Can an army officer join RAW



I. Procedure:

1. After initially stating that he wanted to go to Germany because he would be better off there, the complainant submitted an application for international protection to an organ of the public security service on 03.03.2015 in the wake of his illegal entry into the federal territory supported by a tractor.

In the context of the first written questionnaire on the day the application was submitted to the public security service of the Vienna State Police Directorate, the complainant stated that he had the name XXXX and that he was a citizen of Iraq. He was born in XXXX or on XXXX in XXXX, a member of the Kurdish ethnic group, a Muslim of the Sunni faith and single. In addition to his parents, he has four brothers and five sisters who, like the parents, are still in XXXX in Iraq. He himself attended elementary and middle school for seven years in XXXX and XXXX and most recently worked as a construction worker.

When asked about the reasons for his flight from his home country, the applicant stated that he had to leave Iraq because of the war and that he was afraid of the Islamic State militias. His family is also hostile to the XXXX tribe, which is why his life is in danger.

2. After the procedure had been approved, the complainant was questioned in writing on October 5, 2015 in front of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, Regional Directorate Salzburg, in the presence of a suitable interpreter in Kurdish.

At the beginning, the complainant confirmed that up to that point he had given truthful information and that no new reasons for claiming international protection had emerged since the initial questioning.

When asked personally, the complainant stated that he had lived with his parents in XXXX in the family house, which had been destroyed by the Islamic State. His family is currently in XXXX, with three brothers now living in Turkey. He lived in Iraq until his departure in January 2015 and attended school in XXXX and XXXX. Since he had not completed any vocational training, he gave up working as a construction laborer. He and his family could have gone about everyday life in Iraq without any difficulties.

When asked about the reason for leaving the country, the complainant stated that he had to leave his country of origin because of the war. He is afraid of the Islamic State because it cuts people's throats. There are also tribal animosities. His family is at odds with the XXXX tribe, because an uncle of his had kidnapped a girl from this tribe who subsequently died. His uncle then fled.

When asked, the complainant described that he himself had not been threatened by the Islamic State militias. However, on August 2nd, 2014, his community took over what he saw. He then fled and nothing happened to him. He was also not threatened by members of the XXXX tribe. All men in the family were afraid of silk that his uncle's wife had been killed. The hostile tribe lived in the same village. The incident occurred seven years ago. His family then moved to XXXX. After the advance of the Islamic State, the XXXX tribe also moved to XXXX. This tribe exists in the whole of Northern Iraq.

3. With the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum dated October 6, 2015, the applicant's application for international protection in accordance with Section 3 (1) AsylG was rejected (point I). According to Section 8 (1) AsylG, the complainant was granted the status of subsidiary protection (point II) and, in accordance with Section 8 (4) AsylG, was granted a temporary residence permit until October 5, 2016 (point III).

The Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, after reproducing the interviews with the complainant and the findings on his person, stated that it could not be established that the complainant had to face well-founded fear of persecution within the meaning of the Geneva Refugee Convention. The complainant was not involved in political or partisan politics in Iraq and was not persecuted because of his political views. In his country of origin he had no asylum-related difficulties due to his ethnic or religious affiliation, his race or affiliation to a certain social group. Furthermore, the complainant had not suffered any asylum-related problems with offices and authorities. It could not be established that the complainant had been subjected to persecution related to asylum in Iraq. When questioned, he expressly denied the reasons for fleeing, which are listed exhaustively in the Geneva Refugee Convention. Finally, the complainant did not bring forward a single act of threat or attack directed against himself. Thus, there were no substantiated indications of refugee status in the administrative procedure. There were no grounds for exclusion or termination of asylum.

As evidence, the authorities concerned considered that the complainant had put forward the threat from the militias of the Islamic State and tribal hostilities with the XXXX tribe as reasons for fleeing, and that no other reasons for fleeing were given. However, the complainant had not presented any acts of persecution directed against him, so that a specific threat from the Islamic State was not credible. The enmity brought forward with the tribe of the XXXX should be assessed as a tribal feud and, due to the temporal component, no reason for granting international protection. The information provided by the complainant did not give any indications of liability to kin.

From a legal point of view, the authority in question concluded that the complainant had not substantiated any well-founded fear of persecution, so that no international protection was to be granted. Existing difficult living conditions of a general nature are to be accepted because the right of asylum does not have the task of protecting against the general consequences of unhappiness. Due to the security situation, the complainant should be granted subsidiary protection status regardless.

4. A complaint against ruling point I. of the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum dated October 6, 2015, which was sent to the complainant on October 13, 2016, was not followed by the Federal Administrative Court with its decision of September 21, 2016, L521 2124335-1 / 4E.

5. With a fax dated November 2nd, 2016, the now legally friendly representation of the complainant announced the granting of power of attorney and applied for the extension of the complainant's residence permit as a beneficiary of subsidiary protection until October 5th, 2016. The complainant essentially argued that he had failed to submit an application for the extension of his residence permit in time, but that there had been no changes with regard to the requirements for granting subsidiary protection.

6. On January 10, 2017, the complainant was questioned in writing in front of the administrator appointed to make the decision about the intended withdrawal of the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection before the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, Regional Directorate Salzburg, in the presence of a suitable interpreter in Kurdish.

At the beginning, the complainant stated that, from his point of view, after the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection had been granted with the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum dated October 6, 2015, there had only been a change to the effect that his father had moved from a member of the XXXX tribe to XXXX had been hit by car. He could not give the exact day.

He himself is still a Sunni Muslim, single and has no children. In Austria he has no family members and he has a basic command of the German language. He does not have a job, he draws minimum income in the federal capital Vienna and goes for a walk, meets with friends and cooks. His circle of friends consists mainly of Kurds, but he also has Austrian friends.

