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Worsening Condition of Anbar Province

As we introduced in our last breaking supporter’s news, JEN started a new project from the end of last year.  However, at the beginning of the new year, the security situation of Anbar province, one of our three project sites, had drastically deteriorated.

As the media reported, the Iraq’s security authority attempted to supress the large scale antigovernment demonstrations on December 30.  Following that, a group linked with the international terrorist network al-Qaeda linked took control of a portion of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and Fallujah, a neighboring city, generating disruption.  Under such rapidly worsening situation, we decided to temporarily stop our projects in Anbar Province and restricted the scope of operation of our local staffs for their safety

Anbar province, located in the west of Baghdad, is the biggest province in Iraq and most of the population are Sunni Muslims.  The province includes national borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia that it is common that the same tribes or relatives of the province are living across the border.  Many of the residents are the supporters of Hussein administration and the province was attacked numerous times by the US military in 2003.  They have less access to public services and have a higher unemployment rate compared to other provinces.  Many citizens are frustrated by the political system, and antigovernment demonstrations have been a regular occurrence.  The death toll and number of evacuees from the current conflict is increasing.

This situation is similar to that of central and south Iraq between 2006 and 2008.  JEN had its office in Baghdad back then, and explosions from bombs could be heard nearby on the way to the project sites, and cars carrying JEN staff were often stopped by Iraq’s security authority at the check point along highways.

Not all of our project sites are safe, and these are the environments that have the most children in need.  Therefore, our local staff are thorough about gathering security information, use mobile phones when security is concerned, and share information with other staffs via text messages or phone.  Also, we try to avoid the crowd, such as demonstration gathering or markets, with close communication among other staff.  We try to continue our projects with safety as our first priority.
JEN’s Iraq office staff wish for stability and peace in Anbar province and hope to restart the educational assistance to their students soon.

Head of Baghdad Office

January 16, 2014 in Iraq |