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International Conference

Rebuilding War Societies: Iraq After ISIS

Organized by University of Basrah , University of Erlangen-Nuremberg - Center for Iraq
Studies (CIS) Felsberg Institute for Education and Academic Research (FIBW)

About CIS

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS; Russian: Содружество Независимых Государств, СНГ, tr. Sodruzhestvo Nezavisimykh Gosudarstv, SNG), also called the Russian Commonwealth (to distinguish it from the English-speaking Commonwealth of Nations[3]), is a loose confederation of 9 member states and 2 associate members that are located in Eurasia,

formed during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and which were all former Soviet Republics. Georgia withdrew its membership in 2008, while the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), which regard their membership in the Soviet Union as an illegal occupation, chose not to participate.

The CIS has few supranational powers but aims to be more than a purely symbolic organization, nominally possessing coordinating powers in the realms of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention. Furthermore, eight of the nine CIS member states participate in the CIS Free Trade Area. Three organizations are under the overview of the CIS,

namely the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union (alongside subdivisions, the Eurasian Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Space, which comprises territory inhabited by over 180 million people), and the Union State. While the first and the second are military and economic alliances, the third aims to reach a supranational union of Russia and Belarus with a common government, flag, currency, etc.

The organization's goals

Many societies are currently shaken by violent conflicts, while others struggle with the additional consequences of past armed struggles or regional and global spill-over effects. A growing number of sources stress the fact that violence is continuously on the rise. Post-conflict does not always correspond with post-violence: on the contrary, the process of rebuilding war societies often has to take place during the course of an ongoing violent conflict.Under these circumstances, it is not only the “faces of war” that are changing, but also the challenges of rebuilding war-torn societies.

Three years after the official proclamation of a new Islamic Caliphate by Al-Baghdadi in Mosul and the subsequent direct control of territorial entities in Iraq and Syria by ISIS, the region has fallen victim to a new dimension of violence and destruction. In Iraq, these phenomena are taking place parallel to an ongoing and heated debate about the future political structure of the country, in which the question of unity has become one major object of discussion. When we consider Syria, we can see that a similar process has already been enacted there. The rebuilding of Iraq and Syria poses enormous challenges to all parties and actors involved and non-violent perspectives still seem hard to detect.

This international and interdisciplinary conference is a continuation of the 2016 conference on "Rebuilding War Societies: Continuities and New Beginnings" in Sulaimania / Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It aims to create a better understanding of these complex challenges of rebuilding war societies in post-conflict constellations and situations of ongoing violence. Special attention will be given to the particular situation in Iraq, while at the same time the conference organisers intend to broaden knowledge and perspectives through the presentation of international country case studies and comparative approaches. As a working basis, rebuilding is defined as an all-encompassing transformation process of structural and societal change, while reconstruction is understood as the rehabilitation of previously destroyed, damaged or non-functioning structural components as well as the rehabilitation of societal cohesion.

The conference organisers seek papers from both scholars and practitioners exploring various perspectives
with regard to rebuilding war societies, including (but not limited to) :

  • societal challenges
  • the role of the military
  • economy, ecology and resources
  • the role of higher education
  • cultural heritage
  • moderation of political conflict
  • historical cases of re-building experiences

Possible Panels

Section 1: Focus on Iraq

  • Failed state? Fragile state? One state? Three states? Thinking Iraq's future ....
  • Rebuilding Iraq and Syria after ISIS
  • A look at history: benchmarks of destruction and milestones of development in Iraq and the larger region
  • Dealing with a violent past: Overcoming the aftermath of disaster and destruction during and after the Saddam regime
  • The Legacy of the Bremer Administration: reduction of military personnel, combatants and irregular armed forces

Section 2: Regional and global challenges and international country case studies

  • The role of education in rebuilding war societies
  • The legal framework: transitional justice and establishing the rule of law
  • Downsizing military personnel and reconfiguration of armed forces
  • The destruction of sustainable livelihoods and the challenges of ecological rehabilitation
  • Non-violent political economy
  • De-escalation, pacification, negotiation and reconciliation