Middle East Briefs

Parallel to the Center’s scholarly work, Middle East Briefs provides a brief analysis of a single issue at the top of the region’s political, social, or economic agenda. Targeted primarily at decision-makers and opinion leaders, the publication was launched in 2005.

Latest Brief

March 2023 – Navigating Dispute and Displacement: The Yazidi Experience in Post-ISIS Iraq

Houman Oliaei

Middle East Brief 151 (Summary) — Nine years after the ISIS campaign of genocide against the Yazidi community in the northern Iraqi region of Sinjar, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis continue to live in displacement camps in Iraqi Kurdistan. Efforts to implement the 2020 UN-brokered Sinjar Agreement between Iraqi and Kurdish governments to restore stability in the region have not only failed but also resulted in new waves of Yazidi displacement and further militarization of the region. In our latest Middle East Brief, Houman Oliaei outlines the shortcomings of the agreement in addressing past discrimination against Yazidis, the formation of new political identities and alliances, and ongoing conflicts over control of the Sinjar region as a disputed territory that hinders Yazidis' ability to relocate outside of Sinjar. Oliaei concludes that though the agreement was embraced by national and international stakeholders as a solution for Yazidi displacement, it does not tackle the root causes of Yazidi vulnerability to displacement and violence and, thus, is unlikely to be successful.

Read Middle East Brief 151 (PDF)

Houman Oliaei is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Kalamazoo College. He holds a PhD in anthropology from Brandeis and was previously a doctoral fellow at the Crown Center.