November 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 October 2010
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MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

Expected Council Action
The Council is expecting to discuss the Development Fund for Iraq in November. The UN Controller appears likely to brief the Council in an open meeting and Iraqi representatives may also address the Council. A follow-on closed meeting is also possible. No Council action is expected at time of writing.

Key Recent Developments
 Iraq has continued to be unable to form a new government following its 7 March elections. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited a number of countries in the region in mid-October, reportedly to discuss aspects of government formation in Iraq, including the possible inclusion of the Iraqiya coalition led by Iyad Allawi. Maliki travelled to Iran on 18 October, where Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly urged politicians in Iraq to reach agreement on forming a new government as soon as possible. (Before travelling to Iran, Maliki went to Syria and Jordan and went on to visit Egypt and Turkey.) 

The visits followed a 1 October agreement to nominate Nouri al-Maliki for prime minister by the State of Law coalition led by Maliki, supporters of Moktada al-Sadr and some smaller factions. However, those groups remain short of a majority in the Iraqi parliament, and gathering additional support from Kurdish groups or the Iraqiya coalition is needed. On 8 October hundreds of Sadr’s followers rallied in Baghdad and other parts of the country to show support for the decision to nominate Maliki for a second term as prime minister.

Violence in the country has continued. The US ended combat operations in August and reduced its troops to 50,000. On 19 October a UN convoy transporting Special Representative for Iraq Ad Melkert was attacked with a roadside bomb in Najaf after a meeting between Melkert and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. While Melkert and UN staff were not injured, one member of the Iraqi security forces was killed. The Secretary-General said the attack would not deter the UN’s activities in Iraq.

In survey results presented on 19 October, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that a majority of Iraqis who have moved back to Baghdad regret their decision to return, due to violence, harassment and kidnapping. (While hard to confirm, there have been recent media reports that significant numbers of former Sunni Awakening Council members have joined or rejoined Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia because of frustration with the Shiite-led government. It is unclear to what degree renewed support for Al-Qaida may be contributing to ongoing violence.)

Human Rights-Related Developments
The representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Walter Kaelin, visited Iraq in late September. Kaelin stated that he was encouraged by the cooperation between the Iraqi authorities and the international community to address the humanitarian and human rights situation of displaced persons in Iraq and by the development of a national policy on displacement. However, he expressed concern over dire living conditions in settlements of displaced persons and urged that efforts be strengthened to find alternative housing and long-term solutions, including allocation of land plots. Kaelin observed that durable solutions for displaced persons were “a political imperative, a development challenge and a vital part of the national reconciliation and peace-building process.” He added that, at the same time, “immediate humanitarian needs and human rights must be addressed for all displacement-affected communities, including equitable access to basic services, registration as internally displaced persons, and provision of personal documentation for those who may have lost it.”

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council in November is assessing progress made by Iraq to establish a successor mechanism to the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) which should happen by 31 December 2010, as called for in resolution 1905. (The DFI holds the proceeds of petroleum export sales from Iraq as well as remaining balances from the Oil-for-Food program and other frozen Iraqi funds. The International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) is its audit oversight body.) An ongoing constraint in this regard is the delay in forming a government. A related issue is that ongoing delays also undermine Iraq’s ability to take the steps necessary for the lifting of restrictions imposed in Saddam-era resolutions.

Underlying Problems
A major underlying problem is the fact that as a relatively new democracy, Iraq is still developing the political institutions and social infrastructure required for long-term stability. This hinders the country’s ability to overcome significant sectarian and political divisions.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • adopting a press statement that encourages Iraq’s continuing efforts toward establishing a DFI successor mechanism;
  • choosing to take a decision on removing one or more measures imposed on Iraq in historical resolutions related to the regime of Saddam Hussein (a less likely option at this time); or
  • refraining from action at present.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members seem increasingly concerned over the delay in forming a new government and the complications for assessment of Iraq’s work on a DFI successor mechanism with some questioning whether a credible mechanism can be installed by 31 December. Many appear to remain sceptical about extending immunities associated with the DFI past the end of this year.

With regard to resolving other outstanding Chapter VII issues, many Council members seem to view progress as likely only after the formation of a new Iraqi government and with Iraq/Kuwait issues remaining more problematic.

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/1936 (5 August 2010) extended UNAMI’s mandate through 31 July 2011.
  • S/RES/1905 (21 December 2009) extended the arrangements for the DFI and the 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/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.6368 (4 August 2010) was the latest briefing on UNAMI.
  • S/PV.6356 and S/PV.6357 (12 July 2010) was the latest briefing on the DFI and the IAMB.

Selected Letters

  • S/2010/403 (28 July 2010) was from Iraq to the Council outlining additional steps taken to comply with disarmament and nonproliferation obligations.
  • 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.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/406 (29 July 2010) was the most recent report on UNAMI.
  • S/2010/359 (6 July 2010) was the most recent report on the DFI and the IAMB.
  • S/2010/300 (9 June 2010) was the most recent report on Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property.
  • 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)

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