Following the dissolution of the Governing Council of Iraq and in preparation for the establishment of an interim government on 28 June 2004, the UN Security Council lifted the arms embargo on the government of Iraq (UNSCR 1546) and added an exemption for the multilateral force operating in Iraq authorized in October 2003 by UNSCR 1511, maintaining all other measures. More broadly, the resolution recognized the legitimate role of the Interim Government of Iraq in assuming the primary role in the coordination of international assistance to Iraq, including the review by that government, of all assets directed to the Iraq Development Fund. The mandate of UNAMI, which has been on the ground since 2003, has been significantly expanded by UNSCR 1770 (2007) to support, advise, and assist the Government of Iraq in a number of areas, including the advancement of inclusive, political dialogue and national reconciliation, reintegration programs for former members of illegal armed groups, development of essential services, and promotion of economic and legal reform. UNAMI’s mandate has not changed significantly since.
On 15 December 2010, The Security Council in UNSCR 1958 terminated all residual activities under the “Oil-for-Food” Program (established in 1995 by UNSCR 986) and authorized the transfer of the remaining funds to the Development Fund of Iraq except for $131 million retained for UN Program termination-related expenses and indemnification until 31 December 2016 (subsequently extended to 30 June 2017 by UNSCR 2335). The full implementation of the UNSCR 1958 and 2335, and thus the transfer of remaining $138,424,160 to the government of Iraq, was acknowledged on 8 December 2017 by UNSCR 2390. The other two 15 December 2010 resolutions terminated the UNSCR 1783 requirement for the deposition of all proceeds from petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas sales to the Development Fund for Iraq (UNSCR 1956) and the UNSCR 687 and 707 weapons of mass destruction, missile, and civil nuclear-related measures (UNSCR 1957). Further terminations came in June 2013, when the UNSCR 686 provisions for return of all Kuwaiti property seized by Iraq and the UNSCR 686 and 687 provisions for repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third country nationals or their remains were lifted and the mandate over the issue was given to UNAMI (UNSCR 2107). Overall, relations between Iraq and Kuwait improved and significant progress was made on repatriation and the return of Kuwaiti property under UNAMI’s oversight since 2018.
While the former Baathist regime has shown no evidence of resurgence, military officers from the former regime participated in armed resistance against the government. Early in the episode, the insurgency that began in opposition to the US presence in the country in mid-2003, and intensified between 2006 and 2008 as a sectarian civil war, was at least partly fueled by the dismissal of large numbers of Baath members from the army. The most significant challenge to the Iraqi regime was posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Although not all former Baath insurgents joined ISIL, ex-Baath officers were crucial for the 2014 surge of ISIL activity in Iraq that resulted in the takeover of significant portions of the Iraqi territory, including Mosul, challenging the authority of the Iraqi government. At the height of its power in 2015, ISIL controlled about a third of the Iraqi territory. Responsible for running the military, security, and finance portfolio, several high-ranking Baath officers were amongst the most wanted ISIL members. Significant advances notwithstanding, the group was eventually defeated three years after the beginning of fighting. On 9 December 2017, the Iraqi Prime Minister declared victory over ISIL, announcing that all Iraqi lands were liberated from the group’s control. The domestic political and security situation remains unstable, however, with reports of increased ISIL activity, rising pressure on the US to withdraw its remaining forces, tensions between US and Iran manifesting on Iraqi soil, and popular protests calling for socio-economic and political reforms. Remnants of the former Baath Party continue to operate through clandestine networks, but having been targeted by both ISIL and the Iraqi army, do not generally pose a significant challenge to the Iraqi regime.
Continuing the de-Baathification of the country, the Baath Party was officially banned by Article 7 of the Iraqi constitution, which was approved in a referendum in October 2005. In 2016, the government of Iraq further strengthened the ban, passing a law that prohibits any Baath activity, including protests, political, cultural, and social activities or associations, as well as any propagation of Baath Party ideas and positions using media or any other means of communication. Although a number of individuals were reinstated following the initial wave of de-Baathification in late 2003 and early 2004, the Accountability and Justice Commission (successor of the national De-Baathification Council under the Coalition Provisional Authority) regularly screens for ex-Baath members trying to access government posts. Prior to the May 2018 legislative elections, 374 potential candidates, who did not pass the Commission’s vetting process due to their affiliation with the Baath Party, were prohibited from running for office. In March 2018, the government of Iraq also seized the assets of more than 4,200 former Baath Party members and their family members. As a result of these restrictions, especially high-ranking former Baathist officials seem to regularly face both formal and informal discrimination.
