Picking up the Pieces: Iraqi Women in the Aftermath of War and Occupation. (Winter 2013)

Just over a year ago the US military officially withdrew from Iraq, ending a nine-year occupation. But it has not meant peace for Iraqis. The decade of sanctions, followed by war and occupation devastated the country’s socioeconomic fabric. Despite the billions allocated for reconstruction, the country is suffering from greater poverty and corruption than pre-2003.1 Meanwhile, political sectarianism and violence continues.

This brief highlights the perspectives of Iraqi women, particularly civil society and peace activists, regarding the losses and gains during the US intervention, the evolving trends and the opportunities and difficulties they face. It offers recommendations to national and international actors on how best to support their efforts to attain and sustain a just peace.

What The Women Say

“ We are not a project. It is a matter of life for millions of people.”

— Woman peacebuilder

What The Women Say

“ Help us talk, don't just arm us to kill.”

— Syrian woman activist

What The Women Say

“Do not tell us that it’s not time to fight for our rights. There’s no convenient time; we have to always be fighting.”

— Pakistani women’s rights activist

What The Women Say

“State prisons are feeding the pool of foreign fighters… many are radicalized during incarceration.”

— Tajik woman lawyer

What The Women Say

“I say Jihad is not spilling or wasting blood in the streets, it is giving blood in hospitals to people who need it.”

— Iraqi woman peacebuilder

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