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

UN seeks to raise awareness of bias against African-Iraqis

A recently convened UN committee addressed discrimination against many minorities in many countries, including Iraqis of African descent. Its conclusions shed light on the marginalization of this almost forgotten minority — forgotten especially years after the 2013 assassination of one of its main leaders, Jalal Diab, in Basra.

Diab had posters of Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama on the walls of his school dedicated to teaching poor African-Iraqis in the slums of the Az Zubayr area of Basra.

The two pictures showed an unexpected awakening of identity in the areas of the oil-rich Basra province where this minority lives. And this same province has witnessed popular protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full story.

Dirty Debts Iraq is losing billions of dollars and two oil exporters with Saudi power
1/3/2019


BAGHDAD / The oil expert,
Hamza al-Jawahiri, said Thursday that Saudi Arabia has taken control of an Iraqi oil port and a pipeline under the pretext that it is asking Iraq for financial debts, indicating that these debts are "dirty" debts that are unfounded.


"Iraq was established in the eighties of the last century, the port," Yanbu "oil in addition to a pipeline of 1200 kilometers between him and Saudi Arabia for the purpose of diversifying his rival, but these two implementations acquired by Saudi Arabia since then, under the pretext that it requires Iraq

"These debts are dirty and unregistered debts at the United Nations, because Saudi Arabia has financed the Iraq war and these are considered unofficial debts because they are debts of war."


"Unfortunately, the successive Iraqi governments since 2003 have not yet solved the file of oil ports or the debts demanded by some Gulf countries and estimated at $ 42 billion, and it remained the same without settlement, the ports are for Iraq and debt is informal but Iraqi governments They did not move at all. "


The term "dirty" is a universally agreed term called debt that finances wars and is considered informal debt.


An Iraqi official said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia had used an oil port on the Red Sea, which was built with Iraqi funds, while the Iraqi side objected.


The Gulf newspaper quoted the official as saying that "Iraq is seeking clarification from the Saudi side on the use of the Kingdom in recent period a port of oil on the Red Sea, was built with Iraqi funds as part of an agreement concluded at the end of the eighties between the two countries to diversify sources of Iraqi oil export, but stopped after the war Gulf".


"The project includes the extension of a strategic oil pipeline from the fields of Basra in southern Iraq, with a capacity of 1.6 million barrels per day and ends in Saudi territory at the port of Majaz, near the port of Yanbu Saudi Red Sea.

The port was built according to an agreement between the two countries with Iraqi funds, However, Riyadh has no right to act without returning to Baghdad as the owner of the right to invest in it. "


He pointed out that "Iraq is determined to seek clarification from the Saudis about the port of Al-Mujaz and the unilateral use of it," explaining that "the port was built with Iraqi funds, which is like any investment project governed by laws and agreements.


The port of Al-Majas started exporting before the first Gulf War broke out. However, it stopped exporting after the Iraqi pipeline stopped in 1990. The port was changed during the last period from the port of Al-Majas to the southern port of Yanbu.

http://aynaliraqnews.com/index.php?aa=news&id22=111706

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

By Mustafa Habib.

Drama On Iraq’s Councils After Provincial Elections Are Cancelled Again

Conflict at federal level is complicating local politics too. Provincial elections have not been held for five years and council leadership no longer reflects the country’s new political reality.

In the weeks before the end of the year, Iraq’s provincial councillors saw plenty of drama. There were attempted dismissals of various governors, actual dismissals and political coups and in-fighting among state-level politicians.

In mid-December, a new governor was chosen for Baghdad by councillors representing parties at federal level. But then other councillors, representing opposition parties at federal level, chose a completely different new governor.

Members of two groups – the Sairoun alliance led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the National Wisdom party, led by another cleric, Ammar al-Hakim – chose the first new governor. Then, provincial councillors from the parties that oppose those two groups stepped in and selected another candidate from their own ranks instead.

At this stage, the Iraqi president, Barham Saleh, intervened, refusing to ratify either candidate and referring the matter to the courts.

A similar situation arose in Basra where provincial council members who tried to elect a new governor were prevented from doing so by protestors outside the council buildings, who supported the sitting governor. The involvement of security staff meant that a vote could not be held. And in Najaf, the sitting governor there was also dismissed. More firings are expected in other Iraqi provinces too.

Why the drama? Because the country has not held provincial elections since 2013 and in many areas, the current provincial council does not reflect the contemporary political realities brought about by federal elections last year.

