The Ambassadors of Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States condemn the excessive and lethal use of force by Iraqi security forces and armed groups since 24 January against peaceful protestors, including in Baghdad, Nasiriya and Basra.

Despite assurances by the government, security forces and armed groups continue to use live fire in these locations, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries of civilians, while some protestors face intimidation and abduction.

The Ambassadors call on the government to respect freedoms of assembly and the right to protest peacefully, as enshrined in Iraq’s constitution, and on all protestors to maintain the peaceful nature of the movement.

The Ambassadors call on the government to guarantee credible investigations and accountability for the over 500 deaths and thousands of injuries of protesters since 1 October.

(Source: British Embassy)

By John Lee.

The CEO of Germany’s Siemens has said that US President Donald Trump would support his company’s role in reconstruction projects in countries like Iraq.

Joe Kaeser (pictured) made the comment to CNBC at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Following a hotly-contested competition in 2018, it was agreed that Siemens and rival GE would share the work to upgrade Iraq’s electricity system, with GE supplying 14 gigawatts (GW), and Siemens 11 GW.

Siemens employs around 60,000 workers in the US.

(Source: CNBC)

By John Lee.

A recently established tote bag factory has reportedly created jobs for 25 women in the Kurdistan Region’s Halabja.

According to Rudaw, the initiative aims to promote alternatives to plastic, and is part of the “Green City Halabja” campaign, run by the NWE NGO and partially funded by the German Consulate and WADI organization.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Rudaw)

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)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)

Euro-Med Monitor launches advocacy campaign to stop the bloodshed against peaceful protesters in Iraq

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has sent letters to the European Union and the French and German governments, urging them to exert pressure on the Iraqi government to stop the use of lethal force against ongoing popular protests, and to immediately stop the use of violence against peaceful protestors.

The Geneva-based organization said in a statement that it had sent letters to Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and German Foreign Minister Haikou Massu, briefing them on the bloody security campaigns against protesters calling for the overthrow of the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi for failing to tackle corruption and solve the issues of power outages and unemployment in Iraq.

The Euro-Med expressed its grave concern over the ongoing violence and repression by Iraqi authorities which was made possible by the agreements signed between the Iraqi government and the European Union against popular protests over the past two months.

In its letter to the Iraqi government, the Euro-Med called for an immediate and serious investigation into the killings by security forces, calling for their withdrawal from areas of contact with protesters, and for ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice. The organization called for the release of detainees detained at the protests, compensation for all victims of violations for the illegal use of force by security forces and adopting effective steps to confirm the Iraqi government’s commitment to freedom of opinion and peaceful assembly, as guaranteed by international and domestic laws.

Since the protests erupted on October 1, the Euro-Med has documented the deaths of more than 363 protesters by security forces and snipes, as well as the injury of more than 15,000 others for expressing their opinions, as guaranteed by the Iraqi Constitution and international agreements to protect the right to freedom of peaceful opinion and assembly.

The Euro-Med said its teams documented horrific details of killings and abductions of unarmed demonstrators, journalists, human rights activists and observers, and monitored a series of security campaigns organized by Iraqi police, security forces and military formations against demonstrations, especially in the provinces of Southern Iraq. The organization monitored the closure of several media outlets, most recently on November 24, as the Iraqi government issued a decision to close the offices of 8 television channels, and 4 other media outlets for 3 months for allegedly violating “the codes of professional conduct.”

In a letter to the European Union, the Euro-Med said the French government continues to assist Iraqi internal security forces by providing them with military support and training, including weapons used to deal with peaceful demonstrations. The Geneva-based group noted that Germany too extended in September the training of the German mission (Bundeswehr) of the Iraqi local troops for a year.

The organization added in its letter to the German Foreign Minister, “We find it disturbing that the member states of the European Union continue to help the Iraqi authorities and have not yet considered to benefit from this assistance at least to ensure respect for human rights.”

The Euro-Med pointed out that between 2014 and 2018, Iraq was the main country buying arms from the Czech Republic while during the same period, France provided 8.6% of arms imports to the Middle East, including Iraq.

The Euro-Med stated that although the EU imposed an embargo on arms exports to Iraq in 2003, in 2004 it adopted the Common Position 2004/553/CFSP, which authorized the sale, supply, transfer, or export of weapons and related materials required by the newly established Government of Iraq.

In its letter to the French Foreign Minister, the Euro-Med said that since the outbreak of the Iraqi protests, Paris has not reduced its military assistance nor taken necessary punitive measures against the Iraqi authorities to curb its use of violence against peaceful demonstrators, noting that this unfortunate slowdown could make France complicit in such tragic events taking place in Iraq.

The Euro-Med called on the EU to consider re-imposing the arms embargo, even partially, to ensure that military training and arms exports from EU member states are not used to commit new violations against peaceful protests.

