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Statement on Sunday’s Elections in Iraq

On Sunday, Iraqis will head to the polls to elect a new parliament. Based on our new report, the pro-reform movement (known as “Tishreen”) enjoys the support of 70% of eligible voters polled. Among decided voters, Tishreen candidates hold a commanding lead with 7 out of 10 saying they plan to vote for candidates representing the protest movement. However, for the movement to translate that popular support into electoral gains, strong voter turnout on Sunday will be essential, along with efforts to ensure a fair electoral playing field. Unfortunately, political violence and widespread concerns about election violations are making that

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NEW REPORT: An Inside Look at Iraq’s Popular Movement for Reform

Two years ago today, tens of thousands of Iraqis began turning out at Baghdad’s Tahrir (“Liberation”) Square to peacefully demand their rights. They were sick and tired of being sick and tired of their government’s failure to fight corruption, deliver basic services, or create enough jobs for the 500,000 or more young people entering the work force each year. In public squares in the port city of Basra and other cities across southern Iraq, people turned out in great numbers. Tuk-tuk drivers ferried people to protest sites, often for free. Many other Iraqis donated and volunteered their services to the

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EVENT: “The Long Game: Iraq’s ‘Tishreen’ Movement and the Struggle for Reform”

On October 1, 2019, a broad-based protest movement demanding systemic political reform took hold in Iraq. Activists dubbed their movement Tishreen from the Arabic word for October. Iraqi security forces and militias backed by Iran responded with lethal force, killing hundreds of protesters and wounding many thousands more. And yet the protests persisted, peacefully forcing a change of government, the passage of a new election law, and the scheduling of early elections — currently set to take place on October 10th. Two years later, what does the future hold for the Tishreen movement? We cordially invite you to the release

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Polls Give Iraq’s Reformers the Advantage, the Vote May Be Theirs to Lose

Originally published by Fikra Forum – August 20, 2021 This October will mark the two-year anniversary of Iraq’s Tishreen protest movement that shook the country’s political establishment, bringing down the government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and compelling Baghdad to schedule early parliamentary elections. October is also when those elections are currently set to take place. The movement and its supporters are demanding systemic reforms to address state-sanctioned corruption, rising unemployment—particularly among the country’s youth majority—and a continuing lack of essential services. When government forces and militias loyal to Iran responded to the largely peaceful protests with excessive and lethal

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EPIC’s Field Office Welcomes Summer 2021 Interns

EPIC field office in Iraq welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity for them to support Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our summer 2021 interns: Hero, Haya, and Vallia! Hero Ahmad graduated from Salah ad-Din University’s College of Art, department of English Language and Literature. She has two years of experience as a teacher, three years

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Iraqi Activists And The Difficult Decision To Boycott Elections

In October 2019, a broad based protest movement in Iraq seized international headlines with mass rallies, marches, occupation-style encampments, and civil disobedience in Baghdad and other cities across the south. Activists dubbed their movement “Tishreen” from the Arabic word for October. Despite the largely peaceful, inclusive, and organized nature of the movement, the protests were met with unprecedented violence. Iraqi security forces and non state actors, including militias backed by Iran, responded with excessive and unnecessary lethal force, killing hundreds of peaceful protesters and wounding many thousands more. And yet, in the face of terrible violence, the youthful protests continued

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EPIC WELCOMES SUMMER 2021 INTERNS

Three times per year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Summer 2021 interns: Amna, Jamie, and Shireen! Amna Haider: is a rising senior studying International Relations (particularly conflict and foreign policy), Philosophy, and Human Rights at the University of Iowa. As an Iraqi-American, Amna

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Iraqi protesters’ perilous journey to the ballot box

Originally published by the Middle East Institute – March  22, 2021 With the approach of Iraq’s next parliamentary elections in October 2021, pro-reform candidates are facing troubling obstacles as they prepare to compete against the country’s establishment parties, which include armed militias that have dominated Iraq’s parliament since 2018. To ensure a fair electoral playing field, reformers are asking the international community to quickly step up elections-related assistance and planned oversight, as well as publicly reaffirm a readiness to call out observed violations. Iraq’s government decided to hold the country’s first-ever early elections after weeks of sustained mass protests starting in October

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EPIC WELCOMES SPRING 2021 INTERNS

Three times per year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Spring 2021 interns: Katie and Jacob! Jacob Kopfensteiner: is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a Master’s degree in Arab Studies. His interest in the Middle East first began at

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Our Appeal for a Brighter, Safer New Year

As the New Year begins, we have a special opportunity to double our impact for lasting peace in Iraq. Two generous EPIC supporters have agreed to match all gifts up to $15,000! With this opportunity, you can help make 2x the impact in 2021. In Sinjar, we are empowering community-based activists to use creative story-telling and change strategies to address critical issues in their communities. After a series of workshops along with ongoing mentoring by our team, the activists are now moving ahead with their projects. Here are just a few. Talie, a young woman with a disability rights group,

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Spark Joy on #GivingTuesday

A spark of joy. That’s what every child expresses when he or she receives a gift, and that’s what we feel every time EPIC makes a positive difference in the lives of children and families. For this #GivingTuesday, if you have not already done so, we invite you to join us in making a lasting impact in Iraq. Your donation will go a long way in furthering EPIC’s mission of peace as we support the recovery of Sinjar and other war-torn communities; enhance understanding about Iraq’s protest movement and the urgent need for democratic reforms; and help doctors and nurses

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Closing the US Embassy in Baghdad Is the Wrong Answer

Originally published by the LSE Middle East Center Blog – October 5, 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s threat to close the American embassy in Baghdad exposes a dangerous dichotomy in the Trump administration’s Iraq policy. Less than six weeks ago, the administration gave visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and his colleagues a warm reception, offering support to help the Kadhimi government cope with Iraq’s severe economic crisis, prepare for early elections, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and assert greater state control over security institutions, which have been compromised by the encroachment of pro-Iran militias. The episode reflected an appreciation of

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