Home News ISIS’ Use of Sexual Violence as a Technique of Terrorism in Iraq

ISIS’ Use of Sexual Violence as a Technique of Terrorism in Iraq


The sudden advance of the terrorist organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in 2014 began a violent civil conflict in Iraq. This battle led to excessive instability within the already weakened nation, and to today, practically two million folks stay internally displaced in Iraq (GCT, 2021). The previous couple of a long time have been marked by battle in Iraq with the Gulf Warfare and the US invasion of 2003. This sequence of conflicts has uncovered ethnic minorities and ladies to greater ranges of violence (Dodge et al, 2018 p.18). Since ISIS declared itself as a Caliphate in 2014 and imposed the Sharia regulation, a widespread rise in human rights abuses has been noticed, with a specific concentrate on sexual violence (Dahham, 2016 p.3). To additional its Sunni fundamentalist ideology, ISIS has notably focused ethnic and non secular minorities, with the attribute instance of the Yazidi group that was notably devastated by the terrorist organisation (Kaya, 2019 p.10). Sexual violence in conflicts will not be a brand new or distinctive phenomenon. It’s a tactic that has been used for hundreds of years, however the educational literature solely began to concentrate on the problem within the Nineteen Nineties after the systematic use of sexual violence within the Rwandan genocide (1994), and within the Balkan Warfare (1991-1999) (Skjelsbaek, 2001 p.211). If the definition of sexual violence has advanced all through time, we are going to use Wooden’s definition of sexual violence in conflicts as ‘sexual violence by armed organisations throughout armed conflicts’ (Wooden, 2014 p.458). You will need to spotlight that sexual violence doesn’t solely seek advice from rape. The United Nations’ (UN) definition additionally contains sexual slavery, pressured prostitution, pressured being pregnant, pressured sterilisation or any type of sexual violence of comparable gravity (UN Basic Meeting, 2002 in Dahham 2016, p.5). If these acts are criminalised by worldwide regulation, the perpetrators are hardly ever prosecuted for these actions as they’re broadly underreported and sometimes confounded with extra common conflict crimes (Dahham, 2016 p.5).

This essay will concentrate on the widespread use of sexual violence within the civil battle in Iraq, by answering the query of why ISIS used sexual violence as a method of terror and destruction in Iraq. This query inscribes itself in a broader educational debate concerning the influence that sexual violence can have in a battle, the strategic advantages of utilizing sexual violence for a terrorist group and, lastly, on why sexual violence must be conceptualised as a method of terror and destruction moderately than as an remoted act associated to the warzone. This essay will argue that sexual violence is strategically utilized by the terrorist group in a wider technique of terrorising the inhabitants, with the intention to strengthen its state constructing technique by ethnic cleaning of non-Muslim communities. To reply this query, this essay will take a look at the case examine of the Yazidi, a non secular group positioned within the Sinjar. The Yazidi group has been notably focused by way of sexual violence when invaded by ISIS in 2014, and a few organisations are actually attempting to recognise this systematic destruction as a genocide towards the Yazidis (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.3). This analysis shall be divided in 4 elements. We’ll firstly analyse the literature on sexual violence in conflicts. The second half will deal with a methodological be aware about the usage of a case examine. The third half will focus on the problem of the systematisation of sexual violence in Iraq, from the State to ISIS and can analyse how ISIS mirrored the actions of the Iraqi authorities concerning the usage of sexual violence. Lastly, we are going to concentrate on the case examine of the Yazidis and draw concrete observations on the influence that sexual violence can have when used as a weapon of terror.

Literature assessment on sexual violence in conflicts

This primary part seeks to analyse the present literature on the methods behind the usage of sexual violence in conflicts. Skjelbaesk (2001 p.212) argues that the literature is unclear on whether or not sexual violence is a query of intercourse with violent manifestation or the alternative, violence with sexual manifestation. This subject of examine is comparatively new and there are nonetheless many parts associated to sexual violence in conflicts to discover. This assessment will attempt to fill some gaps by proposing three principal explanations to sexual violence in conflicts.

