posted on Sun 16 Jul 2017 10:39 AM
Iraq Briefing and Consultations

On Monday (17 July), the Council will hold a briefing, followed by consultations, on the situation in Iraq. Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), will brief on the latest report on UNAMI, as well as on recent developments in Iraq, including the situation in Mosul.

On 14 July, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2367, which extended UNAMI’s mandate for another year. The negotiations on the draft were generally smooth, and it seems that there were no controversial issues. Although the core elements of the UNAMI mandate have remained (and continue to remain) largely unchanged since the adoption of resolution 1770 in 2007, there were some new elements added in resolution 2367.

The US, the penholder on Iraq, added language calling on the Secretary-General to conduct an independent external assessment of the structure and staffing of UNAMI and related resources in an effort to ensure that the UN mission and the UN country team fulfil their mandated tasks more efficiently. In her statement following the adoption, the US representative expressed the view that the new dimension in this resolution calling on “the Secretary-General to consult third parties on how to improve UNAMI’s efficiency should set the gold standard for effectiveness in the field”. This is in line with the current US administration’s professed interest in reviewing UN peacekeeping operations with the aims of improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Sweden, supported by several other members, advocated expansion of language on women, peace and security and on children and armed conflict. As a result, references to the need to ensure full participation of women in upcoming elections and in the Independent High Electoral Commission, as well as language welcoming the implementation by the parties of the conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, have been incorporated in the resolution.

In his briefing on Monday, Kubiš is likely to devote significant attention to the situation in Mosul. On 9 July, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced in Mosul that Iraqi government forces had liberated the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In a press statement (SC/12911) adopted on 13 July, Council members “welcomed the announcement by the Iraqi authorities of the liberation of Mosul”, while reiterating that all parties must comply with international law, especially regarding the protection of civilians, as “remaining pockets of ISIL-controlled territory” are liberated. The statement recognised the government of Iraq’s partnership with the UN to stabilise liberated areas, while calling on all Iraqis to work toward this end, including through a focus on national reconciliation and the voluntary return and reintegration of displaced populations.

Almost nine months of fighting have had devastating consequences for the civilian population in Mosul. Nearly one million people have been displaced from the city, while significant destruction has been inflicted on its infrastructure. Council members are likely to be keen to hear more from Kubiš on the humanitarian situation in Mosul, as well as on national reconciliation efforts following the defeat of ISIL there.

On the political front, Kubiš will probably address issues regarding relations between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In June, President Masoud Barzani of the KRG announced that a referendum on the independence of Kurdistan would be held in September. In his latest report, the Secretary-General has warned that differences between the Iraqi government and the KRG could potentially lead to crisis and tensions, which could undermine stability and security, if they are not resolved through negotiations.

Kubiš will most likely further address the lack of progress regarding preparations for the elections of the Council of Representatives and for the provincial and district council elections scheduled for next year.