Monday, December 31, 2007

Casualties Round-up December 2007

Once again the fatalities, both civilian a military, fell in December 2007. That is the finding by B’Teslem, an Israeli human rights organization operating chiefly in the West Bank.

For all of 2007, B’Teslem determined that Palestinians killed 13 Israelis – seven civilians and six military. That’s the lowest annual total since 2000 and compares to 17 Israeli fatalities in 2006. B’Teslem also found that Israelis killed 373 Palestinians in 2007, of whom more than one-third – 131 – were not involved in any military action against Israelis.

Fatalities from violence are mounting elsewhere around the globe. In Kenya, the dramatic “turn-around” in the overnight ballot count Thursday, December 27, sparked riots in many areas, including the capitol Nairobi, the port of Mombasa, and Kisumu, a stronghold of challenger Raila Odinga. Late Sunday, according to media reports, the Kenyan Election Commission suspended vote counting because of reports of unrest and accusations of corruption.

When the vote count stopped, Odinga was said to be one million votes ahead of the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki (BBC). By dawn Monday, December 31, Odinga’s lead had become a deficit. The Election Commission quickly declared Kibaki re-elected. Violence broke out, and by the end of December 31, more than 135 people had died either in ethnic clashes, riots, or encounters with police.

Pakistan remains tense in the aftermath of the burial of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto December 27. Should either Pakistan’s election commission or President Pervez Musharraf delay the January 8, 2008 election for a new parliament, already delayed twice, there undoubtedly will be renewed violence between members of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party and the army.

Iraqi civilian fatalities for December were also down to 462 with another 72 deaths among the Iraq security forces. This is the lowest total since April 2005 when 537 Iraqis were reported killed.

Among the coalition forces, U.S. fatalities for December 2007 were 21 – the lowest total for any month of the Iraq War except for February 2004, when just 20 U.S. troops died. Nonetheless, 2007 saw 899 U.S. military women and men assigned to the Iraq theater or in support of the theater perish and pushed total U.S. dead to over 3,900 on December 26 and, at year’s end, to 3,902. DoD counts among these dead 132 suicides. U.S. wounded in Iraq total 28,661.

Other coalition countries have suffered 307 fatalities in Iraq.

In Afghanistan, U.S. losses for 2007 total 116 and other coalition losses came to 115. Total deaths among U.S. forces since the start of operations in October 2001 are 474 and among other coalition countries 274.

Somalia, Darfur, Chad, Sri Lanka, Colombia – the dead pile up in uncounted numbers. Enough.

May you all have a Happy New Year – one that is more peaceful than 2007.

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