By John Lee.

UK-bassed pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has said it is the subject of an anti-corruption investigation in the US relating to its activities in Iraq

In its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company said:

As previously disclosed, in the US, in October 2017, AstraZeneca and certain other pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies were named as defendants in a complaint filed in federal court in the District of Columbia by US nationals (or their estates, survivors, or heirs) who were killed or wounded in Iraq between 2005 and 2009 (the Lawsuit).

“The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act and various state laws by selling pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

“In addition, AstraZeneca has received an inquiry from the US Department of Justice in connection with an anti-corruption investigation relating to activities in Iraq, including interactions with the Iraqi government and certain of the same matters alleged in the Lawsuit.

(Source: AstraZeneca)

By John Lee.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has today issued its Yearbook for 2017, outlining what UNAMI and the United Nations Country Team did for Iraq over the past year.

It can be downloaded here.

(Source: UNAMI)

The European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) has provided an additional € 4.5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain health security and resilience for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities in conflict-affected governorates of Iraq.

This comes on top of the €29.2 million already contributed by the commission since 2015.

This renewed support will be used to sustain health services more than 500 000 vulnerable people in hard to reach and newly accessible areas of Ninewa and Anbar for the coming 12 months and to ensure vigilance for diseases with a potential of causing outbreaks.

The funds will also support to provide necessary essential medicines and medical supplies as well as facilitate referral services for returnees who have limited access to primary healthcare, secondary rehabilitative and referral health services.

ECHO Head of Office in Iraq, Simon Mansfield said:

“ECHO is keen to continue this support of the provision of medical humanitarian assistance in Iraq. Access to essential medical services for displaced populations and assistance for victims of war injuries remain ECHO’s priorities in country. In 2018, ECHO maintains this strategic partnership with WHO”.

WHO’s Representative in Iraq, Altaf Musani said:

“We welcome this additional contribution from our long term partner, ECHO. This contribution will support WHO and health partners to ensure uninterrupted access to essential and rehabilitative health care services for at least 500,000 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities in the country’s most conflict-affected governorates”.

This partnership between ECHO and WHO represents a strong commitment in improving the health of the people of Iraq.

(Source: WHO)

The Iraq Governance and Security and Justice Programmes are key in delivering the UK’s mission to support the Iraqi Government and people as they build a stable, prosperous and democratic nation.

Working with the Government of Iraq, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the UNDP, CSSF funding has helped to rebuild essential infrastructure in areas liberated from Daesh, and cleared it of explosive hazards, enabling over 3.6m people to return home and access basic services, including healthcare, education, water and electricity.

CSSF support to the UNDP-led Funding Facility for Stabilisation, a multi-donor pooled fund, has helped deliver over 1,500 stabilisation projects restoring services and essential infrastructure in liberated areas. UNDP has staff deployed across Iraq, including embedded stabilisation advisors in 10 municipalities to support project planning.

The programme has provided cash for work for both men and women, and stimulated local business through reconstruction contracts. Over 15,000 residents earned a wage whilst restoring their homes and city.

Inclusion is critical to the stabilisation effort—and women have been recruited as engineers, social workers and in local councils. In total over 2,000 jobs and more than 1,000 small business grants have been created for women, and over 1,000 vulnerable women and female headed households have benefitted from cash for work programmes.

As well as the ‘pooled’ Funding Facility for Stabilisation projects, CSSF funding has specifically paid for the rehabilitation of a water plant serving over 300,000 people in Mosul and repaired over 2,000 homes in the city.

In Mosul the UNMAS demining programme has facilitated the removal of more than 585,000 explosive hazards, helping to enable the return of nearly 1 million people. Clearance locations include Al Khansa Hospital in Mosul and four schools in Al Qayarra, helping 1,286 children return to school.

To download the full report from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, please click here.

By Hussein Al-alak.

Running with history, for modern education across Iraq

On Thursday 19th July, myself and Tracy Hollowood are taking part in the Run Media City 5K – to raise awareness of the educational achievements and mental health services of the AMAR Foundation in Iraq.

This run is different to my involvement on the Great Manchester Run in May – as this time we are paying tribute to the North of England’s relationship, with Iraq and the wider Middle East. As John F Kennedy stated; “geography has made us neighbours” and “history has made us friends”.

The reasons for this start with Notitia Dignitatum, a Roman document from around AD400, which describes how Roman Mesopotamian’s -modern day Iraqi’s- patrolled the UK’s South Shields, whilst bargemen from Iraq’s famous Tigris River once patrolled the River Tyne.

I have laughed with Tracy about our “Anthony and Cleopatra” 5K run for AMAR but when General George Keppel was travelling along Iraq’s Tigris River in 1824, he painted vivid descriptions of boatmen who resembled the “ancient heroes of Greece and Rome“.

