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

A Year After Elections, Iraq May Finally Be Set to Form a Government

A Year After Elections, Iraq May Finally Be Set to Form a Government

Thursday, October 20, 2022

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Iraq hit two anniversaries this month. Three years ago in October, Iraqis rose up to protest the failure of the Iraqi government and political class in delivering basic services, providing jobs, fighting corruption and more. One of the outcomes of those protests was early elections, which were held on October 10, 2021, but have yet to yield a government. The last year witnessed crippling political gridlock, as the winner of the 2021 national parliamentary elections, Moqtada al-Sadr, eventually withdrew from the political process after failing to form a government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Sarhang Hamasaeed on Iraq’s Deepening Political Stalemate

Sarhang Hamasaeed on Iraq’s Deepening Political Stalemate

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

After recent episodes of violence, Iraq’s political stalemate continues. “Bottom line … this is a fight over power” and differing views on foreign influence, says USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed. “The Iraqi people are actually fighting for democracy. It is just the political class … that makes that a longer fight.”

Type: Podcast

What’s Behind Moqtada al-Sadr’s Bid to Shake up Iraq’s Politics?

What’s Behind Moqtada al-Sadr’s Bid to Shake up Iraq’s Politics?

Thursday, August 4, 2022

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Over the weekend, followers of the powerful Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed and occupied Iraq’s parliament in protest over a rival bloc attempting to form a government. The move comes less than two months after al-Sadr’s bloc in parliament resigned after its failure to form a majoritarian government following its victory in the October 2021 elections. Nearly 10 months after those elections, there is still no new government and the stability of the country is at stake as this showdown between al-Sadr’s supporters and his political rivals continues to play out.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

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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

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