Insurgency, militias and DDR as part of security sector reconstruction in Iraq: how not to do it


Dr Alpaslan Özerdem, Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit, Department of Politics, University of York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 1904 432643; e-mail:


One of the most demanding challenges since the occupation of Iraq in 2003 has been the establishment of security and stability. The continuation of violence by myriad armed groups is yet to be tackled as part of a comprehensive security sector reform initiative in which effective disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants will constitute a litmus test of success or failure. In Iraq, much insurgent and militia activity is shadowy and difficult to trace. However, those involved can be divided into two main categories: insurgent groups; and Shi'a militias. In a highly complex and insecure environment such as this, resulting from the presence of many armed groups with varying agendas and objectives, the conduct of a DDR process will be an extremely sensitive and testing task both for Iraq and the international community. Appropriate preparation for such a process is clearly an imperative for the generation of peace in the country.