Iraq Wars and the Iraqi Insurgency (1989-1990) (2004 - )

In the aftermath of the Iraq-UN conflict following President Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1989, the UN enforced no-fly zones and set up a monitoring commission of the arms capacity of the Iraqi government. By the late 1990s, Iraqi officials had increased their resistance against the implementation of these programmes. In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, the U.S. accused the Iraqi government of having weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, a U.S.-led coalition overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein, but failed to maintain security in the country as ex-Bathist and Islamist groups launched a counter-campaign. Violence reached a peak in 2006 as the conflict took on sectarian traits leading to mass human rights violations by domestic Sunni and Shi’a groups, as well as occupying forces. Despite the failure to stabilize the country, the U.S.-led forces withdrew in December 2011. Since then Iraq has effectively been split into three territories based on ethno-religious identity including the Shi’a in the south, the Kurds in the north, and a Sunni band in the middle, which is currently occupied by the organisation known as the Islamic State (formerly of Iraq and the Levant).

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