Iraq has been ravaged by cycles of warfare, a massive refugee crisis, crippling sectarianism, and the violent spread of the self-styled Islamic State. As the U.S. military helps roll back ISIS, stabilization will require Iraqis to mediate and resolve the complex communal conflicts that long have weakened their state. Since 2003 the U.S. Institute of Peace has provided financial and technical assistance to civic groups and government institutions involved in peacebuilding efforts. Current initiatives include local reconciliation in ISIS-liberated areas, support for Iraqi minorities, helping facilitate police-community dialogues, and informing policy discussions.

Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Iraq.

Featured   Publications

Al-Hol: Displacement Crisis is a Tinderbox that Could Ignite ISIS 2.0

Al-Hol: Displacement Crisis is a Tinderbox that Could Ignite ISIS 2.0

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

By: Mona Yacoubian

More than three years after ISIS’s territorial defeat, the vexing challenge of displacement threatens to provoke the rise of ISIS 2.0 if not adequately addressed. The May 11 Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial meeting in Marrakech, Morocco highlights these concerns over the evolving threat the so-called Islamic State still poses. The Marrakech meeting coincides with both growing disquiet at deteriorating humanitarian and security conditions in the al-Hol displacement camp in northeast Syria — ground zero for the ISIS-related displacement crisis — and some hope for a path forward.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsViolent Extremism

A New Test for Iraq’s Democracy and Stability

A New Test for Iraq’s Democracy and Stability

Monday, March 7, 2022

By: Knox Thames;  Sarhang Hamasaeed

The sudden crisis around Russia threatens democratic norms and energy markets worldwide, only heightening the urgency of stabilizing Iraq, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer. Yet five months after Iraq’s elections, held in response to massive protests against ineffective governance, political factions remain dangerously deadlocked in efforts to form a new government. Shaping a more stable, peaceful Iraq—and responding to the 2019-2020 grassroots demands for democratic, accountable governance—will require a fuller inclusion of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities. Yet the prospects remain unclear. Iraq’s minority communities are watching carefully, as their future depends on it. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Iraq’s Election Raises More Questions Than Answers

Iraq’s Election Raises More Questions Than Answers

Thursday, October 21, 2021

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric whose Mahdi Army followers battled U.S. forces during the years of the occupation, made big gains in Iraq’s parliamentary election on October 10. His victory could pose problems for the United States and Iran. But despite the Sadrist List’s electoral success, it is not a given that al-Sadr will be the next man to lead Iraq, or even be the only kingmaker. USIP’s Elie Abouaoun examines the outcome of the election, the electoral process and the implications for Iraq’s future.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

View All

Current   Projects

مرصد النزاع وإعادة الاستقرار

مرصد النزاع وإعادة الاستقرار

إن مرصد النزاع وإعادة الاستقرار (CSMF )، يشار إليه لاحقاً "المرصد"، هو أداة لجمع البيانات جرى تكييفها لتلائم السياق العراقي وهي مستمدّة من إطار معهد الولايات المتحدة للسلام لقياس مدى التقدّم المحرز في بيئات النزاع. يقوم هذا المرصد بجمع البيانات مباشرة من المجتمعات المحلية المتضررة من النزاع في العراق باستخدام مجموعة من 92 مؤشراً مرتبطة بخمسة مواضيع أساسية وتحقيق الاستقرار وهي الحوكمة؛ والمصالحة والعدالة؛ والتماسك الاجتماعي والرفاه؛ وسيادة القانون؛ والسلامة والأمن. ولقد تم إجراء جلسات التحقق مع أعضاء المجتمع باستخدام بيانات من الجولة الرابعة، وتم استكمال البيانات من الجولتين الرابعة والخامسة بمقابلات المخبرين الرئيسيين مع صانعي القرار المحليين. ويؤسّس هذا المرصد قاعدة أدلة قوية لبناء السلام في العراق باستخدام بيانات نظامية وطولية عبر فترات زمنية مختلفة. وتُوفّر هذه البيانات رؤى دقيقة يمكن أن تسترشد بها الجهود المبذولة للتخفيف من حدّة النّزاع العنيف وفي بعض الأحيان تسائل الافتراضات الشائعة بشأن العوائق التي تحول دون تحقيق السلام.

Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework

Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework

The Conflict and Stabilization Monitoring Framework (CSMF) is a data collection tool adapted to the Iraq context from USIP’s Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments framework. CSMF collects data directly from Iraq’s conflict-affected communities using a set of 48 indicators tied to four core conflict and stabilization dynamics: community security, rule of law, governance, and livelihoods. The CSMF was created to establish a robust evidence base for peacebuilding in Iraq using systemic, longitudinal data.

Religious Landscape Mapping in Conflict-Affected States

Religious Landscape Mapping in Conflict-Affected States

Diplomats and peace practitioners often cite lack of familiarity with the religious landscape as a barrier to their engagement of religious actors. In 2013, USIP launched an initiative to address this need by developing a methodology for systematically mapping and assessing the religious sector’s influence on conflict and peace dynamics in discrete conflict settings. These mappings, which have been done or are underway in Libya, South Sudan, Iraq and Burma, help illuminate recommendations for effective partnerships within the religious sector for peacebuilding.

ReligionConflict Analysis & PreventionDemocracy & Governance

View All