Stimson in the News

Geneive Abdo quoted in on religion & identity in Iraq

in Program

On Thursday, Stimson hosted a discussion in cooperation with the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) entitled Threat Of ISIS In Iraq: Views From The Ground. Speakers included: Stimson Middle East Fellow Geneive Abdo, Brookings Non-resident Fellow Christine van den Toorn, AUIS Director of the center for Development and Natural Resources Bilal Wahab. Three AUIS students, Noaf, Anas, and Khusai were featured in recorded videos. Lukman Faily, Iraqi Ambassador to the US, also spoke. Stimson President Ellen Laipson moderated.


Abdo spoke about how religious identity in Iraq has nearly replaced the identity of Iraqi citizenship. The fight for a united Iraq is true more in theory than in reality. Religion is being used for political gain in Iraq, as it has been in Lebanon and Bahrain. Ayatollah Sistani’s fatwa asking his followers to take up arms is rare in Shi’ism and shows urgency, but Sistani can no longer control the PMUs. The Shia have been radicalized too.

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