Iraq

Archive Profile

2014 Country Profile

Middle East violence and instability in 2013 and 2014 have put increased strain on peace operations in the region. Iraq and Syria have seen intense fighting, with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants taking control of large portions of both states. The effects of these conflicts have had serious regional implications, with fighting in Syria spilling over into Lebanon and Israel. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced, many fleeing to neighboring countries.

Violence has limited the ability of some missions to fulfil their mandate, restricting the mobility of peacekeepers as they come into harm’s way. The flood of refugees has taxed the resources of multilateral actors, while political deadlock in Iraq and Lebanon has limited the ability of these states to effectively respond to the many problems they face.

Background

Lebanon Lebanon’s stability and security are strongly tied to the states it borders. The war in Syria has fueled existing conflicts within Lebanon, while fighting has strayed across the border into Lebanon itself. ISIL and Nusra Front militants carried out attacks in Lebanese territory near the Syrian border. The small country’s already large refugee population has swelled, with over 1,100,000 Syrian refugees in the country registered with the UN in addition to a longstanding population of o Read More...

Key developments

By June 2014, the militants took over Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. By November, only a few areas of Anbar province that the group entered at the beginning of the year were still under government control. In June 2014, the UN estimated that at least 2,417 people died in Iraq, the highest monthly total since 2008. Car bombs and attacks by gunmen have targeted security forces and civilians. Minority groups bear the brunt of the conflict, with people often targeted for ethnic or religious re Read More...

Conclusion

Peace operations in the Middle East will continue to face adversity while large-scale conflicts rage. The UN must manage the risks to which peacekeepers and civilian staffers are exposed in conflict areas, while assuring that they play an effective monitoring and mediating role. The ability of missions to solve longstanding intricate conflicts in the region may be limited, but they can assist in the delivery of aid to those in need and facilitate dialogue between key players. Multilateral peace Read More...

Conflict in the Middle East escalated in 2012, with an intensified civil war in Syria, new violence between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and troubling security concerns in the Egyptian Sinai. The many multilateral peace operations in the region were affected by these tensions in diverse ways. Some missions worked to manage increased political tensions and new refugee populations, while others saw increased violence in their areas of operation or even became targets of violence themselves. The diverse responses by missions to these rapidly changing situations demonstrate the manifold ways in which peace operations address disputes, instability, and crises on the ground.

Key developments

Lebanon Conflict escalated in Lebanon during 2012, with violence flaring in many parts of the country. The war in neighboring Syria has contributed greatly to internal tensions, with pro and anti-Assad groups frequently clashing (see Mission Review 3.4 for full coverage of Syria). The October assassination of a prominent intelligence official opposed to the Syrian regime escalated the situation further. Incidents of cross-border fire between Syria and Lebanon have killed Lebanese civilians, and Read More...

Conclusion

The year 2012 generated new challenges for peace operations in the Middle East, and the escalating situations in Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Sinai as well as the heightened violence and political fragmentation in Iraq highlight the difficult environment in which these missions work. Continued tension in the region is likely to further strain multilateral peace operations and could put more mission personnel in harm’s way. Notes 1. In April, Lebanon, acting on information fro Read More...