By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it has established a Health Sector Table.

This Table will be chaired by Professor David Kerr, Rhodes Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics, and Head of Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University.

It is being supported by the Iraqi Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr Ala Alwan, who attended its first meeting.

The Table’s first meeting was held at IBBC’s offices on the morning of Friday 28th June. Its purpose is to allow relevant member organisations to become involved in the further development of the Iraqi health sector.

Healthcare is a priority for IBBC, and the Minister will personally be liaising with this Table. Also present at this meeting were representatives of Almanseer Insurance, Serco, Protechnique, GE Healthcare, Perkins+Will UK, PwC, Management Partners, and The Amar Foundation.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

(Source: IBBC)

Run Media City – the power of words can change lives in Iraq

On the 27th June 2019, Hussein Al-alak and Tracy Hollowood are taking part on the Run Media City 5K, to aid the ongoing work of the AMAR Foundation in Iraq.

This is the second time Hussein and Tracy have taken part on the 5K, around Salford’s Media City, and they are inviting you to support the AMAR Foundation.

Your support will assist AMAR’s efforts in health, education and much more! You can also help by introducing your friends, to the many incredible changes, which the AMAR Foundation are making across Iraq.

One positive change AMAR has made, is the School for Orphans which the Foundation built in Basra in 2016. Up to 30% of the school’s children have lost both parents, the school has modern facilities and it provides a broad curriculum, so children get the best start in life.

You can sponsor Hussein and Tracy – by donating £8.99 to the AMAR Foundation – which is the equivalent of one copy of On the Road, by US author Jack Kerouac.

As Iraqi’s are known for their love of great literature, you could also use John Steinbeck’s words to inspire Iraq’s future generations.

By donating the cost of your favourite book, you will be helping the AMAR Foundation to provide a high standard of education, to children and young people across Iraq.

(Source: Iraq Solidarity News)

By John Lee.

On 27th June, Hussein Al-alak and Tracy Hollowood will run the Media City 5K in Salford, UK, in aid of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation‘s work in Iraq.

Last year, they were ‘classically civilised’ in fancy dress, but who will they be this year?

AMAR works to ensure that vulnerable families in Iraq have access to healthcare, educational services and emergency aid.

To support them, please donate to .

(Source: @TotallyHussein)

By Robert Cole, for the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

The AMAR-led initiative to bring to an end the horrors of religious persecution, which began with a series of high-level conferences in Windsor Castle, has now led to Baghdad.

The November event, held over two days in the Iraqi capital, attracted more than 200 delegates, including senior religious leaders and politicians. There were representatives from the Shia and Sunni community, Yazidis, Christians, Mandaeans, Chaldeans and Mormons.

AMAR’s chairman, Baroness Nicholson (centre right), and delegates.

It was the fourth in the Windsor series. AMAR believes that the recognition of the Yazidi faith by other world religions would prevent further genocidal attacks on this peaceful people once and for all.

In the summer of 2014, thousands of Yazidis were killed, and thousands more women and girls kidnapped, held as sex slaves by ISIS gangs. A further 400,000 were forced from their homes and condemned to a miserable life in the sprawling IDP camps of northern Iraq.

“AMAR is determined to end once and for all the dreadful scourge of religious persecution. We began by inviting many highly influential religious leaders and academics to Windsor Castle to discuss how best to achieve this, and over three separate meetings, we drew up a comprehensive and extensive plan,” explained Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, the AMAR Chairman and Founder.

She added: “The next step was to take this right to the heart of the Middle East, to a region that was the cradle of modern civilisation, one with a rich and diverse history, but a region where there has been so much religious and ethnic strife over the last few decades.”

The Baroness said it was vital that the Windsor plan got massive worldwide support. Gaining the backing of faith leaders in Iraq was the first step to getting this.

And support it they did. Speaker after speaker condemned the curse of religious discrimination. Television news crews spoke during breaks to leaders of every faith, and each time were told in no uncertain terms that murdering, raping, kidnapping and torturing in the name of god was an anathema and had no part in their religion.

