March 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 24 February 2006
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MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

Expected Council Action
In March the quarterly report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is due. Also the US is expected to report to the Council on the activities of the multinational force.

The Council will be following developments in Iraq as the process of forming a new government proceeds. A statement in that context is likely as soon as the new government is in place.

The quarterly report of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) is also due. The Council recognised in resolution 1483 that it was necessary to review the UNMOVIC mandate. However, it is not expected that the Council will take up that matter in March.

Recent Developments
Please see our February 2006 Forecast Report for a detailed review of the UN role in Iraq in recent years.

On 10 February the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq certified the results of the 15 December 2005 parliamentary elections. This was welcomed by the Security Council in a presidential statement on 14 February.

The Shia conservative United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) was confirmed as the winner, although it failed to gain an absolute majority. Sunnis obtained 58 of the 275 seats in parliament.

After weeks of heated debate, the incumbent Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari was reappointed by the new parliament. He now has to form his government, which will be a difficult task given the divisions within the UIA and tensions with the Sunnis and the Kurds. The government might not be completed before the end of March.

The Security Council, welcoming the results of the elections, stressed the importance of inclusiveness and called for the UN to play the fullest possible role in Iraq.

Key Issues
The Council is unlikely to be taking up any key issues in March. Resolution 1546 set a very broad mandate and an unspecified timeframe for UNAMI. Accordingly, there is unlikely to be pressure for any action.

A statement welcoming the formation of a new Iraqi government is almost certain, but is unlikely to become an issue.

However, once the government is established, the timing and the scope of the scheduled constitutional review process could quickly become a major issue. Although it is more likely to emerge as an issue in April, it is possible that the US and the UK may wish to press the Council to take a position.

A related issue for the Council is likely to be the nature of future UN involvement in Iraq. Clearly the wishes of the new Iraqi government will play a major role in consideration of this issue, as will the Secretariat’s concerns about security.

The question of UNMOVIC remains unsettled but currently there are no proposals on the table.

Council Dynamics
There is little debate within the Council and given the pressure of other business in March, Council members will be pleased not to have to focus on issues and options for Iraq.

Most Recent UN Documents

 Selected Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1637 (8 November 2005) extended the multinational force’s mandate, the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board until 31 December 2006.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2006/8 (14 February 2006) welcomed the results of the elections.
 Secretary-General’s Report on UNAMI
  • S/2005/766 (7 December 2005) was the most recent periodic report.
 Selected Letters

Full forecast