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U.S., Iraqi Troops Suffer Fewer Casualties

The total number of Iraqi police and military killed from June 1, 2003 to Nov. 2, 2005 was 3,554, according to the Iraq Index Project figures.

Washington (UPI) Nov 14, 2005
The current U.S. tactical offensives in Iraq have put on the insurgents on the defensive. The rate at which they have been inflicting casualties on U.S. forces continued to decline over the past two weeks.

U.S. forces reported killing an estimated 37 militants in a dawn attack Monday near the Iraqi-Syrian border. The operation came a day after three U.S. troops were killed, two of them in a bomb attack in Baghdad.

As of Monday, Nov. 14, the total number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq since the start of U.S. operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003 was 2,061 according to official figures issued by the Department of Defense, a rise of 26 in 11 days.

Improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs, continued to account for more than half the total casualties inflicted on U.S. troops -- an ominous indicator that the technical expertise of the insurgents is steadily advancing.

The rate of deaths showed significant improvement on previous figures, reflecting the successful offensive tactical operations currently being carried out by U.S. forces. The loss rate was 2.4 U.S. soldiers killed per day compared with 3.3 per day during the previous three-day period. The loss rate was therefore less than half that in late October when 30 were killed during a five-day period, a rate of six per day.

This relative improvement was also reflected in the rate at which U.S. soldiers were being wounded in Iraq. The number of U.S. troops wounded in action from the beginning of hostilities on March 19, 2003, through Thursday, Nov. 14, was 15,568, the Pentagon said. This meant 91 U.S troops were wounded in the 11 days since Nov. 3, an average of just over eight per day.

This was almost half the rate of 133 wounded in a nine-day period in late October, an average rate of just under 15 per day. And it was almost a 75 percent reduction on the high rates of 30-plus a day injured during the Oct. 2- Oct. 16 period.

These striking improvements were also reflected in the falling casualties suffered by the Iraqi security forces. The scale of those casualties has now been falling since July.

According to the Iraq Index Project of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, 45 Iraqi troops and police were killed in the seven-day period from Nov. 3 through Nov. 9, an average of just under 6.5 per day.

This was a significantly higher rate than the 34 Iraqi troops and police killed in the previous seven-day period from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, an average of just under five per day.

This marked a significant drop from the previous figure of 45 killed in the seven days from Oct. 20 to Oct. 26, a rate of just below 6.5 per day. It was also a marked improvement over the rate of just under eight per day at which they were killed from Oct. 2 through Oct. 16.

The total number of Iraqi police and military killed from June 1, 2003 to Nov. 2, 2005 was 3,554, according to the Iraq Index Project figures.

But this meant that the total death toll for Iraq security forces in the first nine days of November was 54. Although still bad in absolute terms, this average, if maintained through the month, would be a significant improvement on the 215 killed in October and the 233 killed in September. It could give November the lowest casualties inflicted on the Iraqi security forces since February -- an improvement that could be of real strategic as well as symbolic significance. For casualties suffered by the Iraqi forces have now been falling every month since they peaked at 304 killed in July.

On the other hand, the statistics on car and truck bombs -- grimly referred to as multiple fatality bombings, or MFBs -- continue to climb. They continue to average at least one a day and several were reported on Monday, killing at least 12 people, including two South Africans killed by a blast close to the heavily defended Green Zone in Baghdad.

In all, 39 of these attacks -- generally the kind that generate the highest number of civilian casualties -- were recorded in October making it the second worst month for them so far. Only September was worse, when there were 46 of them. In October, such attacks killed 310 people and wounded another 415, according to the Iraq Index Project figures.

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Analysis: 'Surprise' Annan Iraq Visit
United Nations (UPI) Nov 14, 2005
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's unannounced visit to Iraq this past weekend came in one sense as no surprise to many though most at U.N. World Headquarters in New York were kept in the dark about it for security reasons.

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