IOM and UNODC Sign Agreement with the Government of Jordan to Upgrade al-Karamah Border Crossing Point

In partnership with the Government of Jordan, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed an official partnership yesterday (10/12) to upgrade the al-Karamah border crossing point between Iraq and Jordan.

The project, funded by the European Union Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (EU IcSP), also contributes to the stability and economic recovery in the region.

“Iraq has always been a key economic partner for Jordan and a significant market for Jordanian exports. The closure of al-Karamah border point over the past years has had a significant negative impact on Jordan’s manufacturing sector and on the Jordanian economy in general. The government is working tirelessly to restore the economic ties with this important country for the benefit of the two sides, and we hope that the rehabilitation of al-Karamah will constitute another building block in this effort,” said Dr Maria Kawar, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.

Al-Karamah is the only official border crossing point between Iraq and Jordan. Closed in the summer of 2015, it reopened in August 2017 raising the prospect of an improved economy among traders and consumers. Long-lasting crises in Syria and Iraq forced the closure of the land borders with both neighbors, namely the direct route between the ports of Aqaba, on the Red Sea, and Basra, on the Arabian Gulf.

Before the closure of the borders, Iraq was one of the main trade partners of Jordan. In 2013, 178,573 commercial trucks used al-Karamah to enter Iraq from Jordan, and 173,788 entered Jordan from Iraq. Border closures considerably increased the price of imports and exports.

“Border crossing points facilitate trade and exchange between people and communities. This EU-funded project will share the EU approach on integrated border management and adapt it to the situation at the Jordan/Iraq border with a view to facilitate bilateral trade and the movement of people,” said Mr Andrea Matteo Fontana, European Union Ambassador to Jordan.

The project will allow for the construction of a joint building for all departments operating at al-Karamah that will ease procedures and shorten the waiting time for passengers, allowing authorities to process a higher number of passengers per day.

The security of the passengers and the Kingdom will continue to be at the centre of the operation, with enhanced trainings on document forgery detection and other techniques related to border management.

Communities at both sides of the border will benefit from the improved border crossing point.

“I am from al-Anbar and I study pharmacy in Amman. I used to pay around 200 dollars to fly to Baghdad, and then I had to take a bus to al-Anbar from the capital. With the border post re-opened, I save money and time, and I can come home more often,” one young student told IOM staff.

“Communities in remote border regions need additional support to take advantage of the opportunities and overcome the challenges associated to a border context. The project will contribute to revitalize the economy of Mafraq and al-Anbar regions that used to rely on the livelihoods directly or indirectly created by the movements through the border post, before its closure,” said Enrico Ponziani, Chief of Mission of IOM Jordan.

The project will also improve cargo control procedures to secure and facilitate trade with the extension of the UNODC/World Customs Organization Container Control Programme at the al-Karamah border crossing point, and the establishment of a Border Control Unit.

“UNODC’s contribution to this project is two-pronged. Firstly, it aims at further securing the Al Karamah-Turaibil border crossing by strengthening the capacity of Jordanian and Iraqi law enforcement agencies to prevent trafficking of illicit goods. Secondly, it serves to facilitate trade across the border by strengthening cooperation with the private sector and streamlining cargo clearance and control processes”, said Ms. Cristina Albertin, Regional Representative of UNODC.

(Source: IOM)

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.

According to the head of the literacy department at the Directorate General of Education in Basra, Karim Handhal Abdul Karim, student participation in literacy centers in Iraq’s southern province of Basra has dwindled in 2018 by more than two-thirds compared to 2013.

Abdul Karim told the press Nov. 22:

“It is such a big contrast when comparing this year’s figures to those of 2013. The number of students in Basra’s 339 literacy centers amounted to over 39,000 in 2013. In 2018, however, only 1,200 students were enrolled in the 21 centers in the province.”

He attributed the decline to the fact that students enrolled in literacy centers are no longer paid by the government for taking classes at these centers.

Click here to read the full story.

As Nadia Murad (pictured), the Yazidi activist and survivor of gender-based violence is honored with the Nobel Prize for Peace, UNICEF is calling attention to the plight of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced children in Iraq whose lives are threatened by freezing temperatures and floods that have affected large parts of the country.

