Monday, May 25, 2015

Aftermath Of The Fall Of Ramadi In Iraq


The third week of May 2015 was marked by the fall of Ramadi in Iraq’s Anbar province. The fighting for the city caused huge casualties amongst the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), tribes and civilians, especially as the Islamic State (IS) carried out executions during the entire operation. The battle for Ramadi showed the limits of reporting in Iraq as most of the papers were caught up in Anbar and dramatically reduced their coverage of the rest of the country.

There were 123 security incidents in the media from May 15-21. That was the lowest since the 121 reported the first week of April. That wasn’t because violence suddenly decreased, but rather was the result of the press being fixated upon the fight for Ramadi. The Iraqi papers barely covered the rest of the country during that period. Much more was going on in the rest of Iraq, it just wasn’t mentioned.

While attacks were way down the number of casualties was quite high due to Ramadi. 961 people died and 380 were wounded during the week. Most of those were in the Anbar provincial capital where IS executed over 500 ISF, sahwa and civilians during and after its capture. In total 848 were killed in Anbar, followed by 51 in Baghdad, 19 in Salahaddin, 16 in Kirkuk, 12 in Ninewa, 7 in Basra, 5 in Diyala, and 3 in Babil. The dead consisted of 1 Hashd al-Shaabi, 43 sahwa, 334 ISF, and 583 civilians, while the injured were made up of 3 sahwa, 11 Hashd, 162 ISF, and 204 civilians. Like attacks the real numbers were surely higher.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
184
434
464
Jan 8-14
170
730
493
Jan 15-21
182
390
515
Jan 22-28
189
466
894
Jan 29-31
90
288
529
JAN
815
2,308
2,895
Feb 1-7
155
380
688
Feb 8-14
170
406
559
Feb 15-21
165
573
364
Feb 22-28
165
371
687 + 386
FEB
655
1,730
2,683
Mar 1-7
172
372
587
Mar 8-14
133
348
656
Mar 15-21
142
1,299
503
Mar 22-28
170
235
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
689
2,459 + 4
2,371 + 150
Apr 1-7
121
212
422
Apr 8-14
133
626
525
Apr 15-21
169
722
714
Apr 22-28
160
483
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
633
2,212
2,625
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
419
549
May 15-21
123
961
380

Violence In Iraq By Province May 2015
Province
May 1-7
May 8-14
Anbar
34 Incidents
75 Killed: 21 ISF, 30 Hashd, 24 Civilians
103 Wounded: 54 ISF, 49 Civilians
15 Shootings
19 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
2 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
2 Rockets
36 Incidents
74 Killed: 16 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 9 Hashd, 47 Civilians
176 Wounded: 62 ISF, 7 Hashd, 26 Sahwa, 81 Civilians
26 Shootings
14 Suicide Car Bombs
4 Mortars
Babil
-
8 Incidents
5 Killed: 5 Civilians
20 Wounded: 5 Hashd, 15 Civilians
1 Shooting
3 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Sound Bomb
Baghdad
68 Incidents
105 Killed: 3 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 101 Civilians
234 Wounded: 7 ISF, 5 Sahwa, 222 Civilians
28 Shootings
28 IEDs
4 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
2 Car Bombs
1 Rockets
46 Incidents
99 Killed: 2 ISF, 3 Sahwa, 94 Civilians
218 Wounded: 9 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 207 Civilians
15 Shootings
22 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Car Bomb
3 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
Basra
1 Incident
1 Shooting
-
Diyala
9 Incidents
23 Killed: 3 ISF, 1 Asayesh, 19 Civilians
23 Wounded: 8 ISF, 3 Asayesh, 12 Civilians
4 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
18 Incidents
89 Killed: 10 ISF, 1 Sahwa, 78 Civilians
66 Wounded: 7 ISF, 59 Civilians
7 Shootings
5 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
2 Suicide Car Bombs
Kirkuk
9 Incidents
10 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 1 Hashd, 8 Civilians
17 Wounded: 4 Peshmerga, 13 Civilians
4 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Mortar
7 Incidents
13 Killed: 4 Peshmerga, 9 Civilians
6 Wounded: 5 Peshmerga, 1 Civilian
4 Shootings
1 IED
Ninewa
11 Incidents
342 Killed: 324 Civilians
5 Shootings
25 IEDs
17 Incidents
26 Killed: 2 ISF, 24 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Peshmerga
8 Shootings
20 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Salahaddin
22 Incidents
89 Killed: 79 ISF, 8 Hashd, 2 Civilians
73 Wounded: 54 ISF, 10 Hashd, 9 Civilians
22 Incidents
113 Killed: 61 ISF, 52 Civilians
61 Wounded: 32 ISF, 8 Hashd, 21 Civilians
13 Shootings
1 IED
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Car Bomb
1 Mortar

