December 7, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, a day after bad
reporting finds AP looking even more foolish with their false 'report'
as tensions continue between Baghdad and Erbil, a Shi'ite leader
explains how Shi'ites end up siding with the Kurds over Nouri's current
attack, we look at Syrian refugees in Iraq, and more.
Yesterday, Al-Shorfa reports
Nouri al-Maliki's Baghdad government announced that 7 previously armed
groups were joining the political process and they "include the 20th
Revolution Brigades, Malek al-Ashtar Brigade, Khalid Bin al-Walid
Brigade, Arab Tribes Sons Brigade, Omar Bin al-Khattab Brigade, Children
of Iraq Brigade and Saqr Quraish Brigade." This as Al-Bayyna reports
member of the Parliament's National Reconciliation Committee issued a
statement declaring that reconciliation does not mean bringing in former
Ba'athists. He asserts that de-Ba'athifcation is the law of the land.
De-Ba'athification is the policy Paul Bremer oversaw in Iraq that forced
Iraqis out of jobs. That was the military, that was the government.
The reason? Belonging to the Ba'ath political party. That's a part that
Saddam Hussein would eventually head in Iraq. It's also a player
throughout the Middle East and part of a pan-Arab movement.
De-Ba'athifcation is seen as a huge mistake. And Nouri agreed to what we
call de-de-Ba'athifcation. He agreed to that in 2007. But he never
implemented it and, judging by the remarks today, there is no
governmental interest in healing that division.Alsumaria reports
that Minister of Transportation Hadi al-Amiri declared today that
15,000 families have suffered as a result of the refusal to implement
Article 140. al-Amiri states that this has led some families to be
denied Iraqi nationalities. As the leader of the Badr Organization,
al-Amiri is part of the National Alliance (also known as the Ntional
Iraqi Alliance which is led by Ibrahim al-Jaafari). What is going on?
Why are so many Shi'ite politicians turning on Nouri publicly as he
goes after the Kurds and the threat of a war with the Kurds looms? Qassim Khidhir Hamad (Niqash) spoke
with the Islamic Supreme Council's Bashir Adel Gli this week. The
Islamic Supreme Council is another Shi'ite political party which belongs
to the National Alliance.
NIQASH: How do you feel about the current relationship between the Shiite Muslims of Iraq and Iraq's Kurdistan people?
Adel Gli: The relationship between Iraq's Shiite Muslims and the
Kurdish people is a historic one. It goes back to the time that
[religious leader] Grand Ayatollah Muhsin al-Hakim [the grandfather of
Ammar al-Hakim, current leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council]
issued a fatwa [religious edict] in 1965 that forbade Shiite Muslims to
fight with the Kurdish.
This decree was copied and distributed all over Iraq and it had a big impact on Shiite Muslim soldiers.
issued that decree after some Sunni Muslim clerics issued a totally
different fatwa saying that their followers were allowed to kill the
Kurdish. The [Sunni Muslim-dominated] authorities were trying to find
some way of justifying their ethnic cleansing and killing of the Kurdish
people. And what al-Hakim said at the time made them very angry.
As a result, 70 members of al-Hakim's family were arrested and later killed.
Shiite Muslim ideology says that Shiites must support the oppressed at
all times; and that they must not support the dictator, no matter who
that dictator is.
NIQASH: So how do you see the current problem between Erbil and Baghdad: is it a Shiite Muslim-Kurdish problem?
Adel Gli: No, it is the problem between the Dawa Party [headed by Nouri
al-Maliki] and the government of Iraqi Kurdistan. It is not a problem
between Shiites and Kurds in general.
And that is part of the how and why Nouri is losing ground at present on this issue. Turning to a Twitter conversation. Derek Brower
is the editor-at-large of Petroleum Economist
and he just left the KRG.
"I'd be skeptical" of the AP
report "unless things changed in the few hours since I've returned from
Kirkuk" Twetted Derek Brower yesterday afternoon. Apparently we're all
going to have to learn to be skeptical of AP because their report was wrong.
There has been no agreement. Tonight, Alsumaria reports
that KRG President Massoud Barzani issued a statement stating that the
only way to end the current crisis is to implement Article 140. The
main part of Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution reads:
responsibility placed upon the executive branch of the Iraqi
Transitional Government stipulated in Aerticle 58 of the Transitional
Administrative Law shall extend and continue to the executive authority
elected in accordance with this Constitution, provided that it
accomplishes completely (normalization and census
concludes with a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed territories to
determine the will of their citizens), by a date not to exceed the 31st
of December 2007.
