As a necessary step after the liberation of Shingal district mid November 2015, the Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) has conducted a rapid damage assessment on the early recovery needs for the town of Shingal.

On the 13th of November 2015, the Peshmerga forces, supported by the International Coalition, launched the Free Shingal Operation and liberated the district. Shingal and 28 villages were retaken after 15 months of ISIS occupation.

ISIS systematically targeted the Yezidi population for their distinct religious identity. Among the most heinous atrocities committed by the group were mass execution of civilians, abduction and enslavement of women and girls, as well as the killing of Yezidi men. Consequently, the Yezidi population has suffered the gravest atrocities committed by the group, have lost all their sources of subsistence and been displaced across the Kurdistan Region.

The town is severely damaged and the infrastructure is either completely destroyed or heavily impaired. It is important to note that the population, particularly the Yezidis, need extensive assistance for safe and dignified return to their homes.

However, the findings presented in the attached assessment present an overview of the level of damages caused by the invasion of ISIS and an estimated cost for immediate recovery for transportation networks, water sanitation, health, education, electricity, housing, and public buildings.

The KRG calls upon and seeks assistance from the members of International Community, organisations, NGOs and individuals to contribute in reviving and restoring services in Shingal.

Please contact the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation office in the United Kingdom to find out more about the immediate needs to help the Yezidis and other minorities live again.

Read the full report here

(Source: KRG)

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The year 2015 saw the liberation of several areas of Salahuddin (Tikrit) and Anbar (Ramadi – pictured) provinces from the grasp of the Islamic State with operations toward that end ongoing.

Yet, to date no serious reconstruction projects have been undertaken in those liberated areas, as the Iraqi government is faced with a difficult challenge — eradicating terrorism not only requires military effort, but also mobilization aimed at rehabilitating the residents before the area’s infrastructure can be rebuilt.

Mosul fell on June 10, 2014, after a surprise attack by IS and the withdrawal of the Iraqi army and other security forces from the city. IS subsequently continued to rapidly advance toward Baghdad, and in a matter of days gained control of areas adjoining the capital, approximately 40-60 kilometers (25-37 miles) away, in Salahuddin province in the north and Anbar province in the west.

IS’ thrust came to a halt only after large numbers of volunteers, such as the Popular Mobilization Units, joined the ranks of the security forces to combat IS, following a fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on June 13, 2014. In September 2014, IS began a gradual retreat from occupied areas as a result of the aerial campaign that was initiated the month before by the US-led military coalition.

In 2015, IS experienced a major setback in Iraq, where it lost control of key cities and large swaths of land, among them Tikrit, liberated in March, Sinjar, freed in November, and Ramadi, where Iraqi forces are currently routing IS out of its last strongholds, on Dec. 28.

Areas in Iraq occupied by IS suffered extensive damage to infrastructure, the local economy and private property, with the Parliamentary Services Committee estimating a total of $25 billion in damages up to April 2015.

By John Lee.

Anbar officials estimate that the reconstruction of Ramadi, recently liberated from the Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh), will cost $10 billion (12 trillion Iraqi dinars), as the government says that about 80 percent of the city has been destroyed.

According to the report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Iraqi politicians are looking to Ramadi to become a flagship example of the Iraqi government’s ability to rebuild.

We all know that stability in Anbar means stability in Iraq,” said Eid Ammash, a spokesman for Anbar’s provincial council. “Anbar is the face of Iraq.

Don’t forget that Daesh’s policy was to destroy everything before abandoning any area,” said Anbar Governor Sohaib al-Rawi. “They destroy bridges, hospitals, and even water projects only for sabotaging the place. Nothing else.

(Source: WSJ)

In a ceremony in Baghdad today, Sweden signed a US$4 million agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support stabilization in newly liberated areas of Iraq.

The contribution, provided to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS), will help thousands of people as they try to restart their lives in areas which have been retaken from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

During the signing ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said: “Conditions in newly liberated areas are some of the most difficult in the country.

People who were forced to flee from ISIL want to return safely and with dignity to their homes but this is very difficult because houses have been destroyed, grids are down, businesses are closed and schools and health clinics need to be reopened and rehabilitated. The generous contribution from Sweden will help to turn conditions around and bring normalcy back to liberated areas.”

In turn, Sweden’s Ambassador to Iraq, Ms. Annika Molin Hellgren, said:

“Enabling displaced Iraqis to return to their hometowns remains critical for their future as well as for the stabilization of the country. Sweden’s support to stabilization constitutes an important part of our broader engagement for peace and reconciliation in Iraq.”

UNDP’s Funding Facility supports stabilization in areas newly liberated from ISIL. Based on priorities identified by local authorities, FFIS is able to help quickly repair public infrastructure, provide grants to small businesses, promote civil engagement and community reconciliation and provide short-term employment through public works schemes.

Ground-breaking stabilization work has already been done in Tikrit, where UNDP’s FFIS has helped to kick-start the local economy, open neighbourhoods for returning families and rebuild civil and public assets.

