Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coalition Of The Willing Coming To An End

On December 31, 2008 the Coalition of the Willing will officially come to an end. That’s the date when the United Nations mandate for foreign troops to stay in Iraq will be over. In total, 40 countries sent forces to Iraq over the last five years not including the U.S., losing 314 soldiers. All but five will have to leave by the end of 2008. The Multi-National Force as it was officially known has always been a mixed bag. It was originally formed to give legitimacy to the U.S. invasion. The foreign troops then helped with the occupation. Some partook in combat operations or training, some did humanitarian missions, while others were merely for show.

Many of the governments that sent troops originally did so over the objections of their populations. In South Korea and Poland for example, the war was always unpopular. Some of the leading countries also criticized the invasion later on. Former chief of the British General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson, claimed in his autobiography that Prime Minister Tony Blair only joined the war to maintain the special relationship with the United States. He also said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld failed to plan for the post-war situation, and was therefore most responsible for the chaos that ensued. The ex-head of Australia’s military Admiral Chris Barrie told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in November 2008 that he never thought his country should’ve gone into Iraq. In his interview he said that he never saw any evidence that Iraq posed a threat. Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd added that all of the reasons his predecessor John Howard gave for invading Iraq were wrong, and that intelligence was manipulated to make the case for war. The leaders of Bulgaria and Poland promised to pull their troops out when they were running for office. As with Blair, many nations decided to join the Coalition to maintain or build close ties to America. Most of the central and eastern European countries also wanted NATO membership, something many of them gained after their deployments. No matter what the motivation, almost all of them are now quickly withdrawing before the end of the year.

The Withdrawals

In 2008 eighteen countries have either begun or finished pulling out their troops. Georgia was first in August. It sent most of its troops home to fight the Russians. Its forces had been in the country since August 2003 working checkpoints in Wasit, and training Iraqi troops. Originally it had 850 soldiers in Iraq, but that was increased to 2,000 in 2007. The last 50 of its troops left in October. It lost 5 soldiers. It is hoping for NATO membership in the future.

Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Poland left in October as well. Kazakhstan had 35 soldiers clearing mines in Wasit since 2003. Armenia sent in 45 soldiers in January 2005. In total 360 of their troops had served in Iraq. They worked under the Poles in Qadisiyah, in support and medical units.

Poland was in control of Multinational Division Center-South which included Armenian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Romanian and Moldavian troops, while the British commanded Multinational Division South-East originally after the invasion, but eventually just operated in Basra with a unit in Baghdad

Poland played a large role in Iraq, participating in the original invasion. It had up to 2,600 soldiers in the country, but by October 2008 there were only 100 left. It lost 21, with 70 wounded. A year earlier, the new prime minister promised to pull out his country’s troops because the war was unpopular. Poland was put in charge of a multi-national division in south-central Iraq in September 2003 based out of Camp Echo in Diwaniyah, Qadisiyah province. Besides the Armenians, the Poles were also commanding the Ukrainian, Latvian, Romanian and Moldavian contingents.

Latvia withdrew on November 10. It originally sent forces in May 2003. It had 1,150 soldiers that worked in Kut in Wasit, Hillah in Babil, Kirkuk in Tamim, and Diwaniyah in Qadisiyah. It conducted military operations with the Poles, but those stopped in June 2007. Afterwards it concentrated on intelligence and management. It also received NATO membership in 2004.

That same month Macedonia pulled out its 79 soldiers. It had a Special Forces unit deployed, operating out of a base in Taji, Baghdad province. Its soldiers had been in the country since 2003. Macedonia was asked to join NATO in 2008, but was blocked by Greece.

On December 2, the U.S. had a ceremony for South Korea’s withdrawal. It had one of the largest contingents in Iraq at 3,600. 670 were sent to Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar in 2003, but those were withdrawn in 2004. Otherwise, the South Koreans were concentrated in Irbil in Kurdistan where they worked on reconstruction and a medical clinic. The government wanted them out in 2007 because of the unpopularity of the war, but delayed that until 2008 because of a request by the United States.

Azerbaijan began withdrawing on December 3. In November the country’s parliament voted to pull out its troops. It had 150 in Iraq since 2003, mostly working as guards at a dam in Salahaddin, and at Camp Ripper in Anbar.

Tonga began withdrawing its 45 soldiers on December 4. They worked at Camp Victory in Baghdad. The Pacific nation announced its pull out in late October 2008. It sent its first troops into Iraq in 2004, and more than 200 rotated through the country since then.

That same day the Czech Republic pulled out its soldiers. Originally it had 300 troops in Basra. It ran a hospital for British troops and trained the Iraqi Border Guard. Prague decided to drawdown its troops in October 2008. It had 100 soldiers in the country in early 2008, but by December there were only 20 left.

Ukraine also withdrew in early December. It had a large role in the Polish led Multi-National division. It fought the Mahdi Army, trained Iraqi police, and helped organize the Sons of Iraq. In the process it lost 18 soldiers, and 32 were injured. They were the third largest contingent of foreign troops in Iraq from 2003-2005 with around 1,700 soldiers. In 2006 it drew down to just 40 and went from Kut to Diwaniyah in Qadisiyah. In 2008 it requested NATO membership.

On December 12 Japan ended its mission. From 2004-2006 it had 600 ground troops on a humanitarian mission in Samawa, Muthanna. This was the first time the country had sent soldiers overseas since World War II, and caused a huge amount of controversy back in Japan. In 2006 it switched to flying supplies into Iraq from Kuwait. There it has 210 troops who will be out by March 2009.

Bulgaria had its troops out on December 17. It originally sent in 500 in August 2003. By 2008 there were 140 watching prisoners at Camp Cropper in Baghdad. Before that they were stationed at Camp Ashraf in Diyala guarding the Iranian exile group the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran. For its effort it was admitted to NATO in 2004 and given European Union membership in 2007. In total, it suffered 13 killed and 81 wounded. The country’s prime minister ran on withdrawing troops in his 2005 election campaign.

Bosnia-Herzegovina had 86 troops in Iraq. It was supposed to leave in November 2008, but was delayed until the beginning of December. It is hoping for future NATO membeship.

Denmark pulled out most of its troops in December 2007. 290 soldiers rotated through the country after they were deployed in 2005 upon a request by NATO. Most of its soldiers were in a helicopter unit that supported the British in Basra. In August 2008 it sent 49 men to Baghdad to do guard duty at Camp Victory, while 36 soldiers that were removing unexploded ordinance in Qadisiyah were withdrawn. Afterwards, its soldiers were used to protect Danish diplomats and train Iraqis. It had 1 wounded in its three years in Iraq.

Albania had 218 soldiers in Iraq. They were deployed in 2003 and worked in Mosul protecting an airport. In September 2008 it sent in an additional 120 soldiers who also worked in Baghdad. In April 2008 it received provisional NATO membership.

At one time Lithuania had 130 soldiers in Iraq, but by the time it withdrew on December 18 there were only five left. It first sent in troops in April 2003, and had 750 serve there. It was supposed to have withdrawn in the summer of 2008, but in June the government extended its soldiers’ tours for two more months. Their main task was guarding an American Provincial Reconstruction Team in Wasit. It received NATO membership in 2004.

Moldova withdrew on December 26. It worked removing land mines. Moldova was suppose to stay in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expired, but decided not to noting the stability in the country. It originally sent in 45 soldiers in September 2003 who worked with the Polish Multi-National Division. By December it only had 20 soldiers still in the country.

El Salvador was also supposed to stay in Iraq into 2009, but its president announced that they would be out by December 31. It deployed troops in 2003 and suffered 5 killed and 20 wounded, out of the 280 who served there. Its forces distributed humanitarian aid and worked on small reconstruction projects.

Slovenia might be the last country to withdraw. It only has two soldiers who train Iraqis. Their mission was supposed to end in February 2009, but the government wants its forces out by the end of the U.N. mandate. It originally sent in four trainers in 2006 that served in Baghdad. It received NATO membership in 2004.

And Then There Were Five

After the Coalition is over five countries will remain. The United States negotiated a Status of Forces Agreement recently that will let it to keep combat troops in the country until 2011. It asked Baghdad to allow four other countries, England, Australia, Estonia, and Romania to stay past the deadline to help with training and advising. Today, December 31, Iraq authorized the extension for England and Australia, while one is still pending for Estonia and Romania. Both deals will allow those nations to keep troops in Iraq until July 2009. In total, they will have around 6,000 soldiers deployed with England having the largest share as 4,100.

England has always been the main partner to the U.S. in the Coalition. It has the second most troops in Iraq, and took part in the initial invasion. Afterwards they were given control of Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar and Muthanna, but that was eventually reduced to just Basra. Most of its troops are now in Basra airport, but it also has a unit working the Iranian border to interdict weapons, and a SAS unit in Baghdad. Their main task is training the Iraqi 14th Army Division and the Iraqi Navy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Iraq in December 2008 and said that 400 troops would remain after July 2009 as trainers. He actually wanted to pull out most of the British army in the spring of 2008, but after Baghdad launched Operation Knights Charge in Basra he was asked to keep British forces there to help stabilize the situation.

The agreement just signed with Iraq to maintain troops there was held hostage by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki believes England turned over Basra to Moqtada al-Sadr and the militias. As a result he held up the agreement to the last minute to chastise them. In August 2008 it was revealed that when the British withdrew from central Basra to the airport they cut a deal with the Mahdi Army to facilitate their move. The English believed that they were the main cause of attacks in the city, and thought that once they pulled out the violence would subside. Instead the militias took over.

