Attrition: Iraqi Loss Rates In 2015


July 23, 2015:   The current (based on June) death rate of Iraqi security forces is about 3,000 per 100,000 per year (a standard measure of such things). For the year to date it’s been closer to 1,500. It is unclear exactly how many troops, police and pro-government militia are actually available as the usual (for thousands of years) practice in this region is for commanders to inflate the number of armed men they command and pocket the money they receive for the missing “phantom” troops. One reason so many Iraqi officers and government officials wanted all American troops out of the country as soon as possible in 2010 was because those foreign troops would often go and count the number of troops actually present and then report the real number. That was almost always less (often a lot less) than the official number. It appears that there are only about 300,000 actual armed and more-or-less willing to fight men available to the Iraqi government. This include the Kurds.

Compare the current Iraqi death rate to that of the 11,500 peacekeepers currently in Mali, most of them in the north. The Mali peacekeeping force is composed of about a thousand French troops with the rest African troops and is suffering a death rate of 240. That’s higher than the 2013 rate (200) in Afghanistan (that peaked at 587 in 2010) for American troops. The peak years in Iraq (2004-7) for American losses also saw rates of 500-600. Iraqi forces suffered a higher rate back then but not as high as it does now.

In 2007-8, foreign troops in Afghanistan lost about 300-400 dead per 100,000 troops. That went up to nearly 500 by 2009 and was about the same in 2010. In Iraq, from 2004-7, the deaths among foreign troops ran at 500-600 per 100,000 per year. Since al Qaeda admitted defeat there in 2008, the U.S. death rate in Iraq dropped to less than 100 dead per 100,000 troops per year by the time U.S. combat troops were gone in 2011.

For Afghan troops and police, the death rate in 2010 was 700-800 dead per 100,000. That was not too bad as the death rate for U.S. troops during Vietnam, Korea and World War II was over 1,500. It was even higher for German, Russian and Japanese troops in World War II. Places like the Middle East and Afghanistan is often described as stuck in the past. When it comes to combat losses, Iraq and most other nations in the region are several generations behind the West.





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