“As the world celebrates Nadia Murad’s incredible story of survival and her work for human rights, let us remember that there are many vulnerable children in Iraq who still need our support, even if the worse of the violence may be over” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

Winters in Iraq are harsh. It rains and snows and temperatures can fall below zero in the northern part of the country, where a majority of Yazidi and other displaced children live. Most displaced families live below the poverty line, in dilapidated housing with poor heating, or in camps with little protection from the cold. It impossible to afford fuel for heating and winter clothing to keep their children warm.

“The devastating floods have made this winter even more difficult for displaced children who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia and respiratory diseases. No child should be subjected to such risks. Every child deserves to be warm and healthy,” added Mr. Hawkins.

UNICEF is providing winter clothes, including boots, scarves, and hats to approximately 161,000 children in Sinjar, Erbil, Dohuk, Ninawa, Anbar, Diwaniya, Basra, Salaheddin, Baghdad and Suleimaniah, including through cash support.

UNICEF’s winter campaign aims to reach the most vulnerable children aged between three months and 14 years living in camps for the internally displaced and in hard-to-reach areas.

(Source: UN)

Member of the parliamentary finance announces the submission of 50 notes to the government on the budget
12/10/2018

A member of the parliamentary finance committee Ahmed al-Saffar, on Monday, the Committee submitted fifty observations to the government on the federal budget for the next fiscal year, while referring to the most prominent observations made by the Committee, including the change of the distribution system of the current budget from the balance of items to a sectoral budget.


Al-Saffar said in an interview with Alsumaria News that "the parliamentary finance committee provided 50 observations to the government on the budget to be consistent with the current government program,"


noting that "was supposed to be held last Monday to resolve the discussions, but the government decided to postpone the meeting until completion Vision and changes around the observations made by us. "
Member of parliamentary finance:


He added that all the observations made by us were important and necessary, including that the budget was built on the price of an excessive barrel of oil, and the deficit was very large, and there is chaos in the item of loans and the lack of justice in the distribution of allocations between the provinces,


"pointing to" The existence of provinces have been subjected to destruction and destruction and need to build and reform currently Kalanbar, Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Basra, which is experiencing difficult conditions, although it provides most of the budget imports, where we asked to reconsider the allocation of allocations according to priorities.


Al-Saffar pointed out that "we even partially demanded that the distribution system be changed by the current budget from the balance of the items to a sectoral budget. We also called for focusing on the investment budget that addresses the suffering of the people from providing jobs, infrastructure, health and education."


The House of Representatives discussed in its session held Tuesday, November 12 , 2018 federal budget for fiscal year 2018 in the presence of Finance Minister Fouad Hussein .

https://alsumaria.tv/news/254788/%D8…9%89-%D8%A7/ar

Statement by Alice Walpole, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Iraq’s Democratic Experience – Prospects and Challenges

Rafidain Centre, Najaf

4 December 2018

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Thank you for the invitation to speak here today, at the Al-Rafidain Center, on Iraq’s democratic experience.

2018 has been both an encouraging and challenging year for Iraq and its citizens. On the positive side, we witnessed two broadly successful electoral processes, consolidating Iraq’s democratic credentials. In May, within the constitutional time-frame, Iraq held its national parliamentary elections. Candidates and political parties conducted largely honourable campaigns, under an Electoral Code of Conduct drafted by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, free from sectarian-based discourse or inflammatory statements. There was, however, disappointing abuse of some, primarily female, candidates. Elections were held on time, and most people (including the displaced) were able to cast their votes and select their representatives freely and safely. The liberated areas witnessed an open voting process for the first time since the defeat of Da’esh. I commend the efforts of electoral officials, party agents and the security forces in making the elections largely peaceful, secure and orderly.

But we should not be complacent. The national elections were marked by a low voter turnout of just 44%. The decision by more than half of the voting population not to exercise their democratic right sends a strong signal of dissatisfaction to politicians over failures to meet people’s expectations or to provide for their needs, and a strong message to place the interests of the Iraqi people and the nation above partisan, sectarian, individual or group interests. I encourage the Iraqi political elites, specifically incoming ministers and members of parliament, to draw the necessary conclusions on the need for improved representation, justice for all, democratic accountability and good governance free of corruption, sectarian quotas, nepotism and patronage.

