Post-conflict Reconstruction in the Nineveh Plains of Iraq
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The importance of culture in deciding whether to return home following the Islamic State occupation of Nineveh, by group. ( Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)
Stockholm (AINA) -- The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), founded and co-financed by the Swedish Government and known for scholarly work on issues of conflict and cooperation in the context of global peace and security developments, has released a recent report titled Post-conflict Reconstruction in the Nineveh Plains of Iraq: Agriculture, Cultural Practices and Social Cohesion.

The report focuses on the Nineveh Plain, part of Iraq's Nineveh province and the traditional homeland of the indigenous Assyro-Chaldean Christian population. The area also includes the ancient Assyrian ruins of the cities of Nineveh, Nimrud and Dur Sharrukin. In addition a minority of Yezidis, Shabaks and Turkmens lived there prior to the occupation by the Islamic State (IS) 2014.

According to the report, "between 2014 and 2017, tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed and millions were displaced as a result of the brutal occupation by the Islamic State (IS) group and the subsequent military campaign to defeat it. IS particularly targeted Members of these communities were executed, enslaved or forcibly converted to IS's radical form of Sunni Islam. Infrastructure and houses were reduced to rubble, and livelihoods based on crop and livestock farming were devastated. In addition, the destruction of many historical, religious and cultural heritage sites resulted in a sense of spiritual loss and community estrangement."

The report further summarizes that "the atrocities committed by the IS left deep scars on the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq. IS deliberately targeted ethnic and religious communities with the aim of erasing the traces of diversity, pluralism and coexistence that have long characterized the region. IS destroyed sites of cultural and religious significance to these communities and devastated their livelihoods, including their crop and livestock farming activities."

( Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

The SIPRI Research Policy Report stresses the need for a holistic, a people-centered approach which is an "approach to post-conflict reconstruction in the Nineveh Plains that not only focuses on rebuilding the physical environment and economic structures but also pays adequate attention to restoring the ability of communities to engage in cultural and religious practices, and to mending social and inter-community relations. The report highlights the inter-connection of physical environments, economic structures, cultural practices and social dynamics. It stresses the need to address the impacts of the IS occupation while taking into account other pressing challenges such as climate change and water scarcity."

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