Despite Massive Death Toll, Maliki Muses Iraq ‘Safest Arab Country’

Cites Protest Violence in Other Countries to Support His Claim

Despite having a civilian death toll that actually was somewhat larger than Afghanistan’s in 2010 and predictions that this toll would remain more or less unchanged for the next several years, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today mused that with protests on the rise, Iraq may well be the “safest country in the Arab world.

Maliki’s comments, given from behind the heavily fortified walls of the Green Zone, come in the wake of massive public protests across the region, but while clearly Libya’s massacres have led the pack in violent crackdowns, Iraq has seen its own massive protests, and its own violent crackdown, which killed at least 29 of the protesters.

Indeed, between regular terror attacks and violent crackdowns, it seems the average Iraqi civilian is in about as much danger as anyone anywhere on the planet, and that is despite violence being somewhat down from its highs a few years ago.

Of course what he means by “safest country” isn’t exactly clear, and he could well mean that his regime is in the least jeopardy. Though even this claim may well be premature, as the protests in Iraq have been far larger than those in nations like Syria. Or perhaps he is referring to his regime’s ability to successfully crush a protest movement – debateable with 50,000 US troops still on the ground backing them up, but most regimes appear to fancy their chances of killing their way back to calm, until the protests inevitably get out of their control.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of