That's from Iraq's
2005 Constitution. In the spring of 2006, after the Iraqi Parliament
wanted Ibrahim al-Jafaari as prime minister (it would have been his
second term) and the White House nixed the choice and insisted that
Nouri al-Maliki be made prime minister, Nouri took an oath to uphold the
Constitution. Article 140 is a part of the Constitution and it is very
clear in its wording that it must be implemented by December 2007. Yet
for Nouri's entire first term he refused to honor the Constitution.
Kirkuk is oil-rich and it is claimed by Nouri's central government out
of Baghdad and by the Kurdistan Regional Government with both set of
players making historical arguments on why they should be the one to lay
claim to Kirkuk. The way to settle it, as the Constitution made clear,
was a census and a referendum. But Nouri refused to implement Article
140. His term came to an end in early 2010. Iraq held parliamentary
elections in March 2010. Nouri's State of Law came in second to
Iraqiya. 2010 saw the continuation of a trend that emerged in the 2009
provincial elections. Iraqis were not interested in sects. They were
interested in a national identity.
come in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya, Nouri quickely stepped down --
and, no, he didn't. He refused to. He refused to let Iraqi move
forward. From the November 1, 2010 snapshot
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August,
"These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but
everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a
cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive
government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single
slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but
the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they
may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form
the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with
other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament
seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent
various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of
Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat
holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the
current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show
of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the
certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing
coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this
coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they
have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and twenty-five days and still counting.
stalemate would continue for over a week more. Nouri was able to stamp
his feet and stop the political process because the US government
refused to side with the Iraqi voters. Instead of calling for the will
of the people to be honored, the Barack Obama White House demanded that
Nouri get a second term. From John Barry's "'The Engame' Is A Well Researched, Highly Critical Look at U.S. Policy in Iraq
" (Daily Beast
) last September:
Washington has little political and no military influence
over these developments [in Iraq]. As Michael Gordon and Bernard
Trainor charge in their ambitious new history of the Iraq war, The Endgame,
Obama's administration sacrificed political influence by failing in
2010 to insist that the results of Iraq's first proper election be
honored: "When the Obama administration acquiesced in the questionable
judicial opinion that prevented Ayad Allawi's bloc, after it had won the
most seats in 2010, from the first attempt at forming a new government,
it undermined the prospects, however slim, for a compromise that might
have led to a genuinely inclusive and cross-sectarian government."
your preferred candidate loses the vote, how do you install him to a
second term? You ignore the Constitution and create a new
'understanding.' So in November 2010, the White House brokered a new
contract known as the Erbil Agreement. The contract was signed by the
leaders of Iraq's various political blocs. In the contract, Nouri
agrees to give political party A various concessions if political party A
will allow him a second term as prime minister. So Nouri promises
various things to the various parties. To the Kurds, he promises, among
other things, that he will finally implement Article 140.
US government vouches for the contract with the White House pledging
they will uphold it. But Nouri pretty much breaks it immediately.
Iraqiya calls him out and the US press treats it as a misunderstanding
and swears Nouri's going to honor the contract. But he doesn't. And
months turn into a year and he still hasn't and his State of Law is
insisting the contract is illegal (if Nouri was installed prime minister
by an illegal contract, grasp this, then Nouri is not prime minister).
By the summer of 2011, those calling for Nouri to honor the contract
include Iraqiya, the Kurds and cleric and movement leader Moqtada
al-Sadr. That's when the second political stalemate is evident. This
is kicked up to a crisis in December when, following the departure of
most US troops, Nouri decides to go after Iraqiya. For weeks, he'd been
targeting Sunnis and Iraqiya members (sometimes they are the same
thing) in various provinces, having them rounded up as terrorists. But
now he was demanding that Iraqiya's Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested and
that Iraqiya's Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post. Tareq
al-Hashemi is Iraq's Vice President. Saleh al-Mutlaq is Iraq's Deputy
Prime Minister. To remove either from their post requires the consent
couldn't get the votes. But he does control the Baghdad judiciary.
