1 September 2011

On 28 August, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people after blowing himself up inside a Sunni mosque in Baghdad.

At least 30 others were wounded in the attack on the Umm al-Qura mosque in west Baghdad. The mosque is the main headquarters of the Sunni Endowment, which is responsible for maintaining Sunni Muslim religious sites in the Iraqi capital.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

10 March 2011

Although Iraq has a democratically elected parliament, it has also been the scene of protests led by people angry at the government’s failure to provide basic services.

Government actions:

  • Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave ministers 100 days from 27 February to improve or face dismissal

Political Risk assessment

Further protests are likely as the government struggles to provide security, clean water, electricity and jobs. But within the context of change the country has endured in recent years, the impact will be minimal.

23 February 2011

The security situation in Iraq may have improved, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is sensitive to events in the region and the familiar litany of problems – lack of electricity, rising prices, unemployment, poor education – are all present in Iraq. 

That vulnerability was evident in recent decisions from officials to divert spending away from military purchases towards staple food products. The government has delayed the purchase of F-16 fighter jets and placed $900m of allocated funds into food rations, buying 200,000 tonnes of white sugar in February to support the plan.

Al-Maliki has only just managed to put together a working coalition government, almost a year after elections failed to deliver a decisive verdict on who should rule Iraq. The continued inability to provide adequate electricity services puts the government in a uniquely precarious position.

There is one other source of conflict in Iraq. Sunnis that were brought within the state security apparatus – the Sons of Iraq – have felt more excluded. If the Shia-dominated government fails to provide sufficient concessions to the minority Sunni community, the insurgency that prospered up to 2007 could revive. It could unleash further internecine violence in a country, which had hoped to have put the worst days behind it.