On the eve of the 29th of March, 2017 in the Yousifiya neighbourhood in southern Baghdad, Iraq, 17 people were killed, including civilians, health workers, and three policemen. At least 60 people were injured. An oil tanker containing explosives was purposefully detonated in an attack at a police checkpoint on the main southern entrance into the neighbourhood. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group later claimed the terrorist attack, however, little is known about the driver.
Attacks like these are not a rare occurrence in Iraq, which continues to face significant security challenges. Baghdad has been the second most affected province in Iraq. It has had 120 deaths and 300 injuries, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (2016).
Since 2003, after a US-led coalition invaded Iraq, the death toll has continued unabated. In 2014, the number of casualties reached 20,169, which is the most since 2006 and 2007 when the average Iraqi death toll was 27,744. According to Foreign Affairs Magazine, since the Iraqi war began in 2003, it is estimated that more than 50,000 people have died from terrorist acts. This is more than three times higher than in any other state worldwide.
The Site Intelligence group, which tracks extremist groups, reported that the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group warned Iraqi Shiites that the battle in Mosul would extend to Baghdad, Karbala, and Najaf. Daesh has been losing territorial control in the heartlands and is striking out in response. Its movements elsewhere could come from them wanting to divert the attention of Iraqi government’s forces elsewhere from Mosul.
A humanitarian crisis also remains rife with over 3.4 million people internally displaced and over 10 million people in need. Poverty continues to rise and is estimated by the Iraqi government to have reached 22.5% across the state in 2014.
Iraq has been assisted by the World Bank and the United Nations (UN) to help it face its two major issues: terrorism and economic decline. The World Bank continues to provide financial assistance and in December last year, they approved a 1.5 billion (USD) loan to Iraq to aid its falling oil prices and to embolden the state against its fight with terrorism. This is the third loan since 2015, all of which now total nearly 3.4 billion (USD). In 2016, Iraq was able, through the World Bank’s financial assistance package, to launch a poverty-targeting program, which has enhanced the social security network across the state.
The UN continues to stand with the Iraqi government and civilians against its fight against terrorism and violent extremism. The UN has offered international support to embolden them to remain strong. Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, in February 2016 stated that the UN is “building trust and mutual understanding through peaceful and inclusive dialogue” in Iraq.
The UN continues to provide reassurances that the global community will support them in their fight against terrorism. Although they have been unable to resolve the intractable conflict, they have provided much-needed assistance that has helped the Iraqi government better resolve the ongoing conflict. In sum, international organizations have provided an effective network of support to Iraq to use non-violent means to resolve its fight against terrorism and help aid its economic decline. Mechanisms like these better equip the Iraqi government to reduce the number of terrorist attacks, like the suicide truck bomber who killed 17 people in Baghdad last Wednesday.
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