Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) shares regular updates about the work of our global programs. Our US program, helmed by US Program Director, Daniel R. Mahanty, with support from Research & Advocacy Associate, Julie Snyder, works with US institutions to protect civilians trapped in conflict around the world. This weekly overview of the US Program is authored by CIVIC consultant, Lyndsey Martin.
US MILITARY OPERATIONS: IRAQ, SYRIA, AFGHANISTAN, YEMEN
OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE
After four years of war, the Islamic State has lost nearly all of its territory in Iraq and Syria but the cost for civilians has been high. Though Coalition officials routinely said this was the “most precise campaign in history,” Airwars currently estimates that between 6,500 and 10,000 have been killed in Coalition actions, while many cities and towns in Iraq and Syria have been almost entirely destroyed causing millions to be displaced.
Amnesty International has urged the Coalition to conduct a thorough investigation into the Raqqa campaign to uncover the full scale of civilian deaths and compensate the victims. Last month, the Coalition acknowledged that it killed an additional 77 civilians than previously reported, yet Amnesty said this is just “the tip of the iceberg” and that a probe is needed to understand why civilians were killed and who was responsible. Amnesty also called on the Coalition to release “meaningful and verifiable information” about how targets were selected in Raqqa and how strikes were carried out.
Coalition forces carried out 20 strikes in Iraq and Syria between July 30 and August 5.
MOST RECENT OIR CIVCAS REPORT (July 26): In the month of June, CJTF-OIR carried over 314 open reports from previous months and received 45 new reports. The assessment of 125 civilian casualty reports have been completed. Sixteen reports were determined to be credible, resulting in 105 unintentional civilian deaths, while three were assessed to be duplicate and 106 were assessed to be non-credible. A total of 234 reports are still open. The Coalition conducted a total of 29,826 strikes between August 2014 and end of June 2018. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1059 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Total Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen)
Civilians Killed: 751 – 1,555
Children Killed: 252 – 345
Total Killed: 7,715 – 11,067
Minimum Confirmed Strikes: 4,926
Airwars (Total Iraq and Syria)
Minimum Civilians Killed: 6,488
Coalition Strikes: 29,844
Bombs & Missiles Dropped: 108, 107
An investigation into reports of civilian casualties caused by an airstrike near the city of Kunduz last month found “no credible information to corroborate the allegations.” The investigation was launched last month following reports that fourteen civilians had been killed in a US airstrike supporting an operation by Afghan forces in Chardara district on July 19.
Dozens of civilians were killed on Thursday in an airstrike by the Saudi-UAE coalition on a school bus in a crowded market in Saada province, including at least 29 children. Local authorities put the death toll at 50 with 77 injured, but expect the figure to rise. The coalition issued a statement saying that it carried out the strikes on Saada, but said they were carried out in a “legitimate military action” and “conformed to international and humanitarian laws.”
A spokesperson for US Central Command said that it doesn’t know if an American-made munition was used in the strike on Saada. It’s also unclear if the United States was involved in refueling planes for the attack because the US doesn’t track where the coalition planes go or what their missions are.
For more than two years, the Saudi-UAE coalition backed by the United States has secured secret deals with al Qaeda, paying some al Qaeda commanders to leave key cities and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment, and looted cash, an AP investigation has found. Key participants in the deal-making said that the US was aware of the arrangements and held off on drone strikes against al Qaeda.
SECURITY ASSISTANCE AND ARMS SALES
The State Department cleared the potential sale of Evolved Seasparrow Missiles to Mexico for an estimated cost of $41 million.
The Trump administration is curtailing highly valued training and educational programs with the Pakistani military as part of a decision earlier this year to suspend US security assistance to Pakistan.
Cameroon is again investigating a video that Amnesty International says shows security forces executing at least a dozen unarmed people in the country’s Far North region where Cameroonian forces are fighting Boko Haram. A separate video surfaced last month appearing to show security forces shooting two women and two children. Amnesty’s Lake Chad researcher, Ilaria Allegrozzi, said, “Here is yet more credible evidence to support the allegations that Cameroon’s armed forces have committed grave crimes against civilians.”
At the same time, General Waldhauser, head of US Africa Command, said that expected troop reductions in Africa will begin in places like Cameroon, where the US military believes its efforts to train the country’s special operations forces have largely been successful.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Daniel Rosenthal and Loren DeJonge Schulman write in The Atlantic about the Trump administration’s lack of transparency over the use of drones: “consequential decision making regarding drones has been delegated down into the bowels of executive-branch agencies; Congress is largely sidelined; and the American public is kept intentionally in the dark.”