Construction & Engineering In Iraq


Video: Iraq’s Yazidi Projects face Funding Threat

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In northern Iraq, several projects are trying to help Yazidi women support themselves and their loved ones after ISIL drove them from their towns and villages into refugee camps.

But as the threat from ISIL has appeared to diminish, so, too, has the funding for the projects. Although the fight against ISIL may be mostly over, many Yazidis are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports from near the Khanke refugee camp in Dohuk, in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq:

Iraqi Kurdistan struggles to end Violence against Women

By Fazel Hawramy for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Shaima was 17 years old and entering her junior year in school in Erbil. Her mother, who was worried about family “honor,” often challenged her daughter in heated discussions.

Eventually, Shaima’s family barred her from going to school. Around 4 p.m. on Oct. 30, the neighbors heard gunshots coming from Shaima’s house.

“This is not your business,” Shaima’s mother, who was outside the house, told concerned neighbors. The family claimed that Shaima had committed suicide, but it soon became evident that her younger brother had murdered her with an AK-47, allegedly over possession of a mobile phone.

When her body was examined, there were gunshots to her hands, head and chest, and it appeared to Erbil police spokesman Maj. Hoger Aziz that, out of her innocence, Shaima had covered her face with her hands thinking that she could protect herself against the bullets from the barrel of her brother’s weapon.

Click here to read the full story.

Sinjar Road Reconnects Yazidis, Kurds with Baghdad

By Amberin Zaman for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Sinjar road reconnects estranged Yazidis and Kurds with Baghdad

Nadia Murad (pictured), the Nobel prize laureate who has emerged as the universal face of Yazidi persecution by the Islamic State, returned to her ancestral homeland of Sinjar, Iraq, last week to celebrate a religious holiday — and how she got there was a big deal.

The globetrotting human rights activist used the Sihela road skirting the Syrian border. The strategic route had been sealed since October 2017.

That is when the Iraqi army backed by Shiite militias pushed out Kurdish peshmerga forces from the area, part of a broader campaign to roll back the Kurdish presence in contested territories in the wake of the Kurds’ controversial referendum on independence.

Click here to read the full story.

Dutch Minister reopens Fallujah Teaching Hospital

Even after the military defeat of ISIS, the Netherlands will continue working to ensure security and stability in Iraq and the wider region. Foreign minister Stef Blok made this point during his trip to Jordan and Iraq. ‘We have to do this to prevent ISIS from regaining strength,’ he said.

Since the Netherlands joined the international fight against ISIS in 2014, the campaign has enjoyed great success. Almost all the territory once controlled by the group has been retaken. More than 7 million people have been freed from ISIS’s rule, and displaced people are returning to their homes and resuming their lives.

‘Now that ISIS has been defeated militarily, the focus is shifting to post-war reconstruction,’ Mr Blok said. ‘Putting ISIS combatants on trial is also crucial. Security and stability are preconditions for proceeding with the next phase. The Netherlands is working to strengthen its ties with Iraq and Jordan. That’s why I think it’s important for me to be here, so that we can set to work together on enhancing security.’

The Dutch partnership with Iraq and Jordan has already taken off. For example, last month in The Hague Mr Blok and Jordanian King Abdullah II both took part in the international ‘Aqaba meetings’ on counterterrorism.

Stability

A year ago Iraq was declared liberated from ISIS. In 2019 Dutch efforts will focus on capacity building in Iraq’s security sector. About 70 Dutch military personnel are currently training Iraqi security forces, including Kurdish Peshmerga. ‘The work of these Dutch trainers has great added value,’ said the Dutch foreign minister. ‘Their labours will equip Iraq to meet its own future security needs.’

Stability in Iraq is in the Netherlands’ interests. It will reduce the threat of terrorism, lower the risk of new refugee flows, and increase the likelihood of return for displaced people. ‘I’m seeing here with my own eyes how much devastation ISIS’s terror caused,’ said Mr Blok. ‘It’s in this phase above all, as Iraq rebuilds, that the Netherlands can help the country ensure that its victory over ISIS is a lasting one. That will allow the displaced and the refugees to return home.’

