UN envoy is a 'paranoid optimist' about Iraq's future

- Nickolay Mladenov says he is hopeful about Iraq’s efforts toward political unity but many things can still go wrong.

By Mustafa Caglayan

NEW YORK (AA) - Almost daily terrorist attacks continue to inflict a heavy toll on Iraq's diverse ethic and religious communities, the UN envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said Tuesday.

Briefing the Security Council for the last time as the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Mladenov described himself as a “paranoid optimist” in the face of the country's fragile political inclusion process and the ongoing armed conflict that killed more than 12,000 civilians in 2014.

He said he was an optimist because Iraq’s political, community and religious leaders had come together to save their country from terror, adding that he was also "paranoid that so many things can go wrong."

"The continued reports of massive human rights violations and abuses being committed by ISIL against civilians are gruesome," he said. 

The efforts toward political unity and reconciliation needs to be carefully nurtured, he said, if they were to bear fruit while the economy was hit by falling oil prices and skyrocketing security costs.

Iraq has been gripped by a longstanding security crisis, exacerbated by the emergence of the ISIL which gained a foothold in the region after taking advantage of the unrest created by constant fighting and subsequent instability in Iraq and Syria.

Mladenov, who is set to take over as UN chief's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said almost daily terrorist attacks continued to "deliberately target all Iraqis, most notably the Shia community, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, across the country."

"Equally worrying is the increasing number of reports of revenge attacks committed particularly against members of the Sunni community in areas liberated from [ISIL] control," he said.

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