"); NewWindow.document.close(); return false; } // end hiding from old browsers -->

IRAQ: IRAQ CRISIS: Weekly round-up Number 72 for 24-30 July - OCHA IRIN
Wednesday 30 March 2005
Middle East
Latest News
Middle East
Democracy & Governance
Food Security
Gender Issues
Health & Nutrition
Human Rights
Natural Disasters
Peace & Security
RSS Feed
Africa Service
Asia Service
PlusNews Service
Service Français

IRAQ CRISIS: Weekly round-up Number 72 for 24-30 July

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Key Humanitarian Developments

This week in Iraq saw the worst violence since the handover of power on 28 June. According to international media reports at least 68 people were killed on Wednesday in Baquba, 65 km north-east of Baghdad, when a car bomb exploded outside a police station.

More than 160 Iraqis have been killed in attacks since the interim Iraqi government took power, according to media reports.

This attack came as US Secretary of State Colin Powell was visiting Saudi Arabia along with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. They were presented with a proposal by Saudi officials to have Muslim troops only in Iraq.

Powell flew into Iraq from Kuwait following his meetings in Saudi Arabia and was expected to meet leading US and Iraqi officials.

Kidnappings of foreign workers inside the country are continuing as security fluctuates there. Two Pakistani men working for a Kuwaiti company were reportedly killed after being held by a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq

The kidnappers had threatened to execute the men unless their Kuwaiti employers left Iraq. Engineer, Azad Hussein Khan and driver, Sajjad Naeem, went missing last Friday, according to reports.

Another militant group in Iraq is holding seven foreign truck drivers, three of them Indian. Their Kuwaiti employers are due to make a fresh appeal for their release, the BBC reported.

An Egyptian diplomat abducted on 23 July after leaving Friday prayers in a Baghdad mosque was freed last weekend. Mohamed Mamdouh Qutb said the kidnappers released him due to the
"religious faith and moral qualities he possesses." Their statement was broadcast on the Arab TV news channel al-Jazeera.

Qutb was the most senior official to have been abducted in Iraq. He said he "thanked God and all... who worked for my release," the AFP news agency reported.

Meanwhile, as preparations continue for a January 2005 election to elect a national parliament, a national conference paving the way for polls to have taken place this week, was put on hold, according to international media reports.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the value of the meeting, advocating an inclusive and transparent national conference in Iraq.

Responding to press questions at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, a UN spokeswoman, Marie Okabe, said the Secretary-General strongly believed that the gathering could contribute to stability in the country.

"Creating the conditions for a successful outcome to the conference is therefore more important than holding it on time," she said. A small team of UN experts helped to prepare for the meeting. Some 1,000 Iraqis are expected to gather in Baghdad for a three-day meeting to select a 100-member national council.


IRAQ: Focus on 'brain drain' due to insecurity and freedom
IRAQ: Multi-million dollar programme for marshes in south
IRAQ: Funding delays opening of women's library in north
IRAQ: Interview with Interior Ministry spokesman
IRAQ: Challenges remain in north following transfer of power
IRAQ: Families leave as tension rises in Samarrah
IRAQ: Focus on dog demining

IRAQ: Focus on 'brain drain' due to insecurity and freedom

Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, is facing a 'brain drain' as doctors, judges, professors and businessmen look for better paid jobs and safety in neighbouring countries. Many doctors have fled, with or without their families, after getting kidnapped or threatened in recent months, according to people working in the health sector. The country's Minister for Health, Ala’adin Alwan, acknowledged the problem in a recent interview with IRIN but said not enough people had left to make a difference to how the country’s health care system worked.

More details

IRAQ: Multi-million dollar programme for marshes in south

A multi-million dollar project to restore the environment and provide clean drinking water in the southern marshlands of Iraq was announced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this week. "It is planned to get the project underway in September with some initial tests and sampling of water quality," Nick Nuttall, head of media services for UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, told IRIN. According to the UNEP, 90 percent of the marshlands, believed to be the historical site of the Garden of Eden, were destroyed following a massive campaign by the former regime of Saddam Hussein to drain them in order to deprive the opposition Shi'ite forces of safe havens, following an uprising against Hussein in the early 1990s. During that period blockades were built to stop water from re-entering the area, causing massive loss of livelihoods for thousands of Marsh Arabs living in the wetlands.

