Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 2011 Deadliest Month For U.S. Forces In Iraq In Over Two Years

Three more American soldiers died in Iraq on June 26, 2011 making it the deadliest month for U.S. forces in over two years. Two soldiers were killed by grenades and small arms fire in Diyala province. This might have been the work of Sadr’s Promised Day Brigades. Also on that day, a U.S. soldier died in a non-hostile incident in Wasit province. That raises to twelve the total number of U.S. troops who have died this month, the most since May 2009 when twelve were also killed.

Shiite Special Groups have been behind all of the casualties in June. Hezbollah Brigades took responsibility for a rocket attack upon Camp Loyalty in Baghdad on June 6 that led to six deaths. Two days later another soldier died from an IED in Najaf. Then on June 13, two more were killed by another IED attack in Wasit. Because those attacks were in the south, Shiite militants probably carried them out. Hezbollah Brigades posts monthly videos of their operations on its website, which then get posted on Western sites such as Youtube. Iraq’s Sotaliraq reported on June 22, that the League of the Righteous was trying to recruit fighters in Basra, Najaf, and Qadisiyah, had lots of money to offer including a monthly salary, housing, and cash for every successful attack upon American forces. (1) The paper reported that a liaison officer from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards was traveling around southern Iraq to meet with League leaders, and coordinate their operations. Then on June 27, Sadrists told Alsumaria TV that its Promised Day Brigades was behind ten mortar and rocket attacks upon U.S. bases in Baghdad, Ninewa, Diyala, Tamim, Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar, and Muthanna, which they claimed killed and wounded both American and Iraqi soldiers from June 21 to 26. They could have been referring to the June 26 attack in Diyala that led to two American casualties. As reported before, Special Groups have been dramatically increasing their operations this year as the deadline for the U.S. withdrawal at the end of the year draws nearer. That’s because both they and their Iranian sponsors want to take responsibility for the Americans leaving the country.

While Shiites have been behind most of the attacks this year, insurgents have also played a role. In January there were five U.S. soldiers killed in hostile actions, four of which were done by Sunni militants in northern Iraq. Since then, Special Groups have been targeting the Americans much more. Out of the 13 incidents in 2011, eight were probably done by Special Groups, two by insurgents, and three in Baghdad, which could be by either group. In total, 33 Americans have died this year in Iraq, with 16 killed by Shiites, 4 by Sunnis, and four of unknown origins, with the rest in non-hostile incidents.

U.S. forces are due to withdraw by December 31, 2011 unless Baghdad gives them an extension. Whether that will happen is still a hot topic of debate within Iraq’s political establishment. What is much more sure is that Shiite militants, their Iranian backers, and to a lesser extent, Sunni insurgents, will continue to target American soldiers until they leave the country. The Special Groups especially have dramatically increased their operations in Baghdad and Southern Iraq, launching weekly attacks upon U.S. bases and patrols. Only a fraction of these incidents are ever reported in the press. That rise in activity is the reason why casualties have gone up this year, and that trend is likely to continue because all of Iraq's militants want to claim that they were the reason why the Americans withdrew.


Date
No. Of Casualties
Cause
City
Province
Likely Culprits
1/2/11
2
IED
Taji
Salahaddin
Insurgents
1/15/11
2
Small arms fire
Mosul
Ninewa
Insurgents
1/15/11
1
RPG
Baghdad
Baghdad
Unknown
1/17/11
1
Non-hostile
Tikrit
Salahaddin
N/A
Jan. 11
5 Total
3 Hostile,
1 Non-Hostile
4 Cities
3 Provinces
2 Insurgents
1 Unknown
2/15/11
1
Non-hostile
Baghdad
Baghdad
N/A
2/17/11
1
Non-hostile
Al Asad Air Base
Anbar
N/A
Feb. 11
2 Total
2 Non-Hostile
2 Cities
2 Provinces
N/A
3/20/11
1
IED
Samawa
Muthanna
Special Group
Mar. 11
1 Total
1 Hostile
1 City
1 Province
1 Special Group
4/2/11
1
Indirect fire
?
Babil
Special Group
4/2/11
1
Indirect fire
Baghdad
Baghdad
Unknown
4/3/11
1
Non-hostile
Mosul
Ninewa
N/A
4/4/11
1
Non-hostile
Baghdad
Baghdad
N/A
4/4/11
1
Non-hostile
Mosul
Ninewa
N/A
4/10/11
1
Non-hostile
Kirkuk
Tamim
N/A
4/19/11
1
Non-hostile
?
?
N/A
4/22/11
2
IED
Numaniya
Maysan
Special Group
4/27/11
1
Non-hostile
?
Babil
N/A
4/29/11
1
RPG
?
Qadisiyah
Special Group
Apr. 11
11 Total
4 Hostile,
6 Non-Hostile
4+ Cities
7 Provinces
3 Special Groups
1 Unknown
5/22/11
2
IED
Baghdad
Baghdad
Unknown
May 11
2 Total
1 Hostile
1 City
1 Province
1 Unknown
6/6/11,
6/18/11
6
Rocket
Baghdad
Baghdad
Hezbollah Brigades
6/8/11
1
IED
Najaf
Najaf
Special Group
6/13/11
2
IED
?
Wasit
Special Group
6/26/11
2
Grenade, Hostile fire
?
Diyala
Promised Day Brigades
6/26/11
1
Non-hostile
?
Wasit
N/A
6/1-26/11
12 Total
4 Hostile,
1 Non-Hostile
2+ Cities
4 Provinces
4 Special Groups
Total 2011
33 Total
13 Hostile,
10 Non-Hostile
9+ Cities
11 Provinces
2 Insurgents
8 Special Groups
3 Unknown

 FOOTNOTES


1. Sotaliraq, “League of the Righteous in Iraq, giving their followers the amount of two million dinars for every military operation, and news on the financing of Iranian,” 6/22/11

SOURCES

Alsumaria, “Mehdi Army Promised Day Brigade claims responsibility for missile attacks on US bases,” 6/27/11

Arango, Tim, “Spike in U.S. Deaths in Iraq Raises Worries,” New York Times, 6/26/11

Icasualties, “Iraq Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities”

Sotaliraq, “League of the Righteous in Iraq, giving their followers the amount of two million dinars for every military operation, and news on the financing of Iranian,” 6/22/11

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