chapter  24
10 Pages

The religious initiative for national reconciliation in Iraq, 2006–07

ByMicheal A. Hoyt

Iraq was coming apart at the seams in the summer of 2006. The tremendous political gains accomplished after regime collapse, including the ratification of a constitution and the seating of the first popularly elected permanent government, were paralyzed by open warfare, civil violence, and sectarian divide. Powerful religious actors waged militia reprisals, denounced the constitution, manipulated elected officials, and discredited the decisions of the newly elected government of Iraq. The Iraqi government could not gain momentum. The coalition forces were losing the initiative. The Iraqi people were terrorizing themselves. Foreign fighters and terrorist groups leveraged criminal elements and opportunistically fed off the chaos to perpetuate instability in the region, thwarting success and every positive social-political gain.