From International Crisis Group.

Reviving UN Mediation on Iraq’s Disputed Internal Boundaries

The conflict over the disputed territories and the unresolved boundary of the Kurdish region has lingered for decades and occasionally spawned violence.

These open issues leave both Iraq’s territorial unity and the governing system that would result from a reconfiguration of borders clouded in uncertainty, and the country’s post-conflict transition in limbo.

In 2017, a new constellation of forces emerged that may enable a negotiated settlement.

Read the full report here.

More than a million Iraqis whose lives have been devastated by Daesh safely returned home in 2018, made possible in part thanks to a huge UK aid funded mine clearance mission.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has today (Saturday 5 January) announced further support to clear explosives from schools, hospitals and roads in Iraq, eradicating one of the lasting impacts of Daesh’s reign of terror across the country.

Thousands of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) continue to threaten the lives of Iraqi men, women and children trying to rebuild their lives after the conflict and the UK’s vital work will help even more people to return to normality without continued risk to their lives.

With the support of UK aid, approximately 16,500 explosives, 800 suicide belts and a staggering 2,000 deadly explosives traps were cleared in Iraq last year.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

Daesh’s sickening use of explosive traps continue to threaten children in their schools, mothers in hospitals and thousands of innocent people trying to return to a normal life.

“Thanks to this UK aid funded work, people can return to work, children can go back to school and lives are slowly being rebuilt.

“The UK is a world leader in demining. I believe the UK public supports this work and can very clearly see its impact, in changing and saving lives.

This new funding will support projects across the country’s Sinjar Province, an area with a historically large population of Yezidis who have been displaced by Daesh in their thousands, and one of the areas worst impacted by Daesh occupation.

UK aid will support six explosive clearance teams who will be deployed across the region making schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure safe from suspected explosive.

There is more work to do with 1.8 million people still displaced, many living in camps across the country. For many of them deadly explosives, rigged, booby-trapped and hidden on an industrial scale mean that they are unable to return to their homes.

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has called the use of explosive traps a Daesh strategy to ‘win on the cheap’, continuing to devastate Iraq even as the Iraqi people try to rebuild.

UK aid funded explosive clearance teams have found:

  • A hospital used as Daesh’s HQ in Mosul where 3,500 explosive hazards, including hand grenades and missiles, had to be secured;
  • A school in Fallujah rigged with 13 IEDs, which could have seriously injured or killed the 450 children attending the school;
  • The British-built ‘New Bridge’ in Fallujah was rigged with 44 IEDs and 400 kilograms of explosives, blocking the only connection to Baghdad – preventing businesses from operating;
  • A school in West Mosul which was used as a bomb factory, where 1,500 explosives, including 15 suicide belts, were found and secured.

UK aid is funding education experts to teach children and adults on how to keep safe from undiscovered explosives and what to do if they see a suspected device. Last year, DFID’s support educated more than 400,000 people on the risks. This education may save their lives.

With hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq still in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the UK has supported more than 400,000 people with food and provided life-saving healthcare services to over four million people since 2014.

(Source: UK Department for International Development – DFID)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (pictured) has called for an investigation into the appointment of a deputy director general to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), citing allegation that the appointment was made under threat.

In a statement the Prime Minister said.

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi ordered to conduct an investigation on information indicating the issuance of an administrative order by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority to appoint a person in the position of Deputy Director General of the Authority under threat and intimidation, to consider the administrative procedure related to the position of the Deputy of the Chairman of the Authority frozen and inoperable, and the previous contexts shall continue to work until the completion of the investigation and the confirmation.

“His Excellency called for taking the necessary measures and imposing the most severe penalties on anyone who uses the threat or uses his powers to compel citizens or state institutions to carry out actions contrary to law and order.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

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

UN seeks to raise awareness of bias against African-Iraqis

A recently convened UN committee addressed discrimination against many minorities in many countries, including Iraqis of African descent. Its conclusions shed light on the marginalization of this almost forgotten minority — forgotten especially years after the 2013 assassination of one of its main leaders, Jalal Diab, in Basra.

Diab had posters of Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama on the walls of his school dedicated to teaching poor African-Iraqis in the slums of the Az Zubayr area of Basra.

The two pictures showed an unexpected awakening of identity in the areas of the oil-rich Basra province where this minority lives. And this same province has witnessed popular protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full story.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, released the Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) III report.

The Integrated Location Assessment – Round III provides an in-depth look into both displacement and return movements in Iraq, putting a special focus on profiling the locations these groups live in and the social dynamics they are immersed in.

The latest round of the ILA study, completed from 6 March to 6 May 2018, includes the demographics of the displaced and returnee populations, their current conditions, movement intentions, vulnerabilities, sectorial needs and the state of social cohesion in the locations they currently live in. It covers 4,177 locations, reaching approximately 1,491,792 IDPs (248,632 families) and 3,585,210 returnees (597,535) across Iraq.

