Academic journal article Researchers World

The Political and Social Roots of Terrorism in Iraq (2003-2017)

Academic journal article Researchers World

The Political and Social Roots of Terrorism in Iraq (2003-2017)

Article excerpt


Terrorism dates back to first instances of violence utilization to affect political issues. The Sicarii were a group of Jews who killed their enemies to dislodge Roman rulers from the land of Judea. Hashashin, etymology of English word "assassin", refers to a Shiite Ismaili sect living in Iran and Syria during 11-13 century A.D. They caused lots of fear and terror in their era by assassinating Abbasid and Saljoughian political leaders. The word "terrorism" in its contemporary sense means the "government of fear" stemming from Maximillian Robespierre government in 1793 after French Revolution. He killed the enemies of revolution and created a dictatorship to stabilize his rein. He believed that his procedure was required for transition from kingdom to liberal democracy. He was quoted to say: "Subdue by terror the enemies of liberty, and you will be right, as founders of the Republic". (Zalman, 2017) The actions and speechs of Robespierre formed a scheme and foundation for today's terrorists who believe violence leads to a better political system.

Oxford Dictionary defines "terrorism" as follows: "The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims". Based on the above definition, a terrorist action is a violent and unlawful action especially against civilians to achieve a political goal. Terrorism is similar to a disease that propagates in the society because of political system inefficiency. Thus, any attempt to study this phenomenon requires an assessment of weaknesses and problems in the political system and its policy -making. In other words, terrorism can be considered as a function of malfunctions in the political systems. Based on Silke "people are not born terrorist. They do not wake up and decide to plant a bomb on a populated street. We need to realize that terrorism is a process, "Terrorism is a choice; it is a political strategy selected from a range of options" (Cınar, 2009).

To understand why a group of people do terrorist actions, we need to investigate the terrorism foregrounds, and political, social, economic, religious and psychological context in which the terrorist grew up. In fact, clear understanding of terrorism context and roots, is the first step towards fight against terrorism and taking any action against it.

Since it is not feasible to investigate all aspects of terrorism in a single article, the author deals with the most important factors and roots of terrorism in his own opinion i.e. social and political ones. This article aims to study the social and political roots of terrorism in Iraq from 2003 to 2017. Iraq has been one of the most dangerous countries of the world since 2003, suffering from terrorism, civil war, fugitiveness, and political instability. Based on Global Terrorism Index (GTI), Iraq was at the top of list among 163 countries in 2015 with a score of 10. (Institute for Economics & Peace, 2015) It repeated its stand in 2016 scoring 9.96 (Institute for Economics & Peace, 2016). According to the latest statistics, 2,415 terrorist attacks were recorded in Iraq in 2016 ending in 6,960 casualties and 11,900 wounded. Based on the same statistics, Iraq was affected the most by terrorism. More than 40 terrorist groups have launched terrorist attacks since 2003, accounting for two -third of 50,538 victims suffered from terrorism during 2000-2016. (Dudley, 2016).

Based on the above, the author intends to study the political and social roots of terrorism in Iraq. To investigate the social root of recent Iraqi terrorism, the propagation of Jihadi Salafi thoughts and their relation with sectarianism in Iraq will be reviewed. To investigate the political root, the fall of Saddam Hussein, and subsequent lack of appropriate political system in Iraq will be covered.


After the fall of Saddam Hussein and Ba'ath regime in 2003, the political system of Iraq experienced an alteration from a single-party dictatorship to a democratic federation. …

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