Security


GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

Tribal Disputes Flare in over Water Scarcity

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

Tribal disputes flare in southern Iraq over water scarcity

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave instructions on Feb. 11 to stop the encroachment upon water quotas and increase the water share to Al-Mejar district in Maysan province in southern Iraq.

Abadi’s instructions came days after tribal conflicts in Iraq’s southern provinces broke out over agricultural land water quotas, prompting activists in the province to launch a campaign titled Save the Tigris in a bid to end the water crisis. There are already conflicts plaguing those provinces — especially Basra, where water issues between the southern tribes have already escalated into armed conflicts.

Hassanein al-Munshid, a civil activist in a local campaign in Maysan province working to end the water crisis, told Al-Monitor, “Tribal conflicts are intensifying in the province because of the water crisis, which might lead to additional fighting.”

He added, “There is a tribal sheikh in the northern areas of Maysan province controlling the water flow of the Tigris River to irrigate his farms. There are top officials who are aware of his acts of encroachment, but the government cannot do anything about it.”

For security reasons, Munshid did not name the sheikh.

The Iraqi government is doing its best to face the drought that hit the southern provinces due to the lack of water flowing from Turkey, which is the source of the Euphrates River. Most areas of the south and the middle Euphrates depend on the water flowing from the Euphrates.

Majid al-Gharabi, a sheikh in Diwani province, told Al-Monitor, “The reason behind the tribal differences over water is that some clans are diverting the flow of water to prevent it from reaching the farms of other tribes.”

On Jan. 21, Iraqi Minister of Water Resources Hasan al-Janabi wrote on his Facebook page that “Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in front of Abadi that Turkey is committed to postponing the filling of the Ilisu Dam and that the Turkish president is committed [to not harming] Iraq. We definitely have specific demands we seek to achieve peacefully and diplomatically in this regard.”

In an interview published by Foreign Policy Concepts on Jan. 7, the Iraqi minister said the country’s water scarcity is intensified by excessive control measures in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Of note, 70% of the water that flows into Iraq comes from outside of Iraq’s borders, and this issue — just like any other — affects and is affected by politics, so Turkey’s construction of the Ilisu Dam faced strong Iraqi objections given the risks of drought it entails for Mesopotamia.

In the province of Dhi Qar alone, 20 clan clashes erupted recently due to water scarcity, according to Mayor Hussein Ali Raddad of the Islah district, who also confirmed that the local government in the province failed to reach any solutions regarding the issue.

Ali Raddad told Al-Monitor, “The crisis we are facing now lies in the tribal conflicts that sometimes escalate into violence.”

Iraqi officials say the reason behind the water crisis in the country is that not enough water is flowing into Iraq from Turkey, warning of a looming “disaster” in the coming months.

Meanwhile, a number of citizens blame the Iraqi government for the tribal conflicts erupting in the country, saying the government is incapable of monitoring the distribution of water quotas to farmers. Some tribes are not getting their share of the water while others are getting more than their specified quota, citizens told Radio Nawa.

Water is not sufficiently flowing into farms from the main sources in their provinces, worsening the issues between tribes.

The water crisis may serve as the impetus for new demonstrations in Iraq, specifically in the southern regions where some tribes warned the Iraqi government of a “war” that may erupt in the absence of appropriate measures to resolve the water crisis.

In Maysan province, water shortages are no less serious than those in Dhi Qar, Samawah and Wasit. The capital city of Maysan, Amarah, may suffer a major disaster as a result of drought, as waves of displacement will ensue, the marshes will dry out, the livestock will die and the agriculture industry will be doomed, officials say.

This is not the first time that armed conflicts have erupted between the tribes of southern Iraq over water. Three years ago, the dispute escalated between the tribes of the provinces of Muthanna and Diwaniyah for the same reason.

Parts of southern Iraq are going through a phase no less serious than the situation in the Sunni areas of Anbar, Salahuddin and Ninevah. Water is the dwindling lifeblood that could lead to long-term tribal fighting in those areas.

