Monday, May 5, 2014

Did Violence Increase In Iraq In April 2014?

 
There was a difference of opinion on Iraqi deaths from March to April 2014. Iraq Body Count and the Iraqi government had basically the same figures between the two months, while the United Nations and Agence France Presse (AFP) saw more sizeable differences. Musings On Iraq however found a drop due to the security measures imposed before the country’s elections, which occurred at the end of the month. That raises the question of what has been going on with fatalities in Iraq.

A different picture was painted of deaths in Iraq in April 2014 depending upon which agency was consulted. Iraq Body Count (IBC) and the Iraqi ministries found little difference between March and April. IBC reported 1,009 deaths in March, and 1,013 in April. Similarly Baghdad had 1,004 killed in March, and 1,009 in April. When averaged out IBC had 34.7 fatalities per day in January, going down to 32-33 per day from February to April. Likewise the Iraqi authorities had an average of 32.6 in January, 28.2 in February, 32.3 in March, and 33.6 in April. According to them there has been very little difference in casualties since the beginning of the year. The United Nations’ numbers are problematic because they do not count Anbar. In January there were 733 deaths and 703 in February. Then in March it had 748 and 885 in April, but those included data from the health directorate of Anbar rather than their own independent findings. It is therefore difficult to tell whether there has been any real change based upon its figures. AFP has been keeping their own count and came up with 991 killed in January, 747 in February, 512 in March, and 795 in April. That was a wide fluctuation, especially in March when it only had an average of 16.5 dead per day, the lowest of any group this year. Still, it had an uptick in insurgent activity in the lead up to the country’s elections. Finally, Musings On Iraq was the outlier with deaths dropping from 1,606 in March, the highest so far in 2014, to 1,456 in April. That would point to the security measures imposed to protect the balloting having an effect as the majority of militant groups opposed the balloting and targeted candidates, Election Commission members, and voting centers leading up to the event. Despite that Musings On Iraq found those activities could not maintain the level of casualties from the previous month.


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
Musings On Iraq
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.
1,145
36.9
989
31.9
1,057
34.0
875
28.2
-
-
Aug.
1,012
32.6
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
9,571
25.9
6,843/
7,016
18.7/
19.2
8,948
24.5
6,818
18.6
-
-
Jan. 2014
1,076
34.7
1,013
32.6
733*
23.6
991
31.9
1,379
44.4
Feb.
930
33.2
790
28.2
703*
25.1
747
26.5
1,274
45.5
Mar.
1,009
32.5
1,004
32.3
748
24.1
512
16.5
1,606
51.8
Apr.
1,013
33.7
1,009
33.6
885
29.5
795
26.5
1,456
48.5
* Figures do not include Anbar


According to Iraq Body Count and the Iraqi ministries the current level of deaths is the same as 2004. That is an apt comparison, because that was the year when the insurgency was first taking off. 2004 saw the two battles of Fallujah and the Sadrist uprising. By 2005 there were street battles in Baghdad, and the country was sliding into civil war. The question facing Iraq now is whether it will get that bad once again.

SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq Unrest”

Al Forat, “UNAMI announces casualty figures for April 2014,” 5/1/14

Iraq Body Count

Russia Today, “Iraq’s April death toll exceeds 1,000 – officials,” 5/2/14

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