Iraq: Establishing Security is the Biggest Challenge

At least 47 people died after a fuel tanker was blown up yesterday at a checkpoint near Hilla, south of Baghdad.

At least 47 people died after a fuel tanker was blown up yesterday at a checkpoint near Hilla, south of Baghdad.

By Muhamed Hassan –  Immersed Thinking:

Casualty figures in Iraq are a grim reminder of the government’s inability to protect its citizens. It is a failure that should be one of the principal factors behind any prospective state reforms. It should take precedence over any other domain because, without sustaining security, it would be far more difficult for other spheres of life to function smoothly.

UN casualty figures for Iraq for the month of January show: 849 were killed, 1.450 were injured; while for the month of February: 670 were killed, 1.290 were injured. Sunday’s suicide bomber in the city of Hillah killed dozens of people. All in all, it is not a good quarter for the year 2016, especially at a time when the war with Daesh is expected to be more decisive this year as the pressure mounts on the terrorist group.

It is hard for the Iraqi military to celebrate victory in liberated areas in the western or northern parts of the country when the same military is suddenly confronted with a barrage of suicide attacks somewhere else. Somehow this deficiency needs to be addressed, though the problem is not straightforward. It is part of the complicated jigsaw that maps the political landscape of Iraq: no guaranteed peace.

However, the shattered souls of the citizens of Iraq are not giving up yet. Social unrest is simmering against the abysmal handling of services, cuts to wages and corruption. The next few months will be crucial: as temperatures will soar , so will the tempers. Officials know from experience that the summer months are ominous, and that is a good reason to start announcing their plans to meet the pressure on state electricity grids.

Never has there been a country with so many parties staked at shaping up its future. Iraq’s violence is like a phobia: people live the fear, and that fear does not leave the people. It is fear of the unknown, one that eats into the fabric of society, rendering it powerless and baseless.

But, despite that pessimism, one thing is taking centre stage: a nascent fight to change the status quo before that phobia dissipates into total despair.

Still, there are reasons to be hopeful, as Daesh is on the wane, but if the casualty figures stay stubborn, perhaps that state of desperation brings the end of the influential players altogether.

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