Volatile Landscape: Iraq and its Insurgent Movements

Violence in Iraq has declined since its civil war of 2005-2007 due to the implementation of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, Shi’a militia ceasefires, and the emergence of Iraq’s Awakening Movement. But as the U.S. military draws down its forces, Iraq remains a fragile, un-reconciled state, riddled with sectarian tensions and new political rivalries that may negatively affect its future security and stability. Though less resourceful now, al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ba’athist elements, and Sufi insurgents alike have learned to adapt to the new challenges they face, while gradually evolving into a movement dominated by indigenous fighters. More determined on targeting and undermining the Iraq government, this new generation of militants is bound to pose a considerable threat to Iraq’s security for the foreseeable future.