Event Reports - Syria/Iraq Office
Dialogue for Kurdish and Shia Decision-Makers in Iraq
KAS and MERI create multi-ethnic platform in Najaf
The Kurdish referendum for independence of September 2017 increased tensions between the Kurdish and Shiite populations of Iraq. As peace in Iraq depends on the ability of the country’s different social groups to cooperate, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office and the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) organized a two-day exchange between political and religious leaders of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and the Shiite religious center of Najaf. On February 28 and March 01, 2018, a Kurdish delegation travelled to Najaf to establish a dialogue to prevent future conflict.
Event Series on the Reform of the Iraqi Electoral System
KAS and IHEC highlight the relevance of the elections in Iraq
Iraq has lived through politically and economically turbulent times since its last parliamentary election in 2014. After the rise and fall of the Islamic State (ISIL), the displacement and flight of millions of Iraqis, and the impact of the fall of the oil prices on the Iraqi economy, about 12 million citizens are now asked to vote in the upcoming elections on May 12. The Syria/Iraq Office and the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) support this process in Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Basrah and Baghdad.
Militant Islamism and Jihadism after the End of the ‘Caliphate’
International conference on the future of the Islamic State and AL Qaeda
In 2017, the Islamic State was defeated militarily and lost its major strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The group and its extreme ideology, however, continue to destabilize great parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In fact, the Islamic State is currently undergoing a process of transformation – from a quasi-state actor and service provider to a terrorist group that operates from the underground and in provinces around the world. The same is true for Al Qaeda: While the Islamic State dominated the world’s attention, Al Qaeda has quietly regrouped and expanded its transnational network.
Establishment of an Iraqi National Center Against Hate Speech
KAS and Masarat hold interreligious and interethnic founding workshop
On March 15 and 16, the KAS Syria/Iraq office and Masarat for Cultural and Media Development (MCMD) held a two-day workshop in Beirut to establish and launch an Iraqi National Center Against Hate Speech. It brought together dedicated Iraqi journalists, religious clerics of different faiths and sects, civil society activists, bloggers, academics and social media activists, who signed a joint declaration to launch the Center for Countering Hate Speech in Iraq on March 16 in Beirut.
Tribalism and Jihadist Movements
KAS and IFI hold a workshop on relations of tribes to jihadist groups
Tribes are of crucial importance in the societies of the Middle East. They are a socio-political unit that is powerful in exerting control over communities, land and resources. It is for that reason that authorities have, for centuries, been keen on gaining the loyalties of tribes and integrating them into their own power structures. This remains true for states in the Middle East, but also for non-state actors such as jihadist groups. On March 12th 2018, KAS and the Issam Fares Institute held a closed-door workshop in Beirut to analyze the relationship between tribes and jihadist groups.
Challenges to the Socioeconomic Development and Stability in Iraq
Workshop on political economy and soecioeconomic development in Iraq
In recent years, Iraq has faced severe challenges on its path to political and economic consolidation. Most prominently, the Islamic State has devastated large parts of the country and drawn Iraq into a war that has resulted in millions of refugees, displaced persons and destroyed economies. On March 7th and 8th, 2018 the KAS Syria/Iraq office, the Atlantic Council and Al-Nahrain Center held a workshop in Baghdad to discuss the political economy and socioeconomic development in Iraq.
Decision-makers from Baghdad visit Berlin
Iraqi delegation discusses the future of German engagement in Iraq
In December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi officially declared the military defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq. Nevertheless, the organization continues to threaten the stability of the country with terror attacks. The mandate of the German army training mission in Erbil will expire in late April 2018. From 27 February to 2 March, an Iraqi delegation visited Berlin on invitation of KAS and discussed the future of the German support for the country. Moreover, the talks focused on the looming conflict between Baghdad and Erbil and the upcoming general elections in Iraq.
KAS and IRIS Hold Second Iraq Leadership Fellows Training
Second advocacy training for young Iraqi leaders held in Sulaymaniyah
In cooperation with the Institute for Regional and International Studies at the American University of Sulaymaniyah, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office held the second training of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program for actors of media, politics and civil society from various regions of Iraq, including Kurdistan. Participants of the 2017-2018 cohort received their first advocacy training in Beirut in October 2017. The second training was conducted between March 5 and March 7 in Sulaymaniyah, and centered on advanced advocacy tools, strategy formulation, as well as on mobilization narratives.
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