Which is how Iraq ended up the only country in the world with a sitting
Vice President convicted of terrorism. Tareq remains the Vice President
-- despite being found guilty of 'terrorism' and despite being
sentenced to death multiple times. That crisis sent off alarms in Iraq
and out of Iraq as a Sunni dominant region looked askance at Nouri and
his puppet court in Baghdad.
created a major crisis and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi (a
member of Iraqiya) and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (a Kurd) both
started calling for a National Conference on December 21, 2011. But
Nouri refused it. Iraq was still dealing with that unresolved crisis --
which the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler
called a political stalemate when reporting to the United Nations
Security Council back in his July 19th presentation to the UN Security
Council (see the July 19th snapshot and the speech is also covered in the July 20th snapshot).
But Iraq is the land where Nouri piles crazy on top of crazy so with an
ongoing stalemate already taking place as a result of a crisis Nouri
caused, he set out to create another. After refusing for years to
implement Article 140 to resolve the dispute of Kirkuk and other
disputed lands, Nouri, a few months ago, sent a new group of forces
under his command (Tigris Operation Command) into the disputed areas.
The Kurds saw this as an attempt by Nouri to 'settle' the dispute in
Baghdad's favor by having Nouri's forces occupy and control the areas.
tensions increased and increased until last month the Kurds sent the
Peshmerga into the same areas. The military standoff continues. Al Mada reports
Islamic Superme Council of Iraq leader Ammar al-Hakim is calling for
calm. As the report continues, you'll note something in all the Iraq
reporting today on this topic, consider it the Iraqi press saying
"Suck it, AP," that Nouri al-Maliki has spoken with Speaker of
Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi about what al-Nujaifi spoke to KRG President
Massoud Barzani on Tuesday about; however, Nouri's not spoken to
Barzani. Translation, there is no deal. We noted it yesterday
, the AP
got it wrong when they 'reported' that Nouri said a deal had been
reached. That is not what he said. Sadly, some US outlets have picked
up on AP
's garbage and have presented as fact.
many Iraqis worry about a possible war between Iraqi troops and Kurdish
Peshmerga fighters in the disputed northern territories, the country's
senior Shia clerics have issued religious prohibitions against such a
conflict. The latest reaction came on Wednesday from the
Najaf Hawza, the prominent Shia religious institution, which issued a
fatwa saying that, "Fighting the Kurds is haram (religiously
prohibited).""Those Iraqi soldiers who die in battle against
the Kurds are not considered martyrs," the Hawza said in a statement.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ignited tensions by sending in his
controversial Dijla forces into the northern disputed territories that
are also claimed by the Kurds. The autonomous Kurdistan
Regional Government dispatched thousands of its own Peshmerga forces
into the territories, setting off a tense stand-off that has endured for
All Iraq News reports
that this morning Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, in a prayer sermon,
declared that the conflict should be resolved by the Constitution. Juma Abdulla (Al-Bayyna) adds
that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has warned that Nouri al-Maliki is playing with fire by his actions. Last night, Al Mada filed a lengthy report
on the press conference that AP
distorted. Al Mada
notes -- as other Iraqi outlets did yesterday -- that Nouri's remarks
were that there were two proposals currently -- not that the situation
had been resolved (as AP falsely reported) and that he declared this at
the joint-conference he held with United Nations Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon (AP also 'forgot' that fact). (For Ban Ki-moon's remarks at the
news conference see yesterday's snapshot.) All Iraq News adds
that the Secretary-General spoke with KRG President Massoud Barazni over the phone yesterday. Al Mada reports
that Ban Ki-moon also met with Osama al-Nujaif and Parliament. UNAMI provides the remarks he made to Parliament
Your Excellency, Osama al-Nujaifi, Speaker of the Council of Representatives,
Distinguished Heads of Political Blocs,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for your warm reception. I am honoured to be here.
democratic transition over the past decade has advanced thanks to the
leaders and people of this great country. Iraq has re-emerged as a
leader on the regional and global stage. And as current Chair of the
Arab League, you are steering the region at a critical time in its
is making important progress in strengthening its state institutions. I
welcome the establishment of the independent Human Rights Commission
and the Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral
Commission. Your task now is to guarantee the independence of these
You face many challenges. I am
especially concerned about strained relations among Iraq's main
political leaders. This problem hampers the adoption of necessary
reforms and constitutionally mandated legislation. It impedes effective
governance, the delivery of services and the fair distribution of
Above all, I worry that
increased political polarization could stoke sectarian violence and
reverse the precious security gains against terrorism in recent years.
guard against this, I urge all political leaders to engage in an
inclusive dialogue to resolve their differences in the spirit of the
Your role is critical. As
elected representatives of the people, you have immense responsibility
to promote democracy, safeguard political freedoms and advance social
progress and well-being.
