Iraq's Deadly Spiral toward a Civil War

09-10-2013

In recent months sectarian violence in Iraq has escalated worryingly. More than 6 400 people have been killed across the country this year, half of them in the last three months. The Shia-dominated central government has failed to address the grievances of the Sunni minority and has responded to public protests with a heavy hand, leading militant Sunni groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant to gain ground. The situation is compounded by the dangerous spill-over from the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Iraq matters for the entire Middle East. While the only real solutions to Iraq's problems are domestic, international actors can contribute to the process. The role of the European Union can be significant in consolidating the country's judicial and law enforcement authorities and in organising the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

In recent months sectarian violence in Iraq has escalated worryingly. More than 6 400 people have been killed across the country this year, half of them in the last three months. The Shia-dominated central government has failed to address the grievances of the Sunni minority and has responded to public protests with a heavy hand, leading militant Sunni groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant to gain ground. The situation is compounded by the dangerous spill-over from the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Iraq matters for the entire Middle East. While the only real solutions to Iraq's problems are domestic, international actors can contribute to the process. The role of the European Union can be significant in consolidating the country's judicial and law enforcement authorities and in organising the forthcoming parliamentary elections.