FFIS is starting to work in liberated areas in Ninewah, Diyala and Salah al-Din Governorates and is procuring and pre-positioning equipment in anticipation of Ramadi’s liberation.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

The Kingdom of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a $1.8 million partnership agreement today to support stabilization in newly liberated areas in Iraq.

Norway’s contribution will be channeled through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas retaken from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Stabilization support has already been provided in Tikrit, where more than 155,000 people have returned to their homes and are now rebuilding their lives.

New initiatives in liberated areas in Salah al-Din and Ninewah Governorates will start shortly and preparations are advancing quickly to provide stabilization support in Ramadi, as soon as the city is liberated, and declared free and safe.

During a signing ceremony held in Baghdad, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“Our aim is to help newly liberated areas return to normalcy as quickly as possible by opening neighbourhoods, promoting civil engagement and helping to jump-start the local economy. Norway’s contribution comes at just the right time, when we are working around-the-clock to be ready for the liberation of Ramadi. We need to act as soon as the city is under Government control.”

Minister Counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Mr. Carsten Carlsen, noted:

“Recently, we have been pleased to see progress in the fight against ISIL here in Iraq. But military victories alone cannot restore peace and prosperity to those communities who have suffered under ISIL rule. The international community must help Iraq in meeting the big humanitarian challenges in the wake of the military campaigns.”

UNDP’s Funding Facility provides support for stabilization priorities identified by local authorities. Support includes repair of clinics, police stations, water facilities, power grids, government buildings and access roads.

Short-term employment for local households is provided through public work programmes and small grants are given to businesses to help jump-start local economies.

A special component of the Facility provides micro-credit grants to community organizations working on reconciliation.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

In a ceremony attended by Japanese new Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Fumio Iwai, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated the 36 megawatt hydropower project near Deralok town in Duhok Governorate.

The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) within the framework of Japan’s loan to Iraq.

Earlier last week, Prime Minister Barzani met Ambassador Iwai in Erbil, where he reiterated that after the liberation of Iraq in 2003 the Government of Japan allocated seven billion dollars for reconstruction.

He said the Kurdistan Region’s share had been preserved and is being applied to Halabja water projects, an Erbil wastewater project, and the Deralok Dam project.

Prime Minister Barzani, in his inauguration speech, expressed his gratitude to JICA for funding and implementing the project. He mentioned that JICA provided $120 million in assistance to internally displaced persons, who sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani noted the importance of the Deralok project, saying it will produce clean energy and store water for irrigation purposes.

He also said that during this time of severe financial constraints and intense security threats from the Islamic State terrorist organisation, ISIS, no dark and devil force, no matter how barbaric, can prevent the people of the Kurdistan Region from seeking progress and prosperity.

On the liberation of the town of Sinjar, Prime Minister Barzani said that, as a national duty, the Kurdistan Regional Government will prepare a comprehensive plan to rebuild Sinjar, although it will not be easy given the current financial situation.

He said the Kurdistan Region needs the assistance of the international community in general and the Government of Iraq in particular. He requested the Japanese Government to support the KRG in this important endeavour.

(Source: KRG)

By John Lee.

The Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi chaired a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Energy (pictured) on Monday.

The meeting discussed the status of power supply and the importance of working to improve it, including a proposed project for 400 KV electric transmission lines on deferred payment basis; a program of maintenance, rehabilitation and equipping of spare parts for the Khairat and Karbala gas power plants; and the rehabilitation of the third and fourth units in al-Doura power plant.

The meeting also discussed the export of flared gas from the Rumaila field to Kuwait until the capacity to capture it is attained, and agreement to run the Amara gas power plant using acid gas instead of gas oil due to its non-availability and the need for the system to operate these units.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

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

The current situation of archaeological sites in Iraq is saddening. These sites are neglected, abandoned, lack organized protection, and are covered by sand and exposed to tampering by modernists and thieves. Al-Monitor visited the city of Kish and the ancient city of Uruk where the situation was no different.

Uruk, known as Warka in the local Arabic dialect, lies in Muthanna governorate in southern Iraq, 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Baghdad. This city was built in the fifth millennium B.C. and witnessed the emergence of the famous epic of Gilgamesh, its hero and king. Such a glorious past could make Uruk a great source of antiquities and research, yet its current situation is a story of neglect.

Since the discovery of the city in 1849 by British archaeologist William Loftus and the excavations by German missions in the 1970s, no archaeological expert has examined the site, which remains to date deprived of urbanization methods and services.

Al-Monitor visited the site in June and found that the ancient city of Uruk is nothing but soil structures, remains of building foundations and walls penetrated by the wind. It is a deserted area, with no administrative organization allowing its introduction to the public, and no water and electricity services.

Ahmed al-Zawalm, a local farmer, told Al-Monitor that he grew up in Uruk. He said, “I only came near this site once in the 1990s when some guests wanted to visit the place. There is no point in visiting this site that shelters forces of evil, harbors demons and witnesses every now and then supernatural phenomena.”