The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a workshop in Erbil, in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, on May 14, 2019, to discuss USAID’s New Partnership Initiative (NPI) with 30 local and faith-based Iraqi organizations.

USAID will co-create with successful applicants to award $3 million dollars by the end of this U.S. Government’s Fiscal Year to local and faith-based organizations.

The Iraq NPI Addendum will allow USAID to work directly with a more diverse range of partners in its continuing efforts to help religious and ethnic minority communities in Northern Iraq recover from the genocide perpetrated by the so-call Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The principles behind NPI appear in the Agency’s first-ever Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) Strategy.

The overall Agency NPI seeks to support governments, civil society, and the private sector in our partner countries’ as they make progress on the Journey to Self-Reliance, achieve sustainable and resilient results, and generate measurable impact.

(Source: USAID)

By John Lee.

Amnesty International has challenged a statement from the US-led Coalition in which it acknowledges at least 1,302 unintended civilian deaths during Operation Inherent Resolve.

The organisation’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Donatella Rovera, said:

While all admissions of responsibility by the US-led Coalition for civilian casualties are welcome, the Coalition remains deeply in denial about the devastating scale of the civilian casualties caused by their operations in both Iraq and Syria.

“A comprehensive investigation by Amnesty International in partnership with Airwars, launched last month, revealed that more than 1,600 civilians were killed in the Raqqa offensive alone in 2017 – meaning the acknowledged deaths are just a fraction of the total numbers killed.

“Today’s acknowledgement of further civilian deaths underscores the urgent need for thorough, independent investigations that can uncover the true scale of civilian casualties caused by Coalition strikes, examine whether each attack complied with international humanitarian law and provide full reparation to victims.

“Even in cases where the Coalition has admitted responsibility this has only happened after civilian deaths were investigated and brought to its attention by organizations such as Amnesty International and Airwars. The Coalition has so far failed to carry out investigations on the ground or provide reasons for the civilian casualties. Without a clear examination of what went wrong in each case lessons can never be learned.

The full statement from Operation Inherent Resolve is shown below:

Since the beginning of operations in 2014, the Coalition and partner forces have liberated nearly 110,000 square kilometers (42,471 square miles) from Daesh, eliminating their self-proclaimed territorial caliphate and freeing 7.7 million people from Daesh oppression. The Coalition will continue to work with partner forces to deny Daesh any physical space and influence in the region as well as deny Daesh the resources they need to resurge.

The Coalition continues to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of operations on civilian populations and infrastructure. This process includes thorough review and vetting of each target package prior to a strike and another review after that strike. Regular strike reports make Coalition activities publicly accessible, and monthly publication of civilian casualty reports makes civilian casualty assessments similarly accessible to the public.

As demonstrated, the Coalition is willing to consider new civilian casualty allegations as well as new or  compelling evidence on past allegations to establish accountability based on the best available evidence.

The Coalition conducted 34,502 strikes between August 2014 and the end of April 2019. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1,302* civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve. This report includes three credible reports that had not been previously reported in monthly CIVCAS releases.

In the month of April, CJTF-OIR carried over 122 open reports from previous months and received seven new reports. CJTF-OIR completed 18 civilian-casualty allegation assessment reports. Out of the 18 completed casualty allegation reports, three reports were determined to be credible and resulted in five unintentional civilian deaths. The remaining 15 reports were assessed to be non-credible. One hundred and eleven reports are still open, including three that had been previously closed but were reopened due to the availability of new information.

Credible Reports–In the three incidents assessed in April and the three previously unreported incidents, the investigations assessed that the Coalition took all feasible precautions, and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict. Coalition forces work diligently to be precise during the planning and execution of strikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.

