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The stated purpose of the US military 'surge' begun in February 2007 (Operation Fardh al-Qanoon) was to provide security for the civilian population, especially in Baghdad, and contain its sectarian violence.

The trend in violent deaths is the most direct indicator of population security.

The Baghdad ‘surge’ and civilian casualties

What effect is the increase in US troop deployment to Baghdad having on violence against civilians?

The graphs below show selected monthly trends in violent civilian deaths recorded by IBC for the period from Jan 1 2007. The figures indicate deaths from shootings and executions versus bombs, by location (within the Baghdad governorate versus the rest of Iraq), and with the timeline divided into the period before (brown) and after (orange) the first US troop deployment of the ‘surge’ on 14 Feb 2007.

The graphs on this page are dynamic and will update as new data are analysed and added; data for the more recent periods are usually less complete and likely to show the greatest future rise.

Civilian deaths per day from Jan 1 2007
  Killed in shootings and executions Killed by bombs
Baghdad Deaths per day from shootings and executions in Baghdad Deaths per day from bombs in Baghdad
outside Baghdad Deaths per day from shootings and executions outside Baghdad Deaths per day from bombs outside Baghdad

NOTE for the second and third week of September, 2007:

Iraq Body Count is aware that official reports are imminent concerning the progress of the US Government’s New Security Plan or ‘surge.’ However, IBC’s work is not linked to the political calendar, and the charts above are not intended to be directly comparable to data which may be supplied from official sources.

These charts sometimes indicate a modest improvement in the security situation for ordinary Iraqis post-surge, and this is not disputed. But these charts will tend to under-represent reported violence for the more recent periods, for the reasons stated above. The observed downward trend in these charts will likely become less marked as data still in the pipeline is added (see Recent Events for as yet unprocessed data).

It is important to place the events of 2007 in context. Levels of violence reached an all-time high in the last six months of 2006. Only in comparison to that could the first half of 2007 be regarded as an improvement. Despite any efforts put into the surge, the first six months of 2007 was still the most deadly first six months for civilians of any year since the invasion.