Key findings of the assessment are summarized below:

Compared to May 2017, the number of IDPs has reduced by approximately one third (-34%, 1,017,048 individuals). Decreases were recorded across all Iraqi governorates hosting IDPs, particularly in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Salah al-Din, but except in Sulaymaniyah.

Among those who remain displaced, 48% are hosted within their governorate of origin, 35% in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), 14% in other north-central governorates and 3% in southern governorates – nearly all in Najaf. Over half of current IDPs (54%) have been in displacement for more than 3 years, 38% between 1 and 3 years and 8% for less than one year.

Access to employment/livelihood opportunities continues to be the main concern of IDPs in nearly all locations – and more so compared to last year. In fact, it was cited among top 3 concerns in locations where 93% of IDPs are currently hosted – it was 63% in May 2017.

For IDPs, lack of access to employment/livelihoods translates into the related difficulty of accessing food (51%), household and non-food items (NFIs, 66%) and shelter (42%). In fact, basic needs were generally rated as far more important than recovery needs.

In addition, nearly three fourth of displaced families report the lack of a shelter to return, around one in five does not have enough money for the journey back (reportedly most IDPs originally from Anbar and Baghdad) and/or is afraid to lose aid/humanitarian assistance.

Most IDP families intending to voluntarily stay in area of displacement in the long term (12% of current IDPs) can be found in southern governorates. Between 28% and 38% of IDPs hosted in Baghdad, Kerbala and Kirkuk, are also willing to voluntarily stay. Involuntary stay (10% at country level) is more prevalent in Sulaymaniyah, Babylon and reported, to a lesser extent, in Diyala.

IDPs are mainly re-settling in the South by virtue of its safety and the presence of extended family and friends, whereas staying in north-central governorates is mostly involuntary – families have lost everything at home or have no means to return. Safety, services and job opportunities are the most important reasons to relocate in the KRI.

The most frequently reported vulnerable categories are persons with disabilities, female-headed households and minor headed households – overall, between 53% and 72% of IDPs and returnees live in locations where the presence of at least one of the above groups was reported.

The most frequently reported minor vulnerability is work. Overall, around 70% of returnees and IDPs live in locations where the presence of minors working was assessed. In addition, around one fourth of returnees and IDPs live in locations where children are married, children are begging, and/or they were born during displacement, and hence do not have birth certificates and other documents.

Download full report.

(Source: IOM)

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

Ambassador James Jeffrey Assumes Role of Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

Ambassador James Jeffrey (pictured), the current Special Representative for Syria Engagement, has taken on the additional role of the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, effective January 4, 2019.

With this additional responsibility, Ambassador Jeffrey will lead and coordinate U.S. Department of State relations with the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS and Department efforts to implement President Trump’s announcement of a responsible U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria that is coordinated with our global Allies and partners consistent with U.S. goals for Syria and Iraq, including the enduring defeat of ISIS.

He takes over from Brett McGurk, who resigned following disagreements with President Donald Trump’s strategy on Syria.

Jeffrey has previously served as US Ambassador to Iraq.

(Sources: US State Department, Washington Free Beacon)

During December 2018 a total of 32 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 32 injured in acts of terrorism and conflict-related violence.

Ninewa was the worst affected Governorate with 26 civilian casualties (07 killed, 19 injured) followed by Baghdad with (17 killed and 03 injured) and Salahadin (03 killed and 03 injured). The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilian at the time of death or injury, such as police on non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

UNAMI views these figures as more than mere statistics. Every civilian death documented by UNAMI over the years represents a family grieving and struggling to come to terms with its loss. Each injury or maiming of a civilian represents immense individual and societal suffering,” Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said.

NOTE FOR INFORMATION:

UNAMI used to publish these casualty figures on a monthly basis as part of its broader efforts to highlight civilian protection needs, reduce civilian harm, and to encourage all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. However, UNAMI’s monitoring in recent months has shown a steady reduction in civilian casualties. UNAMI has therefore decided that it will no longer publish these civilian casualty updates on a monthly basis but only if circumstances dictate. Whilst this decision is made in the context of a stabilizing security situation, and a consequent reduction in conflict-related harm to civilians, the conditions necessary for a sustained reduction in violence remain very fragile. UNAMI will, therefore, continue to monitor the situation.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. UNAMI was not able to verify casualty figures from Anbar Governorate and as a result they are not included.

(Source: United Nations)

Alliant Techsystems Inc. has been awarded a $36,570,512 firm-fixed-price modification (P00045) to contract FA8106-16-C-0004 that exercises Option Year Three for contractor logistic support.

This contract provides the Iraqi Air Force’s Cessna 208 fleet and the 208/172 Trainer fleet with contractor logistic support.

Work will be performed in Iraq and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2019.

This contract involves 100 percent foreign military sales to Iraq and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)