By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi security forces killed five suicide attackers northwest of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Feb. 20. A car bomb in central Mosul killed one civilian and wounded 13 others Feb. 28, just the latest in many recent incidents that have also hit the southern and western parts of the country.

A group of Islamic State fighters entered Haditha province in Anbar governorate on the evening of Feb. 23 and crossed Lake Tharthar in private boats. In Najaf governorate, they came upon six fishermen sleeping in a tent and opened fire, killing them all.

On the same day, an IS group armed with explosive belts and machine guns attacked the village of Anamel in al-Shirqat, Saladin governorate. The residents along with the Federal Police and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) fought back.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC), along with investment commissions in the provinces, granted 257 investment licenses during 2018.

According to a statement from the NIC, this represents a combined investment of more than 8 billion dollars in the Iraqi economy.

Four of these licenses were issued for strategic projects at a cost of more than 3 billion dollars.

Of the total of 257 licences, 88 were granted directly by the NIC, and these were spread over 12 sectors as follows: Trade sector, 21 investment licences; Entertainment sector, 1 investment licence; Telecommunication sector, 1 investment licence; Education sector, 6 investment licences; Services sector, 4 investment licences; Sport sector, 4 investment licences; Agriculture sector, 3 investment licences; Housing sector, 8 investment licences; Tourism sector, 4 investment licences; Health sector, 6 investment licences; Industrial sector, 16 investment licences, Electricity sector, 14 investment licences (2 for power stations, 12 for charging).

The source pointed out that the number of licenses granted by the investment commissions in the provinces other than the provinces of Kurdistan Region was (169) investment licenses. – 12 investment licenses for Anbar- 66 investment licenses for Baghdad- 10 investment licenses for Holly Karbala- 26 investment licenses for Wasit- 32 investment licenses for Muthana- 15 investment licenses for Kirkuk.

(Source: NIC)

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq has welcomed an additional contribution of AUD 2 million (approximately USD 1.5 million) from the Government of Australia to further enable stabilization and humanitarian efforts through explosive hazards management in liberated areas of Iraq.

This brings the current three-year contribution from Australia to a total of AUD 13 million (approximately USD 9 million).

The survey and clearance of explosive hazards are a crucial precursor to the commencement of humanitarian and stabilization initiatives, and the demand for assistance still exceeds the resources available. UNMAS in Iraq is working closely with the United Nations system and the Government of Iraq to enable humanitarian and stabilization efforts.

This contribution from the Government of Australia will further support UNMAS explosive hazards management activities to create safe conditions for the sustainable return of displaced people. It will also improve coordination, engagement and capacity enhancement of relevant government authorities, threat impact assessments as well as clearance and risk education initiatives. This will reduce the risk of explosive hazards in direct support of humanitarian and stabilization planning and delivery, while at the same time increase national capacities to manage the overall threat of newly identified explosive hazards in these areas.

The contribution comes in concert with a recent field visit organized for representatives of the Government of Australia to Fallujah in Anbar Governorate. During the visit, the delegation received a comprehensive briefing on UNMAS clearance activities inside the city’s most damaged areas, with its scale of destruction and contamination continuing to be prime inhibitors for the safe, dignified and voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes.

Australia’s Ambassador to Iraq, Dr Joanne Loundes (pictured), said:

“Although much progress has already been made, the huge scale of explosive hazards contamination in Iraq means there is still much to be done. We are increasing Australia’s contribution to UNMAS because we are committed to helping Iraq address these challenges and helping displaced families return to their homes.”

Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, Senior Programme Manager for UNMAS in Iraq, said:

“Through its continuous support and close collaboration with UNMAS, the Government of Australia is helping to reduce the threat posed by explosive hazards, including improvised explosive devices, thereby enhancing community safety and facilitating the return of displaced people to their homes.”

The Government of Australia is an essential contributor to UNMAS explosive hazards management activities in Iraq. This latest contribution brings to AUD 18 million (approximately USD 13 million) the total amount of funds donated since 2016.

