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.

Iraq’s Lack Of Water Is A Foreign Policy Problem, Ministers Say

Once it was the extremists who held Iraq’s water to ransom. Now it is tribes in Iraq’s southern provinces using water supplies as a deadly weapon.

Last Sunday there was a heated debate in the Iraqi parliament. It was not about the extremist group known as the Islamic State, local militias, the US’ or Iran’s presence in Iraq, corruption or any of the other standard controversies that get MPs yelling at one another. Instead the debate was about water.

The country’s minister for water resources, Hassan al-Janabi, warned that Iraq was about to face a water shortage and that the government urgently needed to make the topic one of foreign policy relevance as well as a domestic issue.

An official report prepared by al-Janabi’s ministry was submitted to parliament and NIQASH was able to read it. It said that Iraq had lost around 30 percent of the water it used to get from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the two major waterways running through Iraq. Within just a few years, it will have lost 50 percent of its share of the rivers’ waters. And that is without taking into account the impact of climate change.

The ministry of water resources said it would begin working on a long-term plan, working toward 2035, which would require an investment of US$184 billion. Of that, US$68 billion would be allocated to water for irrigation and used for agricultural purposes. Over three-quarters of water in Iraq is used for agriculture, industry and for drinking.

Iraq has always been proud of its two major rivers. And up until relatively recently the country had been spared the kinds of devastating droughts that have hurt countries elsewhere. Baghdad residents still remember the floods of the 1950s that used to hit the country every summer until a newly built suburban dam ended them.

But the situation is very different today. A major part of the current problem lies outside the country’s borders. The sources of the Euphrates and the Tigris, as well as long stretches of the rivers, lie outside Iraq. Turkey, Syria and Iran control parts of the rivers and are already building, or have built, large dams to ensure that their countries have enough water in the future.

Iraq, on the other hand, does not currently have the resources to start on such huge strategic projects. The Iraqi government’s abilities are limited to the maintenance of existing dams, mostly built during the Saddam Hussein regime. The most important of these are the Mosul and Haditha dams. Since an earthquake last year, the Dokan dam in northern Iraq has been out of service.

Agriculture is being impacted already. “This year we lost about 30 percent of our wheat and barley crops because of water scarcity, drought and low rainfall,” says Mahdi al-Qaisi, the deputy minister for agriculture in Iraq. “That’s something we haven’t seen in decades and we have to reconsider how we irrigate in the country. We need to switch to crops that don’t require large quantities of water,” he argued.

“We have been making a living from growing wheat and barley for decades,” says Karim al-Hajami, a tribal leader in the Maysan province. “But this year we suffered great losses due to a lack of water. That’s because the waters of the Tigris river were stolen by people in the Wasit province,” he complains. “And the state knows nothing about it.”

What is happening outside Iraq is now also happening inside the country, as provincial councils in southern Iraq fight to divert river water to their provinces or to somehow block the flow further down river. There are also fears that eventually the lack of water will lead to mass internal migration, as people living in drought-stricken areas rush to areas with more water.

“Tribes in Wasit are taking more than they should, according to guidelines from the ministry of water resources,” al-Hajami continues. “And that’s why we don’t get enough water.”

In fact, a few weeks ago there were physical confrontations between different tribes over water. “They would have become serious if it were not for the intervention of government authorities who promised they would try and solve the problem,” al-Hajami says.

However, the farmers in Wasit say that it’s not their fault and that locals even further up river than them are the ones taking all the water which is why they, in turn, have to take more than they are supposed to from the Tigris river.

“The people in Maysan accuse us of taking more than our share but in reality, we are not getting our full share because of a problem with the Tigris river and the low level of water coming in from Turkey,” suggests Abbas al-Maksousi, one of the tribal leaders there.

The same sorts of problems are coming up in the provinces of Dhi Qar and Muthanna too, where fighting erupted between tribes last month because of anxiety over water from the Euphrates.

MP Furat al-Tamimi, who heads the parliamentary committee on water and agriculture, warns that this situation is just going to worsen in coming months. “The problem is complex,” al-Tamimi told NIQASH. “Firstly, the sources of the Euphrates and the Tigris are in neighbouring countries. Turkey in particular is trying to fill its Ilisu Dam project. And secondly its complicated because of abuses in Iraq’s own southern provinces.”

