Women in Iraq

Lauren Sandler of The Nation has just published a truly worrying article about the situation for women in Iraq since the occupation began:

Millions of women have found themselves living under such de facto house arrest since the coalition forces claimed Baghdad in April. They have been forced into this situation by a menacing triple threat that has emerged since the war: First, Saddam Hussein threw open the doors to his prisons in October 2002, releasing criminals onto Iraq's lightly policed streets. Then came the fall of the regime and the concomitant crumbling of law enforcement. And now, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is creating a growing human rights crisis for women as an extracurricular issue at best, leaving women at the mercy of thugs on the streets and the religious parties that have rushed into the political vacuum.


This is telling of not only the lingering insecurity in Iraq at the moment but also the long-term changes to Iraqi society the rise of Islamist groups are bringing. It's ironic to think that under Saddam Hussein, in some ways, women may have had more day-to-day freedom.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.