Iraq between Frontlines

Caught in between international influences while still fighting against the Islamic State, Baghdad wants to take a step forward towards more stability and economic revival.

Expert conference

Global Policies on Countering Extremism: Lessons Learned from Syria and Iraq

3 September 2019 - Radisson Blu Hotel - Beirut
The persistent threat of terror attacks in the United States, Europe and other countries by ideologically driven movements has triggered major responses from the international community to fight extremism and terrorism. However, the global community is far from having eradicated radical terrorist organizations. The Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, in cooperation with Maison du Futur and the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies hosted a conference with the aim of drawing lessons learned from the fight against terrorism and radicalization.


Iraq Policy Group (IPG) – Core Group Workshop

August 6 - 7, 2019 - Smallville Hotel - Beirut
The Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) initiates the Iraq Policy Group (IPG) in cooperation with Al-Nahrain University of Baghdad and with the support of international academics. The IPG brings together regional and international experts involved in public administration, good governance, decentralization, economic development and security sector reform. The first meeting of the IPG will take place in Beirut on the 6th and 7th of August 2019. The members will come together on a regular basis to meet with representatives of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) and the Iraqi government for intensive consultations. Along the current decentralization efforts in Iraq, its associated challenges and obstacles, the role which regional and international partners can play will be discussed. Since Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has taken office, there has been growing hope for a sustainable political and economic development of the country. Iraq suffers from weak institutions, political and social polarization, inadequate infrastructure and a rapidly growing population. In direct exchange with Iraqi government representatives, the IPG will advise and develop reform plans that correspond with the ideas of the new government. This will make it possible for the reform plans to be implemented with greater success. Thereby, they will contribute to a sustainable stabilization and economic prosperity in Iraq.


Northeast Syria the Day After

KAS and LISA Host Workshop on Strategies to Stabilize the Northeast of Syria after the US-Withdrawal
With the support from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Syria/Iraq Office, the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs (LISA) will organize a workshop on the economic and political situation in Syria, focusing particularly on the northeast of the country. This is especially relevant in the context of the possible upcoming US-withdrawal from that region- a recent development that motivates a debate on the involvement of external actors. The northeast also holds an economical importance in Syria, given its rich oil resources. The options of economic development in this region will be discussed throughout this workshop, as well as possible ways to political settlement in the northeast especially and in Syria generally.


Discussing the Challenges Facing the Middle East

KAS, and IRIS Organize Annual Forum in Iraq
On March 6 and 7, 2019, the Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung will support the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) of the American University of Iraq Sulaimani by hosting its sixth annual Sulaimani Forum. The two-day forum will bring together key international and regional policy makers, stakeholders, and analysts for discussions about challenges facing Iraq, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and the Middle East region in general. This year, the consultations will be focusing on the relationship between Iraq and its neighbors, good governance and inclusive economic growth, with a special consideration of the ongoing challenges of government formation in Baghdad and Erbil. In the past years, the Sulimani Forum has become one of the prominent events in the Middle East, gathering world-leading political figures, including (Prime-) Ministers and Presidents.

Expert conference

Securing Iraq’s Future

Perspectives on Iraq’s Political, Economic, and Social Situation
The KAS Syria/Iraq Office supports the Rafidain Center for Dialogue (RCD) – a leading Iraqi think tank – in conducting its first annual conference, which will take place in Baghdad on February 4th and 5th. The conference is the first of its kind to be held in Baghdad, and will be attended by senior Iraqi, regional and international government officials and parliament members as well as scholars and researchers from major think tanks and universities in Iraq and abroad.


Economic Relations between Syria and Lebanon

Analyzing an Intimate and Complex Bilateral Relationship
In cooperation with the Middle East Institute for Research and Strategic Studies, the Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is holding a one-day workshop that aims to conduct an assessment of how the recent developments in Syria have affected economic relations between the war-torn country and its Lebanese neighbor. The goal is to assess the economic interdependence between both countries and analyze the political economy of the Assad regime’s involvement in Lebanon up until 2005, and how it has evolved over the past eight years. The results of this workshop serve the purpose to evaluate how the new political and economic realities in Syria will affect these relations in the near future.


Shiite Religious Actors and their Sociopolitical Roles in Iraq

Discovering the Relationship between State, Society and Clerical Entities in Iraq
Together with the Central European University, the Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung holds a workshop that aims to gain a better understanding of the relationship between religion and politics in Iraq, the role of religious authorities in social and political processes, and the internal relations between various religious entities within each sectarian community. The discussions will specifically focus on the relationship between the state, Islamism, militant groups and Shia clerics, as well as Shia religious institutions and their social roles.

Event Reports

Iraq Leadership Fellows Program: Class of 2018/2019 concludes its training

In cooperation with the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani (AUIS), and GPD Charitable Trust, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Syria/Iraq Office held the third and final training for the 2018/2019 Class of the Iraq Leadership Fellows (ILF) Program.

Event Reports

Policy Makers from Iraq Visit Hamburg and Berlin

Iraqi Delegation Discusses Stabilization Efforts with a Focus on Economic Development
Iraq formed a new government in October 2018 which, in addition to the country's ongoing stabilization efforts following the fight against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), is pursuing an ambitious reform agenda. Germany is one of the main donors and an active supporter of the country‘s reconstruction. In this context, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office together with the KAS Headquarters invited a delegation of Iraqi representatives from politics and business to hold talks in Hamburg and Berlin from 12 to 18 May, 2019.