The Iraq Sanctions Committee has been dormant for much of the episode, with the last designations taking place in May 2006 and no delisting activity between December 2011 and August 2016. However, a new wave of delisting has taken place thereafter, suggesting that the regime is slowly winding down. A total of 147 entities were delisted from the Iraq sanctions list since August 2016, while most of Council’s recent engagements on Iraq have been Al-Qaida and ISIL-related and managed by the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.
Due to destabilizing ISIL activity, costly counter-ISIL operations, disagreements over oil exports and revenue sharing with Iraqi Kurds, and plummeting global oil prices the Iraqi government requested a postponement on its final reparation payment of $4.6 billion to Kuwait, originally due in 2015. Suspended since October 2014, Iraq resumed compensation payments to Kuwait in April 2018. Paid out quarterly based on a percentage of Iraqi oil proceeds, the total sum of $52.4 billion is expected to be fully paid off by Iraq through the UN Compensation Commission by the end of 2021.
Constrain remnants of the former Iraqi regime from challenging the Government of Iraq.
Signal the legitimacy and authority of the Iraqi Government.
Ongoing Iraqi cultural property trade or transfer ban and asset freeze (individual/entity and former regime).
Change in the target of arms imports embargo from all parties to the conflict to non-governmental forces in Iraq (occupying forces and the Government were exempted).
Weapons of mass destruction, missile, and civil nuclear-related restrictions, as well as all mandatory depositions of proceeds from petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas exports to the Development Fund for Iraq, related UN-like privileges, and all residual “Oil-for-Food” activities were terminated in December 2010.
Provisions for return of all Kuwaiti property seized by Iraq and repatriation or return of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals were terminated in June 2013.
Asset transfer to the Development Fund for Iraq was terminated in December 2017.
Maximum number of designees during the episode: 89 individuals and 208 entities; currently remaining on 86 individuals and 61 entities.
UN sanctions can have some non-discriminating impact on the general population, since they include arms embargoes, diplomatic sanctions, and/or restrictions on the conduct of particular activities or the export of specific commodities.
Sanctions Committee in place, no sanctions monitoring mechanism in place. Designation criteria were specified and targets designated.
Baathist government forces never became a serious threat to the regime and ex-Baath Party members continue to be restricted in their access to public positions, but former Iraqi military officials participated in multiple insurgencies that challenged the regime, including the one launched by ISIL.
Only 9 additional individuals and entities were added to the list during this long episode (all before 2007; recent counter-terrorism related designations were made via the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanction regime). Foreign military engagements (pre-2011 as well as post-2014), as well as domestic efforts to exclude former Baath members from politics, have been more important in containing the former regime elements.
UNSCR 1546 (2004) focused primarily on the legitimacy and the transfer of authority to the new Iraqi-led government but occupying forces, which remained to provide core security until 2011, qualified the terms of the regime’s authority. The surge in violence by ISIL, which included elements of the former Baathist regime, significantly challenged the regime’s authority between 2013 and 2017, but ex-Baath Party members routinely experience societal discrimination, indicating that association with the former regime continues to carry a stigma.
Lifting the arms embargo on the regime and maintaining targeted measures on remnants of the Baathist regime contributed to reinforcing the signal, but targeted sanctions did not focus on the main threats to the Iraqi government during the episode until 2014 (after which designations of individuals and organizations associated with the insurgencies were made under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee). De-Baathification, diplomatic recognition, state building efforts, and use of force in support of the Iraqi government were more significant to the outcome. The Iraq Sanctions Committee has remained focused on delisting entities sanctioned prior to the start of the episode, weakening the signal with regards to more contemporary challenges.
Insufficient information available at present.