Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009 Review Of Iraqi Violence

2009 was characterized by the lowest levels of violence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. This was due to the majority of Sunnis rejecting violence and turning to politics, which began with the Anbar Awakening and Sons of Iraq movements, followed by high voter turnout by them in the January 2009 provincial elections. The Shiite militias were also dispersed and disbanded during 2008 due to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s offensives. Iran also has a history of reducing its support for militants before important political events, which were the 2009 and upcoming 2010 balloting. The result is that large scale fighting is over in the country, and there are hardly any reports of gunmen even attacking U.S. or Iraqi forces head on. Instead, most attacks are drive by shootings, grenades, assassinations, car bombs, rocket and mortar fire, IEDs, magnetic bombs, and suicide bombers with a few mass casualty bombings thrown in. All together that led to almost a 50% drop in deaths from 2008. Iraq’s ministries for instance, reported 6,772 deaths in 2008, compared to 3,492 in 2009.

Monthly deaths followed an up and down pattern throughout the year. All five major organizations that cover casualties, the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index, Iraq Body Count, icasualties, Iraq’s ministries, and the Associated Press showed deaths declining in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the last quarter of 2008. Then they went up in the second quarter, down in the third, and then down for the last half of the year. Iraq’s ministries for example, recorded an average of 324.6 deaths in the fourth quarter of 2008, 233.6 deaths in the first quarter of 2009, 319.3 deaths in the second quarter, 311.3 deaths in the third, and 299.6 deaths in the last. In the second half of the year, the major cause for the increase in deaths every other month was large-scale bombings in Baghdad of government buildings beginning in August. According to Iraq Body Count, there were actually more large bombings that resulted in 50 or more deaths in 2009, than the previous year. In 2008 there were nine such attacks leading to 534 deaths, and in 2009 there were eight resulting in 750 deaths. In total, there were 226 mass casualty bombings with ten or more casualties last year, resulting in 1,933 reported deaths, and 6,945 wounded.

Despite these large decreases Iraq has more casualties from terrorist attacks than any other country in the world. Iraq Body Count recorded an average of 8.3 deaths per day from suicide attacks or car bombs, and 4.3 killed by gunfire or executions per day last year. Violence also still occurs in all parts of the country. In December 2009 there were attacks in thirteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces, and in November in fourteen governorates. Baghdad, Ninewa, Anbar, Tamim, Diyala, Salahaddin, and Babil had the most attacks showing that governorates that had mixed populations were the most violent. Baghdad has the most security incidents and casualties overall, but on a per capita basis Mosul in northern Ninewa had more. Mosul, with a population of about 1.8 million people had 735 deaths recorded by Iraq Body Count in 2008, compared to 1,488 deaths in Baghdad with a population of approximately 6.5 million. Mosul also had more violent incidents that resulted in deaths at 538 compared to 277 in Baghdad.

2010 will likely be more of the same. Deaths have hit a relative plateau, and settled into an up and down monthly pattern. Al Qaeda in Iraq is still set at destabilizing the government by carrying out a mix of sectarian and spectacular terrorist attacks on institutions, while actual fighting has all but ceased. Large victories by Sunni parties in central and northern Iraq in the next election could lead to a slight reduction in attacks there as happened in Mosul after the al-Hadbaa party took power in 2009. Otherwise Iraq will face increasing stability, but a large terrorist threat at the same time.


Iraqi Deaths

Brookings Institution
Iraq Body Count
icasualties
Iraqi Ministries
Associated Press
2008





July
500
584
419
465
510
Aug.
450
592
311
431
475
Sep.
400
535
366
440
503
Oct.
350
528
288
318
446
Nov.
270
473
317
340
360
Dec.
350
522
320
316
393
TOTALS
6,360
9,226
5,929
6,772
7,496
2009





Jan.
270
276
187
191
242
Feb.
230
343
202
258
288
March
260
416
278
252
335
April
340
484
347
355
371
May
240
333
188
165
225
June
320
488
367
438
447
July
220
395
240
275
309
Aug.
300
593
439
456
425
Sep.
200
299
158
203
238
Oct.
280
410
320
410
364
Nov.
150
205
106
122
93
Dec.
N/A
442
287
367
383
TOTALS
N/A
4,684
3,119
3,492
3,720
Averages





3rd Qtr. 2008
450.0
570.3
365.3
446.3
496.0
4th Qtr.

