‘Addressing intercommunal violence in post-ISIS Tuz Khurmatu’
Southern of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk lays Tuz Khurmatu, an ethnically mixed district, now part of the Salah Ad-Din Governorate in Iraq, that has become sadly known for its now chronic inter-ethnic and sectarian violence. In this research project we aim to explain how these long lasting inter-ethnic tensions and forced demographic changes that began during Saddam Hussein’s times have impacted the relations between the communities, and which steps can be taken to alleviate those tensions, strengthen intercommunal relations and promote the long-awaited stability and peace in the region.
Our report attempts to provide an in-depth analysis of Tuz Khurmatu’s situation and to propose tangible policy approaches that promote peace building in the district. It is important to highlight that Tuz Khurmatu is a microcosmos that exemplify some of the problems post-ISIS Iraq faces today. Tuz Khurmatu example illustrates the explosive consequences of inter-ethnic and sectarian tensions in Iraq, and the difficulty that local sub-state forces or militias pose when reasserting state control and state building in the country. The conclusions of our report would be beneficial to address future policy making decisions for state building in Iraq.
‘Fragmented Identities: The Case of Ezidis after ISIS’
Since the advancement of ISIS into Mosul in 2014 and the vicious attacks on Sinjar, the traditional cultural and religious life of the Ezidi community in Iraq has been severely disrupted. Some of the social norms and traditions that were long held to be immutable, are now been re-examined and attempts are made to adapt the tradition to modern values. This research is based on the presumption that ‘fear’ is one of the key factors in constructing the new Ezidi identity.
In what is constitutive of a crime of genocide, the 2014 attacks carried out by ISIS threatened to destroy the very existence of the Ezidi religious community; men were killed and buried in mass graves, women were taken as sex slaves and sold into markets like mere cattle, children were stripped apart from their families and indoctrinate by their captors, Ezidi temples and religious symbols were desecrated and destroyed… The fact that, in some cases, their own non-Ezidi neighbors were accomplices of such attacks has provoked suspicions towards outsiders, and a reaction of seeking subterfuge among their own community. It is this fear of the destruction of their community and religious traditions what has accelerated the creation of new Ezidi identities.
Identity is always highly politicized. It is a political as much as a cultural issue. This research tries to explore how do Ezidies identify themselves and what are the most influential factors that construct and change the identity of this ethno-religious minority.
Our research analyzes the evolution and changes on the Ezidies’ perceptions of their own identity in recent times, and the reasons behind those changes. We study to what extent Ezidies find themselves integrated in the socio-political context of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and if they feel represented by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In addition, this research project studies how Ezidies perceive their relations and social cohesion with “others”, such as Sunni Muslim Kurds; Sunni Muslim Arabs; Shia’at Muslim Arabs; Shabaks; and Christians. Finally, we analyze how different groups of Ezidies (those living in disputed areas and those living inside the KRI) think about the above mentioned questions.
‘Social Cohesion in Kirkuk, Daquq and Dibis, Erbil: Relief International’
Kirkuk’s population is ethnically a mixture of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen. Before the 1950’s Kurds represented by far the largest ethnic group in the district but, due to the arabization policies of the Ba’ath regime promoting the migration of Arabs into the district, the number of Arabs in official censuses increased fivefold within 40 years (between 1957 and 1997). The number of Kurds remained relatively constant from 1957 until 1977, and the decrease in their numbers coincided with the arabization process in the 1990s. During that period, the redrawing of Kirkuk’s borders by the Ba’ath party also affected the Turkmens with a population drop from 21% to 7%.
In addition, Kirkuk, like many other Iraqi provinces, is a multi-religious province, with a majority Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and a minority of Christians.
This report is based on research conducted on a selected sample of internal displaced persons (IDPs) and host community (HC) currently living in the city of Kirkuk, and the districts of Daquq and Dibis. The vast majority of the interviewees were Arabs displaced from Salahaddin, Falluja, Mosul, Beji, Shurgat, Haweeja, Anbar and other places of Iraq, as a result of the recent expansion of ISIS and the revenge attacks of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
‘Agricultural Value Chain Analysis in the Sub-district of Zummar – Ninewe Grain and Vegetable Production, Fishery and Animal Breeding, Duhok: DRC’
This research explores the agricultural activities in the sub-district of Zummar in Tal Afar-Niniwe. Having examined the major agricultural activities of grain and vegetable production, animal breeding and fishery, this research aims at investigating the what, where, and how of the gaps in the value chain process of the researched agricultural activities.
Despite grain production (wheat and barley) being highly profitable, in the drought years the crops are at risk as they rely solely on rainfall. Although the Gezira Irrigation Project had the capacity to irrigate 45,000 dunams of land from the Mosul Dam using the waters of the Tigris River, the infrastructure is now partially damaged due to the recent conflict. Many of the power generators, bridges and leads of the water channels have been damaged.
Livestock breeding is also at risk since diseases and pests kill many animals in the area every year. Animal keepers complain that the cost of animal fodder is too high to be profitable for them.
The third agricultural activity analyzed is the cultivation of cucumbers in greenhouses, a new development in the area. Although there is not sufficient knowledge to run this business, the farmers are still highly satisfied with their income. The fourth researched business is fishery. The business is in poor condition as the benefits are low compared to costs.
At the end, interventions have been recommended to maximize the profit of each economic activity and the livelihood of key value chain actors.
‘Social cohesion Contextual Analysis in Targeted communities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, OXFAM Great Britain.’ By Muslih Irwani
The purpose of this study is to inform and strengthen Oxfam’s savings and small business financing initiatives and to build resilience of conflict-affected communities, with focus on Syrian Refugees, Iraqi IDPs and the Kurdish host community (HC) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). It aims to understand the overall tensions between the communities, the main concerns inhibiting collaboration between the communities and the historical narratives entrenching the existing tensions.
This research tries to present some answers for the following questions: What is the general situation of social cohesion in the target communities? What are the key challenges to social cohesion in this environment? Which relationships across community diversities amongst IDPs, refugees and host community are functioning well? Are there potential interventions that can contribute to social cohesion at the micro level? What is the social cohesion situation of local businesses and services, including those provided by NGOs, UN agencies, state and non-state actors? How can saving and financing schemes support social cohesion in business relationships? What existing positive examples of social cohesion in the market place have been supported in the past? And finally, what is the role of women in promoting or enforcing social cohesion?
‘Quality of Education in Primary Schools of Kurdistan Region: An Assessment of the Quality of Schools, Teaching and Teachers in Erbil.’ By Muslih Irwani & Sangar Salih
This study has been conducted to analyze the quality of teaching and teachers in public and private primary schools across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Of particular interest is the quality of schools’ administrations, teachers, school curricula, school environment, extracurricular activities and parental involvement.
The study draws on how school administrations are managed, and on the qualifications of teachers and principals. It also reveals how school curricula gives children the opportunity to attain the maximum standards in knowledge, concepts and skills in consonance with their intelligence, capacity and circumstances. In addition, the study findings will show how physical environment of schools are appropriate for learning, how parents get involved in their children’s education, how they are welcomed by schools and how schools take extra curricula activities into consideration.