When asked about the circumstances in the country of origin, the complainant stated in summary that his parents and a brother were currently in XXXX. His father is a pensioner and with his pension of around EUR 300.00 he can support the family without any difficulties. Three brothers lived in Turkey. He maintains no contact with his relatives in Iraq so that the XXXX tribe cannot find out where he is. Should he return to Iraq, he feared that he would be killed by the XXXX tribe. His relatives, who still reside in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, would only not be threatened because they were too old or too young.

Following the hearing, the complainant was given country-specific information on the situation in Iraq and given the opportunity to comment. The complainant stated that he was aware of the situation in Iraq and that he would not comment. In the relevant statement by his legally friendly representative, it is summarized that the complainant had built a new life for himself in the federal territory and that the withdrawal of the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection was an unfounded and unlawful restriction find a family or social network in the Kurdish part of Iraq that would enable him to reintegrate.

7. With the now contested decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum dated February 14, 2017, the complainant's status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection according to Section 9 (1) AsylG 2005 was granted ex officio with the decision of October 6, 2015, Zl. 1052781406 - 15029595 revoked (ruling point I.) as well as the granted temporary residence permit as a person entitled to subsidiary protection according to § 9 para. 4 AsylG 2005 withdrawn (ruling point II.). The application of November 3, 2016 for an extension of the temporary residence permit was rejected (point III.). A residence permit for reasons worthy of consideration was not granted in accordance with Section 57 AsylG 2005. Pursuant to Section 10 (1) (5) AsylG 2005 in conjunction with Section 9 BFA-VG, a return decision was issued against the complainant in accordance with Section 52 (2) (4) FPG 2005 and, pursuant to Section 52 (9) FPG 2005, it was established that the complainant was deported in Iraq according to § 46 FPG 2005 is permitted (point IV.). Pursuant to Section 55 (1) to (3) FPG 2005, it was stated that the period for the complainant's voluntary departure was two weeks after the return decision became final (point V of the ruling).

After reproducing the interrogation of the complainant and the findings on his person, the authority in question stated that the complainant had been granted subsidiary protection status due to a risk to his physical integrity or his life. He has family ties in Iraq.

Although the situation in Iraq is still partially precarious, nothing stands in the way of a safe return to the Kurdish autonomous region. A return to your home country is reasonable and possible for the complainant. In particular, in the event of your return, there is no threat to his life or his safety, nor would he find himself in a hopeless situation.

From a legal point of view, the authority in question concluded that the complainant had a domestic alternative to flight in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, so that, in accordance with Section 9 (1) AsylG 2005, the status of beneficiary of subsidiary protection had to be revoked. The withdrawal of the temporary residence permit goes hand in hand with it. Finally, the complainant was not to be granted a residence permit for reasons worthy of consideration in accordance with § 57 AsylG 2005 and the public interest in an orderly immigration system and the orderly influx of foreigners transferred the complainant's interest in remaining in Austria.

8. With the procedural order dated February 15, 2017, the complainant was officially assigned a legal advisor for the complaint procedure in accordance with Section 52 (1) BFA-VG.

9. Against the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, which was handed over personally to the legally friendly representative of the complainant on February 16, 2017, the complaint filed in due time is directed to the Federal Administrative Court.

In this, the illegality of the content of the contested decision as well as the violation of procedural rules are complained about and an application is made to extend the temporary residence permit, to commission a regional expert who should deal with the current situation in Iraq, to ​​arrange an oral hearing before the Federal Administrative Court, alternatively the return decision to permanently declare inadmissible and to grant the complainant a residence permit for reasons worthy of consideration and, if necessary, to establish that a deportation to Iraq is inadmissible.

The Federal Office had not explained the reasons for the change in the situation in Iraq, which should lead to a different assessment of the complainant's situation. In addition, the complainant's family was expelled on January 15, 2017 and had to flee to Turkey. The security situation in Iraq and the complainant's personal situation did not permit a return to Iraq. Furthermore, the complainant had behaved well in the federal territory and a deep social, family and professional integration of the complainant was recognizable in the federal territory.

10. The complaint was submitted to the Federal Administrative Court on May 7th, 2015. On the basis of a ruling by the business distribution committee, the complaint procedure was assigned to the department of the Federal Administrative Court that has now been appointed to the decision on April 1, 2016.

11. The Federal Administrative Court sent the complainant by way of its legally friendly representation on May 19, 2017, country-specific documents on the situation in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. The complainant did not issue a statement on this.

12. On July 5, 2017, an oral hearing was held before the Federal Administrative Court in the presence of the complainant and an interpreter for the Kurmanci language. The complainant appeared at the hearing without being accompanied by the legal advisory organization assigned to him and without his authorized representation. When asked about this, the complainant stated that although he had paid money to his chosen representation, he had been informed that the presence of the representative at the oral hearing before the Federal Administrative Court was "not so important" and that he would therefore not be accompanied to the hearing . Since he only found out about this shortly before the hearing, he was no longer able to visit the legal advisory organization assigned to him for reasons of time. He asked for the hearing to be postponed in order to be able to ask the legal advisory organization assigned to him to accompany him. The request was granted.

12. The Federal Administrative Court sent the complainant by way of its legally friendly representation on September 19, 2017, country-specific documents on the situation in Iraq. The complainant did not issue a statement on this.

12. On October 5, 2017, the oral hearing was continued before the Federal Administrative Court in the presence of the complainant and an interpreter for the Kurmanci language. The complainant appeared at this hearing with his chosen representation. In the course of this hearing, on the one hand, the complainant was given the opportunity to fully explain his fear of return. The complainant submitted documents on integration in the federal territory. In the wake of the hearing, updated information on the situation in Iraq was given to the complainant and he was instructed to provide evidence of his parents' alleged stay in Turkey.

