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

Between 272 and 460 civilians were likely killed in Coalition strikes during the first six months of this year – an 88 percent drop from the first half of 2017, according to Airwars. During the month of June, there were no publicly reported civilian casualty events in Iraq, though Airwars estimates between 54 and 81 civilians were killed in Syria, including at least sixteen children.

Coalition forces carried out 24 strikes in Iraq and Syria between July 16 and July 22.

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.

SEE: A CIVIC Quick Reference Guide: US Law and Policy on the Use of Military Force and Lethal Operations

TWEET OF THE WEEK

STATISTICS

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: 29,809

Bombs & Missiles Dropped: 108, 107

UPCOMING EVENTS

August 8: Center for Strategic and International Studies – US Arms Transfer Policy

CONGRESS

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT

The House passed the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act in a 359-54 vote on Thursday, and a final vote in the Senate is expected this week.

The final defense bill includes two important civilian casualties provisions:

  • Section 936 requires the designation of a senior civilian official within the Department of Defense tasked with responsibility for policy on civilian casualty matters
  • Section 1062 strengthens earlier requirements of civilian casualty reporting

Rita Siemion provides an outline of the new provisions in Just Security.

SECURITY ASSISTANCE AND ARMS SALES

The State Department approved the possible sale to Bahrain of follow-on technical support for the Royal Bahrain Navy Ship SABHA (FFG-90), worth an estimated $70 million.

The Trump administration has restored $195 million in military aid to Egypt, despite an intensifying crackdown on human rights by the el-Sisi government. Andrew Miller of the Project on Middle East Democracy said, “the Egyptians will present this decision as an American blessing of their policies.”

A widely-circulated video depicts the execution of two women and two children by members of Cameroon’s armed forces – the recipient of substantial aid from the United States and one of America’s closest military allies on the continent.

Media reports have suggested that the number of special operations forces in Africa has been reduced and troops directed to take fewer risks, and a Pentagon review ordered this spring may result in drastic cuts to US Special Operations in Africa. However, there is no evidence yet of any downsizing.

WHAT WE’RE READING

Jason Schwartz writes in Politico about declining media access to Secretary of Defense Mattis and senior Pentagon officials.

Civilian casualties in Yemen continue, despite assurances from the Saudi-led coalition to better protect civilians. Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post tells what happened to one village when an airstrike hit a wedding, killing more than twenty civilians.

Image courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Melissa Marnell
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