Central Iraq (Baghdad and Anbar)
Baghdad recorded 35 incidents this week, a substantial decrease from last week’s figure of 52 and only a little above the current 2012 weekly average of 28. As such overall levels of activity appear to have returned to what can be considered ‘normal’ levels following a three week period during which figures sat well above average. Patterns of violence remained similar to that experienced recently, with a high proportion of attacks being targeted IEDs or shooting incidents on ISF, particularly in softer locations such as at home or in private cars. In addition to these attacks there were four vehicle-borne bomb (VBIED) incidents as part of the 15/16 August attack series – of which one was disarmed – a large double IED attack in Zafariniya on the same day, and continued reporting on violence of a possibly communal nature in certain Shia areas of the capital. The reduced figures this week may either reflect the increased security measures imposed towards the end of Ramadan or the degradation of insurgent capability following their high levels of activity in the first three weeks of Ramadan.
Anbar province witnessed 15 incidents this week, up one from last week, but still above the 2012 weekly average of 11. The majority of incidents occurred in the Fallujah district, which has dominated reporting in recent weeks. In particular there has been continued reporting of IEDs and shooting incidents in both Amiriya and Karama, as well as activity in the Fallujah city area. As noted previously, this distribution of incidents in the far east of the province, adjacent to the Sunni majority suburbs of west Baghdad, may suggests a possible increase in integration between Sunni insurgent groups at the eastern terminus of the Ramadi-Fallujah corridor and those in Baghdad. Elsewhere in the province, two VBIEDs were discovered in Kubaysah and Hit in the western part of the province on 15 August and an IED and a foiled suicide-IED attack were reported in Ramadi. While the security situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, it appears that ISF are managing to limit the extent of the influence this has on security in the west of the province; at least in the short term.