(Updated August 4, 2008) While the rebuilding of Iraq remains very much a work in progress, there are genuine signs of improvement as violence has lessened and life slowly returns to normal for Iraqi citizens. The American troop surge initiative appears to have worked as insurgent activity has sharply declined over the past six to eight months. This picture of a gradual calming of the conflict is largely borne out by Sun dasha in the 1932 Iraq chart. When I made the observation in January 2007 (see below) that the coming of the Sun dasha would bring eventual improvement, I noted that natal condition of the Sun in the Iraq national chart was quite good and largely free of affliction. This strongly indicated that there was reason for hope in Iraq.
At the same time, I noticed that the new 2004 Iraq chart was not favourable and that amelioration would be slower. This raises the larger question of which chart one should consult when anticipating events for a particular jurisdiction. Generally, I like to refer to several charts as a way to triangulate the prediction and take into account different ways of looking the matter. In the case of the new 2004 Iraqi Constitution chart, the recent improvement in the security situation is harder to explain in terms of dasha lords. At the implementation of the surge, the chart was running Sun subperiod. The Sun is closely aspected by disruptive Ketu and its dispositor Mercury is conjunct malefic Saturn. This is not a picture one would expect in a situation that was progressing towards greater order and peace. Of course, the absence of a Mars influence on the Sun might perhaps be seen as reflecting the diminishing of violence. In any event, it's clear that the 1932 chart has described the unfolding of this situation fairly well and should be treated as the default horoscope for Iraq.
While the surge has been successful, most observers are quick to note that the recent gains are very fragile. So what does the future hold for Iraq? The 1932 Iraq chart is currently running Sun-Mars dasha and will soon move on to Sun-Rahu later in August. In the natal chart, Rahu is placed in the 9th house of foreign matters and is aspected by Jupiter and Mars. Its dispositor Saturn is aspected by Mars and Pluto. This is a mixed picture at best, and given the 9th house placement, strongly leads me to think that Iraq's concerns will soon shift to beyond its borders as the domestic situation becomes normalized. With all the Western opposition to Iran's nuclear program and the increasing cross-border influence of Iran on Basra in the south, I think Iran will become a primary focus for Iraq starting in early 2009. In January-March 2009, transiting Ketu will conjoin the natal Mars creating situations where violence errupts suddenly. This looks like a very serious juncture for Iraq. I would expect the outline of conflict to begin to be visible as early as November when transiting Saturn aspects the subperiod lord Rahu.
(Posted January 24, 2007) The December execution of Saddam Hussein marks a turning point in the history of Iraq. And yet it is unlikely to change the downward spiral of sectarian violence and civil war in the foreseeable future. The new horoscope of Iraq (June 28 2004 10.26 am) is a nightmare of affliction. There's no way any sane astrologer had a hand in picking the time for the signing on the new constitution. So that pretty much limits the improvements one can expect in this war-ravaged country.
This is a heavily-afflicted natal chart with the 12th lord of loss Moon tightly conjunct malefic Ketu/SN. The 4th house of peace and contentment is disturbed by the presence of Pluto near the IC and 4th lord Mars debilitated in the 12th house of misery and hidden enemies. This chart is currently (March) experiencing a nodal transit to its 1-7 axis and speaks to the ever-deteriorating situation there. It is as if the country is being torn or better, split apart by the different religious factions. The US is doing all it can to simply guarantee safety within Baghdad itself.
Iraq became independent on October 3, 1932 at midnight. This horoscope is still relevant to the situation there now and it suggests that the troubles may be peaking. Transit Saturn stations and squares the natal Moon in Libra in April. This points to further unhappiness and strife among the people of Iraq. Closely following that, Ketu conjoins natal Jupiter which can often mean disputes in government. The good news is that the Sun dasha begins in July. The Sun is fairly well placed in this chart and may finally bring some improvement to the country in the longer term. This will take time however and it seems certain the the violence will continue for the balance of the year.