Accession Number:



Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Since the 2011 U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, sectarian and ethnic divisions have widened, fueling a major challenge to Iraq s stability and to Iraq s non-Muslim minority communities. Iraq s Sunni Arabs have sided with radical Sunni Islamist insurgents as a means to reduce Shiite political domination. Iraq s Kurds have been separately embroiled in political disputes with Baghdad over territorial, political, and economic issues, particularly their intent to separately export large volumes of oil produced in the Kurdish region. The political rifts which were contained by the U.S. military presence but have been escalating since late 2011 erupted into a sustained uprising beginning in December 2013 led by the radical extremist group Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL. The group and its allies took control of several cities in Anbar Province in early 2014 and captured Mosul and several other mostly Sunni cities in June 2014, aided by a partial collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces ISF. The ISF collapse enabled the Kurds to seize control of the long-coveted city of Kirkuk. The Islamic State s gains prompted a U.S. military response in Iraq and formulation of a broader strategy, articulated by President Obama on September 10, to try to defeat the group in both Iraq and Syria. The President s speech came as a new government headed by Shiite Prime Minister Haydar al-Abbadi was inaugurated in Iraq a government widely expected to be more inclusive of Sunnis than was the government of ex-Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. President Obama states that he has ruled out any reintroduction of U.S. combat troops to Iraq or Syria, but since the crisis began in June has deployed about 1,600 U.S. military personnel to assess the ISF, gain intelligence on ISIL, and protect American personnel and facilities.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement: