After eight months of fighting for Mosul, Iraqi troops are closing in on the last of ISIS’s forces in the city. The government’s recovery of the main ISIS stronghold in Iraq will open a new phase in the country’s struggle for stability. Iraq must resolve longstanding domestic conflicts that contributed to ISIS’ rise in the first place and avert new cycles of vengeance arising from the terrorists’ brutal, three-year reign in Iraq’s northwest.

Stabilizing Iraq is vital to sustaining the gains of the campaign against ISIS. It has grown more urgent as the involvement of Iran and Turkey risk internationalizing and escalating some of Iraq’s domestic conflicts. These violent, destabilizing contests involve Kurds and Arabs, Sunnis and Shia, or multiple minority groups.

Largely unnoticed amid recent years’ headlines is that Iraqis in several cases have peacefully ended or averted local, factional wars. The most enduring local peace accord is marking its 10th anniversary this summer. In 2007, troops of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division worked with local Iraqis, the U.S. Institute of Peace and other partners in Iraq’s “Triangle of Death” to end local sectarian warfare that had led to the deaths of dozens of U.S. soldiers. The Mahmoudiya agreement offered lessons that were applied subsequently in other local peace accords. As Iraq enters a new phase, expanding similar stabilization efforts, particularly in liberated areas, is critical to sustaining the defeat of ISIS and to bolstering the security of Iraq and the region.

Agenda

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Keynote Speaker

Stephen J. Hadley
Chairman, Board of Directors, United States Institute of Peace

Nancy Lindborg 
President, United States Institute of Peace

James Phillips 
Senior Research Fellow, Middle Eastern Affairs, The Heritage Foundation

Sarhang Hamasaeed 
Director, Middle East Programs, USIP

Col. Michael Kershaw
Former Commander of the U.S. Army forces at Mahmoudiya, Iraq

Hosted By:

James Carafano
Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Related Publications

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

Friday, February 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Susan Stigant; Aly Verjee

This week, a new proposal for a power sharing government was tabled at the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) peace talks for South Sudan. An earlier, 2015 peace deal also contained a formula for power sharing; that arrangement failed and the civil war re-ignited a year later. Power sharing arrangements are appropriate if certain conditions are met, but not enough has been done to ensure the latest proposal will overcome the obstacles present in South Sudan, according to Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs and Aly Verjee, a visiting expert at USIP and a former senior advisor to the IGAD mediation, who comment on the proposal and suggest how it could be improved.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Help Iraqis Reconcile

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Help Iraqis Reconcile

Sunday, February 11, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Nancy Lindborg; Sarhang Hamasaeed

An international conference opens in Kuwait Monday to plan ways to rebuild Iraq and secure it against renewed extremist violence following the three-year war against ISIS. A USIP team just spent nine days in Iraq for talks with government and civil society leaders, part of the Institute’s years-long effort to help the country stabilize. The Kuwait conference will gather government, business and civil society leaders to consider a reconstruction that Iraq has said could cost $100 billion. USIP’s president, Nancy Lindborg, and Middle East program director, Sarhang Hamasaeed, say any realistic rebuilding plan must focus also on the divisions and grievances in Iraq that led to ISIS’ violence and that still exist.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism

Kurdistan and Baghdad: A Tangled Web Over Oil and Budgets

Kurdistan and Baghdad: A Tangled Web Over Oil and Budgets

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

By: Andrew Snow

The economy of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region is on the brink of collapse; only the central government in Baghdad can stop an economic free fall that’s already damaging the broader Iraqi economy. While a rapid, negotiated solution to this crisis is essential to stabilize and unify Iraq—and reassure investors needed for post-ISIS reconstruction—a host of complex issues over oil and the national budget stand in the way.

Economics & Environment

View All Publications