Apr. 9, 2016, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike on a Daesh communication center in Mosul, Iraq. Regrettably, five civilians were unintentionally killed and nine others unintentionally wounded due to their proximity to the strike. (Not previously reported)
Jan. 17, 2017, near Idlib, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against a Daesh vehicle. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally wounded due to their proximity to the strike. (Not previously reported)
Mar. 27, 2017, near Idlib, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against a Daesh vehicle. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally killed and one civilian was injured due to their proximity to the strike. (Not previously reported)
Dec. 24, 2017, near Kharayij, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted strikes on a Daesh weapons storage facility and Daesh terrorists. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strikes.
Aug. 1, 2018, near Ash Shajlah, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against a Daesh staging area. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strike.
Mar. 10, 2019, near Qayyarah-West Airfield, Iraq, via media-report. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally injured by Coalition small arms fire.    Non Credible Reports– After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of each civilian casualty report, CJTF-OIR assessed the following 15 reports as non-credible. At this time there is insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
Aug. 20, 2017, near al-Bado neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Aug. 20, 2017, near al-Sakhani neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Sept. 18, 2017, near al-Kahraba neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Feb. 2, 2018, near al-Bahra, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
May 31, 2018, near al-Susah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
July 22, 2018, near al-Susah, Syria, via social media report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Aug. 23, 2018, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via self-report. After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.
Oct. 20, 2018, near al-Susah, Syria, via social media report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Mar. 11, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 13, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 14, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 16, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 17, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 18, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 24, 2019, near al-Rutba, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Open Reports– CJTF-OIR is still assessing 111 reports of civilian casualties:

Nov. 7, 2014, near Al-Tanak Oilfield, Syria, via Syrian Human Rights Network report.
Dec. 28, 2014, near Jarabulus, Syria, via Airwars report.
Aug. 24, 2015, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Oct. 30, 2015, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Nov. 7, 2015, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Dec. 24, 2015, near Manbij, Syria, via self-report.
June 1, 2016, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Sept. 22, 2016, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Oct. 13, 2016, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Jan. 3, 2017, near Sarmada, Syria, via social media report (previously closed, but reopened due to new information).
Jan. 6, 2017, near Taftanaz, Idlib, Syria, via Airwars report.
Jan. 11, 2017, near Saraqib, Idlib, Syria, via Airwars report.
Jan. 14, 2017, near Al Mayadin, Syria, via Airwars report.
Jan. 17, 2017, near Baysan neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via social media report (previously closed, but reopened due to new information).
Jan. 26, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Feb. 3, 2017, near Sarmin, Idlib, Syria, via Airwars report.
Feb. 10, 2017, near Hatra, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Mar. 8, 2017, near Al Karamah, Syria via Airwars report.
Mar. 11, 2017, near Al Karamah, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 23, 2017, near al-Yarmouk neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via self-report.
Mar. 25, 2017, near Al Mayadin, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 27, 2017, near Sarmada, Idlib, via Airwars report.
Apr. 5, 2017, near al-Shafa neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 7, 2017, near Hamra Ghanim, Syria, via Airwars report.
Apr. 11, 2017, near al-Yarmouk neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 11, 2017, near al-Sahab neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 19, 2017, near al-Thawra neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 28, 2017, near al-Tabaqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 6, 2017, near Mayadin, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 9, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 13, 2017, near Between two Bridges, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 28, 2017, near Al Mansoura, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 3, 2017, near Hawi al Hawa, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 3, 2017, near al Jisr al Qadim, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 4, 2017, near Abu al Naital, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 10, 2017 near Euphrates River, Syria via Amnesty International report.
