 8-14
156
433
722
Sep 15-21
166
620
749
Sep 22-28
153
395
567
Sep 29-30
47
112
252
SEP
690
2,176
3,047
Oct 1-7
170
451
687
Oct 8-14
188
532
875
Oct 15-21
156
449
770
Oct 22-28
159
345
592 + 1,230
Oct 29-31
68
570
227
OCT
797
2,347
3,151 + 1,230
Nov 1-7
153
601
828
Nov 8-14
128
420
593

Violence In Iraq By Province Nov 2014
Province
Nov 1-7
Nov 8-14
Anbar
29 Incidents
290 Killed: 12 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 275 Civilians
191 Wounded: 28 ISF, 163 Civilians
14 Shootings
2 Car Bombs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
19 Incidents
107 Killed: 9 ISF, 98 Civilians
62 Wounded: 11 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 51 Civilians
9 Shootings
1 IED
1 Car Bomb
2 Suicide Car Bombs
Babil
11 Incidents
30 Killed: 5 ISF, 25 Civilians
84 Wounded: 5 ISF, 79 Civilians
3 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Car Bombs
9 Incidents
16 Killed: 7 ISF, 9 Civilians
48 Wounded: 21 ISF, 27 Civilians
1 Shooting
5 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Car Bomb
Baghdad
41 Incidents
172 Killed: 14 ISF, 158 Civilians
389 Wounded: 9 ISF, 380 Civilians
10 Shootings
22 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
4 Car Bombs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
41 Incidents
145 Killed: 12 ISF, 133 Civilians
359 Wounded: 24 ISF, 335 Civilians
9 Shootings
16 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
8 Car Bombs
4 Suicide Car Bombs
Basra
1 Incident
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
7 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
5 Wounded: 4 ISF, 1 Civilian
5 Shootings
2 IEDs
9 Incidents
18 Killed: 5 ISF, 3 Asayesh, 10 Civilians
47 Wounded: 24 ISF, 10 Asayesh, 133 Civilians
4 Shootings
1 IED
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Car Bomb
2 Suicide Car Bombs
Kirkuk
3 Incidents
2 Killed: 2 Civilians
8 Wounded: 8 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
9 Incidents
31 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 30 Civilians
24 Wounded: 20 Peshmerga, 4 Civilians
7 Shootings
1 IED
1 Suicide Car Bomb
Maysan
-
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
1 Stun Bomb
Ninewa
11 Incidents
13 Killed: 2 ISF, 11 Civilians
9 Shootings
1 IED
12 Incidents
26 Killed: 4 Peshmerga, 22 Civilians
5 Shootings
Qadisiyah
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Salahaddin
49 Incidents
87 Killed: 31 ISF, 56 Civilians
136 Wounded: 75 ISF, 61 Civilians
15 Shootings
73 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
4 Suicide Car Bombs
24 Incidents
74 Killed: 35 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 38 Civilians
51 Wounded: 40 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 7 Civilians
9 Shootings
26 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
Wasit
1 Incident
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
15 Wounded: 2 ISF, 13 Civilians
-
 
The second week of November saw the end of the latest car bomb wave and the start of another. There were six vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) on November 8 hitting Anbar and Baghdad costing the lives of 42 people and wounding another 125. That ended a wave that began on November 5 and consisted of 14 car bombs in total. There was then a two day break before the next one started on November 11 with attacks on Baghdad, Kirkuk and Salahaddin. For the week there were 23 VBIEDs killing 159 and injuring 336. Last month IS dramatically increased the number of car bombs after a summer reprieve. November looks like it will have a large amount of these types of attacks as well with 39 so far.

