At least 112,000 civilians were killed in the 10 years since the
U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam Hussein, a new
report published on Sunday said.
Including combatants on all sides of the decade-long conflict, as
well as yet undocumented civilian fatalities, the figure could
rise as high as 174,000, according to the Britain-based Iraq Body
Count (IBC) group.
“This conflict is not yet a history,” it said in its report, which
put the number of civilian deaths since March 20, 2003 at between
112,017 and 122,438.
“It remains entrenched and
pervasive, with a clear beginning but no foreseeable end, and very
much a part of the present in Iraq", it added.
IBC said that, over the years, Baghdad had
been, and is still, the deadliest region in the country,
accounting for 48 percent of all deaths, while the conflict was
bloodiest between 2006 and 2008.
It noted that violence remains
high, with annual civilian deaths of between four and five
thousand roughly equivalent to the total number of coalition
forces who died from 2003 up to the US military withdrawal in
December 2011, at 4,804.
The most violent regions were, after Baghdad, the northern and
western provinces, dominated by Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority which
controlled Iraq during Saddam’s rule but which has since been
replaced by the Shiite majority.
In an interview on the
anniversary of the Iraq war earlier this month, former British
Prime Minister Blair, who stepped down in 2007 after ten years as
prime minister and has been criticized for his decision to join
America’s move into Iraq, said he thought constantly about the
people who lost their lives in the conflict.
“So when you say ‘do
you think of the loss of life since 2003’ of course I do, you
would have to be inhumane not to, but think of what would have
happened if he had been left there.”
“Sometimes what happens in
politics, and unfortunately these things get mixed up with
allegations of deceit and lying and so on, in the end sometimes
you come to a decision where whichever choice you take the
consequences are difficult and the choice is ugly. This was one
He acknowledged the U.S.-led invasion remained extremely divisive,
but said: “I’ve long since given up in trying to persuade people
it was the right decision."
“In a sense what I try to persuade
people of now is to understand how complex and difficult a
decision it was. Because I think if we don’t understand that, we
won’t take the right decision about what I think will be a series
of these types of problems that will arise over the next few