Thursday, July 07, 2016
Chilcot* says this:
*[p29, Executive Summary]
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
"The information adds to the High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law have occurred in Iraq, including summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses, in line with obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both the US and Iraq are parties."[OHCHR]
"Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberals group in the European parliament, said on Tuesday that the Obama administration had to investigate the "abuses" revealed by WikiLeaks.
"This will obviously be a sensitive topic for the US administration, but partners in the transatlantic alliance must be clear on common rules of engagement in times of conflict if we are to retain any moral standing in the world," Verhofstadt said
"Whilst the allegations concern actions undertaken during the previous Bush administration, it will be incumbent on the present one to investigate the abuses, pursue those complicit and lay down stricter guidelines for conduct in combat."
"The US remains a hugely important ally in terms of security. We cannot afford to allow our standards to slip so far that respect for the rule of law is ignored." [Guardian]
Monday, October 25, 2010
The data is being used by a number of organisations. For example, the Iraq Body Count project is a media reporting based method that has documented deaths in the Iraq war from its inception.[IBC] Whilst they a use a method that is widely assumed by epidemiologists to result in the substantial under-reporting of casualties, they have estimated that the war logs will allow them to record an additional 15,000 deaths on their database. [CIF]
- The logs represent records from the US military only. Files from UK and other coalition forces are not represented. This will exclude, for example, the numerous killings undertaken by British special forces.
- The records only document reports lodged by low and mid-ranking uniformed US military personal . Deaths resulting from CIA, US special forces operations and covert operations are therefore largely excluded.
- Activities of the numerous mercenaries employed by private security companies are not usually documented. So, for example, the killing of civilians and combatants by Blackwater, Aegis, and other companies are likely to be heavily under represented.
- Even when considering the completeness of the reporting by the uniformed US military there are substantial gaps in reporting. For example, casualties resulting from the two large scale assaults on Fallujah by US forces in 2004. In an interview on Al Jassera on Sunday Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks said that he thought only about 50% of incidents were reported in the war logs.
- The result of conflict between different Iraqi groups is likely to be heavily under reported in the war logs.
- The low ratio of injured to killed implies a persistent under-reporting of those wounded in the violence.
Even in the UK, the war logs have led to a call from within the coalition government for investigation of the various documented war crimes committed by British forces and their connivance in torture.
Whilst the war logs cannot come close to painting a complete picture of the human cost of the Iraq invasion, they just might contribute to a permanent change in the more general perception of war and require proponents to more carefully justify its initiation.
Note added: A powerful Channel 4 Dispatches Documentary has explored the contents of the War Logs. 'Iraq's Secret War Files' can be watched here.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In an accompanying commentary the limitations of the available data and analysis approach is discussed. Checchi points out that although the number of surveys available from Darfur seems large, they included only 16% of person-time at risk. This, he argues, is an indicator of the information gap that remains to be filled in nearly all large scale crises. Further, "..this limitation suggests the usefulness of mapping information coverage in real time to draw attention to regions where information is lacking or outdated, and to coordinate efforts to gather data. A corollary initiative would be to track the number and location of conflict-affected people in real time." [The Lancet]
What is striking is the paucity of mortality survey data collected on the conflicts covered by this site, namely Afghanistan and Iraq, compared to that in Darfur. Between 2007-2009, the period in Afghanistan when fighting escalated markedly, no mortality survey data has been gathered. Attempts to document civilian fatalities rely on case-by-case investigations by organisations such as the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commissions [AIHRC]. Such approaches are almost inevitably going to result in partial coverage and under-estimation of the fatality burden. In addition, fatalities represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the total casualty burden, and there seems to be no attempt at all to try and estimate this larger figure in the civilian population.
As Checchi says in his introduction:
"Imagine that you are helping a population cope with the health effects of armed conflict, but have no information about whether their health is improving or not, or whether your programmes adequately address their burden of disease.There are, of course, many reasons why it is so difficult for public health professionals to collect and document information of the health impacts of conflicts such as Afghanistan. However, in cases where initiation of the conflict has been actioned or facilitated by the UK government it must surely have a special responsibility to ensure that reliable data on health impacts are collected and made publicly available, so that humanitarian relief efforts can be appropriately planned. When access by independent scientists is made impossible by insecurity then that role, arguably, should be temporarily assigned to the military. Embedded-journalists are of course notorious for producing one-sided and partial coverage of war news. Could embedded-epidemiologists, following transparent and internationally recognised approaches produce credible data? Its a big question, but given the massive information gap that currently exists, it must surely be worth exploring.
