Country: Iraq

Military action in an urban area: the humanitarian consequences of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq

Three years after Operation Iraqi Freedom, the US-led invasion of Iraq, was launched in March 2003, the humanitarian situation in Iraq is more critical than ever. The crisis is devastating for Iraqi civilians, in terms of death, injury, displacement, the denial of fundamental human rights and basic needs and the destruction of homes, vital facilities… Read more »

Civilian deaths: a murky issue in the war in Iraq

In September 2004, a study was undertaken by Al Mustansaryia University in Baghdad to estimate the number of civilian deaths during the war in Iraq. The researchers visited 33 randomly-selected neighbourhoods in Iraq, interviewing 30 households in each location. Security constraints were extreme, and the sample was not stratified or enlarged above the standard minimum,… Read more »

Private military companies: a word of caution

Since the gruesome killing of four American private military contractors in Falluja, Iraq, in March 2004, the major Western media outlets have been replete with articles on private military and security companies. Little by little, the public has been discovering the breadth and depth of the involvement of private contractors in some of today’s conflicts…. Read more »

Civil society and Islamic aid in Iraq: unseen developments and threats

This article explores two related, but neglected, aspects of the aid environment in Iraq: the politicisation of aid by local religious/political parties; and the role and position of international Islamic aid. Clearly, in the politically charged climate of present-day Iraq, the activities, funding and political affiliation of international aid is a key question. Yet while… Read more »

Public–private partnerships in the health sector: the case of Iraq

Public–private partnerships (PPPs) are fast becoming the dominant method of tackling large, complicated and expensive public health problems in post-conflict and unstable settings such as Afghanistan and Iraq. They are seen as ‘win-win’ arrangements in which diverse actors – with often varied, sometimes conflicting, motivations – work together to contribute to health development. In principle,… Read more »

With us or against us? NGO neutrality on the line

The humanitarian community is groping for a way to conduct its work in the face of post-9/11 US foreign policy. Navigating an uncertain course among military and for-profit actors in Afghanistan and Iraq, and confronted by intensifying security threats, NGOs may be forgiven for reacting with alarm to what they see as a gathering storm… Read more »

Limits to neutrality in Iraq

Aid has been co-opted as part of the coalition’s political project in Iraq; few Iraqis distinguish between aid workers and personnel attached to the occupying powers, and some NGOs have become more or less contractors, providing services to the Iraqi population. In these fraught and politically-charged circumstances, it is almost impossible to be perceived as… Read more »

Taking a stand: solidarity and neutrality in humanitarian action

For most humanitarian organisations, the essential principles of humanitarian action are to be neutral, impartial and independent.  Good impartial and neutral humanitarian aid reduces suffering. It works. People survive, who might not have survived otherwise.  Neutral and impartial NGOs can operate and introduce resources in a conflict or war because they are expected to have… Read more »

Some thoughts on the conflict in Iraq

In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, airlifts bringing in humanitarian assistance have begun, in some cases backed by the considerable resources released by the US, the European Commission and EU member states. UN agencies, NGOs and ‘specialists in reconstruction’ have begun to flood in. Meanwhile, security remains precarious, and Iraqis are becoming increasingly frustrated. While… Read more »