2008
323.3
507.6
308.3
324.6
379.6
1st Qtr.

2009
253.3
345.0
222.3
233.6
288.3
2nd Qtr. 2009
300.0
435.0
300.6
319.3
347.6
3rd Qtr. 2009
240.0
429.0
279.0
311.3
324.0
4th Qtr. 2009
N/A
352.3
237.6
299.6
280.0
Last 6 months of 2008
386.6
539.0
336.8
385.0
447.8
First 6 months of 2009
276.6
389.8
261.5
276.5
318.0
Last 6 months of 2009
N/A
390.6
258.3
305.5
302.0



Mass Casualty Bombings 2009

Months
Bombings
Deaths
Wounded
Jan.
10
104
185
Feb.
8
52
143
Mar.
15
155
297
Apr.
21
198
497
May
9
111
262
Jun.
14
174
517
Jul.
35
180
655
Aug.
44
359
2,252
Sep.
13
70
263
Oct.
22
241
887
Nov.
10
43
136
Dec.
25
246
851
TOTALS:
226
1,933
6,945
Avg.
18.8
161.0
578.7


Attacks and Casualties By Province December 2009


Baghdad
Attacks: 95
Dead: 217
Wounded: 831 + 3 Americans

Ninewa
Attacks: 73
Dead: 58
Wounded: 134

Anbar
Attacks: 30
Dead: 39
Wounded: 71

Tamim
Attacks: 33
Dead: 21
Wounded: 56

Diyala
Attacks: 19
Dead: 17
Wounded: 30

Salahaddin
Attacks: 9
Dead: 15
Wounded: 25

Southern Iraq: 18
Babil: 5
Karbala: 5
Basra: 3
Wasit: 2
Maysan: 1
Najaf: 1
Qadisiyah: 1
Dead: 31
Wounded: 158+

Likely Special Groups Attacks In Southern Iraq

Rocket attack on U.S. base in Basra, 12/5/09
IED attack on U.S. patrol in Karbala 12/17/09
Katyusha attack on U.S. base in Wasit 12/26/09

Kurdistan:
Attacks: 2
Dead: 2
Wounded: 0

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq death toll in 2009 lowest since the invasion,” 1/1/10
- “Iraq Hails Lowest Monthly Death Toll in Three Years,” 1/2/09
- “Six anti-Qaeda fighters gunned down in Iraq: police,” 12/7/09

