The Rise of the Islamic State: How the Nouri al-Maliki government set the conditions for the resurgence of Islamic extremism in Iraq

Morgan, Arthur, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, University of Virginia
Hueckstedt, Robert, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Virginia
Quandt, William, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

This paper examines the role of the Nouri al-Maliki government in the rise of the Islamic State. It argues that the government’s sectarian policies and Maliki’s consolidation of power set the conditions for the resurgence of Islamic extremism in Iraq and the development of the Islamic State group. It establishes a pattern of decisions and policies that increasingly gave Maliki tighter control of the state while further alienating the Sunni population. Maliki’s disaffection of Iraq’s Sunni communities coincided with the resurgence of Sunni extremist forces across the border in Syria. Those militants exploited Sunni anger and mistrust toward the government in Baghdad, opening the door for ISIS to capture key cities in western and northern Iraq in 2014.

MA (Master of Arts)
ISIS, Islamic State, Maliki, Iraq, Islamic extremism
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