April 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 March 2010
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MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

Expected Council Action
The Council is expecting a report on the Development Fund for Iraq in early April. It is likely that the UN Controller will brief the Council on the fund and an Iraqi representative ill report progress on plans for the establishment of a successor mechanism. No Council action was expected at time of writing.

Key Recent Developments
On 21 December 2009 the Council adopted resolution 1905 calling on the government of Iraq to develop an action plan and timeline by 1 April for the effective transition to a post-Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) mechanism by 31 December 2010.

On 16 February, Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, briefed the Council on a range of issues relating to Iraq. He said that public acceptance of national election results would be vital, and that the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) had assisted the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to develop a mechanism to adjudicate complaints in a timely manner. He noted that final election results could take considerable time, with the Federal Supreme Court certifying the tally once all appeals have been resolved. Melkert stated that considering the scheduled draw-down in US military forces, a continued UN presence in Iraq would require a higher level of funding. He also commented on the process of excluding many candidates before the election because of links with the outlawed Baath Party. He said this had lacked transparency. However, the decision was entirely an Iraqi responsibility and should be assessed in the context of the overall electoral process.

On 26 February in a presidential statement, the Council welcomed a confirmation from Iraq on 18 January regarding its commitment to compliance with non-proliferation and disarmament obligations. The Council also welcomed that Iraq would provisionally apply the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), pending ratification by Iraq’s parliament. The Council requested the IAEA to inform the Council regarding Iraq’s cooperation with the Agency and underlined its willingness to review Saddam-era restrictions placed on Iraq related to weapons of mass destruction and civil nuclear activities.

On 8 March, the Council issued a press statement expressing appreciation to the government of Iraq and UNAMI for assisting with the elections in Iraq on 7 March. (The IHEC estimated 62 percent of voters turned out for the election, despite attacks that killed 38 people in Baghdad.)

On 26 March, final preliminary results were released indicating that the Iraqiya list of candidates led by Ayad Allawi had secured 91 seats in parliament, with the State of Law list led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki close behind with 89 seats. However, the final results could take weeks to be certified by the Federal Supreme Court. In addition, reports emerged of a possible merger between the State of Law and Iraqi National Alliance blocs, which would work to sideline Allawi. (The final preliminary results show the Iraqi National Alliance list of candidates, which includes followers of Moktada al-Sadr, in third place with 70 seats.)

Human Rights-Related Developments

The Working Group of the Human Rights Council (HRC), which conducted the Universal Periodic Review of the Iraq on 16 February, made a large number of recommendations. Iraq has already indicated that it supports many of those recommendations and will respond to 14 additional recommendations in time for their inclusion in the outcome report to be adopted by the HRC at its fourteenth session in June. The government did not support a number of other recommendations, almost all of which related to abolition of the death penalty and concerns about persecutions motivated by gender or sexual orientation.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is whether Iraq’s progress so far to establish a successor mechanism to the DFI is on track. (Iraq’s desire for the removal of restrictions imposed in resolutions adopted during Saddam Hussein’s regime will underlie discussion of DFI-related issues.)

The outcome of Iraq’s national elections is a related issue. Whether the final results of the elections will be widely accepted in the country after being certified is a key question. Protracted political conflict over the results could seriously affect not only the security situation in Iraq but also its legislative capacity to create new institutions needed if the Saddam-era restrictions are to be removed.

Underlying Problems
A major underlying problem is the fact that because Iraq is a new and relatively fragile democracy, its ability to deal effectively with disagreements about the legitimacy of election results may result in an extended period of uncertainty.

Options
Options include:

  • adopting a press statement that expresses the Council’s assessment of Iraq’s efforts toward establishing a DFI successor mechanism, and encouraging Iraq to continue its efforts toward full compliance with all historical Council resolutions related to the country; or
  • refraining from further action until the overall situation is clearer.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members are looking forward to Iraq’s first report on its plan and timetable for transitioning to a post-DFI mechanism. Members are aware that the deadline for transitioning to a DFI successor is not until the end of the year, and as a result do not see any urgent need to take action at the present time. However it is possible that some may support a press statement encouraging Iraq.

Council members are mindful that DFI is only one of a number of interrelated and complex historical resolutions related to Iraq. With regard to resolutions related to disarmament and WMD, members appear to agree that in order to further consider lifting restrictions the IAEA must first give the Council a positive report on Iraq’s cooperation with the agency and Iraq’s parliament must ratify the Additional Protocol.

In terms of other issues related to historical Council resolutions, Council members are aware that the close results of the election will likely have implications for the formation of a new government regardless of the final certified result. Given this uncertainty and that some Council members continue to believe that more effort is required on the part of the Iraqi government to resolve outstanding issues regarding Kuwait, members are cautious about whether quick action is possible on any of the various historical resolutions related to Iraq.

The US is the lead country on Iraq issues in general, and the UK is the lead on Iraq/Kuwait issues.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1905 (21 December 2009) extended the arrangements and related immunities for the DFI and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) and called on Iraq to develop an action plan and timeline for a post-DFI mechanism in 2010.
  • S/RES/1859 (22 December 2008) requested the Secretary-General to report on all Council resolutions concerning Iraq since 1990; a letter from Iraq requesting the lifting of Saddam-era resolutions is included as an annex to the resolution.
  • S/RES/1483 (22 May 2003) established sanctions against the previous Iraqi government, created the DFI, provided immunity to Iraqi petroleum products and envisaged the termination of the oil-for-food programme.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2010/5 (26 February 2010) underlined the importance of Iraq’s ratifying the Additional Protocol and expressed the Council’s willingness to review disarmament-related restrictions on Iraq.

Selected Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6271 (16 February 2010) was the latest briefing on UNAMI.

Selected Press Statement

  • SC/9876 (8 March 2010) expressed appreciation to the government of Iraq and UNAMI for preparing and conducting the 7 March election.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/76 (8 February 2010) was the latest report on UNAMI.
  • S/2009/430 (24 August 2009) was the last report on the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB).
  • S/2009/385 (27 July 2009) was the Secretary-General’s report on the review of Iraq resolutions.

Selected Letter

  • S/2010/37 (19 January 2010) was Iraq’s letter to the Council arguing that Iraq had fulfilled its disarmament obligations and asking for the removal of related restrictions under existing resolutions.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq

Ad Melkert (Netherlands)

Useful Additional Source

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