Australia, Estonia, and Romania will also maintain troop into 2009. Australia already withdrew most of its combat troops in June 2008. That consisted of 550 soldiers at an air base in Dhi Qar. Now it has 800 left in Iraq. They have trained 33,000 Iraqis and also work on logistics. Those staying will provide diplomatic protection, supply troops, and conduct air reconnaissance. Estonia’s parliament voted in December 2008 to keep its 40 soldiers in Iraq into 2009. It joined NATO in 2004. Romania’s president announced that it would have troops in Iraq until 2011. It now has 498 there, and received NATO membership in 2004 as well. They work on intelligence, training, and security.

Totals for Withdrawn Troops:

  • Iceland: 2 soldiers, Deployed May 2003, Unknown withdrawal date
  • Nicaragua: 230 soldiers, Deployed September 2003, Withdrew February 2004
  • Spain: 1,300 soldiers, Deployed April 2003, Withdrew April 2004
  • Dominican Republic: 302 soldiers, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew May 2004
  • Honduras: 368 soldiers, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew May 2004
  • Philippines: 51 soldiers, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew July 2004
  • Thailand: 423 soldiers, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew August 2004
  • New Zealand: 61 soldiers, Deployed September 2003, Withdrew September 2004
  • Netherlands: 1,345 soldiers, Deployed July 2003, Withdrew March 2005
  • Hungary: 300 soldiers, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew March 2005
  • Portugal: 128 soldiers, Deployed November 2003, Withdrew March 2005
  • Norway: 150 soldiers, Deployed July 2003, Withdrew August 2006
  • Italy: 3,200 soldiers at peak, Deployed July 2003, Withdrew November 2006
  • Lithuania: 120 soldiers at peak, Deployed June 2003, Withdrew August 2007
  • Slovakia: 110 soldiers at peak, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew December 2007
  • Georgia: 2,000 soldiers at peak, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew October 2008
  • Mongolia: 180 soldiers at peak, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew September 2008
  • Poland: 200 soldiers in 2003 invasion, 2,500 at peak, Withdrew October 2008
  • Kazakhstan: 29 soldiers, Deployed September 2003, Withdrew October 2008
  • Armenia: 46 soldiers, Deployed January 2005, Withdrew October 2008
  • Latvia: 136 soldiers at peak, Deployed May 2003, Withdrew November 2008
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: 85 soldiers at peak, Deployed June 2005, Withdrew November 2008
  • Macedonia: 77 soldiers at peak, Deployed July 2003, Withdrew November 2008
  • Albania: 240 soldiers at peak, Deployed April 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Denmar: 545 soldiers at peak, Deployed April 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Bulgaria: 485 soldiers at peak, Deployed May 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • South Korea: 3,600 at peak, Deployed May 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Azerbaijan: 250 soldiers at peak, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Ukraine: 1,650 soldiers at peak, Deployed August 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Moldova: 24 soldiers at peak, Deployed September 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Czech Republic: 300 soldiers at pea, Deployed December 2003, Withdrew December 2008
  • Japan: 600 soldiers, Deployed January 2004, Withdrew December 2008
  • Tonga: 55 soldiers, Deployed July 2004, Withdrew December 2008


Agence France Presse, “Armenian troops pull out of Iraq: US military,” 10/7/08
- “Australia’s arguments for Iraq war all wrong: PM,” 6/2/08
- “Last Polish troops come home from Iraq,” 10/28/08
- “Moldova to pull troops out of Iraq early,” 10/15/08

Albone, Tim, “Iraq’s coalition of the dwindling,” The National, 12/11/08

Alsumaria, “Chief: No evidence to justify Iraq war,” 11/15/08
- “Czech troops end military mission in Iraq,” 12/6/08
- “Moldova withdraws its troops from Iraq,” 12/26/08
- “Romania to keep its troops in Iraq,” 12/2/08
- “South Korea ends military mission in Iraq,” 12/2/08

Associated Press, “Australia to maintain Iraq presence,” 12/24/08
- “Azerbaijan to withdraw troops from Iraq,” 11/14/08
- “Bulgaria to pull troops from Iraq at end of year,” 11/13/08
- “Bulgarian troops return from Iraq,” 12/17/08
- “Czechs to withdraw most of its troops from Iraq,” 10/1/08
- “El Salvador to withdraw troops from Iraq,” 12/23/08
- “SKorea to withdraw troops from Iraq in December,” 10/29/08

Ashton, Adam, “Tonga, most other coalition countries leaving Iraq,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/4/08

Ashton, Adam and Hammoudi, Laith, “What are ‘combat troops’? Iraq withdrawal depends on answer,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/23/08

Aswat al-Iraq, “Georgia, Kazakhstan withdraw forces from Iraq,” 10/20/08
- “Soon: Pact to regulate Estonia, Romanian troop presence,” 12/31/08

August, Oliver, “Baghdad agrees to extend non-US troop presence,” Times of London, 12/23/08

Baltic Times, “Lithuania pulls out of Iraq,” 12/18/08

BBC News, “Poland postpones Iraq withdrawal,” 12/27/05

Canadian Press, “Albania says it is now pulling its 218 troops out of Iraq,” 12/18/08

Carter, Chelsea, “South Korea among countries ending Iraq deployment,” Associated Press, 12/1/08

Chon, Gina, “Coalition Departures Continue as Iraq Moves Toward Stability,” Baghdad Life Blog, Wall Street Journal, 12/4/08

Christie, Michael, “U.S.-led Coalition in Iraq Dwindles As Allies Leave,” Reuters, 12/4/08

Civil Georgia, “Georgia Extends Troop Deployment in Iraq,” 3/21/08

CNN, “British, Australian troops to stay in Iraq until July,” 12/31/08

Cochrane, Marisa, “The Battle for Basra,” Institute for the Study of War, 5/31/08

DPA, “Romania Ready to Leave Troops in Iraq,” 11/26/08

Evans, Michael, “British forces to start leaving Iraq in March: down to 400 by summer,” Times of London, 12/10/08
- “’This was a bad time for Army. But the city is now safer,’” Times of London, 8/5/08

Evans, Michael and Haynes, Deborah, “British combat troops to leave Iraq ‘within a year,’” Times of London, 8/15/08

Fackler, Martin, “Japan Seeks to Withdraw Its Military From Iraq by Year’s End,” New York Times, 9/11/08

Foliente, Sgt. Rodney, “Ukrainians complete mission in Iraq,” Army News, 12/11/08

Hanning, James, “Deal with Shia prisoner left Basra at mercy of gangs, colonel admits,” Independent, 8/3/08

Haynes, Deborah, “War in Iraq ends for international forces,” Times of London, 11/29/08

Kim, Hyung-Jin, “S. Korea to withdraw all remaining troops from Iraq,” Associated Press, 9/19/08

Liklikadze, Koba, “Iraq: As Third-Largest Contingent, Georgia Hopes To Show Its Worth,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 9/10/07

Merrick, Jane and Whitaker, Raymond, “Maliki takes revenge over new mandate,” Independent, 12/14/08

Miles, Donna, “Rumsfeld Thanks Moldova For Support in Terror War,” American Forces Press Service, 6/26/04

Multi-National Corps – Iraq, “Latvian army concludes mission in Iraq,” 11/10/08

Press TV, “Denmark to pull air force out of Iraq,” 12/19/07

Reuters, “Bosnia Withdraws Troops from Iraq,” 12/17/08
- “Bulgarian troops to leave Iraq at year’s end,” 11/6/08
- “El Salvador to cut small troop presence in Iraq,” 8/7/08
- “Macedonia to end mission in Iraq this year,” 10/7/08

RTTNews, “Bulgaria To Withdraw Troops From Iraq By Year’s End,” 11/7/08

Rubin, Alissa, “2 U.S. Helicopters Crash; Poland Ends Its Iraq Role,” New York Times, 10/4/08

Smith, Tanalee, “Australia ends Iraq combat operations,” Associated Press, 6/1/08

Telegraph, “Gen Sir Mike Jackson condemns ‘war on terror,’” 9/3/07

UPI, “Albania sends additional troops to Iraq,” 9/5/08
- “Bulgaria extends Iraq military commitment,” 3/6/08
- “Japan ends Iraq mission,” 12/12/08
- “Lithuania troops stay on in Iraq,” 6/4/08

West, Sgt. Daniel, “Georgia Train Iraqi Mortar Teams,” Multi-National Force – Iraq, 7/16/08, “Multinational force in Iraq”

Xinhua, “Albania sends more troops to Iraq,” 9/4/08
- “Tonga to withdraw troops from Iraq,” 10/28/08

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

International Organization for Migration Report on Internally Displaced In Tamim, Ninewa and Salahaddin

In December 2008 the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released its year-end reports on the displaced in Iraq’s eighteen provinces. One report covered Tamim, Ninewa and Salahaddin. Outside of Baghdad these are the most violent governorates in the country, and have deep seated ethnic tensions in two major cities, Mosul and Kirkuk, between Arabs and Kurds that are nowhere near being reconciled. This means there were will continue to be conflict there and displacement as was recently seen when thousands of Christians fled Mosul in October 2008. Because of these on-going disputes only a few thousand families have returned to the region. Those still displaced face a variety of problems from lack of basic services and food to jobs. As long as the three provinces remain unstable it is unlikely that the displaced will be coming back in large numbers any time soon.

The Displaced In Ninewa

Ninewa is one of Iraq’s northern most provinces located next to Anbar, Salahaddin, Dohuk and Irbil. It is rich in oil, and contains the third largest city in the country, Mosul, behind Baghdad and Basra. The city has a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Shabaks, Assyrians, Turkomen and Armenians. Security got worse in the second half of 2008 with an increase in kidnappings, assassinations, militia attacks, and general violence. Ethnic tensions also heated up when Christians were attacked in Mosul leading to almost 2,000 families fleeing. While some have come back, the majority have not and are still afraid of what might happen to them if they do. There are still military operations going on in Ninewa, specifically in Mosul. Until this situation is settled, the displaced problem will not be resolved.

