The military operations held against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have helped liberate some cities in Nineveh province, Diyala province, Salah Al Din province, and several others. It is noteworthy that the concern initially was towards military efforts, while in the meantime no clear attention was paid in constructing a basis of peaceful coexistence in these areas for post liberation period. It was also notable that tens of thousands of internally displaced families still cannot return to their homelands post liberation.
In Nineveh, the complexity and the sensitivity related to ethnic and religious diversity remarkably more prominent than it is in Diyala, Salah Al Din, and Anbar provinces. The complexity is represented by a group of factors, most of which are the population density in the province, minorities and their diversity, the geographical site of the province, the sensitivity around targeting of Yezidi people and other factors that urge to study the situation in Nineveh before it is completely liberated.
Sanad for Peacebuilding is one of the Iraqi institutions that work on enhancing peacebuilding concepts and managing conflicts in a non-violent way through specialties in the field of conflict management, dialogue facilitation and mediation, represented by the Network of Iraqi Facilitators. As local institution that acquires field experience and local tools, we have designed a project to study and analyze through panel discussion seminars comprised of diverse sects of Nineveh province, to identify the inputs and requirements that should be taken in consideration to guarantee having a platform for peaceful coexistence in the post liberation period.
The purpose behind the panel discussion is to study and analyze the requirements needed to obtain peaceful coexistence after Nineveh liberation from ISIS, and also to invest in a network of relations between the social elites in Nineveh during this period and for the future.
Sanad for Peacebuilding, through the Network of Iraqi Facilitators, aims to organize panel discussion seminars consisting diverse bodies and sides representing different backgrounds in order to study and analyze the general requirements needed to obtain peaceful coexistence after the liberation of Nineveh.
After finishing these panel discussions, a workgroup will be formed consisting of a group of participants in these panel discussions in order to come up with a proposed roadmap that addresses several aspects, which could be shared later with the related official and non-official departments.
The role of Sanad organization and the Network of Iraqi Facilitators is to organize and run these activities in addition to drafting analytical report on the most important joints that need to be taken into consideration, and coming out with a set of important recommendations which will be shared with different official, non-official, and international institutions, to work on the implementation of the outcomes of these panel discussions.
PANEL DISCUSSION (20 – 21 May, 2015)
Day 1 outcome:
During the day one, it was possible to be acquainted by the perspectives of the participants on the most important aspects that need action to obtain peaceful coexistence after the liberation on Nineveh province, these aspects were:
The participants were distributed into five roundtables, were each round table focuses on one of the identified aspects above. During this session, discussions and exchange of ideas were shared relying on the following questions:
- What are the potential conflicts in the post liberation period in your opinion? Why?
- What are the easing and escalating factors for these conflicts?
- How are these conflicts going to evolve in case no intervention occurred?
Each group finally shared its outcome with the rest of participants. After brainstorming and discussing the outcomes, a primary forecast for the potential problems/conflicts have been concluded by the participant for the post liberation period regarding all the aspects; political, security, religious, tribal, and economical.
Day 2 outcome:
After reviewing the outcomes of day one, the workgroups moved to a deeper level of analysis, in which they could identify the most important priorities to be taken in consideration and worked on, and the action items for these priorities, in addition to identifying the sides responsible for delivering the proposed action items. Later on the priorities were discussed by the participants, where there was a clear visualization for a set of activities that should be conducted in the upcoming recent phases, some of which should be conducted during the liberation process, while the others in the post liberation process.
The most important outcomes were:
- Highlighting the role of the government of Kurdistan Region and the people of Kurdistan in accepting the huge numbers of internally displaced families, while carefully managing their case at the same time.
- To invest in the roles of institutions; (e.g. the provincial council, the parliament, the federal government, KRG government, CSOs, and international organizations.
- To support the leading role of different institutions in rejecting the rumors and negative attitudes of the media.
- To develop communication mechanisms between the different sides and bodies to ensure the mitigation of the tension, and coming up with solutions for the prospected problems in the post liberation period.
- To commit to the second amendment for provincial councils law, in regionally uncommitted areas, at the appointed time ( Law No.21 2008).
- To form a committee comprised of tribal leaders, clerics, and academics in coordination with the local government to fix the problems and avoid religious, sectarian or ethnic segregation and conflicts.
- To support the coordinated roles of the specialized institutions to ensure the compatibility in visions and objectives for the post liberation period, especially in the case of minorities.
- To enhance collaborative dialogue in the framework of the agreement between different tribes, in preferring dialogue and understanding to solve tribal and social conflicts.
- To organize a set of activities that aim to treat extremist ideologies.
- To organize a set activities in collaboration with a group of local and international institutions to discuss the best methods and mechanisms to ensure the return of displaced families after liberation.
- To design a set of activities that aim to reduce the revenge and reprisal acts after the return of IDPs to their native lands.
- To start the reconstruction phase directly after liberation, while allocating needed financial, technical, and administrative resources locally and internationally.
- To organize activities for specialized institutions in the services and reconstruction sectors to make a comprehensive realistic strategic plan.