Iraq

Iraq

Iraq The territory of present-day Iraq largely covers the three former provinces of the Ottoman Empire that became a British protectorate in 1920 following a decision by the League of Nations. Iraq was proclaimed independent in 1932 but became subjected to military occupation by the British in 1941-47 as it was deemed strategically important for the Second World War effort.

As the state of Iraq had been constructed by different territories that originally had little in common, the British-installed king promoted Arab nationalism as a unifying aspect for the population. One consequence of this was the exclusion of large parts of the population as the political elite was dominated by the educated Sunni Muslim minority which had previously worked for the Ottoman administration. Disapproval of the lack of development in the country grew also among this group and a military revolt in 1958 overthrew the monarchy and led to an intrastate conflict that continued in 1959 and resumed in 1963. As different factions of the military competed against each other, the administration eventually became controlled by the Ba'ath party that established a socialist one-party state in 1968. During this time, the government established an extensive security apparatus to suppress dissent as many opposition leaders left the country. Exiled Shia Muslim Iraqis in Iran formed the alliance SCIRI (The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq) that were active in an intrastate conflict against the government in 1982-84, 1987, and 1991-96. The one-party state was abolished in 2003, after which intrastate conflict over government started again. This time, the numerous opposition groups mainly requested a more prominent role for religion in the governance of the country, as well as criticised the government's cooperation with the USA.

A territory which was disputed since the formation of Iraq was the Kurd areas in the north of the country, and local leaders quickly started arguing for the establishment of an independent Kurdistan. This led to intrastate conflict over this territory in 1961-70, 1973-93, and 1996.

Several of the borders between Iraq and its neighbouring countries have been contended, in particular areas claimed by both Iraq and Iran. This, combined with political rivalries where the two states have tried to destabilize their respective regimes, led to an interstate conflict in 1974 and in 1980-88. In 1990, the Iraq government invaded Kuwait claiming the territory should be considered a province of Iraq. Following criticism from the UN, the Kuwait side received military support from a multinational coalition to force the Iraqi troops out of its territory in 1991. Following claims that the Iraqi government was developing weapons of mass destruction and was supporting terrorism, another interstate conflict was fought between an alliance of USA, UK, and Australia with support from a multinational coalition of forces, against Iraq in 2003. After the defeat of the Iraqi Saddam Hussein government, many troops from the US-led coalition remained in the country to support the new government in the intrastate conflict.

The government of Iraq has employed one-sided violence in the context of the armed conflicts but also to suppress opposition to the one-party rule. Numerous other actors have also been using one-sided violence in the years after 2004, including some groups opposing the government in the intrastate conflict. Different armed groups in Iraq have also been active in non-state conflicts against each other since 2002. These conflicts have involved fighting between groups that were in opposition to the government, but these have also involved local forces not concerned with government power.

Since 1946 Iraq has experienced the interstate, intrastate, non-state and one-sided categories of UCDP organised violence.