Blog

 

 

 

 

 

blog

enhancing understanding of iraq through programs, research and advocacy

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 »

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 »

Iraq Moves to Establish Special Courts for Stigmatized Iraqi Families

Last week, Wehda al-Jumaili, a member of the Human Rights Committee in the Iraqi parliament reported that Iraq is establishing courts to issue birth certificates and identification cards to Iraqi children who were born under ISIS rule. This remarkable and laudable decision, once implemented, will affect the lives of tens of thousands of children, about 45,000 of whom reside in camps for the displaced. Obtaining documentation will grant these children access to basic rights, including education, medical and welfare services. Documents will also significantly reduce or entirely lift the restrictions on their freedom of movement within Iraq. This important step

Read More »

The Ongoing Crisis in Basra: Interview with Benedict Robin-D’Cruz – Part 2

Protests and political violence continues to plague Basra, Iraq’s southernmost province. The province is largely populated by Iraq’s Shia majority, which has dominated Iraq’s post-2003 political order. Basra’s oil fields are the primary source of Iraq’s oil exports and proven oil reserves and Basra is home to Iraq’s only port. Despite all of these promising conditions, Basra continues to suffer from government neglect, resulting in high levels of unemployment and lack of basic services such as clean water and electricity. To understand more about the ongoing protests in Basra and the region’s relationship with Baghdad, we spoke to Benedict Robin

Read More »

Violence in Southern Iraq & Shia Politics: Interview with Benedict Robin-D’Cruz – Part 1

Away from the limelight, violence continues to rage in southern Iraq in the form of tribal clashes, pro-government militia infighting and criminal violence. This violence often affects unarmed bystanders and makes life in Basra, which is already challenging due to government neglect, lack of services and rife unemployment, even more precarious. Although most residents of southern Iraq are Shia, Iraq’s current political elite, which claims to represent the Shia community, has failed to address the needs of the south.

Read More »

Best Ten Reads on Iraq for 2018

The past year was marked by considerable political turmoil and unrest in Iraq, underscoring the many challenges that the country faces beyond the battlefield. In 2018, we saw a further erosion of public confidence in Iraqi leaders over corruption, insufficient basic services, and unemployment; a parliamentary election marred by poor voter turnout and irregularities that triggered a months-long recount; and a growing water crisis and mass protest movement across southern Iraq. Despite slow progress with the de-mining, rebuilding, and recovery of devastated post-ISIS areas like West Mosul and Ramadi, we saw the closure of some IDP camp and forced returns.

Read More »

Reflecting on 2018, Gearing up for 2019

As we prepare to welcome the new year, we thought we would take the time to reflect on the progress Iraq has made over the past year and our work to support Iraq’s recovery. In Ramadi, Mosul, Sinjar, and other areas recovering from war, four million Iraqis have returned to their homes as families begin the hard work of rebuilding their lives. At the same time, another two million Iraqis remain displaced, unable to return to their homes and ancestral lands due to the scale of destruction, the presence of explosive remnants of war, and the fear of armed militias

Read More »