United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
International Operation Name: United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
International Mission Name: United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483, 22 May 2003 (Chapter VII)
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1500, 14 August 2003
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546, 8 June 2004 (Chapter VII)
Region Name: Middle East
Mission Date: 14 August 2003 - 31 July 2016
Mandate: In the aftermath of the second Gulf War, the UN Security Council pronounced its support for the Iraqi people in consensus-building and facilitating dialogue, through Resolution 1483 of 22 May 2003. The Security Council also authorized the Secretary-General to assist the people of Iraq in promoting democracy and local governance, a stronger economy and a stronger observance of human rights.
Later in 2003, the Security Council authorized the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), in Resolution 1500 of 14 August. UNAMI’s mandate was to fulfill the task set out in Resolution 1483.
With Iraq slowly reorganizing itself through 2003 and 2004, the Security Council passed Resolution 1546 on 8 June. Besides supporting the newly-formed Interim Government of Iraq, the resolution altered UNAMI’s mandate as requested by the new Government of Iraq. UNAMI would now play a leading role in the development of an effective system of civil and social services, assist in the delivery of development, humanitarian and reconstruction aid, as well as planning for an Iraqi election, including a comprehensive census.
Mission Notes: Iraq had been a pariah state since the 1990-91 Gulf War. In the aftermath, various UN Security Council resolutions have authorized embargoes, sanctions and inspections of Iraq. To many nations, but particularly the United States, Iraq appeared to be violating the agreements and resolutions that had been signed at the end of the first Gulf War and passed since that date. On several occasions, coalition forces had attacked Iraq.
In the end, citing non-compliance with on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, the United States led an invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The result was the defeat of Iraq militarily, but not an end to a guerrilla-like insurgency. Iraq also faced a host of political, economic and social problems as it attempted to cope with its post-Saddam Hussein future.
Through Resolution 1483, the Security Council hoped that the UN could play a role in building a new and inclusive Iraqi society and to this end various UN agencies began operations there. To coordinate the UN effort, the Security Council authorized the creation of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) on 14 August 2003 (Resolution 1500). At least seven UN offices would be created, besides those UN organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP and OCHA that were already present in Iraq.
On 19 August 2003, insurgents detonated a car bomb outside the office of the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Iraq. In the resulting explosion, 22 members of UNAMI were killed. The SRSG, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed and the greater part of the human rights and political works office destroyed. The UN subsequently withdrew most UNAMI personnel from Iraq and in December appointed an acting-SRSG, Ross Mountain.
While the UNAMI personnel in Iraq remained at minimal levels, UNAMI increased its presence in Cyprus, Jordan and Kuwait to support efforts in Iraq. Greater emphasis was placed on Iraqis assisting themselves while the UN found new ways to improve its support to the people of Iraq. UNAMI staff also began planning for an eventual UN return to Iraq.
On 8 June 2004, the Security Council approved Resolution 1546. This Chapter VII mandate included the UN’s playing a leading role in the development of an effective system of civil and social services, assisting in the delivery of development, humanitarian and reconstruction aid, as well as planning for an Iraqi election, including a comprehensive census. Paragraph 30 also approved the creation of a four-element security and protection unit to protect UNASMI personnel and facilities in Iraq, in coordination with Iraqi authorities. In response, Fiji provided 157 troops protecting 64 international UNAMI personnel and an unenumerated number of Iraqis. A further 70 UNAMI personnel were based in Cyprus, Jordan and Kuwait. Three military advisors also provided the new SRSG, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi of Pakistan, with advice on military and security matters.
Canadian Operation: Operation IOLAUS - 2 October 2004 – 9 July 2007
The Canadian Forces had one officer serving with the UNAMI. Under the Canadian name Operation IOLAUS, on 2 October 2004 one lieutenant-colonel was sent to Iraq for one year as a military advisor to the SRSG. His duties included briefing the SRSG on the military implications and the security situation in Iraq. He also established a temporary UN detachment in Basra and assisted in the coordination of a UN headquarters on the grounds of a former palace of Saddam Hussein in Basra. Subsequent officers continued this work until the mission ended on 9 July 2007.
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