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The Iraq War: Conflicts and Consequences

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Iraq was once the cradle of civilization, where cities were first to develop. They invented aqueducts, the plow, the first laws, the wheel, and writing among other things. It began with the Mesopotamian leaders, Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. Like other countries in the area, it is rich in oil reserves. Iraq should now be a growing, wealthy nation, but has been worn and torn from generations of war, and because of that, an estimated 4 million Iraqi people have had to flee their homes, and are facing huge challenges and conflicts.

Iraq is located in Asia, and is bordered by Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. The climate of Iraq is mild to cool winters with dry, hot, and cloudless summers. In the lowlands they only have 2 seasons: summer and winter. Iraq does have some rainy days but it is mostly dry. The geography of Iraq is that it has deserts, mountains, and lowlands. Though home to the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, it is mostly desert.

Iraq is ruled by a government. Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who recently resigned as the President was elected by a Council of Representatives. The new process of parliament was set up, and the people first got to vote in elections in 2005. There are about 39.3 million people living in Iraq who are mostly made up of Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmens. Iraq’s official language is Kurdish and the main religion is Islam with about 1% Christian. Iraq has the 5th largest oil reserves in the world and is the 7th largest producer and is also one of the largest producers of fruits and nuts like dates. Some types of jobs in Iraq are managers, housekeepers, chefs, and civil engineers. There are many more jobs than these four.

Conflicts in Iraq over the last 40 years have been, The Iraq war (1980-1988), The Invasion of Kuwait (1990), The Gulf War (1991), The Iraq War (U.S. invasion) 2003-2011, and The Iraq Civil War 2014-2017. Mostly, Iraq’s turmoil is political. Focusing on the more recent conflicts, The Iraq War was caused because the U.S. thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This started a war in 2003 that ended in 2011. After this, The Iraq Civil War was caused by The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS is a terrorist militant group. It was started in 2004 when Iraq formed its own government after the Iraq War ended. ISIS has been known for being responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks. They have also destroyed priceless monuments and art.

Conflict has also had a huge effect on education. This has become a massive challenge for the country. The literacy level in Iraq was originally 75%, and now, because of war, in the last twenty years it is down to only about 50%. Compare that to America, with a 99% literacy level. This is mostly because in the last year alone, about 600,000 hundred thousand children have missed a year of school. When I missed a week of school, I had a lot of homework. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to make up a whole year of homework. This is also partly because the illiteracy rate of girls 12 and older is more than double the male rate. This is because a lot of girls aren’t allowed to go to school. The schools are like small rooms with chairs and desks and a small board for the teacher to write on. The desks have to sit two kids at a time.

It is important to note that there are currently two different types of refugee crises within Iraq. Firstly, the refugee crisis from the Iraq War in 2003 and additionally then from The Iraq Civil War in 2014. Most of the refugees from the Iraq War fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Syria, Iran, Jordan, and Lebanon. Most of the refugees fleeing from ISIS fled to the Kurdish parts of Iraq and Syria. A terrifying fact from this, is that in total about 4 million have had to leave their homes. They travelled mostly by foot or truck with all their most precious belongings. All they could take with them, was what they could carry.

About 700,000 Iraqis are still in refugee camps. This is a huge number of people. Very few of the people in Iraq have enough money to leave the country. The people who can leave, waste all their money on leaving, and then at their new country they don’t have anything and don’t even speak the language there. Even though many of these people were educated and had good jobs, at all the camps that they go to, they can’t legally work for their families to gain money to live the life they wanted.

A lot of people in refugee camps don’t have access to doctors and medicine, unlike us. Imagine how many children are on the verge of death because they don’t get their vaccinations. In the camps, they don’t have any plumbing, clean running water, and they are very cold in the winter time and are very hot in the summertime. The problem with having no plumbing is that there are no flushing toilets or running water. Most refugees live in tent cities but a few have built permanent homes because they have been there for so long.

An example of the situation of some Iraqi refugees are the ones who helped the U.S. in Iraq by working as translators and guides during the Iraq War. These people risked their lives and their family’s safety by helping the U.S. troops. They worked closely with American soldiers, often assigned to units for long periods of time sharing experiences and dangers. They were promised safety and refuge in America once the war was over. After the Americans left, these people and their families were targeted because they were considered traitors by some Iraqis and ISIS. Unfortunately, many have been killed or tortured and thousands of others are still waiting to be allowed to live in the U.S. where so far they have been denied entry.

The Iraq refugee crisis is still ongoing with many millions of people in great need. Many international aid groups are helping the Iraqi refugees. The UNHCR, American Red Cross and Red Crescent are helping the refugees from Iraq. They are aiding by delivering lots of food, water, healthcare, hygiene (soap or cleaning supplies), clothing (shoes), baby supplies, and shelter.

The money from oil production was supposed to be used to rebuild Iraq and make lives better for all its citizens, but instead it was stolen and misused due to corruption and used to fund terrorism. Experts estimate that it will cost about $88 billion to rebuild Iraq. The UN estimated that 99 percent of all Iraq’s money comes from oil. Per day, Iraq produces nearly 5 million barrels of oil. Each barrel is worth about $60, so Iraq makes about $300 million everyday in oil revenue. With all this oil money, Iraq could rebuild easily and be a rich and thriving country.

The country of Iraq has been, and still is, haunted by war and hardship. In this country, that was once the cradle of human civilization, now has more than 2 million Iraqi refugees in hopelessness. When they should be wealthy and happy, but instead, they are not. Iraq has had over 40 years of conflict causing people great hardship. Over 4 million people have had to flee their homes. The ongoing conflicts in Iraq have brought many Iraqi refugees to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Syria, and Turkey.

The refugees usually find themselves in overcrowded camps with limited options for work, school, and health. While fleeing and in camps, they are dying of thirst, hunger, sickness, and violence. The Iraqi nation faces great challenges because of terrorism, civil war, corruption, and bad goverment. Iraq could be a rich country with all its oil resources. It is going to be very hard for Iraq to come back from this, especially when so many people have come to take over their oil plants for money when the money was supposed to be used to rebuild. The Iraqi people are all hoping to go back to their own country, in order to live an everyday life like us, and to gather up some money to rebuild their homes, and raise their families, and to have a better government with no more turmoil. 

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