The Impact of U.S. Military Drawdown in Iraq on Displaced and Other Vulnerable Populations

Analysis and Recommendations

by Olga Oliker, Audra K. Grant, Dalia Dassa Kaye

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Abstract

As the United States continues to draw down its forces and prepares to eventually end its substantial military involvement in Iraq, it must recognize that this drawdown will affect vulnerable and at-risk populations, some of whom have depended on U.S. forces for their security over the last six years. How vulnerable groups are affected by the U.S. drawdown has significant implications for the evolution of Iraq and U.S. policy interests in Iraq and the Middle East more broadly. Oliker, Grant, and Kaye assess the risks and implications of drawdown and withdrawal for some of the Iraqis in greatest danger: (1) populations whose vulnerability to violence will increase specifically because of the U.S. drawdown and (2) Iraq's displaced population, both within Iraq and in neighboring states. The authors conclude with recommendations for U.S. policymakers for mitigating the problems they anticipate.

The research described in this paper was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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