Promoting Freedom of Religion and Belief in Iraq


With its mosaic of more than 18 religious and ethnic minorities, Iraq is unique in the Middle East. However, many of these minorities only enjoy no or only limited own rights, some are restricted in performing their rituals and traditions. In November 2016, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office and its partner Masarat conducted a series of workshops in Bagdad, Basra and Sulaymaniyah aiming at drafting a bill on freedom of religion and belief in Iraq.

Hezbollah's Involvement in the Syrian Civil War

KAS and MdF publish policy paper on the effects of the involvment on the organisation

Currently, Hezbollah is supporting the Syrian regime with up to 10,000 fighters, and, over the past years, has evolved from a local to a regional player and a key Assad ally. However, in his guest contribution published by KAS and Maison du Futur in November 2016, Bilal Saab of the Atlantic Council argues that Hezbollah is facing an identity crisis, and while the involvement in the Syrian war provided the group with military training and new tactical skills, there have also been disadvantages such as a loss of support from both the Sunni Arab world and some of its Shiite supporters in Lebanon.

Women’s Access to Justice in Iraq


The Iraqi society, and with it, Iraq’s administrative and legal systems, are still largely dominated by men. Therefore, vulnerable and marginalized women often face challenges when trying to access justice and find their way through the administrative system. In September and October 2016, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office and the Democratic House Organization organized a series of workshops in Baghdad and Karbala to train women on their rights and on how to access them.

Furthering the Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

KAS and HKU hold workshop series for Syrien refugees in Gaziantep

Some of the main obstacles to refugee integration into a host community are often caused by a lack of information on the workings of the host society and its government. A project funded by the KAS Syria/Iraq office and implemented by the Hasan Kalyoncu University in Gaziantep from June to October 2016 aimed to counter this problem and to contribute to the integration of the Syrian refugee community in Turkey into the country’s social, economic, cultural and legal systems.

The Paradox of Refugee Policies in the Middle East

KAS/Nahrain policy paper on the legal status of refugees in the Arab world

Currently, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq are among the countries that host the largest refugee populations in the world. However, Egypt and Yemen are the only Arab states that have signed the Geneva Convention of 1951 on the status of refugees. In her guest contribution published in November 2016 by KAS and the Al-Nahrain Center in Baghdad, Laura el Chemali looks at this paradox by comparing the legal status of refugees in different countries of the Arab region, and the consequences that this status – or the lack thereof – entails for their daily lives.

Preserving a History of Diversity in Times of Conflict

KAS and Sharq collect oral histories of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

As the concern for the basic needs dominates the life of the millions of Syrian refugees that have left Syria since the beginning of the war, the preservation of identity, traditions and history are often overlooked when survival and finding safety become a priority. A project funded by the KAS Syria/Iraq office and implemented by Sharq for Citizen Development aims to gather, collect, present and thus preserve the stories of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The project started in January 2016 and its results will be presented at the beginning of 2017.

US Foreign Policy in the Middle East after Trump's Election


Donald Trump's election as the new US President could fundamentally alter US foreign policy in the Middle East. In a policy paper published in October 2016 by the KAS Syria/Iraq Office and Maison du Futur, Charles Dunne of the Middle East Institute argues that the future policies of President Trump towards the region are still alarmingly unclear, but might have devastating consequences for the countries like Syria and Iraq.

Sinjar, Two Years after the Catastrophe


Two years after the massacres committed by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against the Yezidis, the situation in their home region of Sinjar has not improved significantly.

KAS and Iraqi al-Nahrain Center in Baghdad deepen partnership

Increased cooperation on research, conferences and publications

The KAS Syria/Iraq office and the prestigious al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies, an Iraqi think tank affiliated with the National Security Council, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen their partnership. The MoU includes a commitment to frequent cooperation on research, conferences and publications.

Fighting the Symptoms: Why there is a long way to defeat the so-called IS

Article by the Syria/Iraq office on the fight against the Islamic State

The so-called Islamic State (IS) has come under pressure on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. However, the offensives for the reconquest of IS strongholds have proven difficult. Instead, IS has been able to establish itself in various countries in the region and the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe remains high. The international community is fighting the symptoms of IS. Meanwhile, the reasons and causes of the rapid rise to power of the terrorist organisation persist.