Associated Press, “Iraq: Key figures since the war began,” 12/1/09
- “Iraq: Key figures since the war began,” 1/4/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “2 Baghdad blasts wound 4 civilians,” 12/21/09
- “2 bodyguards died of wounds in Ninewa,” 12/25/09
- “2 civilians gunned down in Mosul,” 12/28/09
- “2 civilians killed, 3 wounded in fresh attack in Baghdad,” 12/9/09
- “2 civilians wounded in Baghdad blast,” 12/22/09
- “2 cops wounded in Kirkuk blast,” 12/6/09
- “2 cops wounded in Mosul bombing,” 12/30/09
- “2 gunmen arrested in Najaf,” 12/14/09
- “2 gunmen killed, detained in western Mosul,” 12/28/09
- “2 IEDs wound civilians, cops in Baghdad,” 12/21/09
- “2 Iraqi soldiers killed in Ninewa attack,” 12/3/09
- “2 persons killed in tribal clash near Amara,” 12/26/09
- “2 pilgrims killed, 11 wounded in Baghdad blasts,” 12/26/09
- “2nd attack on Shiite mourners leaves 2 dead, 7 wounded,” 12/23/09
- “2nd Falluja bombing injures civilian,” 12/20/09
- “2nd Talafar resident killed by gunmen,” 12/19/09
- “3 car bombs kill 4, wound 14 in Baghdad,” 12/15/09
- “3 civilians injured in southwest of Kirkuk,” 12/15/09
- “3 civilians wounded in downtown Baghdad blast,” 12/14/09
- “3 civilians wounded in mortar attack in Baghdad,” 12/23/09
- “3 cops wounded in Diala blast,” 12/5/09
- “3 cops wounded in IED blast in Ramadi,” 12/16/09
- “3 mortar shells land on former public security building,” 12/15/09
- “3 rockets fired at Delta base,” 12/26/09
- “3 rockets land in Baghdad’s Green Zone,” 12/12/09
- “3 students wounded in Falluja blast,” 12/20/09
- “3rd Falluja blast leaves no casualties,” 12/13/09
- “4 civilians wounded in Baghdad blast,” 12/29/09
- “4 cops killed in western Baghdad,” 12/23/09
- “5 wounded as IED blast rips through Mosul,” 12/10/09
- “5 civilians wounded in Baghdad blast,” 12/4/09
- “5 civilians wounded in market blast in Baghdad,” 12/23/09
- “5 wounded in blast in Baghdad,” 12/26/09
- “6 cops wounded in Kirkuk bombing,” 12/27/09
- “6 killed, wounded in market blast,” 12/6/09
- “8 injured in Babel blast,” 12/19/09
- “9 killed, wounded in two blasts south of Baghdad – BOC,” 12/11/09
- “10 men nabbed, girl found dead in Basra,” 12/30/09
- “13 killed, wounded as Baghdad attacks continue,” 12/9/09
- “22 pilgrims killed or wounded in Karabala,” 12/24/09
- “31 pilgrims killed, wounded in Baghdad blast,” 12/23/09
- “Anbar council member survives assassination attempt,” 12/23/09
- “Anbar council’s member dies, governor lost left hand,” 12/31/09
- “Anbar emergency police chief escapes assassination attempt in Falluja,” 12/25/09
- “AQI assassinated Talafar council chief – source,” 12/22/09
- “Army patrol hit by IED in Mosul,” 12/14/09
- “Army recruit killed, 19 injured in Mosul bombing,” 12/13/09
- “Asayesh member killed by IED near Kirkuk,” 12/30/09
- “Attack on Shiite procession leaves 3 killed, 7 wounded in Baghdad,” 12/25/09
- “Baghdad’s local council member survives IED blast,” 12/25/09
- “Basra airport comes under Katyusha attack,” 12/5/09
- “Blast in Baghdad leaves 4 injuries,” 12/14/09
- “Blast kills 3 Peshmerga forces, injures 10 in Sinjar,” 12/25/09
- “Blast near Mosul church kills 4, wounds 40,” 12/15/09
- “Bodies of 2 civilians found in Kirkuk,” 12/19/09
- “Body of merchant found hours after kidnapping west of Mosul,” 12/13/09
- “Body of young girl salvaged from river in Kut,” 12/18/09
- “Bomb explodes in Falluja without casualties,” 12/1/09
- “Bomb hits police patrol in Kirkuk,” 12/13/09
- “Bomb kills 2 and wounds 3 civilians in Babel,” 12/22/09
- “Bomb kills 3, wounds 8 in Baghdad,” 12/9/09
