It is not our role to discuss how best to bring peace, but it is up to us to address the impact of the conflict on civilians and their humanitarian needs. The need to scale up assistance is great and urgent. Access will become increasingly difficult in some areas - already aid agencies have to negotiate to reach people in need on a daily basis. More supplies are desperately needed in order to support ever-growing numbers of displaced people. Iraqi Red Crescent and ICRC volunteers and staff must be able to deliver assistance safely. Let there be no doubt that the crisis in Iraq has developed into a humanitarian one - and that addressing it is what the term humanitarian means.
The Kurds of Iraq cannot be accused of impatience over exploiting their energy riches. Oil has been underground for millennia and as it bubbled to the surface was used in traditional medical treatments. But those who ruled Iraq neglected it, apart from the Kirkuk region which was forcibly taken from the Kurds...
The strategic importance of Iraq because of its central position between Syria, Iran, Jordan Saudi Arabia and Turkey cannot be underestimated. That is why it is essential to see the election of a moderate, non sectarian government in Baghdad, which could play a pivotal role in resolving conflict in the Middle East and ending the spiral of violence in Iraq itself.
On Sunday 28th April, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission announced the suspension of the operating licenses of nine Iraqi Satellite TV Stations and the closure of the Baghdad Offices of Al Jazeera Arabic. The justification given was that the mainly Sunni stations were inciting hatred and divisions in Iraq.
Sectarianism is there and it is still both a significant problem and a major stumbling block to moving the country forward. While this was most obviously demonstrated by the sectarian killings that dominated the local news for so long, it was also clearly evident when we analysed the key drivers for Iraqi's voting preference.
Ashraf residents must believe that theirs is a story of betrayal. It was the US, after all, that, after liberating Iraq, promised to protect them if they agreed to disarm. The US is out of Iraq, but the residents are far from safe. A second betrayal is now in the making. For a body such as the United Nations, silence in the face of oppression is nothing short of scandalous.