September 4, 2009:
Several spectacular terror bombings in Iraq led to a record high (for this year) 456 Iraqis killed, out of a population of 28 million, in August. This was still topped by the most recent high of 465, in July of last year. Some 86 percent of the August deaths were civilians, with 11 percent police and the remainder soldiers. In addition, 52 terrorists were killed, and another 540 arrested.
Only 5 American soldier died in August in Iraq. This is largely because, after June 30, U.S. troops no longer operated in the urban areas of Iraq. In June, the terrorists launched a large bombing effort, and 437 Iraqis died. This dropped to 275 in July. The government believes that Syrian based Iraqi terrorists organized and paid for the upsurge of terror attacks in August, and is trying to force Syria to give up known terrorist leaders living in Syria.
Despite the spike of deaths in August, most of the country is peaceful. Only a few attacks accounted for most of the terror deaths. One bombing alone killed a hundred people. There are still serious political problem between the Sunni Arab minority (15 percent of the population) and the majority Kurds (22 percent) and Shia (most of the rest). The Sunni Arabs supported Saddam, and lived well from his patronage for decades. The Sunni Arabs resent the loss of wealth and power, and the majority of Iraqis have no sympathy for this. Many Sunni Arabs still support terror attacks against other Iraqis, particularly Shia Arabs. With this support, and money and weapons smuggled in from Syria, the terror attacks can go on. Most Iraqis would just like to kill or drive out all Sunni Arabs, and most Sunni Arabs realize this. But the pro-terrorist minority among Sunni Arabs keeps the killings going. The government wants to stop the terrorism, not just to prevent widespread violence against Sunni Arabs, but to just show that they can maintain peace in the country.