#10: Is Peace in Iraq Possible? The Story of “Little Iraq”

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IraqMattersLogo_smallIn this episode of Iraq Matters, EPIC tackles a vital question that is critical to Iraq’s future: Is it possible for Iraq’s diverse ethnic communities to live peacefully together?

But before we answer this question, this episode starts off with a quick interview with Joel Wing, Musing on Iraq blogger, who shares with us Iraq’s latest and most important updates. Security wise, Joel talks about the rising violence in Anbar province, and what the Central Government’s plans to fight these militants. Politically, Joel talks about the current dispute between the Central Government in Baghdad and Kurdistan Regional Government. Joel also gives his remarks on the most recent visits of Iraq’s top leaders to Washington D.C. and the reasons behind these visits.

Christine Van Den Toorn, Sulaimani, Iraq

EPIC’s special guest for this week is Christine Van Den Toorn, an American researcher and educator who has been teaching social sciences, with a focus on Middle Eastern studies, at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani (AUIS), in the Kurdistan region. Previously, Christine has talked to EPIC about education in Iraq, particularly on what the process is like for Iraqi females who want to attend universities, what obstacles are standing in the way of young females seeking higher education, and what future opportunities do they have?

To answer our question above , Christine is certain that of the possibility that Iraqis can peacefully and harmoniously  live together, as they did historically. To prove her point, Christine shares with us the story of “Little Iraq”, a small city called Bashiqa, located in Ninawa province in northern Iraq, and what is says about Iraq’s prospects for peace. 

Bashiqa is a picture of what Iraq has been historically and what it can be again”

This episode also covers the most recent visits of Iraq’s top leaders to Washington D.C. First, we discuss Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Saleh al-Mutlag’s talk at United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and his remarks on peace and stability in Iraq. Then, we review Mr. Usama al Nujayfi‘s, Speaker of Iraq’s parliament, discussion at Brookings Institute of Iraq’s current crisis and how can the United States help.

We finish off with a humanitarian update on what seems to be the worst catastrophe in a generation. The UN reports that in 2013 only, over 8,800 Iraqis have lost their lives, making it the deadliest year since 2008. While the war in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Syrians, thus far.

Epic needs YOU! We are hosting a petition on Change.org urging president Obama and Congress to support a long-term strategy for peace in Iraq by supporting Iraqis through USAID projects and working with internal groups to include minorities. Currently, the petition has 8,246 signatures. Our goal is 10,000. If you think Iraq matters, and have not singed or shared the petition, please take a moment and visit iraqmatters.org. If you like our podcast, please subscribe to our iTunes and Stitcher, and help us spread the word by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel. Let us reach our 10,000 goal together! We also love to hear from our listeners, your feedback is incredibly valuable to our program. Please email your feedback and suggestions to info@epic-usa.org.