I've just returned to Baghdad, and with most of the country observing Eid holidays, I've had some time to peruse the latest Brookings Institution Iraq Index, a monthly compilation of key stats on security and reconstruction countrywide.
The index has some interesting statistics, and I'm going through all 46 pages so you don't have to. Some highlights:
- Civilian fatalities: Through September, there have been 2,180 civilian deaths in Iraq. We're on track to exceed the 2009 death total of 3,000, which was the lowest total since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
- U.S. force strength: There were 48,000 U.S. troops here in October, down from 49,700 the previous two months.
- Major attacks: 54 people died in multiple-fatality bombings (which Brookings describes as bombings with three or more deaths) in October, slightly fewer than in September but another dramatic decrease from July-August, which averaged 200+ monthly.
- Returning Iraqis: 6,800 internally displaced Iraqis returned home in October and 1,290 refugees came back into the country, slightly lower than the figures in August and September.
- Basic services: As of February 2009, 20 percent of Iraqis had access to sanitation services, 45 percent had access to potable water, 30 percent had access to health care and 45 percent had trash service.