Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the emergence of jihadi groups in Iraq. Before 2003, few jihadi groups existed due to Saddam Hussein’s authoritarian regime, which suppressed both Islamist and non-Islamist dissent. The 2003 U.S. invasion and removal of Saddam Hussein created a power vacuum that, coupled with widespread Muslim perceptions of a Western imperialist venture targeting Islam, injected new life into the jihadist movement. The most significant jihadi groups that emerged after 2003 were al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI), Ansar al-Sunna, the Islamic Army in Iraq, the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades, and the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance (JAAMI).
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