Although political violence has been a fact of life for Iraqis since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, it had declined substantially since 2008. But the death rate for civilians more than doubled this year, raising the troubling prospect of Iraq possibly slipping once more into outright chaos.
How bad is it? This year has been by far the deadliest for civilians since at least 2008, with well over 7,000 killed in roadside bombings and attacks on markets, homes, and mosques.
When the US and other foreign militaries left the country at the end of 2011, there were warnings that violence could spike again. That didn’t happen immediately, as United Nation’s data shows, but Iraq is once more one of the two or three hottest wars in the world.
These are the totals of civilians killed in Iraq since 2008, based on data compiled by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq:
- 2008: 6,787
- 2009: 3,056
- 2010: 2,953
- 2011: 2,771
- 2012: 3,238
- 2013: 7,157