LTC William Zemp: Partnerships in Peacebuilding

Learn More About Mahmoudiya

The war in Iraq began in 2003, when a U.S.-led coalition launched a military operation in that country. This followed the Iraqi government’s failure to comply with United Nations (U.N.) Security Council Resolutions requiring it to surrender all weapons of mass destruction and allow verification by U.N. inspectors.

Even after the ground war ended in Iraq and elections led to the formation of a new transitional government in 2005, the security situation worsened as violent conflict flared between Iraqi groups.

The violence that wracked Mahmoudiya in 2007 was also occurring in other parts of Iraq. Working with Iraqi partners, the U.S. military helped to stabilize the environment and support opportunities for peacebuilding initiatives.

Lieutenant Colonel William Zemp saw firsthand the value of civilian and military organizations working together in Mahmoudiya. The reconciliation process in that district improved conditions for the local population and the U.S. military. When the U.S. Army withdrew the brigade in Mahmoudiya at the end of its tour, it was able to transition the area to an Iraqi security lead and replace the U.S. unit with an advisory force one-fifth of the size of the previous brigade.

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) has been at work on the ground in Iraq since 2003, and has maintained a permanent office in Baghdad since 2004. USIP works with Iraqi partners in some of the most violence-prone areas of that country, supporting their efforts to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts through peaceful means.

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