The last two quarterly reports to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) contained statistics on the total number of attacks from April to December 2008. For the beginning of that year, the reports contained a different metric using average daily attacks instead. As reported before, last year saw a steady decline in the number of deaths in Iraq. The casualties, depending upon the source dropped to 2003 or 2004 levels. According to the January 2009 SIGIR report, Iraqi civilian deaths are down 80% from June 2007 to December 2008. Iraqi security forces' casualties dropped 84%, and Coalition deaths are down 88% for that same time period. Attacks also declined 86% to around the same amount as 2003. From April 1 to September 30, 2008 the average number of attacks per month stayed almost the same at just over 1,700. From October 1 to December 31 however attacks dropped to approximately 1,100. The fact that was an almost 90% drop from the middle of 2007 shows just how massive the conflict in Iraq was. Attacks are now largely based upon the struggle for power rather than sect, and are nowhere near what they were in recent years. The country remains an extremely dangerous place, but has a new post-sectarian war status quo.
Southern Iraq and Kurdistan were the most peaceful parts of Iraq, while the Sunni and mixed sect-ethnic provinces accounted for the vast majority of violence. Most of the conflict in the south was between the feuding Shiite parties the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and the Sadrists. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki became involved when he sent forces to crackdown on the Mahdi Army in early 2008. That has largely ended leading to few acts of violence there now. In Kurdistan the tight control over the entry of non-Kurds has largely deterred attacks. Muthanna, Karbala, and Najaf all had single digit attacks from April to December 2008. The three Kurdistan provinces of Dohuk, Irbil, and Sulaymaniya only had 12 for that time period, followed by 33 in Qadisiyah, 45 in Dhi Qar, 51 in Wasit, and 94 in Maysan. That last province was the only one that had an increase in attacks from April to December because of the government's move against the Sadrists there. Basra had 145, but that was because of the end of the security operation against the Mahdi Army there as well that started in March 2008. From April to July there were 108 attacks there, but that quickly dropped to 26 from July to September, and eleven from October to the end of the year. Babil was the one southern province that had a large number of attacks consistently for the reporting period with 197 total. The remaining six provinces was the scene of most of the attacks in the country. Anbar had 646 where insurgents still carry out attacks against the Awakening tribes. Tamim with 677 contains the disputed city of Kirkuk, which has split Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and Christians there. Diyala had 1,321 attacks from April to December. It is ruled by Shiites, but has a Sunni majority. The Sons of Iraq there have also been a target of insurgents, and the Kurds desire to annex northern strips of the province. Salahaddin with 1,573 attacks is a largely Sunni governorate, but the provincial council is run by Kurds. Ninewa with 3,801 attacks is ethnically divided between Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, and other smaller minority groups, and also has Kurdish leadership. Finally, the capital Baghdad has always had the most attacks with 3,801 as it is the seat of power.
Total Number of Attacks In Iraq From April 1-December 31, 2008
Total Attacks 4/1/08-7/1/08
Total Attacks 7/1/08-9/30/08
Total Attacks 10/1/08-12/31/08
Kurdistan (Dohuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniya)
Avg. Per Month
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, "Quarterly Report to the United States Congress," 10/30/08
- "Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress," 1/30/09