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Op-Ed

The State of Iraq: An Update

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More than two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains a complex mix of tragedy and hope. To give a sense of the ebb and flow, this chart shows data for three key months: May 2003 (the first full month after the fall of Baghdad), June 2004 (the last month before the Coalition Authority gave way to the interim Iraqi government) and May 2005.

Many Iraqis today are wealthier than they were before the invasion, with more bustle in the streets and a new stock market that is trading billions of shares a month; yet by other measures, like electricity availability and the unemployment rate, Iraq’s economy appears weaker than it was during the Baathist reign.

Much has been made, rightly, of the intensification of the insurgency. Last month’s toll on United States troops was well above the average for the last two years, and was the deadliest yet for Iraqi security forces. Still, Iraqis are providing authorities with far more tips on insurgent activities than even a few months ago. And most people remain optimistic about the future. Even Sunni Arabs, who provide the largest pool of recruits for the insurgency, seem slightly more hopeful than a year ago. This optimism is welcome, because with security conditions poor and the economy a mixed bag, the fledgling political process has increasingly become Iraq’s main good news—and main hope.

Oil Production/Oil Exports (millions of barrels per day; prewar: 2.9/2.1)—May 2003: 0.3/0, June 2004: 2.3/1.1, May 2005: 2.1/1.3

Fuel Supplies for Public (percent of estimated need)—May 2003: 10, June 2004: 75, May 2005: 94

Average Electricity Production (in megawatts; prewar: 4,400)—May 2003: 500, June 2004: 4,300, May 2005: 3,700

Telephone Users (prewar: 833,000)—May 2003: 800,000, June 2004: 1.2 million, May 2005: 3.3 million

Internet subscribers (prewar: 4,500)—May 2003: 1,000, June 2004: 59,000, May 2005: 160,000

Wheat Production (millions of tons per year; prewar: 1.9)—May 2003: 2.6, June 2004: 2.2, May 2005: not yet known

Cumulative U.S. Assistance Disbursed—May 2003: 0, June 2004: $2.5 billion, May 2005: $7.7 billion

Percent of Public Believing Country Headed in the Right Direction—May 2003: 65, June 2004: 50, May 2005: 65

Percent of Sunni Arabs Believing Same—May 2003: 35, June 2004: 33, May 2005: 40

Percent of Iraqis Who Support Iraqi Government—May 2003: -, June 2004: 65, May 2005: 75

Commercial TV Stations (prewar: 0)—May 2003: 0, June 2004: 21, May 2005: 23

Commercial Radio Stations (prewar: 0)—May 2003: 0, June 2004: 80, May 2005: 80

Independent Newspapers and Magazines (prewar: 0)—May 2003: 8, June 2004: 150, May 2005: 170

US Troops Killed/Wounded (per month)—May 2003: 37/54, June 2004: 42/584, May 2005: 77/615

Iraqi Security Personnel Killed (per month)—May 2003: few, June 2004: 150, May 2005: 270

Iraqi Civilians Killed by Warfare (per month)—May 2003: 25, June 2004: 350, May 2005: 600

Foreign Civilians Killed/Kidnapped (per month)—May 2003: 0/0, June 2004: 22/3, May 2005: 11/3

Estimated Number of Iraqi Insurgents/Foreign Fighters—May 2003: 3,000/100, June 2004: 15,000/300, May 2005: 16,000/1,000

Average Number of Insurgent Attacks per Day—May 2003: 10, June 2004: 52, May 2005: 70

Number of Top Insurgent Leaders at Large—May 2003: 53, June 2004: 34, May 2005: 31

U.S./Other Coalition Troops in Iraq—May 2003: 150,000/23,000, June 2004: 138,000/23,000, May 2005: 138,000/23,000

Proficient, Well Equipped Iraqi Security Forces—May 2003: 0, June 2004: 0, May 2005: 50,000

Trained Judges—May 2003: 0, June 2004: 175, May 2005: 351

View the Op-Chart (graphic by Amy Unikewicz)


View the February 2005 Chart


View the November 2004 Chart


View the August 2004 Chart


View the May 2004 Chart


View the February 2004 Chart


View the November 2003 Chart

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