Friday, October 2, 2009

Iraqi Deaths Continue To Fluctuate Up And Down

As has been the pattern for 2009, the number of monthly deaths in Iraq continues to go up and down with each month. August saw a large increase compared to July, and then September took a dip. For example, Iraq Body Count, the organization that usually has the highest casualty numbers, recorded 395 deaths in July, 537 in August, and their preliminary figure for September is 296. The three other groups that keep track of deaths in Iraq, icasualties.org, Iraq's ministries, and the Associated Press, while all having different numbers, showed the same fluctuations. For all four, September had the second lowest death total for the year. Last month also had the fewest mass casualty bombings (10 or more dead and wounded) since May 2009. In September there were 13 such attacks, resulting in 70 deaths and 263 wounded. May had 9 bombings, 111 deaths, and 262 wounded.

What the statistics show is that Iraq's militants have lost their luster, and are incapable of sowing the death and destruction they once did even a year ago. In 2009 they have only been able to mount large-scale attacks for one month, and then need to re-group for an entire month before they can do it again. Even then, the months with high numbers of deaths do not reach the levels of 2008. In fact, 2009 has so far, seen fewer casualties then 2003 when the U.S. invaded. For instance, according to Iraq Body Count, there were 3,900 deaths from May to December 2003, for an average of 487.5 per month. In comparison, from January to August 2009 they counted 3,271 deaths, and an average of 408.8 per month. That in no way means that violence in Iraq is at an acceptable level, but it does mean that things have dramatically changed in the country since the height of the sectarian war from 2006-2007.

Iraqi Deaths


Iraq Body Count

icasualties.

Org

Iraqi Ministries

Associated Press

July 08

584

419

465

510

Aug. 08

592

311

431

475

Sep. 08

535

366

440

503

Oct. 08

528

288

318

446

Nov. 08

473

317

340

360


Dec. 08

522

320

316

393


Jan. 09

276

187

191

242

Feb. 09

343

202

258

288

March 09

416

278

252

335

April 09

484

347

355

371

May 09

332

188

165

225

June 09

488

367

438

447

July 09

395

240

275

309

Aug. 09

537

439

456

425

Sep. 09

296

158

203

238

Last 6 months of 2008 Average

539.0

336.8

385.0

447.8


First 6 months of 2009 Average

389.8

261.0

276.5

317.5

Number of Bombings and Casualty Statistics – April to July 2009

April 2009
Bombings: 21
Deaths: 198 + 32 Iranians
Wounded: 497 + 105 Iranians + 10 Americans

May 2009
Bombings: 9
Deaths: 111
Wounded: 262

June 2009
Bombings: 14
Deaths: 174
Wounded: 517

July 2009
Bombings: 35
Deaths: 180
Wounded: 655

August 2009
Bombings: 44
Deaths: 359
Wounded: 2,252

September 2009
Bombings: 13
Deaths: 70
Wounded: 263

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq attacks death toll rises to eight,” 9/4/09
- “Iraq death toll falls by half in September: officials,” 10/1/09

Ahmed, Hamid, “Car bomb kills 8 at checkpoint in western Iraq,” Associated Press, 9/7/09

Associated Press, “Car bomb kills 7 in market south of Iraqi capital,” 9/18/09
- “Iraq: Key figures since the war began,” 11/3/08
- “Iraq: Key figures since the war began,” 1/2/09
- “Iraq: Key figures since the war began,” 10/1/09

Aswat al-Iraq, “4 killed, 6 wounded in Kirkuk explosion,” 9/9/09
- “Suicide blast in Diala leaves 27 casualties,” 9/7/09

Gamel, Kim, “U.S. monthly toll new low for Iraq,” Associated Press, 8/1/08

icasualties.org

Iraq Body Count

Karadesh, Jomana, “Scores killed in multiple Iraq bombings,” CNN, 9/10/09

Press TV, “Bomb attacks claims 13, injures 150 in Iraq,” 9/4/09

Reuters, “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Sep 27,” 9/27/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Sep 28,” 9/28/09
- “Iraq market bombs kill four, wound 29,” 9/10/09

Rising, David, “Back-to-back bombs at Shiite shrine,” Associated Press, 9/12/09
- “Bombs at Shiite shrine kill 4 Iraqis,” Associated Press, 9/13/09

Xinhua, “Car bomb kills two in Iraq,” 9/3/09
- “Roadside bomb kills 3 Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad,” 9/28/09

11 comments:

AndrewSshi said...

