Iraq by the Numbers
5:36 PM, May 22, 2008 • By BILL ROGGIO
During General David Petreaus' confirmation hearing for his appointment as CENTCOM commander, he released the latest statistics on the violence levels in Iraq (click the image to view a larger version). The data shows that the attack incident levels have largely remained constant since September 2007, when the â€˜surge' was in full effect. The spike seen from the end of March up until the beginning of May represents the recent fighting against the Mahdi Army in Basra, Sadr City in Baghdad, and the wider South, as well as an operation against al Qaeda in Mosul.
The Basra, Sadr City, and Mosul operations have all been Iraqi planned and executed, with U.S. forces in supporting roles. Despite the size and scope of these operations, the attack incident levels figures failed to come even close to the numbers seen last summer. By May 9, the last week charted, the incident levels were at their lowest level since April 2004.
There are still many challenges ahead in Iraq. Al Qaeda must be rooted out of Mosul and the northern regions. The Mahdi Army truce is holding, and the Iraqi Army is taking over security in the former lawless areas of Sadr City and Basra. Dealing with the Sadrist movement and the Mahdi Army will require a delicate balance of political and military pressure from this point on.
But at this point is impossible to argue that the surge has not led to dramatic improvements in security and allowed the Iraqi military to take the lead. The numbers don't lie.