You will recall that the post-election phase was marked by widespread complaints. Allegations of electoral fraud and mismanagement resulted in the decision, which the United Nations supported, to conduct a partial manual ballot recount. I would like to note the transparent, credible and well-organised conduct of the recount (which I myself witnessed in several recount locations). I commend the professionalism of all recount staff, both Independent High Electoral Commission and judiciary personnel, under the capable, impartial supervision of the Board of Judges. I believe the recount increased public confidence in the election results. I hope it also increased confidence more generally in the electoral process.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Throughout the post-election and government formation period, the people took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the management of state affairs. Their demands must be taken seriously if the democratic process is to succeed in Iraq. The demonstrations which began in Basra in July and spread to other southern governorates including Missan, Muthanna, Qadisiya, Dhi Qar, Najaf, Karbala, Babil, Wasit, and then to Baghdad, were a clear call on the government to address the basic rights and needs of the people. The gravity of further violent protests in Basra in September sent a signal to the government to find tangible solutions to local problems of lack of delivery of basic services, shortages of electricity, lack of jobs and pervasive corruption. The protestors accused national leaders and successive governments of ignoring them and expressed deep and growing frustration with the political system, including a sectarian quota system they deem corrupt and dysfunctional, and perceived foreign interference in internal affairs.

While many political leaders expressed their support for the demands of the protesters, there has been little actual progress in effecting change. Former Prime Minister Abadi and the Council of Ministers made commendable efforts to implement some rapid relief measures, but these remain insufficient to address the depth of people’s needs and concerns. The new government now needs to prioritise political, economic and social reforms, justice, equality and accountability, reconciliation and the fight against corruption. Job creation will enable economic development, stability and prosperity, while Iraq should maintain its sovereignty and independence, free from foreign interference. The challenges faced by Iraq are deep-rooted and can only be tackled by strong and unified governance. Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi and his cabinet of ministers must engage in a fight against corruption, while the new Council of Representatives should reform laws that do not embed justice and equality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I commend the successful completion of the Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections. Again, accusations of electoral fraud were fully investigated. On 30 October, the Electoral Judicial Panel of the Kurdistan Region Court of Cassation approved the election results. The Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have assured us of their intention to consult closely with all local political parties on government formation. The Kurdistan Islamic Union and the New Generation Movement have announced that they will form an Opposition in the Kurdistan Parliament. All this is welcome progress. However, to date there have been no formal agreements on government formation. In this regard we urge the Kurdish parties to complete negotiations and the formation of the parliament to ensure that the needs of the people can be proactively addressed.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The United Nations was reassured to note that Mr Abdul-Mahdi, as PM-designate, received the endorsement of many prominent parliamentary blocs to choose his ministers freely, on the basis of their capabilities and experience rather than sectarian or political quota systems. We commended the democratic transfer of power between the outgoing Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi and incoming Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi within the Constitutional timeline. At the handover ceremony on 25 October, Mr. Abadi recalled the achievements of his government. He and his government, the Kurdistan regional government, the armed forces and the people of Iraq do indeed deserve acknowledgment and gratitude for the progress made thus far. While the government formation process has not been without difficulty, the political blocs have demonstrated willingness to act in support of the Prime Minister. Competition and differences have been largely political and not sectarian, and in this way, a break from the past. Iraq must now build on these foundations.

