The term insurgency can be defined and understood as an organized rebellion, which is aimed at overthrowing a legally constituted government through the use of subversion or armed conflict. The issue of insurgency in Iraq can be traced back in the year 2003, when a number of resistance groups as well as militias started several attacks on both the civilians as well as the foreign military. These attacks first began through targeting foreign civilians in Iraq, including the United Nations and Red Cross. As the foreign community in Iraq became more protected or moved from Iraq, the attack shifted to the ordinary civilians, who were killed due to sectarian divisions within the country.
The initial phase of the Iraq insurgency started shortly after the 2003 Iraq invasion as well as prior to the creation of the new Iraq regime. Starting the period 2004 and 2007, the insurgency groups in Iraq fundamentally aimed the coalition forces and lately, the Iraq security officers, who are perceived as collaborators to the coalition government. With the increased eruption of such war in 2006, various militant attacks in the United States that controlled central Iraq had been aimed at the Iraq forces and police. These attacks even prolonged throughout the transitional reconstruction of the Iraq government. The wars resulting from the various attacks decreased in the year 2008 as the insurgency carried on until the withdrawal of America from Iraq in the year 2011. However, even after the withdrawal of America from Iraq in 2011, the Iraq nation experienced renewed wave of insurgent groups that were caused because of divisions within the Iraq communities. Moreover, starting 2011, renewed insurgency or anti-government groups swept the nation of Iraq, thus causing many deaths as well as causalities. This continued to 2012, and even increased in 2013, leading to increased fear for another civil war in Iraq.
The insurgency groups in the Iraq republic comprised of various as well as diverse mix of foreign forces, militias, Iraq units. Other mixtures in contention of American led groups as well as post Iraq region emerged. During the height of the wars in Iraq between the period 2006 and 2008, the conflict appeared to be between American forces and the Iraq sectarian groups among the various ethnic groups in Iraq. The insurgent groups were severely involved in asymmetric as well as attrition warfare against the American supported regime as well as the American armies in central Iraq. These insurgent groups carried a number of coercive tactics and attacks against their perceived enemies and other militias. Therefore, the deeply seated Iraq sectarian divisions in the republic of Iraq have been a major dynamic in the course of insurgent groups, with the support for these groups varying among the different ethnic groups of the Iraq population.
A Current Insurgency in Iraq
The major and fundamental cause of the current troubles facing the republic of Iraq lies in the disillusion and the discontent among the Iraq population. One year after the occupation as well as removal of Saddam’s government, a great number of the Iraq population were worse off.Issues such as insecurity, poor infrastructure, unemployment, and poverty levels among the Iraq civilians increased tremendously. The population always depended on the government for provision of basic subsistence and jobs, but due to oppressive as well as bad regime, many of the people lost hope for government in a variety of aspects.
The main course for the conflict was the decision to dissolve the army that comprised 450,000 people, without payment or pension, but only with their weapons. It is believed that more than two million Iraqis relied on this army as well as its pay. The step to lay off this army, therefore, multiplied a great deal of unemployment and poverty, and led to the emergency of Iraq insurgency. The recent American ambush on Fallujah as well as the massacre of the Iraq civilians has contributed to a massive surge of both anger and outrage among all the ethnic groups of the Iraq population, which has been a key element in awakening a strong sense of nationalism among the Iraqis. However, there exist diverse as well as contradictory factors that are at work beneath the surface. One of the recent insurgency in Iraq- the Sunni insurgency is very different in critical respects.
The Iraq community is largely ignored by the world media. Today, the country stands at the brink of strongly as well as severely renewed Sunni insurgency. The emergency of the recent Sunni insurgency in the republic of Iraq follows the same or similar patterns of war as those of the civil war in the republic of Syria as well as those in the growing violent acts in Lebanon. The Sunni insurgency also involves a number of similar regional as well as local players.
