However, a large proportion of deaths are attributed to coalition forces, between 14 and 21 percent over time directly attributed, a belief that is reflected, as explained in footnote 3, in other surveys of Iraqis.
In the mortality survey, it is not clear how many deaths can fairly be attributed to coalition forces, since respondents' knowledge of the source of death is far less reliable than the fact of death.
As a result, the kinship/tribal networks so integral to the ratcheting up of violence in reaction to counter-insurgency are morally validated by mosque leaders; both, importantly, are largely autonomous and decentralized.
Research also shows high local esteem for fighters.
The "Awakening councils" of the last few months are purchased, and may be motivated not only by money but by a desire to regain control of local areas from foreign and to create a new bulwark, with the U. With whom these now well-armed Sunni fighters will cast their lot in future years is anyone's guess.
While no one is insisting that the large numbers of fatalities reported in the Burnham et al study are indisputable---their mid-range estimate as of July 2006 was 655,000 dead due to the war, 600,000 by violence---the study provides an order of magnitude estimate, the only scientific calculation of the war dead at the time (see analyses of other surveys published since, on this site), and invaluable demographic data.This cycle, significantly initiated by the aggressive rules of engagement of the U. military and its counter-insurgency strategy, better explains the durability and decentralized nature of the Sunni Arab insurgency than any other cause.The violence from Shia militia came later in the war, and is likely a reaction to coalition's deadly force, Sunni insurgent actions, and the provocations of non-Iraqi jihadists. troop surge in 2007 is still being assessed; violence has decreased in Baghdad partly because it has been ethnically cleansed---the "peace of the grave.") The death rate is important because it is a pivotal explanation for the insurgency.This matches the widespread observation of assassinations, single shots to the head either in groups or individually.It also explains the high numbers, as Professor Juan Cole, a leading expert on Iraq, explained in House testimony.Understanding the scale, the sources of violence, the demographical profiles of the victims, and the geographic dispersion of killing---all recorded in the household survey of the Iraq mortality study---provides an indispensable tool in coming to terms with the violence in Iraq.For all the attention given to the insurgent attacks and suicide killers, scholars and policy professionals---including those in the U. Government---have not grasped the roots of violence or its consequences.The recent spate of books and ongoing news coverage only partially address these matters of violence.These accounts are necessarily incomplete, given how dangerous it became to report from Iraq soon after Saddam Hussein was deposed. Academic studies, including interviews with jailed insurgents, suggest that violent actors are creating an enormous, self-generating feedback loop in which violence begets violence.All surveys, including one released in January 2008 by the Iraq Ministry of Health and showing 400,000 excess deaths, are largely congruent in their main conclusions, with their differences reflecting the difficulty of gathering data during wartime.In the most acute periods of violence (2005-07), the growing numbers of deaths---which all observers agree occur broadly throughout Iraq---were found in the survey to be caused mainly by gunshot.