On September 18, 2014, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted two distinguished Kurdish leaders for a discussion about the next steps in Iraq’s political process, how to confront the ISIL and what role the United States and other regional and international actors might play.

Iraq-Turmoil

International attention on Iraq has heightened since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS, under an alternative acronym) terrorist group seized control of large parts of northern and western Iraq, establishing a caliphate, displacing some 1.7 million people and brutally killing hundreds more.

U.S. airstrikes enabled the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Forces to push back on the ISIL and regain some of the areas lost to the militant group over the past few months. But further support from the U.S. is contingent upon the establishment of an inclusive Iraqi government to take the lead in countering the terrorist group and addressing underlying political, security, economic and social dynamics that allowed for ISIL advances.

Under significant internal and external pressure, Iraqi leaders have formed a new government that includes Shia, Sunnis and Kurds. While a new government and recent successes against ISIL are welcome developments, key challenges lie ahead, and questions about sustaining progress remain. In particular, the Kurds have given Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi three months to meet their demands on the national budget, oil and gas issues, and disputed territories. The Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq also are struggling with high levels of internal displacement, which have brought tremendous human suffering, strains on host communities, and fears of social tensions that could prompt new violence and, as a result, lasting demographic changes. And then there’s the question of how greatly Sunnis are willing to cooperate in the new central government and whether they will support the fight against ISIL.

On September 18, 2014, the U.S. Institute of Peace addressed the next steps in Iraq’s political process, how to confront the ISIL and what role the United States and other regional and international actors might play two distinguished Kurdish leaders.

Speakers

Ambassador William B. Taylor, Opening Remarks & Moderator
Acting Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Dr. Fuad Hussein
Chief of Staff to the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani

Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir
The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations

Related Publications

Iraq’s Protests Show the Fragility that Gave Rise to ISIS Remains

Iraq’s Protests Show the Fragility that Gave Rise to ISIS Remains

Thursday, July 19, 2018

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqis in southern provinces of the country took to the streets to demand action over the lack of basic services and jobs. The protests began in the oil-rich Basra province, where people struggle with lack of clean water and electricity—amid temperatures exceeding 120 degrees—and economic injustice, among other challenges.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility & Resilience

USIP-Commissioned Research Among Iraqi Minority Communities

USIP-Commissioned Research Among Iraqi Minority Communities

Friday, June 29, 2018

USIP has produced five studies of minorities’ perceptions on reconciliation in the Nineveh province, including, Christian, Eyzidi (Yazidi), Sabean-Mandaean, Shabak and Turkomen communities. These assessments provide insights into conflict drivers and demands of these communities and include key findings, which have been shared with international and national stakeholders including the U.S. Government and the Government of Iraq.

Religion

Iraq’s Election Leaves Iran’s Influence Intact

Iraq’s Election Leaves Iran’s Influence Intact

Thursday, May 31, 2018

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

As Iraq shapes a government from its May 12 election, the indecisive electoral outcome again will leave Iran in a position to affect both the choice of a prime minister, and the tenor of the underlying administration. How Iran wields that influence is likely to depend on how well the European Union is able to defend the Iran nuclear accord following the United States’ withdrawal.

Democracy & Governance

Sarhang Hamasaeed on Iraq’s Elections

Sarhang Hamasaeed on Iraq’s Elections

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

By:

Following the surprise win by controversial Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Sairoon coalition in Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary elections, a new coalition government has yet to form. USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed analyzes what led to al-Sadr’s victory, low voter turnout at the polls, the state of the political process in Iraq, and Iraqis’ expectations for meaningful reform from the next government.

Democracy & Governance

View All Publications