In the provinces, al-Tamimi thinks the ministries of the interior and water resources need to work together to prevent those abuses. “Or we will see more dangerous conflicts in the future,’ he suggests.

Al-Tamimi also believes that Iraq’s water should become a part of other ministerial portfolios because it overlaps the trade, energy, oil and foreign policy sectors. In particular, he believes there is special urgency for the ministry of foreign affairs to get involved.

By John Lee.

The Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has reportedly laundered its cash reserves by investing in legitimate businesses in Iraq and elsewhere.

According to a report from The Economist, in Iraq it has used middlemen to buy farms, car-dealerships, hotels and hospitals.

It adds that weak institutions and rampant corruption make it hard for Iraq to tackle the problem.

Read the full article from The Economist here.

(Source: The Economist)

Poverty alleviation program meets basic needs


It aims to address the concentration of wealth
Baghdad / Emad Al-Amara

The success of the poverty alleviation program in Iraq requires strengthening and supporting income redistribution policies by adopting a growth policy that is fundamentally equitable because the economic structure of each country is the most
important factor influencing any strategy to redistribute income among citizens.

Economic, social, and direct and indirect taxes on income, assets and prices paid for goods and services transferred (transfer expenses), stressing that " In the distribution system are prerequisites for a redistributive policy. "

Poverty Reduction
Hisham added that "factors play an important role in shaping the policy of reducing poverty and addressing the concentration of wealth and unfairness."

He explained that "the most important factors are the economic structure of the country, the level of development achieved, and economic philosophy of the economic file."

"Policies for empowering the poor can not be achieved without reform and the effective participation of citizens in making their decisions, and this depends on the ability of individuals based on their income and education," he said. Distribution of Income Hisham pointed to the importance of "equity in the distribution of income for the success of any macroeconomic framework that seeks to achieve this.

Three objectives must be achieved: first, achieving growth rate exceeding population growth rate; second, reducing growth volatility; and third, directing growth towards a fairer path.

"He said.
"Different mechanisms can be used to redistribute income, including reforming the tax system, based on progressive taxes on income, restitution of property taxes, moderate taxes, reallocation of public spending and a focus on education and health, which would reduce unemployment," he said.

Small projects Hisham pointed to the need to "find solutions that are a priority in reducing poverty, and to encourage the financing of small projects as a way to reduce unemployment and encourage the private sector, as well as keep the support within the scope of the eligible and check the social protection network periodically as a kind of safety for the poor deserving and reducing Of waste and financial and administrative corruption in this area. " Consumer capacity

"The improved understanding of poverty and the recognition of its multiple dimensions have shown two results: the first is the wide range of strategies and policy packages used to combat poverty, alleviate the hardships of the poor, and the widespread recognition that these strategies and policies are interrelated.

" Standards and pointed out that "the most important measurement criteria of poverty are the financial criteria or economic effect that poverty is a lack of income or consumption, ie the lack of income or required to meet current basic needs of consumer power or attain a minimum standard of living,

and a point chapter in Income or consumption which is referred to as an poverty line is the limit that if the income of the family or individual or the level of consumption is reduced, it is classified in the field of the poor.

Non-economic criteria for measuring poverty, according to Hisham, focus on output rather than income.

They measure poverty according to the non-economic aspects of well-being, such as health, education, environment, empowerment and participation.

The owner and chief executive officer of an armored vehicle company was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for his role in orchestrating a scheme to defraud the United States by providing the U.S. Department of Defense with armored gun trucks that did not meet ballistic and blast protection requirements set out in the company’s contracts with the United States.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle of the Western District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.

William Whyte, 72, of King City, Ontario, the owner and CEO of Armet Armored Vehicles of Danville, Virginia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser of the Western District of Virginia, who also ordered Whyte to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay restitution in the amount of $2,019,454.36.

On Oct. 9, 2017, after a two-week trial, Whyte was found guilty of three counts of major fraud against the United States, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of criminal false claims.  Whyte was charged by an indictment in July 2012.

Evidence at trial demonstrated that Whyte executed a scheme to defraud the United States by providing armored gun trucks that were deliberately under-armored.  Armet contracted to provide armored gun trucks for use by the United States and its allies as part of the efforts to rebuild Iraq in 2005.

