From Coexistence to Cleansing: The Rise of Sectarian Violence in Baghdad, 2003-2007 – By Ches Thurber

This article will draw on first-person accounts to argue that sectarian violence in Baghdad appears to be less a result of an inherent inter-religious animus than a collective defensive reaction to the fear and vulnerability created in a time of war and political upheaval. Furthermore, it illustrates how the actions of two outside actors—the United States and Jordanian- born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—were instrumental in exacerbating feelings of vulnerability and sparking a chain reaction of violence.
Ches Thurber is a doctoral candidate in the International Security Studies Program at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Ches previously worked as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill handling foreign and defense policy for Congressman Peter Welch. He received his B.A. in International Studies from Middlebury College.
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