Iraq must receive support post-IS 'to avoid past mistakes'

Iraq must receive support post-IS 'to avoid past mistakes'
Iraq's ambassador to the UN has said any abrupt scaling down of support after Mosul's liberation from the Islamic State group risks stability and security.
2 min read
03 February, 2017
Families have returned to liberated east Mosul where the rebuilding is beginning [Getty]
Iraq must continue to receive support after its liberation from the Islamic State [IS] group to avoid repeating past mistakes, the UN Security Council has been told.

Any sudden withdrawal of support risks plunging Iraq deeper into sectarian strife and insecurity, the UN special representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, warned the council on Thursday.

"In the post-Daesh era Iraq will need continuous substantial and substantive support and assistance from the international community, including its regional partners," Kubis said, using the Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

"Any abrupt scaling down of engagement or support would mean repeating mistakes of the past. Mistakes that have had great consequences on stability and security well beyond the borders of Iraq."

A combination of Iraqi and international forces led by the United States are currently battling to oust IS from its last stronghold Mosul, in the north of the country.

The appeal to the security council comes as President Donald Trump reviews the war on IS, who has repeatedly said the group "must be eradicated from the face of the earth".

However US-Iraq ties have become strained in the last week since Trump included America's closest anti-IS ally in his controversial travel ban, blindsiding American diplomats in Baghdad.

Some 180,000 people have been displaced from their homes since the launch of the Mosul operation which has seen Iraqi forces retake the east of the city.

Thousands of civilians remain trapped in the IS-held west.
 
Some families have begun returning to their homes in the liberated east, Iraq's ambassador to the UN Mohamed Ali Alhakim said.

"More than 2,000 Iraqi families have been able to return to their homes that have been freed from Daesh criminals," he said.

"The return is continuing following the removal of explosives and mines. Thanks also to the active participation of the local population for the clean up of the streets in the liberated neighbourhoods."

Kubis also urged for civilians to be protected after the city is liberated, hinting at the retributory attacks on Sunni residents following the liberation of Fallujah, where Shia militias were accused of human rights abuses. 

"The protection of civilians, the avoidance of steps that could incite sectarian tensions and prevention of revenge attacks inside Mosul - but also in other liberated areas of the country - are of vital importance for winning the hearts and minds of the population," Kubis said.

"They constitute first steps in the national and community-based reconciliation in building a new and truly unified and united Iraq in which all its people will feel as equal citizens."