Weekly Security Update for 9th May 2012

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There was a slight rise in the number of attacks recorded in Iraq last week but the overall number of casualties fell from the previous week. At least 26 people were killed and 62 injured in nationwide incidents. A total of 31 bomb attacks left 11 people dead and 57 injured while small arms fire left 10 people dead and five injured. One person was kidnapped in Kirkuk, while a captive woman was freed in a police operation in Umm Qasr. The bodies of several more people were found abandoned in various other parts of the country.
North
Mosul remained one of the most violent parts of the country last week. Ta’mim province saw far fewer incidents, although a mechanic was kidnapped in the province and security was heightened in Kirkuk ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Maliki. In the normally secure region of Kurdistan there were two points of note. A personal dispute between two civilians escalated into a gunfight in Arbil, which left one person dead and the other injured. The region sees very little violence, but there is a high distribution of firearms and related incidents are still relatively common. A protest also took place in Arbil on 8 May following the publication of an article by a local paper deemed offensive to Islam by many local residents. Protesters clashed with the security forces, although there were no significant casualties reported.
Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months
Central
Apart from Mosul, last week’s violence in Iraq was concentrated in and around Baghdad, Fallujah, Ba’qubah and Tuz Khurmatu.  Salah ad-Din province is currently seeing the majority of attacks, although conditions slightly worsened in the capital last week as well. Anbar and Diyala province remain relatively equal in terms of violence, although tensions appear to be on the rise in Diyala in particular, with local residents concerned at gradually rising militancy and localised tensions.
South
There was a spate of small bomb attacks in southern cities last week. They have not caused any casualties but appear to have been aimed at intimidating political figures rather than killing members of the security forces or civilians indiscriminately. While the region is far quieter than central and northern parts of the country it evidently still hosts violent militant organisations with the intent and means to use violence for political purposes. While casualties remain highly infrequent this recent trend does not bode well for the longer term outlook for the oil-rich region.
John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British risk mitigation company working in Iraq since 2003. You can access AKE’s intelligence website Global Intake here, and you can obtain a free trial of AKE’s Iraq intelligence reports here.