The below is a summary and discussion of recent developments throughout the region. Information is garnered from a variety of sources and has been vetted whenever possible. Please note: Friday and Saturday reporting is reduced at regional levels.
Note: For above mapping, please scroll over individual spots to see further details. Due to developments outside of Talos control, some map features are temporarily unavailable.
- Vehicle borne IED interdicted outside Ramadi
- Planned construction of berm system southwest of Ramadi
- Intimidation-style shooting against politician’s residence south of Baghdad
On the afternoon on 2 September, 3rd Anbar Emergency Police Battalion personnel seized a vehicle borne IED at the 7-Kilo Checkpoint, west of Ramadi. The driver was arrested, and EOD personnel cleared the vehicle borne IED via a controlled detonation, with no casualties reported. This incident is the first vehicle borne interdiction along main commercial routes in eastern Anbar since a series of interdictions between mid-to-late July. The 2 September interdiction is assessed to have prevented a vehicle borne IED attack intended to take place in an area of the capital.
Additional vehicle borne IED incidents influential to the Baghdad security environment are likely during the remainder of the Eid al-Adha period. The 2 September incident follows a significant spike in vehicle borne IED incidents in the capital between 24-29 August, which formed a response to the IS loss of Tal Afar. Security forces proved incapable of disrupting the movement of multiple devices assessed to have transited through Anbar, highlighting a poor measure of performance when compared to previous successes. Increases in relevant security measures were anticipated in eastern Anbar in response to these attacks, as well as general precautions supporting the Eid al-Adha period.
Additional related efforts to degrade vehicle borne IED-related threats originating from IS support zones in western Anbar were noted during this period. On 2 September, one Coalition strike destroyed a vehicle borne IED facility near Al Qaim. On 3 September, Anbar Operations Commander Major General Mahmud al-Falahi announced the initiation of construction efforts for a berm system in areas between Ramadi and Rutbah, in order to disrupt the infiltration of vehicle borne IEDs towards Rahhaliyah and other areas of eastern Anbar. Once completed, the berm system will stretch between the 160-Kilo area and the Nukhaib sub-district
The reopening of the Trebil Border Crossing Point and Highway 1 for commercial transit is very positive from an economic standpoint. However, increases in related transit also has the potential to increase the vulnerability of the route to vehicle borne IED infiltration efforts. In addition to commonly seen infiltration efforts along major routes between Ramadi, Fallujah, and Baghdad, IS also commonly attempts to utilize various routes through the Rutbah District towards northern Babel and Karbala.
The announced construction of this berm system will add an additional set of physical barriers well forward of similar berm systems along the Babel and Karbala provincial borders. As usual, the ultimate effectiveness of this system remains to be seen following the completion of construction efforts.
Security postures remain very high in areas of Baghdad amongst ongoing security concerns during Eid al-Adha. Counter-Terrorism Service personnel maintained a very prominent presence, with incidents within the city largely limited to a pair of isolated shootings resulting in the death of one civilian and one Sunni tribal fighter. IS continues to respond to these challenges by focusing on IED employment outside the city. Five detonations during this period targeted two security forces patrols and civilians in three additional incidents, causing an unconfirmed number of casualties.
On the evening on 2 September, an unnamed security source reported that unidentified gunmen attacked the house of National Coalition Party member Kamil al-Gheriri in an area of Latifiyah, south of Baghdad. The guards of the house repelled the attack after engaging the gunmen, forcing them to retreat, with no casualties reported.
Additional reporting claimed this incident was motivated by a tribal dispute. While attacks along these lines are regularly reported as “attacks being repelled,” they generally involve intimidation-style drive-by-shootings. Additional related violence remains possible following this incident, but is unlikely to pose an impact on international operations.