June 12, 2017, near al-Tib al-Hadeeth area, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
June 13, 2017 near Kasrat Sheikh Jum’ah Syria, via Airwars report.
June 17, 2017, near Hawijah al-Swafi, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
June 18, 2017, near al-Firdous neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 18, 2017, near al-Meshahda neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
June 21, 2017, near Amn al-Dawlah neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 23, 2017, near al-Saa’a neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq via Airwars report.
June 23, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria via Airwars report (previously closed, but reopened due to new information).
June 24, 2017, near Adnan al-Maliki school, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
June 26, 2017, near Al Mayadin, Syria via Airwars report.
June 26, 2017, near Euphrates River, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 27, 2017, near Euphrates River, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 30, 2017, near Al Dashaisha, Syria via Airwars report.
July 2, 2017, near Al Soor, Syria via Airwars report.
July 13, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
July 23, 2017, near Nazlet Shahata, Syria via Airwars report.
Aug. 5, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
Aug. 11, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
Aug. 23, 2017, near Karabla, al Qaiem, Iraq via Airwars report.
Aug. 23, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
Sept. 4, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
Sept. 5, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via media report.
Sept. 17, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via Airwars report.
Sept. 18, 2017, near al Mrashdah village, Albu Kamal, Syria, via Airwars report.
Sept. 19, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
Oct. 10, 2017, near Deir Ez Zor, Syria via self-report.
Oct. 13, 2017, near Husaybah, al Qaiem, Iraq via Airwars report.
Oct. 17, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria via self-report.
Nov. 14, 2017, near al-Hawaij village, Syria, via Airwars report.
Nov. 26, 2017, near Daranj, Syria, via Airwars report.
Nov. 28, 2017, near El Qata, Syria, via self-report.
Dec. 1, 2017, near Granij, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 5, 2017, near al-Jarthi, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 10, 2017, near Abu Hamam, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 22, 2017, near Hajin, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 29, 2017, near al-Bahra, Syria, via Airwars report.
Feb. 6, 2018, near al-Shafaa, Syria, via self-report.
Feb. 28, 2018, near al-Sha’fah village, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 2, 2018, near al-Bajari, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 10, 2018, near al Khatuniyah, Syria, via self-report.
May 27, 2018, near al-Soussa, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 12, 2018, near Hassoun al-Basha village, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 13, 2018, near al-Sousa, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 21, 2018, near al-Sha’fah, Syria, via Airwars report.
July 16, 2018, near Deir Ezzor, Syria, via self-report.
Nov. 12, 2018, near Hajin, via social media report
Nov. 14, 2018, near Abu Kamal and Al Baghouz, via social media report.
Nov. 17, 2018, near Abu al-Hasan, Syria, via Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report.
Nov. 25, 2018, near Al- Sha’fa, Syria, via social media report.
Nov.29, 2018, near Al-Sha’fa, Syria, via social media report.
Nov. 29, 2018, near Al-Kashma, Syria, via social media report.
Dec. 10, 2018, near al-Kashmah, Syria, via social media report.
Dec. 12, 2018, near Hajin, Syria, via self-report.
Dec. 12, 2018, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via self-report.
Dec. 20, 2018, near al-Shafaa, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 04, 2019, near al-Shafaa, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 05, 2019, near al-Mrashdah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 10, 2019, near al-Shajlah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 10, 2019, near al-Susah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 18, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Abu Kamal, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 20, 2019, near al-Shajlah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 22, 2019, near al-Shajlah, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 23, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 25, 2019, near al-Baghouz Fawqani, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 25, 2019, near al-Mrashdah, Syria, via self-report.
Feb. 6, 2019, near al-Busayrah, Syria, via self-report.
Feb. 10, 2019, near Omer Oil fields, Syria, via media report and Airwars report.
Feb. 11, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report.
Feb. 12, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report.
Mar. 2, 2019, near al-Baghouz Fawqani, Syria, via self-report.
Mar. 7, 2019, near al-Baghouz camp, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 13, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 18, 2019, near al-Baghouz Fawqani, Syria, via self-report.
Mar. 20, 2019, near Anbar province, Iraq, via self-report.
Apr. 15, 2019, near al-Sha’afa, Syria, via social media report.

