- In paragraph 6 of its resolution 2169 (2014), the Security Council requested that I report every three months on progress made towards fulfilling the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The present report covers key developments related to Iraq and provides an update on the activities of the United Nations in Iraq since the issuance of my third report, dated 1 May 2015 (S/2015/305).
II. Summary of key political developments pertaining to Iraq
A. Internal developments
During the reporting period, the Government of Iraq continued its efforts to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, ISIL and associated armed groups demonstrated the capacity to undertake asymmetric attacks, which hindered the Government’s efforts to retake and hold territory. ISIL also continued to inflict civilian casualties, cause massive displacement and perpetrate systematic human rights violations that may amount to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity.
The political leadership of Iraq continued to explore means of promoting inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation, while the Council of Representatives continued to work to adopt key legislation identified in the national political agreement and ministerial programme. The Government of Iraq also took measures to address the immediate needs of the growing number of internally displaced persons, as well as measures for the eventual stabilization and reconstruction of areas retaken from ISIL.
Baghdad and Erbil continued to engage in political dialogue to address differences relating to the implementation of their agreement on energy exports and revenue-sharing. However, differences in interpreting the agreement persisted during the reporting period.
Regional and international partners continued to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against ISIL. After the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbargovernorate, on 17 May, the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and the international community expedited their efforts in support of the five -point plan of the Government of Iraq from 19 May, which entails: (a) accelerating support to the tribal fighters of Anbar province to fight ISIL; (b) strengthening Iraqi Army divisions, particularly those based in Anbar that have been depleted from more than 18 months of fighting; (c) restructuring the Anbar police force to hold territory retaken from ISIL; (d) calling for international contributions to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-endorsed funding mechanism to facilitate the immediate stabilization of cleared areas; and (e) ensuring that all forces participating in the recapture of Anbar governorate operate under the command and control of the Prime Minister.
The political leadership of Iraq also continued to support local governments in taking greater responsibility in recapturing territory under ISIL control. On 24 April, the Anbar Provincial Council announced Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s decision to open a recruitment centre in Habbaniya, Anbar, to enable local Sunni volunteers to more easily join the Government’s military campaign against ISIL. By 8 May, 1,000 additional recruits had enlisted, through the Habbaniya recruitment centre, to fight ISIL alongside the Iraqi security forces and the popular mobilization forces, which have proved a critical component in the fight. On 16 June, the Ministry of Interior announced the formation of a 10,000-member force comprised of local Anbaris to aid military operations to fully recapture Anbar.
The Government of Iraq also took steps to professionalize Iraq’s military and security institutions. On 21 May, the Anbar Provincial Council announced an investigation into the circumstances that led to the withdrawal of Iraqi soldiers from Ramadi. On 26 May, the Council of Ministers issued a resolution to terminate the employment of members of the armed forces who had withdrawn from their posts and to hold them to account. In June, the Ministry of Interior announced the replacement of 35 senior officials, in order to strengthen law and order and enhance accountability, and Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s office announced the retirement of the Army Chief of Staff, General Zebari.