Levels of violence did not change in Iraq last week, but there was a drop in the number of casualties reported. The previous week had seen a number of bombings in the capital which left dozens dead but last week’s terrorist attacks were less devastating in terms of the number of casualties inflicted. Furthermore, Baghdad was not the most hostile city in the country for once, with Mosul experiencing a spate of attacks and taking the dubiously earned title. Turkish military operations are set to intensify in the Qandil Mountains following a number of PKK attacks against police and army interests within Turkey.
In the normally quiet province of Dahuk the Turkish military is conducting counter-terrorist operations against suspected PKK forces close to the Habur border crossing, although the activity is having a minimal impact on trade, travel and the majority of personnel in the province. Otherwise, in neighbouring Ninawa province there has been a steady rise in the number of targeted shootings taking place over recent weeks, mainly in the main city of Mosul, which as noted saw more violence than Baghdad last week. Kidnap for ransom also remains a concern in the northern region, particularly in the province of Ta’mim which has seen more abductions than anywhere else in the country over the past four months. In a more positive spin on the subject however, the police managed to free a child kidnap victim in an operation in Ta’mim province last week. They killed two of the captors during the raid, while one of the security force members involved in the operation was shot and injured. Between July and September an average of 5-6 Iraqi nationals were abducted every month in the country. If you would like to receive a copy of AKE’s quarterly worldwide kidnap report please email the intelligence department at [email protected].
Levels of violence remained unchanged in the central provinces over the past week, although there have been a series of arrests made over recent days, targeting suspected terrorists around the region. The operations may prompt sporadic anti-government demonstrations over the coming days. Levels of violence fell in the capital. Conditions should nonetheless still be considered hazardous, with the targeting of security force personnel and ministry employees ongoing.
In contrast to everywhere else the south of the country was very quiet with no major incidents of violence recorded at all last week. Nonetheless, personnel should bear in mind that the US military withdrawal due by the end of the year may embolden local militant groups. They may resort to violent attacks against one another in a competition for political influence and access to the wealth of the country’s greatest natural resource: oil.
John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British private security firm working in Iraq since 2003. You can access AKE’s intelligence website Global Intake here, and you can obtain a free trial of AKE’s Iraq intelligence reports here.