The complainant did not comply with this mandate - despite the extended deadline.

13. In a note dated December 4, 2017, the complainant was requested to be informed about the continued existence of his employment relationship. The complainant also failed to comply with this request.

II. The Federal Administrative Court has considered:

1. Findings:

1.1. The complainant bears the name given in the ruling, is a citizen of Iraq, a member of the Kurdish ethnic group and a Muslim of the Sunni faith. He was born on XXXX in XXXX, a town in the Tal Afar district in the Ninawa governorate of Iraq. In 2007 the complainant and his family moved to the city of XXXX, a large city with around 350,000 inhabitants in the XXXX governorate of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, and lived there with his parents in a house owned by the family.

The complainant attended elementary school in XXXX for four years, left it at the age of around ten and subsequently worked in a carpentry shop with one of his brothers.The complainant does not have a school leaving certificate or completed vocational training, he was employed in Iraq as a trained carpenter or as an unskilled worker on construction sites. The complainant speaks and speaks the Kurmanci language, he also speaks Sorani.

The applicant's parents and a brother live in XXXX in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq in a house they own. The complainant's father is a pensioner and maintains the family without any difficulties with his pension of around EUR 300.00 per month. The complainant maintains monthly telephone contact with his parents

Three other brothers of the complainant are in Turkey and are employed there. The complainant also has five sisters, three of whom live in Iraq in XXXX near XXXX and are employed as doctors or teachers. The other sisters are married and live with their husbands. The complainant maintains irregular contact with his sisters.

On February 15, 2015, the complainant left Iraq legally from XXXX to Turkey and subsequently reached Austria with the assistance of a tractor, where he applied for international protection on March 3, 2015 after entering and being arrested.

With the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum dated October 6, 2015, Zl. 1052781406-15029595, the applicant's application for international protection in accordance with Section 3 (1) AsylG was rejected (point I). According to Section 8 (1) AsylG, the complainant was granted the status of subsidiary protection (point II) and, in accordance with Section 8 (4) AsylG, was granted a temporary residence permit until October 5, 2016 (point III). A complaint against ruling point I of this decision was not followed by the Federal Administrative Court with its decision of 09/21/2016, L521 2124335-1 / 4E.

On November 2nd, 2016 the complainant applied for the extension of the residence permit granted to him until October 5th, 2016 as a beneficiary of subsidiary protection.

1.2. The complainant does not belong to any political party or politically active group and has no difficulties to face in his country of origin in the autonomous region of Kurdistan due to his ethnic group and his religious beliefs.

The Federal Administrative Court ruled on 09/21/2016, L521 2124335-1 / 4E, that the complainant would not be exposed to any current or immediate personal and specific threat or persecution by state organs or third parties with a significant degree of probability in the event of a return to his country of origin . An appeal against this decision was not brought and no further application for international protection was made by the complainant.

1.3. It cannot be established that the applicant faces the death penalty if he returns to his country of origin. Likewise, no other individual endangerment of the complainant can be ascertained, in particular with regard to the threat of inhuman treatment, torture or punishment as well as warlike events or extremist attacks in Iraq and there in particular in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

The complainant is a healthy, able-bodied person with adequate schooling and professional experience as a skilled carpenter and as an unskilled worker in the construction industry. The complainant has a secure livelihood in his country of origin - albeit at a lower level than in Austria - as well as family ties and an adequate supply of food and accommodation from his family as well as social benefits from the Iraqi food distribution system PDS (Public Distribution System).

The complainant has original Iraqi identification documents (identity card).

The autonomous region of Kurdistan (Erbil International Airport) can be reached directly by air via Baghdad (Baghdad International Airport).

1.4. The complainant has been in Austria since March 1, 2015. He entered Austria illegally and was staying in Austria as an asylum seeker until the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum was issued on October 6, 2015. With the decision of the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum dated October 6, 2015, the complainant was granted subsidiary protection status and granted a temporary residence permit until October 5, 2016 in accordance with Section 8 (4) AsylG. By fax dated November 2nd, 2016, received by the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum at 8:25 p.m., the complainant applied for the extension of the residence permit granted to him as a person entitled to subsidiary protection.

The complainant is criminally harmless.

The complainant has received basic state benefits for asylum seekers since the application and was initially housed in an accommodation for asylum seekers in municipality XXXX. Since October 19, 2015, the complainant has been living in shared apartments in the federal capital Vienna together with Syrians and Iraqis, currently in XXXX in 1140 Vienna.

The complainant was employed as a transit worker for the XXXX and was left to the XXXX in Vienna as a cleaning worker from August 29, 2017. He earned EUR 1460.00 gross per month. The employment relationship was terminated by mutual agreement on November 6, 2017, the complainant has since ceased to be gainfully employed and will complete a German course organized by the Public Employment Service from January 2, 2018. Previously, the complainant was not legally employed. The complainant will presumably be employed again at the XXXX from March 1st, 2018.

The complainant has no relatives in Austria and maintains, in particular in the context of his leisure activities, otherwise normal social contacts mainly with people from the Kurdish culture, but also with Austrian nationals. He is not responsible for any person in the federal territory and is single in Austria.

The complainant attended German courses and took the A2 level exam on April 12, 2017 and accordingly has a basic knowledge of the German language.

