Violence Soars in Iraq: Over 1,000 Killed in Month of May

High Death Tolls Not Seen Since 2007

With the month of May coming to a close, the trend of worsening violence in Iraq became all the more apparent. After April being the highest death toll in years with several hundred deals, sectarian violence blew wide open in May.’s own daily round-ups from Margaret Griffis tracked Iraq violence counts, and came up with 1,077 dead in the month of May, and 2,258 others wounded. UN death tolls were roughly in line, putting the dead at 1,045. Such a level has not been seen since the last sectarian civil war in Iraq in summer 2007.

Perhaps most troubling is that the toll wasn’t a straight line throughout the month, and that much of the violence came in the second half of May. Signs are that the situation is still getting worse, and May could be the beginning of a trend toward even worse violence through the summer.

There seems to be no reason for things to get better any time soon, sectarian tensions are on the rise and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is following the same strategy of crackdowns that didn’t work last time. The last sectarian blood-letting calmed down only when religiously mixed neighborhoods were eventually all re-segregated. That displacement hasn’t changed, and the new fighting is more regional than local, meaning that barring an actual settlement there is nothing to stop the attacks this time.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.