ISHM: November 29 – December 6, 2018

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Key Takeaways:

    • Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi fails to secure confirmation of remaining ministers by Parliament – On December 4, Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi released the names of his final eight nominations for ministerial positions in the Iraqi Cabinet. The same day, the Iraqi Council of Representatives blocked the confirmations of the remaining eight ministerial positions and then adjourned the parliamentary session.
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    • UN pushes Iraq’s leadership to invest in reconstruction, create conditions for return of IDPs and tackle water crisis – On November 28, the Deputy Special Representative of UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Marta Ruedas, co-chaired a meeting with the Iraqi Council of Ministers. Ruedas urged the Iraqi government to encourage the international community to continue to provide financial support for stabilization and called on the Iraqi federal government to contribute to those efforts as well to enable the UNDP to fully support efforts for stabilizing Iraq. On December 1, Ruedas, met with Iraqi Minister of Finance Fuad Hussein and discussed possible contribution of the Iraqi government to the UNDP Stabilization Program. On December 2, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Jan Kubis, met with Babil Province Governor, Karrar al-Abadi. Kubis encouraged investment in water management to deal with climate change and water scarcity.
      more…
    • KDP nominates members of the Barzani family to KRG PM and presidential positions, encountering opposition from the New Generation Movement – On December 3, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) nominated Nechirvan Barzani as the next president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The KDP also nominated Masrour Barzani, son of former President Masoud Barzani, to take over as the current Prime Minister. In response, the New Generation Movement, which currently holds eight seats in the KRG Parliament,rejected the nomination of members of the Barzani family to continue to hold both the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Office of the KRG.
      more…
    • Iraqi Cabinet briefed on effects of flooding; New EU report provides new assessment regarding effects of flooding in Ninewa and Salah al-Din – On December 4, the Iraqi Council of Ministers was briefed on recovery efforts following devastating floods. The Cabinet considered a measure to ensure payments to households and businesses impacted by the floods and reviewed a long-term plan for recovery efforts. On December 6, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations released an assessment of the recent flood impacts in Ninewa and Salah ad-Din Provinces.
      more…
    • Iran reportedly assassinates critics in Iraq; al-Maliki condemns Saudi Arabia’s attempts to decrease Iranian influence in Iraq; Iraq’s energy sector will continue to require imports from Iran – On November 29, the British Newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, released a report that Iran is involved in using ‘teams of hit squads’ to silence critics within Iraq. On December 2, former Iraqi Prime Minister and leader of the State of Law Coalition, Nouri al-Maliki, condemned efforts from Saudi Arabia to include Iraq in an alliance against neighboring Iran. On December 6, a senior Iraqi energy official said that Iraq needed at least two years to increase its gas production before the energy sector could sustain itself without imports from Iran.
      more…
    • Fewest number of civilians killed in armed conflict and terrorism in six years; Iraqi air force continues to bomb militant targets – On December 2, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released data on the number of civilians killed in terrorist attacks, violence and armed conflict for the month of November. 41 Iraqi civilians were killed while 73 were injured in November, the lowest in six years of data collection. On December 3, Rudaw News reported that coalition strikes targeted a militant group’s hideout in Kifri, Iraq.
      more…
    • Iraqi and UN officials deal with aftermath of ISIS atrocities – On November 30, Iraqi officials released a video of a Jamal al-Mashadani, a mid-level Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) operative who confessed to capturing Kurdish forces and parading them throughout cities in Northern Iraq in early 2015.On December 4, Karim Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations (UN) Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by [ISIS], briefed the UN Security Council on his report on how to move forward in creating a peaceful Iraq and holding militants accountable.
      more…
    • Protests resume in Basra; Authorities respond with security measures and detention of protesters; Basra governor to visit KRG – On December 4, protests resumed in the southern province of Basra as protesters wore “yellow jackets” similar to those work by protesters in Paris. On December 6, the Director for the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Basra told Alsumaria News that at least nine protesters were released after being arrested on December 4. On December 5, Rudaw News reported that Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani would visit the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) seeking advice from Kurdish leaders on how to deal with demonstrations in the province.more…
    • New assessment of humanitarian needs around Baquba city; EU issues new report on Iraqi asylum seekers – On November 30, REACH Initiative released a report documenting the needs in communities surrounding Baquba City in Diyala Province. The same day, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a report titled “Country of Origin Information (COI) – Iraq Actors of Protection.” The report is the first of a four-part series on Iraq that will be released in 2018 and 2019. The report documents the number of Iraqi citizens who have applied for international protections in EU countries in 2017-2018. The report focuses on Iraq’s ability to provide civilian protection and justice.more…
    • Iraqi Red Crescent distributes aid to Iraqis displaced by floods; Flooding affects Mosul – On December 2, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) announced increased efforts to assist Iraqi citizens affected by the devastating floods in Salah ad-Din, Wasit, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Maysan, and Diwaniya provinces. On December 3, Al Jazeera reported that roughly 85 families in Mosul, Iraq were displaced following flash flooding.more…
    • UN tackles IDP issue with Kirkuk governor and civil society; Human rights and civil society NGOs raise concern over abuses against families with alleged ties to ISIS – On December 2, the Deputy Special Representative of UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Marta Ruedas, met with the Governor of Kirkuk, Rakan Jubouri to discuss the ongoing humanitarian and development efforts. On December 3, Voice of America published a report warning officials of the problems families linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are facing when returning to Mosul. more…
    • Italy to provide support for mine-clearing in Iraq; UN encourages civil society engagement in politics; Iraq partners with UN to tackle pollution – On December 3, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, announced the Italian federal government would assist the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the International Red Cross by providing funds for 12 mine clearance projects. On December 4, the Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission for Iraq, Alice Walpole, spoke with activists at the Al-Rafidain Center on Dialogue in Najaf, Iraq. On December 5, the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme released a report documenting current efforts by the Iraqi federal government and the UN Environment Programme to clean toxic chemicals which still threaten many areas of Iraq.more…