We’ll first take a look at the usage of sexual violence as a method of terror and intimidation. That is notably linked to terrorist organisations as the usage of sexual violence might help a terrorist group to realize considered one of its 5 principal objectives: regime change, territorial change, coverage change, social management or established order upkeep (Kydd & Walter, 2006 p.52). Hardy (2001 p.3) defines an act of sexual violence as a terrorist act when it’s used to result in political targets and is geared toward a wider viewers than the precise sufferer. Terrorist teams due to this fact use sexual violence as a method to terrorise and humiliate with the intention to assist them obtain their splendid of making a brand new state (Koos 2017 p.1936; Kydd & Walter, 2006 p.52). Sexual violence is an efficient technique of terrorism as ‘it erodes the material of the group in a manner that few weapons can’ (UNICEF, 1996 p.1 in Mackenzie, 2010 p.209). If sexual violence will not be intuitively perceived as a method of terrorism, it’s nonetheless advantageous for the teams utilizing it (Hardy, 2001 p.4). By means of the recognized use of sexual brutality, an organisation may be seen as intimidating and have a deterrent impact on the opposite actors of the battle which can be afraid of this repute (Crawford et al., 2014). If the organisation takes half in human trafficking of sexual slaves it ensures them an elevated revenue and permit them a extra environment friendly recruitment of recent fighters (Paulussen, 2021). Moreover, the repercussions of sexual violence appear low as sexual-based terrorism is never prosecuted, and due to this fact the probability of reprisals or sentencing are extraordinarily uncommon (Hardy, 2001 p.4). Lastly, the usage of systematic rape has such a powerful influence on not simply the ladies, however on the entire group, that it ensures the terrorist group a instrument of domination by the crushing of the society’s order (Matusitz, 2017 p.831; Mackenzie, 2010 p.209). The usage of sexual violence by terrorist teams seems as a helpful technique because it ensures the domination of the inhabitants by terror and has a low chance of being prosecuted. Nonetheless, as Wooden (2009 p.134) factors out, some terrorist teams don’t use sexual violence towards civilians and are nonetheless profitable achieve their targets, highlighting that the first strategic use of sexual violence in a battle may not be as a weapon of terror.

After the Rwandan genocide and the Balkan Warfare within the Nineteen Nineties, extra students have thought of that sexual violence might be an necessary instrument within the ethnic cleaning of a inhabitants (Wooden, 2009 p.132). Farwell (2004 p.395) defines sexual violence as a method for ‘infiltrating or destroying ethnic boundaries and attacking the honour of the group and the purity of its lineage’. Matusitz (2017 p.835) argues that to erase the id of a group, rape is an efficient technique because the rape of a person implies that the entire group turns into a sufferer of those acts, and that its id is threatened. By controlling the life-giving capacities of a girl, the perpetrators of those violent acts can simply affect the subsequent generations of a group (Skjelsbaek, 2001 p.219). A number of methods have been used for this goal, such because the deliberate spreading of sexual illnesses like HIV in communities (Koos, 2017 p.1937), the creation of rape camps to put in a systematisation of pressured impregnation of ethnic or non secular minorities (Skjelsbaek, 2001 p.220) or the pressured sterilisation of girls to regulate the group’s delivery fee (Dahham, 2016 p.5). Bernard (1994 p.39) provides that sexual violence facilitates ethnic cleaning by inflicting a blow towards the collective enemy by placing at a gaggle with a excessive symbolic worth and destroying the group’s social order. It additionally creates an incentive to flee, weakening the group by dislocating it somewhere else (p.35). Lastly, Koos (2017 p.1936) argues that sexual violence is worsened by ethnic and non secular cleavages and that in these conditions, an increase of brutality may be noticed, typically linked to an absence of the rule of regulation. Sexual violence in a context of ethnic cleaning is linked to a rise of gang rapes, of sexual torture and of punishment for being a part of a sure group. The literature on sexual violence within the context of ethnic cleaning doesn’t appear to handle why the perpetrators of those acts would like a sure technique of sexual violence resembling pressured impregnation moderately than pressured sterilisation. A extra thorough evaluation on the alternatives of methods of management over the replica of a group would give perception on tips on how to forestall this from taking place.

