Weekly Security Update 24 - 31 July 2013

These attacks underscore the hugely deteriorating security in Iraq, where nearly 4,000 people have been killed since the start of the year - "I am deeply concerned about the heightened level of violence which carries the danger that the country falls back into sectarian strife. Iraq is bleeding from random violence, which sadly reached record heights during the holy month of Ramadan" said acting United Nations envoy to Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin - "

The assault on Abu Ghraib prison last week raised questions about the ability of Iraq's security services to combat al Qaeda and numerous commentators have said that Mondays attacks were undoubtedly linked to the prison breaks of last week potentially signifying and uptick in ISI capability, a view held by many in the US and Iraqi administrations -  "Today's attacks are closely linked with the Taji and Abu Ghraib prison breaks, which have encouraged terrorist groups to launch further attacks in areas of a specific sect to put more pressure on the government and undermine security force morale", Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defence committee in parliament, told news agencies.

"The attacks on Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons will undoubtedly prove hugely significant in terms of the long-term sustainability of al Qaeda operations in the Levant," said Charles Lister, an analyst at IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center.

The intensification of the insurgency is "very worrisome," acknowledged former U.S. ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey, who oversaw the withdrawal of troops and is now a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He said Iraq still has strong specialized capabilities in counter-terrorism, but its regular security forces require training, and in a damning statement the senior federal police officer familiar with the Abu Ghraib investigation said the security forces were no match for al Qaeda and could not keep pace with the insurgents' switching tactics and targets - "we believe that al Qaeda leaders are aware of these weaknesses and they are exploiting them," said the officer.







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