Campaigner for victims in Iraq Emma Nicholson says the peace progress must prevail

President Trump has threatened sanctions on Iraq over its vote to expel US troops following drone attack that killed Qassem Suleimani

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A veteran British politician who has worked on charitable projects in Iraq for three decades and is London’s official business lead on the country has warned of how much would be lost if nationwide conflict returns following the assassination of Qassem Suleimani.

It comes as US President Donald Trump threatened to impose unprecedented sanctions on Iraq after it voted on Sunday to expel American troops.

The vote came after the US initiated a drone attack on Baghdad airport which killed Suleimani and a number of others.

Emma Nicholson, Baroness of Winterbourne, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council, has spent almost 30 years working to sustain peace in the nation.

She set up the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, a health and education charity, that has helped to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

"We in AMAR have safely delivered 10 million medical consultations to people in Iraq fleeing from war and disaster, whose lives we have saved and futures secured," she told The National.

"We have built, equipped, staffed and managed 75 or more public health centres and small hospitals, and a number of schools for boys and girls, orphans and homeless children numbering over 5 million. The total cost of all this dedicated work is less than 60 million dollars.

"Iraq cannot lose this momentum. The millions of protesters on the streets of all her major cities are greatly discontented at the slowness of their successive governments in the provision of essential public services, including but not only potable water. Tackling the corruption which the protesters have accurately identified is key to the Iraqi people's future."

Lady Nicholson, who visits Iraq on a regular basis to meet high-ranking political and clerical figures, said the Iraqi people were now best served by a long period of peace.

"Iraq has been in civil war for over 30 years," she added. "The last thing it needs is another dose of the same. Were this to happen, all of these all too modest gains would disappear. None of us should wish the Iraqi people the dismal future that looms ahead. Peace is the key, and the development of business and industry to provide the jobs and futures that everyone, everywhere desires.

"All members of the Iraq Britain Business Council stand ready to offer practical, immediate help to assist any Iraqi government achieve the goals the Iraqi people seek.

"Despite all the challenges Iraq has to continue her struggle to contain corruption, create quality public services and build private enterprises to allow for the creation of the jobs and futures her increasingly young and growing population deserves and critically requires.

"Britain is a great supporter of these goals and as Trade Envoy, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council and Chairman of the AMAR Foundation, I am always ready to give Iraq any support it needs."

Her comments have been reiterated by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who has said Mr Trump's threat to impose sanctions on Iraq "is not very helpful” and warned that years-long efforts to rebuild Iraq "could all be lost" if the situation escalates.

Lady Nicholson's charity helps to run refugee camps in Iraq for the Yazidi community which was decimated by ISIS’ genocide five years ago.

The terrorists killed, tortured and kidnapped thousands of Yazidis from Iraq to use as sex slaves until their caliphate began to crumble.

AMAR now spends thousands of pounds a month on bringing medical aid, counselling and schooling to  victims.

But with Nato suspending its ongoing efforts to fight Isis in Iraq due to the Iran and US fallout there are fears of a resurgence.

On Monday the UK's Middle East minister Andrew Murrison urged for de-escalation on both sides to ensure ISIS is wiped out.

"The important thing is de-escalation and to do nothing that will harm our fight against Daesh which presents a clear and present danger and is a threat to us all, we should be doing everything we can to keep that murderous organisation under control,” he told Sky News.

"I urge all sides to cool it."

Later on Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson announced the UK has no intention of placing sanctions on Iraq.

On Sunday, Mr Trump had said: “We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.

“If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.”

Nato was due to meet on Monday to discuss the issue more indepth.

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