Iraq Body Count’s (IBC) visual update yesterday of total numbers of killed civilians in Iraq since 2003 was long overdue. The many reports that 2013 was the deadliest year after 2008 had not been properly illustrated since so-far not confirmed numbers since August were still missing. The new graph shows preliminary numbers in grey.
The reported civilian death toll in the second year after President Obama had declared end of the war and “a success” sharply increased to 9,475, just short of the 2008 number of 10,130. What is of much concern is that figures were especially rising in the second half of 2013. As IBC’s Lily Hamourtziadou analyzes,
“The initial unprovoked attack of 2003 by one of the world’s most powerful states was the first one. It was followed by years of occupation, insurgency, terrorism and increasingly competing interests. Internally, the interests of the Sunnis, the Shias, the Kurds, the religious fanatics, the secular, the non-Muslim; externally, the interests of the US and the UK, Iran and Syria, all of which want to expand their political and ideological sphere of influence at any cost. Those competing interests led to the internal collapse of Iraqi society and remain the sad legacy of the invasion.
“Iraq is now a fragmented state, where each party struggles to gain power, at the expense of the others, as they have incompatible security requirements, which means that the security of each cannot be assured at the same time as the security of its rivals or enemies. Thus they seek relative gains, where their own gain is a loss to another, rather than absolute gains, which require cooperation. In a state as weak and fragmented as Iraq, all sides see the struggle for power and its acquisition as a means to their survival.
“Al Qaeda in Iraq has found fertile ground in all this discontent and has attacked the Iraqi government, as the Syrian government is being attacked this year, by killing members of its army, its police force, its politicians and journalists, as well as its Shia population. Indeed, the last six months have seen the massacres of entire families, as they sleep, or travel to a holy place, sometimes 5, sometimes 12 family members at a time… The faults are now as wide and as deep as trenches.”
1 January 2014 @ 5:05 pm.
Last modified January 1, 2014.