A 3rd argument expressed within the literature is the one of many hyper-masculinisation of conflicts. Matusitz (2017 p.837) argues that, throughout conflicts, masculinity is intently linked to militarised aggression, and due to this fact males are beneath strain to exhibit their masculinity by collaborating in violence and terrorist acts, together with sexual violence. In different phrases, throughout a battle, rape is a sexual manifestation of manhood. Skjelsbaek (2001 p.217) explains that in conflicts, troopers consider that they’ve the fitting to destroy and violate the enemy, and this rage is commonly centered on girls who belong to different males. Ahram (2015 p.58) provides that in a battle, girls develop into sacrosanct, and violating their sanctity emasculates and disempowers the enemy. Sexual violence causes wounded masculinity in occasions of hyper-masculinisation (Matusitz, 2017 p.837). Ahram (2015, p.58) additionally mentions sexual violence towards males, a topic much less mentioned within the literature, as the final word act of de-masculinisation. Crawford et al. (2014) argue that conflict rape is essentially related to the group’s inside practices moderately than strategic imperatives. Koos (2017 p.1940) illustrates this concept by explaining that collective rape can be utilized as a cohesion approach between troopers by making a bond between perpetrators. Rape generally is a ritual of initiation or a logo of allegiance to the trigger (Matusitz, 2017 p.839). Card (1996 p.7) provides that, for example, forcing a soldier to rape a neighbour, can be utilized as a strategy to destroy former bonds of friendship between group members. Lastly, rape is seen as a manner of having fun with the spoils of conflict, by permitting troopers to learn from non-public pleasure by the seize of the enemy’s girls (Koos, 2017 p.1939). Sexual violence in conflicts solutions to totally different methods, nevertheless, the literature doesn’t account for clear proof of the systematic use of sexual violence as a method. By means of the mix of the totally different strategic goals explaining the usage of sexual violence, this literature assessment offers a extra complete evaluation, bearing in mind each particular person and organisational targets of sexual violence. It’s a troublesome phenomenon to review as gathering information on the intentions of the perpetrators of sexual violence is commonly unimaginable, or biased. A extra thorough evaluation of sexual violence centered on conflicts not solely within the second half of the 20th century may permit for a greater understanding of the intentions of the troopers on a person stage moderately than on a collective stage. 

Methodological be aware

The second a part of this essay will goal to clarify the selection of utilizing a case examine to reply our analysis query. Sekaran and Bougie (2013 p.98) outline a case examine as ‘a analysis technique that includes an empirical investigation of a specific modern phenomenon inside its real-life context’. Following this definition, our case examine on the Yazidi group for instance the usage of sexual violence by ISIS in Iraq as a weapon of terror inscribes itself completely in our analysis methodology. By analysing the instance of the influence of widespread and systematic use of sexual violence towards the Yazidis, we offer concrete proof to our speculation that ISIS makes use of sexual violence as a weapon of terrorism and mass destruction. The selection of the Yazidi group is related as it’s the group that has been most destroyed by ISIS, and Yazidis girls and women have been probably the most focused by sexual slavery and trafficking (Kaya, 2019 p.10). Answering to George and Bennett’s (2005 p.51) doubts concerning the hazards of subjective biases in case alternatives, this essay argues that thorough analysis was made on the topic earlier than choosing the Yazidi group as a case examine, and that this alternative doesn’t mirror the ‘simple alternative’ that might greatest apply to our speculation, because it moderately represents probably the most full and sophisticated instance current in Iraq, as sexual violence was utilized by ISIS as a method of terror in addition to a method of ethnic cleaning.

