Thursday, September 16, 2010

Iraqi Deaths Continue To Climb In 2010


While the Associated Press has not published its count for Iraqi deaths for August 2010, the other three organizations that follow casualties show that they continue to climb this year. Iraq Body Count had deaths going up from 418 in July to 501 in August, while icasualties and Iraq's ministries had declines from 534 to 363 and 535 to 426 respectively. When the four groups' numbers are averaged out they show a steady increase. January 2010 saw an average of 6.1 Iraqis killed per day, one of the lowest counts since the war began. That went to 10.1 in February, 8.7 in March, 10.7 in April, 10.3 in May, 9.4 in June, 14.8 in July, and 13.8 in August. 2010 could end up like 2009 when deaths increased in the first part of the year, and then slowly declined beginning in the Autumn.

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The increase in average deaths is due to an up-tick in attacks by insurgents in response to the American withdrawal. Security incidents leveled off at the end of 2009, but there has been a spike in the last several weeks as U.S. forces dipped below 50,000. These operations have been punctuated by a number of high profile, mass casualty attacks such as the September 5 assault upon an Iraqi military headquarters in Baghdad, and shootings and bombings in 13 Iraqi cities on August 28, which were meant to garner headlines and show that the militants have outlasted the Americans.

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Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
 Security Incidents in Iraq 2004-2010

Click on image for larger view
Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence 
 Security Incidents in Iraq mid-2007-2010

In the past, the insurgents have not been able to sustain these operations for more than a month at a time. If they are able to maintain their pace into September and casualties continue to increase that could mark an end to the ten-month long dip in attacks that have been the lowest since the war began. At the same time, if the average number of deaths and incidents stays at this level, they will only be at the rate of the first half of 2009, which is a fraction of what they were at the height of the conflict.

Monthly Death Counts
Month Iraq
Body
Count 
Icasualties Iraqi
Ministries 
Associated
Press 
Avg. # Of
Deaths Per
Day 
Jan. 10 
258 
135 
196 
177 
6.1 
Feb. 
296 
236 
352 
255 
10.1 
Mar. 
311 
183 
367 
230 
8.7 
Apr. 
376 
259 
328 
321 
10.7 
May 
370 
279 
337 
278 
10.3 
June 
353 
176 
284 
294 
9.4 
July 
418 
534 
535 
356 
14.8 
August 
501 
363 
426 
N/A 
13.8 

SOURCES

CNN, "Hundreds of civilians killed in Iraqi violence in August," 9/1/10

Cordesman, Anthony, "Update On US Withdrawal From Iraq," Center for Strategic and International Studies, 9/2/10

Icasualties.org

Iraq Body Count

Myers, Steven Lee, "Attack Shows Lasting Threat to U.S. in Iraq," New York Times, 9/5/10

Reuters, "Iraq civilian deaths dip as U.S. combat mission ends," 9/1/10

Shadid, Anthony, "Qaeda in Iraq Says It Was Behind Latest Attacks," New York Times, 8/28/10

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