Anbar province saw a reduction in activity levels during this reporting period with 11 incidents, compared to the high of 22 seen in the previous week. Activity still remains above the 2012 weekly average of nine. This is likely due in part to increased ISF activity in the past two weeks, and also an unsustainable tempo of operations on the part of insurgent/terrorist groups.
This reduction in isolation may not be indicative of a longer term downward trend. Activity in the coming weeks will likely remain slightly above the 2012 average – correspondent to the steady upward curve of violence since the US withdrawal in December 2011.
A number of localised tribal disputes are likely to represent a proportion of attacks seen in the province. As with other regions, the lethality of attacks appears to be increasing, with five of the eleven incidents this week being vehicle bombs. A single under vehicle bomb, one improvised bomb and three shooting attacks were also reported.
Southern Iraq (South Central and South East Regions)
Incidents in the South Central Region this week increased with a total of nine incidents, compared with five over the previous seven day period. This weeks figure is in line with the 2012 weekly average of nine. All of the incidents during this period occurred in Babil. A total of four improvised bomb incidents were reported, in addition to three under vehicle bombs, the murder of a child kidnap victim and a single shooting attack. The series of raids that followed the nationwide attacks on 13 June 2012 appears to have reduced extremist activity in the province.
ISF disruption of extremist activity following significant incidents generally sees a short term reduction in activity, likely followed by an increase back to ‘base levels’ as appears to be the case this week. While ISF will conduct a major security operation to cover the Shaabaniya pilgrimage, the event will remain a target for AQI and affiliates to conduct more high profile, mass-casualty attacks.
Reported incidents in the South East Region for this week increased from ten to thirteen, which remains above the weekly average for 2012 of seven. Once again improvised bomb incidents dominated reporting, with seven in total, however unusually activity was focussed in Dhi Qar rather than Basra province. Basra only reported one improvised bomb incident, significantly below the figure for last week. Given long term trends, this is likely to be a temporary reduction.