Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iraq Weekly Roundup, 28 November 2011

Levels of violence rose in Iraq over the past week. At least 60 people were killed and 168 injured in nationwide attacks, concentrated in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk. Non-suicide bomb attacks left 41 people dead and 146 injured, while at least three suicide bombings, all of which were relatively unsuccessful, left nine people injured. Earlier on Monday a fourth suicide attack has also struck a prison in Taji, on the northern fringes of Baghdad. At least 11 people are reported to have been killed. A blast, suspected to be a mortar, has also hit the International/Green Zone, with at least one person killed at the time of writing.

Earlier in the week terrorists attacked a busy marketplace in Basrah, the day before an international oil and gas conference began in the city, killing and injuring several people, including a large number of police officers.

Targeted Assassinations
There has also been a countrywide rise in the number of small arms attacks, which left 17 people dead and 11 injured last week. This increase denotes a rise in the number of targeted assassinations and security force personnel and ministry employees should be on their guard amid the risk of further such attacks over the coming weeks.

Otherwise, a policeman and his son were abducted in Anbar province by unknown militants. A media worker was attacked by escaped unhurt in an incident in Bayaa district in Baghdad. Turkish military forces also continued their cross border operations in the Qandil Mountains. Fighting is continuing despite the onset of winter weather conditions, but the frequency of operations is likely to go into decline over the coming weeks.

The Coming Weeks
Meanwhile, last week saw the beginning of the Islamic New Year and holy month of Muharram. The Shi’ah community will now observe a period of mourning to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein. Religious travellers and worshippers are also likely to be targeted by terrorists over the coming six weeks.

Source: AKE

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Iraq in a week 'Summary' till 21-Nov.

Levels of violence rose in Iraq over the past week, particularly in Mosul and the central provinces. At least 33 people were killed and 99 injured in nationwide attacks, which is double the figure recorded the previous week. A rise in bomb attacks left 21 people dead and 87 injured while small arms attacks left 10 people dead and 10 more injured. Indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars) also left two people injured.

Notable Incidents
There was one attempted suicide bombing in the capital but the police managed to stop the would-be terrorists before they had the chance to detonate their significant amount of explosives. At least one person was kidnapped in the north of the country. The head of a local journalist association was also shot and injured in Diyala province.

The US Withdrawal
At the same time there have been at least three separate attacks on US military interests over the past seven days, and anxieties are growing countrywide over the prospects for stability once American troops have left. Militancy is likely to gradually rise following their departure, but it remains to be seen whether or not anticipated ebb and flow of violence will trigger any major escalation in militancy and civil unrest. Any journalists interested in covering the situation over the coming weeks who require assistance in the country please contact the AKE Iraq office at akebaghdad@akegroup.com.

Political Risk
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil has gone against express state wishes by signing oil and gas contracts with the Kurdish authorities. This puts central government in a very difficult position to which it may respond aggressively and even to the detriment of the investment climate.


Source: AKE

BASRA - Several people were killed and dozens injured in a marketplace bombing in Basra on 24 November.

Coinciding with both Thanksgiving and the start of a major oil and gas conference the bombers may have been sending a signal to the international community.

Hundreds of US vehicles are currently snaking their way along Iraqi highways as part of the ongoing withdrawal from the country. There are also numerous foreign delegates in the city for the Basra International Oil and Gas conference. However, the marketplace was likely viewed as a softer target, easier for the terrorists to attack. Security remains an obstacle for firms looking to work in Iraq. However, conditions are still quieter in the oil-rich south of the country than in the central and northern regions. Despite the latest attack, Basra still sees far fewer incidents of violence than Baghdad, which bodes well for the numerous companies looking to work in the area. 

Source: AKE