1.5. The following statements are made on the current situation in Iraq, using the sources listed:

1. Political situation

In March 2003, troops from a coalition led by the USA marched in (BBC July 12, 2017). Weapons of mass destruction were given as the reason for this, but their existence could never be confirmed. After Saddam Hussein, a member of the Sunni minority, was overthrown in March 2003, the governments were led by representatives of the Shiite majority population (BPB November 9, 2015). In 2003, the rise of [mainly] anti-loyal Shiite parties / militias / militias with ties to Iran began, which the American invaders allowed to return to their homeland from their exile in Iran (SWP 8/2016; cf. Hiltermann April 26, 2017). After Hussein's disempowerment, neither comprehensive democratization nor stabilization could be achieved, as the structures of the new political system fragmented the country along ethnic-denominational lines (BPB November 9, 2015). The resolution of the US occupation to dissolve the Iraqi army and the ban on the Baath Party caused many Sunnis, including experienced military personnel, to pour in to radical Islamist groups (Spiegel, April 18, 2015). The Sunni minority felt increasingly discriminated against and radical leaders were able to win more and more followers (AI May 28, 2008). In addition, the dismantling of the Iraqi army and Iraqi security forces by the US-led coalition had left a security vacuum that the Shiite militias tried to fill, leading to a Sunni uprising (Hiltermann April 26, 2017). The US government (both the Bush and Obama administrations) partly worked with these forces (Badr militia) and turned a blind eye to the excesses of violence by the Shiite militias towards the Sunni population (Reuters 12/14/2015) . While the Sunni revolt against the US presence since 2003 was more of a nationalist than a religious movement, the revolt increasingly developed a dominant radical Sunni Islamist trait. The resulting sectarian civil war (around 2005 to 2007) led to a change in US policy in Iraq, which in turn led to the defeat of Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). However, as the problem of Sunni exclusion persisted, there were further protests in the Sunni areas in 2013 and 2014, followed by a violent response from the state and then an even more radical version of the Sunni areas being taken over by Al-Qaida - through the organization "Islamic State" [IS, also ISIS or ISIL, formerly ISI, Arabic Daesh] (Hiltermann April 26, 2017). This was able to penetrate large parts of the Sunni areas in western Iraq, Kurdish areas in northern Iraq and parts of Syria (ACCORD 12.2016). When the newly established army after Saddam Hussein's disempowerment "collapsed", Shiite leaders mobilized their followers in self-defense, thereby strengthening the Shiite militias (above all the Badr Organization, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Kataeb Hezbollah, with the support of Iran) kicked the plan and moved north into the Sunni areas (Hiltermann April 26, 2017).

Despite great successes in the reconquest of IS, political events continue to be shaped by the fight against IS (ÖB 12.2016). Since the end of 2015, IS has been fought with a temporary alliance made up of the Iraqi military, Kurdish Peshmerga, Shiite militias and air strikes by the international US-led anti-IS coalition (AA 7.2.2017).

After the referendum on the defection of Iraqi Kurdistan on September 25, 2017, the Kurdish leader Mas? Ud Barzani declared the next day (before the official announcement of the voting result) that the majority of the Kurds who cast their vote would support independence . The participation was around 72 percent (Al-Jazeera September 27, 2017). Approximately five million people were eligible to vote, the majority of whom were Kurds of various faiths, but also Christians and the region's mostly Sunni Arabs and Turkmens (Tagesspiegel September 25, 2017). According to preliminary figures from Barzani's KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party), almost 92 percent voted for independence in the referendum. Despite international criticism and warnings, the Kurdish autonomous government let the citizens vote on Monday (standard September 27, 2017). The central government considers the referendum to be unconstitutional. Turkey and Iran are also strictly against an independent Kurdish state. Shortly after the vote, the Turkish and Iraqi armies began a joint military maneuver. According to the Iraqi Chief of Staff Uthman al-Ghanami, the exercise will take place in the area of ​​the Habur border crossing, the transition between Turkey and the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. The Turkish army had already started the maneuver a week earlier (standard 9/27/2017). Turkey also responded by announcing economic sanctions. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the day after the referendum that "Iraqi Kurds would starve if his country stopped lorries in the region." He also threatened to stop Kurdish oil exports and a military intervention in northern Iraq based on the model of the Turkish invasion of Syria. He called the referendum "null and void" (Al-Jazeera September 27, 2017; see standard September 26, 2017). In response to the referendum, the neighboring state of Iran also closed the land border with the Kurdish regions after the airspace, according to official information. However, there have been mixed reports as to whether a border crossing remained open. Parliament President Ali Larijani also announced on Tuesday that Parliament would not recognize "anything that could lead to the disintegration of the region". According to media reports, there were spontaneous street celebrations in several Kurdish cities in Iran because of the referendum on Monday (standard September 26, 2017). Iran and the Shiite militias in Iraq it finances. see the Iraqi Kurds' aspirations for independence as a threat to an Iranian-dominated reorganization of the region that extends through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. For this, the Iranian leadership needs an Iraq within its current borders and with its oil wells in Kirkuk. The Iranian military and Revolutionary Guards initially warned in rather flowery words, but now they have declared the right to take military action on Kurdish territory should Erbil promote independence. You also sense a US-Israeli strategy to undermine Iranian interests behind the referendum. Which is only half true in this case. Israel is in fact the only state in the Middle East to support the referendum, Kurds and Israelis have a long history of mutual support (time 9/24/2017). Turkey and Iran also fear an impact on the autonomy efforts of their own Kurdish minorities. As an important ally of the Kurds, the USA had also spoken out against the referendum because they saw the fight against IS as being endangered (standard 9/26/2017).