Sexual violence in Iraq, from the State to ISIS

This third part will goal to establish the influence that earlier conflicts and use of violence in Iraq by the state has had on the systematic use of sexual violence as a method of terrorism by ISIS. It’s going to additionally establish how ISIS makes use of sexual violence to claim dominance over ethnic and non secular minorities. This essay will argue that Iraq cultivated a breeding floor for sexual violence from which ISIS took rating, because it was already a quite common observe utilized by the Iraqi authorities and safety providers. For instance, Saddam Hussein already used sexual violence as a strategy to maintain ethno-sectarian hierarchies in Iraq (Ahram, 2015 p.59). Sexual enslavement, a widespread observe utilized by ISIS, was a method well-used by the Iraqi regime within the Nineteen Eighties on the time of the ethnic cleaning of Iraqi Kurdistan (Ahram, 2019 p.187). Some students have argued that sexual violence in conflicts is extra widespread in international locations with greater ranges of institutionalised gender discrimination (Kaya, 2019 p.9). Cohen provides to that concept that rebel perpetrated acts of mass rape are extra probably in a context of state collapse, as exemplified in Iraq (Cohen, 2013 p.476). Constructing on these two assumptions, we are going to attempt to present that the Iraqi state facilitated the usage of sexual violence by ISIS.

Mackenzie highlights the significance of accounting of accounting wartime rape not solely as a instrument of conflict but in addition as a aspect impact of a patriarchal society (Mackenzie, 2010 p.208). After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the state failed to supply safety, and this failure has notably uncovered girls to home violence, and violence by public authorities towards girls (O’Driscoll, 2018 p.15). The rise of sectarian violence in Iraq within the final three a long time has additionally facilitated the usage of killings, rape and the kidnapping of girls to settle scores between communities (Kaya, 2019 p.13). The Iraqi state has been famous for its failure to realize and implement justice, and within the instances of sexual violence, the state typically punishes the sufferer moderately than the perpetrator (Dahham, 2016 p.11; Kaya, 2019 p.13). That is additional illustrated within the discount of sentences within the Iraqi penal code for honour killings (UNAMI, 2013 p.2). The state has achieved little or no to fight human trafficking and mass rape, leaving the victims with no establishments to depend on (Kaya, 2019 p.13). A scarcity of laws and establishments legitimises the usage of gendered violence in Iraq. This account of the acceptance of gender-based violence in Iraq because of the failure of the state to guard girls highlights the context by which ISIS asserted its dominance in 2014 after the invasion of Mosul. Drawing on the norms that have been already in place in Iraq, ISIS created a gendered socio-economic construction primarily based on the already present Iraqi norms of gender discrimination and violence (Kaya, 2019 p.12.; Ahram, 2015 p.58).

Ahram (2019 p.181) argues that sexual violence was utilized by ISIS as a state constructing technique in Iraq. The organisation determined to reflect the state it was attempting to supplant by creating establishments that drew on the present norms of Iraq. An fascinating correlation may be made between the truth that many ISIS leaders have been as soon as prisoners within the notorious Abu Ghraib jail, managed by the US Military. This jail was recognized for its systematic use of sexual torture towards the suspected terrorists (Ahram, 2015 p.63). Sexual violence is a key facet of the method of aggressive state constructing because it each tears down and reinforces types of domination inherited from the outdated state (Ahram, 2019 p.185). ISIS resembles a state on many facets as there’s a tax system, their very own authorized establishments, the export of petrol and an training system in place. Due to this fact, the usage of sexual violence was one other manner of asserting this new state by constructing new familial ties (Ahram 2015 p.59; Ahram 2019 p.185). ISIS due to this fact appears to have primarily based its strategic use of sexual violence on the present norms prevailing in Iraq and on the failure of the state to guard its residents from sexual violence. Nonetheless, ISIS additionally developed its personal specificities in regard to the usage of sexual violence, that we are going to attempt to establish.