There is no
alternative to national reconciliation and peaceful co-existence for all
communities in a united, federal Iraq. There is no alternative to
reaching a mutually agreeable understanding over the issues of
wealth-sharing and disputed internal boundaries.
The Iraqi people will have another important chance to choose their representatives during the Governorate Council elections.
Credible elections will be crucial to consolidating the democratic transition.
is particularly important for the overdue elections in Kirkuk. I urge
the communities there to forge consensus on a way forward.
United Nations remains steadfast in supporting the Government and the
new Board of the Independent High Electoral Commission to ensure fair
and credible elections across Iraq.
is a time of tremendous challenge across the region. There is a real
threat of a destabilizing spill-over of the violence in Syria. This
crisis is at the forefront of international concern -- and it is a
legitimate source of worry for Iraq.
thank Iraq for its constructive engagement in the search for a solution,
and for its generosity in hosting numerous Syrian refugees. The United
Nations will continue working to provide humanitarian assistance.
the important goal of normalizing relations between Iraq and Kuwait, I
was encouraged earlier this year by steps taken under the leadership of
Prime Minister al-Maliki and the Emir of Kuwait. But I am concerned that
progress could be threatened by the lack of confidence between the two
countries and lack of progress on outstanding issues.
will take courage and statesmanship to move beyond a difficult past and
embark on a new era of cooperation. I have made this clear in my
meetings with leaders from both countries. Today, I again call on you to
unite behind this goal so that Iraq – a founding member of the United
Nations – can regain its rightful place in the community of nations.
am confident that decisive steps to fulfil this country's outstanding
international obligations on boundary maintenance, compensation for
farmers and missing persons and property will enable the Security
Council to positively consider restoring Iraq's international standing. I
– along with my Special Representative – will spare no effort to help
achieve this goal.
Excellencies, Iraq has
vast human resources, especially the country's youth. Half of all Iraqis
are under the age of 18. I hope you will nurture these future leaders.
are another powerful force -- but they are still marginalized. Quotas
have made it possible for women to make up one quarter of the Council's
representatives, but there is only one female electoral Commissioner and
one female State Minister. Iraqi women are bright and talented. They
should be empowered to engage in building the future of this great
The United Nations is also working
with Iraq to protect the environment, preserve natural resources and
fight the menace of dust storms.
I have just come from the Doha Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
am committed to advancing progress on climate change and to addressing
the challenges it poses for Iraq. Dust storms have doubled over the past
two years and they are expected to double again in the next two. This
is a serious regional issue which demands a regional response.
In all these areas, the United Nations will continue to be your partner.
always, we will listen to your concerns and your ideas. We are here to
support you as the Iraqi people forge a shared future of lasting
stability and peace.
Thank you very much.
All Iraq News reports
al-Nujaafi and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani discussed ways to resolve
the crisis late yesterday evening. Osama al-Nujaifi issued a statement
afterwards thanking Talabani for his continued efforts at resolving the
crisis. And the outlet notes
that MP Susan Saad (with the al-Fadhila Party) issued a call today for
direct dialogue to end the crisis, noting that it does not serve Iraqi
interests for the crisis to continue. In her statement, she uses "we"
and makes clear she is speaking on behalf of the al-Fahila Party. None
of the above is needed if, as AP
wrongly 'reported' yesterday, an agreement between Baghdad and Erbil had been reached.