    For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.


    Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi fails to secure confirmation of remaining ministers by Parliament

    On December 4, Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi released the names of his final eight nominations for ministerial positions in the Iraqi Cabinet. The list is as follows: Dara Nuradin for Ministry of Justice, Falih Fayadh for Ministry of Interior, Faysal Jarba for Ministry of Defense, Qusay Abdulwahab Suheil for Ministry of Higher Education, Saba Khayradin Tani for Ministry of Education, Abdulamir Hamdani for Ministry of Culture, Nouri Natiq Dlemi for Ministry of Planning, and Hanna Immanuel Gorgis for Ministry of Immigrant and Immigration.

    On December 4, the Iraqi Council of Representatives blocked the confirmations of the remaining eight ministerial positions in the Cabinet of PM Adel Abdul Mahdi. In a weekly press conference, Mahdi urged members of parliament to finalize the Cabinet and to come to an agreement. PM Mahdi stated that “We expect the [Council of Ministers] to set a date for the completion of the [confirmations for ] ministries after the agreement is reached between its members.” He added , “we will not provide additional lists of ministers, we we look forward to a parliamentary agreement to vote on the list of current names.”

    On December 4, the Iraqi Council of Ministers adjourned its latest session of Parliament after failing to vote on the eight remaining ministerial positions in the Iraqi Cabinet. Iraqi Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi, confirmed that the next session of parliament will be moved back until Thursday December 6 as parties engaged in verbal quarrels regarding many of the nominations for Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mahdi’s Cabinet. Reuters reports that Members of Parliament (MPs) “banged on the tables shouting “illegitimate” eventually forcing an end to the session as Abdul Mahdi and his proposed ministers left parliament.” Most of the MPs belonged to the Sairoon Alliance, led by Muqtada al-Sadr. Some were allies on the list of former PM Haider al-Abadi, who rejected PM Mahdi’s nominations to head the ministries of defense and the interior.

    On December 4, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the State of Law Coalition, blasted members of parliament for blocking the nomination of the eight remaining ministerial positions in the Iraqi Cabinet. Alsumaria News reports that Maliki stated that “What happened today in parliament… is a serious setback, a regrettable matter, and is in clear violation of the will of the people and the voters.” Maliki also urged politicians to work diligently to complete the formation of the government and to hold a vote in the next session of parliament.  

    On December 5, Alsumaria News reported that the Alliance for Reform and Reconstruction held a meeting after MPs blocked the remaining eight ministerial positions in the Iraqi Cabinet. According to a statement released by the Coalition following the meeting, they discussed “the formation of the government as well as the rules of procedure of the alliance and the formation of committees and remaining bodies.” According to Alsumaria News political leaders present at the meeting included former PMs Haider al-Abadi and Ayad Allawi, former Vice President Osama Nujaifi, and former Minister of Defense Khaled al-Obeidi.

