Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace Program: Cross-Cultural, Geopolitical & Regional Education

Scholarly Spotlight: Violence in Iraq

Scholarly Spotlight: Since the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, there has been an increase in violence. Dan Murphy, of the Christian Science Monitor, considers the reason for Iraq’s ominous trendline of violence:
“This is due to the same problem that the U.S.-led occupation authority had in coming to grips with terror-style attacks at the height of the war in the country between 2004 and 2008: Lots of Iraqis were passively supportive, because they resented the new order, resented the presence of foreign troops, or simply feared retaliation.”
Program Officer and Research Analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Becca Wasser quantitatively examines the rise in violence.
“The latest bombings – in Kirkuk, Karbala, Samarra, Baghdad and other cities – are part of an upsurge in violence following the withdrawal of US troops on 18 December 2011. In the first three months since troops left (to 18 March 2012) there were 204 bombings – a 70% increase on the same period last year. With no more real US military targets in the country, the spike necessarily means that Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence has increased, and illustrates the need for a strengthened local security force.

Immediately after the US withdrawal, ‘minor’ incidents began involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and roadside bombs.


At the IISS-US, we have been compiling information on bombings in Iraq since the withdrawal of US forces, using news articles, Iraqi government statements, the Iraq Body Count website and other sources. Compared to the 204 attacks from 18 December 2011 to 18 March 2012, there were only 120 attacks between 18 December 2010 and 18 March 2011. In January 2012 alone bombings increased to 81, in from 45 in January 2011.”

Read the rest of the analysis here.


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