The Iraqi government responded to Barzani's call to enter into negotiations with the Kurds, also with a threat. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the Kurds to hand over control of the airports in the north of the country to the central government within three days. If this does not happen, the Iraqi government will block the airspace and no longer allow flights to or from northern Iraq. Domestic flights are not affected by this, however, and international flights to and from the Kurdish region could take place via Baghdad [according to the current status] (Al-Jazeera September 27, 2017; see standard September 26, 2017). In addition, the Iraqi parliament voted on Monday to send the Iraqi army to those areas where the referendum was held, but which are considered "controversial" according to the Iraqi constitution of 2005 - especially Kirkuk and the surrounding area, where the Kurds are utterly Took control after the Iraqi army fled the "Islamic State" (IS) in 2014 (Harrer September 26, 2017).

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(Al-Jazeera September 27, 2017)

The army deployment in the disputed areas, especially in Kirkuk and the surrounding area, led to the collapse of the Iraqi-Kurdish Peshmerga under joint pressure from Iraq and Iran shortly after the referendum on the independence of the Kurds on September 25, 2017 and could ultimately destabilize northern Iraq . The Peshmerga essentially withdrew from the contested areas in northern Iraq on October 16 and 17, 2017 (see the map below). For details, see points

1.1. and 2.4.

Form of government & parties

Iraq is formally and constitutionally a republican, democratic, federally organized and parliamentary republic. This is what the current constitution of 2005 provides. The seat of government and parliament is in Baghdad. President Fuad Massum, a member of the Iraqi-Kurdish party Patriotic Union of Kurdistan - PUK, has been President since July 24, 2014. Part of the federal state is also the Kurdish autonomous region, which is located in northeast Iraq. This Federal Region of Kurdistan has extensive sovereignty. It has its own executive, legislative and judicial organs and has had its own constitution since 2009, as well as separate military units, the Peshmerga (LIP 6.2015). There are a large number of parties in Iraq (500 signatures are sufficient for recognition according to the party law). They formed alliances before and after the elections (AA 7.2.2017):

National Alliance (NA):

The umbrella organization of the Iraqi Shiites comprises several electoral lists. The alliance endeavors to reach consensus decisions, but it also suffers from the diverging interests and power ambitions of its lists. Ammar al-Hakim, who has been elected chairman for one year after a vacancy since September 2016, tries to let NA play a positive role in the national reconciliation process (AA 7.2.2017). Hakim was also the party leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI, formerly Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq - SCIRI), which is part of the NA umbrella organization, but has now left it and founded a new party called the National Wisdom Movement ( Al-Monitor 8/24/2017).

State of Law:

The rule of law coalition, an amalgamation of several Shiite parties and part of the National Alliance, emerged as the numerical winner in the 2014 parliamentary elections with its top candidate Nuri al-Maliki, but then broke up. The Dawa party, to which both the former Prime Minister Maliki and the incumbent Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi belong, is one of the parties within the rule of law coalition (AA 7.2.2017).

Alliance of National Forces (Sunnis):

The largely Sunni, secular Iraqiya movement, which was still the winner in 2010, collapsed before the 2014 elections.Of the Sunni-influenced successor parties, the more radical Motahidoun, led by the current Vice President Nujaifi from Ninewah Province, came off the best, followed by the National List of the former Vice Prime Minister Mutlak from Anbar. In the course of forming a government, these parties joined together with smaller Sunni groups to form the Alliance of National Forces. The support of the Sunni population is sometimes very low. For security reasons, many MPs cannot visit their region of origin, which is controlled by the IS. From the secular movement, the National List of Vice-President Allawi was able to achieve a respectable success. However, it only plays a subordinate role in day-to-day political business (AA 7.2.2017).

Elections & Prime Minister

The last national elections, which took place in April 2014, were once again won by the previously incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but since there was massive resistance against him due to his authoritarian and pro-Shiite style of government, he stood up in August 2014 on Kurdish, international, but also under pressure from within the party (GIZ 6/2015). Among other things, Maliki is accused of having contributed significantly to the emergence of radical Sunni groups such as IS with his anti-Sunni policies (exclusion of Sunni politicians, suppression of Sunni demonstrations, etc.) (Qantara August 17, 2015; see also section "Security Situation") ). As a result, the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was replaced by a national unity government with the participation of Sunnis and Kurds under the more moderate Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi (HRW January 29, 2015). Abadi is also a Shiite and a colleague of Maliki in the Da‘wa party. He took up the promise to cover the ethno-religious spectrum of the Iraqi population more strongly again (GIZ 6.2015), and initially some social divides were actually narrowed through his appointment as Iraqi Prime Minister. However, nothing can be seen of an actual reconciliation between the ethnic and religious groups (ÖB 12.2016). The filling of all political leadership positions, including the cabinet post, has for years followed an ethnic / religious balance. The Sunni members of the government and parliament are under pressure because their cooperation in Baghdad has so far hardly contributed to protecting their clientele (ÖB 12.2016). The Iraqi parliament elected the moderate Sunni politician Salim al-Jabouri as parliamentary president (Al Arabiya July 15, 2014).

Abadi's reforms have so far only been of a superficial nature or are still awaiting implementation. The government’s reform plans have so far been supported by the highest spiritual authority of the Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani (AA 7.2.2017). Overall, however, the central government is weak, and Prime Minister Abadi cannot do much against the internal rivalries of the Shiite parties. He is surrounded by numerous challengers: the ex-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the opposition leader and popular priest Muqtada al-Sadr, and the other leaders of Shiite militias (Stansfield April 26, 2017).

The Iraqi parliament confirmed the new ministers for defense and home affairs on January 29, 2017. Army General Erfan al-Hiyali from the Sunni minority in the country will head the Ministry of Defense. Kasim al-Araji from the Shiite Badr organization heads the Interior Department. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the parliamentary decision as "good progress at a crucial time". Both posts were vacant for months (ORF, January 30, 2017).