November 29th (see that day's "Iraq snapshot
" and the November 30th "Iraq snapshot
UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, addressed
the UN Security Council on the state of Iraq. We'll wrap up his
The exploitation of the environment and natural resources has
far-reaching implications for the future of Iraq, encompassing
political, security and developmental priorities. In particular, the
generation of harmful dust storms in the region continues to increase,
bringing with them associated health hazards and hampering economic
activities. UNAMI and the UNCT continue to work closely together on
this important issue. I have attended several meetings to promote
regional approaches to such transboundary issues and I am actively
working with the governmnt of Iraq and UNEP to hold a symposium on dust
storms in southern Iraq in early 2013. Complimentary efforts by UNAMI
and the Humanitarian Country Team have ensured a timely and effective
response to the humanitarian dimension in Iraq of the ongoing conflict
in Syria, including a range of protection and relief activities. The
flow of refugees has already exceeded projected numbers. As of 18
November, there were more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. In
addition, almost 55,000 Irais have returned from Syria since 18 July
2012. We anticipate that the influx will continue thus swelling the
numbers of those displaced. The UN is working closely with the Iraqi
Ministry of Displacement and Migration to respond to the situation. The
Humanitarian Country Team continues to monitor the situation, and
coordinates regularly with partners and government authorities to ensure
preparedness and an efficient and timely response. It has developed
contingency plans in-line with the UN's Syria Regional Refugee Response
Plan, which are continuously updated in response to emerging
developments. Efforts are also taking place to ensure that camps are
fully equipped and prepared for the coming winter and necessary
equipment distributed to refugees and returnees (like distribution of
blankets and kerosene, prefabricated structures instead of tents). I
also call on the government of Iraq to reopen al-Qaim crossing point so
that vulnerable persons in need of protection are able to leave Syria.
Only 30 percent of the third Refugee Response Plan is covered and many
refugees continue to pour into Iraq on a daily basis and I, therefore,
appeal to all member states to step up and cover the remaining 70
percent of the plan.
In the middle of the week, Refugees International released a field report
on Syrian Refugees which noted that there are 400,000 know Syrian
refugees in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Known? Many refugees
will never attempt to register with the United Nations. Registering
with the UN provides a document, a paper trail, and refugees often fear
such a trail -- they fled due to fear and may fear being found by those
in Syria that they fled, they fled for safety and may fear that a host
country will force them to leave. There are many reasons why you will
never have 100% registration among refugees of any crisis. On Iraq,
the report notes:
Since the beginning
of the conflict in Syria, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has
declared Syrian Kurds to be their brethren and has welcomed them into
northern Iraq with a tremendous amount of goodwill. The KRG has done a
laudable job of integrating urban refugees fleeing Syria into the
national systems, and offers them the same benefits as their own
nationals. However, the KRG's social services structure is feeling the
strain of serving this extra population and needs outside support. To
ensure that assistance is available to both camp and urban Syrian
refugees in northern Iraq, the international community must support the
KRG's generosity by designating funding for humanitarian assistance in
When significant numbers of
Syrian refugees began arriving in Iraqi Kurdistan early in 2012, they
were generally well-received by their host communities. About eight
months ago, the KRG opened Domiz camp in Dohuk Governorate, hoping it
would help it provide for everyone more efficiently and make the best
use of limited resources. Unfortunately, some of the camp's structures
and programs have been slow to develop and many residents lack the
assistance they need. Similarly, in the urban areas, Syrian refugees'
needs have outstripped the KRG's ability to address them. While refugees
have access to the KRG's own social services, those services themselves
are underdeveloped in some cases and unable to serve additional
[. . .]
in other countries hosting Syrian refugees, the three governorates of
Iraqi Kurdistan -- Dohuk, Erbil, and Suleimaniyah -- are feeling the
strain of hosting their guests. The Domiz camp in Dohuk alone has 15,000
refugees in residence, and tens of thousands more are living in the
nearby cities. The KRG has been struggling for the past year to provide
for everyone. In keeping with the best practices recommended by the
UNHCR, Syrian refugees outside of the camp have access to the national
services of the KRG. However, the reality is that once people run out of
financial means to rent a residence, they are very likely to have to
move to Domiz in order to have a place to live. Getting services in the
camp is a challenge in itself, as the space is overcrowded and service
provision is still developing. In order to promote self-sufficiency, and
to avoid creating tensions in either an overcrowded camp or an
overburdened community, services in both settings must be made
adequate and sustainable.
International's report on Iraq only notes what the Kurdistan Regional
Government is doing. Kobler is calling for the al-Qaim crossing point
to be re-opened. That's not a KRG issue. Most refugees coming into the
KRG from Syria are doing so through the Rabi'aa crossing. al-Qaim is
in Anbar Province (which is not in the KRG). October 21st, Nouri
closed the al-Qaim crossing point. In one weekly report after another,
the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) has repeatedly
noted that al-Qaim refugees do not have freedom of movement.
is already here and UNHCR and its partners still lack 50 percent of the
funds needed to get everyone through the next few difficult months," declared Angelina Jolie
who, with Brad Pitt, made a $50,000 donation to UNHCR Thursday.
