Iraq – An explosion occurred on the 12 Oct 14 near a convoy carrying Brigadier General Ahmed al-Dulaimi in the vast province west of Baghdad. The convoy had been travelling through an area to the north of the provincial capital, Ramadi. The response was to place a curfew on the city. This is seen as quite a major attack enforcing the curfew will be difficult because ISIL are in control of much of the province. A spokesman said Iraqi security forces had recaptured the area from the rebels a day earlier. An upsurge in violence in Anbar comes as ominous warnings were sounded that ISIL could be close to taking over the whole of the province which would place them perisly close to the capital, Baghdad. Although there was no claim of responsibility at the time of reporting the possibility of the attack being carried out by the Islamic State cannot be ruled out.
Fighters for the Islamic State were managing to blend in with disenfranchised Sunni populations in some Iraqi towns and villages near the capital, raising the chances of militant attacks against targets in Baghdad, President Obama’s top military adviser said on the 12 Oct 14. “I have no doubt there will be days when they use indirect fire into Baghdad,” the adviser, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, said in an interview. Indirect fire refers to the use of mortar, rockets or artillery. General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said American military officers still think that an outright assault on Baghdad remains unlikely, but that strikes from a distance by militants infiltrating areas near the capital could greatly heighten the sense of insecurity in Iraq’s most important city. Iraqi and American officials believe the Islamic State has already carried out some car-bomb and suicide attacks inside Baghdad. “It wasn’t so long ago that we were talking about the imminent fall of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan regional government,” he said. “It wasn’t so long ago when the U.S. Embassy was actually feeling threatened in Baghdad. None of those are part of the landscape right now.” He also described how United States Apache helicopters helped an embattled Iraqi Army unit halt an Islamic State threat against the road to the Baghdad airport. “Had they overrun the Iraqi unit it was a straight shot to the airport,” General Dempsey said. “So, we’re not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport.”
Islamic State militants have tightened their grip on Iraq's Anbar province, capturing a training camp in Hit, north of the provincial capital, Ramadi. Arab media also reported that government forces have evacuated several positions inside Ramadi, including two prisons it was reported on the 13 Oct 14. Iraqi government forces continued to give ground to Islamic State militants around Ramadi amid worries the militants might gain control of the entire province. Iraqi troops withdrew from a training base in Hit, 7 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, but continue to hold the larger Ain al Assad base. Al Arabiya TV reported that Iraqi security forces also withdrew from Ramadi's central prison, as well as the smaller Khalidiya prison. It said the prisoners were taken to other facilities in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The government garrison at Haditha, which controls Iraq's second largest dam, is also reportedly encircled by the militants. Anbar province Governor Sabah al Karhout told Iraq's Asharqiyah TV the government must send reinforcements to Ramadi and intensify airstrikes in order to prevent the provincial capital from falling. Karhout said discussions are taking place with the U.S.-led international coalition over what can be done, and Anbar is asking the Iraqi central government for a brigade and air cover to prevent the fall of the entire province. He said the Islamic State group controls nearly 75 percent of Anbar and its fall would lead to the fall of Baghdad, Karbala and Babil province. The Anbar provincial council issued an appeal to U.S. and coalition forces to send ground troops and Apache helicopters to help defend remaining government positions against attack by Islamic State militants. Council member Taha Abdel Ghani said that U.S. ground troops and Apache helicopters would bolster the tribal fighters against Islamic State 'terrorists' and would help them to hold remaining positions in Anbar province and potentially retake lost territory. Arab media reported clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib. U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman John Dempsey indicated on the 12 Oct 14 the United States had used Apache helicopters to prevent an Iraqi unit in Abu Ghraib from falling. But an Iraqi military commander in Abu Ghraib insisted his forces continue to control the centre of Abu Ghraib, including the hospital and market. British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond met in Baghdad with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ja'afari, saying the British government would help arm Iraqi government forces. Iraqi TV reported President Fouad Masoum met with Vice President Osama Nujeifi to discuss implementation of a plan to set up a national guard for Sunni regions of the country. Sunni leaders have long complained the government has based mostly Shi'ite military units in Sunni regions, exacerbating sectarian tensions.
Yemen – Suspected Al-Qaeda militants, including a suicide bomber, killed at least 10 Yemeni police on the 8 Oct 14 in attacks on security forces. The violence occurred in the central town of Baida targeted a command centre, a police post and an army checkpoint. Nine police were killed in the suicide car bombing alone. That attack, against the command centre, was thought to have been carried out by a militant identified as Abu Dujana al-Lahji, said a security official in the region. It came shortly after a meeting of tribal chiefs -- some of them with links to Al-Qaeda -- who decided to "respond to the increased presence of Shiite Huthi rebels in Baida," the official added. The heads of the Sunni Muslim tribes believe that members of the security services in Baida are sympathetic to the Huthis, who overran the capital Sanaa on the 21 Sep and have since taken control of other parts of Yemen. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has also vowed to fight the Huthi rebels in defence of Sunnis.