Shiite militias, role of ex-prime minister Maliki and influence of Iran

Abadi has a strong opponent within his party in the Iran-friendly ex-prime minister Maliki (now vice prime minister and chairman of the State of Law Coalition, as well as Da‘wa party leader). One of Abadi's problems is also the power of the Shiite militias - on the one hand indispensable for Abadi in the fight against the "Islamic State" (standard November 5, 2015), but at the same time their use is seen by the Sunni population as "driving out the devil with the Beelzebub" . The Sunni population's confidence in the Shiite-dominated central government remains minimal. The use of these militias in the fight against IS is mostly rejected by Sunnis, they fear nefarious action by the militias and therefore often tolerate the Sunni extremists in their areas. Reports of attacks by the Shiite militias counteract the attempts by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to instill confidence in the Iraqi state among the Arab Sunnis (ÖB 12.2016). With regard to the Shiite militias, Shiite-dominated Iran also plays a major role, which overall has a major influence on Iraq. At the levers of power in Baghdad, even high-ranking Iraqi cabinet members are approved or "complemented" by the Iranian leadership. This also means that laws are passed, such as B. the one from November 2016, which effectively makes the Shiite militias a permanent fixture of the Iraqi security forces (NYTimes July 15, 2017), and they are part of the umbrella organization PMF (also PMU, Popular Mobilization Forces / Units, Volksmobilisierung, Arabic Al-Hashd al-Shaabi) on an equal footing with the Iraqi army (Harrer December 9, 2016). This integration of the Shiite militias into the government forces, which was opposed by many Sunni politicians (HRW February 16, 2017), is more of a formal nature in order to keep up appearances. In reality, there is no official body in Iraq (not even the government) that has the ability to control the militias (Hiltermann April 26, 2017). The incorporation of the militias into the Iraqi security structure secures them on the one hand funding from Iraq, while the [effective] control of some of the most powerful units remains with Iran. Iran is not only concerned with expanding control over Iraqi territory, but also with creating a corridor to the representatives in Syria and Lebanon. What happened in March 2017, namely that Iran-backed Shiite militias were able to advance all the way west to the Syrian-Iraqi border for the first time, across Iraqi, predominantly Sunni territory, illustrates this project (ICG May 31, 2017; see NY Times 7/15/2017). Former Prime Minister Maliki, who had already leaned heavily on Iran during his tenure and who continued to benefit massively from cooperation with Iran after his term in office, now plays a central role at the political level with regard to the PMF. Among other things, due to the weakness of the Iraqi state, the dominance of Iran, and especially due to the help that the regular Iraqi security apparatus (e) needs to fight back IS, Abadi had no choice but to go further with the PMF militias To help influence - in continuation of the legitimacy policy of Maliki with regard to the militias. The PMF are thus, on the one hand, an umbrella organization of - almost exclusively - Shiite militias, which has meanwhile been legitimized by the state and equivalent to the army, but at the same time they are commanded by non-state leaders (Carnegie April 28, 2017). Maliki tries to return to the top of Iraqi politics and has Iran and "its" new home power, the Shiite militias, as allies (Harrer February 13, 2017). Against this plan there is increased resistance, especially in the south: The supporters of the Sadr movement [Muqtada al-Sadr: leader of the Sadr movement, a political party, as well as leaders of the Saraya al-Salam] want to raise the hope of Maliki through demonstrations Prevent return. An intra-Shiite conflict between sadrists and Maliki supporters is noticeable, even if military clashes in this regard are unlikely (Al Monitor January 26, 2017). Such clashes occurred between these two camps in Basra in 2008 (BBC July 12, 2017).

The Sadr movement is also critical of Abadi's government. Muqtada al-Sadr stylized himself as an Iraqi nationalist who fights against sectarian-ethnic proportional representation in Iraqi politics, but who on the other hand even blocks Abadi's reforms in part, such as Abadi's attempt to set up a technocratic government. In addition, the Sadr movement is holding demonstrations critical of the government, which - despite Sadr's call to protest peacefully - can get out of control and most recently led to the repeated storming of the Green Zone in Baghdad in February 2017. The protests of the Sadr movement play into the hands of Maliki and also weaken Abadi, who is in the line of fire between Sadr and Maliki (Harrer February 13, 2017). With a view to the parliamentary election in 2018 and a possible success of the pro-Iranian Maliki, Prime Minister Abadi approached a coalition of influential Shiite religious and political leaders (including the aforementioned Muqtada al-Sadr) with the aim of isolating Maliki (IFK 9.6 .2017).

The common opponent IS welded the country and partly also the population together in 2014, but the fault lines remain acute, especially with increasing successes against IS: Not only between Shiites and Sunnis or within the Shiite forces, but also between the KRI (Kurdish Region im Iraq) and the central government, within the Kurdish groups and between de facto all majority populations and religions and the minorities in their area. Increasing successes against IS are accompanied by increased terrorism, new humanitarian challenges and resurfacing tensions. There was no ethnic-religious reconciliation. The danger of further disintegration of the state, including armed conflicts, is still not averted (ÖB 12.2016). In particular, it is also unclear whether the Sunni territories recaptured by IS will be administered in a way that will not provoke renewed strife and rebellion (under the banner of IS or another organization) (OA / EASO 2.2017). The Islamists continue to enjoy popular support in Iraq as they present themselves as protectors of the Sunni community. Originally, ISIS is primarily an Iraqi organization with strong local roots (Stansfield April 26, 2017), and even IS’s fighting back in Mosul has not been able to resolve the Shiite-Sunni tensions that are the result of a lack of political agreement (USCIRF April 26, 2017). The violence that the Sunnis have been exposed to since the US-led invasion of Iraq by Iran-backed governments and militias has created a profound and dangerous sense of victimization in the Sunni Arab population that jihadist recruitment efforts have identified the hands plays (ICG March 22, 2017). The role of the international coalition against IS is ambivalent. While this may see itself as an impartial actor (apart from the fight against IS), the Iraqi actors see it differently, who view the coalition as completely biased simply because of the choice of its allies (ICG May 31, 2017).



