20 years of war: How much did the US war in Iraq, Syria cost?
The paper estimates that the war cost $2.89 trillion and over 500,000 lives were lost in Iraq and Syria.
The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, an interdisciplinary think tank affiliated with Brown University, published a 27-page research paper that investigated the total costs of the US war in both Iraq and Syria, under the title Blood and Treasure: United States Budgetary costs and human costs of 20 years of war in Iraq and Syria, 2003-2023.
The estimated $2.89 trillion cost of the conflict and the over 500,000 lives lost in Iraq and Syria are both examined in the paper. Additionally, it states that this budgetary sum accounts for expenses spent up to this point, which are projected to total $1.79 trillion, as well as expenses for veterans' care through 2050.
Between 550,000 and 580,000 people have been killed in Iraq and Syria, the current theaters of the American so-called Operation Inherent Resolve, since the US invaded Iraq in 2003, according to the paper, with many more likely succumbing from indirect causes like preventable diseases.
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It states that more than 7 million people from Iraq and Syria are currently refugees, and nearly 8 million people are internally displaced in the two countries.
The Watson Institute paper also estimates that between 2003 and 2021, US military activities in the conflict zone released 98 to 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MMTCO2e), which is equal to 12 to 15% of the DOD's overall operational greenhouse gas emissions.
The report mentions that most allies and US forces left Iraq in 2011, but the US returned to significant military operations in Iraq and Syria in late 2014 in fighting that was undertaken to allegedly remove ISIS from territory it had seized in those two countries. It is estimated that the war continued, with a nearly $400 million budget request from the Biden Administration this month to allegedly counter ISIS.
On that note, it is worth mentioning that the US presence in Syria played a bigger role in looting than anything else. The US occupation forces continued to steal Syrian oil, as they took on tanks filled with quantities of oil they stole in January from the fields of Al-Hasakah countryside and transported them to their bases in Iraq.
"Today, the US occupation forces took out tanks filled with quantities of oil that they stole from the lands of Al-Hasakah countryside, and transported them to northern Iraq through the illegal Al-Mahmudiya crossing," local sources from Al-Yaarubiah countryside in Al-Hasakah told SANA on January 14.
"The US occupation forces, with the help of the SDF, sent in batches a convoy consisting of 53 tanks loaded with stolen Syrian oil through the Al-Mahmudiya illegal crossing to their bases in Iraqi territory," the sources added.
On January 5, local sources from Al-Yaarubiah countryside in Al-Hasakah told SANA that "a convoy of 36 tanks loaded with stolen Syrian oil was taken today by the US occupation forces to their bases in northern Iraq, through the Al-Mahmudiya illegal crossing in the far eastern countryside of Al-Hasakah."
It is worth noting that in mid-December, Syria's Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement that the US occupation forces and their affiliated military groups' systematic lootings of Syrian oil, wheat, and other national resources have amounted to direct losses valued at $25.9 billion and indirect losses valued at over $86 billion, SANA reported.