By rights, provincial elections to select local councillors should have been held in 2017. However the ongoing security crisis and the fight against the extremist group known as the Islamic State meant this was impossible. The federal government then decided to combine provincial elections with federal ones, to be held in May 2018, but again failed to do this.

The next date for the provincial elections was supposed to be December 22, 2018, but yet again the federal government – this time the new one headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi – decided not to hold them. A new date was not set and election authorities say it will be too difficult to hold provincial elections in 2019.

The Independent High Electoral Commission, or IHEC, has not been working properly for the past few months because, ever since the May 2018 federal elections, there have been all sorts of other concerns, explains Hazem al-Rudaini, a member of IHEC.

“The debate about the integrity of the federal elections, the various appeals and the recounts overseen by a judicial authority,” al-Rudaini listed the reasons. “All of this has impacted on the Commission’s work and makes it impossible to hold the provincial elections anytime in the coming six months at least.”

Amendments to the laws and rules around provincial elections are being discussed by IHEC and relevant federal authorities and politicians, al-Rudaini said, but “all that will take time”.

In fact, senior members of IHEC have been summoned to parliament to discuss this issue because some of the provincial appointments are now unconstitutional – for example, a governor cannot be a sitting MP at the same time yet some are. Additionally, the provincial councils hardly reflect the outcome of the federal elections, which saw the al-Sadr-backed Sairoun alliance win the most votes. In fact, that is part of what has caused the recent problems: The winning political parties are forcing through new alliances at provincial level, that allow them to remove the sitting governors who belong to other now-less-popular parties.

“We refuse to allow the current provincial councils to carry on working,” Rami al-Sukaini, an MP for the Sairoun alliance, told NIQASH. “There are proposals now that allow them to keep working for the next six months, and others to remove them and give parliament the power of supervise provincial councils, until provincial elections can be held.”

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi and Jordan’s Prime Minister Dr. Omar Razzaz have agreed a series of measures to increase cooperation between the two countries.

Following a meeting at the weekend, they announced that, among other steps, they will finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will run from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019.

The full (unedited) list of measures outlined in their joint statement is shown below:

In the transport sector:

  • Opening the Jordanian-Iraqi border crossings (Al Karama-Trebil) in front of the (door to door) traffic to start the journey of goods that are perishable on 2-2-2019 and include all types of goods thereafter.
  • Granting facilities for imported Iraqi goods via Aqaba, whose final destination is Iraq, a discount of 75% of the fees charged by Aqaba Economic Authority.
  • Make an Agreement between the Royal Jordanian and Iraqi Aviation for mutual cooperation in various fields: (Code share).
  • Training and cooperation in all areas of aviation and air transport.

In the industry and trade sector:

  • Activating the Iraqi Cabinet decision for the year 2017 exempting a number of Jordanian goods from customs starting from 2-2-2019.
  • The two councils of the two countries decided to allocate the agreed land on the Iraqi-Jordanian border to reach a depth of 2 km on the two sides of the border and a length of 6 km for the Iraqi-Jordanian Company. By 2-2-2019, in preparation for the company’s presentation of the industrial zone to the private sector for operation and management on the basis of BOT.

In the financial sector:

  • Forming a technical and financial legal committee between the two sides to develop solutions to the outstanding financial files between the two countries.

In the energy sector:

  • The agreement was reached on the Jordanian-Iraqi electricity link through the network of interconnection, where the memorandum of understanding was signed in the presence of the prime ministers, in which the parties agreed to take the necessary measures to accelerate the exchange of electrical energy between the two parties through direct electrical connection to the electricity networks of Iraq and Jordan.
  • It was agreed to finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will extend from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019
  • It was agreed that the technical committees will arrive to determine the details of transportation and pricing for the export of Iraqi crude oil to Jordan before 2-2-2019.

In the agriculture sector:

  • Training in the fields of optimal use of water in the fields of aquaculture, water harvesting, seed propagation, biological control, the use of environmentally friendly pesticides and the training of Iraqi environmental police.

In the communications and IT sector:

  • It was agreed to pass the Iraqi Internet capacity from Jordan in 2019 to support Iraq build the infrastructure.
  • It was agreed on transport Jordan’s experiences in the field of the financial technology to brothers in Iraq.

(Source: Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

Basra Council: We have 31 trillion dinars fed by the federal government in Baghdad
1/1/2019

The Basra Provincial Council announced on Tuesday the size of its dues paid by the federal government, pointing out that it exceeds 31 trillion dinars has not acted for the province since 2010 until now.

