Security


Will Nadia Murad’s Nobel Prize help Iraqi Minorities?

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

Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi, has been awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. This has raised the expectations and hopes of Iraqi minorities, especially Yazidis, since she is the first Iraqi to win the prize.

Iraqi political leaders welcomed the award as a tribute to the struggle of the Iraqi people against terrorism and extremism.

Iraqi President Barham Salih called Murad on Oct. 5 to congratulate her on the award. The president said the prize was a tribute to the Iraqis’ struggle and steadfastness.

Click here to read the full story.

Iran masses Troops on Iraq Border

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.

IRGC masses troops on Iraq border amid rising tensions with Kurdish groups

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is launching increasingly daring operations to degrade the capabilities of armed Kurdish opposition groups.

In its latest move, it has deployed thousands of troops to difficult mountain ranges in the western part of the country used as safe havens by the groups for decades.

The IRGC’s operations have taken on an air of urgency since US President Donald Trump’s May 8 announcement that he was withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, and re-imposing sanctions against Iran.

Click here to read the full story.

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

How will Basra be Affected by Closure of US Consulate?

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

The oil-rich port city of Basra is feeling the heat of the intensifying conflict between the United States and Iran. Pro-Iranian armed groups that threaten the United States from time to time are active in the city. The US-Iran tension is expected to affect the economic situation in Iraq in general, and in Basra in particular.

The US State Department announced Sept. 28 its intention to close its consulate in Basra and pull out its diplomats. This comes after three mortar shells targeted the US Consulate there.

On Sept. 29, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Quds Force — a special force unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — and its commander Qasem Soleimani of being behind the threats. The United States “will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks,” he said.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Ahmed Mahmoud)

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

US Approves Helicopter Sales to Iraq

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of five (5) Armed Bell 407GX helicopters configured with M240 7.62mm Machine Guns for an estimated cost of $82.5 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 3, 2018.

The Government of Iraq has requested to buy five (5) Armed Bell 407GX helicopters configured with five (5) M240 7.62mm Machine Guns. Also included are five (5) RF-7850A Secure Communications Radios, five (5) AN/AAR-60 MILDS Automatic Plume Detectors, five (5) AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasure Dispensing Systems, five (5) M3P .50 Caliber Machine Guns, five (5) M260 Rocket Launchers (APKWS Configuration), five (5) MX-15Di EO/IR Sensors, five (5) GAU-19 .50 Caliber Machine Guns, five (5) Pathfinder Mission Management Systems, five (5) ARES Weapon Management Systems, five (5) Mission Configurable Armament Systems (MCAS), night vision compatible lighting systems, aircraft intercommunications systems (ICS), cockpit and seat armor kits, and bifurcated exhaust infrared suppressor systems, operating manuals, spare parts, maintenance and operator training for radio systems, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $82.5 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. The addition of five Bell 407GX helicopters will help compensate for the combat loss of seven IA407 helicopters in recent years and increase the Iraqi Security Forces’ combat effectiveness against ISIS and other terrorist elements in Iraq. The 407GX variant – an upgrade from the current IA407 configuration – includes Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) launchers. Providing Iraq with this capability supports U.S. security goals by furthering the Iraqi Army Aviation Command’s ability to counter terrorism and protect critical infrastructure. Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors will be Bell, Fort Worth, TX; L3 WESCAM, Burlington, Ontario, Canada; Dillon, Scottsdale, AZ; Tekfusion Global, Williamsburg, VA; Harris, Melbourne, FL; and Fulcrum Concepts, Mattaponi, VA. There are no known offset agreements associated with this proposed sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require approximately 17 contractor representatives to travel to Iraq in support of this effort. The GOI desires Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) presence in country.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department’s Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, pm-cpa@state.gov.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Persistent Gender Inequality in Iraq

Persistent Gender Inequality in Iraq Calls for Coordinated Efforts in Developing 2nd National Action Plan on Implementing Resolution 1325

Gender inequality continues to prevail in Iraq with worrisome signals that it is deepening, requiring intensified efforts and coordination in developing a new action plan on implementing UN Security Council resolution 1325, UN Representative to Iraq Ján Kubiš said today at the high-level consultation meeting on the development of the 2nd National Action Plan.

Although he was encouraged to see progress in the protection pillar and dedicated efforts to strengthen the participation pillar in the National Action Plan, the legacy of the conflict with the terrorist Da’esh continues to hamper steps forward and there are other worrying signs of women being targeted.

Mr. Kubiš condemned the recent attacks against women, including the assassination of two women and the sudden death of two others in the past month, all of them active in political and social spheres. Other civil society activists including women are targeted by social media and political threat campaign, among others for their contacts with foreign embassies. This is unacceptable.

“Only once politically and socially active women are protected and safe, Iraq can claim to be making real progress towards women’s equality and empowerment,” he said.

The development of a new NAP with all the diversity and complexity of issues will require continuous coordination and collaboration across sectors, in particular involving civil society, and drawing from the lessons learned from the previous plan, the Special Representative said.

“By making your deliberations open to the society, by publicly broadcasting them you could mobilise even broader support for your objectives,” Mr. Kubiš said.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq noted with disappointment that political forces that negotiate the formation of the government do so, again without the participation of women. “

We all need to ask: “when the political leaders intend to deliver on their pledges to empower women and advance their rights as a part of the democratic entitlement of all Iraqis thus strengthening equal representation and inclusiveness? The time is now. Otherwise, all the exclamations about commitment to equality of women and values of democracy continue to sound hollow.”

Mr. Kubiš outlined UN efforts in support of women empowerment, noting that UNAMI supports women parliamentarians in their quest to establish a cross-political women’s parliamentary caucus. UNAMI will continue to impress on Political Parties who are key to advancing the participation of women in all processes to include women in their leadership structures, urging men advocates to assume a more prominent role, and parliamentarians to consider gender responsive budget in the next budget law to enhance the implementation of the NAP.

The UN will also continue to advocate for the establishment of a dedicated institution in the next government structure with budget and authority to coordinate the implementation of the NAP and national frameworks and policies on WPS.

The UN in Iraq will also mobilise support of the broader international community, including through the International Gender Group from among embassies here in Baghdad, Mr. Kubiš concluded.

(Source: UN)

Nadia Murad wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes. Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.

Nadia Murad is herself a victim of war crimes. She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

Nadia Murad is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, where she lived with her family in the remote village of Kocho. In August 2014 the Islamic State (IS) launched a brutal, systematic attack on the villages of the Sinjar district, aimed at exterminating the Yazidi population.

In Nadia Murad’s village, several hundred people were massacred. The younger women, including underage children, were abducted and held as sex slaves. While a captive of the IS, Nadia Murad was repeatedly subjected to rape and other abuses. Her assaulters threatened to execute her if she did not convert to their hateful, inhuman version of Islam.

Nadia Murad is just one of an estimated 3 000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army. The abuses were systematic, and part of a military strategy. Thus they served as a weapon in the fight against Yazidis and other religious minorities.

After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. Following her escape, she chose to speak openly about what she had suffered. In 2016, at the age of just 23, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

(Source: Norwegian Nobel Institute)