With only a few days of 2008 remaining, the year so far has seen another 8,315-9,028 civilian deaths added to the IBC database. This compares to 25,774-27,599 deaths reported in 2006, and 22,671-24,295 in 2007. This is a substantial drop on the preceding two years: on a per-day rate, it represents a reduction from 76 per day (2006) and 67 per day (2007) to 25 per day in 2008.
The most notable reduction in violence has been in Baghdad. For the first time since the US-led occupation of Iraq began, fewer deaths have been reported in the capital than in the rest of the country (from 54% of all deaths in 2006-2007 to 32% in 2008). Most of these reductions have been attributed to declining inter-communal violence.
Yet these improvements, as important and welcome as they are, can only be seen as a success when compared to the much worse conditions that prevailed in 2006-2007. Even within this timeframe, areas outside Baghdad have seen far less dramatic reductions in violence, and dozens of civilians are still being killed in conflict-related violence throughout Iraq on a relentless, daily basis. At 25 per day, the 2008 rate for violent civilian deaths is equivalent to that existing throughout the first 20 months of post-invasion Iraq, from May 2003 to December 2004 (15,355 deaths over 610 days).