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Iraq 2013: Deadliest year since 2008 with 7,000+ killed

Published time: November 08, 2013 10:46
Edited time: December 24, 2013 16:43

Flames rise from a vehicle at the site of a car bomb in Talibiya in Baghdad on September 3, 2013. (AFP Photo / Sabah Arar)

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With over 7,000 civilian casualties so far, 2013 has already become the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008. In its new project, a timeline of the violence, RT brings the sad record into the spotlight.

Go to ‘Iraq 2013: A year of carnage’ for the full timeline.


Following the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011, instead of engaging in post-war and occupation recovery, Iraq has been with each day plunging deeper into inter-ethnic violence, prompted by ever-growing tensions mostly between the country’s majority Shiite community and the Sunni minority.

2013 saw the situation aggravate to its worst, with almost daily deaths of civilians becoming the harsh reality the country is facing today.

You, I and anyone who walks in the streets, at any moment may face a car bomb, motorcycle bomb, or explosive belt. At any moment anyone may be killed,” a Baghdad resident sums it up speaking to RT’s Egor Piskunov.

It’s 10 or 11 years now that they’re talking about a new security plan, but nothing changes and the situation is only getting worse,” another Iraqi adds.

Iraqi civilians check the site of an explosion in Baghdad on August 28, 2013. (AFP Photo / Ali Al-Saadi)

So often are all kinds of attacks in Iraq that not all of them eventually make it into the headlines, in a situation when a peaceful day in Baghdad would be more likely perceived as news.

One notable example this year was on April 15, when the entire world was glued to the screens watching the overwhelming coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings in which three people died and an estimated 264 injured. That same day Iraq was rocked by a series of bombings which killed 55 and left 300 people injured.

The much deadlier ‘black Monday’ in Iraq went virtually unnoticed by global news outlets compared to the Boston events.

Because it is just accepted as normal for Iraq. That’s what Iraqis do. Endure this new form of freedom,” Hamit Dardagan, co-founder of Iraq Body Count, explained the paradox in an interview to RT’s Laura Smith.

An Iraqi boy cries at the scene of a car bomb attack after it exploded as worshippers left a Sunni mosque after prayers marking the start of the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on October 15, 2013. (AFP Photo / Marwan Ibrahim)

Iraq Body Count, founded by volunteers from the UK and the US in 2003, keeps a record of civilian casualties doing the job government officials are reluctant to fulfill, saying is too difficult. The group’s online database of civilian deaths is considered one of the most reliable.

The information we get is mostly from the sort of small news wire type reports and Iraqi media reports that don’t really make the news an ordinary news consumer would see,” Dardagan tells RT. “In other words it takes a research effort to pull together these small reports that come from different parts of the country and that list what you would think of small events of someone being assassinated or blown up in their car.”

Violence escalated in Iraq this year following a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in April. In September - the deadliest on record so far this year - 1,220 people have died, and the trend continues.

In the latest outbreak of violence, a series of attacks killed at least 30 people across the country on Thursday, according to officials.

The deadliest resulted from two suicide bombers who rammed their explosive-packed cars into a military base in the town of Tarmiyah, killing at least 19 soldiers and wounding 41, authorities said.

Another bomb killed four people and wounded six when pilgrims en route to Karbala stopped at a food tent.

Prior to that a suicide bomber attacked an army post in the town of Ana, killing three soldiers and wounding six, while another explosion killed two persons in a town just south of Baghdad.

Two more people were killed in the city of Mosul, where police said eight more were wounded.

Iraqis gather around burnt vehicles at the site of a car bombing at a market in Baghdad's impoverished district of Sadr City on May 16, 2013 as at least eight people were killed in blasts across the country. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

The American author of ‘Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq’, Nicolas J.S. Davies, believes the US-led operation had simply devastated the nation.

The invasion was not just some kind of mistake. The invasion and occupation were a serious crime,” Davies told RT. “That was a crime of aggression under the UN charter. Iraq is still suffering from the destruction of its regime, its government and its society by the United States. The US employed classic divide and rule strategy pitting people of different sects against each other, inciting violence that is completely unprecedented in that country and now has instilled a sectarian based government. And this is just a reign of terror. And in that sense some of the worst aspects of the US occupation are still continuing today.”

Violence between Shia and Sunni is resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates that the conflict led to 1.1 million of Iraqis becoming internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, which has witnessed more than 115,000 deaths in 10 years.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, spoke late October of how drastic the situation in the country has become.

It has become clear… Iraq has become subjected to a war of genocide by terrorists, targeting all spheres of life,” Maliki said.

Last week, he met with President Obama. The two leaders agreed Iraq was in urgent need of help. But besides general statements nothing definite came out – such as how to save people's lives on the ground