(Source: UN)

The EU has announced an additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance. Another €20 million in development funding will contribute to the reconstruction of the country’s cultural heritage, as well as the creation of jobs and opportunities for vulnerable youth.

The announcement was made by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides (pictured), on the occasion of his sixth visit to Iraq today.

Commissioner Stylianides said:

Each time I visit Iraq, I see the hope of its people despite the challenging circumstances. At this critical moment for the country, our new funding reaffirms the EU’s commitment to stand in solidarity with all Iraqis and will help the most vulnerable.”

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added:

The EU is committed to the reconstruction of Iraq. With today’s new support, we will help to restore the rich cultural heritage of Mosul and Basrah, and at the same time create much needed jobs and opportunities.”

Whilst in Iraq, Commissioner Stylianides, alongside Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, visited Mosul, where schools and hospitals are being supported by EU funding to help the most vulnerable get access to essential services. In Erbil, the Commissioner visited camps hosting thousands displaced by conflict. In Baghdad, the Commissioner held meetings with the Iraqi authorities.

Humanitarian assistance: The new EU humanitarian assistance worth €30 million will include protection, emergency healthcare, basic shelter, food, safe water, sanitation and hygiene to those in the greatest need throughout the country. These include Iraqis who remain displaced and Syrian refugees in Iraq. It will provide mental health support, increasing services for survivors of sexual violence, and ensuring physical therapy and rehabilitation to war-wounded. Furthermore, the EU will support the resumption of basic public services including health, education, and water supply in war-affected areas, such as Mosul, western Anbar and Hawija.

Development cooperation: The €20 million development cooperation will provide tailored technical and vocation training opportunities for youth in the construction sector, to help to recover the historic urban landscape of Mosul and Basrah. In addition, it will provide small grants to Small and Medium Enterprises and associations, with a focus on the revival of socio-economic and cultural activities. This funding, to be signed on 21 February, is part of the flagship initiative ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ run by UNESCO, and designed to foster social cohesion and promote peace. With the full support of the Government of Iraq, the initiative will focus the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage, as well as the revival of educational and cultural institutions. This measure is part of the EU’s pledge at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference held in Kuwait in February 2018.

Today’s funding announcement brings total EU humanitarian assistance to Iraq to €420 million and development cooperation to €309 million since the beginning of the crisis in 2015.

(Source: EU)

By the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).

IWPR-trained activists have launched a successful series of initiatives to promote reconciliation between Iraq’s different faith communities.

In one striking success, an Assyrian Christian church that had been closed for 15 years was renovated and reopened thanks to the efforts of a group of IWPR mentees.

The Mar Korkis church in Anbar’s Al Habbaniyah district had been abandoned since 2003, when around 1,000 Christian families left the area due to the deteriorating security situation. Partially destroyed by an explosion in 2005, the church had been semi-derelict ever since.

IWPR-trained journalist Aya Al Mashhadani highlighted the church’s plight in a report on coexistence in Al Habbaniyah for which she interviewed the Shia security guard who still watched over the site.

In response to the story, Sawt Al Shabab radio station – itself headed by IWPR-trained journalist Mohamad Sleiman – launched a campaign for the church’s rehabilitation.

Volunteers, local civil society organisations and municipal officials all joined together in a mass cleanup just before Christmas, braving heavy rain to light candles, decorate a Christmas tree and ring the church’s bell.

Christians who heard the Sawt Al Shabab follow-up report on the clean-up campaign said that they were deeply moved, and the Assyrian Church diocese in Baghdad decided to hold a mass in the church in response. Their delegation, welcomed by local Muslims holding olive branches, hosted a service on January 11, 2019 attended by 250 Assyrian Christians.

Valentiana Yuwarich, 46, a Christian from Baghdad who was among the visitors, said, “Thank you so much to the beloved people of Habaniyah and to Sawt Al Shabab radio. This visit will be always remembered in the history of Iraq as a birth for a brighter Iraqi future.”

