Violence in Iraq is Waning

CNN reports something that really surprises me, that the number of violent deaths in Iraq has fallen since American troops left the country. In fact, March had the lowest number of deaths since we invaded in 2003.

Violence in Iraq killed 112 people in March, the lowest monthly death toll since the U.S-led invasion in 2003, officials said Monday.

According to interior ministry figures, 78 civilians were killed in March, along with 12 Iraqi soldiers and 22 police officers.

Until now, the lowest monthly death toll was in November 2009. That month, the country recorded 122 deaths.

A lot of people, including me, thought that the withdrawal of American troops would likely lead to an increase in sectarian and tribal violence. But I sure hope this continues. I’d love to be wrong.

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  • sithrazer

    I don’t think it’s all that surprising. I think a lot of it had to do with the invasion and presence of American troops to begin with, be it unrest amongst Iraqi citizens or an influx of external militant/terrorist groups. With the withdrawel of American troops, Iraqi’s lose an external symbol to focus discontent and the militant/terrorist groups won’t stick around while the US moves on.

    I could be completely off base, though, as I’m no expert and it’s mostly conjecture on my part.

  • iangould

    The article points out that the death toll can vary significantly from month to month so while this is good news it’s hard to tell how significant it is.

  • See? And you liberals scoffed! The invasion worked! Now, on to Iran!

  • jamessweet

    It seems like the numbers so far aren’t really indicative of a trend either way — this would be consistent with a flat curve.

    Still, there hasn’t been an explosion of sectarian violence, and that’s an encouraging sign.

  • Stevarious

    That’s why I love being a pessimist. It’s usually quite a delight to be proven wrong.

  • Chiroptera

    Huh. I admit to being surprised as well. I would have thought it would have taken longer for a particular faction of thugs to be able to dominate and clamp down on the others.

  • fckwp

    (BTW, Ed, it took me twenty minutes to finally be able to login/regist and post a comment. I’m using this name because I seem to be registered under the usual names, and WP [curse it’s name] will not send a new password to the e-mail associated with it].

    In terms of violence waning, remember that there was a massive ethnic cleansing, starting in 2006 or earlier, which racked up hundreds of thousands of deaths, and millions of refugees. After that, most of the killing had been done.

    I’m sure that in a world with a victorious Third Reich, the death rate in the former USSR would have declined sharply by 1950 or so, simply because the major ‘work’ had been done.

  • dingojack

    Puting that into perspective:

    112 deaths over 12 months is 1344 per year, in a country with a population of 31,129,225 people* or 4.1375 deaths by violence per 100,000.

    The United States has 4.14 homicides using firearms per 100,000**.

    Weird and scary world ain’t it?



    * CIA Factbook, July 2012 estimate

    ** (CDC 2012) Fatal Injury Mapping (2004-2006)., 2012-02-05.

  • I’m sure that any minute now the entire conservative political class who accused Obama of consigning Iraq to raging civil war because he kept to his predecessor’s timeline for withdrawal will apologize and admit that they were wrong. Right? That’s usually how it works, isn’t it?

  • timpayne

    Great news, less violence, but unfortunately we had to kill them to get there. Cheering Iraq’s apparent pacification brings to mind the title of Amy Tan’s book, Saving Fish From Drowning.

  • Doubting Thomas

    “According to interior ministry figures”? Are we assuming something here. Do we have any corroborating figures from anyone outside the Iraqi government?

  • dingojack

    Thomas Didymus – “Oh, ye of little faith!”

    😀 Dingo


    I quoted CDC figures earlier. They’re a part of the ‘ebul gubbinment’ so the figures are unreliable too, right?

    ‘All governments lie’ – no assumptions there then! 😉