Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

Iraq’s Shi’a: A house divided

13 Feb 2018 - 14:33
Source: Omar Chatriwala / Al Jazeera English / Flickr

In Kuwait the international summit on the Reconstruction of Iraq is held from 12-14 February 2018. The meeting is held in cooperation with the World Bank and private corporations.

Re-read our online report on relation- and coalition-building between Iraq’s main Shi’a political groups from 1991 to 2016. It focuses on the Islamic Da’wa Party, the Sadrist Trend, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and Iraq’s various irregular forces. It is visualised in the form of a short timeline.

The Islamic State will be ousted from Mosul in the near future. When this happens, the challenges of reconciliation and post-conflict governance between Iraq’s Sunni, Shi’a and Kurds will move to the heart of the country’s political agenda.

As the Iraqi state is dominated by its Shi’a, their internal views and relations matter greatly for the country’s future. They can use their dominance to push a vision for a ‘new Iraq’ that includes its Sunni and Kurds. They can also use their dominance to advance their own interests. The choice matters because it influences the likelihood of ‘another Islamic State’ emerging in a few years.

The report's main finding is that Iraq’s Shi’a political elites are unlikely to develop an inclusive deal for the country with its Sunni and Kurds. This does not bide well for Iraq’s future unity. The report can be read as a call for action to address the problems of political representation, coalition building and exercise of public authority.