Ninewa received two waves of displaced. The first came after the invasion, and consisted mostly of former Baathists and government officials from Baghdad and the south who were afraid of retribution. That would account for the large number of Iraqis from Basra 6.33% who now reside in Ninewa. There were also another group that fled military operations in the province such as a large number of Turkomen who left Telafar because of the fighting there. The second wave came in 2006 during the sectarian war. That’s shown by the fact that major reason why families fled was violence, 79.6% and fear 65.5%.

In the beginning of 2006 there were only about 100 displaced a month entering the province. After April however, it took off to around 1,400 coming in June. Displacement slowed afterwards, only to spike to its highest level of 2,000 in September. It then dropped to 250 in October, then went up against to 1,600 in November. Since then the number of refugees in the province has dropped consistently to 100 in April 2007. It has gone down to almost 0 since then with slight increases in January and October 2008.

Overall, 50% of the internal refugees in Ninewa came from Baghdad, but there were others that fled because of the Arab-Kurdish conflict. There are also a large number of displaced from within the province itself. Unlike the rest of the country, the largest displaced group is not Arab Muslims, but Assyrian Christians.

The province has no restrictions on the entry of displaced. To get food rations, families have to have their IDs, rations cards and documents, and register with the local office of the Ministry of Displacement and Migration. While the displaced have been generally welcomed in the province, resentment is growing against them as they are blamed for rising costs, especially rents, while some have joined armed groups. 59.8% say they want to go back to the original homes, while 6.4% said they want to be integrated into Ninewa.

Like the displaced in the rest of the country, those in Ninewa face a whole series of problems receiving basic services, along with finding housing and jobs. Next to legal help for retrieving their lost property, jobs was the second most important issue to displaced at 88%. In the Makhmoor and Hawiga districts there is high unemployment. Out of those surveyed by the IOM 81.1% said they had no family members working. Arabs and Turkomen especially find it hard to find work. The government is suppose to provide food rations to every Iraqi, but 56.6% of those polled said they received no rations at all. The water system in Ninewa is also in great disrepair. In the Mosul district there are villages that have no sewage system and the pipe system has been damaged by constant traffic by military vehicles. There was also maintenance done on the district’s electrical system, which reduced the number of hours per day with power to 4-6. 41.8% of displaced polled said they only got 1-3 ours of power per day on average.

A majority of the displaced said that they had received some type of aid to assist them with their predicament. 75% said they had received help. The largest provider was the Ministry of Displacement and Migration that served 43.2%. All government agencies combined provided for 45.1% of the displaced. Humanitarian groups in total helped 50.1%. That still left out a large number of people. 30.0% for example said they had no food aid. This is common throughout most of the country, and is made worse by the lack of security in the province.

Statistics On Displaced In Ninewa

Population: 2,811,091
Total pre-February 2006 internally displaced: 6,572 families, approx. 39,432 people
Total post-February 2006 internally displaced: 12,546 families, approx. 75,276 people
Number of returnees: 605 families, approx 3,630 people
Internally Displaced vs Refugees Amongst Returns: All 605 were internally displaced
Sect Of Displaced: Christian Assyrian 39.0%, Sunni Arab 26.0%, Sunni Turkomen 12.4%, Sunni Kurd 12.4%, Other 3.3%, Sunni Kurd 3.2%, Shiite Turkomen 2.2%, Shiite Arab 0.8%, Yazidi Arab 0.3%, Christian Armenian 0.2%
Origin Of Displaced: Baghdad 49.63%, Basra 6.33%, Diyala 1.12%, Tamim 0.90%, Salahaddin 0.59%, Anbar 0.55%, Babil 0.45%, Wasit 0.18%, Qadisiyah 0.12%, Dhi Qar 0.06%, Irbil 0.03%, Karbala 0.01%

Reason for Displacement:
General violence 79.6%
Fear 65.5%
Direct threat to life 42.8%
Armed conflict 4.2%
Other 2.5%
Forced from home 1.7%

Reasons for Being Targeted:
Sect 85.7%
Don’t think targeted 12.7%
Ethnic group 1.9%
Social group 1.7%
Political views 0.5%

Security Situation
Checkpoints 24.8%
Death or injury in family 21.9%
Missing family member 7.0%
Need authorization to move 5.4%
Other restrictions on movement 0.0%

Type of Housing:
Renting 78.2%
Living with host family or relatives 14.7%
Other 4.7%
Collective settlement 1.1%
Public building 0.8%
Tent near house of host family 0.6%
Former military base 0.1%
Tent in camp 0.0%

Access To Food Rations:
Sometimes 79.1%
Not at all 8.4%
Always 12.4%

Water Sources:
Municipal water 92.0%
Water tanks/trucks 51.5%
Wells 11.4%
Broken pipes 9.3%
Rivers 7.8%
Others 1.5%

Electricity Supply:
No power 4.9%
1-3 hours per day 41.8%
Four or more hours per day 51.8%

Fuel Access:
No access 75.2%
Propane 13.3%
Benzene 21.5%
Kerosene 12.7%
Diesel 9.9%
Other 0.0%

At least one member in family works 18.9%
No one works 81.1%

Type Of Property Left Behind:
Other 64.9%
Land for farming 17.3%
Land for housing 5.3%
House 11.9%
Shop/business 0.0%
Apartment or room 0.5%

Status of Property Left Behind:
Don’t know 61.5%
Accessible 12.9%
Occupied 4.6%
Destroyed 3.7%
Used by military 0.8%
Taken over by Government 0.4%

Source of Assistance:
Ministry of Displacement and Migration 43.2%
Iraqi Red Crescent 31.6%
Religious group 29.8%
Host community 29.5%
Relatives 26.6%
No aid received 24.3%
Humanitarian group 18.5%
Other 6.8%
Other government agency 1.9%

Type of Aid Received:
Food 67.8%
Non-food items 60.2%
Other 15.5%
Health 8.5%

Food Aid Source:
Humanitarian group 34.8%
Religious charity 30.3%
No aid 30.0%
Others 21.6%
Federal government 10.5%
Provincial government 6.0%

Legal Help 89%
Jobs 88%
Shelter 63%
Food 28%
Other 12%
Health 7%
Water 5%
Hygiene 4%
School 2%
Sanitation 1%

The Displaced In Salahaddin Ninewa

Salahaddin province is just north of Baghdad. It is mostly Arab with some Turkomen and Kurds. The city of Tikrit was a Baathist stronghold and the birthplace of Saddam Hussein. Because of this there was a lot of fighting between the Coalition and insurgents there. Although there is still violence in Salahaddin, the security situation is relatively stable. Militias and insurgents are losing influence.

Many people in Salahaddin were displaced because of the intense fighting there. The majority however, came during the sectarian war. 49.5% come from Baghdad, then Tamim 15% and Basra 12%. Most of those from the south fled to Salahaddin because they were Baathist and government officials, and were afraid of reprisals. 60.6% left their homes because of direct threats on their lives, while 47.5% gave their reason as general violence. The increase in displaced began in January 2006, with a big spike in June to 2,000. The rate declined until September 2006, and then took off again to 1,500 by December. The rate of displacement then steadily dropped until it was almost at zero by August 2007 with a few bumps up since then.

The province has no restrictions on displaced. Most have been welcomed, and received aid from the local communities. The Ministry of Interior is now telling families from Anbar and Diyala to go home because security has been established there, but the order is not being enforced. 50.1% of the displaced said they want to return to their homes, while 12.7% prefer to stay in Salahddin and resettle there. Because of the continued instability in the province, only 96 families have come back. 56 were internally displaced, while 40 came back from other countries. All of the latter are former Baathists and government officials, and are keeping low because they don’t want to face persecution for their past lives.

The displaced in Salahaddin face problems with food, jobs, and shelter. 88% said they needed food, followed by jobs 75%, and shelter 66%. Children of the displaced often have to work to support their families. Even then, only 71.7% of the displaced said they had anyone in their family working. Most displaced there have registered with the local authorities and receive their food rations, although 23.0% said they hadn’t received any yet. Salahaddin also suffered from the country’s drought during the summer. Water is still scarce in some sections of the province. In Tikrit the displaced have access to water 20 hours per day. In Samarra its 18 hours, but in other areas it goes down to only 5-6 hours. In parts of the Al-Daur district it gets as low as only 1-3 hours of water a day. Salahaddin is home to one of the country’s major power stations at Beiji. Despite this electricity is extremely scare for the displaced. 45% said they only get 1-3 hours of electricity per day. There are parts of Tikrit that receive no power at all. The province also lacks hospital staff. Only 34% of the displaced that were surveyed said they had access to the medications they need, while only 29% had been visited by a health worker in the last 30 days. The education system is also poor with many schools made out of mud, and others that need repairs.

A little under half of Salahaddin’s displaced are not being served by any organization. 47.6% said they had received no aid at all. Of those that had, local communities was the largest provider. The government on the other hand had only helped 5.8%. Humanitarian groups did a much better job reaching 50.1%. With food being their greatest need, 57.3% said they had received no food assistance. Government agencies only provided food to 1.7% of those surveyed. Even with security improving in Salahaddin, things have not improved much for the displaced there.

