By Rudaw 57 minutes ago
U.N. Security Council meeting on February 24, 2018. Photo: AP/ Craig Ruttle
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region- A United Nation’s Security Council delegation is set to visit Baghdad tomorrow in a bid to “affirm” support for Iraq, a Foreign Ministry Spokesperson announced, as Iraq struggles to maintain a middle ground in current tension between the US, its regional allies and Iran.
“The visit of security council members tomorrow will be within the framework of supporting Iraq as it adopts a balanced view in bolstering its status internationally,” said Ahmed al-Sahaf, spokesperson for Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on social media.
The visit, to be made upon the request of the Iraqi government, affirms their support for Iraq’s “sovereignty, security and territorial unity,” said al-Sahaf, as Iraq struggles to maintain its balance on a US-Iran diplomatic tightrope.
An uptick of violence in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, including the Iranian shootdown of a naval reconnaissance drone in the Gulf of Oman on June 20 and attacks on several oil tankers, has seen threats of military conflict increase.
Iraq’s government had recently been planning to reduce the UN agenda in Iraq, but these skyrocketing US-Iran tensions have placed those plans on the backburner.
Current and former political figureheads in Iraq have stressed the country’s desire to play a role of conflict resolution between the two countries; Sahaf said the visit is an act of recognition of Iraq’s “active and effective” diplomacy.
But tensions appear to be playing out on sovereign Iraqi territory, as a spate of rocket attacks, blamed on Iran-affiliated Shiite militias based in Iraq at sites of American military and commercial interest have taken place in recent weeks.
“The visit of the members of the international security council will be to affirm their support for the continuation of Iraq’s efforts in stability and rebuilding,” al-Sahaf added.
Iraq requires $88 billion for reconstruction following recurrent waves of post-2003 Iraq War violence including war with the Islamic State (ISIS). Officials told an international donors’ conference in February 2018. Despite some pledges from Iraq’s allies, the amount allocated still falls drastically short. UN support is crucial in the execution of, and drumming up of funds for, reconstruction projects.
The UN has been called upon by Kurdish leaders to step in to mediate for a resolution of Iraq’s internal issues, including that of territories disputed by Baghdad and Erbil, particularly Kirkuk.
Alarm has been shown by the UN at rising US-Iran tensions. Rosemary DiCarlo, the United Nations Political Affairs chief, told the Security Council on Wednesday that peace in the Gulf is at a “critical juncture” as she called on all parties to abide by an increasingly flailing nuclear deal, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “nerves of steel” and the avoidance of “any further sorts of provocation.”
Iraqi protestors stormed the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad late on Thursday night in response to Bahrain’s decision to host a Trump administration- backed Israel-Palestine peace plan conference. The attack on an embassy of a staunch Saudi ally has been met with widespread condemnation from US allies in the Gulf. Bahrain recalled its ambassador in response to the storming.