Special Report On Youth and Violent Extremism in Iraq
Terrorist groups and government-backed militias across Iraq actively recruit and exploit vulnerable youth. It is crucial that the international community continues to condemn the use of child soldiers and hold those responsible for such horrific practices accountable. In order to craft-wise, sustainable policies it is vital to understand the ways in which terrorist and militant groups continue to recruit, radicalize, and exploit youth throughout the region.
The underlying social and economic conditions that allow these groups to flourish must also be addressed. Much of the success of various terrorist movements rests on the vulnerability of youth worldwide, and because of this, it is essential that the international community take action to counter the recruitment and use of these child soldiers. The international community needs to acknowledge this problem and create tangible means in which to aid the children and families affected by terrorist groups, in order to rehabilitate and prevent the use of child soldiers in the future. The political, social, and economic structures within Iraq are highly dependent on its youth. Currently, frustrated youth are emigrating when they can, and many young men are becoming the foot soldiers for the country’s most radical groups. Building a peaceful future for Iraq will require putting systems in place that empower the country’s youth as well as creating an environment in which they can thrive.