Building everyday peace in Kirkuk, Iraq: The potential of locally focused interventions

Since the end of Ottoman control of the territory of Iraq and the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq under British Administration in 1921, conflict has emerged in Kirkuk over political and territorial control, and this conflict intensified after the 2003 United States-led invasion of the country. As a result, Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen politicians have been competing for power with little sign of compromise. Conflict in Kirkuk mirrors and often feeds into ethnosectarian competition in the central government, making peace in Kirkuk important to the country as a whole. Despite the failure of elites to demonstrate a willingness to compromise in Kirkuk, peacebuilders, policymakers and donors have focused considerable attention on the elite level and have ignored the local side of peacebuilding, where there is potential to create positive change.

In order to better understand that potential, survey research was undertaken with 511 participants in the main bazaar in Kirkuk, a key location for social­izing between people from different ethnosectarian groups. The research explored the local side of peacebuilding and the influence that time, space and multiple layers of privilege have on everyday peace and everyday conflict in Kirkuk.

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