    On December 5, Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Iraqi Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi to discuss recent political developments and the completion of the formation of the government.


    UN pushes Iraq’s leadership to invest in reconstruction, create conditions for return of IDPs and tackle water crisis

    On November 28, the Deputy Special Representative of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General in Iraq, Marta Ruedas, co-chaired a meeting with the Iraqi Council of Ministers. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) wrote on Twitter: “during the meeting, Ms. Ruedas briefed the Iraqi government and members of the diplomatic community on the latest developments on the stabilization activities being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the liberated areas.” Ruedas further urged the Iraqi government to encourage the international community to continue to provide financial support for stabilization and called on the Iraqi federal government to contribute to those efforts as well to enable the UNDP to fully support efforts for stabilizing Iraq.

    On December 1, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Marta Ruedas, met with Iraqi Minister of Finance Fuad Hussein. UNAMI wrote on Twitter: “discussions included the possible contribution of the Iraqi government to the UNDP Stabilization Program, which to date has completed more than 1,500 projects to assist millions of Iraqis in education, health care, water, electricity, and employment.”

    On December 2, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Jan Kubis, met with Iraqi Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi. UNAMI wrote on Twitter: “in addition to the ongoing humanitarian efforts to care for the displaced and ensure their dignified, safe return to their homes, they stressed the importance of continuing reconstruction and community and national reconciliation for the stability of the liberated areas, and development and investment across the country to boost the economy and create employment opportunities.”

    On December 2, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Jan Kubis, met with Babil Province Governor, Karrar al-Abadi. According to UNAMI on Facebook, “the Special Representative said the development and the promotion of investment to strengthen local economies and water management, including transboundary waters, and the effective use of water for agriculture to deal with climate change and water scarcity were so important that the United Nations would now participate and continue to do so in the future.” Local officials also urged Kubis to include Babil on the World Heritage List under UNESCO as Kubis affirmed his commitment and added that local officials should inquire about adding the area to the list.


    KDP nominates members of the Barzani family to KRG PM and presidential positions, encountering opposition from the New Generation Movement

    On December 3, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) nominated Nechirvan Barzani as the next president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The KDP also nominated Masrour Barzani, son of former President Masoud Barzani, to take over as the current Prime Minister (PM). The KDP currently holds 45 of the 111 seats in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and will need to seek a coalition to maintain majority in Parliament. Kamal Chomani, a Kurdish political analyst for the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy told Reuters that “we still don’t know what the presidency will look like… In any case, Nechirvan will be weaker than Masrour but will stay powerful enough to control the foreign relations of the KRI. It all depends on how the presidential law will be amended.” Currently, the KRI does not have an official constitution dividing power between the PM and the President after the KRG failed to ratify one in 2009.

    On December 3, the New Generation Movement, which currently holds eight seats in the KRG Parliament rejected the nomination of members of the Barzani family to continue to hold both the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Office of the KRG. Rudaw News reports that the New Generation Movement called the move “a monopolization of power.” The party called on “forces outside the KDP willing to genuinely compete with the KDP and oppose its dictatorship” to “present candidates for the position of the Region’s president or the prime minister. If other forces do this, then they have the confidence and vote of the New Generation faction in Kurdistan’s parliament.”


    Iraqi Cabinet briefed on effects of flooding; New EU report provides new assessment regarding effects of flooding in Ninewa and Salah al-Din

    On December 4, the Iraqi Council of Ministers held its weekly regular meeting. The Cabinet received briefings on recovery efforts following devastating floods from the emergency response unit that is coordinating the delivery of aid to affected communities. The Cabinet also considered a measure to ensure payments to households and businesses impacted by the floods and reviewed a long-term plan for recovery efforts. Finally, the Cabinet voted to declare December 10. 2018 as a federal holiday to commemorate the anniversary over the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in December of 2017.