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

Civilian Casualties From Government Shelling And Air Strikes Nov 2014
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Nov 1
Fallujah, Anbar
5
2
Nov 2
Fallujah, Anbar

7
Nov 3
Fallujah, Anbar
3
11
Nov 4
Fallujah, Anbar
2
13

Qaim, Anbar
7
33
Nov 5
Fallujah, Anbar
9
23

Qaim, Anbar
3
14
Nov 6
Fallujah, Anbar
18
25
-
-
47
128
Nov 9
Fallujah, Anbar
3
11
Nov 10
Shirqat, Salahaddin
15

Nov 11
Fallujah, Anbar
3
17
Nov 12
Fallujah, Anbar

7

Mosul, Ninewa
15

Nov 13
Fallujah, Anbar
2
5
Nov 14
Fallujah, Anbar
2
7
-
-
40
47



After the insurgency’s surge in central Anbar in October, the ISF and tribes have been preparing for a major counter attack. That hasn’t emerged yet, but they are carrying out preparatory moves. Starting on November 8, the 17th, 14th and 6th Divisions, along with the Federal Police, and militias began clearing the southeast quadrant of the province below Amiriya Fallujah heading towards Karbala. In the center, the 7th Division and tribes continued sweeps through the towns outside of Hit. November 13 operations began in eastern, southern and western sections of Ramadi as well to regain territory lost last month. Tribes also claimed to have infiltrated into a few areas of Fallujah and began fighting IS there on November 13. At the same time, IS executed 70 members of the Albu Nimr tribe on November 9 and 16 more on November 13. In total the tribe has lost 581 members since October 29. At first, these were retaliatory killings by the Islamic State for the tribe fighting against it. Now the group is claiming they will shoot more if the ISF makes a move on Hit.

In Diyala the ISF carried out two operations. The first successfully cleared the Edheim Dam area. IS took over several irrigation systems in the province in June and the security forces have been trying to retake them since then. This was the second dam cleared so far in the center of the governorate. At the same time, the ISF and militias began another move into the Hamrin area. The government and the peshmerga claimed they had cleared this mountainous region before, but it is a long time insurgent base and the militants probably moved right back in after the security forces left.

The Kurds continued to say that they are going to free the Sinjar area of Ninewa province, but they have made only slow progress. On November 13 it took two more villages in the area, which were Yazidi towns, but Sinjar remains under IS control and Mount Sinjar is still surrounded as well. The Kurds may be waiting until they receive more heavy equipment and their training by foreign military advisers is finished before they make a real move upon Sinjar.

Finally, Salahaddin has been the main focus of the government the last few weeks. The ISF and militias have been moving into the Baiji district. There has been steady progress there, but how much has been marred by propaganda coming out of ISF and government sources. For example, on November 8 it was reported that the entire district had been cleared when the refinery hadn’t even been reached yet. November 11 General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi ordered the militias away from the front lines due to their attacks upon Sunni families and homes, but that ordered didn’t seem to be followed. On the positive side, central Baiji was reached on November 11, and then the ISF got to the refinery by November 14 although there was still fighting going on there. The goal of this operation was to not only relieve the siege of the refinery, but to cut off insurgents in Tikrit from their northern supply lines. If that was achieved most of the governorate would be freed from militant control.

In other parts of the province mass displacement is still going on. In Hawi east of Tikrit IS told the Jabour tribe they had to leave or be killed since parts of the tribe were fighting it. On November 10 it was reported that around 200 families had fled the area as a result. In Yingije in the eastern section of the province militias were burning homes and keeping Sunnis out. There was also a clash between the militias and peshmerga in the town resulting in one militiamen being killed, and 6 peshmerga being taken by the Shiite gunmen. For weeks now militias have been going town to town pushing out Sunnis because they are blamed for supporting the insurgency. The militias and Kurds are also vying for control of the Tuz Kharmato district, which has led to a number of clashes and deaths as well.

SOURCES

AIN, “Military Operation starts in al-Adheim Dam area,” 11/12/14

Alsumaria, "Two dead and six wounded from the army outcome of suicide bombing south of Baghdad," 11/12/14

Associated Press, "Iraq: 17 killed in bombings in and around Baghdad," 11/12/14

Alsumaria, "Two dead and six wounded from the army outcome of suicide bombing south of Baghdad," 11/12/14

BBC, “Iraq troops ‘push Islamic State from oil town of Baiji,’” 11/14/14
- “Islamic state crisis; US troops sent into Iraq’s Anbar,” 11/11/14

Al Forat, “ISF fully liberate Baiji district form ISIL terrorists,” 11/8/14
- "ISF thwart ISIL attack at Tikrit University, 15 terrorists killed," 11/14/14
- “MoD declares purifying Adhem Dam of terrorists,” 11/14/14

