StrategyPage reports (on June 25th, 2004, no permalink) that the Ba'ath Party made their final grasp for power, and it was a big bust.

In the last 24 hours, several hundred armed men made attacks against government police and security forces in the cities of Baghdad, Baquba, Ramadi, Fallujah, Mosul and Mahaweel. Over a hundred Iraqis, and three Americans died, over 300 people were injured. This was the long anticipated "big offensive" by the Baath Party and al Qaeda forces to topple the interim Iraqi government and stop the elections planned for early next year. Five car bombs also went off in Mosul. All the attacks occurred in Sunni Arab areas.
Time is pretty much up for these dead-enders, and they know it. The incoming Iraqi government won't be nearly as soft-handed as we Americans have been. Good.

Further, on June 21th, 2004, SP posted some statistics on the murder rate in Iraq, with and without counting terrorist activities.

The anti-government violence in Iraq is causing a annualized death rate of 15 per 100,000 population for terrorist activities alone. That compares to a murder rate in the United States of 5.6 per 100,000. European nations have an average rate of about four per 100,000 (although some West European nations are below two per 100,000, while Russia is 20 per 100,000.) Some nations are particularly violent. South Africa has a murder rate of 59, and neighboring Namibia is 45. Colombia, in South America, was over 50 a few years ago, but is now down to the 30s because a crackdown on armed militias. The Middle East tends of have low murder rates, with Turkey having a rate of 2.3. Israel also had a rate of 2.3, until the Palestinians began their terrorism campaign in late 2000. The deaths from suicide bombings and other attacks doubled Israel's murder rate to about 4 per 100,000, although that has been coming down in the past year.

But Iraq has become accustomed to a high murder rate. Saddam's police forces were the cause of many murders, and as far back as the 1970s, the official murder rate was 12 per 100,000. The coalition forces and Iraqi security forces have gotten the non-terrorist murder rate down to about five per 100,000. This, combined with the deaths caused by terrorists, produces a rate of about 20 per year. The murder rate in Washington, DC, is over 60 per 100,000.

According to the the BBC, the murder rate in Los Angeles in 2002 was a bit less than 20 in 100,000 (658 murders with a population of around 3.5 million). The rate dropped 23% in 2003, and is rising slightly again now. It doesn't sound like Iraq is doing too badly!

(More data on 2002 murder rates.)



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