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Environment, Crime, and Disease in Iraq – Research Guider

The paper "Environment, Crime, and Disease in Iraq" is a worthy example of a research paper on politics.
Devastating health conditions, environment and crime have a deteriorating impact on Iraq. There are different factors involved which have contributed to this situation. These issues are of major state concerns as they hindered the process of development and reconstruction. The poor health and environment situation worsen with the strengthening criminal activities urged to get control of the criminal market. In some cases, it is patronized by the government which gave rise to conflict and economic and political instability. This paper overviews environment, crime and disease in Iraq by analyzing its overall impact on development and economy.

An overview of the environment, crime, and disease in Iraq
Iraq is the Arab Republic at the North-Western end of the Persian Gulf, bordered by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, and Turkey to the north and Iran to the east. (“An Andromeda book,”2002)
Iraq is facing many environmental problems which need drastic measure in order to avoid more loss in future. Some of these issues are directly linked with inefficient governmental policies, lack of action and management, economic sanctions and military conflicts in the region. Particular risks to the environment can be categorized as; water/groundwater and sewerage, waste (raw, industrial, chemical, biological, nuclear) management, oil industry, ecosystem degradation by the destruction of Mesopotamian Marshes. Water resources are facing serious issues of; the downstream effect of larger dams, drainage of wetlands, water contamination, and lack of management of water distribution channels, land salinity and the potential threat of oil-contaminated water due to oil spills (UNEP, 2003).
Environmental aspects in Iraq are greatly influenced rather transformed after the Gulf War and economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council in 1990. Before these major events, Iraq has the highest and rapidly developing living standards in the Middle East. Now, pollution is penetrated in air, water and soil. Drinking water and air are so contaminated that its consumption poses real threats to health and life. Water and sewerage plants are destroyed and sanctions caused the inability to get spare parts to repair them. Inability to import quality chlorine forced people to consume contaminated water which gave rise to water-borne illnesses, for instance, typhoid, dysentery, cholera and polio. Later two were almost eradicated before the sanctions imposed (El-Awady, 2002).
According to UNICEF access to safe water in urban areas has dropped to 94% from 100%, while the drop at rural levels was more drastic from 71%to 41%. Up to 250-300 tons of solid untreated raw sewerage system, power cuts of up to 12 hours a day have also severely disrupted services. (El-Awady, 2002)
Use of depleted uranium and insufficient cleaning strategy has increased the chances of cancer to six times. Research in Basra University found a 100% rise in leukaemia among children in 1999 in comparison with 1990. According to the World Health Organization, health risks of depleted uranium include radiological and chemical toxicity and increased risk of kidney failure, lungs and bones cancer and leukaemia (as cited in El-Awady, 2002).
In a report by UNEP (2003) discovers that chronic malnutrition among under-fives rose rapidly to 30% in 2000 as compared to 18.7% in 1991. Overall health and survival of people are debilitating with time. “Welfare system in Iraq has been harshly affected by war, per capita, spending on health has fallen from $90 in 1990 to $12 in 2000” (“An Andromeda book,”2002).
Organized crime in Iraq is of adaptive nature, it is complex and we can attribute a higher level of continuity and reoccurrence with it. Crime is stimulated by need, greed and creed which can not be clearly separated. Criminal activities in Iraq are diverse. However, three of them are highly noticeable: diversion, theft and oil smuggling; kidnapping; and extortion. To some extent it has its roots in tribal culture acceptance of smuggling other are corruption initiating from dictatorial governments. Shifting of power from one elite group to the other double the impact of crime and corruption. It is also linked to the provision of an alternative form of government in deprived areas of Iraq, for instance, Sunni tribes, Jaish-al-Mahdi and Sadrist movement. Crime has added to the conflicting situations, either by prolonging them or participating in them (Williams, 2009).
According to Williams (2009), Organized crime has contributed to economic woes by inefficient reconstruction and development work, for instance, supplying electrical power is not successful despite the efforts of the United States and coalition government. The kidnapping of professionals and businessmen had a great impact on the Iraqi economy as their investment, profits or revenues are robbed which consequently led to the closure of the business.
Conflict and political instability in addition to smuggling of oil have added to the depleting economy. In this scenario, economic sanctions are impacting development by ceasing access to modern equipment and technology (UNEP, 2003). According to Williams(2009), globalization has also facilitated organized crime during the 1990s. Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, lack of policy and planning for organized crime led to delay and complications in economic reconstruction. Illegal oil bunking is supported and stimulated by militia violence and corruption in order to respond to government monopoly by depriving her of revenues. Kidnapping also emerged in post-Saddam’s era and reached a peak in 2005 and 2006. Traditional criminal settings also obtained consistent insecurity through extortion and kidnapping. In post-Ba’athist period crime has crippled the economy which was considered the only source for growth.
Adverse environmental conditions added to health and welfare conditions in Iraq. Criminal tendencies and fertile conditions for its development led to instability and conflict. The whole situation is somewhat accelerated due to a rapidly globalizing world. There is a great need to control and manage the situation irrespective of the factor contributing to this situation. Proper and timely management is the only way towards betterment.


Williams, P. (2009).Criminals, Militants, and Insurgents: Organized crime in Iraq. Retrieved from http://www.defencetalk.com/criminals-militias-and-insurgents-organized-crime-in-iraq-22011/

An Andromeda book (Reference edition). (2002).Encyclopedia of World geography: The Middle East. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation.

El-Awady, A. (2002).Environmental Catastrophe in Iraq. Retrieved from http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1157962450340&pagename=Zone-English-HealthScience%2FHSELayout.

United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP], (2003).Desk Study on the Environment in Iraq. Switzerland: United Nations Environment Programme.

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