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Iraq: Mediation process in the city of Samarra

This project consists of a mediation and conflict transformation process, through the facilitation of a sustainable dialogue, to support reconciliation and promote social cohesion building on the notion of common citizenship.

Following a preliminary phase that consisted of a) practice-oriented and analytical field research, b) an experts’ meeting, and c) an in-depth exploratory mission in Iraq, the project’s first phase was established at the local level in Samarra. The latter is a Sunni-majority city in the governorate of Salaheddin, where important Shia shrines are located and where sectarianism has prevailed, and political dialogue has been cut off since the shrines were attacked, a factor in the outbreak of the civil war in 2006.

The goal of this project is to alleviate the high tensions among conflict parties, to address the marginalization of influential religious actors in the political process and reconciliation initiatives, to foster mutual trust, and finally to promote a peaceful and inclusive shared civil space. To do so, political, tribal, religious and academic actors from different backgrounds will be engaged in the mediation process, as it has been demonstrated that these actors have a real leverage in the current conflict and benefit from a wide audience among their constituencies.