In conjunction with your earlier post on the continuation of assassinations in Iraq, I am led to wondering when the violence in Iraq will have dropped to a low enough level that one can say that the war's over and what's left is various Kurd and Arab factions carrying out "politics by other means."

And on a slightly unrelated note, do you think you could do a post on upcoming arms purchases by the Government of Iraq? ISTR that the plan of buying M1A1's and F-16's was put on hold when the price of oil plunged and would be interested in learning if there's any word on their current stats.

Joel Wing said...

There were recently two stories in the press about Iraq's arms purchases. According to those all major sales to Iraq are on hold. Iraq doesn't have the money, nor the credit. There are some in the Pentagon pushing to give Iraq something akin to favored nation status which would allow them to pay in installments, but that hasn't happened yet.

Here's a link to one of the stories from the Wall Street Journal if you haven't seen it already. The other story was from the Associated Press.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125417112083047185.html

Jeffrey said...

Joel,

Although I'm no longer running Iraqi Bloggers Central, I still try to check in every few days to see what's going on. Well, the Iraqi blogosphere is limping along, at best (Iraq Pundit is writing again, however). But I always check out your blog for the best writing and analysis. Thanks for the hard work.

Let's hope September's reduction in civilian deaths continues. One question might be whether there will be an up-tick around the time of the elections. I know that Iraq isn't in the news very much these days, but personally I think this is very good for Iraq's future. Right now, no news really is good news for Iraq, in my opinion. Over the next few months, let the Iraqi candidates campaign without reports of suicide-bombers and body-counts in the headlines.

*

Joel Wing said...

Jeffrey,

The Jan. 2010 elections have 2 things going for it. First, if the up and down trend in deaths continues than Jan. will be a down month. Also, in the Jan. 2009 elections, violence hit an until then all time low, so hopefully the same thing will happen this time. And thanks for still checking out the blog.

Anand said...

The Iraq war ended in May, 2008. The best source for ISF procurement is:
http://home.comcast.net/~djyae/site/?/blog/
http://home.comcast.net/~djyae/site/?/page/Iraq_Order_of_Battle/

Obama is considering transferring 112 F15s and 134 F16s from the US air force to Iraq, perhaps via a "lease."

The IA seems to have chosen to build their armored tracked forces on the M1A1. It is unclear however, when Iraq will buy more than the 280 they are currently planning to buy.

Joel Wing said...

It's unclear when or even if Iraq will ever be able to buy those Abrams tanks. The deal was made when the country was flush with oil money. They won't have the money next year, and will take a big recovery in the world economy and a boom in oil prices again before they can afford it.

Anand said...

Joel, you mean beyond the first 280 M1A1 tanks. I don't think Iraq should buy more M1A1 tanks than the first 280; nor do some Iraqis.

Joel Wing said...

I never kept up with the details of the Abrams, but from my understanding Iraq only signed a deal for the tanks and hasn't paid for them yet. That WSJ article I linked to earlier said the tanks are being held ove payments.

Anand said...

Joel, Gina Chon might not be well informed. I haven't interacted with her specifically, but most journalists aren't well informed about military subjects.

There is no information suggesting that the first tranche of 140 tanks are being held up. The second tranche of 140 M1A1 tanks, I could try to look up. Would you like me to ask around?

Juanon said...

Ramadan largely coincided with September this year, which is likely why casualties were down.

Joel Wing said...

That wasn't true in the past. Ramadan was traditionally a time for an offensive by the insurgents.

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