Iraq-GCC Relations: From Fragile Rapprochement to Consolidated Cooperation
Iraq’s strained relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) continues to undermine regional, international and developmental efforts to peace and stability. With the rise of jihadi threats and proxy agents, and flaring sectarian conflict, the need for dialogue is acute to both further regional security cooperation and to avoid increased polarization and accidental escalation. Furthermore, as Iraq’s reintegration involves both anti-ISIS efforts and regional sectarian polarization, this project serves as an entry point to broader discussions on effective regional security mechanisms.
In partnership with The Century Foundation (TCF) and Gulf Research Center (GRC), this project focuses on intra-regional relations and supports the current national and international efforts to normalize Iraq’s ties with its Gulf neighbors. Bringing together participants from Iraq, the GCC and in later stage, non-Arab countries including Turkey and Iran, this dialogue also provides an important opportunity to discuss prospects for normalizing discussion of Iran’s interests in the region, and opening the possibility of more constructive engagement between Iran and Arab Gulf governments.
Iraq’s Transition from Theater of Proxy Wars to Centerpiece of Inclusive Security Structure
EWI and CARPO aim to capitalize on the geopolitical momentum generated by the above-mentioned developments and dynamics through initiation of discrete Track 1.5 and Track 2 conferences between key, influential Iraqi, regional and international stakeholders and experts. The overall objective of the project is to lay the foundation for a new and inclusive regional security regime focused on the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq—politically and economically—reducing regional tensions, enhancing economic development and regional cooperation.
Irish Lessons for Iraq
In cooperation with both Irish organisations, Rethinking Conflict and Social Change Initiative, and Iraqi partners, this project aims to derive lessons from the Good Friday Agreement and transition in Northern Ireland. The protracted Irish conflict and peace process provides valuable insights on the following topics: 1) the role of inclusive religion and inclusive politics in peacebuilding, 2) how paramilitaries and (even terrorists) should be engaged in the national reconciliation process with the aim of ending a sectarian conflict in a deeply divided society; 3) how ex-militants can transition to become active and peaceful members in political life; and 4) how to achieve community and national reconciliation through inclusive state institutions & and rule of law.