By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Targeting of US bases in Iraq a harsh Iranian message to Washington

The US government believes Iran is behind a series of advanced missile attacks, which have increased recently, on joint US-Iraqi military facilities.

The attacks were allegedly carried by Iranian-backed groups inside Iraq. A US official has revealed nine missile attacks on or near Iraqi facilities hosting US forces in the past five weeks.

Most recently, Iraqi authorities announced Dec. 12 that two rockets had landed near a military base housing US soldiers in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport.

Click here to read the full article.

The Governor of Anbar, Mr Ali Farhan Hameed, visited the UK this week as a guest of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) .

While here, he attended various meetings at Chatham House, UKEF, at roundtables with IBBC members and dinner in the House of Lords with Baroness Nicholson ( President of IBBC and PM Trade Envoy to Iraq)

Mr Hameed’s message is that Anbar province is open for business, is secure, and has defeated and rooted out ISIL. Anbar is on the look out specifically for British engineering companies to work on water projects. The province now has good, rebuilt infrastructure, and the benefits of large phosphate deposits, natural gas, and is locationally at the crossroads between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria. It seeks to reclaim its position as one of Iraq’s wealthier areas and has great opportunities for companies looking to establish businesses there.

Mr Hameed also attended the IBBC Christmas party, attended by Lord Green and Lord Robertson, vice presidents of IBBC, Mr Alastair Kett of PWC ( Deputy Chairman of IBBC) and Mr Rasmi El Jabri – deputy chairman IBBC ) and many new and original IBBC members and supporters, at the Royal Overseas League.

Mr Christophe Michels says’ that IBBC is ready and willing to facilitate any further introductions and initiatives with Anbar province, and we invited Mr Hameed following our own visit to Anbar in July 2019. We all look forward to a busy and successful year ahead.’ Season’s greetings and thanks to you all in our world.

(Source: IBBC)

The Dutch Government Reiterates its Support to Explosive Hazard Management Activities in Iraq

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes an additional contribution of EUR 3 million (approximately USD 3.5 million) from The Netherlands to mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards and enable the return of displaced communities to their areas of origin.

This contribution will mainly focus on the Sinjar district where one of the major problems post-liberation remains the presence of explosive hazards. Faced with military operations to reclaim the Sinjar territory in 2014, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) deliberately booby-trapped private residences, ensuring that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to haunt the city long after they had left.

These dangerous items are everywhere. Their presence threatens lives and impedes the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs). As of 31 October 2019, approximately 25,400 IDPs from Sinjar district are still estimated to remain displaced, with about 11,400 households having returned (International Organization for Migration; Displacement Tracking Matrix).

These remnants of war are also a significant obstacle to all rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. No humanitarian projects can begin if critical infrastructure such as hospitals, power plants, schools, bridges, and roads are littered with IEDs – often barely visible to the untrained eye.

In addition to explosive hazard management activities, risk education will be delivered to affected communities from the area where clearance operations are taking place, either on site or in the nearby IDP camps. The Netherlands will also support a nine-month risk education campaign that will be implemented throughout 2020 and will be measuring the long-term effect and behaviour change following the delivery of life-saving messages through different channels and targeting specific audiences.

Last week, representatives from the Dutch Embassy in Baghdad were able to see first-hand explosive hazard management and risk education activities conducted by UNMAS implementing partner in Ramadi, Al-Anbar Governorate. Commenting on the visit, Mr. Tsjeard Hoekstra, Chargé d’Affaires, underlined the essential importance of mitigating the risks posed by explosive hazards left behind by Da’esh during a dark period in the recent history of Iraq. “The work of UNMAS and its partners is crucial in the light of the safe return of those that have been displaced during the conflict, and enabling affected communities to rebuild their lives. The liberated areas, such as Anbar and Sinjar, need our continued support towards stabilization and recovery, and the Netherlands is proud to strengthen its partnership with UNMAS in this regard.”

“We eliminate the explosive threat along roads, under bridges, from power and water plants, from schools, from critical infrastructure, so that those displaced by conflict can return to their homes, begin again to work, to educate their children, to contribute to society, to live a normal life. This would not be possible without the support from our donors. We are utmost grateful for the adiitional contribution from the Dutch Government,” added Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

(Source: UN)

The Dutch Government Reiterates its Support to Explosive Hazard Management Activities in Iraq

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes an additional contribution of EUR 3 million (approximately USD 3.5 million) from The Netherlands to mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards and enable the return of displaced communities to their areas of origin.

