Attrition: Iraqi Civilians Suffering Most of the Casualties

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February 15, 2006: Although over 90 percent of attacks in Iraq are against government or Coalition security personnel, a majority of the casualties are civilians. Civilians are very often the principal victims during attacks against security forces (e.g., trying to blow up a Hummer while its parked in a market place), and are also directly targeted in about 5-6 percent of the attacks. Civilians are also the most likely victims in the 1-2 percent of attacks against infrastructure. The continued civilian casualties has made al Qaeda and the Sunni Arab gangs very unpopular, even in the Sunni Arab community. The terrorists have not been able to come up with new tactics to avoid this. While directing more attacks against oil and electricity infrastructure has had some success (because there are very few civilian injuries), those operations require special skills that most of the terrorist personnel do not have. Thus the terrorists are locked in a downward spiral, as the more they attack, the more they lose the support of the people they are trying to control.

 


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