Iraq’s Security Situation Looking Bleaker By The Day

October 16, 2013 at 2:42 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Iraq’s Security Situation Looking Bleaker By The Day

August 2013 was the worst month of the year for Iraq’s fragile security situation. Insurgents carried out a huge number of mass casualty bombings, as the public seemed to teeter on the edge of losing faith in the government to protect them. There were increasing stories of sectarian retaliation up and down the length of the state. That begs the question of which direction Iraq is heading. Is this the new norm or are can things get any worse?
The four organizations that track deaths in Iraq were in rare unanimity in September. Agence France Presse had 880 killed, up from 693 in August. The United Nations reported 979 deaths, an increase from August’s 804, while Iraq Body Count had 1,220 fatalities in September compared to 915 in August. Even the Iraqi government couldn’t deny the carnage with 971 deaths. That was only the third time this year that Baghdad offered realistic numbers for the level of violence in the country. Usually their figures are a fraction of what the other three record. For the year, both Iraq Body Count and the United Nations have over 6,000 people dying so far with 6,293 and 6,551 respectively. Those are the highest numbers since 2008. On average that’s over 20 people killed per day in 2013. To make things worse this came during the latest government crackdown Revenge of the Martyrs, which began in August. The government has bragged about hundreds being arrested, but this has not affected security at all as the casualty figures show. In fact, it is likely making matters worse by turning the very public the security forces should be protecting and relying upon for information against them.
Deaths In Iraq 2003-2013
Month/Year
Iraq Body Count
Avg. Daily Deaths
Iraqi Ministries
Avg. Daily Deaths
United Nations
Avg. Daily Deaths
Agence France Presse
Avg. Daily Deaths
2003
4,675
19.0
2004
11,608
31.8l
11,313
30.99
2005
16,186
44.2
15,817
43.3
2006
29,144
79.8
32,622
89.3
34,452
94.3
2007
25,519
69.9
19,155
52.4
2008
9,839
26.9
9,046
24.7
11,536
31.6
2009
5,132
14.0
3,682
10.0
4,611
12.6
2010
4,109
11.2
3,949
10.8
4,855
13.3
2011
4,147
11.3
2,781
7.6
4,150
11.3
2012
4,573
12.5
2,174
5.9
3,878
10.6
1,531
(7 mo.)
7.1
Jan. 2013
357
11.5
177
5.7
319
10.2
246
7.9
Feb.
358
12.7
136
4.8
418
14.9
220
7.8
Mar.
395
12.7
163
5.2
456
14.7
271
8.7
Apr.
545
18.1
208
6.9
712
23.7
461
15.3
May
887
28.6
681
21.9
1,045
33.7
614
19.8
Jun.
648
21.6
240
8.0
761
25.3
452
15.0
Jul.
968
31.2
989
31.9
1,057
34.0
848
27.3
Aug.
915
29.5
365
11.7
804
25.9
693
22.3
Sep.
1,220
40.6
971
32.3
979
32.6
880
29.3
2013 Totals
6,293
22.9
3,930
14.2
6,551
23.8
4,685
17.0
Days With 30 Or More Fatalities Per Month In 2013, Iraq Body Count
January 2013 – 5 Total
1/3/13 – 34 killed
1/16/13 – 46 killed
1/17/13 – 31 killed
1/22/13 – 34 killed
1/23/13 – 46 killed
February 2013 – 3 Total
2/3/13 – 40 killed
2/8/13 – 38 killed
2/17/13 – 59 killed
March 2013 – 3 Total
3/14/13 – 34 killed
3/19/13 – 73 killed
3/29/13 – 30 killed
April 2013 – 7 Total
4/1/13 – 55 killed
4/6/13 – 34 killed
4/15/13 – 62 killed
4/18/13 – 30 killed
4/23/13 – 71 killed
4/24/13 – 32 killed
4/29/13 – 34 killed
May 2013 – 10 Total
5/1/13 – 31 killed
5/15/13 – 40 killed
5/17/13 – 93 killed
5/18/13 – 33 killed
5/20/13 – 134 killed
5/21/13 – 46 killed
5/27/13 – 81 killed
5/28/13 – 45 killed
5/29/13 – 35 killed
5/30/13 – 34 killed
June 2013 – 7 Total
6/10/13 61 killed
6/16/13 49 killed
6/18/13 39 killed
6/23/13 36 killed
6/24/13 46 killed
6/25/13 45 killed
6/27/13 34 killed
July 2013 – 14 Total
7/1/13 43 killed
7/2/13 59 killed
7/11/13 59 killed
7/12/13 49 killed
7/13/13 37 killed
7/14/13 66 killed
7/19/13 36 killed
7/20/13 80 killed
7/21/13 41 killed
7/23/13 38 killed
7/24/13 37 killed
7/25/13 48 killed
7/29/13 60 killed
7/30/13 50 killed
August 2013 – 11 Total
8/6/13 – 50 killed
8/7/13 – 34 killed
8/10/13 – 94 killed
8/12/13 – 37 killed
8/15/13 – 42 killed
8/20/13 – 34 killed
8/23/13 – 46 killed
8/25/13 – 55 killed
8/28/13 – 98 killed
8/29/13 – 41 killed
8/31/13 – 30 killed
September 2013 – 18 Total