- “Bomb targets motorcade of lawmaker in Talafar,” 12/26/09
- “Bomb wounds 2 civilians in Mosul,” 12/1/09
- “Bomb wounds civilian in village near Kirkuk,” 12/13/09
- “Bus blast kills 2, wounds 5 in Baghdad,” 12/16/09
- “Casualties from mourning tent blast reaches 6,” 12/23/09
- “Child wounded in IED blast in Mosul,” 12/3/09
- “Child wounded in thermal bomb attack in Mosul,” 12/17/09
- “Christian killed in eastern Mosul,” 12/24/09
- “Christian killed in Mosul,” 12/17/09
- “Civilian gunned down in Baghdad,” 12/2/09
- “Civilian injured, 2 al-Naqshabandiya group gunmen arrested in Diala,” 12/21/09
- “Civilian killed, 3 wounded as sticky bomb explodes in Baghdad,” 12/23/09
- “Civilian killed, 4 injured in Baghdad blast,” 12/27/09
- “Civilian killed, 4 wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad,” 12/25/09
- “Civilian killed, another found dead in Khanaqin,” 12/16/09
- “Civilian killed, body found in Mosul,” 12/25/09
- “Civilian killed by gunmen in Arbil,” 12/8/09
- “Civilian killed, child injured in Mosul,” 12/29/09
- “Civilian killed in Falluja blast,” 12/23/09
- “Civilian killed in Falluja blast,” 12/26/09
- “Civilian wounded in central Kirkuk blast,” 12/20/09
- “Civilian wounded in north Hilla blast,” 12/11/09
- “Civilian killed in northern Mosul,” 12/15/09
- “Civilian killed in western Mosul,” 12/21/09
- “Civilian killed inside own store in Mosul,” 12/17/09
- “Civilian wounded in eastern Mosul,” 12/10/09
- “Cop critically injured in Baghdad shooting,” 12/5/09
- “Cop gunned down in Mosul,” 12/19/09
- “Cop killed, 2 wounded in Mosul blast,” 12/8/09
- “Cop killed, civilian wounded in 2 incidents in Mosul,” 12/19/09
- “Cop killed during arrest operation,” 12/16/09
- “Cop wounded by gunmen fire in Mosul,” 12/9/09
- “Corpses of 2 Sahwa fighters found in Kirkuk,” 12/7/09
- “Driver kidnapped, 4 suspects arrested in Salah al-Din,” 12/3/09
- “ED explodes inside restaurant in Karbala,” 12/24/09
- “Emergency policeman killed in armed attack in Kirkuk” 12/21/09
- “Ex-cop gunned down in Mosul,” 12/5/09
- “Ex-MP survives attempt on life,” 12/19/09
- “Falluja blast kills civilian, wounds 3,” 12/8/09
- “Falluja mosque preacher survives attempt,” 12/17/09
- “Fresh Baghdad blast leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded,” 12/24/09
- “Girl wounded by gunmen in Kirkuk,” 12/21/09
- “Government vehicle attacked in Talafar,” 12/12/09
- “Gunman arrested after attacking government vehicle,” 12/15/09
- “Gunmen detonate policeman’s house in Falluja,” 12/23/09
- “Gunmen kidnap son of traffic police chief,” 12/19/09
- “Gunman killed, another wounded in Ninewa blast,” 12/4/09
- “Gunman kills policeman in Falluja,” 12/14/09
- “Gunmen kill 3 employees in Mosul,” 12/25/09
- “Gunmen kill 4 cops in Baghdad,” 12/6/09
- “Gunmen kill civilian in Kirkuk,” 12/24/09
- “Gunmen kill cop in Mosul,” 12/21/09
- “Gunmen kill soldier in Baghdad,” 12/2/09
- “Gunmen slay prominent figure in Jalawlaa,” 12/24/09
- “Gunmen wound Christian in western Mosul,” 12/30/09
- “Hand grenade injures 3 people in Mosul,” 12/29/09
- “Hilla bombings kill 25, wound 105 – source,” 12/25/09
- “IED blast in Baghdad’s Karrada, no casualties,” 12/17/09
- “IED blast in Sadr City leaves 27 casualties,” 12/24/09
- “IED blast near Kirkuk leaves 4 wounded,” 12/26/09
- “IED blast near police HQ in Mosul,” 12/6/09
- “IED explodes near church in Mosul; no casualties,” 12/15/09
- “IED injures 2 in Baghdad,” 12/14/09
- “IED injures 3 civilians in Falluja,” 12/16/09
- “IED kills 6, wounds 10 in Diala,” 12/30/09
- “IED kills civilian, injures 6 in Baghdad,” 12/3/09
