UK lied about zero civilian deaths in Iraq – investigation

Lazy eyes listen


According to an investigation published on Wednesday by the Guardian and the monitoring group Airwars, the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) killed civilians during its most recent bombing of Iraq. The report directly contradicts the British government’s denials that RAF air raids targeting Islamic State terrorists also killed noncombatants.

The United Kingdom joined the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS) in 2014, and has since carried out multiple airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, dropping over 4,000 bombs. The coalition has admitted to causing 1,437 civilian deaths during that time period, but has not revealed which countries were to blame.

Official figures from the UK Ministry of Defence show that the strikes killed 1,107 militants and one civilian in Syria and 3,052 militants and no civilians in Iraq. The claim was investigated by the Guardian and Airwars, a UK-based monitoring group that tracks civilian deaths.

The news outlet and the NGO examined over 1,300 coalition documents obtained by the New York Times, as well as MoD documentation obtained by Airwars, to identify 43 strikes in which the RAF may have been involved. Eight strikes in the Mosul area were chosen, and researchers conducted on-the-ground interviews.

‘The coalition had acknowledged 26 civilian casualties from the six airstrikes identified as “likely” carried out by the RAF. Another two civilians were killed in a confirmed RAF airstrike on January 9, 2017, described by London as killing two militants.

According to the investigation, British missiles maimed and seriously injured several children in addition to killing entire families.

According to a Ministry of Defence spokesperson, “there is no evidence or indication that civilian casualties were caused by strikes in Syria and Iraq,” citing “rigorous processes” in place to reduce civilian deaths. The British government has also refused to answer parliamentary questions about how it kept track of civilian casualties.

While acknowledging that the UK has some of the best civilian protections in the world, retired air marshal Greg Bagwell told the Guardian that claiming zero casualties was a “stretch.”

“If we said we were 90% better than everyone else,” he said, “that might be a credible argument.” “It’s clearly difficult to sell that when you keep saying the number is zero and thus we’re 100% perfect.”

According to the Guardian, Britain passed legislation in 2021 imposing a six-year statute of limitations on any claims for damages, so even if London eventually admits to the killings, survivors will be unable to seek compensation.