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Iraq in turmoil

Updated: Mon, 4 Mar 2013

Introduction

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed since a U.S.-led invasion toppled the country's leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. Although overall violence has dropped sharply since a peak in 2006-7, daily life for Iraqis remains precarious.

The toppling of Saddam unleashed a ferocious insurgency that deepened divisions in Iraqi society along sectarian or ethnic lines.

The violence has decreased since the worst days of sectarian conflict, but bombings, assassinations and other attacks by Sunni Islamist insurgents and Shi'ite militias still occur frequently and thousands of people are killed every year. 

Millions of Iraqis are dependent on food aid and many do not have access to clean water. The health system – once one of the best in the region – was crippled by the conflict and the international sanctions that predated it.

An estimated 2.1 million people were still displaced in Iraq at the end of 2012, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This includes about 1 million people displaced before 2006.

Another 480,000 people were in Syria in January 2013 and 450,500 in Jordan, according to government estimates in these countries. However, the total number of displaced is unknown.

Before the invasion, Iraqis had suffered decades of dictatorship, war and international sanctions. The economy was crippled and its infrastructure shattered.

The invasion brought an end to sanctions and paved the way for elections and a new constitution. Billions of aid dollars poured in to rebuild the country but the dire security situation and corruption have hampered reconstruction.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled to Iraq since war broke out there. Many of them are sheltering in camps near the border.

Click here to read more.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed since a U.S.-led invasion toppled the country's leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. Although overall violence has dropped sharply since a peak in 2006-7, daily life for Iraqis remains precarious.

The toppling of Saddam unleashed a ferocious insurgency that deepened divisions in Iraqi society along sectarian or ethnic lines.

The violence has decreased since the worst days of sectarian conflict, but bombings, assassinations and other attacks by Sunni Islamist insurgents and Shi'ite militias still occur frequently and thousands of people are killed every year. 

Millions of Iraqis are dependent on food aid and many do not have access to clean water. The health system – once one of the best in the region – was crippled by the conflict and the international sanctions that predated it.

An estimated 2.1 million people were still displaced in Iraq at the end of 2012, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This includes about 1 million people displaced before 2006.

Another 480,000 people were in Syria in January 2013 and 450,500 in Jordan, according to government estimates in these countries. However, the total number of displaced is unknown.

Before the invasion, Iraqis had suffered decades of dictatorship, war and international sanctions. The economy was crippled and its infrastructure shattered.

The invasion brought an end to sanctions and paved the way for elections and a new constitution. Billions of aid dollars poured in to rebuild the country but the dire security situation and corruption have hampered reconstruction.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled to Iraq since war broke out there. Many of them are sheltering in camps near the border.

Click here to read more.