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16 Oct 2014

Anbar Re-Emerges from the Collective Subconscious

Thursday, 16 October 2014
(3 votes)
It was not long ago when aid agencies, governments and the media were referring to the uncoiling conflict in Iraq as the ‘Anbar crisis’, a term that when now heard may awaken distant memories of events that less than six months ago were the unrivalled focus of international media attention. The falling of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, to Islamic militants and their later arrival at the doorstep of the northern Kurdish safe-haven, Erbil, grabbed the interest of onlookers all over the world. Anbar faded into the distant subconscious of the international community, which up until very recently has only ever reappeared in the form of sporadic recollections of its existence and forgotten anguish. According to official figures released by…
23 Jul 2014
The takeover by armed militants of Iraq’s second biggest city of Mosul and a string of other cities throughout June and July exceeded even the ‘worst case’ scenarios of international aid agencies and Government authorities to the current crisis. Contingency plans had talked about the potentiality for violence to spread to other areas of Iraq, following the militant occupation of Fallujah and Ramadi and the absence of a political compromise. However few had foreseen that the political void, which continues to exist following the parliamentary elections and failed efforts at forming a new Government, could be pounced upon so rapidly by armed militant groups. Despite this, aid agencies immediately scaled up their operations to respond to the humanitarian needs of…
For months, NGOs and UN agencies operating in different parts of Iraq have been calling upon the international community to refocus attention towards the overwhelming scale of the humanitarian needs that exist inside the country. The Anbar crisis has for more than six months posed an almost unmanageable burden upon the emergency response capacities of aid and relief agencies due to a critical lack in funding that has emanated from a clear down-grading of Iraq from the list of priorities on the international humanitarian agenda. This de-prioritisation must urgently be brought into question as the security crisis in the country has reached a breaking point which, if surpassed, will overwhelm the capability of aid agencies to respond given the burden…
The baffling disappearance of Iraq from the international agenda and critical funding shortages for aid and relief agencies are not the only factors negatively impacting upon the efficiency of the humanitarian response inside the country. Since the outbreak of conflict in Anbar more than five months ago, safe and secure access for aid provision has been a problem, despite persistent efforts made by international NGOs and UN agencies to exert pressure on parties to the conflict to facilitate access for humanitarian workers to deliver assistance to vulnerable populations.In early March, the DRC Country Director, Michael Bates, urged “Iraq’s security forces and armed groups to create a safe passage to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilian populations and ensure the security…
On 18th March, a statement was released by a consortium of National Non-Governmental Organisations (NNGOs) who expressed their collective disappointment at the international community for not imparting greater attention to the worst humanitarian situation being faced by Iraq since 2006. The statement shed renewed light on the increasingly challenging situation for aid agencies, who are trying to attend to the urgent needs of the country's Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Indeed despite constrained resources and funding, NGOs and UN agencies continue to work hard to try and ensure the timely and efficient provision of humanitarian assistance for the displaced. Once being looked upon as a temporary downturn amid an already fragmented political and security scene in Iraq, contingency planners are now…
01 Mar 2014
Iraq now has the second highest number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Middle East, after Syria, with a total of more than 1.1 million registered IDPs. Most have escaped due to conflict, political strife and forced evictions on sectarian or ethnic grounds.More than two months of military operations inside Anbar have resulted in thousands of additional Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) that have been forced to leave their homes in search of peace and security. Violence inside the province has even resulted in multi-displacement as many families that had made the difficult decision to leave home, were subsequently confronted by new outbreaks of fighting between militants and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and were forced to once again relocate in…
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