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, 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 AND COALITION OPERATIONS
OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE
The Coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory over the Islamic State in Baghouz on Saturday, ending the four-year military operation to oust IS from its territory in Iraq and Syria as SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali declared the “total elimination” of the group’s territorial control.
More than 72,000 people escaped Baghouz throughout the offensive – more than 10 times the 7,000 aid groups were expecting.
Recommendations for better practices on reporting civilian harm are offered by Airwars.
MOST RECENT OIR CIVCAS REPORT (February 28): In the month of January, CJTF-OIR carried over 182 open reports from previous months and received 22 new reports, five of them were previously closed, but the CIVCAS cell reopened them due to new information. The assessment of 63 civilian casualty allegation reports has been completed. Out of the 63 completed casualty allegation reports, 12 reports were determined to be credible and resulted in 67 unintentional civilian deaths. None of the reports were determined to be duplicate report and the remaining 51 reports were assessed to be non-credible. A total of 141 reports are still open.
The Coalition conducted a total of 33,921 strikes between August 2014 and end of January 2019. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1257 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
In an historic vote, the Senate sent an important message: we will no longer support Saudi Arabia in causing the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet. Congress will reassert its constitutional authority on issues of war and end U.S. support for the war in Yemen. https://t.co/6l7s4L4aLE
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 13, 2019
Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Total Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen)
Civilians Killed: 769 – 1,725
Children Killed: 253 – 397
Total Killed: 8,459 – 12,105
Minimum Confirmed Strikes: 6,786
Airwars (Total Iraq and Syria)
Civilians Killed: 7,562 – 12,158
Children Killed: 1,586 – 2,156
Coalition Strikes in Iraq: 14,451
Coalition Strikes in Syria: 19,543
At least 14 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in an airstrike on Saturday in Kunduz province.
The New York Times recorded 12 civilian deaths in Afghanistan between March 15 and 21.
More than 231 civilians have been killed in Yemen by airstrikes, shelling, snipers, and landmines – at least three people every day – since a ceasefire agreement was reached between the Yemeni government and Houthi forces in Sweden in December. While airstrikes on Hodeida have decreased due to the ceasefire there, civilian casualties in Hajjah and Taiz have doubled, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
SECURITY ASSISTANCE AND ARMS SALES
The US and Oman have reached an agreement allowing the US access to facilities and ports in Duqm and Salalah, which officials say will allow the US military better access to the Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz.
DRONE WARFARE AND TARGETED KILLINGS
The United States has carried out more than 100 strikes by drones and manned aircraft since early 2017. At least 14 civilians were killed in just five of those strikes, Amnesty International finds in a new report. Amnesty said those strikes have violated international humanitarian law and some may amount to war crimes.
The Pentagon has denied those findings. US Africa Command said its assessments found that no airstrikes resulted in any civilian casualties and that the assessments are “based on post-strike analysis using intelligence methods not available to non-military organizations.” It added that Amnesty was faced with security concerns and access restrictions during its research that “severely limited the organization’s ability to freely gather testimonial and evidence.”
Brian Castner, Amnesty’s senior crisis advisor on arms and military operations, said “The civilian death toll we’ve uncovered in just a handful of strikes suggests the shroud of secrecy surrounding the US role in Somalia’s war is actually a smokescreen for impunity.”
The Higher Administrative Court of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia found “considerable ‘indications” that current US military operations in Yemen are in violation of international law and that Germany must develop a mechanism to ensure operations involving US air base Ramstein respect international law.
ON THE CONGRESSIONAL AGENDA
- Tuesday, March 26 – 9:30 am – Senate Armed Services Committee – Posture of the Department of the Army
- Tuesday, March 26 – 10:00 am – House Armed Services Committee – The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Budget Request from the Department of Defense
- Tuesday, March 26 – 2:00 pm – House Foreign Affairs Committee – Looking Forward: U.S. – Africa Relations
- Wednesday, March 27 – 10:00 am – Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Nomination of Mr. Robert A. Destro Of Virginia, To Be Assistant Secretary Of State For Democracy, Human Rights, And Labor
- Wednesday, March 27 – 1:00 pm – House Foreign Affairs Committee – The State Department’s Foreign Policy Strategy and FY20 Budget Request
- March 26: Center for Strategic and International Studies – The Case for U.S. Foreign Assistance
- March 26: Center for Strategic and International Studies – Long Game or Long Gone? Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the State of U.S. Counterterrorism
- March 27: Center for Strategic and International Studies – Ukraine’s Armed Forces Five Years into Conflict with Russia
- March 28: Center for Strategic and International Studies – The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction: High-Risk List
- April 2: Woodrow Wilson Center – What’s Next for the Rohingya?
- April 5: Brookings Institution – Redefining U.S. National Security: Interlinkages with American Society and Foreign Policy
- April 8: Center for Strategic and International Studies – Iraqi Public Opinion 16 Years After the Invasion