Since the escalation of armed conflict in Iraq that began with ISIS seizing territory in Anbar in January 2014, 3.2 million people have fled their homes. As Refugees International reports: "They are living in rented accommodations, unfinished buildings, and makeshift camps, often without adequate food, water, or medical care." We talk with Refugees International's Senior Advocate Daryl Grisgraber about her recent mission to Baghdad and her visits to the southern city of Hilla and a hard-to-reach area in Anbar. Get a firsthand account of the crisis, including untold stories of some of the families most affected and of youth volunteers who are responding to their needs. We then share highlights of our recent briefing with Ahmed Ali, including his views on the fight against ISIS, the challenges facing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the recent unrest in Iraqi Kurdistan.
For years, we've been singing the praises of the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF). Today we're thrilled to finally share their inspiring story with you. Just days after their most recent mission to Baghdad, we sit down with ICF co-founder Jonathan Webb. After four years of experiencing the war in Iraq up-close and personal, Jonathan returned with a very different vision for Iraq. In 2008, he co-founded ICF to mobilize a life-changing “Surge of Love” for millions of children traumatized by violence in Iraq. Jonathan shares the story of ICF's success in helping orphans and other vulnerable children living on the streets of war-torn Iraq, and what he's learned from partnering with some of Iraq's most extraordinary civil society leaders. Also included, an Iraq update from our EPIC's research team.
One year ago this week, ISIS captured the city of Sinjar, the historic home of Iraq's Yazidi community. ISIS massacred hundreds of residents in cold blood and kidnapped thousands of women and children. To learn what has happened to the people of Sinjar since then, we talk with Christine van den Toorn, director of the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. Also featured: an Iraq update with our Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor research team.
With the war against ISIS, a worsening fiscal crisis, and the challenge of hosting 1.5 million Iraqis and Syrians displaced by ISIS militants, Cathy Otten of IRIN reports that Iraqi Kurdistan is nearing ‘the breaking point.’ To learn more, EPIC Senior Fellow Ahmed Ali joins us from Erbil in an exclusive interview with the KRG’s Minister of Planning Ali Sindi. We then turn to Joel Wing of “Musings on Iraq” for an update on the latest security and humanitarian developments in Iraq.
This is an encore release of our very first Iraq Matters podcast. Over the past 15 years, EPIC has touched many lives and we created this podcast series to share these connections and stories with a wider audience.
According to the latest UN estimate, 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Iraq. To discuss that challenge, EPIC convened a distinguished panel with Francois Stamm of ICRC, Michel Gabaudan of Refugees International, Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch, and Nancy Youssef of The Daily Beast. Hosted by the Iraqi Cultural Center on January 16, 2015, the panelists offered insights on the deepening crisis, the opaqueness of the current military campaign, and warnings for the future of international aid in Iraq, as the fight against ISIS and inadequate shelter leaves many Iraqi families out in the cold.
You may have seen it on your social media feed. These days it seems to be appearing everywhere. The Arabic ن (“noon”) symbol has been used by the Islamic State to mark Christian homes and businesses. Now Christians and their supporters, as well as advocates for religious freedom around the world are turning the tables and using it as a symbol of solidarity. Tune in to this episode to hear from Nuri Kino, Juliana Taimoorazy, and Jeff Gardner and learn more about how a global movement is coming together to defend Iraq’s minorities and preserve its rich heritage and cultural diversity.
Across Iraq and the region, millions of Iraqis and Syrians fleeing ISIS face another threat: winter. How are governments responding to this fast approaching humanitarian emergency? Can aid agencies move fast enough to provide shelter for so many before the freezing temperatures and heavy rains begin? Daryl Grisgraber of Refugees International stops by our office for an in-depth conversation about the growing crisis and what you can do to help. "Winter is coming" is more than just a warning from the House of Stark. It's a harsh reality that millions of displaced and vulnerable Iraqis and Syrians will soon face.
You've heard the stories. 10,000s of Yazidis stranded on Mt. Sinjar. The U.S. responding with air drops of aid. Then, the Pentagon declaring the siege over. But what happened in Sinjar? Why were civilians left unprotected without warning as ISIS militants advanced on their city? Is the crisis on the mountaintop over? Tune in for a special Iraq Matters report with Iraq-based researchers Christine van den Toorn and Nawaf, a Yazidi college student whose family fled Sinjar. Also included: an Iraq Update with Musings on Iraq blogger, Joel Wing, and the latest humanitarian developments.
How is Iraq's deepening crisis changing the landscape of northern Iraq? What happened to the Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul? Will Kurdistan declare independence? To answer these questions we talk with Christine van den Toorn, an American researcher based in Iraq who has witnessed the unfolding crisis. Also featured: updates on PhotoVoice and TentEd and the latest news from Washington, D.C. and Sinjar Mountain.