What does the literature indicate are the current conflict dynamics in Iraq and what is the potential for peacebuilding? - Update of the information available in the October 2014 GSDRC Contemporary conflict analysis of Iraq.
Since the beginning of 2014, the extreme jihadist group ISIL, who are also active in Syria, has gained control of territory in the mainly Sunni and contested areas of Iraq, although government forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and the Shia dominated Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units/Forces, PMU/PMF) volunteer force, have regained some territory. ISIL recently seized control of Ramadi.
The conflict has taken on an increasingly sectarian nature and minorities have been disproportionally affected. The ISIL insurgency is very brutal, with populations, especially minority groups, subjected to mass executions, systematic rape and extreme violence.
The lack of a peacebuilding strategy to complement the military operations is a cause for concern. The literature does not engage much with peacebuilding platforms or actors. Some suggestions in the literature about the potential for peacebuilding include: (i) the general rejection of violent groups; (ii) increasing Sunni support for the government; and (iii) a sense of common identity. Some important peacebuilding actors could include: religious leaders, political figures, civil society organisations, and international actors.
Rohwerder, B. Conflict dynamics and potential for peacebuilding in Iraq (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1263). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 18 pp.