Despite its attempts, the Iraqi government is seemingly unable to control the tribal differences over water in the areas of southern Iraq, especially considering that there are tribes and families controlling the water flow and preventing it from reaching other farms and areas.

The Iraqi government may have to resort to a military option to end inter-clan disputes over water and force tribes to divide water quotas. Otherwise, some farms will be deprived of their quotas.

Details of Defeat-ISIS Strikes in Syria, Iraq

Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners continued to strike Islamic State of Iraq and Syria targets in designated parts of Syria and Iraq between Feb. 9-15, conducting 43 strikes consisting of 63 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Strikes in Syria

Yesterday in Syria, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of five engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, three strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed an ISIS supply route, a staging area and a weapons cache.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS headquarters.

On Feb. 14, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed an ISIS outpost.

On Feb. 13, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes suppressed two ISIS maneuver elements and destroyed a fighting position, a heavy machine gun and an artillery system.

On Feb. 12, coalition military forces conducted 10 strikes consisting of 13 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, nine strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; suppressed an ISIS maneuver element; and destroyed two artillery systems, a tactical vehicle, a heavy machine gun, two ISIS supply routes, a fighting position and a command-and-control center.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike destroyed two ISIS fighting positions.

On Feb. 11, coalition military forces conducted seven strikes consisting of 11 engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed two fighting positions, an ISIS-held building, a command-and-control center, three tactical vehicles and two ISIS-supply routes.

On Feb. 10, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 11 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, eight strikes engaged six ISIS tactical units and destroyed two command and control centers, a fighting position, an ISIS-held building, a weapons cache, an ISIS motorcycle and a mortar tube.

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike engaged two tactical units of hostile forces and destroyed a tank.

On Feb. 9, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of seven engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and damaged an ISIS-held building.

Additional Strikes in Syria

On Feb. 8, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement near Raqqa, engaging an ISIS tactical unit.

On Jan. 31, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement near Shadaddi, destroying an ISIS rocket fighting position.

Strikes in Iraq

On Feb. 15, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets near Rutbah. The strike destroyed an ISIS weapons cache.

On Feb. 14, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets near Beiji. The strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS facility.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on Feb. 12-13.

On Feb. 11, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets near Tal Afar. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS tunnel.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on Feb. 9-10.

Additional Strikes in Iraq

On Jan. 27, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement in support of an Iraqi raid on a high-value ISIS leader.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and ground-based tactical artillery, officials noted.

A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Ex-Minister sentenced to 21 years for “Corruption”

An Iraqi court on February 12 sentenced former trade minister Abdul Falah al-Sudani to 21 years in prison on corruption charges.

Sudani was involved in a corruption scandal connected to the country’s massive food rations programme.

He was given three sentences, two for “negligence” with a 14-year jail term and a third for “misconduct” with a seven-year term, according to Iraqi Shafaq News.

Sudani, who belongs to the ruling Dawa Party, served as minister of trade from 2006 to 2009.

He was sacked and slapped with criminal charges in 2009. Released on bail, Sudani was then arrested as he tried to flee the country, but he managed to flee again.

The former trade minister was extradited from Lebanon and taken into Iraqi custody on 25 January.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has earlier vowed to fight corruption, saying it is the second war the country has to fight following its victory over IS.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Progress To Defeat ISIS Continues

Significant progress in the fight to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has resulted in a shift in focus to sustaining military gains in Iraq to ensure a lasting defeat of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists, The commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command told Pentagon reporters today.

An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport jet assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron sits on the ramp at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 24, 2018. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to bases throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt Gregory Brook

Speaking via teleconference from the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said the Feb. 1 standup of a coalition aviation advisory and training team is an example of the transition.

The coalition team of airmen will help the Iraqis build a capable, affordable, professional and sustainable aviation enterprise, he explained. And while the standup of the team does not signal an increase in the U.S.-led coalition’s presence in Iraq, the CAAT will bridge the work toward standing up an air expeditionary wing that will take over that mission, he said.