Statistics On Displaced In Salahaddin

Population: 1,191,403
Total pre-February 2006 internally displaced: 7,790 families, approx. 45, 614people
Total post-February 2006 internally displaced: 15,795 families, approx. 94,770people
Number of returnees: 96 families, approx. 576 people
Internally Displaced vs Refugees Amongst Returns: 56 internally displaced, 40 international refugees
Sect of Displaced: Sunni Arab 95.8%, Shiite Arab 2.5%, Sunni Kurd 0.5%, Shiite Turkomen 1.0%, Sunni Turkomen 0.1%, Other 0.1%
Origin of Displaced: Baghdad 49.5%, Tamim 14.94%, Basra 12.22%, Diyala 10.36%, Anbar 1.90%, Ninewa 1.89%, Irbil 1.72%, Wasit 0.7%, Babil 0.68%, Dhi Qar 0.65%, Qadisiyah 0.10%, Karbala 0.04%

Reason for Displacement:
Direct threat to life 60.6%
General violence 47.5%
Fear 29.5%
Forced from home 15.4%
Armed conflict 2.2%
Other 0.8%

Reasons for Being Targeted:
Sect 55.0%
Ethnic group 21.3%
Social group 22.2%
Political views 5.1%
Don’t think targeted 0.7%

Security Situation:
Checkpoints 9.9%
Death or injury in family 8.3%
Need authorization to move 6.3%
Missing family member 3.5%
Other restrictions on movement 1.0%

Type of Housing:
Renting 67.9%
Living with host family or relatives 11.9%
Other 7.9%
Public building 6.8%
Collective settlement 3.9%
Former military base 1.0%
Tent near house of host family 0.4%
Tent in camp 0.1%

Access To Food Rations:
Sometimes 41.2%
Not at all 23.0%
Always 34.6%

Water Sources:
Municipal water 85.9%
Water tanks/trucks 28.0%
Wells 22.6%
Broken pipes 1.3%
Rivers 10.3%
Others 2.0%

Electricity Supply:
No power 2.1%
1-3 hours per day 45.0%
Four or more hours per day 52.3%

Fuel Access:
Propane 56.7%
No access 40.8%
Benzene 22.8%
Other 8.8%
Kerosene 4.1%
Diesel 1.1%

At least one member in family works 28.3%
No one works 71.7%

Types of Property Left Behind:
Other 93.7%
Shop/business 4.0%
Land for housing 1.3%
Apartment or room 0.4%
House 0.4%
Land for farming 0.0%

Status of Property Left Behind:
Don’t know 61.6%
Occupied 13.8%
Accessible 7.2%
Destroyed 2.9%
Used by military 1.1%
Taken over by Government 0.0%

Source of Assistance:
No aid received 47.6%
Host community 33.4%
Iraqi Red Crescent 23.0%
Relatives 11.1%
Religious group 9.7%
Ministry of Displacement and Migration 4.4%
Other government agency 1.4%
Other 0.8%
Humanitarian group 0.3%

Type of Aid Received:
Food 52.1%
Non-food items 30.8%
Health 16.8%
Other 2.5%

Food Aid Source:
No aid 57.3%
Others 21.7%
Humanitarian group 12.4%
Religious charity 11.0%
Federal government 1.3%
Provincial government 0.4%

Food 88%
Jobs 75%
Shelter 66%
Other 25%
Health 18%
Water 12%
Hygiene 7%
School 4%
Legal Help 2%
Sanitation 2%

The Displaced In Tamim

Tamim was once known as Kirkuk province. Its name was changed in 1972. It is home to large oil reserves and ethnic tensions. The city of Kirkuk is one of the most contested pieces of territory in the country. Because of these divisions security worsened in the second half of 2008. Assassinations, kidnappings, attacks and explosions were al up. Violence and sexual assault against the displaced is also common.

Like Ninewa and Salahaddin, Tamim saw two waves of displacement. The first came during the Saddam years when he carried out his Arabization policy forcing out Kurds. Many of these families have since returned, but that has led to Arabs being pushed out. Then the sectarian war began, and vast more lost their homes or moved to Tamim as a result. 75% said they fled because of direct threats to their lives. Unlike other provinces in Iraq, most of the displaced in Tamim come from Diyala rather than Baghdad. The number of displaced saw a slow increase with a few ups and down until it hit its highest point in May 2007 at 1,700. It then dropped to almost zero, but with a few increases in October 2007, February 2008, and May 2008.

Tamim does have restriction on displaced entering the country. In order to register and receive food rations, families need to go to the local city council and the local branch of the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, and then go to Kirkuk for more paperwork. Many times families get rejected because of their ethnicity. There are many unregistered families living on the outskirts of Kirkuk as a result. If families don’t register they can be evicted as well. These strict rules have led many displaced to live with relatives because they can’t legally rent a place. If a family has had a member killed, kidnapped, or an orphaned child however, they can receive an exception from the Ministry of Displacement and Migration. The displaced are also treated differently depending upon whom they live with. If they are not of the same sect than they are often discriminated against. There are even reports of threats and harassment that have led some to move away.

79.0% of the displaced in Tamim say they want to return to their original homes, while 17.0% said they want to stay in their new communities. Families have begun to return to Al-Jamasa and Al-Shaheria villages in Al-Hawiga district after a Sons of Iraq unit was set up there and stabilized the area. Families that came back to Gareeb Sofla nearby found their homes destroyed, and are living without electricity, water, medical services, schools, and jobs. Some are living in mud huts. The rate of return has been limited with under 1000 individuals coming back so far. Unlike the rest of the country, they are split evenly between internally displaced and refugees who came back from other countries. The latter have been concentrated in the Daqduq district.

Displaced women are facing a number of difficulties in Tamim. Prostitution has grown in the province because of lack of jobs and poverty faced by the displaced. Families sometimes force their wives and children into the industry. In the Abo Al Shees village in Hawiga district there are pregnant women doing hard labor with little health care. Girls don’t go to school their either because they have to work, and there is a high level of child labor.

Besides jobs the major needs of displaced in Tamim are food, 96% and shelter 93%, along with a number of other issues. A whopping 98.8% of the displaced in the IOM survey said they had no one in their family working. In Kirkuk and Hawiga districts there are over 50 families facing evictions for squatting or because they can’t afford to pay their rents. In total, about 12% of the displaced said they were facing the los of their residences. Over 80% of the displaced have no to limited access to government food rations. Families in Daqduq and Dibis districts say they are regularly missing items in their packages. The major reason why the province is having such trouble delivering these goods is because of lack of security. Only 49% of the displaced in the province have access to water. In Daquq distrit there is a village with no access to water, which leads them to use a local river that increases the risk of disease. 41% say they use a broken pipe for this need. 71.6% of the displaced have access to four or more hours of electricity per day, but 16.5% had no power at all, and 11.3% said they only got it for 1 to 3 hours per day. Only 31% had access to health care, and 70% said they couldn’t get the medications they need. Just 9% were visited by a health worker in 30 days.

Government and humanitarian groups are largely failing the displaced in the province. 77% said they received no aid at all. The largest provider were unnamed groups at 16.9%. The government only helped 17.9%, while non-government organizations did worse at 11.5%. 77% received no food aid, with the government only assisting 9.8%. Like Ninewa, the lack of security there and continued instability will hamper efforts to help the displaced in this part of Iraq.

Statistics On Displaced In Tamim

Population: 902,019
Total pre-February 2006 internally displaced: 1,252 families, approx. 7,512 people
Total post-February 2006 internally displaced: 7,911 families, approx. 43,623 people
Number of returnees: 165 families, approx. 990 people
Internally Displaced vs Refugees Amongst Returns: 82 internally displaced, 83 international refugees
Sect of Displaced: Sunni Arab 51.5%, Sunni Kurd 18.8%, Shiite Turkomen 18.0%, Sunni Turkomen 3.2%, Shiite Arab 3.0%, Christian Assyrian 2.0%, Sunni Kurd 0.9%, Other 0.3%, Christian Aremnian 0.2%, Yazidi Arab 0.1%
Origin of Displaced: Diyala 26.11%, Baghdad 16.27%, Ninewa 15.94%, Salahaddin 15.35%, Anbar 3.99%, Irbil 1.28%, Sulaymaniyah 0.15%, Basra 0.34%, Babil 0.12%
Dhi Qar 0.04%, Najaf 0.03%

Reason for Displacement:
Direct threat to life 75.0%%
General violence 17.9%
Forced from home 16.0%
Fear 13.5%
Armed conflict 11.4%
Other 1.6%

Reasons for Being Targeted:
Sect 59.4%
Don’t think targeted 38.3%
Ethnic group 2.0%
Political views 1.1%
Social group 0.6%

Security Situation:
Death or injury in family 57.9%
Checkpoints 30.3%
Other restrictions on movement 25.3%
Missing family member 24.1%
Need authorization to move 21.4%

Type of Housing:
Living with host family or relatives 28.1%
Other 27.2%
Renting 22.7%
Public building 9.5%
Tent near house of host family 8.3%
Collective settlement 3.8%
Former military base 0.3%
Tent in camp 0.1%

Access To Food Rations:
Sometimes 24.9%
Not at all 56.6%
Always 18.1%

Water Sources:
Municipal water 55.8%
Water tanks/trucks 51.8%
Wells 43.4%
Broken pipes 41.9%
Rivers 17.4%
Others 0.6%

Electricity Supply:
No power 16.5%
1-3 hours per day 11.3%
Four or more hours per day 71.6%

Fuel Access:
No access 78.5%
Benzene 18.8%
Propane 12.6%
Diesel 11.9%
Kerosene 6.1%
Other 0.1%

At least one member in family works 1.2%
No one works 98.8%

Type Of Property Left Behind:
Other 68.3%
Land for housing 16.6%
Shop/business 9.7%
Apartment or room 2.5%
House 1.6%
Land for farming 1.3%

Status of Property Left Behind:
Don’t know 76.1%
Accessible 8.1%
Occupied 6.8%
Destroyed 3.8%
Used by military 0.4%
Taken over by Government 0.2%

