The first six weeks of George Bush’s “surge” on Baghdad has greatly increased the number of Iraqi civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital.
According to figures compiled by news agencies, there were 1,806 recorded deaths in February. By March the number of deaths had risen by 15 percent.
Bush claimed sending an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq would reduce the daily rounds of kidnapping, sectarian murders and car bombings.
But as US troops sweep through Baghdad, they drive away local fighters and leave the capital’s neighbourhoods at the mercy of sectarian death squads.
At the beginning of March a round of tit for tat sectarian killings plunged Tal Afar into sectarian bloodshed. This was last seen when the city was “cleansed” of resistance fighters two years ago. Yet that huge US offensive was widely lauded as the model for the occupation.
The military surge has become a desperate gamble for an occupation that is deeply unpopular in the US.
Bush wanted the Iraqi army to bear the brunt of the fighting with the resistance. However many Iraqi soldiers have refused to join the deployment, leaving the US troops to fight alone.
The US lost 85 soldiers in March, while the Iraqi army lost 44.
Meanwhile the daily rate of attacks on occupation forces continues to rise.
April looks set to be a bloody month. In the first two days of the month two British soldiers and ten US soldiers have been killed.
Far from stabilising the country, the surge is fuelling a rise in bloodshed.