Thursday, August 30, 2012

Threat Warning - Baghdad

Situation: AQI released a statement on a Jihadist site on Thursday warning the Iraqi  government of retribution against recent executions in the country.

Analysis: The threat warning is in response to the execution of 21 people convicted of terrorism charges, including three women, on Tuesday. According to government sources, about 200 more executions are planned for the near future. Amnesty International in June condemned the Iraqi state’s penchant for the death penalty, calling it “alarming.” Ayad Allawi, the secular Shiite leader of the opposition Iraqiya bloc in parliament, said Maliki’s security forces have detained and brutally tortured more than 1,000 political opponents in secret prisons and denied them access to legal counsel. Whether or not such assertions are disingenuous, the facts reported by western and local media speak for themselves, and have led to galvanize AQI into greater violence.

A quiet week following omnipresent attacks across Iraq leading up to Eid, could spell another period of highly lethal and indiscriminate AQI aggression.

The Iraqi Army were put on high alert in Baghdad today after two senior security officials were targeted by militants on Wednesday. An increase in drive-by-shootings and SAF attacks against police checkpoints has forced military commanders to re-posture their units across the capital and cities to the north. And last week the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) released a general threat warning for the central areas of the capital. Although Friday is traditionally a quiet period as Islamic militants respect the call to prayer, attacks at the weekend can be expected to increase with a significant threat to the capital’s city centre.

Advise: Expect increased security, especially around government facilities and public areas such as hotels, shopping centers, markets, and transportation hubs. If AQI are plotting another attack, they could shift their target to a less-secure location if heightened security makes it impossible to strike their original target.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Post 2012 Ramadan - Iraq

Al-Qaeda in Iraq far from out during Ramadan 2012

With the end of Ramadan begins the tallying of casualties that occurred during the holy month. Unity approximates at least 690 civilians and members of the security apparatus were killed during the month of Ramadan. Two spikes in AQI activity, one at the beginning of Ramadan, and the other last Thursday, account for the greater number of casualties. On July 23, 145 people were killed across central and northern Iraq. At the other end on August 16, 128 people were killed. The violence committed on those two days was clearly coordinated. Agence France Press recorded 409 killed.

Last year Unity recorded a much lower tally of 455 deaths. The Iraqi ministries under-reported with 185 killed. Iraq Body count put the figure at 398 deaths.

According to data pulled from the United Nations Aid Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). There were 389 attacks recorded  during the month of Ramadan in 2011. This year that number diminished to 356 incidents. Although fewer attacks were reported, violence was much more indiscriminate and effective in 2012. Much like AQI’s current ‘bringing breaking down the walls’ campaign, last year towards the end of Ramadan, the organisation promised to target Iraq with 100 attacks to avenge its Sunni brethren.

The lethality and frequency of attacks recorded throughout Ramadan 2012 have shown that AQI and other affiliate groups are far from eradicated. Statistically there has been little change since Ramadan 2011, with only more violence and greater numbers of casualties highlighting an ever-resurgent network of skilled bomb-makers, sympathizers and facilitators, all seemingly coordinated to maintain a grip on the downward spiralling security situation in Iraq.

This year the Iraqi government are alone culpable for a continuation in violence. With an American presence no longer censured for an extremist presence in Iraq, the government will now have to make drastic changes to its security policy and personnel in order to ameliorate the dire situation in finds itself in post-Ramadan.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Libya..... Troubling Security Overtones

We saw the first attack using a improvised explosive device (IED) in Tripoli on Saturday ('car bomb').

Our team assess that it was a remote controlled IED (RCIED). This is a concerning development which demonstrates the porosity of the security forces but also a local capability to build explosive devices locally. The levels of sophistication are questionable (1 reported injury) but the capability versus intent balance is potentially troubling.

A continuance of these style of events, with high media payoffs, will discredit the political apparatus and also test local tolerances and confidence.

We continue to monitor carefully.