"Despite all the good work being done so far, it's clear here on the
ground that all resources are now stretched to the limit. This is going
to be a very tough few months. Winter can be harsh here, even
dangerous for refugees who may already be weakened by their ordeal.
Many have been brutalized in unimaginable ways. They deserve all the
support we can give them." Anyone who would like to dnate -- at any
level -- can visit this UNHCR page
It's a bad economy, no one has to feel guilty or justify how they're
spending their money. I won't know if you donated or not and it's
your business not mine. But at this time of they year, many people look
for places to donate and the UNHCR helps refugees around the world.
the US State Dept, under court order to reconsider their opinion that
Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) were terrorists, announced that they had
reviewed the classification and "decided, consistent with the law, to
revoke the designation." This decision is important with regards to
Iraq because approximately 3,400 MEKs were in Iraq, invited in by Saddam
Hussein. When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, these people were disarmed
by the US military and were told this would be in exchange for US
protection. As CNN noted
after the State Dept took the MEK off the terrorist list, "since 2004
the United States has considered the group, which has lived for more
than 25 years at a refugee camp in Iraq, 'noncombatants' and
'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions." Despite being
re-classified, however, the MEKs in Iraq remain, at present, unable to
find asylum in other countries. Kobler ended his presentation to the
Security Council last week by noting this group of people.
Kobler: Finally, Mr. President, I wish to emphasize that Camp Liberty,
also called Camp Hurriayah, was only meant to be an interim facility to
facilitate the Refugee Status. Determination and subsequent
resettlement in third countries. As this process is now well in
progress, I should like to take this opportunity to reiterate the
Secretary-General's appeal to Member States to offer resettlement
opportunities to former residents of Camp Ashraf. Without such an
undertaking, there can be no sustainable solution for the residents.
Currently, only 100 residents remain in Camp Ashraf, while over 3,100
residents have been peacefully transferred to Camp Hurriyah near
Baghdad. The government of Iraq insists to close Camp Ashraf in the
next days. It requested the last 100 residents be relocated to Camp
Hurriyah. For obvious reasons, UNAMI cannot be directly involved in
negotiations on the property of Camp Ashraf residents. My colleagues
and I, however, have spared no efforts over the last weeks to facilitate
meetings between various merchants and the government of Iraq. These
various merchants and the government of Iraq. These efforts,
regretfully, were unsuccessful, leading to a stalemate over the last
weeks. The government of Iraq considers this stalemate as an attempt by
the residents to delay the relocation of the remaining 100 persons.
The government of Iraq's patience is, therefore, wearing thin. I call
on the residents of Camp Ashraf to cooperate with the government of Iraq
to solve all outstanding questions related to property. We have come a
long way. I also call upon the government of Iraq to maintain the
peaceful relocation of the residents as stipulated in the Memorandum of
Understanding, to demonstrate restraint, and be as flexible as possible
when it comes to resolving property related issues. UN monitors in
Camp Hurriyah monitor the human rights and humanitarian situation of the
residents on a daily basis. They are, however, often denied access to
certain areas of the camp by the residents. This hinders the
performance of their duties. They are working hard in an impartial
manner under very difficult circumstances. They have my full
confidence. I urge the residents to engage constructively with the
government of Iraq and the United Nations so that Camp Ashraf can be
closed peacefully and efforts can focus on the residents' resettlement
to third countries. Mr. President, coming to the end, on the face of
the many challenges ahead I outlined earlier in my briefing, it is
imperative that Iraq stays the course to complete its transition to an
inclusive democracy, provides stability and prosperity for its people
and exercises a positive influence throughout the region. With Member
States' support, UNAMI will continue to assist the people and the
government of Iraq in these truly worthy endeavours. The substantial
cut of USD 30 million, I regret to say, to UNAMI's budget next year will
require that we do more with less. I know I can count on UNAMI's
dedicated staff to work on behalf of you towards these goals and I would
in particular thank the government of Iraq for its coooperation during
this year 2012 and I am looking forward to another year of good
cooperation in 2013. Last but not least, I do thank the Security
Council for its continued support throughout the year. Thank you very
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