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Country Reports
MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

Middle East/North Africa Map




Mine Ban Policy

Four of the eighteen countries of the Middle East/North Africa region are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty: Jordan, Qatar, Yemen, and most recently Tunisia (9 July 1999). Algeria signed the treaty in December 1997, but the ratification process has apparently not begun. Representatives of Palestine and Western Sahara have expressed a willingness to join the treaty if they were in a position to do so.

Thirteen states in the region have not acceded to the treaty: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and United Arab Emirates. No states from the region have acceded to Amended Protocol II of CCW.

Jordan and Yemen have submitted to the UN their Article 7 transparency measures reports, but Qatar and Tunisia are late. Qatar’s report was due by 27 September 1999 and Tunisia’s report was due by 28 June 2000.

Delegations from Algeria, Jordan, and Yemen attended the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo, Mozambique in May 1999. Qatar did not attend. Among the twelve non-signatory delegations attending as observers were Israel, Libya, Morocco, and Palestine.

Yemen and Jordan cite existing law as adequate to implement the treaty domestically, but both have indicated a willingness to pass specific legislation. The status of implementing legislation in Qatar and Tunisia is not known.

Lebanon became the first country to ever vote against a pro-ban resolution at the UN General Assembly by voting against UNGA Resolution 54/54 B on 1 December 1999. Among the 20 governments abstaining on the vote were Egypt, Iran, Israel, Libya, Morocco, and Syria. Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates voted in favor of this resolution despite having not joined the treaty.

The final declaration of the EU-OAU Summit held in Cairo in April 2000 was watered down at the insistence of Egypt to remove any pro-Mine Ban Treaty language. The following week at a regional seminar on landmines in Cairo at the Arab League headquarters, the final recommendations of the meeting reflected only Egypt’s national stance. The ICBL criticized Egypt’s actions. Delegations from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen participated in the seminar.


It is likely that Israel, the Israeli backed South Lebanon Army, and other non-state actors like Hezbollah planted antipersonnel mines in southern Lebanon during the March 1999 to May 2000 reporting period. There have been reports of continuing use of AP mines by the PKK in Northern Iraq.

Production and Transfer

Landmine Monitor Report 1999 identified three current AP mine producers (Egypt, Iran, and Iraq) and one past producer (Israel) in the region. Jordan in its Article 7 transparency report disclosed that it possesses antipersonnel mines of Syrian origin. This is the first evidence of past production or export of antipersonnel mines by Syria. Egypt told a UN assessment mission in February 2000 that it no longer produces antipersonnel mines, but it is unclear if this is an official policy or if it constitutes either a moratorium or prohibition on production. While Israel has stated frequently since 1997 that it no longer produces AP mines, an Israeli official told the ICBL in December 1999 that Israel does not rule out production of AP mines in the future if the situation requires it; it is not known if this is official policy.

Israel has a formal moratorium on AP mine exports in place through 2003. Egyptian and Iranian officials have publicly stated that their countries no longer export AP mines, but Egypt has not given official written confirmation of this. Iran has been accused of exporting mines to several nations in recent years, but no concrete evidence has been found. Iraq is the only nation in the world known to have exported antipersonnel mines in the past that has not at least announced a halt to exports

Stockpiling and Destruction

States Parties have to begun to destroy their stockpiles of antipersonnel mines. Yemen has destroyed 10,050 of its approximately 79,000 antipersonnel mines. Yemen authorities discovered another 20,000 AP mines after submission of its Article 7 report in November 1999 (which indicated a stockpile of 59,000). Yemen has indicated that if funding is forthcoming, it can destroy its entire stockpile within a year. Yemen will retain 4,000 antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes. Jordan has destroyed 20,552 of its stockpile of 93,342 antipersonnel mines and has committed to finishing destruction by April 2003. Jordan will retain 1,000 antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes. Tunisia stated that it destroyed some mines in July 1999. Details of Tunisia’s stockpile will emerge when it submits its Article 7 transparency measures report.

Landmine Monitor for the first time reveals that Qatar, a State Party, hosts a stockpile of 4,776 U.S. antipersonnel mines. Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain are also slated to host additional stocks (at least 3,265 in each country) of U.S. antipersonnel mines in the near future. The U.S. stockpiles 49,610 antipersonnel mines in Saudi Arabia and 8,896 antipersonnel mines in Kuwait. Although it was previously thought that Kuwait had no antipersonnel mine stockpile, it appears that it has retained and stored 45,845 antipersonnel mines and 48,742 antitank mines cleared during the demining operations conducted after the Gulf War.

