Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

CISR envisions a world where people can build peaceful and prosperous futures free from the repercussions of conflict and disaster.

We help communities affected by conflict and trauma through innovative and reliable research, training, information exchange, and direct services such as:

Mine Risk Education
Peer Support
Management Training
Scientific Research
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Posts tagged "iraq"

CISR visit to Arbat Refugee Camp, Sulaimaniyeh, Iraqi Kurdistan

A wonderful mine and unexploded ordnance risk-education show for kindergarteners in Sulaimaniyeh, Iraqi Kurdistan, under the direction of Mohammad Al Naqib’s MRE team and hosted by friend Soran Hakim. The presentation was spot on and hospitality second to none.

The giant bunny pointed at a picture of a landmine with a skull-and-crossbones beside it and asked, “Does anyone know what this is?” One child shouted out, “It’s a pot, and Mommy puts those bones in it to make soup!”

CISR’s director, Dr. Ken Rutherford, and trauma rehabilitation specialist, Cameron Macauley, arrived this evening (February 28) in Iraq with a late-night walk about Erbil to shake off jet lag.

They are preparing for a scoping mission centered on unexploded ordnance and landmine-risk education for Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq based on a CISR arts-based program that includes survivors and people with disabilities

Smoke from the controlled detonation of improvised explosive devices rises behind a U.S. Marine Corps mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in Afghanistan. (AFP)

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In 2013, we mark ten years of U.S. Government assistance to Iraq for Conventional Weapons Destruction, including Humanitarian Mine Action, and are proud of the programs and partnerships that enable countless Iraqi citizens to live and work in their communities more safely. The United States has invested more than $235 million in Iraq since 2003 toward the clearance and safe disposal of landmines, unexploded ordnance, and excess conventional weapons and munitions. This assistance, directed through several Iraqi and international nongovernmental organizations, has made significant progress toward protecting communities from potential risks, restoring access to land and infrastructure, and developing Iraqi capacity to manage weapons abatement programs independently over the long term.

The Landmine/Unexploded Ordnance Challenge

Iraq faces a significant challenge from landmines and unexploded ordnance as a result of conflicts dating back to the 1940s. In addition, large stocks of abandoned ordnance and unstable, poorly-secured munitions stockpiles also remain a threat to communities across the country. In FY 2009, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs invested $4.3 million with the Iraq Mine/UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO) to conduct a CWD program that included the destruction of 37,939 weapons, ranging from pistols to 120mm mortars.

Explosive remnants of war, such as unexploded artillery shells, mortars, and other munitions still present daily hazards to Iraqi citizens across the country. Information Management and Mine Action Programs (iMMAP) conducted two Landmine Impact Surveys in 2006 and 2011 that estimated 1,513 million square meters (585 square miles) of land in Iraq contain as many as 20 million landmines and millions more pieces of unexploded ordnance.

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Scene from a Friend’s Morning Walk.  

Italian bounding anti-personnel fragmentation mine in southern Iraq, near the border with Iran, not far, “from the purported Garden of Eden.”

The Valmara 69. Know your weapons. And how they linger. These are remnants from the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988.


Portrait of Ayat from The Cluster Project.

This short animation is an incredibly moving portrait of a young Iraqi girl and a cluster bomb. Go to The Human Kind for other animations in this series.

Dirty Tricks: Disabled Teacup Bomb, a.k.a. “A Bomb for Fools.” 

We met today in Baghdad with a few bomb disposal supervisors as part of research for a project in works. After the first talks, our hosts invited us upstairs to a room with some of the local collection. They said each of these items had been an actual IED. We can’t vouch for that. We can say it was an interesting and thought-provoking display. There were several samples of victim-operated IEDs, including a few that looked straight from the pages of the old USG Special Forces manuals from the 1960s, which became part of the foundation of al Qaeda manuals. This booby-trapped tea set, arranged so some of the electrical contacts can be seen, caught our eye. More later. Busy now. Via Instagram.


The Humpty Dumpty Institute in partnership with the Iraqi Independent Film Centre (IIFC) conducted a workshop for 13 young Iraqi filmmakers in Baghdad from May 1-10. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad funded the workshop with additional support coming from Iraq Al-Rafdin and Human Film UK/NL. The training was part of the International Film Exchange, a program of the Humpty Dumpty Institute that trains filmmakers with special promise from around the world and helps them use the power of film and television to highlight important social issues. In addition, the IFE raises awareness in the U.S. film industry about the struggles of promising filmmakers abroad when attempting to document those issues.

The theme of the Baghdad workshop was “Telling the Story”. It was designed to build upon a series of training activities conducted by IIFC beginning in January under the leadership of Iraqi’s most important filmmaker, Mohamed Al-Daradji (“Son of Babylon”). The workshop’s instructor, Bill Megalos, is a California-based filmmaker with more than 30 years experience producing and directing feature films and documentaries. Seven of the workshop participants are slated to travel to Los Angeles in June to take part in an intensive ten-day program at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. Participants in the UCLA program will receive a stipend allowing them to produce a short film of their own upon returning to Iraq.

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