U.N.: 1,031 Iraqis Killed Last Month in Conflict Against Islamic State
Iraq's death toll rises as foreign ministers gather in Paris to plot the Islamic State's defeat.
Foreign ministers from around the world are converging on Paris to consider, anew, how to defeat the Islamic State as the extremist group spreads beyond Iraq and Syria. But data released Monday, detailing how many Iraqis were killed in terrorist attacks last month, presents a compelling case for first focusing on the militants' stronghold.
Foreign ministers from around the world are converging on Paris to consider, anew, how to defeat the Islamic State as the extremist group spreads beyond Iraq and Syria. But data released Monday, detailing how many Iraqis were killed in terrorist attacks last month, presents a compelling case for first focusing on the militants’ stronghold.
At least 1,031 Iraqis were killed and an additional 1,684 were injured in violence and armed conflict in May, according to estimates tallied each month by the United Nations. That’s up from 812 Iraqis killed a month earlier, in April.
And even those numbers likely are low-balled: It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to verify casualty figures in extreme conflict areas, like in Iraq’s western Anbar province, where security forces are trying to reclaim the capital city Ramadi from Islamic State fighters who captured it last month. But the Anbar death count for June got off to a sad start Monday with a triple suicide bombing on a police station north of Ramadi, killing at least 41 security forces.
The Paris meeting, set for Tuesday, will gather top diplomats from nearly two dozen countries out of the 60-plus that make up the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State. Nearly a year after the extremist group seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, world leaders are still struggling to repel the militants on nearly every front. And the coalition itself is divided on whether to take the fight against the Islamic State to places like Libya and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where the militants are gaining strength, or to keep focus solely on Iraq and Syria to snuff out the caliphate at its roots.
Placed in the context of ever-growing casualty numbers, political rhetoric in Washington over how or why violence in Iraq was allowed to spiral out of control may seem to miss the more immediate point. So, too, does a new, brief Brookings Institution analysis that attempts to lay the groundwork for life after the Islamic State.
“At a time when the coalition’s efforts to combat ISIL are facing renewed challenges, it may seem premature to be thinking and talking about post-ISIL,” the Brookings analysis acknowledged Monday, using the acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Given the waves of frightened, weary refugees currently fleeing Anbar, it’s certain many Iraqis are just hoping to live through the day.
Photo credit: Haidar Hamdani / AFP / Getty
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