posted on MON 9 APR 2012 2:42 PMBriefing and Consultations on Iraq
Tomorrow, (10 April), Martin Kobler, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), is scheduled to brief the Council, followed by consultations among members. This is the second time the Council will receive a briefing from Kobler, who assumed his duties in Baghdad on 8 October 2011. While no outcome is expected from the briefing and consultations, the fragile political and security situation in Iraq might be of enough concern that some Council members may wish to discuss ways of assessing progress on issues in Iraq more closely in 2012.
The latest Secretary-General’s report on UNAMI (S/2012/185), shared among Council Members on 28 March, is the second since resolution 2001 (2011) asked the Secretary-General to report to the Council every four months on the progress made towards fulfilling UNAMI’s responsibilities. In addition to being briefed on the recent political and regional developments in Iraq contained in the report, Council members may be interested in more information, especially in light of the last US troops withdrawing last December, on UNAMI’s assistance to national reconciliation, the overall security situation as well as the social unrest over the last few months.
Among the issues from the Secretary-General’s report that Kobler might cover are the surge of violent attacks across the country following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Higher Judicial Council against Vice President Tariq Al-Hashemi on 19 December 2011, on charges related to terrorist activities and the increase in executions, mostly related to convictions under anti-terrorism laws, from December 2011 to February 2012.
Given that civilian casualties increased over the reporting period, some Council members may wish to have more information on what has led to this increase.
Kobler, in his briefing, is also likely to update the Council on the Camp Ashraf situation. (Camp Ashraf once housed over 3,000 dissidents from a group known as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran and was expected to close down on 31 December 2011. At the Secretary-General’s request, the Iraqi government extended the deadline to close the camp to 30 April 2012 and the UN agreed to process residents for relocation to third countries.) Council members have been following this issue closely. Since Council members were briefed on this situation on 6 December by Kobler, it has been included in every DPA monthly “horizon scanning” briefing. While there have been recent positive developments regarding the transfer of Ashraf residents to a new camp, the 30 April deadline for the all residents to be relocated to third countries is fast approaching. Council members may want more information on what is being done by UNAMI and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees regarding the relocation, refugee status determination and resettlement of the camp residents.)
Another area that could come up during the discussion is the ongoing violence in Syria and its subsequent impact on Iraq due to a potential influx of Syrian refugees as well as the return of a large number of the estimated one million Iraqi refugees currently in Syria.
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