The rising and widespread levels of violence in the Iraq republic are not, however, because of the spillover from the Syrian conflict. The insurgency derives from the internal dynamics within the Iraq nation, though this insurgency compares in significant ways with the Syrian as well as Lebanon situations. It is estimated that a total of more than nine thousand individuals have perished in Iraq during the period 2013, although cannot be compared with those in the previous attacks, in the very worst days of the wars against the American forces, which saw many people perish. However, it is the highest since the year 2007. It is also estimated that a total number of more than 2000 people have lost their lives in this year, 2014 because of political violence in the country.
At present, a coalition of the Sunni insurgent militia control and manage the town of Fallujah in the country’s west Baghdad. The town of Ramadi also remains in the hands of the Sunni insurgent militia, although the town’s southern part has been recaptured by the government in the recent time. Car bombing is the order of the day in Baghdad, as the insurgent activities against the government forces as well as non-Sunni people is taking tall in Nineveh, Kirkuk, and elsewhere where there are high numbers of Sunni Arab people. Thus, the question is to know who are the insurgents as well as why the events have reached such a magnitude in the Iraq republic.
As in the Syrian nation, a number of insurgent groups have emerged. There are two major forces, including the Islamic state in Iraq as well as the Naqshbandi forces. Their brutal tactics, including the execution of civilians, know these forces. The movements are now very active and govern the city of Fallujah. Its fighters loom freely in the vast areas of Anbar, making the highways very unsafe for both the government forces as well as the civilians.
The Sunni dawning insurgency is partly due to the results of the increased sectarian policies that are predominantly pursued by the government in the recent days, which have gathered pace as well as prominence since the last withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq. Moreover, the Sunni uprising against the government has undoubtedly offered a momentum to the Sunni people in Iraq, who comprise between 15-20 percent of the population. In this regard, the Iraq situation is deeply driven by the sectarian groups, Iranian interference, and the weakened state identity and structure.
The Impacts of Non-State Security Challenges
There are a number of impacts of non-state security challenges on the course of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. The challenges range between the sectarian activities, external interference from Iran and Syria, nationalist groups, to the ethno-political groups. The Sunni insurgency presents a major operation as well as analytical challenge to the Iraq community at large. The insurgency is very pervasive in the Sunni Arabic communities, due to lack of clear leadership and ideologies.The material, manpower, and funds for the Sunni insurgency come from external forces. The insurgency has access to almost all the weapons, trained manpower, and explosives that it requires to sustain its current activities, while assuming sufficient political support from the Sunni people. Moreover, the insurgent’s network nature makes it a highly resilient as well as an adaptive rival of the government. The Sunni insurgency is highly politically instigated and enjoys a lot of support from the Sunni political organizations. The Sunni insurgents are also fully aware that the government is very constrained in the manner in which it deals with them. These are among the various reasons that make combating the insurgency efforts very difficult.
The major tactics that the Sunni uses includes hit-and –run, IED, as well as terrorism kind of attacks. The Sunni insurgency bears a number of weaknesses, which could be utilized by the government to limit Sunni’s potential in Iraq if properly exploited by the government.
The Ethno-Political Groups
The insurgency has a limited appeal beyond the Sunni community, and therefore the government need to stop pushing this group into other tactical coalitions with the provoked members of other societies. Many of the Sunni members are of two minds concerning the insurgency as well as divided over whether their future lies in the hands of the insurgents, the political development, or both. The Sunni people need to be assured that their grievances can be effectively addressed by means of political process. Paid freelance insurgents, thus reducing the rate of unemployment as well as the Iraq economy would help curb this practice, carry some of the insurgent perpetrators on. The political transition is also making it very difficult in order to preserve and maintain unity of purpose among the insurgents. Achieving unity among within the transition government could help in identifying the insurgent groups, who make the process of reconciliation impossible.
The extreme political beliefs as well as brutal methods are very intense among some Sunni people. This has contributed to the alienation of the jihadists and their subsequent isolation from both local as well as external support. Moreover, given the limited military capacity as well as government identity, the insurgent is likely to hold successful attempts of coups in Baghdad.
Thus, the conflict between the coalition government and the Sunni insurgents might lead to an acceptable and settled outcome that will contribute to a relatively stable and democratic Iraq if the political process is not undermined by the civil violence. The path that will contribute to the acceptable or settled outcome is likely to be very costly, prostrated, as well as punctuated by many other setbacks.
