January 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2011
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MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

Expected Council Action
The Council is expecting a briefing from the Office for Disarmament Affairs and to hold consultations to discuss Iraq’s progress towards ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in accordance with resolution 1957.

Council members are also likely to be watchful about the security and political situation in Iraq following the departure of the US troops.

The mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expires on 31 July 2012.

Key Recent Developments
On 22 December 2011, at least 63 people were reported killed and 185 injured as a result of four car bombs and ten improvised explosive devices across Baghdad. At press time, no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

On 19 December 2011, an Iraq judicial committee issued an arrest warrant, under anti-terrorism laws, for Vice President Tariq Al-Hashemi. Adel Daham, an interior ministry spokesman, said that Al-Hashemi was being sought for links to killings and attacks on several Iraqi government and security officials. Al-Hashemi, Iraq’s most senior Sunni official, refuted the claims in a news conference on 20 December. The al-Iraqiya parliamentary bloc, which represents most of Iraq’s Sunni Arab community, withdrew from the parliament on 17 December.

On 15 December 2011, Leon Panetta, the US Secretary of Defence, attended a ceremony in Baghdad that officially marked the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The last convoy of US troops drove into Kuwait on 18 December. Previously, on 12 December, US President Barack Obama met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki at the White House. The meeting reportedly focused on the future of the US-Iraqi partnership.

On 6 December, Martin Kobler, head of UNAMI, who had assumed his post in October 2011, briefed the Council for the first time on the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNAMI. He said that the withdrawal of US forces at the end of 2011 was a milestone, but security needed to be improved. Kobler urged Iraq to implement its outstanding Chapter VII obligations in accordance with the Secretary-General’s 2009 report (S/2009/385), which would allow for the Council to normalise Iraq’s status in the international community. He stated that the 31 December date for a forced closure of Camp Ashraf by the Iraqi government should be extended. (Camp Ashraf, situated in Diyala province, houses more than 3,000 Iranian exiles belonging to the Mujahedin-e Khalq or the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, an organisation opposed to the government in Tehran.)

On 16 December 2011, B. Lynn Pascoe, the head of the Department of Political Affairs, briefed Council members on the situation in Camp Ashraf. Pascoe’s briefing noted that the political deadlock between Camp Ashraf’s leadership and the government of Iraq was a cause of concern. (UNAMI and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were reported to be in regular contact with the Iraqi government on this issue.)

Al-Maliki told reporters in a press conference, on 21 December 2011, that the government had decided to postpone the closure of Camp Ashraf to January. However, no fixed date was given for the closure.

Ambassador Gennady Tarasov, the high-level coordinator for Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property, briefed Council members on 15 December. The members of the Council released a press statement the same day welcoming the commitment to full implementation of all Iraqi obligations to Kuwait. Council members noted the Secretary-General’s concern that no substantial progress had been made regarding the fate of the Kuwaiti national archives and supported his recommendation to extend the financing of the high-level coordinator for another six months.

On 9 December 2011, Ban appointed György Busztin (Hungary) as his Deputy Special Representative for Iraq. Busztin succeeds Jerzy Skuratowicz (Poland).

On 5 December, 16 people were reported killed and 31 wounded in a bomb attack targeting Shia pilgrims in Hilla.

In a press statement on 30 June 2011, Council members welcomed the Iraqi government’s establishment of a successor arrangement to the DFI consisting of an account held by the Central Bank of Iraq at the Federal Reserve Bank (see S/2011/290). (The Council took note of the establishment of the DFI in resolution 1483 [2003] allowing revenues from oil and other goods to be paid into it and disbursed at the discretion of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, replacing the previous Oil-for-Food programme.)

An advance copy of the first report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 1956 was released on 22 December. The report on Iraq’s compliance with making required deposits to the compensation fund established under resolution 687 (1991) and the post-Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) mechanism mandated under resolution 1956 (2010) concluded that though it was satisfied with the Government of Iraq’s compliance thus far only a forthcoming audit of the successor account will confirm this.

Human Rights-Related Developments
When presenting the latest Secretary-General’s report, Kobler highlighted the need for safeguarding democratic standards, including respect for human rights and the rule of law, after the US withdrawal. Kobler called on the government to do all it could to protect the victims of violence and ensure that those responsible were held accountable. Of particular concern were recent acts of violence against human rights defenders and journalists.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council will be to revisit the issue of security provision for UNAMI personnel, especially in light of the recent bombings and the potential effect that the US military withdrawal is likely to have on the dynamics on the ground.

Developments relating to the arrest warrant issued against Hashemi and the potential for increased sectarian violence will be followed attentively by the Council.

Another key issue for the Council is assessing the level of contribution that UNAMI makes to the stability of Iraq and whether UNAMI’s composition ought to be modified in order to better address the challenges it faces.