I remain concerned that the government formation process has stalled as disagreements over some ministerial posts continues to divide political parties and blocs. The United Nations urges Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi and the political parties to reach agreement and complete the cabinet. All political forces now share a responsibility for creating an enabling environment for the new Prime Minister and government to deliver on their programme and for ensuring political stability. The Government’s new programme, on which the United Nations was invited to offer advice is ambitious and forward looking. It outlines specific plans for reform, investment and the private sector, tackling corruption and for transitioning Iraq from a crisis context to sustainable development. It prioritises job creation, greater governorate-level participation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of liberated areas and the return of the displaced. It focuses on strengthening security, fighting terrorism, enhancing law and order and the rule of law. Special attention will be given to resolving pending challenges with the Kurdistan Region, including the issues of budget allocation and financial resources, oil and disputed areas. For this programme to be achieved, Iraq will require the continued support of the international community but also sustained political support from political leaders and parties within the parliament. On international relations, I commend Iraq’s new leaders who have acted without delay in engaging regional governments – fostering bilateral relations, tackling regional challenges such as terrorism, water issues, and discussing economic cooperation and investment for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Among the priority tasks for the new parliament is preparing the upcoming provincial council elections. With the expanding role of provincial councils in governance, the candidate choices made freely and fairly by the electorate will be extremely important for the country’s development. I welcome the Electoral Commission’s announcement of resumption of the biometric voter registration process. And I am pleased that for the first time since 2005, the Kirkuk governorate will participate in these elections – a critical step on the path to the normalisation of Kirkuk’s status and of politics in the governorate. Negotiations on the reactivation of the Kirkuk Provincial Council continue, with United Nations-supported discussions between local political actors from the Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen communities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased that several female candidates received a high number of votes within their political lists, and that 19 female candidates were elected to parliament on this basis. Our expectation for the future is that the 25% quota which currently guarantees 83 seats for women, will represent a minimum threshold, not a fixed number. I urge political leaders to ensure the full participation of women within the new government and their representation at the highest levels in Iraq’s political and decision-making structures in the parliament and the government. I very much regret that no female or minority candidates have yet been appointed to ministerial positions; and while I welcome assurances that Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi will include them in future governmental posts, I feel that an opportunity has been missed. Women must get a full chance to play key roles in shaping the post-Da’esh future of their country. Equality and empowerment of women must be central to all peace, justice, legislative, reconciliation and reform efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Democracy and improved standards of living cannot be realised within an environment of persistent insecurity. Although Da’esh’s so-called caliphate has been defeated, the terrorist organisation continues to pose a threat. Iraqi Security Forces and the Popular Mobilisation Forces have maintained constant pressure on the remaining Da’esh presence and activities across North, Central and West Iraq throughout the year through successive security clearance operations. Challenges however remain for improving the overall security environment. The new government must reform and rehabilitate its security sector, putting it firmly under state control.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The United Nations works hard to support Iraq and its people. With the government formation process now close to completion, we hope that the country will continue on its journey to democracy. We will continue to offer advice and engagement. We will continue to work in partnership with the government and the people of Iraq to build progress. A prosperous future built on democracy and the rule of law – an Iraq in which the rights and needs of every citizen are recognized and fulfilled.

Thank you.

(Source: UN)

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

As the United States enacts sanctions on Iran, Iran is increasing its influence in Iraq with plans for a railway that could work around US restrictions.

The state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) revealed details Nov. 12 about its project to build a railway connecting Iran’s Shalamcheh border crossing to the port of Basra in southeast Iraq.

Maziar Yazdani, RAI’s deputy head of infrastructure and technical affairs, said the Shalamcheh-Basra leg of the project will require only 20 miles of new track at a cost of about $52,000. With the new addition, the rail system will span Iraq to reach Syria’s Mediterranean port city of Latakia.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture Credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad, Iraq/ Development Consultancy & Research, Guest Editor IJCIS-SI, Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no.

2018 is, in more than one aspect, rather an important year; It commemorates the 60 anniversary of 14 July revolution 1958; it registers thirty years of ending the eight years long Iran-Iraq war; it counts fifteen years of the country’ invasion by the Anglo-American lead troops; it also marks a ten year period of grand opening of the petroleum sector to foreign companies; it witnessed the almost end of the “triple shocks” that paralyzed the country and finally, it testifies a minor change of the dysfunctional democracy and plaguing Kleptocracy.

This is the “Introduction” I wrote, as the Guest Editor, for the special issue of the academic International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies-IJCIS, due for release before year ends (by Intellect Books, UK)*

14 July 1958 revolution is still vivid in the memories of many of us who actually witnessed and lived that day and what followed to date. Much has been written about July Revolution during the six decades since that day, but for 2018 two important observations worth making.

First, despite a relatively short tenure of General Abd al-Karim Qasim government (14 July 1958 to 8 February 1963) its record of social economic and development achievements were not matched by achievements of all regimes since Qasim’ assassination, particularly those of post 2003. An article published on the local akhabaar news-site[1] lists most of Qasim achievements, which should make every post 2003 politician, decision maker, parliamentarian, minister among others feel ashamed.

Second, Iraq witnessed during July this year a popular mobilizations in all southern oil producing provinces protesting against lack of employment, deteriorated standard of living, insufficient basic social services especially electricity and safe drinking water and condemning the corruption in the country. In a way, July-September 2018 popular protest vindicates July 1958 revolution achievements comparative to the apparent failures of all post 2003 governments.