    On December 6, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) released an assessment of the recent flood impacts in Ninewa and Salah ad-Din Provinces. According to the report, “80 families have been evacuated, the al-Zanael village is damaged and roads flooded in southern [Ninewa Province] and in Mosul.” The Jeddah and Qayarrah Airstrip internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Ninewa have also been negatively impacted as 2,392 tents in the Qayarrah camp were damaged, which forced hundreds to take shelter in communal areas. DG ECHO, in coordination with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), deployed a Rapid Assessment and Response Team to assess damages caused by the flooding as over 600 camp residents worked to clear drains and help to repair roads and restore services to the two IDP camps. The assessment added that “more than 3,150 basic non-food item kits were also provided.” These kits include necessities such as gas cookers, mattresses, bedsheets, rechargeable lights, jerry cans, and kitchen sets.


    Iran reportedly assassinates critics in Iraq; al-Maliki condemns Saudi Arabia’s attempts to decrease Iranian influence in Iraq; Iraq’s energy sector will continue to require imports from Iran

    On November 29, the British Newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, released a report that Iran is involved in using ‘teams of hit squads’ to silence critics within Iraq. According to British security officials, Qassem Suleimani, the Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force has ordered multiple operations to intimidate Iranian opponents. According to the report, “the most high-profile victim to date of the Iranian hit squads was Adel Shaker El-Tamimi – a close ally of former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi – who was assassinated by the Quds force in September.” It is believed that hit squads were also deployed after the Iraqi general election in May 2018, as Iran attempted to influence the formation of the new Iraqi government after election results did not give Tehran-backed candidates a majority in Iraq’s Parliament. In addition, British security officials warned that the Quds Force is “seeking to consolidate its military position” in Iraq.

    On December 2, former Iraqi Prime Minister and leader of the State of Law Coalition, Nouri al-Maliki, condemned efforts from Saudi Arabia to include Iraq in an alliance against neighboring Iran. Maliki told an Iranian news network that “Iraq will not be a member of any alliance with America and Saudi Arabia against Iran and will not allow the use of its territory against its neighbor.”

    On December 6, a senior Iraqi energy official said that Iraq needed at least two years to increase its gas production before the energy sector could sustain itself without imports from Iran. Hayan Abdul Ghani, who is the head of the state-run South Gas Company (SGC) told Reuters that by the end of 2020, its current gas output is estimated to reach 1.3 million cubic feet per day. Ghani stated that “Iraq’s current production of gas is not enough to meet our power stations’ demand and therefore we are still importing gas from Iran. We need at least 24 months to operate new gas projects and start production.”


    Fewest number of civilians killed in armed conflict and terrorism in six years; Iraqi air force continues to bomb militant targets

    On December 2, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released data on the number of civilians killed in terrorist attacks, violence and armed conflict for the month of November. 41 Iraqi civilians were killed while 73 were injured in November, the lowest in six years of data collection. Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Security-General in Iraq, Jan Kubis, stated that “these are not just figures. They are human beings with families. But these figures, sad as they are, also reflect the continuing downward trend in the level of violence as the country recovers from its fight with terrorism and presses ahead towards a stable, prosperous future.”

    On December 3, Rudaw News reported that coalition strikes targeted a militant group’s hideout in Kifri, Iraq. Kifri Mayor, Jalal Anwar, confirmed the strikes targeted the White Flags, a militant group that has emerged after the destruction of the Islamic State as a territorial entity. There are no details regarding casualties among the militants in Kifri, Diyala Province, approximately 210 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.


    Iraqi and UN officials deal with aftermath of ISIS atrocities

    On November 30, Iraqi officials released a video of a Jamal al-Mashadani, a mid-level Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) operative who confessed to capturing Kurdish forces and parading them throughout cities in Northern Iraq in early 2015. Mashadani was an officer within the Saddam Hussein regime and later joined al-Qaeda before joining ISIS. Mashadani is only one of a handful of mid-level and higher-level militants who have been captured by Iraqi and American forces. Mashadani managed operations within the organization and was heavily involved in intelligence gathering and possibly training militants. According to the New York Times, “Mashadani detailed his involvement in the Islamic State, including his meetings in 2014 with Mr. Baghdadi, whom he said gathered the governors of different Iraqi provinces in Mosul to give them instructions on running their areas and to have joint discussions on issues such as what to do with the spoils that Islamic State commanders took from people.” Mashadani said that he left Syria and ISIS in 2017 after coalition forces heavily bombed ISIS-held areas and was later captured by Iraqi intelligence officials in Baghdad.

