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The collaboration between Italy and Iraq as a successful example of bilateral relations


The collaboration between Italy and Iraq as a successful example of bilateral relations

The cooperation between Italy and Iraq is the perfect example of fructuous bilateral relations not only because it is effective, but also because it involves different fields of intervention. In general, the collaboration between these two countries is articulated in three main areas: the humanitarian field; the security sector; and, finally, the entire set comprehending all the activities related to the conservation of archeological sites and goods. Through all the recent years, Italian cooperation has been devoted to the reconstruction of an Iraq capable of an efficient management of its incredible and precious antiquities, capable of guaranteeing an high level of security to its population and able to become a fertile land for economic investments. The humanitarian, political and economic crisis and the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State render the Iraqi situation extremely difficult. Since the emergence of the humanitarian crisis three years ago, Italy has been committed to collaborate with Iraqi authorities to help the country to raise again.

Regarding the humanitarian sector, only in 2015 Italy has contributed with more than 8 million euro to finance projects connected with the profound humanitarian crisis that hits the Kurdistan Region, in Northern Iraq. Italian funds have been fundamental to face the most urgent emergencies and to support the sector of sanitation and to intervene in the field of education. Some of these projects mentioned above have been realized by four Italian NGOs: AISPO, Un Ponte Per…, Intersos, Terres des Hommes. In 2016 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has guaranteed to these organizations other funds worthy almost 1.5 million of euros, in order to confirm Italian support to humanitarian activities. Furthermore, Italy has been a very generous donator in favor of many UN agencies operating in Iraq (UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP) that are assisting Iraqis both psychologically and materially.

In the security field, Italy is actively and efficiently contributing, through the Carabinieri Task Force, to the training of local military personnel. The sectors of training are many and important and they range from the efficient strategies of processing unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to the main techniques of protecting civilians in very dangerous circumstances. In this sense, the activities of Italian military forces are fundamental because they help to strengthen the security of civil people and to equip Iraqi armed forces with very useful means to face many kinds of threats.

Another field of intervention where the Italian Cooperation has achieved many significant accomplishments is the protection of archeological sites and goods. It is evident that one of the main strategies of the self-proclaimed Islamic State is to dismantle Iraqi culture and history. In this sense, the precious historical richness of Iraq is an extreme danger and the Italian Government, in collaboration with Iraqi authorities, has invested many resources both material and human to the protection and conservation of Iraqi historical and archeological heritage. Since the plunder of Baghdad Museum in 2003, Italy has invested more than 13 million euros in this field and it’s continuing to support many projects related to that. In the new context associated with the cultural emergence related to the rise of ISIS, the Italian Government is financing with more than 300.000 euros a program lunched by UNESCO in order to surveying the conditions of archeological sites under Da’esh control through satellite imagery. Last but not least, the Carabinieri Task Force in Iraq is training Iraqi armed forces in the field of archeological heritage security. In conclusion, many Italian archeological missions led by important academic professors are constantly working in Iraq in order to transmit their know-how to Iraqi people in order to teach them how to effectively manage archeological goods and the major techniques of recovery and restoration of archeological finds and maybe making this an important field of economic investment.