John Allen, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, spoke recently with representatives of the Coalition at a working group in Berlin about how Iraqi areas which are becoming liberated from ISIL can be stabilized, restored and rebuilt.
In remarks to the group, General Allen said, “Iraq’s stabilization efforts will be the most important signal of the intentions of this government towards Iraqis who have been driven from their homes. Stabilization will be an opportunity for the Abadi government to make tangible its goal of rebuilding an Iraq for all Iraqis.”
Iraq’s leaders, he noted, have started to think through the mechanisms they will need for successful stabilizations operations, and there is full agreement that for their efforts to be successful they must be Iraqi-led.
A first step must begin with fair treatment during military or clearing operations, said General Allen: “The Iraqi Security Forces and their partner tribal elements and Popular Mobilization Forces must not commit acts of revenge, recrimination or abuse against civilians or prisoners,” and they should work closely with their civilian counterparts on planning and sequencing relief and humanitarian operations.
As ISIL, or Daesh as it is called, is cleared from population centers, there will be a need for three other stabilization components: security and policing; restoration of local governance; and the provision of essential services.
It is the job of the Coalition working group to determine how and where it can support the efforts of its Iraqi partners most effectively, said General Allen: “Stabilization operations can be expensive and…will require significant resources,” he said, applauding the Iraqi government’s decision to include $2 billion of recovery funding and support of displaced Iraqis in its 2015 budget.
The Coalition is working to develop the concept of a trust fund to assist Iraq, involving both material assistance and appropriate technical support and expertise.
“We need to come together as a Coalition,” said General Allen, “to listen to the plans of our Iraqi partners, encourage their efforts, and formulate a strategy for how we can support them in the weeks and months to come.”