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In 2021, U.S. conventional weapons destruction (CWD) assistance to the Middle East and North Africa enhanced regional stability and improved human security.  In Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines emplaced by ISIS, as well as explosive remnants of war (ERW) are a threat to displaced families returning home and impede stabilization efforts and local economic development.  In Yemen, the ongoing conflict is resulting in significant quantities of ERW, and the use of landmines and IEDs continues to kill civilians and impede the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance.  Of the 10 countries worldwide with the highest number of casualties from landmines and ERW in 2020, three—Iraq, Syria, and Yemen—are in the Middle East according to the 2021 Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. In Libya, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons fuels both domestic and regional violence, imperiling U.S. national security interests and continuing to displace civilians.

Since 1993, the U.S. CWD program has invested more than $960 million in the Middle East and North Africa for survey and clearance, explosive ordnance risk education, survivor assistance, and local capacity building.  Together these programs help lay the groundwork for stability and prosperity across the region.

Through U.S. support, our implementing partners accomplished the following in 2021:

  • 4,828,005 square meters (1,193 acres) of land were released for safe and productive use in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen
  • 92,861 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were destroyed in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen
  • 2,122 landmines were destroyed in Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen
  • 2,000 IEDs were destroyed in Iraq
  • 354 explosive ordnance disposal spot tasks were conducted in Libya in response to urgent requests for suspected UXO to be investigated and rendered safe

The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war.  Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $4.2 billion in more than 100 countries around the world to reduce the harmful worldwide effects of at-risk, illicitly-proliferated, and indiscriminately-used conventional weapons of war.  For more information on U.S. humanitarian demining and CWD programs, see the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.

For additional information or to request a printed copy of To Walk the Earth in Safety, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, at pm-cpa@state.gov, and follow us on Twitter @StateDeptPM.  The report is also available on the Department of State website at https://www.state.gov/to-walk-the-earth-in-safety/.

U.S. Department of State

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