To stabilize Iraq following ISIS’ rule, and to prevent new violence that religious extremists can exploit, the broad inclusion of minority groups will be vital. Nowhere in Iraq is that imperative more essential or complex than around Mosul, with its communities of Christians, Yazidis, Turkoman, Shabak, and other groups. ISIS’ atrocities—including genocide and the sexual enslavement of women—destroyed local communities and traumatized victims from all groups. On August 1, USIP held an examination of the work required to protect and include minorities, and the roles that can be played by Iraq’s national government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the United States.

Three years after ISIS shocked the world with its genocidal assault of the Yazidi community at Mount Sinjar, many minority communities of the Nineveh Plain remain displaced and fearful for their safety. Protecting minorities is not only a democratic value, it is a practical step to stabilizing conflict zones and reducing the dangerous, global burden of uprooted and refugee populations. U.S. policy on Iraq has emphasized “the need for full inclusion of religious minorities and protection of their rights.” USIP and the Kurdistan Regional Government gathered a panel from disparate sides of this problem to discuss how to help Iraq’s minority groups rebuild their communities and contribute to a more secure Iraq.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #IraqMinorities.

Speakers

Ambassador William Taylor (ret.), Opening Remarks
Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Fareed Yasseen, Remarks
Ambassador to the United States, Republic of Iraq

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Remarks
Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States

Vian Dakhil
Member, Council of Representatives, Republic of Iraq

Knox Thames
Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia, U.S. Department of State

William Warda
Chairman, Board of Directors, Alliance of Iraqi Minorities

Sarhang Hamasaeed
Director, Middle East Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Naomi Kikoler, Moderator
Deputy Director, Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Related Publications

After the Soleimani Strike, What’s Next for Iraq and the Region?

After the Soleimani Strike, What’s Next for Iraq and the Region?

Monday, January 6, 2020

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Sarhang Hamasaeed

With tensions between Iran and the U.S. already simmering, the January 3 U.S. airstrike that killed powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani is sure to have ripple effects across the region. Maj. Gen. Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, coordinated Iran’s military operations and proxies across the Middle East.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Escape from ISIS: One Family’s Story

Escape from ISIS: One Family’s Story

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

By: Fred Strasser

The horrific story of ISIS’s bid to wipe out Iraq’s Yazidi minority is fairly well known in the United States. At least in broad terms, Americans who pay attention to such things understand that the terrorist group’s fanatical gunmen rolled in on a defenseless people, butchered men and boys by the thousands and hauled away young women into sexual slavery in a genocidal plan.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights; Violent Extremism

View All Publications