    On December 4, Karim Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations (UN) Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by [ISIS], briefed the UN Security Council on his report on how to move forward in creating a peaceful Iraq and holding militants accountable. Khan stated that the UN “must operate as an independent, impartial and credible accountability mechanism, capable of conducting its work to the highest possible standards,” and to “ensure that our work is carried out collaboratively and cooperatively with the Government of Iraq, with full respect for its national sovereignty and in a manner that harnesses the talents, and engenders the support, of all elements of Iraqi society.” Khan visited Iraq in September of 2018 to hear first-hand testimony of the horrors from survivors of the violence perpetrated by ISIS and in his testimony stressed the need to bring perpetrators of these atrocities to justice. “The scope and magnitude of its crimes has been exposed. Witness testimony has revealed a plethora of unimaginable abuses. Thousands, including women and children, have become victims and witnesses of its crimes.”


    Protests resume in Basra; Authorities respond with security measures and detention of protesters; Basra governor to visit KRG

    On December 4, protests resumed in the southern province of Basra as protesters wore “yellow jackets” similar to those work by protesters in Paris. Over 100 demonstrators stormed the office of Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani demanding basic services such as electricity and clean water. Security officials responded by firing live ammunition, but NBC News reports that no one was injured as a result. An organizer named Naqeeb Luaibi told NBC News that “We thought we would be more organized if we wear these vests.”

    On December 5, protesters in Basra Province demanded that demonstrators who were arrested in a clash with security forces be released. Alsumaria News reports that dozens of protesters gathered near government offices in Basra. According to a reporter for Alsumaria News, as they were surrounded by security forces “some demonstrators raised Iraqi flags, and chanted slogans calling for reform.”

    On December 5, Rudaw News reported that Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani would visit the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) seeking advice from Kurdish leaders on how to deal with demonstrations in the province. Eidani told reporters on December 4 that “a delegation from the province of Basra will soon visit the Kurdistan Region in coordination with the regional government in order to be closely aware of the authority of the decentralized region. The aim of the visit is to benefit from the experience of the region and transfer the experience to the province of Basra.” According to Rudaw News, Eidani was also in a meeting with Iraqi Minister of Finance, Fuad Hussein, as the minister met a delegation from the Basra provincial council to discuss its share of next year’s federal budget.

    On December 6, the Director for the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Basra told Alsumaria News that at least nine protesters were released after being arrested on December 4. After the protest, security forces detained several journalists who were released shortly after, while the protesters remained in detention for two additional days.


    New assessment of humanitarian needs around Baquba city; EU issues new report on Iraqi asylum seekers

    On November 30, REACH Initiative released a report documenting the needs in communities surrounding Baquba City in Diyala Province. REACH conducted several interviews with 24 key informants (KIs) to understand the prioritized needs for many rural areas just south of Baquba with an estimated population of 135,291 to 627,000 as of 2007.Those interviewed stressed the need for access to clean water for drinking and irrigation. The dysfunction of the local water systems has harmed livelihoods within the surrounding communities of Baquba, with agricultural productivity decreasing sharply. Interviewees also emphasized that there were many barriers to accessing decent education due to lack of schools. REACH interviewed one KI who estimated that 17,000 people were internally displaced in the assessed areas south of Baquba, as most individuals were displaced in 2014 and 2015 due to the presence of ISIS.

    On November 30, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a report titled  “Country of Origin Information (COI) – Iraq Actors of Protection. The report is the first of a four-part series on Iraq that will be released in 2018 and 2019. The report documents the number of Iraqi citizens who have applied for international protections in European Union (EU) countries in 2017-2018. Iraq currently ranks as the third leading country of origin of applications for asylum and refugee status in the EU with close to 35,000 applications in the first three quarters of 2018. The report focuses on Iraq’s ability to provide civilian protection and justice while also analyzing the capacities and integrity of central institutions that are vital for ensuring security, justice and accountability in Iraq, including the ministries of interior and defense, the judiciary and other oversight bodies.


    Iraqi Red Crescent distributes aid to Iraqis displaced by floods; Flooding affects Mosul

    On December 2, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) announced increased efforts to assist Iraqi citizens affected by the devastating floods in Salah ad-Din, Wasit, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Maysan, and Diwaniya provinces. The IRCS estimates that more than 800 families have been impacted in the Shirqat District of Salah ad-Din Province and that relief teams have already distributed food, health kits, blankets and mattresses to more than 200 families. Health teams also provided first-aid assistance to those injured and transferred severely injured persons to specialized medical centers while also providing psychological support to many displaced by the flooding.

    On December 3, Al Jazeera reported that roughly 85 families in Mosul, Iraq were displaced following flash flooding that has impacted several parts of Iraq. An anonymous Iraqi civil defense official told Al Jazeera that about six bridges and over 300 tents in the Nimrud IDP camp were damaged due to the heavy rainfall.


    UN tackles IDP issue with Kirkuk governor and civil society; Human rights and civil society NGOs raise concern over abuses against families with alleged ties to ISIS

    On December 2, the Deputy Special Representative of UN Secretary-General in Iraq, Marta Ruedas, met with the Governor of Kirkuk, Rakan Jubouri to discuss the ongoing humanitarian and development efforts. During her visit, Ruedas also met with humanitarian partners from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in an effort to discuss the efforts of providing services to residents of IDPs camps.

    On December 3, Voice of America published a report warning officials of the problems families linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are facing when returning to Mosul. According to Amnesty International, “many women and children with perceived ties to [ISIS] members were placed in different IDP camps. Those who were were able to return were subjected to attacks, evictions arrests and other abuses.” Civil society groups are now calling for the Iraqi government and international bodies to take this issue seriously, as continued ostracizing and abuses against parts of Iraq’s citizenry may contribute to the growth of  extremism. Badar Fares, a civil society leader from Mosul stated that “we are facing a reality today. The families of [ISIS] who were sent away to camps are placed together, and this extremist thought will continue to grow and will spread among them. If we reintegrate them with the rest of society, and they see how the people are living and interacting with each other with forgiveness, peace and love, it will passively affect them.”  


    Italy to provide support for mine-clearing in Iraq; UN encourages civil society engagement in politics; Iraq partners with UN to tackle pollution

    On December 3, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, announced the Italian federal government would assist the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the International Red Cross by providing funds for 12 mine clearance projects. According to the deal, Italy will provide EUR $3.5 million (USD $3.9 million), to help with mine clearance assistance in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

    On December 4, the Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission for Iraq, Alice Walpole, spoke with activists at the Al-Rafidain Center on Dialogue in Najaf, Iraq. Walpole’s speech centered on Iraq’s democratic experiences and progress. Walpole addressed what she called “two broadly successful electoral processes” that solidified Iraq’s determination to become a free and democratic country. She warned that organizers and officials cannot be complacent as the voter turnout was only 44% and there were widespread allegations of fraud and mismanagement. However, Walpole also celebrated the recount process as she stated, “I would like to note the transparent, credible, and well-organized conduct of the recount (which I myself witnessed in several recount locations).” Walpole also urged that Iraqi society take the demonstrations in Basra and other governorates across Iraq seriously as their is a clear need for the federal government to address the concerns and needs of Iraqi citizens as she urged officials to take a more rapid response plan. “The new government now needs to prioritize political, economic and social reforms, justice, equality, accountability, reconciliation and the fight against corruption.” Walpole commended the peaceful transfer of power and urged political leaders to work together to finalize the formation of the new government offering the full support of the UN to fight corruption and to bring a peaceful and prosperous to the people of Iraq.

    On December 5, the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme released a report documenting current efforts by the Iraqi federal government and the UN Environment Programme to clean toxic chemicals which still threaten many areas of Iraq. The UN recounts that ISIS fighters destroyed strategic installations such as pesticides plants in an effort to spread toxic fumes throughout many cities if forced to retreat. Many water systems are also currently filled with mustard gas and remnants of oil spills, which creates increased risk of respiratory disease for citizens trying to return to their homes. The UN and the Iraqi government established a cross-ministry team in charge of tackling pollution issues. The UN states that “Iraq is among the first of seven countries selected to participate in UN Environment’s Special Programme, an initiative designed to help states meet their chemicals and waste management obligations under the Basel, Rotterdam, Minamata, and Stockholm conventions and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management.” The UN will assist Iraqi officials in technical know-how and in drafting hazardous waste management legislation designed to improve living conditions and lower toxicity levels across Iraq. Police and military officials are also working to help by monitoring the imports of toxic chemicals in and out of the country as PM Adel Abdul Mahdi stressed the need to require licenses for shipments of chemicals between provinces.


    No IED incidents were reported for this week.


    Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center.


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