Despite providing armored gun trucks that did not meet contractual specifications, Whyte and his employees represented that the armored gun trucks were adequately armored in accordance with the contract, the evidence showed.  Armet was paid over $2 million over the course of the scheme, the evidence showed.

The case was investigated by the FBI and DCIS.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Caitlin Cottingham of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Carlton of the Western District of Virginia.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

Exploitation of funds to move towards the reconstruction and development of Iraq


Amer Eissa Al-Jawahiri *
Although the aim of organizing the International Conference for the reconstruction of Iraq in Kuwait for the period from 12 to 14 February 2018 was clear to all concerned concerned about the future of Iraq by providing all the resources and requirements for its development and prosperity, regardless of the method and details of the organization and speech addressed to the world and the outcome of the conference , But what is important is what we will do to put Iraq’s economy and future in the right direction.

The great interest of the conference was noted by the countries and companies looking for work. Regardless of the style of Iraqi discourse addressed to the world at this conference, but it should be noted that the expression of interest in the outcome of the conference between the need for more attention to grants and focus on the provision of loans that do not generate payment factors.

This result indicates the need to reconsider the international consideration of Iraq’s position in the fight against terrorism and the current and future serious losses, the first of which were tens of thousands of victims.

However, it is clear that the loans will increase the bondage of Iraq and its future generations with commitments indicating the difficulty of fulfilling them.

Therefore, we recommend
that the government thank all the countries and institutions that provided loans at the conference and reconsider their acceptance or not. That Iraq’s role is not to seek aid but to assess its role in protecting the international community.

At the same time, utmost transparency, priority and professionalism are emphasized in the acceptance and approval of such grants and the use of civil society organizations in their implementation.

In any case, the direct exploitation of one billion dollars and its implementation requires time and it is imperative for Iraq to develop its management of this file.

The results and measures of the success of the conference should be evaluated, including the number of interested companies and the importance of subsequent meetings of companies. To hold it in Baghdad. Crisis Group Strategy The economic affairs in Iraq should be a "strategic crisis team" whose mission will be purely economic.

It will include strategic experts in various fields from the government apparatus, retired experts, representatives of civil society organizations and private sector institutions.

The team sets out visions and endorses the comprehensive national strategy, which includes all the strategies adopted with the development of policies and implementation plans. It monitors, evaluates and follows up on its implementation.

This team follows up on the development plans and measures to diversify the economy and deal with the current and future expected crises such as oil and gas, manufacturing,
sustainable energy and its uses, financial resources, water, agriculture and industry.

Development of methodology, work ethic, societal values, education, scientific research, youth and the environment, and monetary and financial policy Banks, investment and partnership between the public and private sectors and public companies turning to companies contributing files loans and the future of future generations, infrastructure, services, communications, transportation, ports and dry channel.

This group can look at international relations as well.
The team sets up a follow-up mechanism for all steps to ensure its inevitable success.

The confidence of the international community that the success of the reconstruction and development in Iraq will be reflected on the local economic reality and be an attraction for international companies and investors and enhance the confidence of the international community in the Iraqi administration,

which will propel it in the future to support Iraq more than that development will require the participation of companies of these countries is a mutual interactive two-way guarantee the future Our grandchildren must pay attention to the historical responsibility of the current generation, which is running Iraq in the development of solutions for the near,

intermediate, remote and far stages and take practical steps on the right track to live the current generations better and ensure The future of our grandchildren and future generations. Comprehensive reconstruction commitments

Otherwise, the deferred obligations will accrue to Iraq without generating revenues and the future will include limited oil revenues as the world moves towards sustainable energy.

The requirements and commitments of the country’s overall development and development will increase. Development and renewal of infrastructure and services, as well as increased commitments to meet the requirements of society, what is required to address the productive degradation and productivity of society, the payment of loan commitments and so forth.

How will all this be implemented in the current economic There is nothing to be achieved by forming committees without efficient or new administrations, supporting civil society organizations and the private sector, and adopting the principle of reward and punishment.

New sources of funding
In addition to the need to direct immediate and decisive action to revitalize and diversify all economic sectors, we propose a firm initiative in the search for new sources of funding with the utmost professional, including:

– serious direct implementation of major industrial and agricultural projects in the manner of partnerships and all methods and support the private sector to set up its projects.
– Restoring all public assets seized to the government, based on force and legitimacy, evaluating them at market prices and disposing of those that are not suitable for public benefit transparently, selling them and transferring the remainder to deliberate uses of government institutions.