Thirty years ago Iran-Iraq war ended; a war that caused too much death, devastation, sufferings and pushed Iraq on the brinks of degeneration; further wars and sever comprehensive sanction led eventually to invading the country.

American and British troops invaded the country in 2003, toppled Sadam régime and, again, brought too much death and destruction but with dismantling most state institutions, inflict serious blows to social fabric and institutionalized sectarianism and ethnicity. Over these 15 years, much of oil export revenues were the target of an unprecedented cronyism and corruption, mostly Kleptocracy (defined here as formalized corruption by formal entities and influential political groups and oligarchy) with meager, if any, of actual economic and social development as manifested by spreading July 2018 demonstrations that left many dead, injured and good number of arrests.[2]

The security situation in Basra deteriorated dramatically on 4 September when the number of killed demonstrators rose to 9 with many more injured on both sides i.e. the demonstrators and security forces, and a number of local government building set on fire.[3] By 7 September number of fatalities in Basra increased to 15 dead and 190 injured with more building including private, foreign consulate and offices of some political parties put ablaze.[4]

Post 2003 democracy was basically confined to national and provincial elections, which were run on regular intervals, but none was without accusations, irregularities and corruption practices. National election of May 2018 has been the most challenged and precarious among them all.  Election results were not approved until three months after the election day even with recounts and involvement of High Judicial Council and the Federal Supreme Court-FSC; the term of the parliament ended on 30 June and the new parliament remains in limbo and was not convened and thus nominating the heads of the presidencies was delayed and the same applies to forming the new government.

FSC approved the recounted results on 19 August 2018 indicating the start of the constitutional process for forming the new government. The new parliament was finally convened, amid rather a different and also divisive political landscape post 2003, on 3 September. Not until 16 September the election of the president of the parliament was elected and on 2 October Dr. Barham Salih was elected the president of the republic- representing serious setback for Barzani’s party-  and on the same day Salih  asked Adil Abdul Mahdi, a pro privatization, the Kurds and IOCs,  to form the government within 30 days!

Provincial elections are scheduled for year ends unless they are impacted by the negative environment that tarnished the latest recent national election; the current political confused order would suggest strongly the likelihood of postponing the provincial election to further date.   But these too were and could be subject to even more irregularities with influential forms within sectarianism, tribalism and religious personality cult. Moreover, the aftermath of July demonstrations could effectively impacts holding, the process and the outcome of the elections.

The local parliamentary election in Kurdistan Region in Iraq was held over 28-30 September and again with different contested claims on its transparency, credibility and results.

2018 marks ten years of the big-push strategy or grand opening of the upstream petroleum for foreign investment and direct involvement that validates, initially, the school of thoughts that invasion was all about oil but the actual development questions that validation. The big-push strategy began by converting a production sharing agreement, was concluded during Sadam’ era when Iraq was under the severest sanction in history, into a long term service contract.

That conversion sets the main premises of a hybrid model contract that was adopted through four major bidding rounds. However, upstream petroleum since the cabinet shift of August 2016 witnessed a departure from previous practices by the return of deals concluded behind closed doors, lack of transparency and adoption of a net revenues sharing model contract that gives IOCs much more a share than offered under the previous four bid rounds.

2018 witnessed the beginning of the end of the triple-shocks i.e., low oil prices, Da’esh presence and retaking Kirkuk back from KRG seizure.

Da’esh (or ISIS/ISL) began by controlling Mosul in mid-2014 then moved to many parts of other governorates particularly Kirkuk, Salahuldeen, Dayala, Al-Anbar and came close to Baghdad. That caused untold destruction, killing, internal displacement and threatened the security and integrity of the country. The military operations to defeat Da’esh drained serious part of the annual state budgets in addition to officially estimated $100 billion reconstruction requirements.[5]

What made the situation even more alarming and drastic are the dramatic decline in oil prices and the prevailed motion of “lower for longer” that coincided with Da’esh attacks. Iraq oil export prices per barrel declined from $102.61 in June 2014 to $22.21 in January 2016 then improved gradually to exceed $74 during September 2018.

Further deterioration in Iraq financial situation was caused by the cessation of Kirkuk oil export when KRG took control of the province’s oil facilities. Though that seizure ended during the fourth quarter of 2017, export from Kirkuk still on hold at the time of writing.

The work on this special issue took eighteen months of concerted efforts, follow-up and back and forth communication involving all editorial colleagues, publisher’s team, anonymous reviewers and contributors. Well-deserved sincere and wholehearted words of thanks and appreciation are due to all of them.