Other deeply symbolic initiatives over the festive season included efforts by IWPR activists Manar Al Zobeidi, a Muslim, and Nazek Barakat – a Yezidi – whose projects promote empathy towards minority communities in northern and southern Iraq.

Al Zobeidi, whose campaign Gypsies are Human was launched in 2016, organised a visit to the village of Al Zohour village on the outskirts of Diwaniyah city to mark Christmas and New year.

Despite being from a religiously conservative background, al Zobeidi issued a call on social media for other female volunteers to don Santa costumes and visit the gypsy village.

Five women answered her call and joined her in her visit, all wearing Santa costumes and pushing a decorated cart loaded with gifts for the children.

The celebration was attended by international media including Reuters, France-Presse 24 and AlHurra TV.

After the event, London-based al-Arabi TV broadcast a talk show dedicated to the issue of gypsies in Iraq and Kurdistan, with Al Zobeidi as the main guest.

Meanwhile, Barakat raised 200 dollars to buy Christmas presents for internally displaced people (IDPs) in camps in Dohuk.  Barakat, herself displaced from Sinjar after it fell under the control of the Islamic State, said she hoped her initiative would help IDPs feel integrated and thus contribute to the reconciliation process.

Her efforts received widespread coverage in various media and she was nominated for the Al Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Prize in the Emirates. Launched in 2018, this prize aims to honour individuals who create outstanding social initiatives.

(Source: IWPR)

Director of studies and operations in the Bank of Rashid Abdul-Muttalib Abdul Jalil to (Tigris): raising zeros reduces the monetary mass and needs a decision from the top

02-06-2019 05:13 PM

The director of studies and operations in the bank Rashid Abdul Muttalib Abdul Jalil said in a statement to (Tigris) that raising zeros reduces the monetary mass and continued that the adoption of this resolution needs to be the decision of higher bodies and not the Central Iraqi Bank.

The Abdul Jalil details misled by the media, including what remarks on the Rasheed Bank wondering who are those bodies that have been spotted.

He added that Al-Rasheed Bank offers banking facilities in the discount and overdraft, explaining that the subject of the sponsor is not as is customary, but he only signs the bill of interest for the first six months.

He pointed out that the housing loans come in two forms, first of which is the liberated areas, which the government required to contribute to the reconstruction of liberated areas and was distributed between the bank of Rashid and Rafidain Anbar, Ninewa, Diyala and Salahuddin.

He pointed out that the 30 million advance is exempted from interest in the first five and five years and bears a benefit of seven percent.

Kavsha said that the loans of employees depend on the amount of salary and range from 5-10 million dinars. Abdul Jalil added that the loans of small projects up to 50 million dinars maximum.

Stressing the cancellation of the mortgage and replaced by a bail in granting loans and continued interest in the bank is less than other banks or parallel to them.

Abdul Jalil announced the advantages in the Rasheed Bank, where he fired a master cadre of palm to pay the salaries of employees owned by the bank and not contracted with companies and denied the cut of 21 thousand for the payment of salaries exaggerated and not true, but a free service to encourage people on the electronic card.

He added that the payment of salaries through the system of electronic clearing does not delay one day, unless there is a technical defect in communications.

Abdul Jalil pointed out that the Rasheed Bank is heading towards the implementation of the comprehensive electronic system, which protects the customer with an international number, stressing that the commission issuing MasterCard card in the bank Rashid only 10 thousand dinars.

http://www.dijlah.tv

Newspaper reveals the expected visit of Adel Abdul Mahdi to Washington
2/4/2019


A newspaper on the Gulf, Monday, an expected visit to Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi , to Washington at the head of a large government delegation, indicating that the visit will carry important files and very sensitive.


The newspaper quoted senior officials in Baghdad as saying that "there is a prospective visit to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi , to Washington at the head of a large government delegation," pointing out that "the visit will carry important files and sensitive, most notably the US presence in Iraq , and the exclusion of Iraq from US sanctions on Iran ".