ISIS has resorted to many methods to additional its ideology, with a specific concentrate on growing a scientific strategic use of sexual violence. Firstly, it is very important discover that if ISIS has strict rules on sexual exercise exterior of marriage, the organisation has morally justified the usage of sexual violence towards non-believers in the event that they refuse to transform to Islam (Kaya, 2019 p.7; Ahram, 2019 p.187). By means of this justification, ISIS’ fighters can’t be thought of as ‘sinners’ in the event that they have interaction in sexual violence, as girls are deemed spoils of conflict, and as infidels are on the backside of the social hierarchy (Ahram, 2019 p.187).  ISIS has additionally declared that within the case of being pregnant ensuing from a rape by considered one of its fighters, the kid will belong to ISIS, spreading the usage of pressured impregnation of minority girls to contribute to the expansion of the organisation (Ahram, 2015 p.67). Having established a authorized framework which renders sexual violence acceptable — and even inspired — ISIS then outlined the strategic use of sexual violence as an ethnic cleaning instrument. Iraq is a multi-ethnic state, comprising of quite a few communities, which ISIS defines as infidels and enemies. Paulussen (2021) explains that ISIS used sexual terrorism to additional its Sunni fundamentalist ideologies, and to crush opposing communities by terror. Crawford et al. (2014) reinforce this concept by including that ISIS used sexual violence as a weapon of terror with the aim of ethnic domination by utilizing sexual torture, pressured incest, pressured abortion and compelled perpetration of sexual violence. Sexual violence permits ISIS to bolster its neo-patriarchal management, to construct cohesion between its ranks and to draw overseas fighters, by promising them girls as spoils of conflict (Ahram, 2015 p.67). Essentially the most attribute use of sexual violence by ISIS is the usage of sexual enslavement of girls and women of ethnic or non secular minorities. By enslaving them, the group asserts its dominance over the group and in addition ensures a serious income supply by the sale of girls to brothels or to personal people (Ahram, 2015 p.67). ISIS can management the reproductive means of the entire group and completely destroy its social construction by separating the women and men (Kaya, 2019 p.7; Ahram, 2015 p.70).

Lastly, ISIS’s specificity in its use of sexual violence is that it publicly shows its crimes. The group information their actions on social media to realize a repute of brutality to create concern and admiration for the organisation, and to terrorise its enemies (Amnesty Worldwide, 2014 p.11). ISIS employs a scientific use of sexual violence that appears notably focused in direction of ethnic and non secular minorities, and that serves the aim of higher controlling them to finally destroy them.

This part has demonstrated that the usage of sexual violence by ISIS in Iraq will not be a brand new phenomenon, because the Iraqi state has largely participated in making a breeding floor for such violence in the previous few a long time. ISIS has used the foundations of sexual violence laid by the state within the bigger idea of their state-building technique. By making sexual violence acceptable, it turns into an efficient instrument of each terror and ethnic cleaning which is on the disposal of the group.

Case examine of the Yazidi group

This remaining half goals for instance, by the case examine of the Yazidi group, how ISIS has used sexual violence as a weapon of terror to commit ethnic cleaning of a whole group. This case examine permits us to analyse a concrete instance of the usage of sexual violence in Iraq by ISIS and to attract conclusions from this case examine for our analysis query.

The Yazidi group is likely one of the largest and oldest minority teams in Iraq. They’ve historically lived within the Sinjarinin district of Mosul (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.7; Dahham, 2016 p.3). It’s estimated that earlier than August 2014, 600,000 Yazidis lived in Iraq (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.7). The Yazidi religion is an historical monotheistic faith, primarily based on an oral custom and with a powerful connection to the land (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.8). They observe a strict religio-political hierarchy and are largely cultivators and herdsmen (Minority Rights, 2017). They keep a closed group, as a toddler can solely be of Yazidi religion if each dad and mom are Yazidis and since conversion to the Yazidi religion will not be attainable (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.6). As many minorities in Iraq, they’ve been marginalised and beneath menace for years, nevertheless, the Yazidis have been notably focused as a result of their faith is commonly misinterpreted as a pagan and a devil-worshipping religion. Completely different Iraqi governments and terrorist teams have used this misinterpretation to justify the usage of violence towards them (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.9; Kaya, 2019 p.11). They’ve been persecuted for the reason that Ottoman Empire with campaigns of pressured conversion, and later with Saddam Hussein’s Arabisation marketing campaign of Kurdistan. After the 2003 invasion, Al-Qaeda carried out common terrorist assaults towards the group as they believed that non-Muslims needs to be eradicated (Minority Rights, 2017; Human Rights Council, 2016 p.6; Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 pp.9-10). Kaya (2019 p.9) factors out the shortage of safety supplied by the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to the Yazidis for the reason that 2003 navy intervention. The Yazidis dwell in a disputed territory between the Kurdish forces and Iraqi state, additional destabilising their scenario as each events are competing for the management of the territory. This example has additionally led to a division in the neighborhood between those that establish as Kurdish, and the members that view themselves as from a unique and distinctive Yazidi id (Minority Rights, 2017). The newest assault to the Yazidi group was ISIS’s navy advance in Iraq in 2014. As non-Muslims, the Yazidis have been notably susceptible to ISIS’ splendid of Sunni dominance within the area (Kaya, 2019 p.11).

