2018 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Iraq

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

DOS NADR - CWD 37,835 30,945 48,000 293,111
DOS Other 0 0 0 992
CDC 0 0 0 450
DoD 0 58 209 105,237
COUNTRY TOTAL 37,835 31,003 48,209 399,790

Dollars in thousands


ISIS’s prolonged occupation of extensive territory in Iraq, in some cases lasting more than three years, resulted in an unprecedented level of explosive contamination in the form of IEDs, UXO, and landmines. ISIS used mass-produced, technologically advanced IEDs to defend captured territory and target Iraqi Security Forces, as well as to booby trap homes, public spaces, farmland, and infrastructure to discourage the return of IDPs. As IDPs return to their communities, these devices continue to perpetuate ISIS’s reign of terror by indiscriminately killing civilians and impeding stabilization operations. In addition to ISIS-related contamination, other parts of Iraq remain impacted by millions of mines and ERW from conflicts dating back to the 1940s. Numerous large barrier minefields and ERW remain along the Iran/Iraq border as a result of the 1980s conflict between the two nations. In addition, the Gulf War and the conflict that began in 2003 resulted in ERW contamination in southern Iraq.

Date: 2018 Description: An FSD team supported by the Department of State prepares to destroy ISIS IEDs in northern Iraq.
© Photo courtesy of FSD

From 2003 to 2017, the United States invested more than $399.7 million in Iraq for the clearance and disposal of IEDs, mines, ERW, and excess conventional munitions that were vulnerable to illicit trafficking.

In 2017, the Department of State supported the following implementing partners:

  • DDG cleared more than 3,000 explosive hazards from over seven million square meters (1,729 acres) of land in southern Iraq, including U.S.-origin ERW. They assisted in developing the program capacity of the Regional Mine Action Center-South (RMAC-S) in coordination with the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) and delivered mine risk education to more than 16,000 men, women, and children in southern Iraq.
  • FSD cleared over 2,000 IEDs in towns liberated from ISIS between Mosul and Erbil, thereby increasing civilian security and facilitating the return of IDPs.
  • Information Management and Mine Action Programs (iMMAP) provided operational information management assistance and strategic planning capacity building support to Iraqi national mine action authorities. They also helped to coordinate demining efforts between Iraqi demining authorities and the organizations conducting demining operations, in support of broader stabilization efforts.
  • MAG cleared more than 4,000 explosive hazards in Iraqi Kurdistan and areas liberated from ISIS in the Ninewa Plains, increasing human security and allowing IDPs, including those from predominantly Christian, Shabak, and Yazidi villages, to safely return to their homes. MAG also provided mine risk education to increase the security of civilians affected by ISIS-emplaced and other legacy ERW.
  • NPA cleared over 4,000 explosive hazards in southern Iraq and provided technical advisors to the RMAC-S to assist in its role as a regulatory body to coordinate and monitor mine action activities.
  • SOS held soccer workshops across Iraq that reached over 40,000 children to provide education and outreach to children about the risks posed by ERW, provide trauma resilience training for those affected by ISIS-related violence, and to offer a meaningful alternative to Iraqi youths at risk of joining extremist groups.
  • Janus cleared more than 4,700 explosive hazards from critical infrastructure in liberated areas associated with the delivery of clean water, power, healthcare, and education as well as facilities used for manufacturing building materials.

With funding from the Department of Defense, HD R&D, in partnership with MAG, has cleared 2,200 mines and UXO from 269,000 cubic meters (9.5 million cubic feet) of soil to date, through the use of an experimental Rebel rock crusher, which they continue to evaluate. The Rebel is a complete contaminated soil processing plant, with several excavator sifting attachments, a stand-alone orbital sifter, and several commercial front-loader attachments. This technology is helping to automate complicated, low density mine clearance tasks around villages and agricultural areas in northern Iraq that have been mine-affected for decades.