The spoils of war

David Wells explains Iraq’s battle to recover from conflict and severe environmental damage.

Iraq rubbish tip fire

Iraq has had a turbulent recent history and is characterised by social and political instability. This was not always the case; in the 1960s and 70s, increased oil revenues, strong economic growth and social reforms gave Iraq significant economic power. But during the past four decades, the country has suffered a severe breakdown in social, political and infrastructure dynamics, and now faces major environmental and socio-economic issues. 

The Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Gulf War (1990-1991), 2003 invasion of Iraq and the recent occupation of large swathes of Iraq by Islamic State (IS) have resulted in infrastructure damage, environmental degradation, looting and pillaging of equipment and supplies (including hazardous and radioactive ...

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