Province
May 15-21
Anbar
46 Incidents
848 Killed: 321 ISF, 40 Sahwa, 488 Civilians
186 Wounded: 129 ISF, 57 Civilians
30 Shootings
8 IEDs
19 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Car Bombs
5 Mortars
2 Rockets
Babil
2 Incidents
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
11 Wounded: 11 Civilians
2 IEDs
Baghdad
44 Incidents
51 Killed: 4 ISF, 1 Hashd, 3 Sahwa, 43 Civilians
108 Wounded: 20 ISF, 3 Hashd, 3 Sahwa, 82 Civilians
17 Shootings
18 IEDs
7 Sticky Bobs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Car Bomb
1 Mortar
Basra
2 Incidents
7 Killed: 7 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Civilians
2 Shootings
Diyala
5 Incidents
5 Killed: 5 Civilians
6 Wounded: 6 Civilians
1 Shooting
3 IEDs
Kirkuk
4 Incidents
16 Killed: 16 Civilians
1 Sticky Bomb
Ninewa
8 Incidents
12 Killed: 12 Civilians
3 Shootings
Salahaddin
12 Incidents
19 Killed: 10 ISF, 9 Civilians
65 Wounded: 13 ISF, 8 Hashd, 44 Civilians
3 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Mortar
1 Rockets

Car Bombs In Iraq May 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
May 1



May 2
Garma, Anbar
Karrada x2, Baghdad
29
66
May 3



May 4
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
3
5
May 5
Garma, Anbar
Karrada, Baghdad
6
13
May 6



May 7
Baiji x2, Dour, Hamrin x2, Salahaddin
57
39
Totals
11
95
123
May 8
Baladrooz & Kanaan, Diyala
22
59
May 9
Karrada, Baghdad
8
30
May 10
Fallujah x3, Anbar
Shaab, Baghdad
Taji & Tarmiya, Salahaddin
23
26
May 11



May 12
Sadoun St & Tahrir Sq, Baghdad
14
37
May 13



May 14
Dulab x9 & Jubba x2, Anbar
6
54
Totals
22
73
206
May 15
Ramadi x11, Anbar
10
7
May 16
Fallujah & Ramadi, Anbar
Baiji Refinery, Salahaddin
8

May 17
Ramadi x7, Anbar
Shurta, Baghdad
17
35
May 18



May 19
Haswar, Anbar
Abu Ghraib, Baghdad
8
14
May 20



May 21



Totals
24
43
56

IS upped the number of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) for the third week in a row. In the first week of May there were 11 VBIEDs, followed by 22 the second, and 24 the third week. 21 were in Anbar alone showing the heavy fighting there. Many more were destroyed before reaching their intended targets. 43 people were reported killed in these attacks and another 56 wounded. Again, the actual figures are far higher as many casualties were not reported for the car bombings in Anbar.

Anbar was obviously the major focus in Iraq during the third week of May. IS successfully took Ramadi after 17 months of trying. Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told the press that the ISF commander in the city ordered a withdrawal out of fear that the bad weather in the area would prevent coalition air support from being called him. The use of ten Oklahoma City size truck bombs also helped break down the defenses throughout Ramadi. From the very start, IS also executed over 500 civilians, sahwa and ISF members. It was reported that IS had hit lists of people they wanted to kill, and were going door to door looking for them. The militants weren’t done either as they continued to push east into Husaiba and Khalidiya.

Back in Baghdad the fall of Ramadi has led to a series of recriminations. Sheikhs in Anbar have accused the ISF of abandoning them during the fighting. A State of Law parliamentarian said that Ramadi showed that the Iraqi government should only rely upon the Iranians rather than the U.S who was accused of helping IS. Dawa members also went after ISF officers in Anbar claiming that they had fled without consulting with the prime minister, were lying about the strength of their units, and some had contacts with the Islamic State. Finally, a spokesman for Asaib Ahl Al-Haq said that the fall of Ramadi was due to Prime Minister Abadi listening to the Americans to keep the Hashd out of the fight. Abadi and the Americans had gained strength from the victory in Tikrit over Iran and its friends within the Hashd after their attack stalled, but now were put back on the defensive due to the events in Anbar. This back and forth political battle will continue into the future.

