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Report On On-Going Research Projects
  • Workshop for Special Police Units on Violence Against Women
  • Update on Displacement Crisis in the Kurdistan Region
Commentary And Analysis
  • Crisis in Kobani
  • The emerging Middle East Order: Who can shape it and how?
  • Explaining the Riddle of Turkish Foreign Policy in Syria
  • No Institutional Evolution for Kurdistan's Economy
  • Countering ISIS: Predicaments and Prospects
  • MERI Forum: The Middle East in Transition: The Need for Dialogue and Reconciliation, November 4-6, 2014
Workshop for Special Police Units on Violence Against Women

On the 21st of October, MERI hosted a workshop on Quality Assurance in Law Enforcement as part of a series of training sessions to be provided to police officers from special units for combating violence against women. 21 police officers and their captains from Qala and Minara stations in Erbil, the Chief of Erbil Directorate, representatives from the Legal Council and the Ministry of Interior, KRG attended the workshop. The workshop also marked the initiation of the implementation phase of MERI's Prevention of Violence Against Women (PVAW) project.

The workshop and training sessions set out to promote an integrated approach to quality assurance in Kurdistan Region's law enforcement sector. They are designed to improve the quality of services provided to the public by adopting professional and transparent standards of policing and service delivery.

The objectives of the initiative are to :
a) develop a quality assurance culture and mindset;
b) introduce feedback and appraisal mechanisms;
c) integrate quality assurance in policing with governance;
d) share examples of leading practices and
e) promote professional development.

MERI's initiative will continue in 2015 by:
a) providing training on quality assurance for special units on violence against women;
b) organising regional workshops to define quality assurance in law enforcement;
c) hosting a conference on quality assurance and good governance;
d) developing global dialogue and collaboration on case study reports and
e) introducing best-practices for the Kurdistan Region.

Commentary: Crisis in Kobani

During the last few weeks, Kobani has become the scene of relentless attacks carried out by ISIS triggering a wave of 180,000 refugees. On the other hand, it has become the symbol of Syrian Kurdish resistance against ISIS. The strategic as well as the symbolic importance of this outpost is also acknowledged by the US which has made attempts to support anti-ISIS resistance on the ground by either launching air strikes against ISIS positions in the area or delivering arms and medical supplies to Syrian Kurds. (contd.)
(Contd.) The US policy has received a lukewarm response from Turkey, which is more concerned about the removal of Bashar Al-Assad from power and close cooperation between Syrian Kurds and the PKK. However, Turkey has recently agreed on providing a safe passage to the Peshmerga from its territory through to Kobani. The crisis in Kobani is a test case in the war against ISIS and brings to the fore not only a humanitarian crisis but a disharmony between international and regional stakeholders that takes the form of a patchy cooperation for the time being.

Update on Displacement Crisis in the Kurdistan Region

On the 23rd of October, the United Nations Office in Baghdad hosted the presentation of the Strategic Response Plan relative to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. The humanitarian community working on the ground has completed gathering the aid needs for both internally displaced families and the host communities. The Plan aims to provide relief and support the livelihoods of 5.2 million people. The activities gathered in the plan amount to $2.2 billion. The appeal is significantly big, however, the funds pledged by the international donors do not cover one third of the funds requested. A conference of donors seems to be necessary, although the on-going emergencies in Syria and Central and West Africa, unfortunately, create competition in the disbursement of humanitarian aid.

Within the Strategic Response Plan, MERI has been involved in establishing mid-term goals. In particular, the Plan includes the need to support the families affected by the conflict to restore their self-sufficiency and recover the capacity to generate their own income. This involves working at the micro-level (readdressing the socio-economic infrastructure in the region) as well as the macro level (develop policies to generate employment opportunities in key strategic sectors). MERI seeks to work with both the displaced families and host communities in order to improve their conditions so that their needs are satisfied.
Dlawer Ala'Aldeen - The Emerging Middle East Order: Who can Shape it and How?
          For the first time for decades, all sides to the conflict agree that terrorism has grown out of all proportions and poses a major threat to all. The current aerial bombardment by the US and its allies has won the explicit or implicit support of almost all stakeholders. Read more here....
Athansios Manis- Explaining the Riddle of Turkish Foreign Policy in Syria: Dilemmas, Risks and Limitations
          The Turkish government will not engage in policies of micromanagement unless convinced that a united and stable Syria will be the end result of it. Read more here....
Roger Guiu - No Institutional Evolution for Kurdistan's Economy
          The push for self-government in Kurdistan is heavily influenced by the solution provided on the Kurdish fiscal equation or, in other words, how the government is going to manage the country's wealth, fund public services and stimulate growth. Read more here....
Farhan Hanif Siddiqi - Countering ISIS: Predicaments and Prospects
          Stymied by internal divisions, the coalition needs to prioritise ISIS as the biggest threat facing the Middle East. Read more here....

NOVEMBER 4-6, 2014

MERI Forum will bring together policy and decision-makers, academics and opinion leaders to discuss a range of social, economic and political issues. Over the course of three days, the conference will aim to provide a forum for dialogue and reconciliation providing creative and constructive answers to a range of policy issues. With this in mind, the conference will touch on the following topics:
  • Defeating Extremism through Dialogue and Reconciliation
  • The New Middle East Order: Threats and Opportunities
  • Nation-Building in Iraq: Beyond Sectarianism
  • Iran and the US: The Impact of a Changing Relationship
  • Middle East's Regional Powers: Long Term Policies in the Neighbourhood

Fouad Masum, President of Iraq

Salim Al-Juboori, Speaker of Parliament, Iraq
Ammar Al-Hakim, Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Ayad Allawi, Vice President, Iraq
Osama Nujayfi, Vice President, Iraq
Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister, KRG
Barham Salih, Former Prime Minister, KRG
Ayad Al-Samarrai, Former Speaker of Parliament, Iraq
Homam Hamoody, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Iraq
Baha Al-Araji, Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq
Salih Al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq
Ibrahim Jaafari, Foreign Minister, Iraq
Hoshyar Zebari, Finance Minister, Iraq
Adil Abdil Mahdi, Minister of Oil, Iraq
Bayan Jabir Al-Zubaidi, Minister of Transport, Iraq
Ashty Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources, KRG
Murat Ozcelik, Former Ambassador of Turkey in Iraq
Rasheed Al-Khayoun, Journalist, Iraq
Cengiz Candar, Journalist, Turkey
Walter Posch, SWP, Germany
Gholamali Chegnizadeh, Tehran University, Iran
Saban Karadas, ORSAM, Turkey
Galip Dalay, SETA, Turkey
Gareth Stansfield, University of Exeter, UK
Michael Werz, Centre for American Progress, USA
David Pollock, Washington Institute, USA
Further details on registration is available from the Forum's web link:

Places are limited and early registrations are welcome to guarantee attendance.
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