Weekly Security Update 30 October – 06 November 2013

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By Tom Walker, Director, Assaye Risk

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

In comparison to much of October the start of November has been somewhat quieter in Iraq although there have been a score of high impact explosions, which killed dozens.

On the transnational front the actions of Syrian Kurdish factions fighting in northern Syria continue to influence regional security.  It has been a particularly successful week for the Kurds as they continue to rout islamist forces and further secure their interests and build an autonomous zone in northern Syria.  Kurdish assertiveness across the region has posed a quandary for Ankara as it tries to make peace on its own soil with militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have operated out of northern Iraq for many years. This developing situation poses some uneasy questions for Turkey.  Turkey fears a power grab by Kurdish militias in Syria may embolden the PKK militants and unsettle the fragile peace process that is currently in place and Ankara is also uneasy about swathes of territory on its border falling to al Qaeda (AQ) linked rebels.  It once again raises the question as to whether Turkey may consider more open support for Kurdish groups as they seek to manage and maintain a ‘buffer’ between their southern border and AQ.

Domestically much of the violence has been spread across the central and northern belts.  Attacks on Friday claimed at least 16 lives as suicide bombers and car bombs struck in numerous public places.  In the town of Tuz Kharmuto, 170km north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber blew himself up amongst a group of people who had gathered in response to an earlier explosion, killing 4, and in Baquba a series of coordinated car bomb attacks claimed the lives of ten people who were waiting for lifts in a parking compound and on an adjacent street.

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