AKE has analysed violence taking place in Iraq over the first quarter of 2012 (January – March). At least 724 people were killed over the period, although the true figure is likely to be higher, given that AKE figures are collated on a ‘spot’ basis, i.e. they are taken within 24 hours of a violent incident occurring and do not take into account those who have died later from their injuries.
The average week saw 56 fatalities (ranging from 18 to over 100 in any seven-day period) as well as dozens of injuries. The average week also saw over 40 attacks, spread throughout the country, albeit concentrated in urban centres in the northern and central provinces.
A total of 315 explosive attacks took place, accounting for 60 per cent of all militant violence during the period and leaving at least 469 people dead. At least 15 of those attacks involved suicide bombers, indicating the ongoing presence of radical Islamist organisations such as al-Qaeda in Iraq. At least 153 separate shooting incidents were also reported in the country, accounting for 29 per cent of militant violence and leaving 214 people dead. At least 36 indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars) were recorded, accounting for seven per cent of militant attacks. The inaccurate but potentially deadly tactic caused at least nine fatalities in the first quarter of 2012. The remaining four per cent of violent incidents recorded in the country included stabbings, armed robberies and kidnap for ransom.
The security forces remain the most common target of attack, with the police bearing a considerable burden in terms of casualties. Civilians also continue to suffer numerous attacks. Certain sectors also appear to be more attractive targets, mainly because of their political sensitivity. Telecommunications towers remain regularly targeted in the north of the country, while the energy sector remains at risk of politically motivated violence as well.
The Energy Sector
Oil and gas interests were targeted at least three times over the past fortnight, with the authorities making safe an explosive device on a field in Diyala province. Three devices also detonated on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline in Salah ad-Din province, disrupting supply through the facility for several hours. An officer from the oil police was also shot dead in an attack in Kirkuk. Organisations working in the sector are reminded to review safety and contingency plans surrounding their operations in light of the ongoing risk.
John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British risk mitigation company 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.