Another issue for the Council in January is whether the post-DFI mechanism is functioning in a satisfactory fashion.

Determining Iraq’s commitment to and its progress in ratifying the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the CTBT is also an issue for the Council.

Underlying Problems
Significant sectarian and political divisions continue to adversely affect Iraq and the fragile security situation throughout the country remains a key challenge. In addition, key ministerial posts, such as for defence and interior, have been unfilled for months, and different political blocs remain divided over power sharing. The political fallout arising from the arrest warrant issued against Hashemi would only seem to further complicate national reconciliation.

Options
On Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, CTBT and the post-DFI issues the Council could:

  • simply receive the briefing;  
  • take no action at present whilst continuing to monitor the progress of the post-DFI mechanism until the audit is conducted; or
  • issue a presidential or press statement that could reaffirm previously agreed language in resolutions 1956 and 1957.

Regarding the political situation, also an option could be issuing a presidential or press statement that could include all or some of the following elements:

  • acknowledgement of the increasing security needs of UNAMI;
  • expressing concerns about the impact of violence on Iraqi civilians;
  • urging Iraq’s political leaders to resolve differences through political dialogue; and
  • urging Iraq to finalise its government formation by filling all vacant ministerial posts based on inclusiveness.

Council and Wider Dynamics
At press time, Council members appeared concerned about the political deadlock between the government of Iraq and the leadership of Camp Ashraf. As the evacuation deadline of 31 December approached, they felt the potential for this issue to turn violent grew.

Most Council members seem to view Iraq as a routine issue with no significant developments in the recent times. Many Council members feel that it is important for Iraq to make further efforts to fulfil its obligations to Kuwait. Council members seem to be of the opinion that Iraq’s commitment to resolution 1957 and any progress made in this regard will only serve Iraq’s own international standing.

Russia feels that it might be useful to assess the contribution that UNAMI makes to the stability of Iraq and whether or not UNAMI should continue. Other members tend to view UNAMI as an important factor in Iraq. Some members have expressed concern about the recent arrest warrant issued for Al-Hashemi as signalling the potential for sectarian strife in Iraq.

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

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2001 (28 July 2011) extended UNAMI’s mandate until 31 July 2012.
  • S/RES/1958 (15 December 2010) terminated the Oil-for-Food programme and established an escrow account to provide indemnification to the UN with regard to the programme for a period of six years.
  • S/RES/1957 (15 December 2010) terminated the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)-related Chapter VII measures Iraq was subject to and urged Iraq to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA as soon as possible.
  • S/RES/1956 (15 December 2010) extended the DFI and related immunities a final time until 30 June 2011 and affirmed that five percent of Iraqi proceeds from oil sales would continue to be deposited into a compensation fund after that date.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2011/754 (5 December 2011) was the 32nd report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 14 of resolution 1284, covering the issue of missing Kuwaiti personnel and property.
  • S/2011/736 (28 November 2011) was the first report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 2001, discussing UNAMI’s progress and other developments in Iraq.
  • S/2011/607 (3 October 2011) was the Secretary-General’s report reviewing Iraq’s commitment to the chemical weapons convention.
  • S/2011/435 (7 July 2011) was the third report of the Secretary-General on UNAMI.

Letters

  • S/2011/721 (15 November 2011) was from Ambassador Hamid Al-Bayati to the President of the Council, updating him on the formation of an Iraqi coordinating committee to deal with Kuwaiti national archives.
  • S/2011/503 (8 August 2011) was from the President of the Council addressed to the Secretary-General, acknowledging his intention to appoint Kobler.
  • S/2011/502 (4 August 2011) was from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Council, noting his appointment of Kobler.
  • S/2011/478 (29 July 2011) was from the President of the Council addressed to the Secretary-General, confirming the allocation of funds in support of Tarasov’s activities.
  • S/2011/477 (26 July 2011) was from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Council, requesting funds for Tarasov’s activities.  

Security Council Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6675 (6 December 2011) was Kobler’s briefing to the Council, presenting the first report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 2001.
  • S/PV.6594 (28 July 2011) noted the adoption of S/RES/2001.
  • S/PV.6586 (19 July 2011) was Ad Melkert’s briefing to the Council, presenting the third report of the Secretary-General on UNAMI.

Security Council Press Statements

  • SC/10490 (15 December 2011) expressed the Council’s intention to continue funding for the activities of the high-level coordinator for missing Kuwaiti persons and property.
  • SC/10362 (18 August 2011) condemned terrorist attacks on 15 August in Iraq.
  • SC/10307 (30 June 2011) welcomed the Iraqi government’s assumption of autonomy over the DFI.

Other

  • S/AC.51/2011/6 (3 October 2011) was the report of the working group on children and armed conflict, stating conclusions on children and armed conflict in Iraq.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq

Martin Kobler (Germany)

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

Gennady Tarasov (Russia)

Full Forecast

 

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