Preventing ISIS Resurgence

The coalition’s train, advise and assist efforts to build a lasting Iraqi aviation enterprise will not be tied to a timeline, but instead will be conditions-based, proportional to the needs, and in coordination with partners in the Iraq government, Harrigian said.

“As we transition our focus in [Operation Inherent Resolve] to sustain our military gains, let me be clear that we will retain the necessary amount of air power to prevent a resurgence of ISIS,” he emphasized.

Harrigian said the progress to defeat ISIS has allowed the United States to realign some of its deployed combat air power and personnel to Afghanistan, including A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters.

“These aircraft will provide increased air support to the South Asia strategy, as well as ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Afghan-led operations,” the commander said. “This plus-up in air power is also producing tangible results as part of a deliberate air campaign that we kicked off in late November to decimate the Taliban’s primary revenue source — narcotics production.”

Goal: Choke Off Taliban

The goal is to choke off the Taliban’s ability to pay for its deadly attacks, such as those in Kabul recently, he noted.

Harrigian said the campaign to stop the Taliban’s resource flow will take time and that it will not align with the traditional fighting season in Afghanistan.

“Instead, [the campaign] will be relentless and persistent, as demonstrated by the 321 precision munitions we released this January against Taliban targets in the dead of winter, a time they typically rest and recuperate,” he said.

Such pressure will persist until the Taliban reconcile or die, Harrigian said. “We are already seeing positive reflections from our intelligence that the Taliban are not enjoying their typical winter break.”

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

UXO Clearance leads way to Normal Future

UNMAS Iraq ‘Clearance Mission’ Seen as ‘Tipping Point’ Between Past Conflict and a Normal Future

Lives and livelihoods in Iraq’s liberated areas are being restored at long last.

In Fallujah, as many as 1,800 vehicles and 100 pedestrians per hour can cross the re-opened ‘new bridge’ linking Baghdad with Al-Anbar Province. The fibre optic cable connecting more than 3,000 customers with Baghdad has been restored. The Jadidah fuel station, which had been closed for three years, now pumps an average of more than 31,000 litres for 300 vehicles per day.

In Mosul, the Al Qaysoor Water Treatment Plant has resumed providing clean and safe water to more than 300,000 customers across 34 service areas. The High Court can access deeds to validate land claims of residents returning to Ninewa Province. Valuable medical equipment, removed for safekeeping, awaits rehabilitation of a hospital in Mosul.

None of this progress would have been possible without infrastructure first being cleared of the explosive threats posed by debris of past conflicts and devices left by retreating ISIL forces, thus allowing the Government of Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Community to carry out the necessary rehabilitation work.

“We had almost lost all hope,” said Mr. Ali, manager of the Jadidah fuel station, speaking for its 20 employees. “We expected that the station would be blown up,” and it might well have been. United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)-directed teams safely removed 34 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) weighing a total of 435 kg from the station premises. “You (UNMAS) gave us our jobs back,” he said.

“We eliminate threats along roads, under bridges, from power and water plants, from schools, from critical infrastructure, so that those displaced by conflict can return to their homes, begin again to work, to educate their children, to contribute to society, to live a normal life,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager, prior to the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

Lodhammar says conference outcomes will help UNMAS to set priorities working in collaboration with the Government and other agencies supporting Iraq’s reconstruction. All infrastructure is important, but the sequencing of clearance missions itself is complex and the UNMAS top priority, Lodhammar says. “What comes first on our list in turn affects all other rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts ‘downstream’,” he says. “So, we always begin with a joint-assessment to establish our priorities.”

He cites the current UNMAS work to clear Fallujah’s power grid serving two areas outside of the city. As of December 2017, UNMAS-directed teams had searched nearly 34 km² along power lines and cleared 580 explosive devices. When the UNMAS work finishes, repair crews can begin restoring power to as many as 60,000 people and seven schools.

