And this was far from the only such attack in Iraq in 2011. Iraq has been more peaceful than in previous years but one would hardly call it safe. The Iraqi Body Count project, a humanitarian project that counts numbers of violent civilian deaths in order, they say, to document the human cost of war, suggests that just over 4,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq so far in 2011. This is slightly less than in 2010 but as the project notes on its website, their numbers often change due to retrospective reporting and research. Usually the numbers rise and under reporting is also a possibility.
In September 2011, a statistical analysis by the British medical journal Lancet found that “suicide bombers in Iraq kill significantly more Iraqi civilians than coalition soldiers. Among civilians, children are more likely to die than adults when injured by suicide bombs”. Suicide bombs are, the researchers concluded, “a major public health threat” with suicide bombs causing almost a fifth of all Iraqi civilian casualties between 2003 and 2010.
Despite the turmoil and violence that Iraq still faces, there have also been some improvements, particularly when it comes to economic progress and management. Important agreements were signed – including long term economic ties between Iraq and Jordan, an agreement on oil supplies with the South Korean government, deals with Turkish, Korean and Kuwaiti companies to develop Iraqi oil fields and a contract with a French company to build a train link between Baghdad and Basra.
And now Iraqis are preparing to farewell the year that was 2011. Ordinary Iraqis are looking back on the year with mixed feelings – they hope that 2012 might bring better times but they also know that, sadly, nobody can guarantee this.