Source of Assistance:
No aid received 60.0%
Other 16.9%
Ministry of Displacement and Migration 16.4%
Relatives 13.2%
Humanitarian group 7.9%
Host community 5.7%
Religious group 5.1%
Iraqi Red Crescent 3.6%
Other government agency 1.5%

Type of Aid Received:
Food 33.6%
Non-food items 28.8%
Health 8.6%
Other 5.2%

Food Aid Source:
No aid 77.0%
Others 8.4%
Provincial government 7.2%
Humanitarian group 4.7%
Federal government 2.6%
Religious charity 1.4%

Food 96%
Shelter 93%
Jobs 51%
Legal Help 24%
Water 11%
Health 9%
Other 5%
Sanitation 5%
School 3%
Hygiene 0%


International Organization for Migration, “Kirkuk, Ninewa & Salah al-Din, Governorate Profiles,” December 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Iraqi Death Counts

There are four main sources for casualties in Iraq. Two, Iraq Body Count and icasualties are updated constantly, and are easily accessible on the internet. The Brookings Institution has its monthly Iraq Index, which tracks monthly death rates. From 2007 to the present they have relied upon the Pentagon for its dead and wounded numbers. Most of those come from the quarterly report the Pentagon makes to Congress known as “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.” The Defense Department does not report specific numbers but rather provides charts, which the Iraq Index uses to make estimates off of. The fourth source is the major news services. Reuters for example, usually reports monthly totals for the number killed based upon Iraqi government officials. The United Nations’ human rights reports on Iraq use to have the official government numbers, but after the U.N. reported more than twice the number of official deaths in 2006, Baghdad decided to stop its ministries from reporting their death counts.

It should be no surprise that each one of these sources records different amounts. In broad terms, icasualties has the lowest number of deaths. On their website they note, “Iraqi deaths based on news reports. This is not a definitive count. Actual totals for Iraqi deaths are higher than the numbers recorded on this site.” Iraq Body Count’s numbers are higher, and the Pentagon is right in the middle. Reports by the news services and newspapers are all over the place depending upon whom they talk to. On December 1, 2008 for example, Reuters had a body count for November 2008 based upon “government figures.” Where they came from was never identified. On November 1 Alsumaria TV had a report on October’s casualties based upon the Iraqi Defense, Interior and Health Ministries. On September 30 the Associated Press had a report on deaths based upon their own count.

Despite their differences all reports have followed the same broad trend. From the invasion to 2005 there was a steady increase in civilian and Iraqi security forces’ casualties. In February 2006 a Shiite shrine in Samarra was bombed and the sectarian war took off, and so did the dead and wounded. From January 2007 to the present deaths have declined with small increases such as in early 2008 when the government launched offensives against the Mahdi Army in Basra and then Sadr City in Baghdad.

Iraq Body Count recently released a report on trends in 2008. It found that from January to November 2008 between 8,351-9,028 Iraqi civilians were killed. That compares to 25,774-27,599 civilian deaths in 2006 and 22,671-24,295 killed in 2007. In contrast icasualties recorded 5,908 civilians and Iraqi soldiers and police killed from January to December 29, 2008, while the pentagon counted 5,580 from January to September. Average daily deaths have dropped from 76 per day in 2006, to 67 per day in 2007, to 25 per day in 2008 according to Iraq Body Count. That is the same rate as the first 20 months after the U.S. invasion from May 2003 to December 2004. Violence has declined in Baghdad the most, as it was the center of the sectarian war that is now over and the focus of the U.S. Surge. From 2006-2007 the capital accounted for 54% of all deaths. By 2008 it only accounted for 32%. The number of Iraqi police killed has also gone down from 1,891 in 2006 to 2,065 in 2007 to 928 so far in 2008. As with the November 2008 Iraq Index, Body Count found that civilians killed in bombings has hardly changed. In 2007 1,174 civilians were killed in roadside bombings compared to 1,106 in 2008 up to November.

While none of these sources look into causality the major one is the end of the sectarian war. American commentators differ on the reasons for its cessation from the Shiites defeating the Sunnis in Baghdad, to the Surge, to the Sunni Awakening, to Moqtada al-Sadr’s cease-fire, but they all agree that the civil war is over. That doesn’t mean violence has ended. Rather the source has changed. Rather than revenge and ethnic cleansing, most of the attacks appear to be based upon political disputes. Places like Mosul and Kirkuk for example are divided between Arabs and Kurds, which has meant deaths have hardly decreased there since 2007. The provincial and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009 could also be a cause. That will probably mean Iraq will continue to see violence in certain places into the foreseeable future as long as these issues are unresolved.

Iraq Death Counts

icasualties: Iraqi Security Forces and Civilians Killed:
January 2008: 554
February 2008: 674
March 2008: 980
April 2008: 744
May 2008: 506
June 2008: 450
July 2008: 419
August 2008: 311
September 2008: 366
October 2008: 288
November 2008: 317
To December 29, 2008: 299
TOTAL: 5,908

Brookings Institutions Iraq Index: Iraqi Civilians Killed
January 2008: 600
February 2008: 700
March 2008: 750
April 2008: 950
May 2008: 550
June 2008: 490
July 2008: 550
August 2008: 500
September 2008: 490
TOTAL: 5,580

Iraq Body Count: Iraqi Civilians Killed
January 2008: 742
February 2008: 977
March 2008: 1,538
April 2008: 1,260
May 2008: 759
June 2008: 669
July 2008: 583
August 2008: 591
September 2008: 535
October 2008: 526
November 2008: 467
To December 29, 2008: 322
TOTAL: 8,969


Alsumaria, “Iraq violence kills 320 people in October,” 11/1/08

Babylon & Beyond Blog, “IRAQ: U.N.’s Iraq report still missing casualty count,” Los Angeles Times, 12/3/08

Campbell, Jason and O’Hanlon, Michael, “Iraq Index,” Brookings Institution

Gamel, Kim, “Iraq forces gain more control, but lose more lives,” Associated Press, 9/30/08

Iraq Body

Matthews, Dylan and Klein, Ezra, “How Important Was the Surge?” American Prospects, 7/28/08

Reuters, “Iraq civilian death toll up, U.S. deaths down,” 12/1/08

Sunday, December 28, 2008

November 2008 Iraq Index By The Brookings Institution

Each month the Brookings Institution puts out its Iraq Index. It’s a compendium of various statistics on violence, economic development, social indicators, and public opinion. The November 2008 edition was recently released. While it gives a good list of numbers, like previous reports, the major drawback is that many of them date back to 2006 and 2007 when newer ones are available. The latest Index shows that civilian deaths are down to the lowest level since 2003. Attacks on Coalition forces are down to 2004 levels, and attacks on Iraqi forces are the lowest since war began. There are still mass casualty bombings however at the same casualty rates as early 2005. Displacement is down to about 10,000 per month. Reconciliation is still shaky. U.S. casualties are minimal, but the psychological toll is increasing, especially with those that have deployed to Iraq for more than one tour. Finally, the aggregate economic numbers for Iraq are up, largely due to oil, while many of the country’s professionals have fled and not returned. While violence was Iraq’s most pressing issue, the Iraq Index shows that the country still has a long way to go before it becomes a healthy and stable one.


Since the Surge all types of attacks and casualties are down in Iraq. Civilian deaths are at their lowest since the 2003 invasion. At the beginning of 2007 approximately 3,500 civilians were killed according to the Pentagon. Since January there has been a steady drop down to 600 in January 2008. After the security operations against the Mahdi Army that started in March, deaths have leveled off to around 500 deaths per month. This is the lowest number since the invasion. In comparison in May 2003 866 Iraqis were killed.

Coalition and Iraqi forces’ casualties are also down. The number of weekly attacks against the Coalition began dropping in June 2007. In September 2008 there were 390 per week, the lowest since 2004. Attacks on Iraqi forces are also down with only 25 killed in November 2008, a number not seen since the U.S. invasion.

Mass casualty bombings are the only thing that has not dropped as precipitously. In the first four months of 2005 there was an average of 20 bombings a month. From August to November 2008 there were an average of 19.75 such attacks. The casualties from these bombings are also down from 211 in January 2008 to 197 in June to 136 in November.

Iraqi Civilian Deaths 2003-2008:
May 2003: 866
August 2003: 1,292 highest for year
October 2004: 2,638 highest for year
August 2005: 3,303 highest for year
October 2006: 3,709 highest for year
January 2007: 3,500 highest for year
February 2007: 2,700
March 07: 2,400
April 07: 2,500
May 07: 2,600
June 2007: 1,950
July 07: 2,350
August 07: 2,000
September 07: 1,100
October 07: 950
November 07: 750
December 2007: 750
January 2008: 600
February 2008: 700
March 2008: 750
April 2008: 950
May 2008: 550
June 2008: 490
July 2008: 550
August 2008: 500
September 2008: 490

Note: The numbers from January 2007 to September 2008 are derived from charts provided by the Pentagon and are only approximations

Iraqi Forces Killed Per Month 2007-2008
Monthly Average April 2003 to May 2004: 65
January 2007: 91
February 2007: 150
March 2007: 215
April 2007: 300
May 2007: 197
June 2007: 197
July 2007: 232
August 2007: 76
September 2007: 96
October 2007: 114
November 2007: 89
December 2007: 72
January 2008: 69
February 2008: 110
March 2008: 161
April 2008: 113
May 2008: 110
June 2008: 77
July 2008: 98
August 2008: 85
September 2008: 98
October 2008: 48
November 2008: 25

Number Of Mass Casualty Bombings
May 2003: 0
December 2003: 14
January 2004: 9
June 2004: 19
December 2004: 17
January 2005: 28
February 2005: 18
March 2005: 13
April 2005: 21
June 2005: 34
December 2005: 21
January 2006: 30
June 2006: 56
December 2006: 65
January 2007: 69
June 2007: 42
November 2007: 22
December 2007: 23
January 2008: 24
February 2008: 21
March 2008: 28
April 2008: 21
May 2008: 14
June 2008: 19
July 2008: 19
August 2008: 22
September 2008: 22
October 2008: 14
November 2008: 21

Deaths From Mass Casualty Bombings 2008:
January 2008: 211
February 2008: 281
March 2008: 278
April 2008: 205
May 2008: 131
June 2008: 197
July 2008: 181
August 2008: 195
September 2008: 164
October 2008: 102
November 2008: 136


While Iraq has passed a number of reconciliation laws, the implementation has been uneven. For these reasons the Brookings Institution gives the country a mixed rating. Out of a total of 11 possible points, Iraq rated a 6.0. The 2008 budget, the Pension Law, and purging the government of extremists were given the highest rating, while the Accountability and Justice Law, which is meant to replace the deBaathification process, the Amnesty Law, integrating the Sons of Iraq, funding the provinces, the Provincial Powers Act, and the provincial election law were all given mixed reviews because they have been unevenly implemented. Dealing with Kirkuk and passing a hydrocarbon law were given failing grades as little has happened with them.