The examine of ISIS’ sexual crimes over the Yazidi group is fascinating because the extent to which they used sexual violence is exclusive to this group. In distinction to therapy of different minorities, such because the Christians, ISIS didn’t go away the Yazidis a option to pay a particular tax giving them a standing of spiritual minority that acted as a safety. As a substitute, they have been provided two prospects: both convert to Islam or be killed (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.10). The turning level for the Yazidi group was on the threerd of August 2014, when ISIS attacked Sinjar, the place the guts of the group lives. Many Yazidis tried to flee however have been captured on the roads by ISIS fighters. In three days, practically all villages had been emptied of their inhabitants and the Kurdish forces shortly withdrew as ISIS superior within the Sinjar area (Human Rights Council, 2016 pp.6-7; Cetorelli & Ashraph, 2019 p.9). ISIS besieged Mount Sinjar for per week with the intention to seize the Yazidis that had sought refuge there (Cetorelli & Ashraph, 2019 p.9). Throughout these first few days of assault, the UN estimates that 5,000 Yazidi males have been executed, and seven,000 girls and women have been captured to be later be pressured into sexual slavery (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.10). This assault has initiated a scientific use of sexual violence towards the Yazidis, on each boys and ladies, as a strategy to terrorise them and demean the group as a complete (Ahram, 2015 p.68; Dahham, 2016 p.3).

Nonetheless, if these first days of assault have been notably brutal for the group, the sexual violence lasted for for much longer with the organisation of a human trafficking community of Yazidi girls and women. As soon as captured, the Yazidi girls have been formally ISIS’ property and have been characterised as ‘sabaya’ or slaves (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.12/23). The ladies have been first jailed within the Mosul space, to later be taken to different elements of Iraq, or to neighbouring international locations like Syria or Saudi Arabia to be bought to ISIS fighters in slave markets or to be given to some distinguished fighters as spoils of conflict (Dahham, 2016 p.3; Human Rights Watch, 2016; Human Rights council, 2016 p.13). Interviews of former captured Yazidi girls spotlight that the abuse was fixed, and that they needed to endure rapes and different inhumane therapies every day. Moms have been typically bought with their youngsters, who have been additionally victims of normal beatings, and generally sexual violence as effectively (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.14). These testimonies account for the deeply managed facet of the usage of sexual violence by ISIS towards the Yazidis. Throughout their captivity, earlier than being bought on the slave market, girls weren’t abused by the troopers, because the group leaders didn’t permit for this to occur (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.12). The ‘enjoyment’ of the Yazidi girls was reserved to their ‘homeowners’ and strict guidelines have been in place as to who was authorised to learn from this privilege (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.12). These findings permit us to consider that the usage of sexual violence towards Yazidis was a part of a wider technique of terror and ethnic cleaning, moderately than being motivated by private lust and troopers’ fantasies.

