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Middle East and North Africa

Middle East and North Africa
The Arab Spring of 2011 might seem long gone, but its legacy continues to reshape the politics of the Middle East and North Africa in many ways. In addition to having been one of the underlying drivers of the 2011 uprisings, the inability of Middle Eastern and North African states to decisively tackle ongoing challenges and to accept and implement critical reforms has contributed to undermining the stability of many societies.

CMI works in the Middle East and North Africa to foster inclusive dialogue and to support and complement nationally-led peace efforts. We believe that the region’s underlying challenges can be only solved if all the relevant actors are genuinely included in developing and implementing local and sustainable solutions. CMI’s added value is in its ability to facilitate, enable and support unofficial dialogue together with local actors. Despite continuing change in the political environment, we believe it is possible for peacemaking processes to proceed steadily for a more stable and equitable overall outcome.


Supporting Iraqi national reconciliation

CMI supports national reconciliation efforts in Iraq by facilitating informal dialogue and providing expert support.

iraq

CMI’s Project Manager Hussein Al-Taee, Senior Adviser Ilkka Uusitalo and Project manager Saana Keskitalo in Iraq. CMI’s work in Iraq is focused on supporting local efforts towards reconciliation through informal dialogue and expert support.

The violence and instability in Iraq are rooted in deeper political struggles within society. The protracted sectarian conflicts stem from historical grievances, foreign interventions, and past policy decisions. Lack of effective agreement on fundamental concerns risks prolonging instability and violence by causing increased marginalisation and discord within the political system. However, there is now widespread acknowledgement at all levels of Iraqi society that these obstacles must be tackled vigorously and inclusively.

CMI’s work in Iraq is focused on supporting local efforts towards reconciliation, peace and stability through informal dialogue and expert support. CMI’s independent and impartial nature, and our focus on supporting local efforts without imposing an agenda of our own, enables us to work with all relevant Iraqi parties. As a result, we have been able to foster trusting relationships with political actors from across the political spectrum in Iraq.

CMI’s work remains resolutely independent of all official talks and contacts and is based on the primacy of local ownership. In our work we highlight the importance of Iraqis setting their own agenda, visions and strategies, while we provide the space and opportunity to hold constructive discussions and offer expert advice, where this is considered useful by the actors involved.

CMI remains accessible to all the relevant actors at every step of the informal dialogues, thereby helping to ensure the best possible convergence between the various unofficial efforts to bring about a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

  • In Iraqi society there is a growing awareness of the need for comprehensive changes
  • CMI’s work in Iraq is focused on supporting local efforts towards reconciliation, peace and stability through informal dialogue and expert support
  • CMI’s work remains resolutely independent of all official talks and contacts and is based on the primacy of local ownership

Supporting an inclusive transition process in Libya

CMI facilitates national- and local-level dialogue in order to support efforts towards peace in Libya.

libya

CMI has held nation-wide consultations with various stakeholders throughout Libya.

Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, Libya’s political actors have failed to establish a new, inclusive order. Libyan society continues to suffer from the country’s severe fragmentation of power and political polarization, with a proliferation of armed groups. Political divides are shaped by regional, ideological, economic and societal cleavages. Elites that prospered under the Gaddafi regime and new, post-revolutionary elites continue to fight for political power and resources.

To support an inclusive and peaceful transition process in Libya, CMI facilitates national- and local-level dialogue among the relevant stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organization and tribal entities to jointly tackle the root causes of tension and conflict. Over the coming years CMI will continue to create spaces for encountering and communication to various stakeholders, in order to enhance mutual trust and help overcome the persisting divisions between the country’s political and social groups.

  • The political situation in Libya is increasingly polarized and fragmented, and armed groups continue to proliferate
  • Political divides are shaped by regional, ideological, economic and social divisions, with ongoing struggles for political power and resources
  • To support an inclusive and peaceful transition process in Libya, CMI facilitates national- and local-level dialogue among the relevant stakeholders to jointly tackle the root causes of tension and conflict

Supporting Palestinian dialogue

CMI together with its local partner supports efforts towards Palestinian reconciliation.

palestine

Palestinian reconciliation can support the democratic development of Palestinian society, and in the long run also contribute greatly to peace and security throughout the Middle East.

Palestinian politics and society remain divided despite several agreements between rival groups. Internal struggles have made it increasingly difficult for broader Palestinian society to be part of the political process. Internal division hinders democratic development in Palestinian society, with seriously harmful consequences for the entire population.

Since 2010, CMI and its local partner Masarat have supported the national reconciliation process in Palestine. We work to bring together in informal dialogue a wide group of Palestinian actors from Gaza, the West Bank, the Palestinian community in Israel, and Palestinian diaspora. With this effort we aim to create mutual trust, and develop broadly acceptable solutions on fundamental challenges that have been overshadowed and left unresolved by internal discord and power struggles. The advantage of informal dialogue is also that all relevant actors can continue to meet and discuss together even when formal processes become stalled.

The project has so far created trust between the Palestinian stakeholders and established a wide network of actors motivated to support the Palestinian reconciliation. The dialogue has resulted in a number of concrete proposals that have been widely presented to various Palestinian actors and to the official mediator Egypt. Palestinian reconciliation can support the democratic development of Palestinian society, and in the long run also contribute greatly to peace and security throughout the Middle East.

  • Efforts to create reconciliation in Palestine remain hampered by internal disputes
  • CMI and its local partner Masarat in Palestine continue to create spaces for mutual trust and inclusive dialogue
  • Informal talks amongst Palestinians from all sectors of society both at home and abroad have led to a number of concrete proposals, which have been presented to the relevant actors

Enhancing the inclusiveness of peacemaking efforts in Yemen

CMI facilitates informal dialogue among all key Yemeni constituencies on critical national questions.

yemen

CMI works to enhance women’s meaningful inclusion in conflict resolution and peacemaking efforts in Yemen.

After the first promising three years of transition, Yemen spiralled into a complex conflict that has brought the political process in the country to a halt and created a severe humanitarian crisis. Much work remains to be done to build foundations for a peaceful, inclusive society. The solutions developed at the 2013-2014 National Dialogue Conference in Sana’a are broadly accepted by Yemeni society, but their implementation cannot succeed as long as widespread violence continues.

In this context, CMI facilitates informal dialogue among all key Yemeni constituencies on critical national questions. This enables entities from across the political spectrum to build mutual trust and develop joint solutions to the key issues for peace and stability in the country. We also work to enhance women’s meaningful inclusion in conflict resolution and peacemaking efforts in Yemen. CMI supports the Women’s Forum for Dialogue and Peace, an inclusive group of influential Yemeni women who aim to ensure that women’s views and needs are given weight in all negotiations to steer the country’s future in a better direction.

  • The political breakdown in Yemen remains to be resolved
  • Peace efforts are required for the alarming humanitarian situation and issues underlying the fighting to be addressed
  • The National Dialogue recommendations are promising, but their implementation cannot succeed amidst continuing violence
  • CMI facilitates informal dialogue among all key Yemeni constituencies and works to enhance women’s inclusion in peacemaking efforts in the country