With the offensive on Mosul unfolding, awareness is growing that one day, military groups united in the struggle against ISIS in Iraq will no longer have a common enemy. New conflict dynamics will emerge that need to be addressed urgently. While the need for a longer-term political strategy is now broadly recognized, the Coalition seems to leave the responsibility for such a strategy mainly in the hands of the Iraqi and Kurdish governments. However, the intervention of the Global Coalition against ISIS has a direct impact on ongoing local conflict dynamics. PAX therefore believes that the Coalition carries heavy responsibility for Iraq beyond ISIS and should be more directly involved in and committed to such a longer term political strategy. The recent international meeting in Paris1, co-hosted by France and Iraq, on Mosul after ISIS was an important step to build such a strategy, but participation of local civil society and local leaders was lacking. Without transparent and inclusive planning based on ongoing community consultation, armed actors will seek to turn military victories on the ground into a new status quo, in pursuit of their own territorial or sectarian agendas. PAX is concerned that this engenders new conflict and clears the ground for new insurgent groups.
Of particular concern is the lack of a framework for transitional justice in areas where ISIS retreats. Where this is absent, ad hoc arrangements on justice, compensation and return imposed by the ‘liberators’ risk to result in a new cycle of violence.
PAX therefore believes that the Coalition needs to take its share of responsibility for a comprehensive and longer-term stabilization and peacebuilding strategy for all of Iraq that involves all conflict drivers and facilitates political solutions that address the needs, interests and (historical) grievances of all the different stakeholders on the ground.
Please find the complete statement attached below.