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1.1. Kurdish Autonomous Region (Kurdistan Region-Iraq: KRI)


The Kurdistan-Iraq (KRI) region, which consists mainly of the provinces XXXX, Erbil and Sulaimaniya, has been legally a federal state since the adoption of a new Iraqi constitution following the US-led invasion of 2003. In fact, it has been independent for a long time. Under the protection of the Allies in the 1991 Gulf War, the Kurds held parliamentary elections in May 1992 and formed a regional government. The region has its own defense forces, the Peshmerga, operates its own economic and foreign policy and regulates border control issues itself - this also includes issuing visas independently of the central Iraqi authorities. The last elected parliament in September 2013 [which has not met since 2015, see below] has 110 members; eleven of them are quoted representatives of ethnic and religious minorities. In addition, there is a quota stipulating that 30 percent of mandates must be held by women. The current cabinet is a coalition of the most influential parties: Democratic Party Kurdistan (KDP, founded 1946) and Patriotic Union Kurdistan (PUK, founded 1975), as well as the Goran movement (also Gorran, English "Change", split off from the PUK in 2009) , the Islamic Union in Kurdistan-Iraq (IUKI, founded in 1994) and the Islamic Group in Kurdistan-Iraq (IGKI, founded in 2001). The president of the region is Mas? Ud Barzani. From 1992 to 2003, the KDP and PUK ruled alone in the Kurdistan region. The new government represents a compromise between groups with a long history of violent conflict among themselves. The civil war between the KDP and PUK in the mid-1990s should be mentioned here. To this day, the region is in fact divided between the KDP and the PUK - although the PUK had to give up influence to Goran in recent years (Savelsberg 8th 2017). Within the autonomous Kurdish region there are repeated conflicts between the three big Iraqi-Kurdish parties KDP, Goran and PUK. The reason for this is, among other things, the economic crisis and the widespread corruption and nepotism that prevail in the Kurdish region (Reuters October 26, 2015). In addition, the dispute over the presidency of Mas? Ud Barzani is causing tension, whose term of office (which has already been extended outside of the city limits) expired in August 2015 (see below). The arms deliveries by the West and other allies to the Kurds also have the effect that Kurdish politics as a whole is gaining in importance, but tensions between the Kurdish factions are increasing as a result. The KDP and PUK are divided by their respective alliances with powerful - sometimes opposing - partners: The KDP with Mas'ud Barzani, the President of the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government - the regional government in the KRI) is primarily supported by the West and is close to Turkey , while the PUK is primarily supported by Iran and is close to the Turkish PKK and the Iraqi government in Baghdad. Both parties have their own military units (peshmerga), which are often in strong competition with one another in the fight against IS. (ICG May 12, 2015).

The newcomer party Goran, which has only been represented in the Kurdish regional government since June 2014, and which entered with the promise to take action against the nepotism and corruption of the two old parties, does not have its own military units and is also not well networked economically it cannot implement its promises due to a lack of influence, and in the current situation - although the second strongest party behind the KDP - does not play a particularly important role politically and especially militarily (Bauer 2015). After the death of the Goran party founder Nawshirwan Mustafa in May 2017, the party leader is now Omar Ali (Rudaw July 25, 2017).

In August 2015, the all-party coalition collapsed (AA 7.2.2017). Mas? Ud Barzani has not left office and suspended parliament since the end of his term of office, which had already been extended outside of the tour, in October 2015 (Ekurd July 18, 2017; see Ekurd January 16, 2017). Violent clashes ensued as a result of this conflict. KDP offices were set on fire. Five protesters were killed, according to Human Rights Watch. The independent news broadcaster NRT and the Goran movement broadcaster had to temporarily close their offices in Erbil. Parliamentary President Muhammed Yussuf, himself a member of Goran, was prevented from continuing to Erbil at a checkpoint in October 2015, and the five Goran ministers had to leave the government. Parliament has not met since October 12, 2015. While Barzani legitimized his holding on to the presidency with the decision of an arbitration tribunal, according to which he would remain in office until a new successor was elected, Goran spoke of a "coup" (Savelsberg 8.2017).

Current political situation

The political tensions in the KRI persist:

