It is recommended to read the “Modeling the outbreak of wars to understand the war cycle” beforehand. The concepts described there are used in this page.
The civil wars in Iraq have allowed the materialization of the “War Cycle”.
Let’s come back to the 2nd Gulf War against Iraq in 2003. The opponents of the “War Cycle” will find there a remarkable case against the “War Cycle”. The outbreak of this war took place at the peak of attenuation, just like someone (imaginary) who would have wanted to demonstrate that this Cycle makes no sense or would have wanted to minimize as much as possible the regional repercussions by avoiding the involvement of other regional actors.
What happens in such a remarkable case?
- In principle, this shows that the “War Cycle” is meaningless, since the outbreak of war takes place at the moment of a peak of attenuation.
- But if we take into account the Combination 3 described in “Modeling the outbreak of wars to understand the war cycle” we should have a form of overviolence visible at the time of the amplification peak that follows
Do you remember what happened after the US intervention in Iraq from March 2003?
- First the Americans won this battle,
- then they occupied Iraq,
- And an Iraqi civil war accompanied by U.S. military repression followed.
Valuable data from Wikileaks
The U.S. Army has done a remarkable internal job in cataloguing all incidents as well as deaths and injuries.In 2010, following the publication of the U.S. military reports by WikiLeaks, the newspaper “Le Monde” dated Sunday 24 – Monday 25 October 2010 published a graph clearly showing a peak of violence in late 2006. Before the publication of this graph, it was admitted that the peak of violence in Iraq was rather in 2007, and the figures put forward were extremely variable depending on the sources. A careful analysis of the reports revealed by Wikileaks allowed us to measure the real violence in Iraq from 2004 to 2009. The measure is the number of victims. The source of the original graph published in Le Monde is “THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM” According to U.S. Army reports published by Wikileaks, there were 110,000 deaths between 2004 and 2009. The following graph (whose form has been used to present it), shows the distribution of these victims over time (dead and wounded). It is the only reliable measure of the violence in Iraq known to date during this period and is based on reports, unlike many other estimates that relied on a few polls extrapolated by statistical methods under very different assumptions from one source to another.
This curve is based on 400,000 military reports provided by Wikileaks and exploited by the media.
Knowing that the amplification peak was in mid 2007 and that the next one is at the end of 2015, you can imagine from reading this graph what is presented in the following graph, if you have understood the “War Cycle”.
Is the “War Cycle” materialized?
When we look at this graph, we see half a period of the sinusoidal phenomenon that is materialized. Rather than having a single point: the outbreak of the war, we see an apparent materialization of the amplification peak by thousands of measurements.
What can someone who knows the “Cycle of Wars” conclude before 2014?
He can conclude that the departure of the Americans in 2011 from Iraq will take place in the most calm period. If this materialization is indeed that of the “Cycle of Wars”, in the period of amplification that will follow (2014 to 2017), we will see a component of violence/civil war within Iraq regain momentum until 2015 and then a new decline in this violence/civil war. The Americans left Iraq believing that the job was done and finished. If they had been aware of this phenomenon they could have come to the same conclusions and anticipated the period that followed. Everything that happened afterwards confirmed this.
2014 et 2015
What we see in 2014 and 2015 : Since 2012 there has been a rise in violence (dotted line), confirming that the cycle identified by Wikileaks is indeed the materialization of the “War Cycle”. The media gradually spoke of a resumption of attacks, then at the end of 2013 spoke of a level of violence similar to that of 2008/2007 and then this new war in Iraq against Daech exploded all the meters.
What we see in 2016 : The conflict in Iraq is losing its intensity. The retreat of the Islamic State leads to a gradual recovery of the territories initially conquered in 2014. Their action will probably continue in the classic forms of attacks, but with an intensity that seems less intense. In 2016, it remained to find a measure or reliable estimates to be even more indisputable. This is the first time that the cycle could be materialized by thousands of measurement points over a period of more than 10 years. Half of the work is based on hundreds of thousands of reports from the US military. However, there is a small flaw: since Wikileaks, there is no more data available through the Americans.
March 2017: new data allowing a materialization of the “War Cycle” over 10 years.
After Wikileaks, the data tap stopped. There was no longer any question for the Americans to provide further data. So other data sources had to be sought. In March 2017, I came across the site “Iraqbodycount.org”. This site provides data on the number of deaths in Iraq. In the following graph (reconstructed from the data available on the site), the number of civilian deaths in Iraq is used as a measure of violence on a year-by-year basis.
It’s all in this graph. Anyone who understands this graph has a key element in the objective demonstration of the “War Cycle”.
Using the data available on the site “iraqbodycount.org”, the phenomenon observed from the wikileaks data was confirmed, but above all it confirmed the period 2012-2016 for which there were no data available.
What can we conclude?
The materialization of the “Cycle of Wars” is confirmed, first with Wikileaks data, then with data from Iraqbodycount.org.
- We note a similar time lag (6 months to a year) between the two successive amplification peaks,
- The war in Syria is a good candidate but it is difficult to find reliable data. It seems unlikely that the curve from 2014 to 2017 will not be similar to that of Iraq, but there has been no equivalent work for the moment,
- Wars in Europe or in the Arab-Israeli conflict are too short with too few victims to draw any lessons from them.
What needs to be done to confirm this materialization of the “Cycle of Wars”?
Finding another example is necessary. The difficulty is to find a war that lasts long enough (ideally 10 years as for the civil wars in Iraq) with enough deaths and injuries to make the data meaningful.
One example is not enough, but the research community should mobilize to find other examples.
updated on November 28, 2017 (French to English Translation of the web Site on October 24, 2020)