Iraq After 20 Years Of Its Invasion
The US-led invasion of Iraq started in 2003 and ended in 2011. It is believed that the number of Iraqi casualties is around 280,771-315,190 people, as of March 2023. These are the ones who have died from direct war caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces.
The Watson Institute from Brown University explains that these violent deaths of Iraqi civilians have occurred through aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombing.
Many civilians have also been injured.
Nevertheless, this number could be higher because not all war-related deaths have been recorded accurately by the Iraqi government or the U.S.-led coalition. Furthermore, there have been several Iraqi civilians that have died as an indirect result of the war, due to not being able to get food, health care, and clean drinking water.
Why did the war on Iraq begin?
The two main reasons the war and invasion of Iraq started were because the United States claimed that Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction program and posed a threat to them and its allies and they wanted to end the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. Additionally, some US officials accused Saddam of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda.
Then it was proven that WMD intelligence proved illusory and a violent insurgency arose, the war lost public support, as the Council on Foreign Relations reports.
Saddam Hussein was captured, tried, and hanged, and democratic elections were held.
The consequences of the war and occupation of Iraq are still ongoing. 20 years after this war, Iraq is entangled in several political, economic, and social crises.
During the war, Iraq moved further away from the constitutional reform that was planned for the 2005 constitution. This made it impossible to fix major issues of governance and resources that divided Iraq’s Sunni, Shi’a, and Kurdish populations, as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) analyses.
Since then, a lot of the country’s human capital and oil resources have ended up augmenting corruption and patronage politics rather than much-needed electricity, water, health care, and education for the people, states expert Linda Robinson from CFR. There is also a highly criticized functioning government.
The government is formed by a coalition that obtained less than 15 percent of the electorate vote. To many of the population, the government is an alliance of self-serving political groups and armed factions that have restricted civil liberties and has been very repressive of any form of dissent. This big disillusion with the government exploded in late 2019 when the country’s young population began months of protest.
these protests were met by violence, mostly from Iranian-backed militias who have gained a strong foothold in the security service and in a segment of the Iraqi Shi’a political parties.
That has led many Iraqis to support Shia leader al-Sadr, a self-declared Iraqi nationalist, whose forces have been accused of carrying out some of the worst violence in the post-2003 Iraqi civil war.
In the end, these protests unseated the government and forced parliament to adopt a new electoral law. Security forces and paramilitary groups killed more than 600 protesters and have continued to target activists since then.
A part of an unliked Government, and despite more than $100 billion committed to aiding and reconstructing Iraq, many parts of the country still suffer from a lack of access to clean drinking water and housing.