December 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 November 2006
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MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

Expected Council Action
The quarterly report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is due on 7 December, with a briefing from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, and the regular briefing by the US on the activities of the Multinational Force (MNF).

The Council will receive the quarterly report of the UN Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) in late November. No action is expected.

Council members will also be briefed by Yuli M. Vorontsov, the High-Level Coordinator for Iraq’s compliance with its obligations regarding Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property. The next report is due in December.

Key Recent Developments
The International Compact for Iraq was launched on 27 July with a joint statement from the government of Iraq and the UN. This new partnership is designed to support national reconciliation, consolidate peace and pursue political, economic and social development over the next five years. The framework agreement is expected to be finalised in December.

Violence continues in Iraq, however. The last UNAMI human rights report lists 3,700 civilian deaths in October, the highest in any month to date, thus averaging more than 100 deaths per day. More than 14,000 civilians are being wounded per month.

The Constitutional Review Committee was formed in September, comprising Shi’a, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders. The review process is expected to take a year, when a referendum would be held. A chairman had yet to be appointed at press time.

Iraq recently renewed diplomatic relations with Syria, and the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been invited by his Iranian counterpart to discuss ways of addressing the violence in Iraq. These are important regional developments as the US has accused Iran of arming Shi’a militia in Iraq and Syria of failing to prevent insurgents crossing the border with Iraq.

After a request for extension of the MNF mandate by the Iraqi and US governments, the Council adopted resolution 1723 on 28 November which extended until 31 December 2007 the mandate of the MNF and of the Development Fund for Iraq and its International Advisory Monitoring Board, with a review process no later than 15 June 2007. The mandate was due to expire on 31 December 2006. The Council said it looked forward to the day when Iraqi forces would assume full responsibility for the maintenance of security and stability, “thus allowing the completion of the multinational force mandate and the end of its presence in Iraq.” It also stressed the responsibility of the Iraqi authorities to prevent attacks on diplomatic personnel.

Options
The Council has a few options for UNMOVIC but no action is expected in December.  Please see our June 2006 Monthly Forecast on UNMOVIC. 

On the issue of Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property, the Council will likely adopt a press statement expressing concern at the plight of the families of those missing persons, and welcoming any progress on the issue of the missing property.

Key Issues
In June, the Security Council’s Mandate Review Committee agreed in principle that UNMOVIC’s mandate should be terminated. However, the Council has yet to find the right time to address this matter. There are still unresolved practical questions including when the mandate should be terminated, whether the know-how and archives should be retained and whether the end of the mandate should be accompanied by a formal recognition that weapons of mass destruction were not found.

For more information on the issues and dynamics relating to UNMOVIC, see our June 2006 Monthly Forecast

There has been some progress on Iraq/Kuwait missing property. In April, Tunisia agreed to return spare engine parts to Kuwait Airways. There have been no developments on the repatriation or return of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains. Reporting frequency was reduced to semi-annual intervals and linked with missing persons.

Council Dynamics
There was consensus on the renewal of the MNF mandate as Council members were unwilling to discuss the substance.

Underlying Problems
The Iraqi police force is still largely unable to operate on its own. Officers retain strong allegiances to their own sects while some belong to militias. There are fears the Iraqi government may play the sectarian card.

Selected UN Documents

 Latest Resolutions
  • S/RES/1723 (28 November 2006) extended the MNF mandate until 31 December 2007.
  • S/RES/1700 (10 August 2006) extended the UNAMI mandate for another 12 months.
 Latest Report on UNAMI
 Latest UNMOVIC Report
 Latest report on Iraq/Kuwait Missing Property
 Selected Letters
  • S/2006/899 (17 November 2006) was the letter from the US on the extension of the MNF mandate.
  • S/2006/888 (14 November 2006) was the letter from the Iraqi government requesting a renewal of the MNF, Development Fund for Iraq and International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq mandates.
  • S/2006/614 (1 August 2006) was a letter from the Arab League including the outcome of the meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Iraqi National Reconciliation Conference.
  • S/2006/221 (5 April 2006) was the letter from Tunisia on the return to Kuwait of Kuwaiti property.

For key facts and historical background on Iraq, please refer to our February 2006 Monthly Forecast

Other Relevant Facts     

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq
 Ashraf Jehangir Qazi (Pakistan)
 Deputy Special Representative for Iraq
 Jean-Marie Fakhouri (Lebanon)
 Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs in Iraq
 Michael von der Schulenburg (Germany)


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