This is May’s edition of my south Iraq SIGACT monitoring and analysis. Monitoring in May captured a total of 53 incidents, 15 killed, and 10 injured. This month’s edition focuses on data, highlighting the return to high levels of violence and tribal fighting following significant security operations both in February and surrounding the elections. In fact, rates of violence have more than doubled since their nadir in March.

Monitoring parameters were as follows:
> Serious violent incidents
> Tribal fighting
> Terrorism
> Protest activity
> Kidnapping
> Arms trafficking
> Maritime incidents

SIGACT MAP: South Iraq May 2018 (Click “View larger map” for full functionality)

PIVOT TABLE: South Iraq May 2018

ADDITIONAL TABLE: Trends since February

Month Number of Incidents Killed Injured
February 50 6 7
March 50 7 9
April 55 15 17
May 53 15 10
Serious Violent Incidents Tribal Fighting Incidents  Protest Activity Incidents
February 15 8 22
March 8 8 29
April 16 11 24
May 18 12 18

As the table above shows, overall incident levels have remained steady over the past few months. However, this masks a shift in the distribution of incidents. A fall in the number of protests has been compensated for by significant rises in criminal violence, IED and grenade attacks, and tribal clashes. This data suggests that any security gains which followed the major security operations which took place in February, particularly in Basra, have not been enduring. This has not been restricted to Basra. Places like Rifai, in northern Dhi Qar province, which have been fairly quiet in recent months, have seen a spike in both serious violent incidents and tribal clashes. There has also been a re-emergence of kidnapping, with incidents occurring in Dhi Qar, Maysan, and Basra provinces in May. The take-away headline here is that rates of violence have more than doubled since their nadir in March. This is despite the increased security surrounding the elections.



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