Brookings’ Rating Of Benchmark Reconciliation Acts:
Note: Each issue can be given a 0, 0.5 or 1 with 0 being bad and 1 good. The highest possible score is 11.
2008 Budget – 1
Pension law – 1
Purging extremists from the government – 1
Accountability an Justice Law – 0.5
Integrating Sons of Iraq – 0.5
Amnesty Law – 0.5
Funding of provinces – 0.5
Provincial election law – 0.5
Kirkuk – 0
Hydrocarbon law – 0
TOTAL: 6.0 out of 11

U.S. Forces In Iraq

Casualties for U.S. forces are down, but the costs of repeated deployments are increasing. U.S. killed and wounded have dropped to the lowest levels since the U.S. invasion. From March 2003 to November 1, 2008 4,182 Americans have been killed. The overwhelming majority have been active duty, 3,410, and come from the Army, 3,035. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) use to be the most deadly weapon used against American forces, but now they are down to 2003 levels. Of the 513,000 U.S. troops that have gone to Iraq, over 197,000 of them have been deployed more than once, and 53,000 have gone three or more times. Those that have gone on multiple deployments face a greater likelihood of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

U.S. Troop Fatalities December 2007-November 2008:
December 2007: 23
January 2008: 40
February 2008: 29
March 2008: 39
April 2008: 52
May 2008: 19
June 2008: 29
July 2008: 13
August 2008: 23
September 2008: 25
October 2008: 17
November 2008: 15

U.S. Troops Wounded November 2007-November 2008:
November 2007: 203
December 2007: 213
January 2008: 234
February 2008: 216
March 2008: 327
April 2008: 331
May 2008: 197
June 2008: 143
July 2008: 150
August 2008: 107
September 2008: 91
October 2008: 82
November 2008: 84

U.S. Military Casualties From 3/19/03 to 11/1/08:
Total Deaths: 4,182
  • Men: 4,081
  • Women: 101
  • Younger than 22: 1,226
  • 22-24: 1,020
  • 25-30: 1,061
  • 31-35: 408
  • Older than 35: 467
  • Active Duty: 3,410
  • Reserve: 305
  • National Guard: 467
  • Army: 3,035
  • Marines: 1,003
  • Navy: 95
  • Air Force: 48
  • Coast Guard: 1
  • American Indian: 42
  • Multi-race/Unknown: 45
  • Pacific Islander: 48
  • Asian: 79
  • Black: 339
  • Latino: 446
  • White: 3,124

U.S. Deaths by IED’s December 2007-November 2008:
December 2007: 9
January 2008: 23
February 2008: 17
March 2008: 26
April 2008: 26
April 2008: 29
May 2008: 12
June 2007: 14
July 2008: 3
August 2008: 7
September 2008: 4
October 2008: 2
November 2008: 2

U.S. Troop Deployment:
Total since 2003: 513,000
Deployed more than once: 197,000+
Deployed three or more times: 53,000

Percentage of Non-Commissioned Officers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
First deployment: 12%
Second deployment: 18.5%
Third of fourth deployment: 27%

Percentage of U.S. Active Duty Military Who Have Served in Iraq or Afghanistan:

Insurgent Activity

As the casualty numbers reveal, violence is down across Iraq since the Surge. There are still pockets of instability however. Baghdad remains the most violent province of Iraq. Insurgent attacks have gone largely unchanged in Salahaddin, while they have increased in Ninewa. Diyala, the other unstable governorates has seen a 66% decline in insurgent activity compared to the average number of attacks from 2005-2008. In comparison, Kurdistan and much of the south are relatively peaceful.

Number of Daily Insurgent Attacks By Province: December 2007-May 2008 Compared to 2005-2008 Average
Baghdad: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 15.7, Feb.-May 08: 24.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 32.8
Ninewa: Dec. 07-Feb.08: 16.3, Feb.-May 08: 13.7, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 11.9
Salahaddin: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 8.8, Feb.-May 08: 6.2, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 6.2
Diyala: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 5.2, Feb.-May 08: 3.8, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 12.1
Anbar: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 2.4, Feb.-May 08: 2.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 19.2
Tamim: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 2.7, Feb.-May 08: 1.9, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 4.5
Basra: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 1.6, Feb.-May 08: 1.5, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 3.9
Babil: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.7, Feb.-May 08: 0.8, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 2.0
Wasit: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.3, Feb.-May 08: 0.5, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.7
Dhi Qar: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.3, Feb.-May 08: 0.3, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.5
Qadisiyah: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.2, Feb.-May 08: 0.2, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.9
Karbala: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.1, Feb.-May 08: 0.1, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.2
Maysan: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.1, Feb.-May 08: 0.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.4
Muthanna: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.1, Feb.-May 08: 0.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.2
Najaf: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.0, Feb.-May 08: 0.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.1
Irbil: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.1, Feb.-May 08: 0.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.1
Sulaymaniyah: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.1, Feb.-May 08: 0.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.1
Dohuk: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 0.0, Feb.-May 08: 0.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 0.1
TOTAL: Dec. 07-Feb. 08: 54.7, Feb.-May 08: 55.0, Avg. Attacks from Feb. 05-May 08: 106.4

Iraqi Forces

Iraqi forces continue to grow. In January 2004 there were just over 108,000 police, soldiers, and border guards. By November 2008 there were over 550,000. There are plans for even more expansion with new equipment purchases and recruiting.

Iraqi Force Growth Totals (Police, National Guard – Ended in January 2005, Iraqi Armed Forces, Border Patrol):
May 2003: 7,000-9,000
January 2004: 108,800
January 2005: 125,373
January 2006: 227,300
January 2007: 323,000
June 2007: 353,100
December 2007: 439,678
January 2008: 441,779
June 2008: 478,524
November 2008: 558,279

Political Freedoms

There were three rankings of Iraq’s political system in the Iraq Index. Brookings rated Iraq quite high on political freedom compared to other countries in the Middle East. Based upon elections, fairness, the right to organize, power of politicians, existence of an opposition, transparency, minority participation, corruption, freedom of assembly, press and religion, independence of judiciary, rule of law, and property rights, Iraq was ranked fourth out of 20 with a score of 5.05. Israel was ranked the most free at 8.2 with Libya the least at 2.05. Reporters Without Borders and Transparency International however ranked Iraq near the bottom in the world in terms of press freedom and corruption. In 2008 Iraq was 158 out of 173 countries in media freedom, while 178 out of 180 nations in corruption.

Index of Political Freedom:
Note: Each country was scored on a 10-point system with 1 the lowest and 10 the highest.
Israel: 8.20
Lebanon: 6.55
Morocco: 5.20
Iraq: 5.05
Palestine: 5.05
Kuwait: 4.90
Tunisia: 4.60
Jordan: 4.45
Qatar: 4.45
Egypt: 4.30
Sudan: 4.30
Yemen: 4.30
Algeria: 4.15
Oman: 4.00
Bahrain: 3.85
Iran: 3.85
United Arab Emirates: 3.70
Saudi Arabia: 2.80
Syria: 2.80
Libya: 20.05

Iraq’s Rank In Reporters Without Borders’ Annual Press Freedom Index:
2003: Rank Tied for 124 out of 166 countries
2004: 148 out of 167 countries
2005: 157 out of 167 countries
2006: 154 out of 168 countries
2007: 157 out of 169 countries
2008: 158 out of 173 countries

Iraq’s Rank In Transparency International’s Corruption Index:
2003: Tied for 113 out of 133 countries
2004: Tied for 129 out of 146 countries
2005: Tied for 137 out of 159 countries
2006: Tied for 160 out of 163 countries
2007: 178 out of 180

Iraq’s Political System

In 2005 Iraq held two elections for government. The first was for provincial councils, and the second for parliament. The elections were known for their sectarianism, as the major Shiite, Kurdish, and Sunni coalitions won the majority of seats. The secular Iraqi National List was the only other group to win a large number of seats. No group won an outright majority however so the cabinet positions were divided up between the major parties, along with a few independents and smaller parties.

