Will Iraq’s current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defy efforts to replace him? Will it break apart into several separate states? Should its neighbors do more to challenge the militants rampaging across the border with Syria? And are we giving this group legitimacy by acceeding every time their leaders change the organization's name -- "Islamic State" or their earlier moniker, "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"?

20140812_USIPIraq_Chat.jpg
USIP Iraq experts answering questions on Twitter on August 12, 2014.

Experts from the Iraq program at the U.S. Institute of Peace tackled these and other questions in a chat on Twitter on August 12. Manal OmarElie Abouaoun, Sarhang Hamasaeed, Raya Barazanji, and Khitam Al-Khayhanee connected with people around the world using the hashtag #USIPIraq.

Government in Transition

NPR’s Deborah Amos asked whether it is important that both the United States and Iran pressure al-Maliki to step down, saying that “Maliki still seems up for a fight.” Manal Omar responded that his peaceful transition is so important that the U.S. should leverage any relations it has to encourage him to step down without violence.

A Fractured Iraq?

Emily Bennington posed a question on the minds of leaders around the world: 

USIP’s Raya Barazanji and Manal Omar both replied that Iraq’s constitution may help keep the country together.

Joel Wing, author of the Musings on Iraq blog, also chimed in:

Find the full conversation here.

Regional Response

Lara Jakes, a writer for the Associated Press, asked why Iraq’s neighbors have not responded more directly to counter the Islamic State.

Responses to her question varied, with USIP’s Elie Abouaoun replying that some powers are trying to use the Islamic State to further their own agendas and NPR’s Amos noting that many are hedging to see what happens after Maliki’s departure.

IS vs. ISIS?

The militant group calling itself the Islamic State has expressed its intention to create a new caliphate stretching across the Middle East, beginning in Syria and Iraq. USIP staffer Nathaniel Wilson wondered whether referring to the group by their preferred name confers a sort of undue legitimacy, sparking a long exchange that began with Sarhang Hamasaeed’s response.

Other interesting questions included:

To see all of the conversations, check out the entire #USIPIraq archive.

Related Publications

Iraq Mission Not Over for U.S., Senator Ernst Says

Iraq Mission Not Over for U.S., Senator Ernst Says

Monday, July 30, 2018

By: Fred Strasser

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst said that despite Americans’ weariness with U.S. involvement in Iraq, concerns about terrorism and regional stability make a continuing military commitment in the country a necessity. “Our first and our highest priority must be to ensure that the Iraqi government has the equipment and the training to conduct sustained and resilient counterterrorism operations,” Ernst said at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Global Policy

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

View All Publications