The most prominent files to be discussed by the US Secretary of State in Baghdad
Office of Abdul Mahdi: Iraqi authorities were learning to visit Trump to Iraq

"Abdul Mahdi would like to receive political support from Baghdad before leaving to discuss those files," they said.


"Abdul Mahdi is currently seeking understandings with political blocs on a number of files concerning the US presence in Iraq, just before he left for Washington," the paper said.


"There is agreement on a number of important files to be put forward in Washington, the first of which is the need to completely neutralize Iraq from the US-Iranian conflict, because of its current need for warm relations with all sides," he said,

adding that Iraq would also ask for its exemption from U.S. sanctions on Tehran has another term, and understandings will be reached on the US presence in Iraq in light of the strategic security agreement signed between the two countries in 2008. "

Last month, the office of Abdul-Mahdi announced that the latter received an invitation from US President Donald Trump to visit Washington, hours after the latter’s visit to a US military base in Anbar province in western Iraq, which sparked a wave of controversy in the Iraqi street and considered a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and embarrassment Government.

https://www.alsumaria.tv/news/259881…D9%88%D8%A7/ar

Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and GE Power celebrate inauguration of Baghdad West North Substation

Underlining their joint commitment to support the development of Iraq’s power infrastructure, the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity (MoE) and GE Power’s Grid Solutions business (NYSE: GE) celebrated the energization of the Baghdad West North substation.

Located about 35 kilometers away from the city, the substation can help connect up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) to the national grid, decreasing bottlenecks and increasing the hours of available power. The event was attended by H.E. the Prime Minister of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, senior officials of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity including H.E. Minister Luay Al-Khatteeb, various government entities, GE and other organizations.

H.E. Luay Al-Khatteeb, Minister of Electricity, said:

“The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity is seeking to provide reliable, uninterrupted power across the country. The opening of the Baghdad West North substation reflects our efforts to achieve this goal. The substation will play a critical role in helping to deliver much-needed power, especially in the upcoming summer months.”

GE’s scope of work for the turnkey 400/132/11 kilovolt (kV) gas insulated substation project included the design, equipment manufacturing, site delivery, erection, testing & commissioning, and training of personnel. The project’s construction, erection, commissioning, and testing was completed by GE Iraqi engineers in collaboration with local Iraqi subcontractors.

The facility can feed 132 kV substations at Kadhmiya, Al Shualla and Al Sabbeaat, as well as another five substations that are planned to be developed in the future and helps connect power from the Basmaya Power Plant, Taji Gas Power Plant and mobile gas power plants to the national grid.

The energization of the substation reflects our commitment to support Iraq in building a robust electricity infrastructure,” said Mohammed Mohaisen, President & CEO of GE Power’s Grid Solutions business in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

Our turnkey approach to project development helps bring best-in-class technology and expertise across every touch-point of the project. As a partner in the country’s progress, we will continue to deliver on our promise to the Iraqi people of supporting the government to build a stable electricity network that meets their needs.

Following the agreement for the Baghdad West North substation, GE also signed a US$400 million agreement to develop and rehabilitate 14 additional electric substations, and to supply critical equipment such as transformers, circuit breakers and other related equipment.

The substations will connect power plants spread across the governorates of Ninawa, Salah Al Din, Al Anbar, Karbala, Baghdad, Qadisiyyah and Basra to the national grid. Several of the locations, in conflict-affected areas, have an immediate need of reliable power infrastructure.

GE employs up to 300 people in Iraq and has three offices in the country – in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil. Today, GE and its partner CFMI power more than 90 percent of the aircrafts operated by Iraqi Airways, the company’s technologies contribute up to 55 percent of the current electricity production in Iraq and nearly 4,000 GE Healthcare products are deployed in hospitals and clinics across the country.

(Source: GE)

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, released the Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) III report.

The Integrated Location Assessment – Round III provides an in-depth look into both displacement and return movements in Iraq, putting a special focus on profiling the locations these groups live in and the social dynamics they are immersed in.