This contribution will mainly focus on the Sinjar district where one of the major problems post-liberation remains the presence of explosive hazards. Faced with military operations to reclaim the Sinjar territory in 2014, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) deliberately booby-trapped private residences, ensuring that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to haunt the city long after they had left.

These dangerous items are everywhere. Their presence threatens lives and impedes the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs). As of 31 October 2019, approximately 25,400 IDPs from Sinjar district are still estimated to remain displaced, with about 11,400 households having returned (International Organization for Migration; Displacement Tracking Matrix).

These remnants of war are also a significant obstacle to all rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. No humanitarian projects can begin if critical infrastructure such as hospitals, power plants, schools, bridges, and roads are littered with IEDs – often barely visible to the untrained eye.

In addition to explosive hazard management activities, risk education will be delivered to affected communities from the area where clearance operations are taking place, either on site or in the nearby IDP camps. The Netherlands will also support a nine-month risk education campaign that will be implemented throughout 2020 and will be measuring the long-term effect and behaviour change following the delivery of life-saving messages through different channels and targeting specific audiences.

Last week, representatives from the Dutch Embassy in Baghdad were able to see first-hand explosive hazard management and risk education activities conducted by UNMAS implementing partner in Ramadi, Al-Anbar Governorate. Commenting on the visit, Mr. Tsjeard Hoekstra, Chargé d’Affaires, underlined the essential importance of mitigating the risks posed by explosive hazards left behind by Da’esh during a dark period in the recent history of Iraq. “The work of UNMAS and its partners is crucial in the light of the safe return of those that have been displaced during the conflict, and enabling affected communities to rebuild their lives. The liberated areas, such as Anbar and Sinjar, need our continued support towards stabilization and recovery, and the Netherlands is proud to strengthen its partnership with UNMAS in this regard.”

“We eliminate the explosive threat along roads, under bridges, from power and water plants, from schools, from critical infrastructure, so that those displaced by conflict can return to their homes, begin again to work, to educate their children, to contribute to society, to live a normal life. This would not be possible without the support from our donors. We are utmost grateful for the adiitional contribution from the Dutch Government,” added Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

(Source: UN)

Stabilizing liberated areas in Iraq post-ISIL remains a top priority for Germany

The German Federal Foreign Office has contributed another 11 mio USD to the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL, which includes repairing essential public infrastructure and providing short-term employment opportunities.

With this contribution, Germany’s support through the German Federal Foreign Office to the FFS amounts to over 100 mio USD. Overall, Germany is the second-largest contributor of the 28 donors that fund the FFS. The Facility finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL in priority areas identified by the Government of Iraq.

“Since Iraq’s liberation from ISIL, so much progress has been made in bringing stability to areas that were under its territorial control. We are extremely grateful for Germany’s continued support to UNDP, which has allowed us to help more than 8 million Iraqis access better services and facilities,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“The challenges facing Iraq are enormous, so I would like to thank the German Federal Foreign Office for prioritizing Iraqi communities as they continue to recover from the atrocities of ISIL,” adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

“Iraq and the international community jointly defeated ISIL, as we marked this important anniversary yesterday. We must not forget the needs in the liberated areas, where still 1.4 million IDPs cannot return home, and in many areas basic needs have not yet been rehabilitated”, said Jochen Möller, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy in Baghdad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has completed more than 2,200 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 386 currently underway.  Approximately 895 projects are in the planning stages.

(Source: UNDP)

Stabilizing liberated areas in Iraq post-ISIL remains a top priority for Germany

The German Federal Foreign Office has contributed another 11 mio USD to the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL, which includes repairing essential public infrastructure and providing short-term employment opportunities.

With this contribution, Germany’s support through the German Federal Foreign Office to the FFS amounts to over 100 mio USD. Overall, Germany is the second-largest contributor of the 28 donors that fund the FFS. The Facility finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL in priority areas identified by the Government of Iraq.