Ahmed Mousa Jiyad provides review of the development of the Iraqi petroleum sector during the period 2008-2018 as post 2003 period witnessed grand opening of the sector for International Oil Companies- IOCs, particularly for upstream sub-sector. The article argues that, analytically and empirically, a sub-sector focused policy impacts, negatively, the development in that sub-sector, in the sector itself and on the sector’s contribution to the development of the national economy. The outcomes would exacerbate structural imbalances, vulnerabilities to external factors and increase dependency on oil revenues, which prohibits desirable structural change, diversification and transformation.

He also highlights the presence and impacts of the “triple shocks” combined with the prospect of “lower-for- longer” oil price that prevailed almost a year ago, contributing to continue deepening the fiscal crisis of the state and elevated the “fear-factor” among Iraqi decision makers. That, with apparent human, systemic and institutional capacity-gaps limitations resulted in Iraq giving important concessions to IOCs without having tangible benefits in return.

Juman Kubba asserts that Iraq, over the past fifteen years, took huge leaps backwards. Thus, she argued it is very important for politicians, historians, experts and judicial bodies to analyse what happened, why it happened, who is responsible and how to hold them accountable. But what is more important now is to ensure that Iraqi society recovers from the calamities of the past fifteen years as well as the preceding thirty years; and that the country’s resources are used to serve Iraqis and provide them with good living conditions and never again be wasted and dissipated. Accordingly, here article focuses on the pathway of healing Iraqi society from the aftermath of decades of war, poverty and immense suffering.

Restoring good education and healthcare is the first step on the pathway of healing and recovery. Also, neutralizing and reversing several dangerous post conflict societal problems that have arisen over the years such as traumatized war children, war injured young men, drug abuse among youth and alarming increase in neoplastic disease just to name a few.  Given the weakness of the government, corruption, and contradictions between legislation and jurisdiction, one must consider new non-traditional approaches to solving these problems; a few are presented in the article. The success of any future government should be measured by how much it can ameliorate the essential life sustaining services for ordinary citizens.

Monetary policy and particularly the role of the Central Bank have important function in the development of the country. Debating this issue, our late colleague Muwafaq Hassan Mahmood  addresses four topics; the first offers an empirical examination of the performance of the banking sector during the period 2010-2015; the second discusses banking sector reform requirements; The third topic will shed light on: i) the environments under which the Iraqi banking industry operates highlighting the limitations and obstacles that impedes the sector’s growth and ii) the investment environment and whether it’s an attractive for the business community to invest and doing businesses in Iraq. Finally, he examined the CBI’s dollar window impacts on the banking industry.

Human skills, systemic and institutional capacity gaps impact the performance of the petroleum sector and these have been the subject of international cooperation between Iraq and other entities e.g., countries, organizations and even companies. Usama Karim article focuses on one of such initiatives i.e., the establishment of the European Iraqi Energy Centre-EUIEC. He argues that knowledge acquisition and development leading to such endeavour is a process that takes long time and much resources needing meticulous planning. This process can be facilitated by the use of expertise and technology transferred by international companies and their networks engaged in ramping up energy production in Iraq.

EUIEC has four components, however, the article elaborates on the research component but Karim suggests that the final EUIEC organization, structure and facilities integrating all its components will require further efforts from the consultants, lead stakeholders and experts in setting up such complex endeavour building up on preliminary results from this study.[6]

Greg Muttitt article reviews what is now known about discussions of oil that took place during the invasion planning and execution, based on documents that have been released in the fifteen years since.

He examines the nature of the strategic objectives, how the US and UK governments planned to achieve them, and how they decided to talk about them in public. Reflecting on this evidence will allow us to revisit the question: was oil a major reason for the war and invasion of Iraq?

Federalism, an outcome of the regime change brought by the 2003 invasion and was enshrined in 2005 Constitution, needs fixing. Since 2003, Luay al-Khatteeb argues, Iraq’s experiment with federalism has in many ways benefitted Iraq, though, he asserts, functioning federalism was never given a chance to be tested in Iraq as there are various factors that have contributed to hinder the formation of a Federal Iraq. Thus, because implementation has been imperfect, it has not solved Iraq’s fundamental economic flaws, which promote the waste of oil revenues, promote oil revenue dependence and allow for local level corruption to flourish. This situation can still be remedied, he argued, but that requires time and may take generations to materialise.

