News / Middle East

Iraq Civilian Casualties for 2010 Lowest Since US Invasion

Iraqi security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, 12 Dec 2010
Iraqi security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, 12 Dec 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

A British-based group reports that the civilian death toll in Iraq for 2010 dropped to the lowest figure since the 2003 invasion of the country. The group, however, foresees a low-level of endemic violence that is likely to continue. Preliminary figures compiled by Iraq Body Count point to a civilian death toll of 3,976 as of December 25, compared to 4,680 in 2009.

Two-thirds of civilian deaths this year were caused by bombings attributed by authorities to sectarian and terrorist groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq, the report said. Actions by U.S. troops led directly to 32 civilian deaths this year, compared with 64 in 2009.

The overall civilian toll dropped by half in the first month after the United States declared the official end of combat operations in late August, and stayed at the lower levels through the end of the year.

Husham al Rikabi of Iraq's National Media Center tells VOA that the overall security situation in Baghdad and other parts of the country has been improving lately due to a number of high-profile arrests by security forces.

VOA's Steve Norman interviews Hamit Dardagan, co-founder of Iraq Body Count, on the latest finding:

Iraqi security forces have arrested several terrorist kingpins as well as dismantled al-Qaida networks active in Baghdad, Diyala, Anbar province and Mosul, he says. Rikabi also points out that security has improved in those areas due to the operations, and he thinks security forces will clean up remaining pockets of al- Qaida now that political leaders have finally formed a new government.

But Iraq Body Count notes that violence in Iraq was about the same during both the first and the second halves of 2010, suggesting the security situation is not improving.

Analysts point out that several high profile suicide operations this past week in the Anbar Province capital of Ramadi and in Mosul may suggest that a low-level of violence could continue in the country for the foreseeable future.

Iraq expert Peter Harling of the International Crisis Group in Damascus, nevertheless, believes that Iraq has come a long way since the dark days of 2006 and 2007 when sectarian violence reached new heights:

"Iraq has been recovering from what was a frightfully bloody conflict, particularly in 2006 and 2007, and the dynamics of that conflict have been shifting in ways which offer some measure of stability, of protection to civilians," Harling says. "You still have bombs being set off in Baghdad and, particularly, in other parts of the country, too, but this has nothing to do with the large scale civil war basically which was taking place in the capital and some other areas of the country in 2006 and 2007."

Harling also argues that using body count statistics to measure the state of the global security situation in Iraq is not necessarily a good barometer.

"I wouldn't stress the body count as the only metric which is pertinent in Iraq. The dynamics of the conflict have been shifting and this is a conflict which is far more political than it ever was. It's really measureable now in terms of what laws are being passed. In particular, in the field of oil legislation, reconciliation, the status of a town like Kirkuk, oversight over the security apparatus. All this requires qualitative more than quantitative metrics and I think it's time to move on, away from the body count," says Harling.

Iraq Body Count tallies deaths of non-combatants killed by military or paramilitary action and the breakdown of security following the invasion. The death figures come from cross-checked media reports, hospitals, morgues, non-governmental organizations and official figures.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid