The United States is the largest donor to conventional weapons destruction (CWD) activities in Iraq, investing more than $550 million since 2003 toward the clearance of landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) as well as for risk education. The United States significantly increased CWD assistance to Iraq beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 in order to address the unprecedented level of mass-produced, technologically sophisticated IEDs developed and employed by ISIS. These devices were employed 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 internally displaced persons and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians. Since FY 2015, the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) has provided more than $420 million to support CWD efforts in Iraq enabling the following results:
- Deployed 89 survey and clearance teams across Iraq responsible for clearing over 125,000 explosive hazards, including more than 22,500 ISIS IEDs, facilitating the restoration of essential services, the development of local economies, and the return of displaced communities, including the return of Iraqi ethnic and religious minorities persecuted by ISIS to their ancestral homelands;
- Surveyed and cleared over 500 critical infrastructure sites including hospitals, schools, factories, roads, power stations, water pipelines, airports, and grain storage facilities in areas liberated from ISIS to facilitate repairs and the delivery of essential services;
- Cleared legacy ERW contamination in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and southern Iraq from conflicts dating back to the 1980s to remove barriers to economic development and enhance human security;
- Provided risk education to more than 400,000 Iraqi men, women, and children, teaching them about potential dangers from ERW in their communities and encouraging safe behavior.
- Strengthened Iraqi capacity to clear ERW, manage survey and clearance operations, and manage ERW-related data in order to equip Iraq with the tools and experience needed to address enduring ERW contamination and foster a stable and prosperous Iraq.
The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to clear ERW. Since 1993, the United States has contributed more than $3.6 billion to 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, check out the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.