UNMAS-directed partners working at the community level, village level, even the ‘well level’ make a difference on a daily basis, Lodhammar says.

In Al Bokald, villagers spoke of the ground as their enemy. “We could not walk for fear that something would explode in our faces,” said one. Today, with explosive devices cleared, 20 families again have access to a well and water for their own needs and to grow their crops.

The story confirms for Lodhammar the need, primacy and urgency of the clearance mission as shared by all agencies engaged in Iraq’s reconstruction. “We have to do our job, safely, quickly and well so others can do theirs.”

In 2018, the mine action sector requires 216 million USD to respond to the rehabilitation efforts of retaken areas and critical needs in access to basic and municipal services, education and health of returning civilians. In the Reconstruction and Development Framework (RDF) presented at the Kuwait Conference, the Government of Iraq will prioritize the clearance of explosive hazards to enable the reconstruction of Iraq and support of accountable governance, reconciliation and peace building, social and human development and economic development.

(Source: UNAMI)

US Firm wins $45m Iraq Training Deal

By John Lee.

Spartan Air Academy Iraq LLC., Addison, Texas, has been awarded a $45,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the stand-up of an Air Academy training in support of the Iraq Air Force.

Work will be performed at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and is expected to be complete by Feb. 8, 2019.

This award is the result of a country-directed sole-source acquisition.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

Legal Assistance for Vulnerable Households in Mosul

UN-Habitat provided legal assistance to 1,015 vulnerable households in Mosul to address their housing, land and property rights claims

UN-Habitat in collaboration with its implementing partner, the local NGO Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid, concluded the activities funded by the 2017 Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund to address housing, land and property rights (HLP) of vulnerable people in Mosul.

Under this project, UN-Habitat assessed ten neighbourhoods in East Mosul where many displaced persons from the west of the city have settled. The surveys covered 3,083 houses, reaching a total of 19,261 individuals, and aimed to identify HLP incidents and needs of vulnerable households in East Mosul.

Accordingly, 61% of the surveyed households reported that their house was partially or fully destroyed, while more than 33% had no legal occupancy/ownership documents linked to their current residence.

As such, UN-Habitat undertook an information dissemination and awareness raising campaign related to households’ HLP rights and available redress mechanisms through the distribution of leaflets, as well as awareness raising sessions with beneficiaries seeking information on HLP.

Among those, seven sessions were conducted exclusively for females to provide them with a safe and comfortable space to raise their issues and concerns. Mahdia Hamed Ismail, highlighted how she benefited from the help:

“My house was flattened in East Mosul by the war. We were sitting on the floor and we still are as we neither filed nor received any compensation. UN-Habitat’s legal partners visited my house, took my information, helped me fill in the compensation application, and filed the claim in court on my behalf. I would like to thank them for keeping us in mind, and for making the effort to support us.”

As a result of the strong commitment and work ethic of the community representatives (Mukhtars), as well as other local authorities, including the Mosul court, the project was able to provide legal assistance on lease and ownership issues to 1,015 vulnerable families, 29% of which were female-headed households.

The majority of the households who have been impacted by the previous hostilities are in need of support with filing their claims at court. HLP issues are a major challenge for returnees and households in areas previously controlled by ISIL, and can only be solved by legal representation in courts, and/or community-based land mitigation mechanisms.

The authorities in Mosul face many challenges in responding to the high number of claims related to HLP violations, which are a major driving force of conflict and social tension. The cost of not promptly addressing these issues will be too much to bear in the future.

In this regard, the housing registration directorate will be re-established and functioning in Hay Al-Zuhur on 17 February 2018, which marks a significant step in facilitating the production/restoration of occupancy, rental, or ownership documents. UN-Habitat is committed to support the efforts of the authorities and increase its HLP interventions in Mosul, and other areas in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

Video: Book Culture Returns to Mosul

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

Literary cafes, poetry readings and pavement bookstalls — Mosul’s cultural scene is back in business, months after Iraqi forces ousted the Islamic State group from the city following three years of jihadist rule.

View on YouTube