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Related commentary: Middle East and North Africa

The opportunity for local peacebuilding interventions: The case of Kirkuk

SIPRI’s latest Policy Paper ‘Building everyday peace in Kirkuk, Iraq: The potential of locally focused interventions’ provides an understanding of how, when and by whom acts of peace and conflict are carried out at the everyday level, and gives policy recommendations for interventions that would address the local side of peacebuilding. This essay highlights some core areas where there is an opportunity for peacebuilding interventions to affect real change in the everyday lives of Kirkukis.

The resurgence of the Islamic State in Iraq: Political and military responses

The Islamic State (IS) is back, or so the headlines say. The key thing is that IS never left. While IS may have gone underground, reorganized, and slowly rebuilt, it has continued to carry out attacks. And what is equally, if not more, concerning is that IS is growing in strength. If anything is to be learnt from the history of the organization, it is that it is vital to address this now before it grows too strong.

Cultural reconstruction is critical after Islamic State occupation

The scars left by the Islamic State group’s three-and-a-half-year occupation in northern Iraq are deep. Between 2014 and 2017, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed, millions were displaced or succumbed to starvation or disease, as a result of Islamic State’s occupation and the military campaign to defeat it. Atrocities committed by the group included a genocide of the Yazidi minority in their ancestral lands in Sinjar, northern Iraq, as well as the killing and abduction of thousands of Yazidi women and girls.