It’s not just Britain’s occupation under the Roman Empire, which establishes a historic link between the North of England and Iraq. Archaeologist, spy and creator of “modern Iraq” Gertrude Bell – was born and raised in the North East – infact Washington – part of historic County Durham.

Further tributes to Britain’s relationship with the region, are acknowledged by the arrival of Siegfried Sassoon’s grandfather from Basra to Manchester in 1858. The famous historian of Lebanese descent Albert Hourani, was also born in Manchester but in 1915.

Author of “A History of the Arab Peoples”, Albert Hourani’s book has been described by Harvard University Press – as being “the definitive story of Arab civilisation” which became “an instant classic”upon publication.

It was Maya Angelou who said “the more you know of your history, the more liberated you are” and growing up, I was fortunate to be raised in a mixed heritage family, where an understanding of history was appreciated and a study of history encouraged.

I was incredibly fortunate to have a grandmother, who was born in 1917 and raised in Newcastle during the Great Depression. My grandmother could recall the many struggles that families went through, during the economic downturn of the 1930’s, prior to the creation of the Welfare State.

I was also lucky to have a grandfather, who was born in Manchester’s Moss Side in 1907 and in 1945; was among the British forces who helped liberate the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. In post-war Britain, my grandfather then took an active role in helping with the city’s reconstruction, as a member of Manchester City Council.

After attending the AMAR Foundation’s recent dinner at the Foreign Office, I visited Great Uncle Ron Fisher, who as a member of Britain’s merchant navy, lost his life when the Empire Gilbert ship was torpedoed in 1942. Uncle Ron’s name at-least, now rests on the Tower Hill Memorial, facing the Tower of London.

As world events “have rumbled on since those gagged days”, the past would never have known that in 2018, taking part in the Run Media City 5K and asking for help to advance AMAR’s efforts in education, would be following a family tradition in rebuilding lives after war.

Because of reforms brought in by the British Government, following the Allied victory in World War Two, education became accessible for all children, allowing for my grandparents to raise children in a post-war environment, which enabled them to pursue a college and university education.

Those same reforms also allowed for Uncle Ron’s widow, my great Aunt Jean and her second husband David (a veteran of the Merchant Navy), to dedicate their lives, to educating young people in a private boarding school. The young people they taught had been excluded from the mainstream education system.

Whilst at the AMAR Foundation’s dinner at the Foreign Office, Lord Mark Price praised the efforts of Baroness Emma Nicholson – AMAR’s founder and chairperson – along with praising everyone who has helped AMAR remain a tour de force for 25 years.

Lord Price gave mention to the fact, AMAR has helped educate 5 million people across Iraq, with each person having experienced conflict or the loss of loved ones as a result. The people educated by AMAR are diverse and their circumstances often reflect the country’s recent history with conflict.

But AMAR also recognise, the future does not have to be determined by Iraq’s recent past, as it was once stated “they who ignore history are destined to repeat its mistakes”. This determination, is something that we can only carry with us but it’s something that only we the people can also change.

Hussein Al-alak is the editor of Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra). To support Hussein and Tracy on the Run Media City 5K, they are asking that people donate to the AMAR Foundation: please click here.

One year after the events of Mosul ended in July 2017, the Iraqi Red Crescent teams continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the residents inside the city or to the displaced who face some challenges to return to their homes after their homes have been damaged.

After thousands of houses were destroyed, roads and bridges were damaged, and water station, as well as sanitation facilities, were destroyed by heavy fighting, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in cooperation with its partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement installs water purification stations and installs (65) water tanks with a capacity of 5000 liters distributed in the old neighborhoods of Mosul.

Relief official for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, Haidar Kassem, says:

“The IRCS teams distribute more than (350,000) liters of water per day covering Mosul’s old city and this is done by transporting water from the water station in the Ghazalani area by IRCS water truck and then all tanks which were distributed in the old city neighborhoods will be filled”.

The IRCS teams continue to provide the needs of the families in their residential areas and the displaced in the camps such as the distribution of food parcels for families in their residential areas as well as provide hot food meals for the families in the displacement camps not to mention provide some special needs of children and women.

“IRCS Health teams continue to receive and treat more 130 cases per day and specialist medical staff give medicine to the patient in the Health center and mobile clinic of the IRCS.

(Source: IRCS)

Vulnerable farming families in post-conflict areas in Iraq’s Ninewa plains, west of Mosul, will be able to better withstand shocks thanks to a European Union-funded UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project that aims to increase household income while building, repairing and maintaining local infrastructure and creating communal and public productive assets.

The €6 million project funded by the Madad Fund – the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis – is part of FAO’s Recovery and Resilience Programme. The programme contributes to reducing chronic, or acute food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty, and associated risks and vulnerabilities in Iraq’s agriculture sector.

