Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Enhance Understanding

Making that happen through advocacy, podcasting, research and publications.

Displaced families near Mosul

Help make 2020 a better year for Iraq!

Iraq is at a crossroads. One path leads to the hopeful, democratic vision of Iraq’s youthful majority as we’ve seen expressed by mass rallies in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and across Iraq. The other path leads to the continued violence, dysfunction, and corruption of autocratic rule. And now, at this fateful hour, the belligerent actions of President Trump and Tehran’s hardliners threaten to turn Iraq into a battlefield of their own zero-sum game, shortchanging the Iraqi people from a genuine opportunity to determine their own future. From Washington DC to Baghdad, the challenges that we face in 2020 are greater than

Read More »
Soccer Salam delivery to a child in Sharya

Colorado 5th Grader and Classmates Rally Support for Soccer Salam

  Earlier this year, EPIC received an email from Jacquelyn Thomas of Lakewood, Colorado. Jacquelyn is the mother of an extraordinary girl named Vanicia (who’s now 11 years old). Her mom wrote: “My daughter [is] raising funds for kids in Iraq. We would like to donate the money raised to Soccer Salam.” Vanicia became motivated to help kids in Iraq by the stories of her father, William Thomas. A U.S. Army veteran, William shared fond memories with her daughter about the children that he met during his service in Iraq. Like all children, Vanicia had a lot of questions, and

Read More »
Iraqi Shabaki Leader

Iraq’s Shabaks and the Search for Land Rights and Representation

Interview with Mr. Hussein al-Shabaki, member of the Free Shabak Movement This is the third in a series of interviews we had with representatives of various minority communities in Ninewa. More interviews will be published in the coming weeks. As part of EPIC’s work on Safe Return, a USAID project designed to enable the safe and sustainable return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes in Ninewa, we recently had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Hussein al-Shabaki, a prominent figure in Iraq’s Shabaki community, and a leading member of the Free Shabak Movement (Tayyar Ahrar al-Shabak). To many

Read More »

JOIN EPIC FOR AN EVENING OF SOLIDARITY WITH IRAQIS PRESSING FOR GENUINE REFORMS

Tahrir Square in Baghdad, the heart of the Iraqi anti-government movement is covered in creative displays of protest art, culture, and community. Tahrir Square in Baghdad sits at the heart of the Iraqi anti-government protest movement that has swept through Iraq for the past two months. Amid increasingly violent responses from security forces, demonstrators have turned Tahrir Square into a moving celebration of community, culture, and art as they continue to call for government reform. As of today, Iraq’s Independent High Commission for Human Rights cited 460 deaths with at least 17,000 injured, and 3,000 permanently disabled as a result

Read More »

From Baghdad to EPIC’s Board Presidency

By Zeena Abdul-Rahman, EPIC Board President  Veteran EPIC Board Member Bilal Wahab snaps a selfie at EPIC’s April 2019 Board Retreat. Behind Bilal from left-to-right: EPIC Executive Director Erik Gustafson and Board members Taif Jany, Hussein Al-Baya (Treasurer), Dennis Eóghan Clancey, Zeena Abdul-Rahman (President), Sören Südhof, Kate Phillips-Barrasso (Vice President), Yasmeen Alamiri, and David Slater. The concussion of the blast shook our car, rattling the car doors on their hinges. It was the morning of August 7, 2003, and I was just a 19-year-old college kid at the time. Our family’s driver, Mansour, was taking me to class. A minute

Read More »

Five Years after ISIS: The Yazidis’ Quest for Justice and Recovery

Interview with Ido Babasheikh, Former Member of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq Parliament and former adviser to the president of Iraq. This is the second of a series of interviews we had with representatives of various minority communities in Ninewa that will be published in the following weeks. In July, EPIC traveled to Iraq and visited Erbil and Ninewa provinces as part of our work on Safe Return, a USAID project designed to enable the safe and sustainable return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes in Ninewa. While in Erbil, we had the pleasure of meeting with Mr.

Read More »

CHECKING IRANIAN POWER IN IRAQ

Originally published on War on the Rocks – October 3, 2019 Iraq faces a threat of Iranian subversion that is, to a large extent, a function of a deepening geopolitical rift in which Iran stands on one side and the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are on the other. To protect its own interests and avoid falling prey to Iran’s apparent desire to become the regional hegemon and assimilate Middle Eastern capitals into its sphere of influence, Iraqi leaders would be wise to chart these waters carefully. They need to defend and strengthen institutions at home, check the rogue

Read More »

#37: The Iran-Iraq War and Its Enduring Impact on the Region

This week marks the 39th anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan Province, starting the Iran-Iraq War. On this episode of IRAQ MATTERS, we talk with Joel Wing of “Musings on Iraq” and EPIC’s very own Omar Al-Nidawi about that war and its lasting consequences on the Middle East today.

Read More »

Iraq’s Assyrian Christians’ struggle to secure political rights

Interview with Yacoob Yaco, the deputy secretary general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. This is the first of a series of interviews we had with representatives of various minority communities in Ninewa that will be published in the following weeks. In July, EPIC traveled to Iraq and visited Erbil and Ninewa provinces as part of our work on Safe Return, a USAID project designed to enable the safe and sustainable return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes in Ninewa. While in Erbil, we had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Yacoob Yaco, the Deputy Secretary General of the

Read More »

EPIC WELCOMES FALL 2019 INTERNS

From left to right Laura Clancy, Alisha Parikh, and Jennie Matuschak Three times per year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Fall 2019 interns: Laura, Jennie, and Alisha! Laura Clancy is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Justice Studies with a minor

Read More »

EPIC WELCOMES SUMMER 2019 INTERNS

Three times per year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Summer 2019 interns: Ali, Katie, May, Rachel and William! Ali Tinai was born and raised in Eritrea. He moved to Egypt at age 15 to escape Eritrea’s dictatorship. While in Egypt he learned English

Read More »

Summer is Here

As the mercury surges in Mesopotamia, so does the risk for a new showdown between angry protesters demanding better conditions and a government struggling to provide for them but is shackled by a legacy of corruption and incompetent, fiefdom-like institutions.   Many parts of southern Iraq, especially Basra, witnessed widespread protests last summer. Those highlighted multiple popular demands, on top of which were jobs, basic services—especially adequate electricity and clean water—and putting an end to endemic corruption across government institutions. The episode wasn’t without violence. Several offices of prominent parties and militias were torched, and so was Iran’s consulate in

Read More »