Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Over 7,000 Killed In Iraq In 1st 10 Months Of 2013

 
Violence in Iraq remained at extremely high levels in October 2013. There were waves of mass casualty bombings in the central part of the country. Insurgents looked to be re-establishing themselves in some of their former strongholds such as Anbar and Ninewa. That was shown in the monthly death tolls that were just released with both Iraq Body Count and the United Nations recording over 7,000 killed in the first ten months of the year.

The monthly casualty figures did not show that many changes from September to October, but the total number of killed reached a new level not seen in recent years. Iraq Body Count (IBC) had 1,095 deaths in October down from 1,220 in September. Those were the only two times IBC recorded more than 1,000 fatalities in a month this year. The United Nations numbers were unchanged over those two months with 979 killed in each. Agence France Presse found 880 fatalities in September going down to 743 in October. Even the Iraqi government reported another high level of casualties in October at 964 compared to 971 in September. While the statistics did not change much over the course of the last two months the total number of people killed has reached a new level. Both Iraqi Body Count and the United Nations surpassed 7,000 deaths for the year at 7,402 and 7,530 respectively. If violence persists at the current levels Iraq Body Count at least could surpass its total for 2008, which was 9,839. This represents a sharp turn around from the beginning of the year. From January to March deaths were not much different from previous year. For example, according to Iraq Body Count there was an average of 14.0 people killed per day in 2009, 11.2 in 2010, 11.3 in 2011, and 12.5 in 2012. When 2013 started there were 11.5 fatalities per day in January, 12.7 in February, and 12.7 in March. It wasn’t until April that things slightly crept up to 18.1, but then began to see double the rate previously seen over the next few months until reaching 35.3 per day in October. For the year there has been an average of 24.2 deaths per day, almost double the 2012 rate. The causes for this increase are several including a new Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) offensive that started in December 2012 as part of its Breaking Walls campaign, and more importantly a wave of retaliatory attacks after government forces raided the Hawija protest site at the end of April. Since then other insurgent groups such as the Baathist Naqshibandi and even some tribes have picked up the pace of their operations across northern and central Iraq. Finally at the end of July AQI announced a new offensive called Soldiers’ Harvest. All together these factors have contributed to the current levels of insecurity seen in the country.

Deaths In Iraq 2003-2013
Month/Year
Iraq Body Count
Avg. Daily Deaths
Iraqi Ministries
Avg. Daily Deaths
United Nations
Avg. Daily Deaths
Agence France Presse
Avg. Daily Deaths
2003
4,675
19.0
-
-
-
-
-
-
2004
11,608
31.8l
11,313
30.99
-
-
-
-
2005
16,186
44.2
15,817
43.3
-
-
-
-
2006
29,144
79.8
32,622
89.3
34,452
94.3
-
-
2007
25,519
69.9
19,155
52.4
-
-
-
-
2008
9,839
26.9
9,046
24.7
11,536
31.6
-
-
2009
5,132
14.0
3,682
10.0
4,611
12.6
-
-
2010
4,109
11.2
3,949
10.8
4,855
13.3
-
-
2011
4,147
11.3
2,781
7.6
4,150
11.3
-
-
2012
4,573
12.5
2,174
5.9
3,878
10.6
1,531
(7 mo.)
7.1
Jan. 2013
357
11.5
177
5.7
319
10.2
246
7.9
Feb.
359
12.7
136
4.8
418
14.9
220
7.8
Mar.
396
12.7
163
5.2
456
14.7
271
8.7
Apr.
545
18.1
208
6.9
712
23.7
461
15.3
May
888
28.6
681
21.9
1,045
33.7
614
19.8
Jun.
659
21.9
240
8.0
761
25.3
452
15.0
Jul.
968
31.2
989
31.9
1,057
34.0
848
27.3
Aug.
915
29.5
365
11.7
804
25.9
693
22.3
Sep.
1,220
40.6
971
32.3
979
32.6
880
29.3
Oct.
1,095
35.3
964
31.0
979
31.5
743
23.9
2013 Totals
7,402
24.2
4,894
15.9
7,530
24.6
5,428
17.7