Construction and recovery

During his visit to the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the Dutch minister reopened a hospital that had been damaged in the fighting. ‘There was a huge battle against ISIS in Fallujah,’ he said. ‘This is the furthest point the group reached in its advance towards Baghdad, which is only a few dozen kilometres from here. Until recently, following ISIS’s devastating attack, Fallujah was cut off from the world. The fact that this hospital can now once more open its doors speaks volumes about how far Iraq has come.’

With support from a development cooperation fund, the Netherlands financed the rebuilding of the Fallujah Teaching Hospital and repairs to the city’s iconic bridge over the Euphrates, which Mr Blok also visited while he was in Fallujah. Alongside this support, additional Dutch aid to the region is helping restabilise it.

Refugees

Over the past few years, the fighting with ISIS turned millions of people into refugees. The consequences have been felt not only in the region but also in Europe, including the Netherlands. Mr Blok visited a refugee camp in Jordan: ‘The countries around Syria are bearing a heavy burden,’ he said. ‘Bear in mind that almost one person in ten in Jordan today is a Syrian refugee.’ The Netherlands is helping by funding jobs and education for these refugees and supporting Jordanian communities that are hosting them.

Dutch F-16s

The Netherlands, Jordan and Iraq are all members of the anti-ISIS coalition. Over the past few years Jordan has hosted the F16s that the Netherlands has committed to the fight. Now that their deployment has reached its end, the F16s are about to return to the Netherlands. Mr Blok paid a visit to the 150 Dutch military personnel in Jordan who will be heading home in a few weeks. ‘These men and women have made an essential contribution to the often fierce battle against ISIS, and I want to thank them for everything they’ve done,’ he said.

(Source: Govt of the Netherlands)

Iraq starts Rebuilding iconic Mosul Mosque

Iraqi religious leaders have laid the cornerstone to rebuild Mosul’s landmark Al-Nouri Grand Mosque, which was blown up in the battle with Daesh terrorists in 2017.

The mosque and its iconic leaning minaret were built in the 12th century.

Iraqi forces defeated the terror group in the last of its urban strongholds last year, recapturing Mosul in a fierce battle that saw the Al-Nouri Mosque destroyed.

Dignitaries from the EU and the UN attended the ceremony in the mosque’s courtyard, where Abdulateef al-Humayim, head of Iraq’s Sunni endowments, led the proceedings on Sunday, AP reported.

The UAE donated $50.4 million to rebuild the mosque. Construction is expected to take five years.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Japan and Iraq to form a Joint Rebuilding Fund

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi expressed his country’s pride in the level of relations with Japan, commended the Japanese government for its support in the fields of security, stability, reconstruction projects, economic and cultural cooperation.

His Excellency said during his reception to the Japanese Prime Minister’s Special Adviser Kentaro Sonoura and his accompanying delegation: Japan will be an excellent partner for Iraq, while many infrastructure and service projects in Iraq have been done and we have a lot of interests and ambitions for future projects, underscoring that Iraq has begun to regain stability, health and doing vital role while the countries of the world coming to us because they do feel our country stability, strengthening the security and democratic life.

His Excellency Prime Minister presented an initiative for partnership, economic and rebuilding cooperation between the Iraqi and Japanese governments, including the call for the establishment of a joint fund to finance reconstruction projects through the quantities of Iraqi oil exported to Japan. The Fund also funds the Japanese side to encourage Japanese companies to operate in Iraq,

The Iraqi government will provide a package of projects in a way that ensures the success of the work of Japanese companies and accelerate their efforts and smooth work.

Concerning that initiative, His Excellency Prime Minister confirmed that this initiative will strengthen the Mutual relationship between the two countries, accelerate reconstruction efforts, establishing economic projects, provide job opportunities for Iraqis, diversify national wealth and reduce dependence on oil, also providing opportunities for Japan’s presence in the Iraqi market and the region in general.

The Japanese official expressed his interest in the project; He said that he was present when His Excellency Prime Minister presented those projects during His Excellency visit to Japan as oil minister, assuring that he expressed interesting in that vision.

It was agreed that the Iraqi side will submit a statement of the main lines of the project through the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad to be studied by the Japanese authorities, thus contributing to the consolidation of cooperation between the two parties.