A delegate listens to the speakers.

A leading Muslim academic and researcher, Dr Lahaye Abdul Hussein, said the conference was invaluable because its messages would help reduce tension between faith groups. She said Iraqis were beginning to understand the destructive nature of religious intolerance.

Dr Wathik Al Hashmi, President of an Iraqi strategic studies group, said that if religious leaders always spoke the language of tolerance and anti-extremism they would “completely destroy” terrorism.

Father Maysr Binyami, a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said the conference would help educate Iraqis on what needed to be done in order for the country to move forward.

“In order to fight extremism, it is critical that there should be tolerance towards different religions and societies,” he explained.

Reading the final communique to the packed hall, AMAR’s General Director in Iraq, Dr Ali Muthanna, said all were determined to discredit the Takfiri extremist ideology which sanctions violence against others in the name of religion, so that once and for all they could close the door on violence and extremism.

“Religious scholars of all faiths must take the lead in spreading a culture of tolerance and moderation, criticising extremist interpretations and misinterpretations of the religious texts used by the terrorist Takfiris and their followers.”

AMAR’s General Director in Iraq, Dr Ali Muthanna (centre), with delegates.

The delegates called on the new Iraqi leadership to “concentrates all efforts” on deepening the paths of co-existence and co-operation among all Iraqi citizens no matter what faith or ethnic origin.

This could be achieved by “building a society free from racism and sectarianism based on freedom of belief and opinion for all, renouncing all forms of violence and extremism and eliminating all forms of discrimination and hatred.”

The conference concluded that education was also invaluable in helping to spread the culture of tolerance and love and helping enshrine the values ​​of citizenship through the educational curricula.

Dr Ali continued: “We must empower women in our society, not only within their own families, but at work and in education. Women have a vital role to play in preventing violence and we must offer them legal and social protection to ensure they have a more active role in their communities.”

On the second day of the conference, delegates heard from three leading members of the Yazidi administrative council, and from a senior member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Elder Tony Perkins.

Elder Perkins pointed out that there were many similarities between the suffering experienced by members of the fledgling Mormon religion in the early 19th century and the Yazidis’ experiences today.

The Mormons were hounded out of many US States and had to flee further West each time, finally ending up in the desert of Utah where they eventually set up home. Along the way they faced extreme violence, threats and abuse. In the state of Missouri, they were even subjected to an “extermination order”.

Elder Perkins said they had overcome the relentless persecution of those early years and were now an extremely successful community with much influence not just in the United States but around the world.  This was an example that the Yazidis could take heart from and realise that there was a future beyond this recent dark period.

Members of the Yazidi panel took time to explain to the other religious leaders the suffering endured by their people at the hands of ISIS. Thousands murdered, kidnapped, tortured and enslaved.

More than 3,000 women and girls were still missing, the majority believed to be in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of others were still forced to live in IDP camps, uncertain of whether they can ever go home.

The Yazidis suggested that a way to keep their community safe was for the Iraqi government to create a new governorate exclusively for them in the Sinjar region. It would have its own police force, political leaders, courts and community centres.

In her closing remarks, Baroness Nicholson said so much physical violence comes from religious persecution and “violence leads to more violence. Violence does not make peace.”

She said she would be inviting those attending the conference to join the Windsor movement to pursue “the wonderful philosophy” contained in the first day’s final communique.

“I would suggest, for the Yazidis in particular, that we should be trying to assist their move from despair to success, from degradation to respect, from a hatred to a real human love for the other.”

The Baroness said it was all entirely possible. The Church of Jesus Christ the Latter Day Saints had shown that very clearly. “There is a map, a plan, that can be followed.”

(Source: AMAR)

By Kate Denereaz, for the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

Work is a huge part of our lives. It provides security, meaning and a sense of belonging. It’s part of who we are.

Many AMAR staff, like the people they serve, have been displaced by war and violence. Working for AMAR provides structure and a semblance of normality.

But work means many different things to different people. To mark International Women’s Day, we’re asking some of the women of our workforce, “what does working for AMAR mean to you?