Council member Ahmed Abdul Hussein said in a statement to the "Information", "The Council of Basra has dues from the petrodollar up to 20 trillion dinars has not been received from the federal government in Baghdad since 2010 and until now,

" pointing out that "there are receivables estimated at 11 trillion Dinars of the border crossing funds that were not given by the previous government to Basra. "

He added that "the political conflict and the poor representatives of the people pushed the government in Baghdad not to spend those funds to Basra," noting that "these funds can solve all the problems in the province and completion of projects, as well as the possibility of reducing the spread of unemployment graduates in the province."

The Basra provincial council has attributed, on Monday, the return of protest rallies and peaceful demonstration in a number of areas of the province to the failure of the federal government to complete the stalled projects and provide services to citizens,

while the governments of Abadi and Adel Abdul Mahdi did not fulfill their promises to allocate ten thousand degrees of career for graduates of the province.

https://mangish.net/%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%…0%D9%85%D8%A9/

The stability of the dollar in the markets of Iraq and the decline of more oil prices
12/25/2018

The exchange rate of the dinar in Baghdad at the opening, on Tuesday, at the limit of 120 thousand dinars for every $ 100 with minor differences between the provinces of the provinces, while oil prices fell further in world markets.

The exchange rate of the dinar against the dollar in the stock exchange 119,750, and in the embassies of Baghdad between 119.250 – 120.250, while the Basra Stock Exchange amounted to 119.850, and the exchange of Erbil amounted to 120.125, and the Mosul Stock Exchange 120.150.

As for the regional currencies, the Iranian Toman 1030/100 $, the Turkish Lira 530/100 $, and the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil on the world market $ 50.47, while the price of gold 21 caliber in the markets of Iraq 213 thousand dinars, while The price of a gold ounce globally reached $ 1269.

http://aletejahtv.com/archives/271428

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

There is a fight over energy in Iraq between the US and Iran. Iraq relies on Iranian gas for nearly half of its energy – gas that is now subject to US sanctions on Iran.

The Iraqi government originally obtained a 45-day sanctions waiver from the US, but that waiver is set to expire next week.

Iraq is particularly sensitive to the issue after protests against electricity cuts rocked Basra earlier in the year and Iraq’s new government is treading a thin line trying to keep both the US and Iran happy, and its people satisfied.

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis reports:

By John Lee.

US-based Schlumberger has won a deal with Iraq’s Basra Oil Company (BOC) to drill 40 new wells at Majnoon oilfield.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Oil also announced that the BOC had entered into a 19-month contract with the Iraqi Oil Exploration Company to carry out 2D and 3D seismic surveys at the field.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

EU Support to recovery and stability through local development in Iraq – another example of EU-UNDP partnership

The European Commission, represented by Director for Development Cooperation for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific Region, Mr. Pierre Amilhat, and Gerardo Noto, the UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, have today signed an agreement of €47.5 million to support recovery and stability through local level development in Iraq.

Mr. Amilhat said today in Mosul:

As pledged  at the Kuwait Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, the EU restates its commitment to assist Iraq in responding to the pressing needs of the population in the aftermath of the conflict with Dae’sh. We are  committed to support Iraq in ensuring improved services and livelihoods opportunities to its population, contributing to the building of a more inclusive and accountable local development.

The project will cover activities ranging from support to urban recovery and development in Mosul and smaller cities and towns affected by the conflict in Anbar, Salah al-Din and Ninewah governorates, as well as in three governorates in the South namely Basrah, Missan, Thi Qar, and the three governorates of Iraqi Kurdistan namely Erbil, Duhok and Suleimaniah.

EU’s partnership with UNDP Iraq, in collaboration with UN Habitat aims at promoting decentralization and provision of basic services while in parallel boosting economic growth and job opportunities.

The project will also seek to enhance local revenue generation, promote sustainable development and the use of renewable sources, as well as to encourage participation of Civil Society Organizations in local decision-making processes.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, Mr. Gerardo Noto, said:

We are grateful to EU for our excellent partnership. We jointly help people of Iraq so that no one is left behind as all UN Members Countries committed in the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This is yet another practical example of support to the authorities and citizens of Iraq in regaining the trust of the local communities and rebuilding the state institutions towards a new social contract to sustaining peace and sustainable development“.

(Source: UNDP)

EU Signs Contracts of 57.5 Million Euros with UN to Support Mosul Recovery, Promises Additional 20 Million Euros Next Month

A delegation from the United Nations in Iraq and the European Union Mission to Iraq yesterday toured a number of EU-funded and UN implemented projects in Mosul, seeing first-hand the clearance, stabilization, rehabilitation and development work undertaken in the northern Iraqi city more than a year after its liberation from Da’esh.