The latest round of the ILA study, completed from 6 March to 6 May 2018, includes the demographics of the displaced and returnee populations, their current conditions, movement intentions, vulnerabilities, sectorial needs and the state of social cohesion in the locations they currently live in. It covers 4,177 locations, reaching approximately 1,491,792 IDPs (248,632 families) and 3,585,210 returnees (597,535) across Iraq.

Key findings of the assessment are summarized below:

Compared to May 2017, the number of IDPs has reduced by approximately one third (-34%, 1,017,048 individuals). Decreases were recorded across all Iraqi governorates hosting IDPs, particularly in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Salah al-Din, but except in Sulaymaniyah.

Among those who remain displaced, 48% are hosted within their governorate of origin, 35% in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), 14% in other north-central governorates and 3% in southern governorates – nearly all in Najaf. Over half of current IDPs (54%) have been in displacement for more than 3 years, 38% between 1 and 3 years and 8% for less than one year.

Access to employment/livelihood opportunities continues to be the main concern of IDPs in nearly all locations – and more so compared to last year. In fact, it was cited among top 3 concerns in locations where 93% of IDPs are currently hosted – it was 63% in May 2017.

For IDPs, lack of access to employment/livelihoods translates into the related difficulty of accessing food (51%), household and non-food items (NFIs, 66%) and shelter (42%). In fact, basic needs were generally rated as far more important than recovery needs.

In addition, nearly three fourth of displaced families report the lack of a shelter to return, around one in five does not have enough money for the journey back (reportedly most IDPs originally from Anbar and Baghdad) and/or is afraid to lose aid/humanitarian assistance.

Most IDP families intending to voluntarily stay in area of displacement in the long term (12% of current IDPs) can be found in southern governorates. Between 28% and 38% of IDPs hosted in Baghdad, Kerbala and Kirkuk, are also willing to voluntarily stay. Involuntary stay (10% at country level) is more prevalent in Sulaymaniyah, Babylon and reported, to a lesser extent, in Diyala.

IDPs are mainly re-settling in the South by virtue of its safety and the presence of extended family and friends, whereas staying in north-central governorates is mostly involuntary – families have lost everything at home or have no means to return. Safety, services and job opportunities are the most important reasons to relocate in the KRI.

The most frequently reported vulnerable categories are persons with disabilities, female-headed households and minor headed households – overall, between 53% and 72% of IDPs and returnees live in locations where the presence of at least one of the above groups was reported.

The most frequently reported minor vulnerability is work. Overall, around 70% of returnees and IDPs live in locations where the presence of minors working was assessed. In addition, around one fourth of returnees and IDPs live in locations where children are married, children are begging, and/or they were born during displacement, and hence do not have birth certificates and other documents.

Download full report.

(Source: IOM)

During December 2018 a total of 32 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 32 injured in acts of terrorism and conflict-related violence.

Ninewa was the worst affected Governorate with 26 civilian casualties (07 killed, 19 injured) followed by Baghdad with (17 killed and 03 injured) and Salahadin (03 killed and 03 injured). The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilian at the time of death or injury, such as police on non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

UNAMI views these figures as more than mere statistics. Every civilian death documented by UNAMI over the years represents a family grieving and struggling to come to terms with its loss. Each injury or maiming of a civilian represents immense individual and societal suffering,” Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said.

NOTE FOR INFORMATION:

UNAMI used to publish these casualty figures on a monthly basis as part of its broader efforts to highlight civilian protection needs, reduce civilian harm, and to encourage all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. However, UNAMI’s monitoring in recent months has shown a steady reduction in civilian casualties. UNAMI has therefore decided that it will no longer publish these civilian casualty updates on a monthly basis but only if circumstances dictate. Whilst this decision is made in the context of a stabilizing security situation, and a consequent reduction in conflict-related harm to civilians, the conditions necessary for a sustained reduction in violence remain very fragile. UNAMI will, therefore, continue to monitor the situation.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. UNAMI was not able to verify casualty figures from Anbar Governorate and as a result they are not included.

(Source: United Nations)