The organization stressed the need for the European Union to consider the use of its assistance to Iraq in order to ensure that the government of Abdul-Mahdi complies with its responsibilities towards non-violent protests and to stop use of force against demonstrators.

The Euro-Med called on the European Union to pressure the Iraqi government to show adequate respect for human rights in Iraq, in addition to pledging not to use EU aid and military supplies to suppress peaceful protests.

The Euro-Med concluded by calling on the French government to suspend the training of personnel and other forms of assistance of the Iraqi government until it abides by its responsibilities towards non-violent protests, stop all forms of use of force against them, and open immediate and serious investigations into the brutal use of violence against them in the last two months and pledge to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with Iraqi and international laws.

(Source: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor)

Germany’s MAN Energy Solutions is providing a drink can factory of the Royal Can Making Company (RCMC) in Iraq with six MAN 18V32/40 CD engines, with a total capacity of 53 megawatts (MW).

The recently constructed power plant in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, will supply power to the RCMC manufacturing site and also to other nearby industrial plants.

Waldemar Wiesner, Head of Region MEA (Middle-East Africa), Power Plant Sales, at MAN Energy Solutions, explained:

Iraq is a country in the process of change. After the armed conflicts of the past, the World Bank is forecasting economic growth of 6.5% for this year…

“Providing local businesses with a reliable energy supply is the prerequisite for economic growth in Iraq.

“Our localized power plant solutions ensure the operation of industrial plants and make customers, such as the Royal Can Making Company, independent of the national power grid.

The new power plant guarantees a reliable energy supply for the RCMC drink can factory and therefore enables high utilization of production capacities, as the plant is no longer affected by fluctuations in the national grid. The company manufactures more than two billion drink cans every year.

Increased presence in the Persian Gulf

This year, MAN Energy Solutions has already commissioned two power plants in the Iraqi cities of Samawah and Basra.

We are proud that the Royal Can Making Company is another customer from the Persian Gulf region which is relying on energy solutions provided by MAN Energy Solutions. In total, we are now supplying more than 200 MW of power to rebuild the country’s infrastructure,” said Wiesner.

(Source: MAN Energy Solutions)

By John Lee.

Germany’s Siemens and Egypt’s Orascom Construction signed an agreement with Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity to rebuild Baiji 1 and Baiji 2 power plants in northern Iraq.

The plants will have a combined generation capacity of 1.6 gigawatts (GW) when completed and are a major step in Siemens’ roadmap for rebuilding Iraq’s power sector that has already added more than 700 megawatts to Iraq’s grid.

Work at Baiji, which is about 250 km north of Baghdad, will begin once the contracts are approved by Iraq’s Council of Ministers and a financial agreement is reached with the Ministry of Finance. The projects are expected to be completed within 28 months after the financial closing.

The power plants in Baiji were severely damaged by Islamic State militants. Recovering the lost capacity from the plants will help Iraq power its biggest oil refinery located in the city, a concrete plant, and will provide electricity to thousands of homes in Salahuddin province and other areas.

Iraq’s Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb, Siemens AG’s Joe Kaeser (pictured) and Osama Bishai, the CEO of Orascom Construction, witnessed the signing of the agreement on the sidelines of the Iraq Energy Forum 2019 in Baghdad.

Siemens will supply four new SGT5-2000E gas turbines and will inspect and revamp six exiting ones. The company will also provide two 400kV and one 132kV substations, along with generators, auxiliaries, automation and control systems, and related electrical equipment.

Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO Siemens Middle East and UAE, said

“Iraq’s economic transformation is picking up pace, and this project demonstrates Siemens’ commitment to help Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity provide efficient and reliable power to all its people. We are proud to begin this project to help Iraqis in liberated areas recover and prosper.”

Discussing the deal, Karim Amin, CEO of Power Generation at Siemens AG, said:

The reconstruction of Baiji 1 and 2 power plants mark the second phase of our roadmap in Iraq and will be the biggest so far in terms of power generating capacity when both plants are completed.

“The rebuilding of Baiji will secure 1.6 gigawatts and will create hundreds of jobs, which is a further demonstration of Siemens’ commitment to support knowledge transfer to the Iraqi people.”

Siemens’ footprint has been expanding in Iraq and the company is now active at over 20 locations, from Basra to Erbil. Siemens also has some recent experience in Baiji.

Earlier this month, Siemens delivered power equipment to ensure constant electricity for a clinic being built in the city and will also donate Siemens medical equipment for the facility. Al-Tawheed Center is expected to open this year and will be able to treat 10,000 patients a year.

Siemens and Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity signed an implementation agreement to kick off the execution of the roadmap for rebuilding Iraq’s power sector in April 2019. Within the implementation agreement, the two agreed on the award of contracts valued at approximately €700 million for Phase 1 of the Roadmap.

(Source: Siemens)