Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mass Casualty Bombings And Views Of Iraq

The vast majority of Western reporting on Iraq is dominated by stories about violence. Mass casualty bombings grab the headlines because of the number of dead and wounded. Reading such pieces, however, gives people a distorted picture of Iraq. It gives the impression that the country is constantly engulfed in chaos. The problem is that there is no direct correlation between the number of bombings and security incidents, and overall deaths in Iraq. From October to December 2008 for example, there were an average of 23.6 mass casualty bombings (10 or more dead and wounded), leading to 157.3 deaths, and 515.3 wounded. For that same quarter there were an average of 507.6 deaths overall in the country according to Iraq Body Count. In comparison, from July to September 2009 there was a higher average number of bombings, 30.6, resulting in more deaths, 203.0, and wounded, 1056.6, but for those three months, there was a lower overall monthly death average of 409.3. In another instance, in June 2009 there were 14 mass casualty bombings, causing 174 deaths. The next month, there were 35 such incidents, causing 180 fatalities. June however, had 488 deaths, compared to 395 in July. All it takes is one massive bombing and it can throw all of the statistics off.

Overall, violence is down 80-90% from the height of the sectarian war. From September 2006 to June 2007 there were regularly over 1400 security incidents a week, and over 2,000 deaths a month. Since the beginning of 2009 there have only been around 200-300 incidents a week, and 300-400 monthly deaths. Reading the press however, and one could hardly tell the difference because they hardly ever put the attacks into context, or note the trends in violence. So many people also have their views of Iraq set in the past where it is either a lost cause or a total victory that it colors their views of anything they hear about the country. Things have changed in Iraq, but they still have a long way to go before it becomes a stable nation.

Mass Casualty Bombings In Iraq October 2008-September 2009

Month

# Of Bombings

Deaths

Wounded

Overall Deaths In Iraq

(Iraq Body Count)

2008





October

17

101

273

528

November

33

183

548

473

December

21

188

725

522

Averages





4th Quarter

23.6

157.3

515.3

507.6

2009





January

11

92

280

276

February

12

91

219

343

March

16

175

333

416

April

21

198 + 32 Iranians

497 + 105 Iranians + 10 Americans

484

May

9

111

262

332

June

14

174

517

488

July

35

180

655

395

August

44

359

2,252

537

September

13

70

263

296

Averages





1st Quarter

13.0

119.3

277.3

345

2nd Quarter

14.6

161.0

425.3

434.6

3rd Quarter

30.6

203.0

1,056.6

409.3

2009 Avg.

19.4

161.1

586.4

396.3


SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “32 Shiite pilgrims killed by woman bomber,” 2/13/09
- “At Least 10 Dead In Double Attack in Iraq’s Fallujah,” 12/4/08
- “At least nine killed in Iraq attacks,” 10/28/08
- “Bomb kills six in Iraq,” 3/29/09
- “Four students killed in Iraqi violence ahead of polls,” 1/21/09
- “Three bomb disposal police dead in Iraq,” 1/30/09

Al Arabiya, “Bombs target Iraqi forces across Baghdad,” 1/12/09

Associated Press, “Death Toll Rises In Iraq Mosque Bombing,” 11/29/08

Aswat al-Iraq, “2 killed, 8 wounded in 2nd Diala explosion,” 12/16/08
- “2 killed, 25 wounded in 2nd suicide bombing in Mosul,” 11/27/08
- “2nd blast leaves 15 casualties,” 2/8/09
- “12 killed, 60 wounded in bombing in Baghdad,” 11/12/08
- “12 killed, injured in Mosul attack,” 2/2/09
- “13 killed, wounded in Babel explosion,” 12/27/08
- “13 people killed, 12 wounded in Iraq in 24 hours,” 3/23/09
- “30 killed, injured in car bomb explosion in Talafar,” 12/2/08
- “Baghdad blast kills 2, wounds 10,” 10/19/08
- “Bicycle bomb kills 3, wounds 9 in Diala,” 12/4/08
- “Bicycle bomb kills 5, injures 24 in Khalis,” 3/2/09
- “Car bomb leaves 13 casualties in Mosul,” 3/11/09
- “Civilian killed, 16 wounded in Mosul bombing,” 12/28/08
- “ED blast kills 3, wounds 7 in Baghdad,” 11/16/08
- “IED leaves 11 casualties in Baghdad,” 10/10/08
- “URGENT/5 killed, 20 wounded in car bombing in Baghdad,” 11/15/08
- “URGENT/Suicide car bomb explosion leaves 12 casualties in Ninewa,” 3/4/09