Event Reports

Workshop on Actors, Policies and Obstacles to Economic Recovery in Syria

Omran Centre for Strategic Studies and KAS Organized a Workshop on Early Economic Recovery in Syria
Following the territorial defeat of the Islamic State and with the armed conflict coming to a relative halt in Syria, policy discussions are focusing on the options for early economic recovery in the country. The Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Omran Centre for Strategic Studies thus decided to organize a workshop to assess the economic state of the different zones within Syria and the economic engagement of various actors in the country, as well as to develop a framework for an early economic recovery that takes the interests of regional and non-regional actors into account.

Event Reports

What Future for the Arab-Kurdish Relations in Northeast Syria?

by Maha Haddad

KAS, Atlantic Council and Foreign Policy Research Organize Workshop on Arab-Kurdish Relations in Northeast Syria
To facilitate a dialogue about governance, political reconciliation, the role of outside actors, and the future of Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria was the focus of a two-day workshop in Erbil, Iraq organized by the Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) together with Atlantic Council and Foreign Policy Research.

Event Reports

Northeast Syria the Day After - A Realistic Approach

KAS and LISA Host Workshop on the Strategies to Consolidate Stabilization and Pave the Way for a Sustainable Settlement
With support from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Syria/Iraq Office, the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs (LISA) organized a workshop on the economic and security situation in Northeast Syria.

Event Reports

Sulaimani Forum 2019: Iraq and Its Neighbors – Toward a New Regional Order

KAS Supports IRIS in Hosting its Sixth Annual Sulaimani Forum
On March 6 and 7 2019, a panel of influential policymakers, researchers and stakeholders discussed the strategic and regional importance of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) within the Middle East. The event took place at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) in Sulaymaniyah. The sixth annual Sulaimani Forum, organized by the Institute of Regional and International Studies, aimed to tackle a number of economic and political issues such as economic integration in the region, international policies towards Iraq, Iraq’s political roadmap and the future of energy in the country. The experts thoroughly discussed factors necessary for good governance and inclusive economic growth, while also taking the ongoing challenges of the government formation in Baghdad and Erbil into account. Additional policy roundtables were organized with selected experts and academics.

Event Reports

Workshop on the Status of the Shiite Clergy in Iraq

CEU and KAS Organize Workshop on the Role of Shiite Religious Actors in Iraq
In Iraq's denominationally polarized political and social landscape, religious authorities play an important role in determining the country's direction. This is especially true for the Shiite clergy and their religious center in Najaf, which is of particular importance for the Shiite population in Iraq. In order to analyze the relationship between the Shiite authorities and Iraqi politics, society and economy, the Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Central European University (CEU) organized a workshop on January 22nd and 23rd in Beirut, which was attended by over 20 Iraqi clergy, international scholars and academics. A follow-up event, set to take place in April 2019, will examine the role of Sunni actors in Iraq.

Event Reports

Perspectives on Iraq’s Political, Economic, and Social Situation

KAS Supports RCD in Conducting Its First Annual Conference in Baghdad
The list of tasks for new Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who took over office in October 2018, and the ministers in his cabinet is a long one. In addition to stabilizing Iraq after the brutal conflict with the Islamic State (IS) and implementing a viable reform of the security sector, the new Iraqi government has to address the deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country and carefully balance Iraq’s position in regional and international affairs. The Al-Rafidain Center for Dialogue organized its Forum 2019, which was attended by high-ranking Iraqi politicians and participants from business, academia, and society, as well as diplomats and international experts, addressed multiple challenges which Iraq is facing and sought to share suggestions as to how the country can advance effectively in the coming years.

Event Reports

Bilateral Economic Relations in the Shadows of Conflict

In Cooperation with MEIRSS, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office Organized a One-Day Workshop on the Economic Relations between Syria and Lebanon
Economic relations between Syria and Lebanon have been both intimate and complex, with the Syrian conflict having negative effects on the economies of both countries. This workshop attended by journalists, businessmen and high-ranking political figures sought to analyze the economic relations between the neighboring countries. In particular, the event addressed the development of the economic relationship since the beginning of the Syrian conflict and tried to give an outlook on the future interdependence between Syria and Lebanon.

Event Reports

Deutsche Politik in Nah- und Mittelost

Wo ist Deutschlands Rolle im Konzert regionaler und internationaler Mächte in Syrien und im Irak?
Der Nahe Osten ist in den letzten Jahren stärker als noch zuvor zur Projektionsfläche von Machtinteressen regionaler und internationaler Akteure geworden. Insbesondere die Konflikte in Syrien und im Irak haben eine Destabilisierung der gesamten Region mit erheblichen Auswirkungen auf Europa zur Folge. Vor diesem Hintergrund veranstaltete das KAS-Auslandsbüro Syrien/Irak vom 22. bis zum 25. November 2018 eine Fachkonferenz im italienischen Cadenabbia, um über Herausforderungen und Chancen der deutschen Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik in der Region zu diskutieren.