Sexual violence was used as a method of terrorism to discourage the Kurdish and Iraqi forces with the intention to oppose resistance to the seize of the Sinjar area. Yazidis’ defence relied on these two teams, because the group doesn’t have a powerful sufficient navy organisation to combat ISIS itself. Nonetheless, each the Iraqi and Kurdish military shortly withdrew as, amongst different causes, they have been afraid of the widespread use of sexual violence as a method of reprisal, and a few most well-liked to guard their households moderately than danger placing them within the arms of ISIS (Amnesty Worldwide, 2014 p.11). The specter of gang rape or sexual torture was additionally used as a deterrent for Yazidis who tried to flee throughout their captivity (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.23). Sexual violence was additionally used as a method of ethnic cleaning of the Yazidi group within the broader technique of creating a Sunni fundamentalist ideology in Iraq. Eradicating non-Muslim communities was a key facet of ISIS’ objectives, and, so as to take action, they resorted to systematic sexual violence by controlling the reproductive skills of Yazidi girls. The UN Human Rights Council (2016 p.27) studies that the terrorist organisation systematically dedicated crimes of sexual mutilation, pressured sterilisation, pressured contraception, separation of the sexes and compelled impregnation of Yazidi girls. These strategies have had a profound influence on the renewal of the group, as a toddler is a member of the Yazidi group provided that each his dad and mom are, as famous earlier. By separating women and men, ISIS stifled the reproductive charges of the group, and thus its inhabitants diminished. The Fee for Worldwide Justice and Accountability (CIJA) has proved that ISIS had deliberate to enslave and rape Yazidis as a strategy to eradicate the delivery fee of Yazidi youngsters (Yazda, 2020 p.2).

The Yazidis’ ethnic cleaning highlights the epitome of ISIS’ use of sexual violence as a method of terrorism and destruction. The Yazidi case examine is pertinent because it entails not only a technique of ethnic cleaning, but in addition parts of genocide. Since 2016, some establishments and governments such because the European Parliament, the US Home of Representatives, and the United Nations have recognised that ISIS is committing genocide towards the Yazidis (Yazda, 2021). To be outlined as a genocide, conflict crimes have to be dedicated with intent to destroy an ethnic, racial or non secular group, by the mass killing of group members, the reason for severe bodily or psychological hurt to the group, inflicting inhumane dwelling situations, stopping delivery, and forcibly transferring youngsters of the group to a different group (Basic Meeting of the UN, 1948 p.1). This definition applies to the sexual crimes dedicated by ISIS to the Yazidi group, because the earlier examples highlighted on this paper are testimonies of ISIS’ intent to destroy the group. You will need to discover that sexual violence was not the one technique utilized by ISIS to destroy the group, as additionally they engaged in mass killings and compelled conversions of boys and males. Nonetheless, the systematic use of sexual slavery and sexual torture is a key component within the realisation of the atrocities dedicated by ISIS as a genocide towards the Yazidis (Barber, 2016 p.4).

Finding out the aftermath of the ethnic cleaning of the Yazidis offers us an perception on the long-term influence that sexual violence can have on a group even as soon as the bodily menace has been destroyed. If Sinjar was retaken from ISIS management in 2015 by the Kurds, solely few Yazidis have been in a position to return to their homeland. The world continues to be beneath navy management, and most Yazidis really feel unsafe going again to their houses, because of the concern of reprisal (Minority Rights, 2017). The Human Rights Council (2016 p.33) studies that each member of the Yazidi group has been affected by the battle, both by being captured, killed or displaced. In 2016, an estimated 3,700 Yazidis remained in captivity by ISIS. Between 2014 and 2016, 120,000 Yazidis have sought asylum in Europe (Minority Rights, 2017). It has been estimated that 85% of the remaining Yazidis of the group are nonetheless forcibly displaced (Yazda & FYF, 2015 p.7). Regardless of shedding territorial energy over the group, ISIS nonetheless has affect over the survival of the group. By means of the usage of sexual violence, the terrorist organisation has efficiently managed to divide the group by instilling disgrace within the victims of sexual violence, and by inflicting extreme psychological well being points on the survivors of the battle (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.36). Many Yazidis reported that they don’t really feel protected anymore in Iraq and that they want to go away, even when it means leaving their sacred land (Kaya, 2019 p.16). That is attribute of the oblique affect that ISIS nonetheless workout routines on the non secular group as an aftermath of sexual violence in a group.

