Iraq’s Insurgents Picking Up Attacks During Ramadan
Monday, July 22, 2013
Ramadan began at the start of July 2013, and so has a new wave of attacks by Iraq’s insurgency. June saw a decline in deaths, but that was apparently because militants were preparing for the holy month to begin. In the first half of July there has almost been twice as many killed as the same time period in June. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) knew that such an offensive was coming, but have proven hapless at stopping it, because of their institutional deficiencies. July is looking to be one of the deadliest of the year highlighting the rebirth of the insurgency, and the weakness of the government to prevent it.
Site of a car bomb in Nasiriyah July 15. This is part of Al Qaeda’s on going bombing campaign in the south (AFP)
Iraq Body Count has recorded a decided increase in violence in July. For the first seventeen days of the month it has reported 480 deaths, compared to 280 in June for that same number of days. As usual, Baghdad has seen the most carnage with 108 deaths, followed by 83 in Diyala, 70 in Salahaddin, 66 in Ninewa, and 48 in Tamim. There has also been a wave of bombings in the south. That led to 14 killed in Basra, 9 in Karbala, 5 in Dhi Qar, and 2 in Maysan. Car bombs and suicide bombers have accounted for the most fatalities, 176 and 123 respectively. After that have been Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), 86, and small arms fire 72. A final sign of how bad July has been is the number of days where 30 or more people were killed. So far that has happened six times, with the deadliest day being July 14 when 66 people were killed. For all of June and April there were 7 such days, and July has already surpassed January, February, and March. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was responsible for the vast majority of this violence. Car and suicide bombings are a trademark of their operations. They have also been carrying out attacks in southern Iraq since December 2012. IEDs and small arms are more likely the work of other groups such as the Baathist Naqshibandi, the Islamic Army, Ansar al-Sunna or tribes, all of which have become more active this year. That followed the government raid upon the Hawija protest site in April, which was exploited by militant organizations to try to turn people away from peaceful demonstrations and towards violence.
The Iraqi insurgency is making a comeback. It has been able to carry out operations far longer than it has for several years now. This was partly of the government’s own making as it used excessive force against demonstrators, which made many of them and their supporters to give up on peaceful means to influence Baghdad, and have now turned to the use of force. That along with the security forces no longer carrying out counterinsurgency tactics have all contributed to the current rising violence in the country. July is just one of many deadly months that are going to occur in the foreseeable future.
Ahlul Bayt News Agency, “Al Qaeda will launch a battle as the “Battle of Baghdad” unconventional weapons may be used,” 7/3/13