Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Violence Slightly Up In Iraq In April 2012, But Casualties Largely Unchanged


April 2012 saw a slight increase in attacks in Iraq, but the number of deaths was largely unchanged from the previous month. That’s because just like in March, there was only one day of mass casualty violence in the country. Iraq is still in the in the winter months, and historically this has been when militants are less active.

The three organizations that record Iraqi deaths showed differing trends in April. Iraq Body Count’s initial figures showed 290 deaths last month. That was down from 320 in March, but just around February’s 293. The United Nations’ Inter Agency Information and Analysis Unit had 293 casualties, which was only one more than March’s 294. Both figures were higher than the 254 deaths in February. Finally, Iraq’s Ministry’s said that there were 126 deaths in April, slightly up from 112 in March. Bagdad’s official numbers have consistently been the lowest of the three since the beginning of 2011. That’s likely because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who currently holds all the security ministries, is purposely keeping them low to maintain a positive image of the country. All together, the three figures averaged out to 236 deaths for April, which was just below March’s 242, and around February’s 232. January was the deadliest month of the year so far when militants not only used the American military withdrawal from the country to make a point that they were still a force to be reckoned with, but also targeted Shiites who were on a pilgrimage in the New Year. An average of 371 Iraqis were killed in the first month of the year. The daily averages have barely changed since then as well. In February, there was an average of 8.0 deaths per day, followed by 7.8 per day for both March and April. Those are comparable to November and December 2011 when an average of 8.0 and 9.0 people died per day respectively. Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s militants have been most active in the hot summer months. During the winter, they are usually quieter, planning and rearming. In the beginning of 2011 for example, there were an average of 9.7 deaths per day in January, 8.1 in February, 8.8 in March, 8.6 in April, before starting to pick up to 9.3 in May, 12.0 in June, 10.1 in July, 11.7 in August, 10.9 in September, 11.0 in October, before dropping down to single figures again when the temperatures dropped.

Deaths In Iraq 2011-2012
Month
Iraq Body Count
Iraqi Ministries
United Nations
Avg. Monthly Deaths
Avg. Daily Deaths
Jan. 2011
387
259
265
303
9.7
Feb.
250
167
267
228
8.1
Mar.
307
247
268
274
8.8
Apr.
285
211
279
258
8.6
May
378
177
319
291
9.3
Jun.
385
271
424
360
12.0
Jul.
305
259
381
315
10.1
Aug.
398
239
455
364
11.7
Sep.
394
185
405
328
10.9
Oct.
355
258
416
343
11.0
Nov.
272
187
264
241
8.0
Dec.
371
155
313
279
9.0
TOTALS
4,125
1,591
4,056
-
-
2011 Mo. Avg.
343
217
338
298
9.7
Jan. 2012
464
151
500
371
11.9
Feb.
293
150
254
232
8.0
Mar.
320
112
294
242
7.8
Apr.
290
126
293
236
7.8

Attacks In Iraq 2011-2012
Month
Attacks
Avg. Daily Attacks
Jan. 2011
416
13.4
Feb.
358
12.7
Mar.
565
18.2
Apr.
483
16.1
May
561
18.0
Jun.
545
18.1
Jul.
404
13.0
Aug.
376
12.1
Sep.
283
9.1
Oct.
406
13.0
Nov.
268
8.0
Dec.
293
9.4
TOTALS
4,958
-
2011 Mo. Avg.
413.1
13.4
Jan. 2012
330
10.6
Feb.
299
10.3
Mar.
239
7.7
Apr.
284
9.4

In Iraq, there is not a direct correlation between the number of attacks and casualties. The United Nations recorded 284 attacks in April, an average of 9.4 per day, which was a large increase from the 239 in March, and 7.7 per day, yet deaths dropped by 1 between the two months according to the organization. What does largely determine the total number of fatalities is mass casualty bombings. In April, there was only one such day, April 19. On that day, bombs went off in Baghdad, Mosul in Ninewa, Kirkuk and Dibis in Tamim province, Samarra and Taji in Salahaddin, and Baquba in Diyala. The explosions showed high levels of planning and coordination as they all went off within 1 hour and fifteen minutes of each other despite being spread across five separate governorates. In Baghdad, 35 were killed and more than 100 wounded by five bombs. Two car bombs exploded in Kirkuk, a suicide bomber struck Baquba, two car bombs went off against security forces in Samarra, a car bomb detonated in Dibis, and there were roadside bombs in Taji and Mosul. There were also the regular variations of violence that day, including gunfire, and mortars. In total, Iraq Body Count had 48 killed that day. In a statement released on the internet the next day, Al Qaeda in Iraq’s umbrella organization the Islamic State of Iraq took responsibility for the day of chaos. In comparison, April 12 was the second deadliest day with only 19 deaths. In March, there was only one mass casualty attack as well, which largely explains why the casualty figures were so similar between the two months.

Violence in Iraq has been on a slow and steady decline since 2009. Since that year, more and more Sunnis have decided to join the political process in two rounds of voting. Despite the current political crisis between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other parties there has been no sizeable increase in attacks or deaths in Iraq. January’s violence had many claiming that Iraq was going to fall back into a civil war now that the U.S. military was no longer in the country, but that proved to be a temporary increase as insurgents were attempting to make a political and sectarian statement against the Americans and Shiites. Since then, Iraq has gone back to its traditional pattern of having relatively quiet winters, but the pace of violence will soon pick up in a month or two as summer comes.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq death toll in April rises,” 5/1/12

Associated Press, “Al Qaeda claims Iraq’s worst violence in a month,” 4/20/12

BBC, “Deadly blasts hit Baghdad, Kirkuk and other Iraq cities,” 4/19/12

Inter Agency Information and Analysis Unit, “Security in Iraq,” United Nations

Iraq Body Count

Reuters, “Iraq civilian deaths climb in April: govt figures,” 5/1/12

Salaheddin, Sinan, “Blasts in Baghdad, northern Iraq cities kill 30,” Associated Press, 4/19/12

1 comment:

Seerwan said...

It would be interesting to do an analysis based on the number of deaths taking place in each province for the provinces where attacks are low which are according to your earlier post http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/deaths-see-large-drop-in-iraq-from.html:-

Qadisiyah 6
Basra 4
Wasit 4
Dhi Qar 3
Irbil 3
Maysan 3
Dohuk 1
Karbala 1
Muthanna 1
Najaf 1
Sulaymaniya 1

And, according to the deaths, calculate it according to the population of those provinces to arrive at a per capita murder rate for each of those specific provinces.

We can can then compare the safety of each province individually to see how they compare in security with the national averages of Canada, UK, etc.

It would be interesting to do so to see how safe or unsafe the 11 Iraqi provinces that do not experience massive levels of violence are.

Or is someone already doing what I'm suggesting?

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