Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Casualties In Iraq Drop In August 2012, But Insurgent Summer Offensive Still On-Going


Violence in Iraq goes through ebbs and flows. August 2012 was an example of that. Despite the insurgency’s on going summer offensive, casualties dropped last month. They were on average, higher than before the season began, and there is still probably one or two more months of escalated deaths before they go down.

Both Iraq Body Count and Iraq’s government recorded drops in deaths in August 2012. Iraq Body Count had 393 casualties last month, compared to 436 the month before, and 490 in June. Iraq’s ministries reported 164 deaths in August. That was down from 325 in July, and 131 in June. July was a rare month when Baghdad’s figures were in line with Iraq Body Count. Since the end of 2010, the government’s statistics have consistently been far lower than any other organization tracking violence in the country. That’s probably due to political interference. For August, Iraq’s Health, Interior, and Defense Ministries reverted back to their low counts. Government and Iraq Body Count figures averaged out to 8.9 deaths per day in August, down from 12.2 in July, and 10.3 in June. The dip in August was still above the months before the summer started when insurgents started their latest offensive. In May for instance, there was only an average of 5.6 casualties per day, 7.2 in April, and 6.9 in March. In 2011, deaths were up from June to October. That means there are still a few more months until casualties in Iraq go down.

Deaths In Iraq 2011-2012
Month
Iraq Body Count
Iraqi Ministries
Avg. Monthly Deaths
Avg. Daily Deaths
Jan. 2011
387
259
323
10.4
Feb.
250
167
208
7.4
Mar.
307
247
277
8.9
Apr.
285
211
248
8.0
May
378
177
277
8.9
Jun.
385
271
328
10.9
Jul.
305
259
282
9.0
Aug.
398
239
318
10.2
Sep.
394
185
289
9.6
Oct.
355
258
306
9.8
Nov.
272
187
229
7.6
Dec.
371
155
263
8.4
2011 Mo. Avg.
340
217
279
9.0
Jan. 2012
479
151
315
10.1
Feb.
304
150
227
8.1
Mar.
320
112
216
6.9
Apr.
309
126
217
7.2
May
220
132
176
5.6
Jun.
490
131
310
10.3
Jul.
436
325
380
12.2
Aug.
393
164
278
8.9

Every year since 2003, Iraq’s insurgency has carried out a summer offensive. Originally, it was aimed at coinciding with Ramadan. Now it begins anytime from March to June when the temperature starts rising, and continues until the end of the season. The press never seems to catch onto this trend, and regularly reports that security is deteriorating, and begins speculating that Iraq may be falling into another civil war when deaths and attacks pick up. This year has been no exception, especially in June and July when casualties took a dramatic jump. That combined with the removal of U.S. troops and the on-going political crisis gives Iraq the air of a country falling into chaos. Instead, it is simply following its yearly pattern. When the summer is over, and casualties go down, the coverage on Iraq will change, only to be repeated again the next year when insurgents go after Shiite pilgrims in January, and then start another campaign in the summer.

SOURCES

Iraq Body Count

Reuters, “Iraq’s monthly death toll halves in August,” 9/1/12

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