Perceptions of Police, Security and Governance in Iraq: IOM Study

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Yale Law School‘s Center for Global Legal Challenges (GLC) are releasing a new report that evaluates community perceptions of police and security in three communities across Iraq.

This new study – Perceptions of Police, Security and Governance in Iraq – presents evidence from an assessment of IOM Iraq’s ‘Community Policing’ Programme, implemented alongside the Government of Iraq Ministry of Interior.

The study is based on data from two waves of surveys conducted in three communities where the programme was implemented in 2019: Baradiyah (Basra Governorate), Hamdaniyah (Ninewa Governorate), and Jubeil (Anbar Governorate).

Community policing (CP) is a method of law enforcement defined by the United Nations as “a strategy for encouraging the public to act as partners with the police in preventing and managing crime as well as other aspects of security and order based on the needs of the community.”

Surveys were conducted in July and August 2019, before IOM Iraq implemented the CP programme in the three communities, and again in December 2019 after six months of programming.

“In Iraq, where waves of violence over the past four decades have eroded trust between communities and security actors, there has been very little publicly available research on efforts to re-establish this trust,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite.

“This study is a step toward establishing an evidence base to evaluate community policing methods in Iraq, that will help tailor the programme for diverse contexts across the country.”

“In Iraq and around the world, public distrust of state institutions has driven unrest, instability, and support for violent non-state groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” said Oona Hathaway, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Global Legal Challenges at Yale Law School.

“This study suggests that training police in the importance of human rights and equality under the law can strengthen both human security and national security.”

The study also included surveys in two comparison communities – Khor Zubair, Basra and Saqlawiyah, Anbar – that were selected for geographical proximity and demographic similarity to the communities where the Community Policing Programme was implemented. Conducting baseline and endline surveys in these communities provides some insight into whether other trends and events unrelated to the CP Programme might have contributed to the changes observed over the course of the study.

The key findings of the endline study are available in infographic form:

Evaluating Perceptions of Security and Police in Iraq, the baseline report analysing data from the first wave of door-to-door surveys conducted before implementation of the CP programme, was published in April 2020.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s national lockdown in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has reportedly given a boost to local businesses.

According to a report from AFP, local businesses no longer have to compete with imports from countries such as Turkey, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

It quotes the owner of an ice-cream factory in Basra as saying:

“The coronavirus crisis has allowed us to prove ourselves on the Iraqi market.”

More here.

(Source: AFP)

 By John Lee.

Shell has reportedly evacuated its foreign staff who had been working at the Basra Gas Company (BGC).

BGC executives told Reuters that around 60 staff were flown out on Wednesday after workers who had been laid off staged a protest.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq’s South Gas Company (SGC) having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

At least three rockets are reported to have hit near Halliburton‘s site in the Burjesia area of Basra early on Monday morning.

It is understood that the incident caused no casualties or damage.

It is the first attack to target US energy interests in Iraq in recent months.

(Sources: S&P Global Platts, AP, Sputnik)

Prime Power Middle East (PPME), a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Metro Power Holdings Corporation, has commenced operation of its power plant in Umm Qasr, Basra.

The power plant started its commercial operation last Sunday, 09 February 2020, and is designed to deliver base load of 24/7 power to the Umm Qasr Ports Authority Zone.

The gas-fired power plant is equipped with three latest version Wartsila W20V34SG engines with fast start capability able to provide power to the GCPI grid within 30 seconds. It is fully automated with the latest control system allowing stable electricity generation to the Umm Qasr Port grid.

Prime Power started discussions with the Iraqi government in 2016 in light of the growing power shortages. In May 2018, Prime Power signed a 23-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Genral Company of Ports or Iraq (GCPI).

Benefiting from natural gas supply from a specially built 15km natural gas pipeline, the Umm Qasr Port Power Plant is the first phase of a multi-phase development program that starts with its current Phase 1 operational capacity of 29.3MW reaching total generation capacity 68.4MW in Phase 2, with room to increase capacity up to 150MW in the coming years.

The power plant operation will be integrated with a distribution system to support the port industrial zone and surrounding cities.

Enrique Razon Jr., Prime Power Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to start our greenfield power plant in Umm Qasr Port. It is a testament to the potential of Iraq.

“Under a join operation framework with GCPI we were able to leverage the Basra Governorate’s natural gas resources to develop a first class state of the art facility that adds vital power generation infrastructure and services to state of Iraq.

“We see this plant as the first phase of many as we continue to be long term investors in Iraq and to contribute to its economic and social development.

In spite of some of geopolitical and social challenges Iraq is going through, the plant was built within record time and ahead of schedule.

Guillaume Lucci, Prime Power President and COO, said:

We are pleased to have delivered such critical infrastructure and services to GCPI and the Port of Umm Qasr.

“The completion of Phase 1, in less than one year, is a significant milestone in Prime Power’s strategy to build up an infrastructure portfolio that delivers fast and critical investments to regions in need.

“We will continue to rest on our strong presence on the ground as we work hand in hand with the government and the communities we serve.

