Comparing Iraq and Darfur

Some statistics comparing Iraq, where we have intervened, and Darfur, where we have not intervened.

  Iraq Darfur
Population 24 million 6 million
Deaths per year 50,000 [ref] 120,000 [ref]
% population killed 0.2% 2%
Displaced people 1 million [ref] 1.8 million [ref]
American troops in 2005 150,000 0
Non US troops in 2005 24,000 3,500
Monthly cost to US $5,000 million   $12 million 
% of world oil reserves  


12% 0.03%


0 0

I’m happy to take corrections, or suggestions for additions.

7 thoughts on “Comparing Iraq and Darfur”

  1. If the UN determines that a genocide is in progress then intervention becomes mandatory.

    The US has declared that a genocide is in progress.

    The UN has refused to declare that.

    So the question is: why are you focussing on the US?

  2. You are strangely paranoid, am. I was not having a crack at the US. In fact, if you look here you’ll see that my contempt is largely directed at the UK Government’s failure to act. The reason I used US numbers is because they were readily available – an excellent testament to the greater freedom of information in this country than in the UK. But I’m happy to add other data if you have them.

  3. Unfortunately, the latest Lancet study suggests 2.5 percent of the Iraqi population killed against Darfur’s 2 percent. Which kind of changes the conclusion.

  4. Adam

    I am not sure which conclusion you think I was drawing, and which you now think should be changed?  My blog post drew no conclusions at all.


  5. The conclusion I drew is that intervention can save lives, ot at least not cost a vastly disproportionate number of lives if done appropriately, which I am sure is true. The death figures in Iraq that seem to be suggested by the Lancet study should be a serious cautionary note in terms of military intervention in Darfur, or indeed any war-zone, by a foreign force.

    I wouldn’t presume to suggest this was your conclusion however, apologies if it came across that way. Would welcome your views.

  6. Adam

    The deaths figures were for deaths before the invasion of Iraq.  What struck me was that the US and UK were willing to send troops to Iraq, despite relatively small numbers of deaths compared to Darfur.  The only possible explanation is that there is some other, more strategic objective, determining whether we intervene with military force.

    I agree with you that interventions may not save lives.  Certainly the experience in Iraq has provided a salutory warning.  But I do not draw the pessimistic conclusion that it can never work.  Perhaps a better planned, more legitimate and multilateral force might not have had all the problems that were experienced in Iraq.


  7. Sure, agree with all that. The problem in Sudan is more the complete lack of Sudanese Government will to accept a multilateral force unless it’s an AU one. Much easier in say Sierra Leone where state authority had pretty much collapsed and hence Britain and the UN could go in. Very few in Sierra Leone now would suggest that the international presence was unwelcone…


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