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Benchmarks: Insurgents Keep Up Pressure

US Forces Seize Huge Weapons Cache In Baghdad
US troops attached to a huge security operation in the war torn Iraqi capital have seized a huge "terrorist" weapons stockpile and captured two suspects, the military said Sunday. The 172nd Stryker Brigade, which was diverted to Baghdad to quell an outbreak of sectarian violence after finishing a planned 12-month tour in Iraq, found the cache during a search of the neighbourhoods of Ghazaliyah and Nur. Troops raided a warehouse in the mainly Sunni west of the city and seized an arsenal of 580 mortar shells, 39,000 bullets, 100 rocket-propelled grenades, 270 rockets, two landmines and several machine guns. The also discovered bomb-making equipment, the statement said. Between August 7 and 16, forces attached to "Operation Together Forward" detained 54 suspected "terrorists", cleared more than 23,000 buildings including 21 mosques and seized 326 illegal weapons, the military added. The security operation was launched on July 9 with nearly 30,000 Iraqi and US troops patrolling the capital's streets to restore stability in Baghdad, where dozens die daily in sectarian and insurgent killings. Photo courtesy of AFP.AFP Report
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Aug 18, 2006
U.S. casualty figures in Iraq so far this month offer a mixed picture: The rate of fatalities rose but that of injuries sustained significantly fell. The total number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq through Thursday, Aug. 17, since the start of operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003, was 2,606, according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Therefore, 35 U.S. soldiers were killed during the three week period from July 28 through Aug. 17 at an average rate of 2.33 per day.

This was a rise of one sixth, or 16.7 percent, on the previous one week period we monitored from July 21 through July 27 when 14 U.S. soldiers were killed at an average rate of two per day.

The rate at which U.S. soldiers are being killed per day in Iraq has now been steadily rising for almost eight weeks. Some 1.75 per day were killed during the eight-day period from July 13 through July 20. And 1.36 U.S. soldiers were killed per day during the 15 day period from June 29 through July 12. However, during the eight days from June 21 through June 28, 24 U.S. soldiers at an average rate of three per day.

The latest figures still fit within the parameters of casualties we have recorded during the past four months. Some 1.75 U.S. soldiers per day died in Iraq during the seven-day period from June 14 through June 20. During the eight-day period of June 6-13, 2.5 U.S. soldiers were killed per day. During the six-day period of May 31-June 5, some 11 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of 1.82 per day.

The latest figures still conform to the general pattern during the 48-day period from April 13 to May 30, when 107 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of just over 2.2 per day. But they were more than 40 percent worse than the previous longer-term trend during the 68-day period from Feb. 4 to April 12, when 112 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of 1.65 per day.

The rate at which U.S. soldiers are being injured in Iraq continued to rise during the same three week period. From July 28 through Aug. 17, 354 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of 16.857 per day.

This was a very dramatic fall of one third, or 33 percent, compared with the previous seven day period from July 21 through July 27 when 169 U.S. soldiers were injured in Iraq at an average rate of 24.14 per day. However, that figure may have reflected a short-term surge in insurgent attacks that was a statistical anomaly. For the preceding eight-day period from July 13 through July 20 saw an average figure of 14.25 U.S. soldiers injured per day in Iraq -- making a total of 114 injured during that time.

As of Aug. 17, 19,511 U.S. soldiers have been injured in Iraq since the start of hostilities.

The latest rate of U.S. troops wounded per day, however, was still more than 40 percent worse than the figure of 178 U.S. troops wounded over the 15-day period from June 29 through July 12 at an average rate of 11.2 per day. The latest figures were very close to the figures of 124 wounded during the June 21-June 28 eight-day period at an average rate of 15.5 per day. They were also significantly worse than the 82 wounded in seven days from June 14 through June 20 at an average rate of 11.7 per day.

The latest figures, however, were still not as bad as during the eight-day period of June 6-13, when 236 U.S. troops were wounded in Iraq at an average rate of 29.5 per day. But they were far worse than the levels of May 31 to June 5, when 70 U.S. soldiers were wounded at an average rate of 11.67 per day.

Most significantly, however, the latest figures were slightly worse, but statistically relatively close to, the long-term average rates for U.S. troops wounded in Iraq over the previous four months from February through May. Some 635 U.S. soldiers were wounded in the 48-day period from April 13 to May 30 at an average rate of just over 13.2 wounded per day. That figure showed a remarkable statistical consistency compared with the previous 68-day period from Feb. 4 to April 12 when 943 U.S. soldiers were wounded in 68 days, an average rate of just below 13.9 wounded per day, according to figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

As of Aug. 17, 8,886 of these U.S. troops were wounded so seriously that they were listed as "WIA Not RTD" in the DOD figures -- in other words, Wounded in Action Not Returned to Duty. This marked an increase of 113 such casualties in 21 days at an average rate of 5.38 per day.

This figure was three times as good as the previous one-week period from July 21 through July 27 which saw 112 such casualties at an average rate of 16 per day. But the latest figure falls within the parameters of recent fluctuations. There were 101 such casualties recorded in the June 29-July 20 period at an average rate of just under 4.4 per day. And 52 U.S. troops were wounded in action and not returned to duty at an average rate of 6.5 per day during the eight day period from June 20 through June 28.

The latest figures are remarkably consistent with the long-term trends we monitored through the first four months of this year. There were 286 such casualties over 48 days from April 13 through May 30, at an average rate of just under six per day. The time period from Feb.4 through April 12 saw a rate of 5.5 such casualties per day over 68 days for a total of 375 seriously injured.

The massively escalating Shiite militia attacks on Sunnis in Iraq therefore have not significantly distracted the Sunni insurgents from their attrition campaign against U.S. forces.

Source: United Press International

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Leaks Likely On Iraq National Intelligence Estimate
Washington (UPI) Aug 16, 2006
The secret National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, coming as it may just before November's election, will be the focus of such public interest that some senators have called for an unclassified summary to be issued.







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