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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Civilians death toll in the rise in Iraq

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersAccording to a United Nations report, daily killings soared in July and August, hitting a record of 6,599. The report released Wednesday from the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq’s Human Rights office highlighted the sectarian crisis gripping the country, offering “a grim assessment across a range of indicators — worrying evidence of torture, unlawful detentions, growth of sectarian militias and death squads, and a rise in “honor killings” of women.”On top of that, the Iraqi insurgency shows no sign of subsiding. On the contrary, most experts agree that it has grown in size and in sophistication.The big question is: Can the U.S. and Iraqi forces have the skills and the might to bring peace to Baghdad, where the bulk of the violent deaths occurred? Iraq’s government, set up in 2006, is “currently facing a generalized breakdown of law and order which presents a serious challenge to the institutions of Iraq,” the report says.This is in sharp contrast with the Bush Administration that initially claimed a drastic drop in the death toll for August, but the estimate was revised upward after the United States revealed it had not counted people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks.According to the U.N., which releases the figures every two months, violent civilian deaths in July reached an unprecedented high of 3,590, an average of more than 100 a day. The August toll was 3,009, the report said.The lower August number may have been the result of a security crackdown in Baghdad, though it was partly offset by a rise in attacks elsewhere, including in the northern city of Mosul.For the previous period, the U.N. had reported just under 6,000 deaths — 2,669 in May and 3,149 in June. That was up from 1,129 in April, and 710 in January.Of the total for July and August, the report said 5,106 of the dead were from Baghdad.The report attributed many of the deaths to the rising sectarian tensions that have pushed Iraq toward the verge of civil war.”These figures reflect the fact that indiscriminate killings of civilians have continued throughout the country while hundreds of bodies appear bearing signs of severe torture and execution style killing,” the report said. “Such murders are carried out by death squads or by armed groups, with sectarian or revenge connotations.”At the heart of the U.N. findings are casualty figures that combine two counts: from the Ministry of Health, which records deaths reported by hospitals; and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, which tallies the unidentified bodies it receives.However, the report seems to overlook the death toll resulting to the US military counter insurgency measures, which is another major contributor to the chaos and the misery of the Iraqi people.

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