UN envoy in Iraq to resign in May, calling country ‘on a knife edge’

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the head of the United Nations’ political mission in Iraq, informed the Security Council that she plans to resign at the end of May, stating that the country is “on the brink.”

Appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in late 2018, the former Dutch defence minister’s mission includes coordinating aid and promoting inclusive political dialogue through the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

“In order for Iraq to maintain its trajectory of stability and progress, the presence of a conducive environment will be indispensable,” Hennis-Plasschaert stated on Tuesday before the 15-member Security Council. “Moreover, such an environment necessitates universal restraint.”

Since Israel launched its war in Gaza on October 7, Iran-aligned groups known collectively as the “Axis of Resistance” have launched attacks against American and Israeli targets from Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. The Gaza campaign began after the Hamas attack on October 7.

In a cycle of escalating violence, Washington retaliated with attacks that, according to Iraqi officials, threatened to undo decades of progress towards stabilising the country.

“Although we are aware that numerous actors and authorities are attempting to prevent further escalation, it is clear that the situation remains volatile. “The region, including Iraq, remains precarious, as even the slightest miscalculation could spark a catastrophic firestorm,” Hennis-Plasschaert explained.

“There is an urgent need to cease attacks, whether they originate from within or outside Iraq,” she stated, adding, “And this must include reining in armed actors operating outside state control, as has been stated numerous times in previous years.”

Russia and China Criticize US Airstrikes

Permanent members of the Security Council Russia and China have criticised recent U.S. airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria.

Late on Monday, the two nations accused the United States of increasing the likelihood of regional escalation during a Security Council meeting. Moscow suggested that the upcoming presidential election in November was a factor in the United States’ decision to commence the attacks.

The council meeting was called by Russia in response to the United States’ numerous attacks against targets in Iraq and Syria that are aligned with Iran. The raids followed a drone attack on an American facility in Jordan, which resulted in the deaths of three soldiers.

The US air assaults, which resulted in the deaths of over a dozen people, including civilians, demonstrate Washington’s total disregard for international law, according to Vassily Nebenzia, the UN ambassador for Moscow. He claimed that the United States was attempting to entice Middle Eastern nations, such as Iran, into a regional conflict.

Invading Iraq in 2003 and toppling Saddam Hussein, the United States instigated years of ethnic and religious strife and insurgency in Iraq.

It withdrew thousands of troops in 2011 but redeployed thousands three years later in response to ISIL’s incursion into the country.

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