Illustrating the joint efforts in post-Da’esh Iraq, the EU signed a contract with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) worth 47.5 million euros, another with UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) totaling 10 million euros, and announced 20 million euros in additional support for UNESCO as well as a further 15 million support for FAO, to be signed in January 2019.

The conflict with Da’esh has destroyed many areas of Mosul and Ninewa Governorate, and displaced a large number of the population. Since the military defeat of Da’esh a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. Some areas still lack basic services, and the UN, in support of the Iraqi authorities, are working to ensure a decent living for the people to facilitate the dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The delegation called on the Governor of Ninewa, Nawfal Al-Agoub, after which a signing ceremony was held.

EU Director for Development Cooperation for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific Region, Pierre Amilhat, said:

“The Iraqi people have suffered enough, and the country is on the cusp of entering into a renewed phase of state-building. Today exemplifies the strong commitment the EU along with its UN partners have in shouldering Iraq in this critical phase. With the territorial defeat of Da’esh, all of us together have a window of opportunity to build an inclusive and accountable country and restore the trust between the people and their Government. This multi-pronged initiative will join the dots between the various reconstruction components, and significantly contribute to the betterment of the Iraqi people”.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, Gerardo Noto, said:

“We are grateful to EU for our excellent partnership. We jointly help people of Iraq so that no one is left behind as all UN Members Countries committed in the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is yet another practical example of support to the authorities and citizens of Iraq in regaining the trust of the local communities and rebuilding the state institutions towards a new social contract to sustaining peace and sustainable development”.

Earlier, the EU-UN delegation visited the Old City, site of some of the worst fighting – and destruction. They inspected the reconstruction work at the Al-Nuri Mosque, a symbol of Mosul’s history and culture that Da’esh deliberately destroyed its landmark leaning minaret before their retreat from the city. The work is part of ongoing projects to repair heritage sites by UNESCO throughout Mosul Old City’s funded by the EU.

UNESCO has launched “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”, an initiative that has the support of the Government of Iraq and in line with the Initial Planning Framework for Reconstruction of Mosul, which was jointly developed by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and UNESCO in collaboration with the Governorate of Ninewa, to rehabilitate Mosul’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Restoring the identities within the communities of Mosul and other liberated areas of Iraq contributes to reconciliation and promotes more just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

“UNESCO is very grateful to the EU for its contribution to the reconstruction and restoration of the Old City of Mosul, in the context of the UNESCO ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul Initiative’. This support contributes to the physical reconstruction of one of Iraq’s most emblematic historical cities, which has been severely damaged and destroyed. It also benefits directly the local community – by providing skills and jobs to thousands of young people” stated Louise Haxthausen, Head of UNESCO in Iraq. “We are particularly pleased that part of this contribution is dedicated to the urban rehabilitation of the old city of Basra, another highly significant historical city of Iraq,” added Louise Haxthausen.

UN-Habitat and UNDP are also working together in Mosul to rehabilitate damaged houses, repair secondary infrastructure, retrofit public facilities such as schools to promote the environmental responsiveness of buildings, and involve youth in redesign of public open spaces. Yuko Otsuki, Head of UN-Habitat in Iraq, expressed gratitude for the EU support “to continue improving the living conditions of Iraqi population through urban recovery investments and job and income generating opportunities in conflict-affected areas.”

The delegation toured Mosul University, once a major centre of learning in Iraq that Da’esh turned into a command post and weapons cache. Mosul University, Iraq’s second largest university, has suffered major damage, and it is estimated that rehabilitation work would require 350-500 million dollars. The university was cleared of explosive hazards, included Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The work of UNMAS lies at the core of the stabilization and rehabilitation work. Mindful that no stabilization work and return of IDPs can be sustainable without ensuring a safe environment, the EU signed a contract granting UNMAS 10 million euros to continue the clearance of contaminated hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, religious sites and neighborhoods.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the international community and more specifically by the EU. With this contribution, UNMAS Iraq will be expanding the clearance capacity in Mosul and also deploy capacity in Sinjar,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

The group also visited the Ninewa Directorate of Agriculture where they were briefed about a project supported by the EU and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support recovery of agricultural livelihoods by revitalizing of food production, value chains and income generation in Ninewa.

“I am so pleased to see the EU has agreed to help us rehabilitate key facilities and equipment of the Directorate as well as rebuilding livelihoods for so many smallholder farmers. Creating jobs in this heart land of agriculture is really key to community stabilization,” said Dr Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Country Representative in Iraq.

The EU has contributed a total of 184.4 million euros since 2016 to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq.

(Source: UN)