Speicher Conflict Intervention

Background

In June 2014, around 1700 air‐force cadets and soldiers at Camp Speicher near Tikrit‐Salahaldin were massacred by ISIL. Most of the victims are Shiite, mainly from the South-center and Southern provinces. They were captured in a tribal territory that belongs to the tribes of Abo Ajeel and Albo Nassir. As a consequence, the Southern tribes accused the tribes of Salahaldin and held them responsible for this massacre. Between June and December 2014, more than 56 demonstrations by the families of the victims occurred in 9 provinces where all called for revenge. Number of Salahaldin IDPs in Alexandria‐ Babil Province, were attacked. Access to the southern provinces was blocked against any person holds Salahaldin ID. The majority of the families of the victims volunteered to the Popular Mobilization Forces [PMF] to take revenge when Tikrit is liberated. Eventually, when Tikrit was liberated, all displaced families from Tikrit were not able to return due to the fear that the PMF would take their revenge as they return.

Objective

Sanad, USIP and the Network of Iraqi Facilitators, designed an intervention in January 2015 that aims to mitigate the conflict between the Southern and Salahaldin tribes after the Speicher Massacre.

It was the first time to have an intervention on such a dangerous and critical issue.

– Iraqi facilitator Abdul Aziz al-Jarba

PROCESS

To reach its aim, Sanad, USIP and the Network of Iraqi Facilitators designed a three step process

1. Assessment Phase

Identification of positions and interests, requirements and expectations of the different stakeholders such as; Salahaldin and Southern Tribes, Executive and Legislative authorities, security and religious bodies. This was achieved by convening two level dialogue based assessment:

  1. Individual Dialogues with the accused and non‐accused tribal leaders in Salahaldin, Central and Southern tribal leaders of different tiers, Civil Society Organizations and Activists, Parliamentary Committees and the Parliament Speaker, Prime Minister’s Office and the National Reconciliation Committee, International Organizations such as the UN, Religious bodies directly coordinated with Al Sistani’s Office, etc.
  2. Intra-Community Dialogues with the tribal leaders of Central and Southern
    Provinces.

As a result of this assessment, the process was designed around two circles; the outer circle represents the non‐accused tribes in Salahaldin in addition to the central and southern tribes. The inner circle represents the accused tribes of Salahaldin in addition to families of the victims of Speicher Massacre. Moving from the outer to the inner circles was assumed to require supportive presence and efforts from different institutions such; religious, executive and legislative in order to ensure credibility, as well as to ensure extended circle of influence through the
course of implementation.

2. Collaboration Phase

Establish a local collaborative dialogue mechanism between the two sides of dispute [Salahaldin and Southern Tribes]. This was achieved by establishing a Communication Committee that comprises of 16 tribal leaders, 8 from each side of dispute.

The purpose of this committee is to address their issues through peaceful dialogue and mutually agree on a roadmap towards mitigating the rising conflict.

Iraqi soldiers carry coffins containing the remains of ten of their comrades who were killed in the Speicher massacre, after they were handed over to relatives following weeks of examination to check their identities via DNA tests, during their funeral procession in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf on July 1, 2015. The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group executed hundreds of mostly Shiite recruits in June 2015 in what is known as the Speicher massacre, named after the military base near which they were captured. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI / AFP / HAIDAR HAMDANI

3. Reconciliation Phase

While establishing collaborative mechanism between the two parties in dispute, and following on implementing the roadmap of the Communication Committee, the outer circle of Salahaldin non‐accused tribes and the southern tribes would prepare the ground for reconciliation between the families of the victims and the accused tribes of Salahaldin [inner circle].

During this, Sanad and the Network of Iraqi Facilitators will continue enforcing the dialogue among the different stakeholders, with particular focus on the supporting roles of the religious authorities as well as the legislative, executiveand security authorities.

Achievements:

Condemning The Crime

In April 28th, 2015, the accused Salahaldin Tribes of Albo Ajeel and Albo Nassir, convened a press conference with which, they declared their innocence from their fellow tribesmen who committed the massacre.

They also declared their readiness to cooperate with the related governmental institutions to provide them with the names and information related to the terrorists they know. They also addressed their capacity to volunteer with the PMF against ISIL.

Return of 400 IDPs

In accordance with the roadmap addressed by the Communication Committee, they reached an agreement with Dr. Falih Al Fayadh, the director of the Mobilization Crowd Committee/Prime Minister’s Office, to provide names of 400 internally displaced families from Tikrit to be returned to their homes. Currently, the total returnees are more than 13,000 families.

Honoring of The Martyrs

In accordance with the roadmap addressed by the Communication Committee, the Provincial Council of Salahaldin approved and allocated funds to build a statue to honor the martyrs of Speicher Massacre in Tikrit.

 

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