9/1/13 73 killed
9/2/13 33 killed
9/3/13 87 killed
9/10/13 34 killed
9/11/13 57 killed
9/13/13 50 killed
9/14/13 54 killed
9/16/13 67 killed
9/17/13 50 killed
9/19/13 33 killed
9/20/13 33 killed
9/21/13 116 killed
9/22/13 39 killed
9/23/13 46 killed
9/25/13 47 killed
9/26/13 49 killed
9/29/13 85 killed
9/30/13 62 killed
The high death counts were due to the large number of bombings launched by the insurgency, which in turn have led to Iraqis turning on each other. In September there were 18 days with 30 or more fatalities each, the most for the year. That was topped off by September 21 when Iraq Body Count recorded 116 killed, the highest one day figure in 2013. 107 of those died in Baghdad mostly from a suicide bomber who set off his explosive device at a funeral in Sadr City. That was matched by nine other days with 50 or more deaths. Al Qaeda in Iraq is also continuing with its bombing campaign in the south, which began in December 2012. On September 15, the organization was able to carry out simultaneous attacks in five cities, Hillah, Karbala, Kut, Basra, and Nasiriyah killing a total of 40 people. The high level of violence has put the population on edge. After the attack on the 21st for example local citizens in the area blocked off the streets, armed men were seen walking the area, while the security forces withdrew and government offices closed. There were calls for public executions of several people who were captured in the neighborhood who were believed to be behind the bombing. Five days later when there was a funeral procession for the victims people again expressed their frustrations by attacking the district council building, and once again called for the suspected insurgents to be turned over to them. This came on top of stories of members of the Sadoun tribe in Dhi Qar being forced out of their homes in retaliation for attacks upon Shiites in the rest of the country, Sunnis being killed in Basra, and bound men being found shot in the head in various parts of Baghdad. Those types of incidents have not been seen in Iraq since the civil war years of 2005-2007. If the public feels like the government is no longer effective in ensuring their safety there may be more of these stories. That could point to the breakdown of society and the return of another large-scale sectarian conflict.
Iraq is facing a resurgent insurgency. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been able to rebuild since the U.S. military withdrawal, and expand due to the Syrian conflict. The overall insurgency has also found new supporters after the government raid upon the Hawija protest site. The number of attacks and deaths each month has skyrocketed since then. Society is fraying as a result. Daily life continues but people are becoming afraid to go to certain areas like large markets in Baghdad out of fear of bombings. More importantly, there are increasing stories of sectarian retaliatory attacks against Sunnis for the bombings of Shiites. This may become the new norm in Iraq with large explosions every couple days and deepening divisions as a result. At worse, the situation could continue to escalate and the Islamists may succeed in rekindling the civil war, which will bring the whole country down.
SOURCES
Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Gunmen attack Sunni town in Iraq,” Associated Press, 9/24/13
Agence France Presse, “Iraq casualties from violence (2013),” 10/1/13
Arango, Tim, “Rise in Deadly Attacks on Shiites in Iraq Stirs Anger at Government,” New York Times, 9/27/13
Associated Press, “Attacks Kill Scores in Iraq as Violence Surges,” 9/21/13
Edwards, Kelly, “Prison break and violence levels demand Maliki security response: 2013 Iraq Update #32,” Institute for the Study of War, 8/13/13
Iraq Body Count, “Recent Events”
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Dozens Killed In Baghdad Attacks,” 10/1/13
Al Rafidayn, “Dozens of families of victims of bombings in Sadr City attack stones at the building of Municipal Council,” 9/26/13
Salaheddin, Sinan and Gamel, Kim, “Nearly 1,000 Iraqis killed in September, UN says,” Associated Press, 10/1/13

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