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After the retreat of Daesh – Where does Iraq go from here?  Iraq

Street in Mosul following the retreat of Daesh

Street in Mosul following the retreat of Daesh, © picture alliance

13.02.2018 - Article

Daesh has been largely defeated militarily in Iraq. The task now is to foster stability so that Iraqis can return to normality. Germany is assisting the country in this process.

With the support of the Global Coalition against Daesh, the Iraqi Government has successfully driven the so-called Islamic State (IS) out of Iraq. Now the country has to find its way back to stability and prosperity. A conference on reconstruction in Iraq is taking place in Kuwait from 12 to 14 February. It is intended to signal that following the military successes against Daesh, the country now wants to open a new chapter and create the right conditions for reconstruction. Parallel to this, the largest ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh took place on Tuesday (13 February). In 2017 crucial progress was made: for instance, the liberation of Mosul in July and of Raqqa in October 2017, as well as the declaration of victory over Daesh as a caliphate in Iraq in December 2017.

No time to sit back in Iraq

Due to the massive scale of the destruction, for example in Mosul, and the major trauma which overshadows the everyday lives of many people, Iraq is now facing huge tasks. The country needs the sustained support of international partners for its ongoing reconstruction. Germany will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the country. The Federal Foreign Office alone has provided more than 500 million euros for humanitarian assistance and projects since 2015. 

Making it possible for people to return home voluntarily

Some 3.4 million internally displaced persons have been able to return to their home towns since late 2014. However, there are still 2.5 million people living in informal settlements, host communities or camps. They

Girl in an Iraqi refugee camp
Girl in an Iraqi refugee camp© dpa

continue to require humanitarian assistance and protection. As the second largest donor, the Federal Foreign Office has already provided 43.2 million euros this year. If internally displaced persons are now to return voluntarily and safely to their home towns, decent living conditions and a safe environment have to be created. 

Due to the massive scale of the destruction in the areas liberated from Daesh, this is not the case in all areas. Often, landmines and booby-traps first of all have to be cleared. For the terrorist militia left them behind as a deadly legacy when it retreated. The Federal Foreign Office has therefore made available 44.3 million euros since 2016 for the clearance of landmines and booby-traps. As soon as the security situation will allow, basic infrastructure (water, power, healthcare) is to be restored.

Fostering stability and confidence

However, booby-traps and a lack of infrastructure are not the only things standing in the way of the return of internally displaced persons, an economic upswing or long-term reconstruction. The ethnic tensions in Iraq are considerable and the economic situation continues to be difficult. People are desperate for security, economic prospects and jobs. Moreover, the population’s confidence in their state has to be strengthened. The development of a local police force that has good relations with ordinary citizens, which the Federal Foreign Office is supporting, as well as confidence-building between security organs and the population (community policing) will help to nurture this trust. Furthermore, the Federal Foreign Office is fostering the reconciliation process within Iraq.

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The clearance of improvised explosive devices in Mosul and other areas liberated from IS is making rapid stabilisation possible with German assistance.

Tackling IS booby-traps with German assistance

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