This talk uses first person interviews to present the on-the-ground attitudes to peace in post-ISIS Iraq.
The international community, led by America, regularly proclaims a commitment to the integrity of Iraq, a country bitterly and often violently divided along sectarian-ethnic lines (Arab Sunni, Arab Shia and Kurdish). This talk uses first person interviews to present the on-the-ground attitudes to peace in post-ISIS Iraq, after first sketching the post-invasion events which led to the seeming stalemate we are seeing today. Interviews with soldiers on the frontline with ISIS, Kurdish political, military and intelligence leadership, and civilians in the cities all point to a desire for complete Kurdish independence, but also show sharp divisions even within this group. Interviews with Sunnis fighting both for and against ISIS and also with Sunni civilian refugees fleeing ISIS show a bitterness with the status quo which points to a future cycle of violence. Improvements require action from the central government in Baghdad, which in the current climate are difficult to imagine. Possible actions from all groups will be considered with an eye to what has failed in the past 14 years to build a stable, flourishing Iraq.