Seats In Parliament By Party:
United Iraqi Alliance: 83
Kurdish Alliance: 53
Iraqi Accordance Front: 44
Sadrist Movement: 30
Iraqi National List: 25
Fadhila Party: 15
Iraqi National Dialogue Front: 11
Islamic Union of Kurdistan: 5
Liberation and Reconciliation Bloc: 3
Message Carries: 3
Mothal Alousi List for the Iraqi Nation: 1
Iraqi Turkoman Front: 1
Yazidi Movement for Progress and Reform: 1
Al Rafadeen List: 1

Iraqi Leadership:
  • Prime Minister: Nouri al-Maliki, Shiite, Dawa
  • Deputy Prime Minister: Barham Salih, Kurd, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
  • Deputy Prime Minister: Rafie al-Issawi, Sunni, Iraqi People’s Conference, member of Iraqi Accordance Front
  • President: Jalal Talabani, Kurd, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
  • Vice President: Tarqi al-Heshemi, Sunni, Iraqi Islamic Party, part of Iraqi Accordance Front
  • Vice President: Adel Abd al-Mahdi, Shiite, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council

Iraqi Cabinet:
  • Trade Minister: Abd al-Falah al-Sudani, Shiite, Dawa
  • Education Minister: Khudayr al-Khuzai, Shiite, Dawa
  • National Security Minister: Shirwan al-Waili, Shiite, Dawa
  • Muncipalities & Public Works Minister: Riyadh Gharib, Shiite, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council
  • Finance & Banking Minister: Bayan Jabr, Shiite, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council
  • National Dialogue Minister: Akram al-Hakim, Shiite, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council
  • Tourism & Antiquities Minister: Qahtan Abbas Numan al-Jiburi, Shiite, United Iraqi Alliance, appointed 7/18/08
  • Provincial Affairs Minister: Safa al-Safi, Shiite, United Iraqi Alliance, appointed7/18/08
  • Transportation Minister: Amir Abd al-Jabar Ismail, Shiite, United Iraqi Alliance, appointed 7/18/08
  • Civil Society Minister: Thamir Jaraf al-Zubaydi, Shiite, United Iraqi Alliance, appointed 7/18/08
  • Minister of State Without Portfolio: Hasan Radhi Kazim al-Sari, Shiite, Hezbollah Movement in Iraq, close to Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council
  • Science & Technology Minister: Raid Fahmi Jahid, Shiite, Iraqi Communist Party
  • Oil Minister: Hussain al-Shahristani, Shiite, Independent
  • Agriculture Minister: Ali al-Bahadii, Shiite, Independent
  • Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Safa al-Din Muhammad al-Safi, Shiite, Independent
  • Labor & Social Affairs Minister: Mahmud Muhammad Jawad al-Radi, Shiite, Independent
  • Interior Minister: Jawad al-Bolani, Shiite, Independent
  • Electricity Minister: Karim Wahid al-hasan, Shiite, Independent
  • Water Minister: Latif Rashid, Kurd, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
  • Environment Minister: Nermin Othman, Kurd, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
  • Housing & Construction Minister: Bayan Dizayee, Kurd, Kurdistan Democratic Party
  • Industry & Minerals Minister: Fawzi al-Hariri, Christian Kurd, Kurdistan Democratic Party
  • Foreign Affairs: Hoshyar Mahmud Zebari, Kurd, Kurdistan Democratic Party
  • Displacement & Migraiton Minister: Abd al-Samad Sultan, Kurd, Faili Kurd
  • Human Rights Minister: Wijdan Mikhail Salim, Christian Kurd, Iraqi National Accord
  • Minister of State Without Portfolio: Ali Muhammad Ahmad, Kurd, Kurdistan Islamic Union
  • Culture Minister: Mahir Dalli Ibrahim al-Hadithi, Sunni, General Council for the People of Iraq, member of Iraqi Accordance Front, appointed 7/18/08
  • Higher Education Minister: Dr. Abd Dhiyab al-Ujayli, Sunni, Iraqi Islamic Party, member of Iraqi Accordance Front, appointed 7/18/08
  • Women’s Affairs Minister: Dr. Nawal Majid Hamid al-Samarr, Sunni, Iraqi Islamic Party, member of Iraqi Accordance Front, appointed 7/18/08
  • Foreign Affairs Minister: Dr. Muhammad Munajid Ifan al-Dulaymi, Sunni,Iraqi Accordance Front, appointed 7/18/08
  • Communications Minister: Faruq Abdul Qadir Abdul Rahman, Sunni, Iraqi Accordance Front
  • Planning Minister: Ali Baban, Sunni, Independent
  • Defense Minister: Abd al-Qadir Muhammad Jasim, Sunni, Independent
  • Minister of State Without Portfolio: Muhammad Abbas al-Uraybi, Shiite, Iraqi National List
  • Youth & Sport Minister: Jasim Muhammad Jafar, Shiite, Turkoman Islamic Union
  • Justice Minister, empty

Iraq’s Economy

Oil continues to dominate Iraq. The rise in oil prices is largely responsible for the growth of the Iraqi economy. Production however has been spotty since the U.S. invasion, regularly going up and down. In December 2003 Iraq produced 2.3 million barrels a day of crude, and in November 2008 there was little change at 2.39 million barrels. Exports have seen more of a gradual increase, but it is still a minimal one. In December 2003 there were 1.541 million barrels of oil exported, compared to 1.82 million in November 2008. Despite this lack of growth in production, Iraq’s economy has expanded from a -41.4% GDP decline in 2003 because of the invasion to a 7.0% GDP growth in 2008, largely funded by petroleum, and a massive influx of foreign assistance. Because of the improved security, Iraq is also finally attracting investment from other countries as well. Trade with neighboring states, especially Iran is also increasing. Not mentioned in the report however, is the fact that most of these products undermine Iraqi companies.

Iraqi Oil Production (Millions of Barrels/Day):
Estimated pre-war level 2.5
May 03: 0.3
December 03: 2.3
January 04: 2.44
June 04: 2.295
December 04: 2.16
January 05: 2.1
June 05: 2.17
December 05: 1.92
January 06: 1.73
June 06: 2.3
December 06: 2.15
January 07: 1.66
June 07: 2.0
December 07: 2.42
January 08: 2.24
February 08: 2.39
March 08: 2.38
April 08: 2.40
May 08: 2.50
June 08: 2.52
July 08: 2.54
August 08: 2.50
September 08: 2.37
October 08: 2.37
November 08: 2.39
Government Goal: 2.1

Oil Exports (Millions of Barrels/Day):
Estimated pre-war level: 1.7-2.5
May 03: 0
December 03: 1.541
January 04: 1.537
June 4: 1.148
December 04: 1.520
January 05: 1.367
June 05: 1.377
December 05: 1.071
January 06: 1.05
June 06: 1.67
December 06: 1.45
January 07: 1.30
June 07: 1.47
December 07: 1.93
January 08: 1.93
February 08: 1.93
March 08: 1.88
April 08: 1.96
May 08: 1.96
June 08: 1.96
July 08: 1.85
August 08: 1.70
September 08: 1.65
October 08: 1.69
November 08: 1.82

Oil Revenue From Exports ($ billions)
June 03: $0.2
December 03: $1.26
January 04: $1.26
June 04: $1.28
December 04: $1.44
January 05: $1.49
June 05: $2.03
December 05: $1.6
January 06: $1.84
June 06: $3.03
December 06: $2.46
January 07: $1.89
June 07: $2.87
December 07: $4.27
January 08: $5.21
February 08: $4.94
March 08: $5.94
April 08: $5.77
May 08: $6.65
June 08: $6.99
July 08: $7.01
August 08: $5.65
September 08: $4.64
October 08: $3.68
November 08: $1.82

Estimated Amount of Foreign Direct Investment Attracted Per Month in Iraq
2004: $10 million
2005: $10 million
2006: $10 million
2007: $10 million
2008: $100 million

Annual Tariff Collected At Iraq’s Zurbatiyah Border Crossing In Wasit With Iran
2006: $800,000
2007: $1,800,000
2008: $6,900,000

GDP Estimates and Projections 2002-2008

2002: GDP $20.5 bil, Per capita GDP $802, Real GDP Change: -7.8%
2003: GDP $13.6 bil, Per capita GDP $518, Real GDP Change: -41.4%
2004: GDP $25.7 bil, Per capita GDP $949, Real GDP Change: +46.5%
2005: GDP 34.5 bil, Per capita GDP $1,237, Real GDP Change: +3.7%
2006: GDP $48.5 bil, Per Capita GDP $1,687, Real GDP Change: +5.9%
2007: GDP $55.4 bil, Real GDP Change: +4.1%
2008: GDP $60.9 bil, Real GDP Change: +7.0%

U.S. Spending In Iraq

The United States has been the largest benefactor of Iraq since the U.S. invasion as one would expect. America has appropriated $20.8 billion for Iraqi reconstruction and security, with $20.2 billion of it obligated. That development project is coming to an end however as Iraq is expected to take on most of this responsibility next year. As the war has dragged on, the medical costs for the returning troops are also increasing with the VA medical bill reaching $1 billion in 2008 for Iraq war veterans. Including military expenditures, the U.S. will have spent $653.9 billion by the end of fiscal year 2009 on the war.

What’s interesting about the figures is that the U.S. has been unable to spend a vast majority of its money in Iraq’s provinces, something that Baghdad is regularly criticized for. In 2007 for example, America failed to spend 50% of its capital budget for projects in thirteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces. From January to July 2008 things didn’t seem to have improved with the U.S. spending less than 10% of its money in nine governorates.