BBC, “Bomber strikes Iraqi courthouse,” 10/8/08
- “Deadly bomb attack at Iraq market,” 10/10/08
- “Falluja car bomb blast ‘kills 13,’” 1/24/09
- “Suicide bomb kills many in Iraq,” 1/2/09

Cordesman, Anthony, “Recent Trend in the Iraq War: Maps and Graphs,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 10/1/09

DPA, “Baghdad police station attack kills at least 52 – 3rd update,” 3/8/09
- “Death toll in Baghdad twin blasts rises to 25 (2nd Lead),” 12/17/08
- “Female suicide bomber kills 40 pilgrims in Baghdad – Summary,” 1/4/09
- “Female suicide bomber kills seven in Baquba (Extra),” 11/10/08

Al Dulaimy, Mohammed, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq-Friday 28 November 2008,” 11/28/08

Hammoudi, Laith, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 16 December 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/16/08
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 18 November 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 11/18/08
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday, Feb. 11,” McClatchy Newspapers, 2/11/09

Iraq Body Count

Iraq Today, December 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- March 2009
- November 2008
- October 2008

Issa, Sahar, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 11 December 2008,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/11/08
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 10 March 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/10/09

Al Jazeera, “Twin blasts target Baghdad police,” 12/17/08

Kadim, Hussein, “Round-up of Daily Violence – Thursday 09 October 2008,” 10/9/08

Pakistan News, “Twin Blasts in Northern Iraq 2 Killed,” 12/31/08

Press TV, “Car bomb kills 15, wound 13 in Iraq,” 2/24/09

Reuters, “16 dead, 45 wounded in twin Baghdad bombs-police,” 2/11/09
- “Bicycle bomb kills 3 in north Iraq’s Baquba,” 3/30/09
- “Car bomb kills 10, wounds 31 in northern Iraq,” 11/15/08
- “Double suicide bombing kills 8 in western Iraq,” 11/8/08
- “Eleven killed in Baghdad blasts, police say,” 11/4/08
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 6,” 12/6/08
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 15,” 12/15/08
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Feb 17,” 2/17/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Jan 26,” 1/26/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Nov 12,” 11/12/08
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Oct 10,” 10/10/08
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Oct 23,” 10/23/08
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Oct 28,” 10/28/08
- “Four killed in Baghdad airport road blast – police,” 11/5/08
- “Iraq bomb kills two Shi’ite pilgrims – police,” 2/8/09
- “Iraq’s Maliki beats religious parties in vote,” 2/5/09
- “Ninewa Iraqi policemen killed in suicide attack,” 12/15/08
- “Roadside bombs in Baghdad kill eight,” 2/16/09
- “Suicide bomb kills at least 46 in Iraq restaurant,” 12/11/08
- “Suicide car bomb kills 15 in Iraq,” 11/16/08
- “Twin Baghdad blasts kill 15, wound 45 – police,” 12/1/08

Sarhan, Saad and Raghavan, Sudarsan, “Attack on Crowded Livestock Market South of Baghdad Kills 12,” Washington Post, 3/5/09

Sheridan, Mary Beth and Sabah, Zaid, “Baghdad Bombing Misses Iraqi Official but Kills 2 Others,” Washington Post, 11/5/08

Xinhua, “3 Iraqis killed, 19 others injured in Baghdad bomb attacks,” 11/21/08
- “3 workers killed, 15 injured in Iraq bombing,” 3/30/09
- “At least 12 killed in bomb explosion in Karbala,” 2/12/09
- “Car bomb kills at least three, wounds 29 N of Baghdad,” 10/1/09
- “Death toll rises to 9 killed in west Baghdad explosion,” 3/23/09
- “Death toll rises to 16 in Baghdad car bombing,” 2/11/09
- “One killed, 15 wounded in car bombing in N Iraq,” 11/13/08
- “Policeman killed in Bomb Attacks in Diyala,” 3/3/09
- “Suicide car bomb kills 16 in N Iraq,” 12/1/08
- “Suicide car bomb wounds 10 in northern Iraq,” 1/6/09
- “Two people killed, 20 injured in attacks in Iraq,” 11/17/08
- “Two people killed, 22 injured in Baghdad bomb attacks,” 1/5/09
- “Two policemen killed in booby-trapped house explosion in Diyala,” 3/22/09
- “Up to 15 killed, 147 injured in Fallujah twin suicide attacks,” 12/4/08

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