*During a recent internal database audit, the CJTF-OIR CIVCAS Cell discovered an administrative error involving a 2017 allegation – Feb. 22, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS fighters in a moving vehicle, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally killed when he entered the target area after the munition was released (Reported Apr. 30, 2017). The Public Affairs release was correct; however, the affected civilian was not recorded in the database correctly.

(Sources: US Dept of Defense, Amnesty International)

GE Power (NYSE: GE) has installed and commissioned a new advanced 9E gas turbine at the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE) Al Qudus Power Plant.

The site was previously capable of generating up to 1,125 megawatts (MW) of power. With the addition of the new turbine, it can generate an additional 125 MW, which will contribute to meeting the higher demand for power during the summer months. GE is also providing maintenance services, parts and rehabilitation works at the site, helping to enhance the reliability of operations at the plant and maintain a stable supply of electricity over the course of the year.

Musaab al-Mudarris, Director of the Media Department of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said:

Delivering additional power for the hot summer months is a priority for the Ministry of Electricity. One of the quickest and most cost-effective means of adding efficient, reliable power to the national grid is to enhance the productivity of existing power generation facilities.

“GE can help us meet this objective with its industry-leading solutions, large installed base of power generation equipment across Iraq and local team of experts. The successful delivery, installation and commissioning of a new gas turbine at Al Qudus Power Plant just 5 months after the contract was awarded is a testament to the Ministry and GE’s joint commitment to powering Iraq.”

GE’s 9E technology is capable of running on more than 50 different kinds of fuel. This provides the MOE with the flexibility to operate the unit on the most economical source available and to keep generating power using liquid fuels when gas is unavailable.

Joseph Anis, President and CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems and Power Services businesses in the Middle East and South Asia, said:

“GE is committed to delivering reliable, efficient and affordable power to help the Iraqi people strengthen their economy, re-build conflict-affected areas and support progress for present and future generations. Our teams were among the first to enter Mosul after its liberation, helping to rehabilitate the Al Qayara power plant; we are supporting the development of the country’s largest power plant in Baghdad province; and we have facilitated the Ministry of Finance to unlock over $2 billion of funding for the power sector.

“We have a strong, successful track record of delivering results under the toughest of conditions across Iraq and remain committed to building upon this legacy.”

GE employs up to 300 people in Iraq, more than 90 percent of whom are Iraqi nationals, and has supported the development of Iraq’s energy sector for more than 50 years. From Zakho to Basra, GE-built solutions are helping to enable growth, health, connection and safety in communities across Iraq.

Today, GE-built technologies contribute up to 55 percent of Iraq’s current electricity production, GE and its partners power more than 90 percent of the aircrafts operated by Iraqi Airways and nearly 4,000 GE Healthcare products are deployed in hospitals and clinics across Iraq.

(Source: GE)

By John Lee.

Contrary to recent reports that the US had granted a waiver to Iraq to allow it to continue buying power from Iran, a State Department spokeswoman reportedly said on Wednesday that this was not the case.

Reuters quotes Morgan Ortagus as telling reporters that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not made a decision on this issue.

(Source: Reuters)

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

US grants Iraq reprieve to continue buying Iranian gas

The United States has decided to grant Iraq a third 90-day sanctions waiver so it can continue to purchase gas from its sole provider, Iran, giving Baghdad some much-needed breathing room.

On May 22 in Baghdad, Joey Hood, US chargé d’affaires in Iraq, stressed to reporters that the waivers will not continue indefinitely, so the United States is working with Iraq to reduce its dependence on Iran.

Click here to read the full story.

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

PMU economic offices undermine fragile stability in Mosul

Escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are spilling over into Iraq as the United States orders the evacuation of all non-emergency government personnel following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s unexpected visit to the country.

Some of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), like Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, are spreading their influence into Iraqi politics and the Iraqi economy, in addition to their influence in the military and security sectors — occasionally threatening to attack US troops in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Tribalco LLC, Bethesda, Maryland, has been awarded a $14,425,217 firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (Iraq) contract for computer hardware, services and MEMEX software.

One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Bethesda, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of May 22, 2020.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

By Aaron Majid, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

These days, Tehran is having trouble getting what it wants from its neighbor—a development Washington can encourage by backing off.

It almost goes without saying these days that Iran dominates its western neighbor. On April 27, for example, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed tweeted that Iran’s regime “controls” Iraq.

Now-U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton once compared Tehran’s grip on Iraq to the Soviet Union’s stranglehold over Eastern Europe during the late 1940s.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Will the Trump administration abort Iran’s land bridge to the Mediterranean?

As the showdown between Washington and Tehran escalates elsewhere in the Gulf, Iran is giving high priority to an effort to secure, control and reopen the al-Bukamal border crossing at Qaim, the only Syrian-Iraqi border crossing under Iranian control, to solidify its influence in the Levant and mitigate the impact of US sanctions.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Iran will pull off this move and how the Donald Trump administration might react.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Iraqi factions a wild card in US-Iran blame game

It’s hard to tell what’s really on the minds of Iranian and US officials in the flurry of words they’ve exchanged this week, but Baghdad has been perfectly clear about any potential confrontation between the two: not in my backyard.

Amid prolonged dares and double-dares between Tehran and Washington — punctuated with claims from both sides that they don’t want a war — Iraq has made it known it won’t become a proxy battleground.

Click here to read the full story.