The Kurdish parliament is still not in session (ÖB 12.2016) and President Barzani continues to refuse to leave office despite the expiry of his term of office (Ekurd July 18, 2017; see Stansfield April 26, 2017). The cooperation between the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is based solely on practical necessities, especially in the fight against IS (ÖB 12.2016). Kurdistan was able to advance its political interests in the course of the advance of IS and its fight. Even if the KRG troops, the Peshmerga, suffered losses in the process, Iraq's Kurds were now able to fight for their independence with a new motivation. Several independence referenda have already been announced and canceled again (Stansfield April 26, 2017). At the same time, however, the Iraqi Kurds' drive for state independence was dampened due to socio-economic problems, the flow of displaced persons, low oil prices and the deep economic and now financial hole into which the KRI plunged. This seemed to contribute to a more realistic view of the opportunities and above all the risks of possible independence (ÖB 12.2016). Nevertheless, KRG President Barzani announced another referendum on September 25, 2017 on the independence of Kurdistan-Iraq. Such a referendum is viewed very critically from various sides (especially at the present time), not least because of the regional rivalries that are at their height and the fact that those states that surround the Kurdish autonomous region (Turkey, Iran , Syria, also Iraq) all adamantly oppose an independent Kurdistan (Al-Monitor 7/7/2017; cf. Al-Jazeera 6/7/2017). The USA and the United Nations also do not support the referendum (standard July 14, 2017; IFK July 25, 2017). With regard to the referendum, UN special envoy Jan Kubis warned that in the current situation the conflict of interest could turn into a "conflict of the other kind" if there was no "serious political dialogue" (standard July 17, 2017). Barzani (KDP) tries to downplay the risk associated with the referendum (Al-Jazeera (July 6, 2017), even if even the speaker of the Kurdish parliament, Yusuf Mohammed Sadiq, together with the second largest party, Goran, is cautiously critical of this referendum , and points out that independence cannot be "proclaimed", but must be worked out with slow steps (Ekurd 16.1.2017). Barzani himself assumes a "yes" with regard to the result of the referendum, and adds that in this In case the timetable for the implementation of independence is "flexible, but not open-end" (Reuters 6/7/2017). What exacerbates the risk of an escalation in this region and a renewed civil war is that Barzani will hold the referendum even in the controversial The oil-rich Kirkuk (ICG May 31, 2017) is particularly problematic The fact that the authorities in this referendum are actually about to formally incorporate large parts of Iraqi territory (long-term disputed territory and oil-rich), which they have already brought under their military control in the course of the fighting against IS, into the Kurdish region (al -Jazeera 6.7.2017; see Stansfield April 26, 2017). Many Kurds remain suspicious of the Sunni Arabs - that is, of their former enemies [under the reign of Saddam Hussein] and equate them across the board with IS. At the same time, they also take advantage of their current unfortunate fate in order to have an advantage in future ethnic disputes, and thereby risk creating the breeding ground for future conflicts (ICG 9/22/2016). Conversely, the Iran-affiliated Shiite Arab PMF militias are also showing an increased presence in those disputed territories which the Kurds believe will be part of their national territory if they declare independence. Resistance to the planned referendum is manifested in a wide variety of ways. Some Shiite radical preachers call for nothing less than war. After the victory over ISIS, according to Middle East expert Gudrun Harrer, the risk of a conflict between the winners increases in Iraq (Harrer August 10, 2017).

It is reported again and again that Barzani intends to reopen parliament, which the other parties (Goran, PUK, IUKI and IGKI) are calling for, especially in the course of the preparations for the referendum (Ekurd May 10, 2017; MEM July 31, 2017). The main conflict within the KRG continues to revolve around the two parties KDP and PUK, both of which have considerable influence on the armed forces of Kurdistan. According to the speaker of the Kurdish parliament, this means that the two parties use their respective armed forces / security forces to take action against political opponents or competitors. According to the speaker of the Kurdish parliament, this problem could also lead to an armed struggle [as in the 1990s] (Ekurd January 16, 2017). The KDP and PUK currently still have very different interests: Sinjar is of particular importance to the KDP, while Kirkuk is of particular importance to the PUK, not least because of the oil deposits there. The Peshmerga are still divided between the two parties (KDP-Peshmerga and PUK-Peshmerga - see also section on the security situation) - even if there is now a mixed KDP-PUK force of around 30,000 (Stansfield April 26, 2017). The two parties are also geographically divided; effectively there are two administrations in the Kurdish region of Iraq, one in Erbil (KDP) and one in Sulaymaniyah (PUK). The tensions between the two parties are also being put to the test by the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq and by Turkey's fight against it on Kurdish-Iraqi soil (see Niqash March 14, 2017). The Kurdish Peshmerga militias (from the KDP and PUK) are at odds with the Turkish-Kurdish PKK. The one with Turkey [resp. Erdogan] ally Barzani and his western-backed Peshmerga faction, the PKK in the Qandil Mountains [and now in the Sinjar Mountains] is a thorn in the side. On the other hand, both Peshmerga and PKK are fighting IS (TP 23.9.2016; see time 25.4.2017). The KDP has threatened to force the PKK out of Sinjar if necessary, while the PUK and Goran support or tolerate the PKK (Natali 3.1.2017).

These incidents and conflicts occur during repeated demonstrations by civil servants against the non-payment of salaries, as well as during the continued flow of refugees into the region (Natali 3.1.2017). In addition, the dispute between Erbil and Baghdad also plays a role, which has grown steadily without any solution mechanisms in sight. The conflict with Baghdad runs along two main aspects: The first concerns the so-called "disputed areas", that is, those territories whose government both the KRG and the Iraqi government claim for themselves. The central issue here is the conflict over the oil-rich Kirkuk - according to the Iraqi constitution, a referendum should decide whether the region will be administered by Baghdad or the KRG in the future. The referendum was never held - but the war against ISIS unexpectedly gave the Kurdish Peshmerga the opportunity to take the area after the Iraqi army fled the Islamists invading Syria in June 2014. Closely intertwined with these territorial conflicts is the ongoing dispute over the participation of the Kurdish region in Iraqi oil revenues (Savelsberg 8th 2017).

After the loss of territory, particularly in the Kirkuk governorate, President Barzani announced his resignation on October 29, 2017, on November 1, 2017. After the Kurdish regional parliament accepted the resignation, its supporters tried to storm the parliament building, especially the members of the opposition Gorran party holed up in their offices for fear. The police fought for silence in front of the house, and shots were fired. The opposition Gorran movement, which had boycotted parliament for a long time, demanded that all powers of the president be fully assumed by the president of parliament. The movement had announced in advance that it would carry out a general strike, if necessary, to remove the regional government led by Nechirvan Barzani. It should be replaced by a government of national rescue (Standard, October 29, 2017).

With regard to the next parliamentary elections at national level, the Iraqi electoral commission has set May 12, 2018 as the election date, the date has yet to be confirmed by the Iraqi parliament (Rudaw October 22, 2017).



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