“Since Iraq’s liberation from ISIL, so much progress has been made in bringing stability to areas that were under its territorial control. We are extremely grateful for Germany’s continued support to UNDP, which has allowed us to help more than 8 million Iraqis access better services and facilities,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“The challenges facing Iraq are enormous, so I would like to thank the German Federal Foreign Office for prioritizing Iraqi communities as they continue to recover from the atrocities of ISIL,” adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

“Iraq and the international community jointly defeated ISIL, as we marked this important anniversary yesterday. We must not forget the needs in the liberated areas, where still 1.4 million IDPs cannot return home, and in many areas basic needs have not yet been rehabilitated”, said Jochen Möller, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy in Baghdad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has completed more than 2,200 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 386 currently underway.  Approximately 895 projects are in the planning stages.

(Source: UNDP)

E-Tendering training for potential bidders to be held in Ramadi, Anbar

In continuing of training sessions conducted in 2017, 2018 and early 2019 for the potential firms/companies throughout Iraq, UNDP Country Office Iraq is planning to conduct E-Tendering training session for firms/companies who have not yet registered with the E-Tendering portal of the UNDP based in Anbar Governorate.

The training sessions will be conducted on 10 December 2019 in Ramadi.

Firms/Companies who are not previously registered on the E-Tendering portal are requested to send the following information to the UNDP focal point: Sana Jalal: sana.jalal@undp.org.

a) Name of the company;
b) Name of Representative/s (Maximum two person from each firm/company are allowed to take part in the training session).

Note: The training venue will only be communicated to those firms/companies who will show their interest to participate by sending an email to the above focal points.

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Call for tender written on a folder, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes a new contribution of US$24 million from the US Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID-OFDA) to strengthen primary, secondary and preventive health services in conflict-affected governorates in Iraq.

Access to improved life-saving health services will be ensured for approximately 3.5 million beneficiaries in seven governorates where health systems have been weakened by years of conflict.

“WHO is grateful to USAID-OFDA for its continued support, which enables us to maintain the delivery of uninterrupted quality health care services to millions of highly vulnerable women, children and the elderly living in severely affected areas,” said Dr. Adham Ismail Abdel Moniem, WHO Representative in Iraq.

As of October 2019, more than 4.3 million people have returned to their homes of origin, while approximately 1.5 million remain displaced in camps, informal settlements, and host communities across Iraq.

Through this new contribution from USAID-OFDA, WHO will scale up its support to national health authorities and partners to find sustainable solutions for the treatment of common diseases and environmental health emergencies. In parallel, WHO will establish primary health care centers in camps hosting displaced people, and rehabilitate primary health care facilities in areas of return.

The contribution will also cover the provision of prosthetics and physical rehabilitation for amputees, in addition to supporting mental health care services for those in need. Clinical management of rape and Gender-Based-Violence survivors is also among WHO’s priorities for 2019/20.

WHO has received considerable support from USAID/OFDA which was vital in supporting the health emergency response throughout the crisis in Iraq. During the Mosul conflict in 2014, mobile clinics were deployed, field hospitals were established close to the frontlines, and medicines and medical supplies were provided to health facilities delivering emergency health services in Dohuk, Ninewa, Anbar, and Kirkuk.

Medical waste management services were also supported, and a total of 76,000 kgs of medical waste was collected, sorted and disposed to prevent risk of cross-contamination.
“WHO has been able to maintain its work in Iraq through the commitment, cooperation, and generous contributions of donors such as the US Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance,” said Dr. Abdel Moniem.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Authorities in Anbar governorate are suppressing the right of residents to show support for demonstrations elsewhere in the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

In recent days, they have arrested two men for merely posting messages of solidarity on Facebook, questioned a third, and sent a fourth into hiding.

More here.

(Source: HRW)

By Shelly Kittleson for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

Dangers persist as Iraqi border crossing opens and IDPs return

US troops started pulling out of northeastern Syrian territory held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in late October prior to returning to the Deir al-Zor region along the Iraqi-Syrian border some days later, allegedly to protect oil fields.

US officials have claimed that some troops may be repositioned in Iraq’s westernmost province of Anbar to continue the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Other troops may be left in eastern Syria, but “far away from the Turkish border,” according to a spokesperson in the US-led coalition to fight IS.

It is unclear whether, where and how many of these troops will be authorized to remain in Iraq, with some reports saying they will need to leave Iraq entirely within four weeks. Though Anbar province is currently stable, it remains susceptible to several potentially destabilizing factors.

Al-Monitor spent several days in the Iraqi-Syrian border area near and in Qaim in October and spoke to tribal leaders, local security forces and internally displaced people, or IDPs, who had recently returned to the area.

Click here to read the full story.