The Japanese official conveyed greetings and congratulations to His Excellency Prime Minister on the occasion of the government formation, reaffirming the Japanese government’s aspiration to expand mutual relations with Iraq in all areas and move more effectively in support of Iraq’s stability, reconstruction, completion of service projects, supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to develop the Iraqi economy, strengthening security and stability and empowering democratic experience.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

EU Supports Iraq Recovery through Local Development

EU Support to recovery and stability through local development in Iraq – another example of EU-UNDP partnership

The European Commission, represented by Director for Development Cooperation for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific Region, Mr. Pierre Amilhat, and Gerardo Noto, the UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, have today signed an agreement of €47.5 million to support recovery and stability through local level development in Iraq.

Mr. Amilhat said today in Mosul:

As pledged  at the Kuwait Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, the EU restates its commitment to assist Iraq in responding to the pressing needs of the population in the aftermath of the conflict with Dae’sh. We are  committed to support Iraq in ensuring improved services and livelihoods opportunities to its population, contributing to the building of a more inclusive and accountable local development.

The project will cover activities ranging from support to urban recovery and development in Mosul and smaller cities and towns affected by the conflict in Anbar, Salah al-Din and Ninewah governorates, as well as in three governorates in the South namely Basrah, Missan, Thi Qar, and the three governorates of Iraqi Kurdistan namely Erbil, Duhok and Suleimaniah.

EU’s partnership with UNDP Iraq, in collaboration with UN Habitat aims at promoting decentralization and provision of basic services while in parallel boosting economic growth and job opportunities.

The project will also seek to enhance local revenue generation, promote sustainable development and the use of renewable sources, as well as to encourage participation of Civil Society Organizations in local decision-making processes.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, Mr. Gerardo Noto, said:

We are grateful to EU for our excellent partnership. We jointly help people of Iraq so that no one is left behind as all UN Members Countries committed in the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This is yet another practical example of support to the authorities and citizens of Iraq in regaining the trust of the local communities and rebuilding the state institutions towards a new social contract to sustaining peace and sustainable development“.

(Source: UNDP)

EUR 57.5m Contracts to Support Mosul Recovery

EU Signs Contracts of 57.5 Million Euros with UN to Support Mosul Recovery, Promises Additional 20 Million Euros Next Month

A delegation from the United Nations in Iraq and the European Union Mission to Iraq yesterday toured a number of EU-funded and UN implemented projects in Mosul, seeing first-hand the clearance, stabilization, rehabilitation and development work undertaken in the northern Iraqi city more than a year after its liberation from Da’esh.

Illustrating the joint efforts in post-Da’esh Iraq, the EU signed a contract with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) worth 47.5 million euros, another with UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) totaling 10 million euros, and announced 20 million euros in additional support for UNESCO as well as a further 15 million support for FAO, to be signed in January 2019.

The conflict with Da’esh has destroyed many areas of Mosul and Ninewa Governorate, and displaced a large number of the population. Since the military defeat of Da’esh a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. Some areas still lack basic services, and the UN, in support of the Iraqi authorities, are working to ensure a decent living for the people to facilitate the dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The delegation called on the Governor of Ninewa, Nawfal Al-Agoub, after which a signing ceremony was held.

EU Director for Development Cooperation for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific Region, Pierre Amilhat, said:

“The Iraqi people have suffered enough, and the country is on the cusp of entering into a renewed phase of state-building. Today exemplifies the strong commitment the EU along with its UN partners have in shouldering Iraq in this critical phase. With the territorial defeat of Da’esh, all of us together have a window of opportunity to build an inclusive and accountable country and restore the trust between the people and their Government. This multi-pronged initiative will join the dots between the various reconstruction components, and significantly contribute to the betterment of the Iraqi people”.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, Gerardo Noto, said:

“We are grateful to EU for our excellent partnership. We jointly help people of Iraq so that no one is left behind as all UN Members Countries committed in the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is yet another practical example of support to the authorities and citizens of Iraq in regaining the trust of the local communities and rebuilding the state institutions towards a new social contract to sustaining peace and sustainable development”.

