Internal conflict

Violence and instability in Iraq stem from a large number of overlapping internal conflicts.

by Middle East programme briefing paper, Chatham House, May 2007
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

These include the struggle between Shi'a and Sunni for control of the state; a struggle for control over the design of the state (unitary or federal) between the Kurds, the Sunnis and supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr; a Shi'a (Sadrist)-US/UK conflict in the centre and south of the country; and a Sunni-Sunni conflict in the governorates of Anbar, Nineva and Diyala between tribal forces and those associated with Al-Qaeda.

As the situation worsens, there are several key strategies the government, supported by the Multinational Forces, could undertake to improve matters. It could bring the Sunnis back into the fold, which would mean having to reconsider federalism; negotiate with al-Sadr or give the Kurds the regional recognition they crave.

The debate about the Petroleum Law (whether the country's oil resources are controlled by the regions or from the centre) is critical, as a final agreement over the sharing of oil is the one factor that could hold the country together.

Accepting realities in Iraq
Gareth Stansfield
Middle East programme briefing paper, Chatham House, May 2007.

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