Author Topic: IRQ: Security Highlights of Latest UN Rep  (Read 1053 times)

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IRQ: Security Highlights of Latest UN Rep
« on: October 20, 2007, 16:34:18 »
Link to 17 Oct 07 Sec Gen report on UN Mission in IRQ

Highlights:
- Violent events down, but still tough for UN staff to do their jobs
- UN teams reliant on US/coalition air transport assets
- UN now has overhead cover in their facilities
- UN wants to establish offices in Basra (esp. since Brits are gone) and Arbil
- UN says they need brand, spanking new compound in Baghdad to ensure max security

(....)

A. Assessment of the security situation

50. The security situation in Iraq continues to severely limit the daily activities of
the United Nations.
During the reporting period, the multinational force and the
Iraqi Security Forces mounted large-scale military operations in all areas of
Baghdad, in Al Anbar Province in the western region and in Diyala, Wasit, Tamim
and Salah Ad Din provinces. The cumulative effect of those operations appears to be
a reduction in the level of significant acts of violence in the areas.


51. The level of indirect fire against the International Zone in Baghdad remained
constant through June, July and August before falling to the lowest levels
encountered for the calendar year in September. There were 16 attacks within the
International Zone in June, 13 attacks in July and 9 attacks in August. On 3 and
4 September, there were two attacks in the space of 48 hours. During the incidents
of indirect fire, some United Nations facilities were hit by incoming projectiles,
causing damage but fortunately no casualties. The risk-mitigating measures will
continue to be assessed and measures to better protect accommodations at United
Nations facilities are ongoing. All staff members are now provided with
accommodation that has reinforced overhead protection.

52. At Baghdad International Airport, Camp Victory was twice targeted by
240-mm rocket fire within a three-week span in September. The first attack caused
one death and several injuries and the second attack caused no casualties or damage.
UNAMI is working with the multinational force to determine if this recent use of
240-mm projectiles represents the beginning of a trend or just isolated incidents.

53. National staff members continue to encounter serious security-related
problems. Numerous staff members have been forced to relocate their families out
of Baghdad to more benign areas in Iraq as well as to neighbouring countries to
escape the sectarian and insurgent violence within their respective neighbourhoods.
A small number of staff has received direct threats against their personal safety.
These threats are being investigated by the Mission’s Safety and Security Unit and
staff members are provided assistance wherever possible.

54. There has been a marked decline in civilian casualties and unclaimed bodies in
Baghdad during the reporting period. The multinational force and the Iraqi Security
Forces operations have been instrumental in reducing the number of mass-casualty
incidents by imposing increasing measures to interdict the movement of weapon
systems and explosive devices.
The majority of recent attacks have been carried out
by smaller improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire, mainly directed
against the multinational force and the Iraqi Security Forces troops or rival factional
groups. Suicide and vehicle bomb attacks occur at a reduced level.

55. Outside Baghdad, the violence is focused in the Mosul and Kirkuk areas.
Kirkuk is experiencing intra-factional violence as the deadline for a referendum on
the status of Kirkuk approaches. Mosul is now second only to Baghdad in the
number of violent attacks and, on several recent occasions, has recorded more daily
attacks than Baghdad. On 14 August, in a devastating attack on the Yazidi
community in Sinjar, in the far north-west of the country, three vehicle-borne bombs
caused hundreds of casualties in what was the worst recorded mass-casualty incident
in Iraq since the invasion of 2003.

56. The security situation within the Kurdistan region remains relatively stable. As
a result, United Nations staff members are able to deploy in order to meet and
interact with their Iraqi counterparts on a regular basis. The Inter-Agency
Assessment Mission carried out a security assessment from 13 to 20 July and made
a number of recommendations, many of which are already in place. In early
September the UNAMI security team enabled WHO to launch an emergency
response team to Sulaymaniyah to address a major cholera outbreak in the area.

57. In the south, the multinational force moved out of its headquarters at Basra
Palace, handing the facility over to the Iraqi Security Forces in August. There are
now no multinational forces based within the city limits. All multinational force
personnel have been relocated to Basra Air Station. This significantly reduced
reporting on security issues from Basra is affecting the United Nations operational
capability in that area for the time being.

B. Facilities, logistics and support

58. Overhead protection for the Mission’s interim accommodation facility has
been completed and will provide for additional staff to be deployed to Baghdad
when required. The construction of the integrated United Nations headquarters in
Baghdad remains the only viable option for the continued presence of United
Nations staff in Baghdad due to the high level of security risk. This approach has
been endorsed in principle by the Security Council and is now subject to approval of
funds. While undertaking all available steps to increase self-sustainability in Iraq,
UNAMI intends to continue to employ support services under the Logistics Civilian
Augmentation Programme (LOGCAP) and the related 607 Agreement in cases when
there is no equivalent service provider.


59. The trust fund established in 2004 to support the “Distinct Entity” that
provides protection for the United Nations in accordance with Security Council
resolution 1546 (2004) will be exhausted by the end of November 2007. Since its
establishment, the trust fund has received over $23 million in contributions from
17 Member States. I call upon Members States urgently to contribute to the trust
fund in order to allow for the continuation of security arrangements for the United
Nations presence in Iraq and enhanced United Nations activities mandated under
resolution 1770 (2007).

60. UNAMI has recently dispatched a team to explore the possibility of deploying
staff to a new location in Basra, following the redeployment of the multinational
force from the Basra Palace compound to the Basra Air Station. Additionally,
assessments are under way regarding potential expansion of the United Nations
operations in Arbil, covering the north of Iraq.


61. The Mission remains reliant upon the United States, Japanese and United
Kingdom air forces to meet its air transportation needs.
The United Nations values
this support while noting that the use of Coalition air transportation can be complex
and, at times, limits the flexibility of movement desired by the Mission and its staff.
The Department of Safety and Security of the United Nations Secretariat requires
that aircraft used to transport United Nations personnel in Iraq be equipped with
adequate self-defence systems. Following the repatriation of Denmark’s dedicated
aircraft, attempts to identify a troop-contributing country prepared to supply a
similarly equipped military aircraft have not been successful. UNAMI and the
Department of Field Support are exploring commercial options although suitable
aircraft are not readily identifiable in the commercial market. Jointly, the
Department of Field Support and the Mission are actively engaged in identifying
and collaborating with potential operators and their national aviation authorities to
develop and authorize the use of a commercial aircraft with the capabilities required
by UNAMI. While the efforts aimed at larger self-reliance in the air support
continue, I strongly urge Member States to support United Nations requests for the
provision of a dedicated aircraft in the interim.

(....)
“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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