Iraq in 2023: Challenges and prospects for peace and human security

Over the past two decades Iraq has been affected by several waves of intense conflict and violence. The 2003 invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition led by the United States and United Kingdom toppled the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein. It also ushered in years of chaos and civil war, as a variety of armed groups vied for power and territory and targeted coalition forces and the fledgling post-Ba’athist Iraqi Army. A period of relative calm in the early 2010s was broken by the rise of the extremist Islamic State group, which occupied large parts of the country from 2014 until it was largely defeated by Iraqi forces with the support of a US-led international coalition in 2017.

Today Iraq is enjoying its most stable period since 2003. Armed violence persists in different forms, but it is sporadic, fragmented and localized. However, the country remains fragile and divided, and its people face an array of deepening challenges that the state is struggling to address. This Topical Backgrounder aims to provide a snapshot of the situation in Iraq 20 years since the invasion.

SIPRI Topical Backgrounder, Authored by Shivan Fazil and Alaa Tartir, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), March 2023

Click Here to read the SIPRI Topical Backgrounder

Read more about SIPRI’s package of interviews, opinion pieces and reference materials to mark the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.