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April 9, 2003. Baghdad, Iraq. Photo: Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images
April 9, 2003. Baghdad, Iraq. Photo: Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images

Two decades after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and three decades following the Oslo Accords, these two anniversaries are heavily contested and remembered in the West including Norway. Iraqi and Palestinian populations continue to grapple with the profound impact of these historical events. This panel brings together expert voices from Iraq and Palestine to explore the multifaceted dimensions of collective memory, creating historical narratives and the shaping of political struggles.

2003 was meant to herald a new era for Iraqis, one of freedom and choice. Twenty years on from the invasion, in a country where over half the population was born during or after the invasion, where do things stand? How do Iraqis look back at this historical event and where do Iraqi people think things stand? Aida Al-Kaisy, co-founder of independent Iraqi website Jummar, will discuss these questions with a particular focus on a post-Tishreen Iraq and the impact of demands for change by young people.

The panel then transitions to the three-decade mark since the Oslo Accords. What does the future of peace negotiations look like after thirty years of a failed process? Nadim Khoury will look at current trends in peace negotiations that bypass Palestinians to normalize relations between Israel and Arab states. The trend, which was set in motion by the Trump administration, is, in fact, not so new. It echoes diplomatic initiatives prior to the Oslo agreements (1967-1993) that negated Palestinians altogether. In brief, the future of peace initiatives looks like its past. In both cases, it excludes the Palestinians.

This seminar will be moderated by PRIO Researcher Jørgen Jensehaugen. The event is part of Masahat festival which is taking place during 21.-24. september around different venue in Oslo and is in collaboration with the PRIO Middle East Centre.

A light breakfast will be served from 8.00am.