External interference from Iran and Syria
The support offered by external sources or powers, particularly the neighboring nations such as Iran, marks a significant as well as critical factor in the success of the Sunni insurgency. On the other hand, lack of such support significantly leads to the possibility of failure within the insurgency group. Foreign governments, including Iran can offer weapons, financial aid, as well as other resources. These resources help the insurgents in perpetrating their activities. Moreover, the provision of capacity for training as well as housing of the insurgent leaders is one of the most critical resources that Iran, as a foreign power, provides for the insurgent groups. Thus, the Iraq insurgency, and particularly the Sunni insurgency, has achieved a high level of support Iran as well as Syria respectively.
The two neighboring nations, Syria and Iran have demonstrated sympathy as well as support for the insurgency in Iraq. The Syrian state has in general been a great friend to Iraq insurgent cause due to its opposition to the American policies within the region. Moreover, Syria supports the insurgent activities in Iraq because it suspects it might be the next target by America. For instance, Damascus lent evident support to a number of elements for the insurgency during its earlier days. Even though, Syria sympathy for the insurgency declined significantly, when the extremist Islamists became prominent, its support for the Ba’athist as well as secular aspects of the insurgency has remained consistent.
It is also perceived that it might make little strategic meaning for Iran to offer support to the Sunni insurgent groups, provided that Tehran would not like to see the re-establishment of Sunni domination in the city of Baghdad. However, it is very likely that Tehran has offered arms as well as weapons to the Sunni insurgent activities for tactical reasons, such as keeping the United States’ operations out of Iraq. In the meantime, the Iranian government has supported, trained, as well as offered weapons to a number of Shia political and militia organizations in Iraq since the year 2003. In effect, this has been highly regarded as interference with the Iraq affairs. The provision of Iranian training to the Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq has the capacity to transform the militia group into a powerful and potent player. Moreover, the Iranian support for the Shi’ites has greatly taken part in perpetuating the Sunni insurgency. This in return has fed more into the Shia-Sunni war as well as done much in undermining the government efforts to end such conflicts in Iraq.
Therefore, there has been a massive non-state support for the Sunni insurgency, especially from foreign Muslims as well as Arabs. This kind of support has been more significant as compared by any other backing from the regional states. The support has also contributed to a significant impact on the course of the Sunni insurgency, which has acted to the advantage of this group.
Nationalism is the strongest force or driver for the course of the Sunni insurgent groups in the republic of Iraq. The spirit of nationalism has led to significant success of many of other insurgencies for countries such as Vietnam. Nationalist movements also motivate many of the Iraq insurgent groups, particularly the Sunni insurgents. These nationalist groups entail the Iraqis, who after the fall of Saddam, were laid off from their military as well as other government duties, and who did not succumb to the return of Saddam’s secular form of socialism. Most of these people are the Sunni people who fear for a Shiite led kind of regime, who are in support of a strong government that is managed by the Sunnis. These people also want the American forces out of the country as quickly as possible. It is believed that this group is less likely to target the Iraq citizens or participate in suicide bombing. Moreover, the Sunni insurgency, just like others, may be using foreign jihadists as basis to flush the American forces out of the country.
The Sunni insurgents have managed to win over the hearts and minds of the civilians. In the Iraq community, the status of the Sunny insurgency may be measured through the magnitude into which it has penetrated into both the public as well as the private institutions of the Sunni Arab society. The insurgency has a significantly prominent presence in the broad sectors of the Sunni community, including the religious, economic, political, as well as the social aspects. Meanwhile, the depth of Sunni penetration remains uncertain, the strategy of combined as well as intimidation has allowed the insurgent group to largely succeed in undermining the efforts of the government institutions, including villages and city councils, into the Sunni community.
