February 2019 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 January 2019
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THEMATIC ISSUES

Counter-Terrorism

Expected Council Action

In February, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), and Michèle Coninsx, the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), are expected to brief the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s strategic-level report on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh), followed by consultations.

Background and Key Recent Developments

Under the terms of resolution 2368 of 20 July 2017, the Secretary-General submits a strategic-level report on ISIL to the Council biannually. In his August 2018 report, the Secretary-General found that ISIL has continued to transform itself into a covert global network, with a weakened yet enduring presence in Iraq and Syria and with regional affiliates worldwide. Briefing the Council on the report on 23 August, Voronkov emphasised that although ISIL has suffered significant losses, it remains a serious and significant concern.

On 4 December 2018, the Council received the first briefing by Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and head of the UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh (UNITAD), established in resolution 2379 of 21 September 2017 to support Iraqi domestic efforts to hold ISIL accountable for crimes it committed in Iraq. UNITAD formally began its work on 20 August, and the first group of UNITAD staff deployed to Baghdad on 29 October. In his briefing, Khan outlined the preparatory work being done by UNITAD to implement its mandate and its key priorities as it prepares to begin its work in early 2019. (For more on UNITAD, see our Iraq brief.)

Resolution 2368 required the Council to review the implementation of measures under the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida sanctions regime regarding ISIL, including asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargoes on the listed individuals and entities. Accordingly, on 21 December 2018, the Council adopted a presidential statement in which it said that upon review, no further adjustments to the regime were necessary at that time. The short statement also said that the Council would continue to evaluate the regime’s implementation, making adjustments as needed.

After the statement’s adoption, Ambassador Carl Skau (Sweden) took the floor on behalf of his country and France, Kuwait, the Netherlands and the UK in support of the Office of the Ombudsperson assisting the ISIL Sanctions Committee.  He described the Office as critical to the respect for due process rights of those on the sanctions list, and therefore for the efficiency of, and compliance with, the sanctions regime. Skau expressed support for strengthening the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsperson and affirmed the importance of safeguarding its independence. He welcomed continued discussions among member states about how to ensure respect for due process standards across sanctions regimes.

At press time, on 30 January, the 1267/1989/2253 Sanctions Committee, was scheduled to meet the Monitoring Team assisting it, on the team’s visit to Afghanistan in December 2018.

Beyond the Council, US President Donald Trump announced on 19 December 2018 that the US would withdraw its forces fighting ISIL in Syria, saying that the group had been defeated. The modalities and timing of the pull-out remained unclear at press time. On 16 January, a suicide bombing claimed by ISIL in Manbij, northern Syria, killed four US soldiers and wounded three others, with a total of 19 people killed in the attack. (For more details, see our Syria brief.)

UN DOCUMENTS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM

Security Council Resolutions
21 September 2017S/RES/2379 This resolution established an investigative team tasked with collecting, storing and preserving evidence of ISIL crimes in Iraq.
20 July 2017S/RES/2368 This was a resolution renewing and updating the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions regime. Through an annex to the resolution, eight individuals or organisations were added to the sanctions list.
Security Council Presidential Statements
21 December 2018S/PRST/2018/21 The Council stated that their review of the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime, as required by resolution 2368, concluded that there are no adjustments necessary to the regime at this time.
Secretary-General’s Reports
16 August 2018S/2018/770 This was the Secretary-General’s biannual report on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security.
Security Council Letters
15 November 2018S/2018/1031 This letter transmitted the first report of the Special Adviser and head of the UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh (UNITAD).
Security Council Meeting Records
21 December 2018S/PV.8437 This was the meeting at which presidential statement S/PRST/2018/21 was adopted.
4 December 2018S/PV.8412 This was the Council’s first-ever briefing by Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and head of the UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh (UNITAD).
23 August 2018S/PV.8330 This was a briefing by Under-Secretary-General in the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov on the seventh report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh).