After eight years of vicious warfare, the President declared that the U.S. was leaving behind a sovereign, stable, self-reliant Iraq with a representative government. This optimistic idea crumbled, however, when insurgent forces, calling themselves the Islamic State, blew through the weakened Iraqi army and seized swaths of territory throughout Iraq and Syria.
Despite popular beliefs that the Islamic State developed from the Syrian Civil War, its origins can be directly traced back to the failures of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. nation-building effort in Iraq. This presentation will analyze the development of the Islamic State and how it may be related to the massive U.S. military operation in Iraq.
The presentation will explore how key mistakes during the nation-building project, such as failing to promote a local economy or dismantling the entire political infrastructure, may have instigated spikes in military resistance and religious fundamentalism which ultimately opened the door for the development of the Islamic State. The presentation will conclude by providing key lessons that U.S. foreign policy makers must adhere to in order to avoid another similar calamity.
Amir El-Aswad, ’15
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Sponsor: Aparna Thomas