August 2010 Monthly Forecast



Expected Council Action
The mandate of UNAMI, the UN political mission in Iraq, expires on 7 August. Renewal for 12 months seems likely. The Council is also expecting the Secretary-General’s regular ninety-day report on UNAMI in August. A briefing by Special Representative Ad Melkert is expected.

Key Recent Developments
Delays over the formation of a new Iraqi government continue. On 27 July a planned session of the Iraqi parliament was cancelled due to the continuing disagreement. On 19 July, Ayad Allawi met with Moktada al-Sadr in Syria. (Allawi’s Iraqiya alliance has 91 seats in parliament, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance has 89 and followers of al-Sadr form a part of the Iraqi National Alliance, which has seventy. According to the Iraqi constitution, a new president should be chosen within thirty days of parliament’s first session; Iraq’s parliament first convened briefly on 14 June.) Iraq’s Supreme Court ruled Jalal Talabani remain president despite the missed parliamentary deadline.

Violence has continued in the country. On 18 July, at least 39 people were killed in Baghdad when a suicide bomber targeted a gathering of members of the Awakening movement. Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for the bombing. Attacks against members of the Awakening movement, which is composed of government-backed Sunni militias that have fought Al-Qaida in Iraq, have increased in recent months. On 13 July, Iraqi authorities said 75 people had been killed and more than 400 wounded in attacks on Shiite pilgrims during an annual pilgrimage in Baghdad. Ad Melkert, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), condemned attacks on the pilgrims on 8 July. On 26 July, four people were killed as the result of a suicide car bombing targeting the al-Arabiya television station.

The US transferred control of the last prison under its control to Iraqi authorities on 15 July. US officials said about thirty former members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle, including Tariq Aziz, had been handed over to Iraqi authorities in recent days. US personnel will continue to guard about 200 detainees, who include Al-Qaida militants and former associates of Saddam Hussein.

On 13 July, General Ray Odierno, commander of US forces in Iraq, said attacks would not disrupt US plans to reduce the number of its troops in Iraq to 50,000 by 1 September (there are currently about 85,000 US troops in the country).

On 7 July the permanent representative of Iraq to the UN, Hamid Al-Bayati, met with the Secretary-General and said Iraq may need to seek an extension of immunities associated with the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) beyond December 2010, when they are set to expire.

On 12 July, UN Controller Jun Yamazaki briefed the Council on the DFI. He said delays in the completion of Iraq’s oil metering system, which will help track the country’s export revenue, were a concern. He also stressed that immunities associated with the DFI were only intended to be in effect for a limited period. Abdul Basit Turky Saed, head of the Committee of Financial Experts, presented Iraq’s quarterly report to the Council on preparations for the transition to a DFI successor mechanism. He said Iraq had recently reviewed outstanding letters of credit from the oil-for-food programme and decided to pay 26 of them. He also said negotiations were continuing with regard to settling foreign debts inherited from the regime of Saddam Hussein. On 29 July the UN Compensation Commission released $650 million to nine successful claimants who suffered damages related to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The major remaining obligation is to Kuwait itself which has yet to receive $22.3 billion of the compensation awarded.

On 13 July, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, continued discussions between Iraq and the Secretary-General and the P5 on the steps Iraq has taken to facilitate the removal of measures imposed in Chapter VII resolutions passed during the regime of Saddam Hussein with both the Secretary-General and the P5.

US Vice President Joseph Biden visited Baghdad from 3 to 5 July. He met separately with al-Maliki and Allawi. US officials stressed that the makeup of the new Iraqi government remains for Iraqis to determine and that the planned withdrawal of US troops would occur regardless of whether a new government had been formed by then.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is the extent to which UNAMI continues to play a useful role (Melkert’s recommendation in his 25 May briefing was that the mission should maintain or expand its current footprint. He also noted that UNAMI will require sustained or increased support in order to provide expanded security for personnel as a consequence of the expected withdrawal of US combat troops.) A related issue, given UNAMI’s status as a political mission, are the implications for the UN regular budget, which is ultimately a General Assembly decision.

Underlying Problems
A major underlying problem is the fact that Iraq is still developing the political culture and institutions and social infrastructure required for long-term stability. The deep-seated sectarian and political divisions, which have hindered the formation of a new government following national elections, also have the potential to foster increased violence in the country.

Options for the Council include:

Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members generally view UNAMI as an important element of overall support to Iraq and favour the extension of the mission’s mandate. However, most Council members remain concerned over the delay in forming a new government following the 7 March elections in Iraq. Members appear to agree that no major changes to UNAMI’s mandate should be made at this time.

Most Council members seem to view Iraq’s work on a post-DFI successor mechanism positively, although many are sceptical of the desirability of extending any immunities past the end of this year. With regard to resolving other outstanding Chapter VII issues such as disarmament and Iraq/Kuwait issues, Council members seem to remain hopeful that increased progress is likely after the formation of a new Iraqi government.

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 for the DFI and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) until 31 December 2010, called on Iraq to develop an action plan and timeline for a post-DFI mechanism in 2010 and requested the Secretary-General to report on strengthening oversight of the DFI, legal issues and options for a post-DFI mechanism, and Iraq’s progress in preparing for such a mechanism.
  • S/RES/1883 (7 August 2009) extended UNAMI’s mandate for another 12 months.
  • 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.
  • S/RES/1284 (17 December 1999) appointed a High-Level Coordinator for Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property.

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 Records

  • S/PV.6356 (12 July 2010) was the latest briefing on the DFI and the IAMB.
  • S/PV.6320 (25 May 2010) was the latest briefing on UNAMI.

Selected Letters

  • S/2010/378 (12 July 2010) informed the Secretariat that the Council had approved funding for the activities of the High-Level Coordinator for missing Kuwaiti persons and property.
  • S/2010/150 (22 March 2010) included an IAEA assessment of Iraq’s cooperation with its safeguards activities.
  • S/2010/153 (18 March 2010) included Iraq’s first quarterly report on the action plan and timeline for the transition to a post-DFI mechanism by 31 December 2010.
  • 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.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/300 (9 June 2010) was the most recent report on Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property.
  • S/2010/240 (14 May 2010) was the most recent report on UNAMI.
  • S/2010/166 (1 April 2010) was the most recent report on the DFI and the IAMB.
  • S/2009/385 (27 July 2009) was the report on the review of Iraq resolutions.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq

Ad Melkert (Netherlands)

Secretary-General’s High-Level Coordinator for Iraq/Kuwait Missing Persons and Property

Gennady Tarasov (Russia)

Useful Additional Source

Kenneth M. Pollack, “The Political Battle in Iraq,” Foreign Policy Trip Reports Number 15, The Brookings Institution, 30 June 2010

Full forecast