The following research is based on information gathered by Flashpoint analysts and data collections. For last month’s report, click here.
5 Key takeaways
1) Of 14 total attacks, 13 of them were IEDs aimed at private contractors of the U.S. Military
Iraqi Shiite insurgents carried out approximately 14 separate attacks in February 2022 targeting the U.S. military, U.S. diplomatic facilities, and other U.S. interests in Iraq. 13 of the incidents (93%) consisted of IED attacks targeting private contractor convoys supplying the U.S. military. There was one attempted but unsuccessful drone attack that is suspected to have targeted U.S. military forces stationed at Al-Harir Air Base (near Erbil) in northern Iraq.
Shiite insurgent attacks dropped sharply in February–more than 60% from the total number of incidents in January. While the sporadic attacks have persisted into the new year, ominous insurgent threats of a relentless wave of violence directed at U.S. interests to kick off 2022 have mostly failed to materialize.
2) Shiite insurgents did not target Baghdad once, an anomaly
The Iraqi provinces that were most frequently the site of attacks by Shiite insurgents targeting the U.S. military and U.S. interests in February 2022 were:
- Dhi Qar Province (21%)
- Qadisiyah Province (21%)
- Saladin Province (14%)
- Al-Muthanna Province (14%)
- Anbar Province (14%)
It is worth noting that there were no attacks claimed by Shiite insurgents in the Baghdad area for the entire month of February. This is a stark contrast to the previous month, when the Baghdad area accounted for almost 30% of relevant incidents.
3) Multiple insurgent factions lay claim to U.S.-targeted attacks
At least 4 (29%) of the total Iraqi Shiite insurgent attacks targeting U.S. interests during February 2022 were specifically claimed by insurgent faction “Ashab al-Kahf”—making it the dominant such group. Two attacks (14%) were claimed each by the insurgent factions “Al-Muhandis Revenge Brigades” and Kataib As-Sabiqun. One additional attack was claimed by Faylaq al-Wilayati. At least 5 of the reported Iraqi Shiite insurgent attacks in February 2022 were never claimed by any known faction.
Related reading: Profile and Exclusive Interview with Iraqi Shiite Insurgents Ashab al-Kahf
4) Attacks have subsided from a January spike
Following a sudden spike in attacks by Iraqi Shiite militias and insurgents at the end of 2021 and January 2022, the numbers appear to have subsided back to the more restrained level of the early fall. It is not clear whether the lull is due to renewed talks between the U.S. and Iran, the diminishing footprint of U.S. military forces in Iraq, concerns about retaliation/escalation by the U.S. military, or other factors entirely.
5) Potential usage of Iranian-built attack drones
Only one suspected Shiite insurgent drone aircraft attack was recorded during February (on the 13th), resulting in the crash of at least one Iranian-made drone aircraft near Erbil in northern Iraq. The presumed target was U.S. military forces stationed at Al-Harir Air Base, however this conclusion remains speculative.
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