Days With 30 Or More Fatalities Per Month In 2013, Iraq Body Count
January 2013 – 5 Total
1/3/13 – 34 killed
1/16/13 – 46 killed
1/17/13 – 31 killed
1/22/13 – 34 killed
1/23/13 – 46 killed
February 2013 – 3 Total
2/3/13 – 40 killed
2/8/13 – 38 killed
2/17/13 – 59 killed
March 2013 – 3 Total
3/14/13 – 34 killed
3/19/13 – 73 killed
3/29/13 – 30 killed
April 2013 – 7 Total
4/1/13 – 55 killed
4/6/13 – 34 killed
4/15/13 – 62 killed
4/18/13 – 30 killed
4/23/13 – 71 killed
4/24/13 – 32 killed
4/29/13 – 34 killed
May 2013 – 10 Total
5/1/13 – 31 killed
5/15/13 – 40 killed
5/17/13 – 93 killed
5/18/13 – 33 killed
5/20/13 – 134 killed
5/21/13 – 46 killed
5/27/13 – 81 killed
5/28/13 – 45 killed
5/29/13 – 35 killed
5/30/13 – 34 killed
June 2013 – 7 Total
6/10/13 61 killed
6/16/13 49 killed
6/18/13 39 killed
6/23/13 36 killed
6/24/13 46 killed
6/25/13 45 killed
6/27/13 34 killed
July 2013 – 14 Total
7/1/13 43 killed
7/2/13 59 killed
7/11/13 59 killed
7/12/13 49 killed
7/13/13 37 killed
7/14/13 66 killed
7/19/13 36 killed
7/20/13 80 killed
7/21/13 41 killed
7/23/13 38 killed
7/24/13 37 killed
7/25/13 48 killed
7/29/13 60 killed
7/30/13 50 killed
August 2013 – 11 Total
8/6/13 – 50 killed
8/7/13 – 34 killed
8/10/13 – 94 killed
8/12/13 – 37 killed
8/15/13 – 42 killed
8/20/13 – 34 killed
8/23/13 – 46 killed
8/25/13 – 55 killed
8/28/13 – 98 killed
8/29/13 – 41 killed
8/31/13 – 30 killed
September 2013 – 18 Total
9/1/13 73 killed
9/2/13 33 killed
9/3/13 87 killed
9/10/13 34 killed
9/11/13 57 killed
9/13/13 50 killed
9/14/13 54 killed
9/16/13 67 killed
9/17/13 50 killed
9/19/13 33 killed
9/20/13 33 killed
9/21/13 116 killed
9/22/13 39 killed
9/23/13 46 killed
9/25/13 47 killed
9/26/13 49 killed
9/29/13 85 killed
9/30/13 62 killed
October 2013 – 14 Total
10/5/13 100 killed
10/6/13 46 killed
10/7/13 59 killed
10/10/13 30 killed
10/12/13 41 killed
10/13/13 68 killed
10/17/13 69 killed
10/20/13 80 killed
10/23/13 74 killed
10/25/13 33 killed
10/26/13 30 killed
10/27/13 74 killed
10/30/13 39 killed
10/31/13 39 killed

When broken down October was much like the previous months. Since July there have been double-digit number of days with at least 30 killed according to Iraq Body Count. Last month there were 14 such days including 100 killed on October 5, only the third time that IBC had recorded such a high figure this year. That followed 18 such days in September, 11 in August, and 14 in July. In comparison there were only 7 in June, 10 in May, 7 in April, 3 each in March and April, and 5 in January. As has been the trend since December 2012, Al Qaeda in Iraq was also able to reach into southern Iraq on October 13 carrying out simultaneous car bombings in Basra, Diwaniya, and Hillah. In previous years AQI was able to launch a summer offensive and deaths increased as a result. This year the number of operations and casualties is obviously far higher showing that the insurgency has been reborn.

What’s most disturbing about the recent death reports is that this may be the new norm in Iraq. There are more and more reports that insurgents have free reign along the Syrian border crossing back and forth into Anbar and Ninewa. Diyala is another hotbed. Those three provinces have historically been bases for militants. Over the last few years however, Anbar and Diyala saw large reductions in violence, while Mosul in Ninewa was the last urban base militants had in the country. Now insurgents are operating throughout much of those governorates, and using them as a base to launch attacks into central Iraq. The government on the other hand has been completely ineffective in stemming this wave of violence. One security crackdown after another has been announced in recent months, but fatalities have only gone up. That’s because its tactics are counter productive. The Iraqi forces have relied upon raids, which only last a few days allowing militants to move back in when they’re done. The authorities have also arrested hundreds of people, many of which are probably innocent or only passive supporters of the insurgents allowing the actual rebels to go free. Not only that, but because a detention can lead to months of isolated time in jails and prisons with a high chance of abuse and torture the relatives of those picked up are not going to be supporters of Baghdad. Even in the south where there are hardly any attacks the futility of these military campaigns can be seen and is creating growing cynicism in the government’s ability to secure the country. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the other hand has blamed Syria and his political opponents for the current level of insecurity, but his own carrot and stick approach to both his enemies and allies has angered many, and led some to believe that politics is no longer the path to follow to achieve their goals. The failure of the nation’s politics is the ultimate reason why things have turned for the worse this year, and until that changes neither will the security situation.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq casualties from violence (2013)”
- “Iraq needs new strategy to curb violence, experts say,” 10/28/13

Iraq Body Count, “Recent Events”

Lewis, Jessica, “AQI’s “Soldiers’ Harvest” Campaign,” Institute for the Study of War, 10/9/13

Al-Mada, “Sources: Fighters infiltrating Anbar and the army has only two helicopters to protect the border,” 6/24/13

National Iraqi News Agency, “UNAMI: 979 Iraqis killed, 1902 wounded during October,” 11/1/13

Radio Nawa, “The outcome of last month’s violence in Iraq is the highest since 2008,” 11/1/13

Sabah, Mohammad, “Mosul deputies: Nineveh become under control of insurgents and gunmen moving openly,” Al-Mada, 11/2/13

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