Click here to hear their stories.

(Source: AMAR)

The past year has seen many developments in Iraq, including the successful completion of parliamentary elections (admittedly with a low participation of voters), the installation of a new cabinet (with a few posts still to be filled), and a considerably higher oil price than in the previous year (although that has fallen back considerably towards the end of the year).

Protests over the summer have highlighted unemployment, corruption, shortages of electricity, and problems in the delivery of basic services.

In the year to come, the new government of Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi must focus on tackling these problems as a matter of urgency, while at the same time redoubling its efforts to rebuild the areas previously devastated by the Islamic State group.

There’s a lot of work to be done, but there are several factors at the moment pushing Iraq towards a favourable outcome: Despite the current low oil prices, Iraq’s oil production is at record highs; the new government appears highly motivated and seems to know it has a limited time to effect change; and international companies and institutions are keen to get involved.

If managed properly, this year could be the start of a real boom period for Iraq. The nearly ten-percent increase in the readership of Iraq Business News over the past year is just one indicator that more people are taking an interest in Iraq and the opportunities to be found there.

As we publish our first newsletter of the new year, we’d like to say a special word of thanks to all of our contributors, including our panel of Expert Bloggers, who have given us the benefit of their wisdom and observations over the past twelve months:

We look forward to reading more from them in the coming year.

We’d also like to thank all our readers and well-wishers for making Iraq Business News the must-read publication for everyone with an interest in Iraq, and we ask you to please support our valued advertisers, who make all of this possible.

It is also important to remember two Iraq-focussed charities that are doing amazing and much-needed work in the country:

Any donations made to them will make a big difference to the lives of so many vulnerable people in Iraq.

With another challenging but potentially rewarding year to come, Iraq Business News will be with you every step of the way, wishing all of you a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2019.

Years of war and the invasion of ISIS have torn through the fabric of family life in Iraq: loved ones have been lost, homes destroyed, communities ripped apart.

One of the most devastating effects has been the vast numbers of children left without parents.

The AMAR International Charitable Foundation has been delivering medical and educational support to these orphans and families, but we need your help to continue.

This Christmas families all over the world will come together to share in the warmth, pleasure and love surrounding the festivities. Together under one roof, they’ll celebrate, enjoy hearty meals, exchange gifts.

But for many in Iraq there can be no such celebration. Their lives have been devastated by conflict and persecution. Almost 2 million remain displaced.

One of the most devastating consequences has been the vast numbers of children left without parents. They have been left traumatised and unprotected, and risk becoming forgotten casualties of the war.

This Christmas families all over the world will come together to share in the warmth, pleasure and love surrounding the festivities. Together under one roof, they’ll celebrate, enjoy hearty meals, exchange gifts.

But for many in Iraq there can be no such celebration. Their lives have been devastated by conflict and persecution. Almost 2 million remain displaced.

One of the most devastating consequences has been the vast numbers of children left without parents. They have been left traumatised and unprotected, and risk becoming forgotten casualties of the war.

How can I help?

£14 for an emergency winter blanket
£85 for food box feeding a family for a month
£49 for a Woman Health Volunteer to travel and visit families for a month
£77 for one adult wheelchair
£290 for an English teacher for a month
£244 for an ambulance driver for a month

Please help us to help them.

(Source: AMAR)

By Robert Cole, for the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

For hundreds of millions of families around the world, this month’s Mawlid al-Nabi commemoration to mark the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday will be a time for family, friends, joy and celebration. A time of prayer, exchanging gifts, embracing the wider community and extending to others their religious generosity.

But for millions more, particularly widows and children, there will be no celebration as they continue their battle against war, hunger, and disease.

In Iraq alone, there are one million widows and, tragically, more than four million orphans.

AMAR International has been delivering urgent medical and educational support in the Middle East for the last 26 years. Using a staff comprised almost entirely of national professionals and volunteers, they have treated more than 10 million patients and have opened 46 medical centres across Iraq.