“The European Union has responded promptly to the very urgent needs of the most vulnerable families that were affected by the conflict in northern parts of Iraq,” said Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Representative in Iraq. “Thanks to the support from the European Union, households will enhance their resilience and ability to cope with shocks by increasing their net earnings,” he said.

Cash-for-work to improve access to water

Through cash-for-work activities, 1 250 households will be able to earn an income, directly benefiting around 7 500 people. Critically, the results of this work will also enable farmers to access water for crop irrigation and livestock, through the rehabilitation and construction of water catchments, roads, river embankments and secondary canals.

“Once these important agricultural assets and irrigation infrastructure are restored, the project will provide water for 70 000 hectares of currently unproductive land that can be used for winter wheat crops, and the spring and autumn vegetable seasons,” El-Zubi said. “This means 30 000 vulnerable farming households (180 000 people) will be able to produce food on their land again.”

Many of the families participating in the cash-for-work component of the project have no other income. Participants include women and other marginalized groups, with the work benefiting the community as well as individuals and families.

FAO’s humanitarian response

As the Government of Iraq moves towards a focus on rehabilitation and recovery, humanitarian needs remain. Under the Humanitarian Response Plan 2018, FAO requires $10.2 million to assist 116 100 people in the areas of livestock, plant pest outbreak control and food security coordination.

Over the longer term, under the Iraq Recovery and Resilience Programme 2018-2019, FAO requires $76 million to assist 1.6 million people by restoring agriculture and water systems and revitalizing communities.

FAO’s focus remains on ensuring rural families have the resources to re-establish and secure their agricultural livelihoods and build their resilience into the future. FAO’s work, in close coordination with the Iraqi government, supports families returning to retaken areas, internally displaced families, host communities and refugees from Syria.

(Source: UN)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visits West Mosul, less than a year after the city’s liberation.

The visit marks Jolie’s 61st mission – and her fifth visit to Iraq – with the UN Refugee Agency since 2001.

She arrives in the city on the second day of the Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

View on YouTube

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC), and the State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances, have announced an opportunity to invest in the rehabilitation, modernization and operation of the Samarra drugs plant.

In a statement, the NIC said:

It invites reliable Arab and foreign companies directly or their agents – not mediator or supported – to participate in this investment opportunity to rehabilitate and modernize this plant on basisof participating in management, production, increasing the production capacities and take pasrt in this valuable opportunity to satisfy the Iraqi market demands and for the economic feasibility and the realizable privileges for the investors such as the availability of the essential materials for production .

“Willing investors can obtain the investment profile from the company HQ in Samarra as per the companies law no. 22 for the year 1997 as amended, article 15/3rd ; for an amount of (500,000) IDR non- refundable.

“The company shall offer all detailed information and facilitate the visit to the plan. Applications shall be according to the terms stated in the investment profile , provided that applications should be submitted by a sealed envelope before the end of the work time of Thursday 12.07.2018.

You may also visit the website www.sdisamarra.com

More details can be downloaded here (English from page 43)

(Source: National Investment Commission)

The Logistics Cluster, led by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has welcomed a generous contribution of US$860,000 from the Iraq Humanitarian Fund (IHF). The Cluster facilitates the movement of humanitarian supplies including food, medicines and even ambulances on behalf of the entire humanitarian community in Iraq.

“This contribution is perfectly aligned with the objectives of the IHF, to provide timely and flexible humanitarian funding to enable effective emergency response, increase humanitarian access, and strengthen coordination and partnerships among local and international responders,” said Marta Ruedas, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

With this contribution, the Logistics Cluster will continue to provide coordination and information management support to the humanitarian community. The Logistics Cluster will also continue to facilitate common storage services for humanitarian supplies at three main operational hubs in Baghdad, Dahuk and Erbil, while maintaining a stock of mobile storage units ready to be deployed and installed at short notice.

“The Logistics Cluster plays a critical role in the Iraq context, offering logistics solutions and technical support to humanitarian partners responding to the needs of highly vulnerable displaced families and returnees,” said Sally Haydock, WFP Representative in Iraq. “We thank the IHF, the Humanitarian Coordinator and donors that have made this timely contribution possible.”

Established in 2015, the Iraq Humanitarian Fund supports humanitarian partners, allowing them to respond to the complex and dynamic situation in the country. IHF allocations have been made possible thanks to generous contributions from the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, United States, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Canada and Cyprus.

Since 2014, the IHF has provided US$3.5 million in funding to WFP activities in Iraq, including food assistance to internally displaced people and support for the Food Security, Emergency Telecommunications and Logistics Clusters.

As Iraq emerges from four years of conflict and unrest, the entire humanitarian community is providing critical resilience and recovery support for vulnerable communities after years of hardship, conflict and displacement.

(Source: WFP)