Omar Eljoumayle article summarises his PhD dissertation in economic development of contemporary Iraq. The article traces the role of institutions, institutional policies and how the rapid and frequent institutional changes have driven the Iraqi economy for decades. Though applying the New Institutional Economic-NIE to Iraq expands the range of choices of institutions that could be examined, the choices have been narrowed down by revolving around three central issues: agriculture, oil and wars. The picture painfully presented is one of abrupt and instantaneous institutional changes, through which institutions were repeatedly subject to reshuffle and facing changing circumstances. Consequently these changes have severely affected the path of economic development in Iraq.

The book review part of this volume covers to recently published, in Arabic, important books: one on Iraq’s nuclear program and the other on the Iraqi economy.

While it gives me a great professional scholarly satisfaction to be the guest editor for this issue I regret to report that our colleague and contributor, Muwafaq Hassan Mahmood, passed away on 28 June 2018. Despite his illness and he and I knew he would be not with us for long,  Muwafaq (Abu Rand) was very determined and enthusiastic to deliver his article and honors his commitment before leaving us. I have known Abu Rand since mid-sixties and his early departure was indeed a devastating painful loss. My colleagues, Professor Tareq Ismael (Calgary, Canada) and Professor Bill Haddad (California, USA), and I convey our wholehearted condolences to his family, friends and colleagues and we sincerely thank Muwafaq for his contribution to this special issue.

Ahmed Mousa Jiyad,

Guest Editor, IJCIS-SI,

Norway

4 October 2018

*Jiyad, Ahmed Mousa, Introduction, IJCIS, Volume 12, number 3, 2018 (forthcoming)

[1] 1958 revolution the 60th anniversary (Performance of Qasim in akhabaar  http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/7/246337.html (in Arabic) accessed 14 July 2018

[2] As on 22 July the Iraqi Human Rights Commission announced 13 dead, 729 injured, including 460 from security forces, 757 arrested temporarily and release later and  91 government and private buildings and vehicles were damaged. http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/7/246645.html  accessed 23 July 2018.

[3] As reported by IOR, 5 September 2018

[4] http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/9/248576.html Accessed 8 September 2018

[5] On Da’esh effect, Kuwait conference and cost of reconstruction see , $100 billion for reconstruction http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2018/02/12/video-iraq-seeks-100bn-for-post-is-reconstruction/

[6] Actually, I was the leader of a team that prepared the “Formulation study for the EU-Iraq Centre for Economic Partnership and Business Cooperation (DCI-ASIA part)”, which was commissioned and funded by the European Commission-EC during the period January-June 2012. The study resulted in formulating and recommends the establishment of EUIEC with four major components: Research, Training, Energy Debate and Business Cooperation. The EC adopted our proposal and started the implementation in 2014 through the Service contract notice “Iraq-Baghdad: ICI+ — EU–Iraq energy centre (EUIEC) 2014/S 074-126988”

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) is reported to be restricting companies from reselling Basra crude oil on the spot market.

Oil traders have told S&P Global Platts that SOMO wants to keep a greater share of the lucrative spot market for itself.

The report adds that SOMO is merely implementing restrictions already embedded in its contracts with customers.

(Source: S&P Global Platts)

By John Lee.

The Basra Gas Company (BGC) is expected to increase production from its current level of 900 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) to 1,050 mcf/d by the end of this year.

A statement from the Ministry of Oil on Thursday added that the project aims to reach a target of 2,000 mcf/d from the fields of Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna 1.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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

Putin eyes visit to Baghdad amid growing Russian-Iraqi contacts

Lately, official Russian-Iraqi contacts have been intensifying noticeably.

On Nov. 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iraqi President Barham Salih met behind closed doors within the agenda of the Mediterranean Dialogue in Rome. On Nov. 20-21, Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister and special presidential envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, met all of Iraq’s key decision-makers when he was in Baghdad. The sides agreed to further develop relations and make efforts to hold a meeting on the highest level.

Russian officials’ increased contacts with their Iraqi counterparts have become a virtual necessity as a result of the changes in Iraq’s domestic politics brought about by the latest electoral cycle. The number, level, and scale of the meetings are indeed exceptional, and all the more so considering the constant foreign trips Iraqi politicians themselves make.

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