More details

IRAQ: Funding delays opening of women's library in north

It's been nearly four months since the US-based Counterpart NGO agreed to donate six lorry containers it had used to bring emergency humanitarian aid into Iraq last year to the Kurdistan Women's Union (KWU) for conversion into a women's library.
With a budget of US $115,000 agreed on in April after consultation with the now disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), KWU set to work preparing a site for the library by the side of the main road running through Hai Askari, an impoverished district of the northern Iraqi city of Arbil. It was a sensible enough place for Arbil's first women's library. The women of Hai Askari, many of them members of farming families displaced from around Kirkuk, Mahmour and Dibaga, also in the north, are mostly jobless, with few opportunities to leave their homes.

More details

IRAQ: Interview with Interior Ministry spokesman

Sabah Kadhim, spokesman for Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib, has said that the ministry's biggest challenge was to provide enough security to encourage United Nations workers to return to Iraq in preparation for an election in January 2005. Aid agencies and foreign investors must also feel comfortable enough to return to Iraq amid the recent spate of kidnappings orchestrated to scare them away, he added. More than 130,000 police and civilians are now working in the Interior Ministry. In an interview with IRIN, Kadhim said his ministry's two biggest current problems were organised crime gangs and followers of former President Saddam Hussein.

More details

IRAQ: Challenges remain in north following transfer of power

In the month since the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) handed power over to Iraq's new transitional government, Younan Hozaya, minister of industry and energy for one of the parties controlling northern Iraq since 1991, still hasn't quite decided what to make of it. "Before 28 June, we talked to the CPA who talked to Baghdad, and vice versa," he told IRIN in Arbil, administrative capital of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) controlled area. "Theoretically, things should be more efficient now, because the middle man has gone." The reality is less clear cut. Of his office's three counterparts in Baghdad - the Ministries of Electricity, Industry and Petroleum, he said, only the first has made much effort to build up any form of dialogue. And even that has been patchy.

More details

IRAQ: Families leave as tension rises in Samarrah

At least 10 families a day are leaving Samarrah, 120 km from the Iraqi capital Baghdad, because of rising tension between US forces and insurgents there, according to humanitarian agencies and religious leaders. Iraqi Red Crescent workers are stockpiling food and medical supplies in Baghdad to take to Samarrah if fighting breaks out, Mazin Abdullah Salloum, vice-president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, told IRIN in Baghdad, adding that officials over the weekend made contingency plans to deal with fighting or any other contingency. "We will deal with any humanitarian need," he said. "We have a disaster management team to monitor the situation in Iraq." Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are also watching events in Samarrah, Nada Doumani, an ICRC spokeswoman, told IRIN from the Jordanian capital, Amman. In addition, the French-based NGO Premiere Urgence also sent a team to the city recently to check on humanitarian needs, Fanny Lafourcade, a spokeswoman, told IRIN in Baghdad.

More details

IRAQ: Focus on dog demining

At first sight, they could pass for the ground plans of an outlandish formal garden. But the roped-off squares and lines scattered around a bend in the river are not for future flowerbeds; they are for training dogs to detect mines and unexploded ordnance. There are no reliable statistics on how many mines have been laid in Iraq, but the north is the most heavily mined area in the country. Some NGOs estimate that there are 3,000 minefields there. Three hours north of Arbil in northern Iraq, Soran fort was converted into a dog-training centre by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1998. In January this year it was taken over by Ronco, a consulting group specialising in demining and responsible for channelling US State Department funding into the creation of a new National Mine Action Authority (NMAA).

More details


Other recent IRAQ reports:

Barbers threatened by hardliners,  24/Mar/05

Interview with the UN Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi,  24/Mar/05

Extra semester for Fallujah students,  22/Mar/05

Demonstrators defy eviction,  22/Mar/05

Focus on threats against progressive women,  21/Mar/05

Other recent Children reports:

NEPAL: Focus on maternal mortality, 29/Mar/05

CONGO: Team announced to reduce growing number of street children, 29/Mar/05

CHAD: Teenage girls from the country work for a song in the city, 29/Mar/05

JORDAN: Job opportunities for landmine survivors, 29/Mar/05

MIDDLE EAST: MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 14 for 19-25 March 2005, 25/Mar/05

[Back] [Home Page]

Click here to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to Webmaster

Copyright © IRIN 2005
The material contained on www.IRINnews.org comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.
All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.