...Systematic measurement, analysis, and programmatic use of essential health indicators (mortality rate, prevalence of malnutrition, and coverage of essential services such as vaccination, and water and sanitation) remain the exceptions, despite being predicated in various manuals, policy documents, and meetings."
(NB The side bar links to other key research articles and data sources have been updated, with the removal of some dead links and re-focusing of others on the most relevant pages.)
Friday, January 08, 2010
To reflect this public admission of the negotiated ceasefire the annotation of the graph of British fatalities and serious injuries casualties has been amended. The graph illustrates just what difficulties British forces were experiencing prior to the cease fire and how important those negotiations were in preventing further loss of life. The graph has also been updated on the main Iraq monitoring page.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
The attack happened as officials announced that delayed Iraqi national elections would take place on March 6. the series of at least 4 blasts also left around 200 injured. [Times Online]
Thursday, September 17, 2009
"The level of insecurity in Iraq remains high and should not be accepted as somehow 'normal' or unavoidable," said Juan-Pedro Schaerer, head of the ICRC delegation for Iraq. In the governorates of Baghdad, Ninewa and Diyala, many Iraqis live in constant fear for their lives whenever they leave their houses, as anyone could be hit simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. [ICRC]As United States Vice-President Joe Biden visited Baghdad on Tuesday mortars or rockets landed near the US embassy inside the Green Zone. While the US still has 130,000 troops in Iraq, almost twice the number in Afghanistan, US troop levels are due to be reduced to about 50,000 by this time next year. [BBC]
Friday, September 11, 2009
Bernd Debusmann, in a column for Reuters reports, for example, that the US military death toll in the two wars stood at 5,157 in the second week of September. However, to get the true picture he argues that at least 1,360 private contractors working for the U.S. should be added to this figure. There is a growing dependence on private contractors in the conduct of both these wars and mercenaries now outnumber the number of US troops in Afghanistan.
Similar data for British forces seems hard to obtain but these exclusions from official statistics must be born in mind when assessing the human cost of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
They point out that international assistance for Iraqi refugees is desperately needed, due to inadequate contributions to UN agencies working with refugees. In May this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) made a fresh appeal for increased funding for its Iraq work. Citing a shortfall of $127 million for assistance programmes, they raised the prospect of essential health and food assistance programs being reduced, which in turn may force many Iraqis into further destitution and increase the likelihood of higher malnutrition rates and increased child labour [UNHCR].
To end on a brighter note, Iraqi oud (lute) player Naseer Shamma has raised more than US$ 24,000 for UNHCR's Iraqi refugee programme with a concert at the Damascus Opera House [UNHCR].
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
“Almost a month after the outbreak of armed clashes pitting Coalition and Iraqi forces against the Mehdi Army, the situation in Sadr City, in eastern Baghdad, is putting further strain on the civilian population,” says Patrick Youssef, head of the sub-delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Baghdad. “The clashes that began on 25 March did not let up until they eased briefly on 12 April. However, the lull in the fighting did not give the population enough time to stock up on food and water or to seek appropriate medical care.”
Al Jamila market, one of the largest in Sadr City, was entirely destroyed by the fighting. The market used to provide enough supplies to cover everyday needs in Sadr City. People are now short of food, especially as prices of fresh vegetables have increased considerably.
According to ICRC staff in Baghdad, who are in permanent contact with hospitals and health officials, several hospitals have exhausted their stocks of medical supplies as a result of the ongoing fighting.
The ICRC has had difficulty transporting food and medicines where they are needed because of the ongoing fighting.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The US Surge Revisited: What's the evidence for decreased casualties after one year of troop deployment?
Our updated graph of US Coalition fatalities (non-Iraqi troops only) shows that from mid September 2007 onwards daily fatalities have, in fact, markedly declined. In February 2008 an average of 1.03 deaths occurred per day compared to 3.04 per day in Feb 2007. For March, these figures were 1.26 and 2.65 respectively. This does suggest that conflict levels have fallen substantially. However, it should be noted that some of the decrease in foreign troop deaths may have been due to an increase in the number of active Iraqi units fighting within the US Coalition.
