Past eventMembers

What Drives Support for Extremist Groups in Iraq?

26 January 2016 - 18:00 to 19:00

Chatham House, London


Benedict Dempsey, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Mercy Corps Europe
Hayder al-Khoei, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House; Fellow, Forward Thinking
Emman El-Badawy, Senior Analyst for Middle East, Centre on Religion & Geopolitics
Chair: Tim Eaton, Project Manager, Middle East and North Africa Programme - Syria and its Neighbours Policy Initiative, Chatham House



A major upcoming report from Mercy Corps will argue the assumption that Iraq’s conflict is primarily driven by sectarianism and is not supported by evidence. Rather, it is a more general perception of unjust or unresponsive governance that pushes people to support extremist groups.
If the findings of the report are correct, then it would indicate that the best interventions to reduce support for extremist groups are ones that invest in civil society: tackling the experience of marginalization or injustice at the hands of government institutions.
Our panel will analyze the idea that disenfranchisement rather than sectarian division or religious fervour is the primary driver of the conflict in Iraq. How might such findings inform attempts to establish peace in the region? And might these lessons be adapted to tackle extremism in other countries?

This event will be followed by a reception.