The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has played a key role in promoting peaceful governance through collaborative civic engagement in Iraq since 2003. USIP’s core mission is to strengthen local capacities to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts peacefully by assisting Iraqis to develop the tools and institutions necessary to peacefully resolve disputes. We work across the community, provincial and national levels, and above all seek to provide Iraqis with the tools to act as citizens and peace builders. Our Iraqi partners in government and civil society have facilitated dialogue with multiple stakeholders across the country that address the roots of the conflict and propose concrete solutions.

Ending Wars to Build Peace

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 08:30
Mon, 07/14/2014 - 12:45
Conflict Termination Workshop

Designing a conflict termination strategy is an essential but often overlooked component of warfighting. Improperly planned or incorrectly implemented, a failure to effectively terminate a conflict will leave open the original issues that brought on the war and likely create the conditions for future conflict.


The famous British military theorist, B.H. Liddell-Hart, observed after World War I that the logical conclusion of any war is peace.  In his 1976 commentary to Clausewitz's On War Bernard Brodie wrote "… war in all its phases must be rationally guided by meaningful political purposes."  In the last century the United States has fought many wars and not one has resulted in its intended outcome or the establishment of a peaceful world order, but in reality has left us to deal with many unintended consequences.

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Consolidating Democratic Gains or Cementing Sectarian Divides?

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:30
Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:30
Prospects for Iraq’s April 30 Elections

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) are pleased to present a panel of experts to share their perspectives on Iraq’s rapidly approaching April 30 national elections, which will take place against a backdrop of sharpening sectarian divisions and an increasingly precarious security environment.


Later this month, Iraqis will go to the polls to elect new members of the Council of Representatives, the country’s legislative body, as well as members of provincial assemblies in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Preparations for the April 30 elections have been turbulent to date, with looming questions regarding the ability of displaced Iraqis to participate in the polls; the controversial disqualification of certain candidates; and the now-rescinded resignation of the commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission, the body charged with organizing the polls.

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Governance and Stability in Iraq

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 14:00
Tue, 01/14/2014 - 17:00
Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq and Discussions with Members of the Council of Representatives

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the National Defense University (NDU), and the Iraqi American Community Center (IAC) hosted H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, and members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for public remarks and a discussion on governance, services, transition, and peace and stability in Iraq.

Despite regional geopolitical tensions from Syria, high levels of violence, and political differences, Iraq has braved its external and internal obstacles to remain on course to hold its national elections scheduled for April 2014. Regardless of the outcome of the elections, the relationship between the federal, regional, and provincial levels and devolution of powers will remain at the core of Iraq’s politics, and with significant implications for governance, services, security, and overall peace and stability in the country.

The schedule of events was as follows:

2:00pm to 3:15pm | Remarks by H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

  • William B. Taylor, Opening Remarks
    Vice President for Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Keynote Remarks
    Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
  • Q&A Discussion

3:15pm to 3:30pm | Intermission

3:30pm to 5:00pm |Town Hall Discussion with Iraqi Members of Council of Representatives

  • Sarhang Hamasaeed, Moderator
    Senior Program Officer for the Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ezzat al-Shebander
    Member of Council of Representatives
  • Nada al-Juburi
    Member of Council of Representatives

This event was hosted jointly by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the National Defense University, and the Iraqi American Community Center.

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Iraq’s Transition: Remarks by Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Noori al-Maliki

Thu, 10/31/2013 - 10:00
Thu, 10/31/2013 - 11:15

The United States Institute of Peace will host Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Noori al-Maliki for public remarks and a discussion on U.S.-Iraq relations, and the current challenges facing Iraq and the region.

Jim Marshall, Opening Remarks and Moderator
President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Amb. Beth Jones, Introductory Remarks
Acting Assistant Secretary of State – Near Eastern Affairs

H.E. Noori al-Maliki, Keynote Remarks
Prime Minister of Republic of Iraq

Moderated discussion

Iraq has made significant progress since the last of U.S. troops left the country in December 2011, but continues to face serious challenges. Iraq’s economy became stronger, provincial and regional elections were organized, and the country has made steady steps toward regaining its regional and international stature. At the same time, the country is struggling with high levels of violence and other spillover effects from Syria, as it tries to hold national elections in 2014 and find a workable common vision of governance.

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Amidst Iraq’s Turmoil: What Can We Do?

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 14:00
Mon, 05/06/2013 - 15:30

How are Iraqis coping with the current crisis, and how can they be better engaged by the international community?  What policy levers do the U.S. or other international actors have to help promote stability?  What lessons can be applied across the increasingly porous and insecure boundaries of the Middle East?

