Iraq Withdrawal Does Not Mean the War Is Over
Posted on: Monday, October 24, 2011
Last Friday, President Obama announced that all US troops will be returning home from Iraq by the end of this year. But the war is far from over—especially for women and girls.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed during the war and 4,482 US troops have lost their lives. In addition, gender-based violence has reached unprecedented levels. Since the US invasion in 2003, Iraqi women and girls have faced an increased risk of violence, abductions and sexual assault.
Now, as the US troops come home, Iraqi women and their families will continue to struggle with the legacy of this war. As Yanar Mohammed, President of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) and MADRE’s partner has said, “We used to have a government that was almost secular. It had one dictator. Now we have almost 60 dictators—Islamists who think of women as forces of evil. This is what is called the democratization of Iraq.”
Even with US troops leaving Iraq, a substantial US presence will remain. Over 5,000 private security contractors commanded by the US State Department will be deployed to the country—a force that has been accused of grave human rights violations. In 2007, 17 Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghdad’s Nisour Square by US security contractors.
Following Obama’s announcement, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind said, “We are glad that the US troops will be returning home at the end of the year. But a war on women continues to rage in Iraq. The war was sold in part as a way to protect women’s human rights, but instead women and girls experienced a rise in violence in a militarized Iraq. Despite the troop withdrawal, these threats persist. Peace in Iraq can only be achieved once women’s human rights are protected.”
Click on the links below for MADRE resources on the Iraq War:
- MADRE Report: Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq
- Ending War Means Ending Violence Against Women
- Petition: Women from Around the World Condemn Attack on Peaceful Protesters in Iraq and Call for an End to Sexual Assault of Women Protesters