Promoting democracy and inclusion in Iraq after ISIS’s defeat


The liberation of Iraq from ISIS in 2017 may have introduced a fragile sense of security, but it also created major questions about what led to the success of ISIS in the first place and what needs to be done to make sure extremist groups do not return. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) requested research to better understand the views of those who were immediately impacted by ISIS, and how best to support those tasked with building a more united, inclusive country.


GQR carried out a series of focus groups and nationwide surveys that produced deep insights into what views Iraqis from different communities share, and how best to bridge divides on key issues where they do not. Surveys provided province-level insights on hotspots of potential violence, and had a particular focus on those who escaped ISIS’s rule and those who lived through it. The work revealed that those living in recently liberated areas had a renewed interest in seeing a united country and more trust in the country’s security forces, but poor service delivery and the slow pace of reconstruction put these gains at risk.

GQR, working in cooperation with JPM Strategic Solutions and local partner IIACSSS, has conducted dozens of focus groups, as well as 14 national surveys since 2010; in 2018, this included two surveys with 800 interviews in all 18 provinces, and a set of focus groups on views towards women’s rights and freedoms in areas liberated from ISIS.