– Follow-up and return of balances, real estate, companies, projects and shares belonging to the former regime and recorded in various names.

– The return of looted money by the corrupt, whatever the cost.
– Fighting corruption, fighting bureaucracy and routine and improving the performance, productivity and attention of workers to respect the traditions of work will lead to direct and indirect returns and reflected on improving the business environment.

The path to prosperity The need to adopt the success story of Iraq and address the negative aspects of corruption and deterioration and the business environment and improve the economy to prove to our people and current generations and subsequent ability to walk to prosperity and prove to the world our ability to partner with them, which will raise the quality and volume of investment transactions.

That the circumstances of the country and the challenges facing it are an incentive to search for all ways and means to confront the crisis and take the steps of a thousand miles … The Soviet Union, Vietnam and other countries did not wait for the development of their economies and industry to face the destruction during the two wars only the will and unity of management and society to withstand and build their capacity as well Japan’s efforts Destroyed after the Second War and without resources to turn into this giant economy.

We need example, initiative, will and action to assume historical responsibility. * Consultant in industrial development and investment member of the Baghdad Economic Forum

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has promised to crack down on corruption, and says laws will protect nervous foreign investors.

He told CNBC:

We are laying down all the legal framework … I think the worry is corruption, number one, which is hiding behind red tape and bureaucracy. We have established a higher committee which is headed by the prime minister and it has a follow up team to make sure to remove blocks as they are there because of the bureaucracy.

“I think this will be a huge bonus for companies; sometimes they are pressed to pay bribes or something like that. We want to keep away from this, we want every dollar which goes into investment or donation to serve the people, not to go to the pockets of corrupt people.

Appearing confident despite the challenges ahead, he added:

“I think now that the process of engaging investors in Iraq, I am sure in the next few months will be the foundation of this. We’ve already appointed a committee. Next month is going to be a meeting with major investors to follow up … And I hope that after the election they’ll immediately start.”

See the full CNBC interview here.

(Source: CNBC)

Monitoring sources: 3000 file corruption on officials "forbidden" to approach them!

"Of the 6,000 cases of corrupt officials in previous and current governments, about 3,000 have not been completed," government sources said Sunday

The sources revealed that the government and parliamentary oversight bodies are subject to political pressure, which hampers its work and its ability to hold the corrupt accountable.

In this context, the spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul Sattar Birqdar, acknowledged that the recent amnesty law allowed "corrupt" impunity.

He stressed that "there are corrupt people have been convicted of judicial decisions and issued sentences of punishment against them according to the law, but they included the law of amnesty, which was legislated by the House of Representatives .

"The Integrity Commission has uncovered hundreds of corruption files and issued arrest warrants against hundreds of officials for their involvement in corruption, misappropriation of public funds, making deals with local and foreign companies for commissions and mismanagement .

"The head of the Integrity Commission Hassan al-Yasiri, announced at the annual conference of the body, the number of ministers and those in the rank of those who were issued orders for recruitment to investigate during the year 2017, 35 ministers, as well as 306 officials, adding that the funds seized more than 51 Billion dinars. "

International companies looking to implement major projects


After Iraq won the international confidence
Baghdad / Sabah
The process of transformation in the Iraqi economy is proceeding at an accelerated pace, as the country is gaining international confidence and the major international companies are racing to gain a foothold in the Iraqi labor market. It is good to stop at the moment and consider the next steps to be taken in Iraq. Could be undertaken by the private sector.

Of course, that shift begins with many areas of infrastructure, especially electric power, as it is the basis on which modern Iraq will be built.

The provision of electrical energy and the work of its durability and reliability, to ensure delivery to every Iraqi citizen, is a basic human and important for the social and economic development in the country.

Quality projects
CEO of Siemens in Iraq Musab al- Khatib, said: "Kuwait conference is to gain international confidence in Iraq and the global effort advanced, which makes Iraq kiss sophisticated global companies that have the potential implementation of the quality of much – needed projects."

