Impact of Coalition and Insurgent Force Levels on Military Casualties in the Iraq Insurgency, 2003-2005

K. Tiedemann (Canada)


Military casualties, war related risks, regression models, two-stage least squares.


The analysis of small scale conflicts has been hampered, on the one hand, by the absence of appropriate data on the inputs and outcomes of the conflicts and, on the other hand, by the application of methods of analysis developed for large-scale wars of attrition that may not reflect the dynamics of guerrilla warfare. The current insurrection in Iraq is a useful case study because it has generated a reasonably comprehensive set of indicators or metrics since the beginning of the insurgency in May 2003. This study uses time-series analysis to model the impact of Coalition and insurgent troop levels in Iraq on Coalition casualties and insurgent casualties for the period May 2003 through October 2005. Both ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares models are estimated, with the latter allowing for the possibility that insurgent troop levels are determined within the model. The study finds that higher own force levels reduce own force casualties, while higher opposing force levels increase own force casualties.

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