Understanding the Continuing Violence in Iraq

February 11, 2014

More than three years after the departure of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, a determined insurgency rages against the government led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Violence has claimed thousands of lives. Some question whether the Iraqi government can maintain control of several major cities, including Fallujah, the scene of some of the toughest fighting during the eight-year-long U.S. war in Iraq. Some of Maliki’s critics accuse him of stoking the unrest by refusing to make concessions to minority groups in Iraq, in particular Iraq’s Sunni Arab community. Others say that the prime minister should firmly reassert his authority by going after violent extremism and deterring others from supporting the insurgency. The panelists will consider several questions, including: What explains the continuing violence in Iraq? Can Iraq’s disparate communities unite behind a strong central government? And what role, if any, should the United States play?

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