Data updated 21.04.08
Saturday, March 29, 2008
On the same day the International Committe of the Red Cross is concerned about the humanitarian impact of continued fighting in Basra and Baghdad. Its staff in the two cities say that many people are running out of food and water and most shops are reported to be closed. The supply of electricity in Basra and in parts of Baghdad is intermittent or has been cut and hospitals are running out of medical stocks, food and fuel.
Patients' families are reportedly bringing their own small generators to some hospitals in the capital to ensure sufficient power supplies during treatment. Many medical workers are unable to reach hospitals because of the continuing fighting. [ICRC]
A spokesman for the British army, Maj Holloway, said that the action against militiamen in the Basra area was a "complicated operation". "I think we need to be prepared for this to run for a while", he said. [BBC]
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In the meantime, a piece in the Guardian provides a good overview of what, perhaps, is the most burning question of today:
What is the real death toll in Iraq?
The Americans learned one lesson from Vietnam: don't count the civilian dead. As a result, no one knows how many Iraqis have been killed in the five years since the invasion. Estimates put the toll at between 100,000 and one million, and now a bitter war of numbers is raging.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Geneva (ICRC) - Five years after the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the humanitarian situation in most of the country is among the most critical in the world, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report issued today.
Because of the conflict, millions of Iraqis have insufficient access to clean water, sanitation and health care. The current crisis is exacerbated by the lasting effects of previous armed conflicts and years of sanctions.
“Better security in some parts of Iraq must not distract attention from the continuing plight of millions of people who have essentially been left to their own devices,” said Béatrice Mégevand Roggo, the ICRC’s head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa. “Among them are displaced and refugee families, and those who have returned to their homes, children, elderly people, disabled people, households headed by women and families of detainees.”
Although security has improved in some parts of the country, Iraqis continue to be killed or injured on a daily basis in fighting and attacks. Civilians are often deliberately targeted, in complete disregard for the rules of international humanitarian law. In many families there is at least one person who is sick, injured, missing or detained, or who has been forced to flee from home and live far away.
Health care, water and sanitation services and electricity supplies remain largely inadequate. Hospitals lack qualified staff and basic drugs, and therefore struggle to provide suitable care for the injured. Many health-care facilities have not been properly maintained, and the care they provide is often too expensive for ordinary Iraqis.
The water supply has continued to deteriorate over the past year. Millions of people have been forced to rely on insufficient supplies of poor-quality water as water and sewage systems suffer from a lack of maintenance and a shortage of engineers.
The full report (pdf) can be downloaded here
Saturday, February 23, 2008
A new crisis has exploded in Iraq after Turkish troops, supported by attack planes and Cobra helicopters, yesterday launched a major ground offensive into Iraqi Kurdistan.BBC Online
Iraq's foreign minister has warned that any escalation of Turkey's operation against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq could destabilise the region. Hoshyar Zebari told the BBC Iraq did not approve the "limited" raid into a remote, uninhabited area, and said it should end "as soon as possible".
Both Turkey and the rebels have given conflicting casualty figures...
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about the situation. "The protection of civilian life on both sides of the border remains the paramount concern," he said.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The report focuses on the failure of the occupying forces and their governments to protect health and help rebuild a health system based on primary health care principles. Researched and written by Iraqi, UK and US health professionals and academics, it assesses the current state of the health system: the impact of insecurity on the workforce and the chronic lack of supplies, medicines and equipment. It also outlines the urgent measures needed to improve health and health services and contains a special focus on the neglected area of mental health care.
The full report can be downloaded here
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The results indicate that from January 2002 to June 2006 there were 1325 reported deaths in the households included in the survey. They calculated that this mortality rate translates into an estimate of 151,000 (95% uncertainty range, 104,000 to 223,000) violent deaths from March 2003 to June 2006.
The authors conclude that violence is a leading cause of death for Iraqi adults and was the main cause of death in men between the ages of 15 and 59 years during the first 3 years after the 2003 invasion.
The results are substantially lower than other recent survey-based estimates. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that their data points to a massive death toll which is only one of the health and human consequences of an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
No doubt there will be a robust debate over the next few weeks over the comparative reliability of the different published survey results. One immediate observation regarding this latest survey is that the reported death rates change little over the years 2003 to 2006 - while the security situation over this perid was in fact subject to great variation. Slightly odd. Will continue to post on the expected debate as it happens.