"The electricity sector is at the center of development and the foundation for economic development. Through a series of integrated strategies in the short, medium and long term, it is possible to ensure a rapid and smooth transition to a stable and enhanced energy grid by stopping the growing gap between demand and energy, .

Power generation
According to a study of the reality of the rates of demand for electricity in Iraq, the growth rate is almost 6 percent annually, which means the need to increase the generation of electricity at the rate of 1,500 megawatts per year .. It is necessary to meet this growing demand for energy quickly to stop the growing gap between levels Demand and the availability of electric power.

"The current infrastructure of the electrical system in Iraq will be a major contributor to increasing the production of electric power in the future in the short and medium term, as there are promising possibilities to build a set of temporary mobile power stations, which can be implemented within months, at the same time on the rehabilitation of existing power plants,

thereby contributing to the restoration of a large capacity of power generation in the areas you need more than others " global companies a member of the Baghdad economic Forum Jassem Al – Aradi said in an interview with the " morning " , " the importance of the Hod electricity sector,

because it is an active contributor to the economic development process sought by the Iraqi partnership with specialized international companies which have expressed their desire to enter the Iraqi market and work in the liberated areas and different Alasttmkarat. "

He pointed out that "Iraq can employ free natural gas and associated investment to cover the requirements of energy and industry in general and the export of surplus, and thus can move the national economy in cooperation with major specialized companies."

Sustainable energy and with regard to the issue of job creation , Khatib said: "It is important to take education and training into account, we do not believe that it is possible to build a sustainable state energy by importing talent, sustainable economic and social development is backed by a group of experienced and highly skilled local talent, But it is not necessary that the skills we have today are what we need in five or ten years from now. "

"The need to provide them with the skills they need in the future, to bridge the gap between the existing workforce through new technologies and cooperation frameworks at the academic level, and the private sector is responsible for transferring knowledge, expertise and technology to empower a new generation

And education and training is an integral part of the work of Siemens in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular, " Hydrocarbon wealth, explaining that"There are many challenges, but we believe that the future promises a lot.

There are enormous resources available to the Iraqi people, whether in the form of hydrocarbon wealth or outstanding talents.

We are sure that the Iraqi government is taking firm steps to fight corruption to ensure that the future economy is based on projects and projects. And we look forward to having an outstanding and effective role in a new and exciting chapter of the country’s march. "

"Iraq has significant hydrocarbon assets and, if used efficiently, will drive a new era of sustainable economic development.

The energy sector will of course play a major role, as more efficient power generation will leave more resources
for export, Large untapped potential for associated gas or flare gas in cooperation with the competent authorities (Ministry of Oil).

An Iraqi court on February 12 sentenced former trade minister Abdul Falah al-Sudani to 21 years in prison on corruption charges.

Sudani was involved in a corruption scandal connected to the country’s massive food rations programme.

He was given three sentences, two for “negligence” with a 14-year jail term and a third for “misconduct” with a seven-year term, according to Iraqi Shafaq News.

Sudani, who belongs to the ruling Dawa Party, served as minister of trade from 2006 to 2009.

He was sacked and slapped with criminal charges in 2009. Released on bail, Sudani was then arrested as he tried to flee the country, but he managed to flee again.

The former trade minister was extradited from Lebanon and taken into Iraqi custody on 25 January.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has earlier vowed to fight corruption, saying it is the second war the country has to fight following its victory over IS.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Tillerson: US will remain Iraq’s closest ally


Announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding worth $ 3 billion with the Ministry of Finance
Kuwait / Morning follow-up

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding worth $ 3 billion to support Iraq in a number of projects, stressing the support of the US administration to Prime Minister Haider Abadi in the fight against corruption and terrorism.

"As President Trump said, we are committed to supporting the private sector in Iraq in the areas of import and export," Tillerson said in a speech at the Invest in Iraq conference in Kuwait.

"A memorandum of understanding was signed between the US bank Exim and the Iraqi Ministry of Finance worth $ 3 billion American for a number of projects in the field of transport and other areas ».

"US companies have signed a $ 2 billion agreement on electricity in Iraq," Tillerson said. "Another $ 350 million project will be launched, along with several new projects."

Tillerson stressed that «the United States will remain the closest ally of Iraq, which has gone through important stages in its history and we support a stable Iraq», pointing at the end of his speech that «the US administration supports Abadi in the fight against corruption».