The evaluation of the Yazidi group has allowed us to attract concrete proof of the usage of sexual violence in Iraq by ISIS. It has highlighted that sexual violence was largely used as a method of terrorism, with a specific aim of the ethnic cleaning of spiritual and ethnic Iraqi minorities. Through the use of sexual violence as a strategy to management the social order of a group, the terrorist group was in a position to regulate each facet of their each day lives, starting from weddings to reproductive rights, impeding severely on the flexibility of the group to make sure the creation of a brand new era. Moreover, sexual violence on the Yazidis was additionally used as a deterrent technique for bigger navy teams such because the Kurdish forces that have been discouraged from defending the Yazidis due to the specter of experiencing the identical bodily punishments. By means of the systematisation of sexual slavery, ISIS dedicated acts of genocide, additional demonstrating that sexual violence will not be a aspect impact of the battle, however a key technique achieve its objectives. Sexual violence offers the belligerents technique of controlling the inhabitants in ways in which different weapons can not obtain as simply. ISIS integrated the usage of sexual violence in its hierarchy and beliefs, justifying its actions by the usage of sacred texts printed as official propaganda of the organisation (Yazda & FYF, 2015 p.6).

On a bigger scale, this examine has allowed us to check the implications of the usage of sexual violence by a terrorist organisation. The evaluation of a current battle affords us a up to date evaluation of the strategic use of sexual violence as a weapon of terror. We have now argued that sexual violence can’t be understood individually from the broader context of gender and minority discrimination that was already existent in Iraq (Kaya, 2019 p.19).  ISIS mirrored the actions of the state with the intention to create its personal respectable new Iraqi state by the institution of a Caliphate. Sexual violence on this context of terrorism is due to this fact a method that instantly serves the organisation as a strategy to obtain its aim of making a brand new state and controlling the inhabitants. So as to take action, sexual violence is used to ‘purify’ the inhabitants of undesirable minority teams and obtain the ideology of the terrorist group. Despite Koos’ (2017 p.1937) argument that it’s troublesome to qualify rape as a weapon of conflict due to the shortage of proof concerning its strategic use, this analysis has proven that sexual violence was in actual fact strategically deliberate within the case of ISIS in Iraq. The paperwork analysed on this paper account for the truth that sexual violence was a part of ISIS’ technique of terror in Iraq; proof which was utilized in proving that these crimes have been a part of a genocidal marketing campaign towards the Yazidis.

Going additional, this analysis might be remodeled right into a comparative examine of ISIS’s use of sexual violence with one other modern terrorist organisation, to evaluate whether or not the findings of this essay are a singular phenomenon. If learning the sexual violence dedicated by ISIS towards the Yazidis has highlighted the systematic use of sexual slavery and ethnic cleaning, it will be fascinating to check it to the opposite strategies utilized by terrorist teams in inside conflicts within the area to seek out out if it’s a widespread approach in different conflicts as effectively. One other strategy to pursue this examine can be by analysing the post-conflict interval in Iraq and the influence of sexual violence on the rebuilding of the state and its establishments, with a specific concentrate on the communities that have been most affected by the battle, resembling girls and/or minority teams.


To conclude, this essay has used the case examine of the Yazidi group to evaluate why the terrorist organisation ISIS used sexual violence within the inside battle that began in Iraq in 2014. This examine has proposed an summary of the talk on sexual violence by a literature assessment highlighting the totally different methods that might be outlined as causes for the usage of sexual violence in a battle. This essay utilized this theoretical strategy to a extra concrete instance of ISIS in Iraq. It exhibits that it was essential to watch sexual violence within the bigger context of state constructing and as a phenomenon that had foundations in deeply rooted gender stereotypes promulgated by the earlier governments and social order. Lastly, learning the case of the Yazidi group supplied proof on how terrorist teams can resort to sexual violence as a method of ethnic cleaning. We have now discovered that sexual violence was an necessary weapon to take into consideration when analysing the strategic goals of an organisation in a battle. This paper provides to present argument on why sexual violence is so recurrent in conflicts and why girls and minorities are notably focused.


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Ahram, A., (2019) Sexual Violence, Aggressive State Constructing, and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Journal of Intervention and State constructing, 13:2, 180-196, DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2018.1541577 

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