Weekly Security Update for 11th July 2012

By Gary Sandiford, Olive Group‘s Dubai-based assessments manager. Olive Group is a leading provider of security and technology solutions and has operated continuously in Iraq since 2003.
Overview
Olive Groups Iraq statistics are drawn from multiple sources, including media reporting and direct liaison with in country assets. Included within the statistics are a minority sub-set of serious incidents which may not be purely attributable to insurgent/terrorist groups, such as murder, kidnappings and organised crime activities. In many cases, these serious crimes are related to sectarian or ethnic tensions or threat financing for militant groups.
The total reported incidents in Iraq for this week is 119. This is lower than last week’s figure of 131. The weekly average for 2012 including this week’s data, now stands at 104 incidents per week. Previous reporting highlighted a cycle of violence which saw two to three weeks of reduced incident levels, followed by a spike. Violence levels are still well above 2012 averages, with incident lethality higher than the first five months of 2012.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and affiliates continue to mount strategic high profile attacks against Shiite civilian targets. This week witnessed the Shia pilgrimage to Shabaniya and despite a heavy security profile for Karbala, a double VBIED attack occurred on 3 July 2012 at a market on the northern limits of the city.
The attack killed at least four people and injured over twenty. In apparent coordination, a second VBIED (truck-bomb) incident occurred at approximately the same time in a marketplace in Diwaniya, killing at least 25 people and injuring upwards of one hundred. Iraq has seen an increased effort, largely using VBIEDs, to target Shia civilians since 13 June, mainly focused on targeting Shia religious tourism.
The truck VBIED in Diwaniya is a concerning development as this is the most southerly VBIED detonation to take place in 2012. Though truck bombs have been sent southwards of Babil province by AQI in 2012, all have been intercepted previously.