But we couldn’t have done any of this without your help. Today we are launching a new, urgent appeal for emergency funds to help widows and orphans in the most desperate need.

Please help us to help them.

(Source: AMAR)

Amar and Coca-Cola Foundation Start Project to Replenish Water in the Iraqi Marshes

The AMAR International Charitable Foundation has begun construction of a domestic-wastewater-purification system in the Mesopotamian Marshes, where all 30 houses in the village of Al Adhaima will be connected to the network.

The project, which is being funded as part of The Coca-Cola Company’s global “Replenish” water initiative, will employ traditional methods, largely using the area’s natural reed beds as a filtration system for the village’s wastewater. The urgent need for the scheme has only been increased by a summer of drought, which has hit water levels and quality badly.

The Mesopotamian Marshes, thought by many to be the location for the Garden of Eden, are a rare wetland at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. As well as being a unique ecosystem, the area is home to around 300,000 Marsh Arabs, whose own rich culture centres on the Marshes’ natural resources.

Sadly, the area has a long and troubled history of drainage, drought and displacement. In the 1990s Saddam Hussein drained around 90% of the Marshes in an effort to crush the Marsh Arabs. Hundreds of thousands were displaced. After his fall from power in 2003, the waterways were reopened and the Marshes replenished, and the locals began to return.

But the recovery has been only partial. This year reduced river flows, compounded by drought, have led to a drying-up of parts of the Marshes, as well as increased water salinity. Pollution is also a growing problem as population and industry grow but aging infrastructure struggles and decays. The agriculture and livestock that underpin local livelihoods are under severe threat.

Many farmers in the marshes keep water buffalo, but high water salinity is depleting herds.

AMAR’s Replenish Project is seeking to tackle some of these issues in the Hammar Marshes. It will use the existing natural reedbed systems for the final process in the collection and treatment of domestic sewage and wastewater. Once treated, aerated and filtered, the cleaned water will be redirected to the river, where it will flow into and recharge the Marshes. The project is being carefully monitored and evaluated in close co-ordination with the Directorate of the Environment, who has been part of the project team throughout.

AMAR has long been an advocate for the survival of the Marshes and its people. In 2016 it successfully campaigned for the area’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, affording it an increased level of protection. In 2012 AMAR ran a Heritage Project in the marshes, funded by the US State Department, which included the publication of a book documenting the history and culture of the region, The Southern Mesopotamian Marshlands: Reclaiming the Heritage of a Civilisation.

The Replenish Project seeks to continue this work. It will improve the water quality of the targeted area of the Hammar Marshes and preserve the unique marshland environment. This, in turn, will support the Marsh Arabs in re-establishing their ability to manage the marshes, and sustain livelihoods there, which has been so disrupted by historical persecution.

The reintroduction of managed reedbeds, which can also be used for farming and harvesting, also provides the local community with raw materials for traditional crafts and construction techniques. As such, this project has the potential to position the local community as a cultural hub and centre for access to the Marshes.

A woman collects reeds for the construction of a mudhif, a traditional reed house.

AMAR will be working closely with The Coca-Cola Foundation throughout the project. Once the pilot scheme is complete, with further funding and support from the Iraqi Ministry of Environment and local Directorates, it hopes to roll out the project as a sustainable model in other marshland communities.

(Source: AMAR)

For hundreds of millions of families around the world, the recent Eid celebrations were a time for family, friends, joy and celebration. A time of prayer, exchanging gifts, embracing the wider community and extending to others their religious generosity.

But for millions more, particularly widows and children, there could be no celebration as they continued their battle against war, hunger, disease.

In Iraq alone, there are one million widows and, tragically, more than four million orphans.

AMAR International has been delivering urgent medical and educational support in the Middle East for the last 26 years.

Using a staff comprised almost entirely of national professionals and volunteers, they have treated more than 10 million patients and have opened 46 medical centres across Iraq.

To commemorate this Summer’s Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, we are launching an urgent appeal for emergency funds to help many more people in desperate need of your support.

Please donate by clicking here, or by using this donation form.