Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Ends With Deaths And Violence Going Up In Iraq

 
2013 ended on a bad note for Iraq. The open rebellion in Anbar province against the central government was just the latest sign of the decline in the country’s security. Overall, violence increased last year as the insurgency, especially the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant saw a revival. That led to deaths being two to three times as high at the end of the year as the beginning. 2014 looks to be just as bad if not worse.

Last year saw a dramatic increase in violence and fatalities in Iraq. For the year, Iraq Body Count (IBC) recorded 9,475 deaths, Baghdad reported 6,843-7,016, the United Nations had 8,948, and Agence France Presse (AFP) found 6,818. For the first three organizations, those were the highest number of fatalities since 2008, which marked the last year of the civil war. Unlike that time however, 2013 saw deaths pick up in the second half of the year. IBC for example, averaged 11.5 deaths per day in January, 12.7 in February, and 13.0 in March. By the end of the year that had jumped to 35.3 in October, 30.1 in November, and 31.7 in December. For the year IBC averaged 25.9 fatalities per day, which puts it exactly at the same level as 2008 when it was at 26.9. The other three groups followed the same trend with the U.N. going from 10.2 deaths per day in January to 24.4 in December, and AFP increasing from 7.9 per day in January to 21.5 by December. Iraqi government figures saw just as dramatic a rise, but it seemed to be purposely keeping its statistics down at the beginning of the year, and only in the last few months did it release anything that seemed remotely realistic.

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.
360
12.7
136
4.8
418
14.9
220
7.8
Mar.
403
13.0
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.
1145
36.9
989
31.9
1,057
34.0
875
28.2
Aug.
916
29.5
365
11.7
804
25.9
693
22.3
Sep.
1,221
40.7
971
32.3
979
32.6
880
29.3
Oct.
1,095
35.3
964
31.0
979
31.5
743
23.9
Nov.
903
30.1
948/1,121
31.6/
37.3
659
21.9
693
23.1
Dec.
983
31.7
1,001
32.2
759
24.4
668
21.5
2013 Totals
9.475
25.9
6,843/
7,016
18.7/
19.2
8,948
24.5
6,818
18.6


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
November 2013 – 13 Total
11/4/13 – 50 killed
11/7/13 – 33 killed
11/13/13 – 39 killed
11/14/13 – 54 killed
11/17/13 – 48 killed
11/20/13 – 82 killed
11/21/13 – 58 killed
11/23/13 – 48 killed
11/25/13 – 38 killed
11/27/13 – 75 killed
11/28/13 – 38 killed
11/29/13 – 55 killed
11/30/13 – 30 killed
December 2013 – 13 Total
12/1/13 – 44 killed
12/3/13 – 76 killed
12/8/13 – 58 killed
12/9/13 – 30 killed
12/10/13 – 30 killed
12/13/13 – 49 killed
12/14/13 – 29 killed
12/16/13 – 82 killed
12/19/13 – 65 killed
12/20/13 – 33 killed
12/25/13 – 56 killed
12/26/13 – 31 killed
12/30/13 – 31 killed

Bombings like this one in Salahaddin’s Tuz Khurmato on Nov. 24 have unfortunately become the norm in Iraq (EFE/EPA)

Security in Iraq really changed during the summer. There was a steady increase in deaths for the first half of 2013, but in July there was a dramatic jump. IBC had 659 fatalities in June and then 1,145 in July. Likewise the U.N. went from 761 in June to 1,057 in July, and Baghdad had 240 in June and 989 in July. Many commentators and news reports pointed to the government raid upon the Hawija protest site in April as the starting point for the breakdown in stability in the country. July however was the start of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s Soldiers’ Harvest campaign. That was characterized by an increase in suicide and car bombs, which cause the greatest number of casualties. The difference between the two halves of the year can been seen with the number of days per month with at least 30 deaths. From January to June there were 35 such days, compared to 83 in the last six months. That pointed the dramatic increase in operations by the insurgency, especially the Islamic State. The Islamists are also attempting to gain control and hold territory, which was seen during the summer when it declared the State of North al-Jazeera encompassing the Mosul area of Ninewa, and the State of South al-Jazeera in Anbar. There were even reports that it established a branch in Kurdistan. The on going rebellion in Anbar can only provide more opportunities for the Islamic State to expand its influence. The fighting in the West also points to the rebirth of the general insurgency, which will only cause more fatalities in the coming months.

Gunmen in Fallujah, Jan. 2014 show the rebirth of the non-Islamic State of Iraq insurgency (AP)

If 2013 ended badly, 2014 looks like it could be deadlier. Parts of Anbar are now in open rebellion against the government, which can only bode ill for the future. If the government is able to regain control of cities like Fallujah and Ramadi, the non-Islamic State insurgency has been revived by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s blunder to try to end the protests in the province. That means months more of hard fighting for the Iraqi security forces, and more and more attacks through western, northern and central Iraq. It was not that long ago that it appeared like the militants were broken, and that most of them would turn to mafia style crime to sustain themselves. The failure of the elite to compromise with each other has led many Sunnis to feel like politics is not a feasible way to address their demands. Now more and more are turning towards violence instead, and Iraq is heading backwards instead of forward as a result.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq casualties from violence (2013)

Dunlop, W.G., “Iraq suffers worst year of violence since 2008,” Agence France Presse, 1/1/14

Iraq Body Count

Al Rayy, “Security expert: Daash establish a new mandate in Kurdistan,” 12/21/13

Salaheddin, Sinan, “UN: Iraq sees highest annual death toll in years,” Associated Press, 1/1/14

Al-Salhy, Suadad, “Al Qaeda Tightens Grip on Western Iraq in Bid For Islamic State,” Reuters, 12/11/13

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