Earlier, the EU-UN delegation visited the Old City, site of some of the worst fighting – and destruction. They inspected the reconstruction work at the Al-Nuri Mosque, a symbol of Mosul’s history and culture that Da’esh deliberately destroyed its landmark leaning minaret before their retreat from the city. The work is part of ongoing projects to repair heritage sites by UNESCO throughout Mosul Old City’s funded by the EU.

UNESCO has launched “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”, an initiative that has the support of the Government of Iraq and in line with the Initial Planning Framework for Reconstruction of Mosul, which was jointly developed by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and UNESCO in collaboration with the Governorate of Ninewa, to rehabilitate Mosul’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Restoring the identities within the communities of Mosul and other liberated areas of Iraq contributes to reconciliation and promotes more just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

“UNESCO is very grateful to the EU for its contribution to the reconstruction and restoration of the Old City of Mosul, in the context of the UNESCO ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul Initiative’. This support contributes to the physical reconstruction of one of Iraq’s most emblematic historical cities, which has been severely damaged and destroyed. It also benefits directly the local community – by providing skills and jobs to thousands of young people” stated Louise Haxthausen, Head of UNESCO in Iraq. “We are particularly pleased that part of this contribution is dedicated to the urban rehabilitation of the old city of Basra, another highly significant historical city of Iraq,” added Louise Haxthausen.

UN-Habitat and UNDP are also working together in Mosul to rehabilitate damaged houses, repair secondary infrastructure, retrofit public facilities such as schools to promote the environmental responsiveness of buildings, and involve youth in redesign of public open spaces. Yuko Otsuki, Head of UN-Habitat in Iraq, expressed gratitude for the EU support “to continue improving the living conditions of Iraqi population through urban recovery investments and job and income generating opportunities in conflict-affected areas.”

The delegation toured Mosul University, once a major centre of learning in Iraq that Da’esh turned into a command post and weapons cache. Mosul University, Iraq’s second largest university, has suffered major damage, and it is estimated that rehabilitation work would require 350-500 million dollars. The university was cleared of explosive hazards, included Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The work of UNMAS lies at the core of the stabilization and rehabilitation work. Mindful that no stabilization work and return of IDPs can be sustainable without ensuring a safe environment, the EU signed a contract granting UNMAS 10 million euros to continue the clearance of contaminated hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, religious sites and neighborhoods.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the international community and more specifically by the EU. With this contribution, UNMAS Iraq will be expanding the clearance capacity in Mosul and also deploy capacity in Sinjar,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

The group also visited the Ninewa Directorate of Agriculture where they were briefed about a project supported by the EU and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support recovery of agricultural livelihoods by revitalizing of food production, value chains and income generation in Ninewa.

“I am so pleased to see the EU has agreed to help us rehabilitate key facilities and equipment of the Directorate as well as rebuilding livelihoods for so many smallholder farmers. Creating jobs in this heart land of agriculture is really key to community stabilization,” said Dr Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Country Representative in Iraq.

The EU has contributed a total of 184.4 million euros since 2016 to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq.

(Source: UN)

Iraq’s GDP to Grow 4.1%

By John Lee.

GDP growth in Iraq is expected to hit 4.1 percent in 2019, up from 2.8 percent this year, acccording to data from Moody’s.

The gain is based on an expectation of oil prices averaging $75 per barrel, and would be the highest level since 2016’s 13.1 percent expansion.

The National quotes the report as saying:

“Higher oil prices and output, as well as an expected increase in investment spending because of the improved security situation, have bolstered Iraq’s economic outlook … However, oil price volatility and potential further social unrest that could weaken Iraq’s economic infrastructure, as well as Iraq’s vulnerability to environmental risks, exacerbated by outdated infrastructure are continued risks to growth.”

More here

[In April, Fitch predicted 4.5 percent growth for 2019. – Ed.]

(Source: The National)

Emirates Steel eyes Expansion into Iraq

By John Lee.

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Steel is reportedly considering expansion into Iraq.

Chief Executive Saeed Al Remeithi told The National:

We’re always looking at new markets, one of which we are targeting now is Iraq …

“Iraq is a big growth market for us, and from the logistics point of view it is very big. We have seen right now Iraq is more stabilised than in the past few years and we have already started on the market.

The company, which is part of Senaat, is currently in the middle of a refinancing programme.

More here.

(Source: The National)