- “IED targeting Shiite procession leaves 10 casualties,” 12/26/09
- “IED targets US vehicle in eastern Karbala,” 12/17/09
- “IED wounds 2 civilians, 5 wanted men arrested in Diala,” 12/8/09
- “IED wounds 3 servicemen in Diala,” 12/30/09
- “IED wounds civilian in Falluja,” 12/22/09
- “Iranian envoy says embassy blast caused no casualties, damage,” 12/15/09
- “Iraqi soldier killed, brother wounded in Mosul,” 12/22/09
- “Iraqi soldier killed in armed attack in Kirkuk,” 12/6/09
- “Iraqi soldier killed in eastern Mosul,” 12/15/09
- “Iraqi servicemen wound civilian in Mosul,” 12/14/09
- “Iraqi soldier wounded by gunmen bullets in Kirkuk,” 12/11/09
- “Iraq soldier wounded in Mosul blast,” 12/12/09
- “Judge injured in armed attack in Kirkuk,” 12/29/09
- “Judicial council member survives assassination attempt,” 12/22/09
- “Karbala blast wounds 9 people,” 12/24/09
- “Laborer found dead in Mosul,” 12/16/09
- “MNF patrol attacked in Kirkuk,” 12/8/09
- “Mosul attack’s casualties up to 7,” 12/23/09
- “Mosul mayor escapes assassination attempt,” 12/24/09
- “Municipal council chief survives attempt on life,” 12/15/09
- “Officer gunned down in central Baghdad,” 12/26/09
- “Officer survives attempt on life in Kirkuk,” 12/21/09
- “Old man injured in armed attack in Mosul,” 12/28/09
- “Police chief survives attempt on life in Kirkuk,” 12/22/09
- “Police kill armed man in Mosul,” 12/28/09
- “Police kill gunman in Mosul,” 12/30/09
- “Police officer dies of wounds in Kirkuk,” 12/21/09
- “Police officer survives assassination attempt in Baiji,” 12/16/09
- “Police officer, woman wounded by thermal bomb in Mosul,” 12/15/09
- “Police officer wounded by sticky bomb in Baghdad,” 12/16/09
- “Police officer wounded in Falluja,” 12/8/09
- “Policeman dies of wounds in Kirkuk,” 12/12/09
- “Policeman wounded by gunmen fire in Mosul,” 12/3/09
- “Policeman wounded in attack on his patrol in Mosul,” 12/6/09
- “Policeman wounded in Mosul blast,” 12/12/09
- “Ramadi 2nd blast injures five,” 12/30/09
- “Ramadi bombings casualties rise to 57,” 12/30/09
- “Retired army officer gunned down in Mosul,” 12/23/09
- “Roadside bomb wounds 2 Iraqi soldiers in Ninewa,” 12/10/09
- “Sahwa council member killed in Kirkuk,” 12/27/09
- “Sahwa fighter killed, 3 wounded near Kirkuk,” 12/6/09
- “Sahwa fighter wounded by gunmen fire near Kirkuk,” 12/13/09
- “Sahwa leader killed as bomb explodes in Baghdad,” 12/16/09
- “Senior officer survives assassination attempt in Mosul,” 12/10/09
- “Serviceman wounded in Kirkuk attack,” 12/1/09
- “Soldier killed, medic injured in shooting in Mosul,” 12/22/09
- “Six civilians killed, injured in Baghdad,” 12/7/09
- “Sticky bomb explodes in eastern Falluja,” 12/25/09
- “Sticky bomb injures army officer in Kirkuk,” 12/23/09
- “Sticky bomb kills, injures 2 civilians in Baghdad,” 12/1/09
- “Sticky bomb wounds 2 in Baghdad,” 12/16/09
- “Sticky explosive charge wound civilian in Baghdad,” 12/6/09
- “Stockpile of bombs caused Sadr City blast – spokesman,” 12/7/09
- “Student kidnapped in southern Kirkuk,” 12/30/09
- “Thermal bomb wounds 2 soldiers in Mosul,” 12/21/09
- “Tikrit suicide blast casualties up to 18,” 12/3/09
- “TV channel worker found dead in Basra,” 12/23/09
- “U.S. patrol hit by blast in Baghdad,” 12/5/09
- “U.S. vehicle hit by IED near Kirkuk,” 12/29/09
- “Uni. professor escapes attempt on life in Falluja,” 12/23/09
- “Unknown corpse found, 2 gunmen detained in Diala,” 12/1/09
- “URGENT/4 wounded in clashes between Shabak, Christians in Ninewa,” 12/25/09
- “URGENT/Cart bomb leaves 5 casualties in Mosul,” 12/23/09
- “Young man found dead in Makhmour,” 12/1/09

