By John Lee.

Quantitech Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, has been awarded a $9,999,908 firm-fixed-price contract to procure systems engineering, test and evaluation, and computer resources supporting the Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar Program Directorate (C-RAM) in Iraq and Afghanistan with capability integration with the Air and Missile Defense Planning and Control System.

Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of May 5, 2016.

Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

(Picture: Quantitech CEO, Sheila Brown)

By John Lee.

FIFA, the international federation governing soccer, has reportedly lifted a ban on playing friendly football matches in Iraq.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Youth and Sport told AIN that the head of FIFA, Joseph Blatter (pictured), has agreed to allow friendly football matches in advance of a complete lifting of the ban.

(Source: AIN)

The Basra Compact, a flagship partnership to revive the economy in southern Iraq

The authorities of Basra and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a flagship agreement, the Basra Compact, aiming at strengthening participatory and accountable governance and reviving the economic activity in the southern governorate, which is not just oil-rich but needs to invest in its human capacity and private sector development. Protecting the cultural and ecological heritage of the Mesopotamian Marshlands is also a priority.

Despite being the richest governorate and hosting the main port in Iraq, Umm Qasr—the only shipping hub in the country—Basra is one of the most affected by poverty and chronic unemployment with 16.1% of the population living below the poverty line of US$ 2.5 per day and facing staggering challenges in terms of access to services.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Basra authorities outlines future cooperation in the areas of decentralization, financial management and budget execution, environment protection, private sector development including micro, small and medium enterprises, and support to the governorate’s 5-year strategic planning.

“Basra’s cultural heritage and natural resources represent an unmatched wealth of opportunities that can actively contribute to the recovery of Iraq’s economy and national stabilization strategy,” noted Sabah Al-Bazouni, who leads this initiative as Head of the Provincial Council.

“This agreement is enhanced by a series of consultations and mutual exchange of information to capitalize on natural resources being progressively reinvested towards the advancement of human development,” he said.

By John Lee.

The State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for Ammunition and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $395 million.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 5,000 81mm High Explosive Mortar Ammunition, 684,000 M203 40mm High Explosive Ammunition, 532,000 MK19 40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose Ammunition, and 40,000 155mm High Explosives.

Also includes small arms ammunition, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated cost is $395 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. This proposed sale directly supports the Government of Iraq and serves the interests of the people of Iraq and the United States.

This proposed sale of additional ammunition is critical in providing continued combat power capability as Iraq continues its fight against an organized insurgency of extremists in Iraq. Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing this additional ammunition into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this additional ammunition will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors will be American Ordinance in Middletown, Iowa and AMTEC in Janesville, Wisconsin. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this sale will not require U.S. Government representatives or contractors to travel to Iraq.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

 

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has published the Monthly Export Report for April, 2015.

The detailed report provides a summary of crude oil exports in April through the Kurdistan pipeline network to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey.

The report also indicates the volumes provided to SOMO by the KRG in line with the KRG’s agreement with the Federal Government.

Please click here to download the full report.

(Source: KRG)

By Dr Natalie Schoon, Islamic finance expert.

This is an extract from an article originally published by Nina Iraq, and is reproduced here with permission.

At a time when women generally had little to no rights, the Quran introduced equality between genders.

Women were not owned by their husbands, but were considered independent and could have their own property. Equally, the fact that they had (and have) the right to a share of any inheritance was put beyond dispute.

In fact, the inheritance rules are very strict. First, funeral expenses and any outstanding debt is paid from the estate. After that, a Muslim is entitled to leave one third of their estate to any person or charitable organisation as they desire by will or final testament.

The remaining two thirds is allocated to heirs as outlined in Surrat al-Nisa (the women), ayats (verses) 11, 12, and 176 and is summarised in the table below.

In this context it is generally accepted that parents refer to both biological parents as well as adoptive parents and children refers to both own and adopted children.

Please click here to view the full article.

(Quran image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The parliamentary economic and investment commission has reportedly said that the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) is not able to redenominate the Iraqi dinar, deleting the three zeros.

