Iraqis will head to the polls for parliamentary elections on 30 April in a country divided. The nation is embroiled in ethnic and sectarian conflicts along major fault-lines that have been exposed more widely since the US invasion and occupation of Iraq 11 years ago. These conflicts have pitted Shi’a against Sunni, Arab against Kurd, leading to the breakdown of a shaky federal system and threatening its future as a unified nation-state.

Civil strife and terrorism are causing scores of daily fatalities, partly a spillover of the civil war in Syria. The economy is deteriorating despite oil rent of around $80bn annually. A corruption culture has led to Iraq being ranked as amongst the most corrupt states globally. (CONTINUED - 1189 WORDS)