Aside from Jordan and Yemen, no other state in the region has divulged details about the total number of antipersonnel mines in its stockpile. It is likely that Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Syria have the biggest stocks of antipersonnel mines in the region.

Landmine Problem

The first Level One Impact Survey is scheduled to be completed in July 2000 in Yemen. This is the first survey of its kind to be conducted in any landmine-affected country. UNMAS conducted new assessment missions in Egypt and Lebanon following its earlier missions to Jordan and Yemen.

Fourteen countries of the region report some landmine problem, all except Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Estimates of the total number of mines emplaced in the region vary greatly. Government officials claim that 22 million “landmines” are emplaced in Egypt. However, this total apparently includes not only antipersonnel and AT mines laid by foreign armies during World War II, it also includes those used by Egyptian and Israeli forces during the Middle Eastern Wars, and an estimate of UXO. Based on some clearance experience in Egypt, the number of antipersonnel mines removed totals less that twenty-percent of the total.

Mine Action Funding

Supplies and funds valued at about $8 million were provided for mine action in Northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) from April-October 1999. In 1999, the United Arab Emirates funded a mine clearance project in Egypt providing one of the first examples of the funding of a mine clearance project among Arab states. Israel has provided mine action assistance to Angola (since 1996) and Guatemala. Israel and Saudi Arabia have contributed to the UN’s Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action. Qatar has contributed to the International Trust Fund for the Removal of Landmines and Assisting Their Victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Yemen participate in the U.S. humanitarian demining assistance program. Algeria and Oman have requested U.S. demining assistance. Other governments including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and the United Kingdom provide demining assistance and funding in the region.

Mine Clearance

The major humanitarian mine clearance program in the region is in Iraqi Kurdistan, carried out by international and non-governmental organizations. As of May 2000, the UN reports nearly 3.1 square kilometers of land cleared and returned to productive use, impacting forty-nine villages. A socio-economic impact survey of 95% of the villages in the three northern governorates has been conducted. Kuwait continues to clear mines even after removing 1,646,916 million landmines and 111,750 tons of UXO in an $800 million program conducted after the Persian Gulf War. Other affected states where mine clearance occurs, sometimes systematically and sometimes sporadically, are Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, and Yemen. Mine clearance is carried out by the armed forces in most of these states.

Mine Awareness

The withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon and subsequent mine casualties among the returning population in this mine-affected area highlights the need for mine awareness education even in countries with existing programs.

There are extensive mine awareness education programs occurring in Lebanon and Yemen. In Yemen, a national body, the Yemeni Mine Awareness Association, implements the activities. In Lebanon, the program is carried out by local NGOs like the Landmine Resource Center in cooperation with the Army. These programs receive funding and technical assistance from donor governments, international non-governmental organizations like Rädda Barnen and the World Rehabilitation Fund, and UN agencies like UNICEF. A similar mine awareness program is slated to start in Jordan in 2000. Another mine awareness program is conducted by Defense of Children International/Palestine Section in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq has documented the need for a mine awareness program in the Golan Heights. A Norwegian People’s Aid mine awareness program in Western Sahara ended in May 2000.

Mine Awareness is the responsibility of the state in countries like Israel, Kuwait, and Syria. There are no state funded mine awareness programs in other mine-affected countries like Algeria, Egypt, and Iran.

Mine Casualties

In the last year, there have been new victims of mines in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, and Yemen. There have also been mine incidents in areas such as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Golan Heights, Western Sahara, and Iraqi Kurdistan. In the month following the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, there were twenty new mine casualties. Overall there were 50 mine casualties in Lebanon in 1999, and 35 as of June 2000. Forty-two mine casualties were reported in Western Sahara from November 1999 to March 2000.

Survivor Assistance

The availability of services to mine victims and survivors varies greatly across the region. In Kuwait, the medical expenditure incurred by the state to treat traumatic injuries caused by a mine or UXO accident, from initial visit to the emergency room through physiotherapy, totals $17,331. In contrast, services are virtually non-existent in remote mine-affected regions of Egypt and Western Sahara. While medical care is “free” to citizens in many countries of the region, it is not possible to assess the actual quality or comprehensiveness of it.