Moving forward, PPME will continue to improve the electricity situation at the port, and is looking forward to launching the Phase 2 in the last quarter of 2020.

Prime Metro Power will continue to aim for an even greater contribution to the Iraq power market, and continue the boundless use of economical and sustainable power generation facilities.

(Source: ICTSI)

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

Protests spread in oil-rich Basra as death toll rises

Repeated closures of Iraq’s key Umm Qasr port and intermittently blocked internet over the past almost two months have led to significant economic losses and suspicion in Iraq’s southernmost hub, as protests and outcry over the killing of unarmed demonstrators continue.

On Nov. 24, seven protesters were reported to have been killed and over 150 injured at the port when security forces apparently opened fire on demonstrators.

Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights reported only three deaths and said they had occurred during “violent clashes.”

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Ahmed Mahmoud)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has reportedly announced that it will select a number of international investment companies to build five new refineries around the country:

  1. Kirkuk with a capacity of 70,000 barrels per day (bpd);
  2. Wasit capacity of 140,000 bpd;
  3. Nasiriyah capacity of 140,000 bpd;
  4. Basra card 140,000 bpd; and
  5. al-Faw capacity of 300,000 bpd.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Ministry is financing Karbala refinery which is about 78 percent completed, and once it is fully constructed, it will provide about 9 million liters per day of high-quality gasoline, in addition to various oil derivatives in accordance with international standards.

(Source: Asharq Al-Awsat)

(Pictured: Baiji Oil Refinery)

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

What’s Really Polluting Southern Iraq’s Most Important Waterway?

For years, fish and other marine life has been disappearing from the all-important Shatt al-Arab waterway in Basra. This wide river at the southern end of Iraq is an important port, linking Iraq with the Persian gulf. It is a vital part of the local environment.

In the more recent past, there have been criticisms that the Shatt al-Arab is too polluted, radioactive and affected with bacterial diseases. Locals often ask why. But it’s not like there is a lack of knowledge about the various causes of this river’s life-threatening problems. A wide number of experts in the area have been studying the different types of pollution problems carefully for years.

Researcher Jabbar Hafez Jebur has conducted a number of studies on whether the Shatt al-Arab is radioactive, taking samples from  various contributing rivers. “The concentration of radioactive elements are within the permitted limits and do not require any action,” he told NIQASH.

The Shatt al-Arab is free of radioactivity, confirms Khajak Vartanian, a physicist with the southern Directorate of the Environment. “But,” he added, “there is growing chemical pollution.”

The concentrations of toxic metals like nickel, chromium, lead, zinc and cadmium can be measured on the water’s surface and in its sediments, says hydrologist Safaa al-Asadi, of the University of Basra’s geography department. There are low  concentrations of toxins spread evenly throughout the waterway.

“Yes, the river is contaminated with toxic minerals but their levels are still within the limits of daily use for irrigation and for aquatic survival,” al-Asadi explained. In fact, much of the pollution comes from the gas emissions in the atmosphere that result from oil extraction activities, he continued, as well as the pollutants issued by diesel generators. These pollutants, discharged into the air, end up in the river after it rains.

Where the various toxins end up depends very much on the tides in the Shatt al-Arab. Their location depends less on the discharge of industrial and domestic sewage, he notes, pointing out that man-made discharges directly into the river have less of an impact than those coming from the sky.

Basra’s Ministry of the Environment regularly monitors the amount of pollution in the waterways at various different points, says Ahmed Jassim Hanoun, director of the department for the protection of the environment at the ministry. Samples are taken regularly and tested, he adds.

Hanoun says his offices are concerned about the direct discharge of pollutants into the Shatt al-Arab and other nearby rivers. But he believes that one of the most important factors is the level of salinity, or salt, in the water.

No bacterial diseases were discovered in the waterways recently and Hanoun says this has a lot to do with the lower levels of salinity. Authorities have tried to ensure that more fresh water is released into the Shatt al-Arab to keep fresh water flowing, and prevent sea water from coming in from the ocean.

“What we noticed after periodic tests throughout 2019 is that the releases of fresh water from the Tigris river, coming from out of Maysan province, has meant that there is more resistance to the salt tongue coming in from the sea,” Hanoun said. The previous year, when there was not as much rainfall upriver, the Shatt al-Arab was a lot saltier and therefore more prone to bacterial growth.

“The department of water resources released 30 to 40 cubic meters [of fresh water] per second in 2018 but in 2019, it released more than 90 cubic meters per second,” Hanoun noted.

Besides the bacterial contamination, saline water from the sea and industrial and environmental pollution, there is another thing that isn’t helping, Hanoun points out: The number of submerged objects in the waterway.

His department has regularly asked the port authority to clear the waterways of the hundreds of objects there, he says.

“We are suffering because of the delay from the government,” says Khaled al-Talibi, a sea captain and head of a local mariners’ association. “The submerged items disrupt navigation in the harbour and change the way the sand and silt moves, which in turn causes a change in currents and reduces the flow of water to the river mouth.”