Hawramy, Fazel and Harding, Luke, “Shia militia fightback against Isis sees tit-for-tat sectarian massacres of Sunnis,” Guardian, 11/12/14

Hendawi, Hamza and Heliprin, John, “Iraq’s forces drive IS militants from key town,” Associated Press, 11/14/14

Independent Press Agency, “Liberation strategic areas between Baghdadi and Hit,” 11/10/14

Iraq Times, "Martyrdom and wounding of 13 peshmerga suicide bombing northeast of Baquba," 11/13/14
- "martyrs and injured in the bombing of Baghdad's Shammai 47," 11/14/14

Al Mada, "Bombing toll rises to 44 dead and wounded in Amil district," 11/8/14
- “Joint forces have surrounded Barwana west of Ramadi,” 11/14/14
- "Killed and wounded 14 people by a car bomb southeast of Baghdad," 11/8/14
- "The killing of a senior officer and wounding 12 soldiers blown up targeting a gathering of the security forces north of Baquba," 11/12/14
- "Morocco Street bombing toll rises to 46 people dead and wounded east of Baghdad," 11/14/14

Al Masalah, "The death of 11 civilians and wounding 43 in a car bombing in eastern Baghdad," 11/8/14
- "Martyrdom of three civilians and wounding 11 in a car bombing in the Shaab district," 11/11/14

Millet Press, "Suicide Car Bomb Explodes in Kirkuk," 11/11/14

NINA, "15 Civilians, Including Women& Children, Killed In Mosul In Air Strike," 11/12/14
- "/15/ civilians, including women and children, killed in bombing targeted their homes north of Tikrit," 11/10/14
- "Breaking News../17/ soldiers killed and /5/ others wounded by a tanker bomb in Tikrit," 11/14/14
- "Breaking News..Death toll of the bombing of a car bomb in al-Sinaa Street rose to 37 people killed and wounded, and another car bomb exploded in Sadr City," 11/8/14
- “Breaking News..Liberating the wells regions and Karbala – Anbar road from the IS control,” 11/13/14
- “Breaking News..The start of a security and wide crackdown for the Liberation of Hit and its cities of the IS control,” 11/8/14
- "Death toll of the bombing in Bani Saad, south of Baquba rises to ten wounded," 11/13/14
- "Martyrdom of three civilians and wounding 11 in a car bombing in the Shaab district," 11/11/14
- “A military operation started to liberate the Hamrin basin areas in Diyala of the IS control,” 11/13/14
- “Peshmerga restore control over two villages west of Sinjar,” 11/13/14
- “Security forces cleansed al-Rifush area and progressing towards Amiriyat al-Fallujah,” 11/8/14
- “A security source: A Military Operation To Cleanse Agricultural Area south of Baquba,” 11/11/14
- "Seven civilians killed and wounded in indiscriminate shelling on Fallujah," 11/13/14
- “The start of a security crackdown to liberate Ramadi from the control of the IS,” 11/14/14
- "Three civilians killed, 17 others wounded in renewed bombardment on Fallujah," 11/11/14
-"Three soldiers killed, 16 others wounded by a suicide attack north of Baghdad," 11/11/14
- “Tribesmen infiltrate in Fallujah and are fighting with the IS and kill five elements of them,” 11/13/14
- "A woman and a child killed, /7/ others wounded in bombing on neighborhoods in Fallujah," 11/14/14

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "At least 15 Killed In Baghdad Bombings," 11/12/14

Radio Free Iraq, "08 November 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/8/14
- "09 November 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/9/14
- "12 November 2014," Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/12/14
- “13 November 2014,” Daily Updates from Anbar, 11/13/14

Rasheed, Ahmed, “To ease Sunni fears, Iraq orders Shi’ite militias back from front line,” Reuters, 11/10/14

Al Rayy, “Anbar: cleanse Hit and Albu Nimr of Daash militants,” 11/14/14
- "Bridge collapse after car bombs targeted it," 11/14/14

Reuters, "Bomb attacks kill 23 people in Iraq," 11/12/14

Shafaq News, “ISIS gives al-Jabour in Hawi town hours or death,” 11/10/14