For well over a year, Iraq’s political, security, economic, and social well-being continues to be shaken by internal and external events that have implications for stability in the country and the region. Despite gains, recent events on the ground have taken a swift turn. Internal displacement, the rise of armed groups, and recourse to violence present serious challenges in maintaining peace and sustained development within the country.

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Lessons Learned from Iraq and How They Apply to North Africa

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 10:00
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 12:00

The event highlighted the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) experience in Iraq and examined the major problems it discovered, such as America’s “ad hoc” approach, the effectiveness of oversight, funding challenges, and the larger issue of nation-building. Experts explored how lessons learned from Iraq could be applied to other American-led efforts, such as those associated with emerging democracies.


Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen on March 6 released SIGIR’s final report for Congress, “Learning From Iraq,” which details the accomplishments of the U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The report provides an “instructive picture of what was the largest stabilization and reconstruction operation ever undertaken by the United States (until recently overtaken by Afghanistan)."  Additionally, the report outlines seven lessons that the U.S. should implement to improve its approach to future stabilization and reconstruction operations.

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Jonathan M. Crock

Program Officer, Rule of Law Center

Please submit all media inquiries to or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

Languages: French, Russian, Polish and basic Arabic

Jonathan Crock is a program officer in the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Center for Governance, Law and Society. He works on the Justice and Security Dialogue, governance, constitution making and national dialogue programs for the Rule of Law Center.

Madalyn "Sophie" Gainey

Military Fellow

Please submit all media inquiries to or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

Colonel Madalyn S. Gainey was commissioned in July 1992 as a Quartermaster Officer at James Madison University. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Computer Information Systems, and a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources Management from Webster University. Her military education includes the Public Affairs Officers Course, Command and General Staff College, Combined Logistics Officer's Advanced Course and the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course.

Iraqi Youth in TV Reality Show Support Each Other Amid Crisis

More than 150 Iraqi youths from 16 of Iraq’s 18 provinces participated directly in Salam Shabab, Arabic for “Peace Youth,” since it first began recording in 2009 to promote peaceful approaches to conflict resolution. The show was intended to educate and strengthen Iraq’s next generation, young people who often feel alienated and disillusioned with their leaders and governing institutions and are searching for ways to contribute constructively.

Citizens Mobilize to Improve Services in Iraqi Province

In the summer of 2012, tensions rose between citizens and local authorities in Al-Muthanna Province, a largely tribal and conservative governorate in southwest Iraq. Frequent disputes over poor public services and funding for development projects, as well as corruption allegations, had stalled important initiatives such as a water-and-sewer upgrade and an effort to clear roads of trash. Similar frustrations had led to clashes, deaths and burning of government buildings in neighboring Wasit and Basra provinces.

Similarly, in Al-Muthanna Province, officials lacked an effective method to address citizens’ grievances, and exasperated residents began threatening elected provincial and appointed district council members with violence. So a local non-governmental organization (NGO) sought to prevent the tensions from escalating into violence, and intervened to mediate the conflict.

Raya Barazanji
Tue, 09/23/2014 - 12:32

Articles & Analysis

October 15, 2014

As the militant group calling itself the “Islamic State” killed and rampaged across northern Iraq in recent months, a former street artist from the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City began to notice something on Facebook: messages of peace and religious tolerance, cartoons courageously mocking extremism and photos of aid deliveries for people driven from their homes by the violence. The missives were posted by his former colleagues in the USIP-supported “Salam Shabab” television reality show.

Our Work in the Field

The heavy rains that flooded several Iraqi provinces in the past two weeks triggered widespread public criticism, including some demonstrations. It was a reminder that, especially as the country struggles with high levels of violence, frustration...

The Polish government makes use of USIP training to help key figures from Afghanistan and Tunisia lead their own countries’ transitions.

Susan Hayward, senior program officer for the Religion and Peacemaking Center of Innovation, discusses USIP’s 5-day workshop, which focused on religious violence, inter-communal pluralism, and processes of problem-solving, sought to elicit...

USIP staffer Sarhang Hamasaeed on March 27 provided the following update on the Arab Summit underway in Baghdad, Iraq.

Learn More


In the summer of 2012, tensions rose between citizens and local authorities in Al-Muthanna Province, a largely tribal and conservative governorate in southwest Iraq. Frequent disputes over poor...
Restoring unity in Iraq in the wake of the devastating sweep of militant terror across the country’s north will depend on achieving enough separation among Kurds, Shia and Sunnis to re-establish a...