Baghdad continued to be a major target, but casualties dropped there compared to the previous week. From May 15-21 there were 44 incidents just around the 46 from the week before, and way down from the 68 seen during the first week. There were 51 fatalities and 108 injured during the third week, down from the 99 deaths and 218 from the previous one. There were two car bombs during the week, one at an army base in Abu Ghraib, and another on a market in Shurta. There were also 19 IEDs and 7 sticky bombs, which led to the majority of the dead and wounded. The number of extra judicial killings in the province continued at a high pace. There were twelve bodies discovered across Baghdad, which was just around the fifteen found the week before. So Far there have been 51 bodies dumped in parts of the governorate this month compared to 38 during April. The return of mass casualty car bombs and displaced Anbaris who have been blamed for these terrorist acts has apparently prompted Hashd and other Shiite elements to pick up the pace of these murders, although some are also the work of insurgents.

Violence in southern Iraq is dreadfully under reported, but during the week Asaib Ahl Al-Haq got caught up in a tribal conflict in Basra leading to a shoot out that killed six and wounded four on May 18. The removal of much of the security forces from the southern provinces to fight the insurgency has given rise to an increasing number of lawless acts such as gang activity, tribal conflicts, and deadly political rivalries throughout the region. The media is catching only a small portion of this. 

In Salahaddin the effort to relieve the Baiji refinery continued. Throughout the week government forces made steady progress towards the area, finally reaching the complex by the last day of the week. The fighting for Baiji highlights the manpower shortages Baghdad is facing as the region was cleared in October-November, January, February, and April. Whenever the area is attacked, reinforcements are sent in, but they then withdraw allowing IS to move back in. This has occurred throughout the country again and again. Unless there are strong local actors such as in Amerli and Alam in Salahaddin or the place was totally emptied such as Jalawla in Diyala, Jurf al-Sakhr in Babil and Tikrit the government has not been able to hold many areas after clearing operations. They simply lack the manpower to do so. That means Baiji will likely come under threat once again in the coming weeks.

SOURCES

AIN, "Car bomb explodes on Al-Tameem bridge, western Ramadi," 5/16/15

Associated Press, "Amid battles with ISIS, suicide attacks kill 10 people in Iraq," 5/15/15
- "Iraqi premier: Don't abandon Anbar to Islamic State group," 5/17/15
- "Iraqi troops repel ISIS attack on Anbar town," 5/19/15
- "Suicide car bombs kill 10 Iraqi troops in besieged Ramadi," 5/17/15

BBC, "Islamic State crisis: Militants seize Ramadi stronghold," 5/15/15

Daragahi, Borzou and Solomon, Erika, “Ramadi’s fall casts doubt on al-Abadi’s control of Iraq war,” Financial Times, 5/19/15

Al Forat, "2 citizens killed, 8 others wounded by car bomb southeast Baghdad," 5/17/15

Al Jazeera, "State patrolling perimeter of Abu Ghraib and the government mobilized to retake Ramadi," 5/19/15

Al Mada, “Albu Fahd committed to the Battle of Ramadi: we were betrayed by the army,” 5/22/15
- “Dawa Party fall of Ramadi: the disappearance of 15,000 troops and Daash captured enough weapons to fight for a whole year,” 5/20/15

Al Masalah, "Tribal conflict in Basra," 5/18/15

NINA, "8/ members of the Federal Police killed near the Baiji refinery," 5/16/15

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Shi’ite Fighters Mass For Counterattack On IS-Held Ramadi,” 5/19/15

Radio Free Iraq, "18 May 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 5/18/15

Al Rafiydan, "Hezbollah Brigades regain control of army headquarters in Fallujah," 5/16/15

Shafaq News, “Maliki’s coalition calls government to rely on Iranian advisers rather than Americans,” 5/19/15

Stars and Stripes, “Dempsey Says Iraqis Weren’t Driven Out of Ramadi, They Drove,” 5/22/15

Xinhua, "IS militants capture government compound in Iraq's Ramadi," 5/15/15

Yacoub Sameer, "Islamic State militants seize government compound in the capital of western Anbar province," 5/15/15

Youssef, Nancy, “Iraqis Now Blaming U.S. for Losing Ramadi to ISIS,” Daily Beast, 5/21/15