According to a report from Shafaq News, this is “due to the unstable economic situation.

Instead, new banknotes worth 50,000 dinars are to be printed, while the introduction of a new 100,000 dinar note is to be postponed.

(Source: Shafaq News)

(Dinar image via Shutterstock)

Iraq: Developing More Capacity to Manage Public Funds

Even amid conflict and fluctuations in oil prices, as home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves, Iraq has the sort of wealth from natural resources that makes it possible for its government to invest in the country’s infrastructure.

Iraq spent more than US$51 billion on public procurement in 2014, well over 20% of the country’s GDP. Harnessing this revenue to develop the economy, however, requires an efficient system of government contracting.

Public procurement in Iraq has been effected by decades of sanctions, war, and instability—conditions that have created a system characterized by inefficiency, corruption, and delays. Procurement is a bottleneck that prevents budgetary expenditure; according to the World Bank’s 2014 Public Investment Management Report, often the process is stuck at 50%–60% of its capacity.

Another assessment in 2012 showed widespread corruption in public contracting weakening investors’ perceptions of doing business in Iraq, and thus hurting its prospects of increased foreign investment. Simply put, Iraq’s outdated procurement system, combined with its post-conflict low absorptive capacity, is significantly increasing the cost of public investment and also diminishing its returns.

The Bank’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) procurement team has worked with the Government of Iraq to address this. The Bank’s regional public procurement strategy promotes building capacity in a way that moves beyond small-scale, short-term training, towards comprehensive programs that look for more sustainable solutions.

In Iraq, the Bank is trying to help the country build a future generation of civil servants with the skills needed to manage procurement with efficiency and integrity.

By John Lee.

Fiber optic company m2fx has announced a new partnership with Hevek Company, expanding distribution of its products into Iraq for the first time.

Hevek Company will provide customers with m2fx’s full product range, including its tough yet flexible range of pushable fiber cables, lightweight aerial solutions and microducts for Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks.

Fariborz Ardalan, Managing Director, Hevek Company, said:

“With m2fx solutions now available in Iraq data providers finally have the opportunity to quickly respond to customer demands without needing expensive installation equipment or highly trained engineers.”

Hevek Company has already supplied m2fx cables and microducts to leading carrier Gorannet, which is deploying them as part of its FTTH customer rollout in Kurdistan.

Simon Roberts, sales director, Middle East and Africa, m2fx, said:

“The telecoms market in Iraq is changing very quickly as the country rebuilds and upgrades infrastructure, harnessing the power of high speed fiber to transform the economy.”

(Source: )

By Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

As a coalition of Sunni Arab states led by Saudi Arabia targets Shiite Houthi forces and their allies in Yemen, Iraqi Kurds are watching with concern and caution, wondering how the repercussions of the region’s deepening sectarian conflicts might affect them.

Sandwiched geographically between opposing Shiite and Sunni regional powers such as Iran and Turkey, Iraqi Kurds wonder how long until they are dragged into the unfolding regional hostilities.

“If the struggle reaches its pinnacle and leads to an even deeper polarization, Kurds might be forced to become part of it,” said Muthana Amin, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Kurdistan Islamic Union. “If Kurds become part of this struggle, then we will be serving outside agendas and will end up empty-handed.”

In recent years, Kurds have shown signs of division in face of regional polarization. The eruption of the Syrian revolution in 2011 divided the largely united Iraqi Kurds regarding the Kurdish response to Syrian events. The two major Iraqi Kurdish groups, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), appeared to be aligning themselves with opposite regional camps.

The KDP, led by Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, adopted a pro-opposition stance, as did most of the Sunni states in the region, from Turkey to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The PUK, led by former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, refrained from supporting that policy and has been seen as closer to the Iran-led camp.

While most other regional actors possibly chose allies based on sectarian identities, Iraqi Kurdish politics are hardly defined in terms of Sunni-Shiite affiliations. In fact, both the KDP and PUK are heavily dominated by secular elites.