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

    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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora