Iraq. At the beginning of the year, the jihadist al-Qaeda and its network in Iraq “the Islamic State of Iraq” stepped up their attempts to forcibly destabilize the Shiite-dominated government. Many bomb attacks and handgun attacks hit civilians in markets in Shiite-dominated cities, neighborhoods and villages. Other targets were Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims.
In total, the violence, according to the organization Iraqi Body Count, claimed 4,471 civilian deaths. The escalation was largely a result of the power vacuum that has emerged since the US troops finally left Iraq in 2011. Towards the end of the year, the violence slowed down somewhat.
Politically, the situation was virtually locked. Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2011 of being involved in terrorism, was sentenced on September 9 in his absence to death for leading several death squads. His son-in-law was also sentenced to death for interference. al-Hashemi had moved to Iraqi Kurdistan and in April onward to Qatar and later to Turkey. When the verdict fell, he was in Ankara, where he asserted his innocence.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Iraq. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
The number of executions increased. By October, 113 people, many of them convicted of terrorist crimes, had been executed, which drew sharp criticism from the EU, the UN and the human rights organization Amnesty International. Abed Hamoud, former dictator Saddam Hussein’s private secretary, was executed on June 7 since he was convicted in 2010 for his involvement in the fight against Shiite Muslim parties in the 1980s.
Since Iraq re-joined the Arab League, Baghdad hosted a summit for Arab leaders in March. Countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia marked their distance by sending representatives only without political weight. At the same time, Iraq continued to balance foreign policy on a slack line between its two allies Iran and the United States, who from each side tried to tie the country closer. Symptomatic was an incident in October, when Iraq, after US pressure, forced an Iranian cargo plane on its way to Syria to check if it had weapons on board. It did not, and the incident annoyed Iran at the same time as the United States announced that all Iranian planes should be checked
The country’s president Jalal Talabani was hit by a stroke on December 17 and flown to Germany for care.
The extraction of crude oil from Iraqi oil sources was reported to be the largest in over 20 years in June. The country’s economy thus improved significantly.
2014 IS strikes
In April 2014, elections to Parliament were held. The major victor of the election became the incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Rule of Law Coalition, which got 92 out of Parliament’s 328 seats – an increase of 3. 24.1% of the population voted for Maliki. The Sadr movement gained 34 seats and the al-Muwatin coalition gained 29. Only then did a few Sunni Muslim parties follow. Immediately, Maliki seemed certain to be able to sit as prime minister, but developments in the country pulled the rug away under him over the following months.
In June, Islamic State (IS) is major military offensive in northern Iraq. On June 5, IS attempted to capture Samarra, but was shot back when reinforcements arrived from Baghdad. But on the 10th it could take the million town of Mosul and the day after Saddam House’s birthplace Tikrit. Whole divisions of soldiers left their bases without firing a single shot, leaving huge amounts of weapons, ammunition and heavy military equipment to the IS. It subsequently emerged that over 10,000 “soldiers” who had been paid salaries from Baghdad had never existed. There was large-scale corruption at the officer level. At the same time, the predominantly Shiite government soldiers who were actually in the north were hated by the Sunni Muslim population and therefore stuck their tails between their legs. Over the following weeks, IS conquered large areas of western Iraq, so that they were given full control over the borders of Jordan and Syria. Long convoys of captured tanks, armored personnel carriages and cars moved from Iraq into Syria, where IS was to use them to expand its occupied territories there.
From mid-June, there was a risk that IS would seek to run Baghdad over and thus take control of the central administration. The US and West projects in Iraq were completely in ruins. NATO’s arrogant Secretary-General Anders Fog Rasmussen declared that it was Iraq’s own fault. They could have just taken advantage of the fantastic opportunity to create democracy. The reality was quite another. IS was led by Aby Bakr al-Baghdadi, who had been an officer in Saddam’s army. It was Fog Rasmussen’s, NATO’s and the US’s first failure when they disbanded the army in 2003 instead of seeking to involve it in building a new state. Another mistake was the West’s marginalization of the Sunni Muslim population. That led to a rebellion in western Iraq in the mid-’00s against the western occupation power, which was only partially brought under control, when the United States began bribing the Sunni Muslim clan leaders in this part of the country. Third western failure was the war against Bashar al Assad in Syria. It had created large areas in eastern Syria that were no longer under Assad’s control. It was in these areas with the capital city Raqqa as the center that IS through 2012 and 13 grew strong. IS was basically a product of the West’s behavior in the Middle East. At the same time, IS was able to finance its operations through the sale of Syrian oil to Turkey and Jordan in particular. It was exported on trucks and openly sold with the knowledge of these government.
In June, Prime Minister Maliki tried to get parliament to introduce a state of emergency, but both Kurdish and Sunni Muslim members opposed this. They did not want to give the prime minister greater power. The Iraqi Central Administration was more or less paralyzed. At this time, only the Kurds in Northern Iraq slowed IS’s advance.
The situation quickly became desperate for the United States, which, along with the rest of the West, launched a demonization campaign of IS, which was manufactured as a medieval one due to its execution of Western hostages. The movement was in fact very modern. It had learned to use the Internet and social media to run as effective propaganda campaigns as the West, and its methods – terror against the population – had learned from the West in particular. Many of its leaders had been in US prisons where they had been “taught” to torture and executions by North American officers and prison guards (IS leader al-Baghdadi himself had been in North American captivity in 2005-09). Western propaganda forgot to mention the methods of punishment its allies in the Gulf dictatorships and Saudi Arabia use: cutting off limbs, stoning, whipping and hanging.
According to countryaah, the population of Iraq in 2012 was 35,572,150, ranking number 38 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.650% yearly, and the population density was 81.9034 people per km2.