Southern Iraq (South Central and South East Regions)
The South Central Region reported a total of five incidents for the period, a reduction from last week and just over half the current weekly average. All incidents occurred in Babil Province, with the other provinces in the region remaining very subdued. The reduction in reported incidents this week compared to the recent high levels most likely reflects the completion of the Arba’een pilgrimage. In Babil only one IED targeted ISF, with the remaining incidents including IEDs, shootings and other acts of violence against civilians, most likely reflecting communal or domestic disputes. There was also a continuation in the high-tempo of ISF arrest operations, with one report even suggesting that 200 members of AQI had been arrested throughout the mid-Euphrates region. While this claim seems exaggerated, it is possible that actual ISF operations have helped suppress insurgent activity over the week and contributed to the improved security.
The South East Region reported only three incidents during the period, all of which occurred in Basra province. This is well below the weekly average for the region as a whole, and even less that the weekly average for Basra Province. Of the three incidents, one was significant. On the evening of 11 January, a small arms fire (SAF) attack was reported at an ISF location in Zubayr. The location received six rounds of SAF before themselves returning fire. While incidents of SAF feature with relative frequency in reporting, this is the first attack on a uniformed ISF location in over 12 months in Basra area. While of significance, the incident appears to simply be an anomalous report. Two pro-government protests in Basra city were reported to have attracted up to three thousand attendees.