Levels of violence fell slightly in Iraq over the past week, with incidents concentrated in Baghdad, Mosul, and an arc stretching from Taji in Salah ad-Din province to Ba’qubah in Diyala province. Ta’mim province also saw a scattering of incidents while there was at least one successful attack and one prevented in Basrah province. The energy sector is advised to be particularly vigilant at present because it appears that local militants in the south of the country are intent on targeting the sector in order to generate a political impact felt in the capital.
Levels of violence remained consistent in the north of the country over the past week, with violence concentrated in Mosul and scattered throughout Ta’mim province. At the time of writing no further civilian casualties or excessive property damage have been reported as a result of cross-border military activity by Turkey and Iran in the mountains of Kurdistan. However, bombardment will likely continue until winter conditions set in from November.
For the third week in a row a higher than normal number of small arms attacks left several people dead and injured countrywide. Most of the incidents are currently taking place in the capital. Targeted assassinations should be considered a particular concern at present, especially for political figures, ministry employees and members of the security forces.
Terrorists attacked three police stations in in Baghdad earlier on 12 October, killing several people and injuring dozens more. Two suicide car bombers attacked stations in Alwiyah and Hurriyah districts, while a non-suicide explosion close to a station in Ilaam district then killed at least three more people. Radical Islamists are likely to blame, because they frequently target the Iraqi security forces and are most commonly associated with suicide attacks, of which there have been seven so far in the capital, and 64 countrywide in 2011.
Otherwise in the central region a double attack against police stations in Anbar province at the beginning of last week left at least five officers dead and one more kidnapped. Security measures were heightened in the aftermath of the attack which may be one of the reasons that overall levels of violence declined in the days that followed.
Terrorists using explosive devices targeted a pipeline in Zubair district on 7 September. Although output is now reported to have been restored there are reports of further attempted attacks on pipelines in the province over recent days. Companies involved in the energy sector are advised to review the security measures in place around their fixed assets. This warning is particularly relevant for those responsible for the region’s pipeline network. These assets are an attractive and often accessible target for militants looking to pressure the central government with minimal effort.
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.