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What two decades of Iraqi struggles can teach us about modern conflict


The shadow of this doomed invasion can be seen in the incoherent approach to other conflicts, from Libya to Syria.

It is now 20 years since the United States-led coalition invaded Iraq with the intent to remove the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and usher in democracy.

Despite the hundreds of billions spent for this effort, Iraq is still not a functioning democracy and continues to struggle to build coherent state institutions. Instead, the invasion and subsequent occupation unleashed wave after wave of crisis, from the rise of salafi-jihadi organizations like Al-Qaeda or ISIS to fallout from the US confrontation with Iran.

Today, conflict continues to be an everyday reality in Iraq, from armed groups competing for territory and influence, to the structural violence of a corrupt system where political elites pocket state funds meant for the provision of basic services, leading, for instance, to the proliferation in the healthcare system of fake medicine.

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