Al-Dulaimy, Mohammed, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Friday December 11, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/11/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Monday December 7, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/7/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Monday December 14, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/14/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday December 1, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/1/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday December 29, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/29/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday December 23, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/23/09

Felter, Joseph and Fishman, Brian, “Iranian Strategy in Iraq, Politics and ‘Other Means,’” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 10/13/08

Hammoudi, Laith, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 3 December, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/3/09

Heintz, Jim, “US deaths down in Iraq in 2008, up in Afghanistan,” Associated Press, 12/31/08

Huusein, Jenan, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Thursday 10 December, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/10/09

Icasualties.org

Iraq Body Count, “Civilian deaths from violence in 2009,” 12/31/09

Iraq Today, “War News of Tuesday, December 22, 2009,” 12/22/09

Issa, Sahar, “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Friday 4 December, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/4/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Friday 18 December, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/18/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Monday 21 December, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/21/09
- “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Wednesday 30 December, 2009,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/30/09

Jakes, Lara, “Officials: Gunmen kill 5 Sunni guards in Iraq,” Associated Press, 12/29/09

Kurdish Globe, “Two Iraqi “Awakening” members killed in Kirkuk,” 12/24/09

Londono, Ernesto, “At least 127 dead in string of Baghdad bomb attacks,” Washington Post, 12/8/09

Monsters & Critics, “Iraqi militants attack checkpoint near Falluja,” 12/1/09

O’Hanlon, Michael, Livingston, Ian, “Iraq Index,” 1/7/10

Reuters, “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 1,” 12/1/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 4,” 12/4/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 7,” 12/7/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 8,” 12/8/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 12,” 12/12/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 22,” 12/22/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 23,” 12/23/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 25,” 12/25/09
- “FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 29,” 12/29/09

RTT News, “Chief Of Iraqi Security Forces In Baghdad Replaced After Deadly Bomb Attacks,” 12/9/09

Tawfeeq, Mohammed, “At least 5 Shiite pilgrim skilled in Baghdad,” CNN, 12/23/09

Xinhua, “4 wounded in separate bomb attacks in Iraq,” 12/22/09
- “5 Iraqis killed in violence in Iraq,” 12/12/09
- “Policeman killed, 8 injured in bomb attacks in Iraq,” 12/21/09
- “Policeman killed, 9 injured in separate bomb attacks in Iraq,” 12/14/09
- “Two killed in Iraq’s Diyala violence,” 12/14/09

6 comments:

Jay said...

Is it misleading to point out that california had 2100 murders in 2008 (roughly half of the estimates of Iraqi deaths) and in 1993 had 4000 murders?

California has about 25% more people, but it's still amazing to me that the deaths in iraq has gotten down to the level of being very comparable to 1993 in California.

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/cacrime.htm

Joel Wing said...

The reason why I've never liked those comparisons is that I think they are completely meaningless. There is a lot of common crime in Iraq, but that's not what people are dying from. How many terrorist acts were there in California? How many times were bombs set off in downtown Sacramento or Los Angeles last month?

Iraq went through an invasion, then an insurgency, then a civil war, and now its got to deal with terrorism. Not to mention America is the richest country in the world and Iraq is a struggling developing one means that they are apples and oranges that should not be compared.

AndrewSshi said...

As a brief note on what the future might hold for Iraq and violence, if today is any indication, the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army S-2's seem to be doing a better job of getting their act together on preventing bombings in Baghdad. They seem to have caught something big left of the boom.

Joel Wing said...

Jay,

I don't want that last response to come off as being too harsh or that I'm being an ass. I just don't think comparing the U.S. and Iraq on anything whether it be security, politics, economy, etc. really explains much.

I teach in a city that is considered one of the most violent in CA because it has such a high murder rate. Last year one of my students' cousins was shot and killed. I have a former student that's in prison now because he was in a car while his friends did a completely senseless drive by shooting that killed a girl they didn't even know. I have a few kids that can't go into their neighborhood with certain colors because of the gangs there. To me though, knowing about that, going through the statistics, or even having to live through that personally just doesn't seem to help one understand what's going on in Iraq.

Jay said...

Oh don't worry, it was fair. I'm just still surprised that the counts are down to being down to somewhat of the same planet. I didn't mean to imply that living in Iraq was anything like living in California.

I have to ask you though (to turn the tables a little bit), why do you spend so much time compiling figures and the like? Sure the deaths are something easily quantified, but the major changes we've seen in Iraq in the last two years are only partially reflected by body counts.

Joel Wing said...

Jay,

There were a couple different reasons why I started crunching the numbers on deaths and attacks.

I think the first time I wrote about it was in reaction to a lot of stuff I was reading about how the Iraq war was over and everything was going great. I wrote a piece about how Iraq was still violent and there were still too many deaths.

Then there was an AP report about how many Iraqis had died since 2003 and another study of how, so I did a comparison of the different body counts out there.

Third, Iraq outside of Baghdad doesn't get much coverage and Mosul is the last bastion of the insurgency, and they had all these offensives again and again there so I started writing a monthly piece about attacks and casualties there to see if anything changed.

Finally, I started covering the monthly death counts in reaction to all the reports about bombings and that Iraq was getting worse and falling apart. That's when I started writing about the monthly fluctuations in deaths and the declining number of attacks overall.

So I just had a bunch of motivations and they've now become regular articles that I write when the monthly numbers come out.

I would agree that the struggle in Iraq is now more about politics and increasingly the economy, but there are still hundreds of Iraqis getting killed and wounded each month by terrorists and that's something that needs to be covered as well.

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