Keeping up with daily events in Iraq can be overwhelming. Violence and political instability make up the bulk of reporting and commentary on Iraq while stories of hope and transformation are often ignored. For observers, both inside and outside Iraq, narratives are often shaped by hearsay, misinformation and unsubstantiated claims that distort the way we interpret events in the country. These myths are perpetuated and reinforced by a plethora of pundits who regularly publish analysis on Iraq but have neither visited the country nor speak the language.
Since 2003, Iraq has been at the center of a renewed struggle to shape and shift the balance of power in the Middle East. A democratic, pluralist Iraq with rich human and natural resources is seen as a threat to the dominance of traditional power brokers in the region. As part of this struggle, Iraq’s neighbors have sought to undermine the legitimacy of a new, independent Iraq, calling into question the viability of the state by fuelling violence and instability while peddling a narrative that frames Iraq as beholden to the whims of external actors. The 8-year occupation of Iraq fed a discourse that reinforced this image, which persisted beyond the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. Amid the pervasive influence of external actors, commentary on Iraq often neglects the role of Iraqis who are at the center of the struggle to rebuild their country.
1001 Iraqi Thoughts is dedicated to reasserting the central role of Iraqis in the future of their country by empowering Iraqi voices that can offer authentic perspectives and insights to help make sense of developments on the ground. We also welcome and value genuine scholarship from non-Iraqis and publish original and well-researched pieces regardless of any political or ideological positions.
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