Iraqi foes give mediation a chance

Iraqi foes give mediation a chance: UMass scholar at center of talks on Kirkuk
by James F. Smith (The Boston Globe)
19 November 2009

With a push from a University of Massachusetts at Boston professor, local and national Iraqi legislators are meeting today in Baghdad to defuse explosive disputes in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where ethnic and political conflicts threaten to derail Iraq’s halting progress toward a working democracy. Continue reading

Iraq’s lessons from Ireland

Padraig O’Malley (center), a professor of peace and reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, in Baghdad in July 2008, after the signing of the Helsinki II agreement between representatives of all political parties in Iraq. O’Malley, who has been a key figure in helping settle sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, will speak at a two-day justice conference hosted by BU’s Institute for Philosophy and Religion. Photo by Nancy Riordan
Padraig O’Malley (center), a professor of peace and reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, in Baghdad in July 2008, after the signing of the Helsinki II agreement between representatives of all political parties in Iraq. O’Malley, who has been a key figure in helping settle sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, will speak at a two-day justice conference hosted by BU’s Institute for Philosophy and Religion. Photo by Nancy Riordan

Iraq’s lessons from Ireland
by Caleb Daniloff (BU Today)
20 March 2009

Twice in the past two years, Padraig O’Malley has maneuvered representatives of warring Iraqi factions into the same room so they could talk — and keep talking. The first meeting, also attended by negotiators from reconciliation efforts in Northern Ireland and South Africa, resulted in the Helsinki Principles — a framework for keeping the dialogue open. The key, says O’Malley, the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, was bringing in veterans scarred by both bloodshed and reconciliation. Continue reading

How to get sworn enemies to negotiate

How to get sworn enemies to negotiate
(Chicago Public Radio)
16 January 2009

As fighting continues in Gaza and the death toll mounts, it’s hard to believe that any other conflict could feel this intractable. Veteran peace negotiator Padraig O’Malley says that not so long ago Northern Ireland looked similarly hopeless, but after years of dialogue–both direct and through brokers like himself–the conflict deescalated. Continue reading

Padraig O’Malley: US must talk to al-Qaeda

Professor Padraig O'Malley, right, speaks with Dr. Brian O'Malley, no relation, of Provincetown followed his presentation Wednesday afternoon at Cape Cod Community College. More than 400 attended.
Professor Padraig O’Malley, right, speaks with Dr. Brian O’Malley, no relation, of Provincetown followed his presentation Wednesday afternoon at Cape Cod Community College. More than 400 attended.

Padraig O’Malley: US must talk to al-Qaeda
by James Kinsella (Cape Cod Today)
11 December 2008

When Padraig O’Malley talks about the inner workings of bringing two violently opposed groups together to reach peace, he tells the story of the bar and the beds. Continue reading

The long road to reconciliation in Iraq

The long road to reconciliation in Iraq
by Max Bergmann (Democracy Arsenal)
8 October 2008

The discussion of U.S. involvement in Iraq has almost been solely focused on troop levels and withdrawal dates. Reporters tend to scoff at Sen Obama’s line (I’m paraphrasing) “that we must be as careful getting out of Iraq, as we were careless going in” as just an empty talking point. But if any of them want to know what that phrase actually means they should take a look at a Hearing held by Congressman Delahunt today, which was one of the more interesting and productive hearings you will come across. (As someone who studied ethnic conflict I find this sort of comparative analysis fascinating and have written about it frequently.) Continue reading

A matter of loyalty in Iraq

A matter of loyalty in Iraq
by Padraig O’Malley
14 July 2008

The Helsinki talks on Iraq concluded July 5 in Baghdad with the public disclosure of the agreement — 17 principles defining the framework for conducting future negotiations among parties and 15 mechanisms to monitor compliance with the principles. There are 37 signatories to the agreement; among them some of the most powerful political figures in Iraq representing every shade of political opinion. What they will do with the agreement is in their hands. If they do not develop the structures to give teeth to the monitoring mechanisms, it is likely that the agreement will become a meaningless piece of paper. Continue reading