U.S. Aid For Iraq As Of November 2008:
Appropriated: $20.8 billion
Obligated: $20.2 billion
Disbursed: $19.4 billion

U.S. Money Appropriated for Operation Iraqi Freedom:
  • FY 2003: DOD $50.0 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $3.0 bil, Total: $35.0 bil
  • FY 2004: DOD $56.4 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $19.5 bil, Total: $75.9 bil
  • FY 2005: DOD $83.4 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $2.0 bil, VA Medical 200 mil, Total: $85.5 bil
  • FY 2006: DOD $98.1 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $3.2 bil, VA Medical 400 mil, Total: 102.0 bil
  • FY 2007: DOD $129.6 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $3.2 bil, VA Medical 900 mil, Total: $133.6 bil
  • FY 2008: DOD $145.4 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $2.8 bil, VA Medical 1 bil, Total: $149.2 bil
  • FY 2009: DOD $53.4 bil, Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Corps $800 mil, VA Medical $0, Total: $54.2 bil
  • Total FY 2003-2009: $653.3 bil

U.S. Capital Budget Expended By Province – 2007:
Diyala: $110 mil allocated, N/A expanded, N/A% expended
Anbar: $107 mil allocated, $4 mil expended, 4% expended
Muthanna: $52 mil allocated, $10 mil expended, 19% expended
Basra: $195 mil allocated, $41 mil expended, 21% expended
Ninewa: $226 mil allocated, $59 mil expended, 26% expended
Baghdad: $560 mil allocated, $174 mil expended, 31% expended
Salahaddin: $93 mil allocated, $32 mil expended, 34% expended
Tamim: $91 mil allocated, $31 mil expended, 34% expended
Qadisiyah: $64 mil allocated, $25 mil expended, 39% expended
Dhi Qar: $138 mil allocated, $55 mil expended, 40% expended
Karbala: $71 mil allocated, $29 mil expended, 41% expended
Wasit: $83 mil allocated, $34 mil expended, 41% expended
Babil: $127 mil allocated, $62 mil expended, 49% expended
Maysan: $76 mil allocated, $39 mil expended, 51% expended
Najaf: $88 mil allocated, $56 mil expended, 64% expended
Kurdistan (Dohuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah): $1,560 mil allocated, $1,487 mil expended, 95% expended

U.S. Capital Budget Expended By Province – January-July 2008:
Anbar: $192 mil allocated, N/A expended, N/A% expended
Diyala: $168 mil allocated, N/A expended, N/A% expended
Muthanna: $87 mil allocated, N/A expended, N/A% expended
Basra: $322 mil allocated, 0% expended, 0% expended
Ninewa: $359 mil allocated, 0% expended, 0% expended
Qadisiyah: $137 mil allocated, $0 expended, 0% expended
Dhi Qar: $219 mil allocated, 100,000 expended, 0.1% expended
Wasit: $137 mil allocated, 300,000 expended, 0.2% expended
Baghdad: $885 mil allocated, $15 mil expended, 2% expended
Babil: $206 mil allocated, $5 mil expended, 3% expended
Karbala: $170 mil allocated, $7 mil expended, 4% expended
Tamim: $146 mil allocated, $14 mil expended, 9% expended
Kurdistan (Douk, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah): $2,528 mil allocated, $266 mil expended, 11% expended
Salahaddin: $150 mil allocated, $16 mil expended, 11% expended
Najaf: $150 mil allocated, $19 mil expended, 13% expended
Maysan: $124 mil allocated, $17 mil expended, 14% expended

Judicial System

Like the rest of Iraq, the country’s judicial system had to start from scratch after the U.S. invasion. The Americans have been working on building up capacity, but it has been a slow and arduous process. The result is that Iraq still doesn’t have a functioning investigative or court system. The problem is with the huge amount of suspected insurgents arrested in the previous years that have completely overwhelmed the system. Violence is still directed at judges and lawyers as well. Corruption is also an issue with some. The number of judges is one indicator of progress. While the number has steadily increased, it is still not enough to deal with the caseload in the country.

Number of Trained Iraqi Judges:
May 2003: 0
June 2004: 175
May 2005: 351
October 2005: 351
August 2006: 740
November 2006: 800
January 2007: 870
August 2007: 1,100
November 2007: 1,200
March 2008: 1,200
June 2008: 1,180
40 judges have been assassinated since 2005
135 judges have been removed for corruption of because of the deBaathification process

Professional Brain Drain

There has been a massive brain drain since 2003. Many of the country’s professionals have fled the country. Even with violence subsiding since the Surge, few have come back. The Iraq Index provides numbers on Iraq’s doctors as an example of this debilitating loss of the country’s human capital.

Doctors In Iraq
Doctors before 2003 Invasion: 34,000
Doctors who have left since 2003: 20,000 estimate
Doctors murdered since 2003 invasion: 2,000
Doctors kidnapped: 250
Avg. salary of Iraqi doctor: 7.5 million dinars per year (around $5,100)
Annual graduates from Iraqi medical schools: 2,250
% of medical graduates that will work outside of Iraq: 20%


O’Hanlon, Michael and Campbell, Jason, “Iraq Index,” Brookings Institution, 11/20/08

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Basra Federal Region Update

Today, December 27, up to 3,000 people marched in the city of Basra in support of a federal region for the province. Parliamentarian and former governor of Basra Wail Abd al-Latif has proposed the idea. In November 2008 he turned in an initial petition with enough signatures for the Iraqi Election Commission to move forward on the plan. Latif and his followers now have to get 10% of the province’s voting population, approximately 140,939 people, to sign a second petition. That effort started on December 14, and they have until January 14 to finish. If they accomplish that there has to be an election within 15 days. The initiative will pass with 51% of the vote. A Basra federal region has been on the mind of Latif and others for quite some time, but will face opposition from many powerful parties.

Latif has been pushing the idea of a separate Basra region for several years now. In 2005 he first presented the plan as an amendment to the constitution. At the heart of the proposal is the deep-seated conviction amongst many Basrans that the central authorities and Baghdad have ignored them for generations. In turn, Latif has said that Basra needs a share of its vast oil wealth so that it can develop. This is a sizeable amount as the province has 60% of Iraq’s oil reserves, produces 1.8 million of Iraq’s 2.6 million barrels a day of crude, has the only major port through which the majority of the country’s petroleum exports pass through. He noted that the region would not be like Kurdistan however, and sign its own oil contracts, something he has been critical of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the past. Latif just wants Basra to receive a share of the oil profits.

The proposal has already gained a wide variety of supporters and detractors. The head of the Basra provincial council and the governor of the province were the first to publicly state they were for the idea. Their party, Fadhila, has had a similar plan for quite some time as well. In 2007 they said one dollar from each barrel of oil from Basra should go into a development fund for the province, while the governor twice called for a Basra federal region in 2008. They are already organizing social groups, and using their control of the provincial government to rally support. Several Shiite independents and tribes from the area are also pro-region. Finally, a parliamentarian from the Kurdish Alliance voiced support for the idea in November 2008 as well. Those opposed are the major Shiite and Sunni parties. First, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been centralizing power around him in 2008. He would be against a lessoning of Baghdad’s power, especially over the majority of the country’s oil reserves. Oil Minister Hussein Sharhistani, who is running with Maliki’s Dawa party in the provincial elections, has repeatedly stated that all oil profits must go through the central government as well. He recently opposed the Kurds' call for a share of the oil profits. Moqtada al-Sadr also believes in authority being centralized in Baghdad, and one of his spokesmen in Najaf said the Basra idea would be bad for the country. There have even been discussions between Dawa and the Sadrists, two deep-seated foes, to work together in the province to block the proposal. The Iraqi Islamic Party is also against, reflecting the fears of many Sunnis that the Shiites and Kurds will control much of the country’s oil. The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), although having little influence in Basra itself, has proposed a southern Shiite region before. A separate Basra area would hamper that idea. The Communist Party in Basra, and former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National List are also in opposition.

Whether the Basra federal region goes up for a vote or not in January 2009 is a huge gamble for Latif and the Fadhila Party. It will happen just before the provincial elections on January 31. If the proposal passes both Latif and Fadhila will benefit. If it fails however, they will be going into the elections from a position of weakness. The Fadhila party is already widely unpopular for its lack of providing services and growth in Basra, and was a target of the government’s crackdown in March. The proposal also pits centralists like the Prime Minister against regionalists. Not only that, but local parties like Fadhila are against larger sectarian region backers such as the SIIC. The Oil Minister is also trying to fend off the Kurds' aspirations to control their oil, while building up the state’s capacity at a time when profits are dropping, and the country’s petroleum infrastructure is in dire need of repair. Having a Basra region with most of the oil reserves and the main pipeline and port could derail his plan. All of these factors have already pitted the major national parties against the local Basra ones. Intimidation, bribery, and the use of the security forces for political ends could all ensue to sway the process.


Abouzeid, Rania, “A New Twist in Iraq’s Shi’ite Power Struggle,” Time, 11/16/08

Agence France Presse, “Basra vote aims to benefit from Iraq oil wealth: planner,” 12/8/08

Alsumaria, “Basra heading towards independent region,” 11/17/08
- “Lights shed on federalism in Iraq Basra,” 11/13/08

Amara, Mostafa, “Kurds cannot collect oil royalties, says minister,” Azzaman, 12/22/08

Aswat al-Iraq, “Establishing Basra region easing off political congestion – MP,” 11/14/08
- “Sunni scholars, seculars object Basra federacy,” 11/15/08

Mohammed, Aref, “Thousands demand separate region for Iraq’s Basra,” Reuters, 12/27/08

Visser, Reidar, “The Basra Federalism Initiative Enters Stage Two,”, 12/15/08

Al-Wazzan, Saleem, “basra’s dominant parties expect to maintain power,” Niqash, 12/15/08

This Day In Iraqi History - Jul 20 Ayatollah Khomeini endorsed ceasefire in Iran-Iraq War

  1920 Pro-Independence delegation of Iraqis met UK High Commissioner Wilson who invited 20 pro-British Iraqis Meeting w...