The failure of the Sunni community to extensively take part in the January 2005 general elections mirrored the powerful influence that the insurgent group has gained from the Sunni people. The Sunni insurgency has also managed in winning over the Sunni community’s thought world, which consists of elements such as beliefs concerning occupation and resistance, images of the coalition forces, beliefs concerning political transformations, beliefs concerning the government of Iraq, beliefs concerning the future, as well as religious realities and notions. These interconnected elements represent a belief structure that is shaping the Sunni people’s attitudes as well as actions in determining the direction of the Sunni community. In addition, a number of facts point out that much of the ideas and beliefs that are sympathetic to the Sunni insurgency have become widespread.
The Sunni insurgency presents a major challenge for the government of Iraq. This group is very strong among the Sunni community and it has gained power due to support from the external neighboring nations, including Syria and Iran, which makes the effects against terror groups in Iraq highly cumbersome. The Sunni people have been made to believe the ideologies as well as the beliefs of this insurgency to a greater degree that they do not identify the government. Moreover, the major reason for the external support, which includes supply of weapons, training, as well as provision of hiding places, is because Iran and Syria do not acknowledge the activities as well as policies of the United States. These countries also fear they might be the next target by America.
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 Gerges, Fawaz A. Sunni Insurgency. The Baltimore Sun Company, 2004.
 Baker, Keith, and Ellen Rubin “Understanding Accountability and Governance in Post-Invasion Iraq.” Administration & Society, 2011, 43, no. 5: 515-536.
 Cordesman, Anthony H. Iraq’s Evolving Insurgency and the Risk of Civil War. Washington, D.C.: CSIS, 2007.
 Gregg, Heather S., Hy S. Rothstein, and John Arquilla. The Three Circles of War: Understanding the Dynamics of Conflict in Iraq. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2010.
 Baram, Amatzia. Who Are the Insurgents? Sunni Arab Rebels in Iraq. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2005.
 Carpenter, Ami C. Community Resilience to Sectarian Violence in Baghdad. 2014.
 Williams, Phil. Criminals, Militias, and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq. 2009.
 Ami, p. 20
 Ucko, David. “Militias, tribes and insurgents: The challenge of political reintegration in Iraq”. Conflict, Security &; Development, 2008, 8, no. 3: 341-373.
 Shultz, Richard H., and Andrea J. Dew. Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.
 Norwitz, Jeffrey H. Armed Groups: Studies in National Security, Counterterrorism, and Counterinsurgency. Newport, R.I.: U.S. Naval War College, 2008.
 Pirnie, Bruce, and Edward O’Connell. Counterinsurgency in Iraq (2003-2006). Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2008.
 Hashim, Ahmed. Iraq’s Sunni Insurgency. Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2009.
 Mardini, Ramzy. Volatile Landscape: Iraq and Its Insurgent Movements. Washington, DC: The Jamestown Foundation, 2010.
 Goodman, A. Informal Networks and Insurgency in Iraq. Shrivenham: Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, 2008.
 Harrow, Martin. “The Effect of the Iraq War on Islamist Terrorism in the West”. Cooperation and Conflict, 2010, 45, no. 3: 274-293.
 Mulaj, Kledja. Violent Non-State Actors in World Politics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
 Naval Postgraduate School Monterey Ca Center for Contemporary Conflict, and Haugh, Timothy. Analysis of Sunni-Based Opposition in Iraq. 2005.
 Wright, Darron. Iraq Full Circle From Shock and Awe to the Last Combat Patrol in Baghdad and Beyond. London: Osprey Pub, 2014.
 O’Hanlon, Michael E., Adriana Lins de Albuquerque, and Ian S. Livingston. Iraq Index Tracking Variables of Reconstruction & Security in Post-Saddam Iraq. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2003.
 BBC Worldwide Ltd, Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm), and Films Media Group. The Mahdi Army Iraq’s High-Profile Insurgents. New York, N.Y.: Films Media Group, 2009.
 Cordesman, Anthony H., and Emma R. Davies. Iraq’s Insurgency and the Road to Civil Conflict. Westport, Conn: Praeger Security International, 2008.
 DOC & Co, Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm), and Films Media Group. Iraq agony of a nation. New York, N.Y.: Films Media Group, 2007.
 Hashim, Ahmed. Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.
 Library of Congress Washington DC Congressional Research Service, and Katzman, Kenneth. Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security. 2009.