Weekly Security Update 30 October - 06 November 2013

The weekend and week start remained remarkably quiet however Baquba and the Baghdad region once again suffered mid week.  On Wednesday 06 November a suicide bomber driving an oil tanker rammed a police station and detonated his device amidst a group of ISF officers, killing six.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, a sniper shot a policeman on patrol in Baghdad's Sadr City district, and in Saba al-Bour, north of the capital, a roadside bombing killed four people.  In the final attack of the reporting period a roadside bomb in Baghdad's western Abu Ghraib district killed two more as Sunni extremists once again targeted the Sahwa militia.

The past week has also seen Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki travel to Washington and meet President Obama and select officials from the Obama administration.  Maliki’s original intent had been to try and secure additional military hardware in the form of F 16 fighter jets and drones however it is now clear that this request has not been entertained by the Obama administration.  Obama administration officials have said they stand ready to help Iraq, and are more receptive to a subsequent intelligence-sharing request made by Maliki than they are to requests to provide Iraq with US forces military training.  Officials would not specify the type of intelligence systems or methods sought by Iraq but there has been much speculation that the Obama administration will approve new drone strikes or drone surveillance over Iraqi airspace to assist the ISF; the US has a launchpad for drones north-west of Iraq, at Turkey’s Incirlik air base.  Despite these limited successes by Maliki there remains much skepticism about the overly pro Shia stance the Maliki administration adopts and its cosy relationship with Iran.  The offer of Intelligence sharing still carries a risk: Maliki’s closest ally is the US's regional adversary, Iran. In a recent report by The New Yorker the magazine   reported that Iraq’s rejection of a residual US military force in 2011, an act that resulted in all but a handful of US troops withdrawing that December, came at the instigation of the Iranian spy chief Qassem Suleimani.  Clearly, there will be a fine balance to be drawn against what intelligence the Obama administration chooses to share or what capability they chose to deploy.  In addition it will be a fine balancing act for the Maliki administration as they try and manage the key regional players of Syria and Iran in the face of additional American military power.

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