Iraq: Angry youth are new recruits for extremists, says report

London, 26 June (AKI - By Syed Saleem Shahzad ) - A new generation of angry young men are ripe for recruitment by Iraq's extremist groups, according to a new report by an international think-tank.

The London-based Senlis Council said there were striking similarities between Afghanistan and Somalia and the intense anger of the young men in Iraq.

In a report entitled, Iraq: Angry Hearts and Angry Minds, the council warned that the country's security remained fragile and young men were easy prey for recruitment.

“This crescent of anger that runs through all three of the main theatres of the War on Terror conflict is not being effectively responded to,” said Norine MacDonald, president and leading researcher of The Senlis Council.

“We need to win over these young men’s hearts and minds in order to starve the insurgents of recruits and support.”

The Senlis Council, a security and development policy group researches three major conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia and has been looking at their root causes.

The council's latest report was released as at least 30 people were reported to have been killed in two separate bomb attacks - one in Falluja and one in Mosul - in Iraq on Thursday.

According to the United Nations, 45 percent of Iraqis were aged between 15 and 30 and the unemployment rate was as high as 40 percent.

"Unemployment is a security issue, especially for these disenfranchised young men," said MacDonald.

Almost two-thirds of those interviewed by Senlis said they were "often or always" angry.

In other field research, Senlis found 55 percent of those surveyed wanted foreign troops to leave Iraq.

While recognising that al-Qaeda was suffering from sustained attacks to its leadership, it warned sustainable security would only occur if all levels of society were actively involved.   

“The question being put about Iraq is ‘does the military stay or does the military go?’ But this is the wrong way to frame the question,” said Paul Burton, the director of Policy Analysis for The Senlis Council.

 “Just as we have seen the use of a military surge in Iraq, we need also to see a job surge and a democracy surge to meet the legitimate grievances of the population."

Current attempts at bringing democracy to Iraq have taken too much of a ‘top-down’ approach, Burton said.




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