Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Biden’s Nominee for Iraq Ambassador Says Iran ‘Remains a Malign Actor’

Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department
Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department
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Biden’s Nominee for Iraq Ambassador Says Iran ‘Remains a Malign Actor’

Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department
Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department

Tracy Jacobson, US President Joe Biden's nominee for Ambassador to Iraq, has surprised Iraqi officials with unconventional statements about Iranian influence and Tehran-backed militias.

In her opening statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Jacobson thanked the President and the Secretary of State “for their confidence.”

“Our military provides vital support in an advise, assist, and enable role to the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Ten years after our troops returned to Iraq at the government’s invitation to fight ISIS – and five years after ISIS’s territorial defeat – it is time for our military to transition to a new role,” she said.

“If confirmed, I will ensure any transition from Operation Inherent Resolve to a bilateral security arrangement will be geared toward the defeat of ISIS and Iraq's security,” Jacobson told the Committee.

In her statement, Jacobson warned that Iran “remains a malign actor and a destabilizing influence in the region that threatens to undo all of Iraq’s achievements. We recognize that the primary threat to Iraq’s stability and sovereignty are the Iran-aligned militias.”

She said it was important for Iraq to strengthen its ties with many of its neighbors and “Prime Minister (Mohammed Shia) Sudani has taken positive steps in that direction.”

Earlier this year, Sudani's office said the Iraqi government was beginning the process to remove the US-led international military coalition from the country.

Yassin al-Bakri, Professor of Political Science at the University of Nahrain, told Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt that the new ambassador's mission will be to arrange the security transition.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : UN, World Bank to Fund Climate-Resilient Roads in Rural Areas in Yemen

Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)
Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)
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UN, World Bank to Fund Climate-Resilient Roads in Rural Areas in Yemen

Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)
Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the World Bank are constructing climate-resilient roads in rural areas in Yemen and are enhancing road infrastructure to improve access to food and basic services for rural communities across the country, the two bodies revealed in a statement.

The constructions are part of the three-year Yemen Emergency Lifeline Connectivity project, which began in 2022.

The project aims to provide climate resilient road access and employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to the food insecure rural population of Yemen.

It comprises rural and village access roads improvement and maintenance, such as the rehabilitation of lifeline rural access roads and road maintenance through private sector participation and supply chain enhancement.

Also, the project will strengthen the management capacity of transport sector public institutions to finance the project management capacities of the road maintenance fund (RMF) and rural access program (RAP) through a program of capacity building.

This aims to prepare them to efficiently manage the network in the medium to longer-term and strengthen RAP’s and RMF’s capacity to predict, respond, and design resilient roads infrastructure to extreme climate events such as floods, to assess vulnerability of infrastructure assets and prepare and implement resilient investment plans.

In addition, the project supports monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the project is successfully and efficiently implemented and to provide immediate response to an eligible crisis or emergency following the procedures governed by the Bank policy for investment project financing.

$50 Million

With $50 million in funding from the World Bank's International Development Association, UNOPS said it is rehabilitating and upgrading 150 km of access roads in rural areas and 60 km of access roads to villages, as well as supporting the maintenance of an additional 150 km of road.

UNOPS is also procuring and installing three pre-fabricated bridges as part of the project.

To date, works on more than 70 km of roads are complete, while works on 85 km are near complete.

“We are proud to partner with the World Bank on a project that will help increase economic opportunities for rural communities by facilitating their access to markets and social services,” said Muhammad Usman Akram, Director of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Amman.

The rehabilitated roads will help address food insecurity and foster the safe and reliable delivery of food and other essential goods to rural communities.

The all-weather roads will also provide a way for humanitarian organizations to access more communities.

“The reactivation of the Road Asset Management System will support Yemen in assessing the vulnerability of infrastructure assets, designing climate-resilient road infrastructure and preparing climate-resilient investment plans for subsequent implementation in the future,” added Usman Akram.