Central Iraq (Baghdad and Anbar)
Baghdad reported 34 incidents this week, which is on par with the current weekly average for 2012 and continues the improved figures seen last week. While this may indicate a winding down of the fierce campaign waged by terrorists over the summer months, it should be remembered that reporting from Baghdad is highly variable, and weekly changes do not necessarily reflect the underlying security situation in the capital. Once again attacks on ISF and other government personnel featured heavily in reporting this week, with twelve instances of ISF being targeted (eight shooting incidents and four involving explosive devices) and three instances targeting other government employees. Civilians were also subject to violence in the capital this week, however primarily in the form of smaller targeted attacks or criminal acts such as armed robbery, murder or kidnap. There were no reported successful mass casualty attacks targeting civilians.
Anbar Province reported seven incidents during the reporting period, a further reduction from last week’s figure and below the 2012 weekly average of 11. Following the unusual spike seen two weeks ago this marks a reduction to below what can currently be considered ‘base levels’ of violence in province. It is not yet clear if this constitutes a fundamental change in security or simply reflects a period of replenishment and re-gathering by insurgent groups. Reporting this week was fairly evenly distributed throughout the province; with only a slight concentration in the Fallujah area were two IEDs targeted ISF patrols and an IDF attack was reported against an ISF location. In Ramadi there was a single IED targeting an ISF patrol. This week also saw the visit of a delegation of Anbar tribal sheikhs and representatives to the Directorate of Tribal Affairs in Baghdad. The meeting, which addressed the vital role of tribal structures in combating terrorism, was also attended by the Anbar police commander. While it is unlikely that this meeting had any relation with the week’s low number of incidents, the potential benefit for longer term security is significant.