On Tuesday, the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) made available $270 million to the Governmentof the State of Kuwait towards the Commission’s remaining claim with an outstanding award balance.

The United Nations Compensation Commission was established in 1991 in accordance with Security Council resolutions 687 (1991) and 692 (1991) to process claims and pay compensation for losses and damages incurred by individuals, corporations, Governments and international organizations as a direct result of Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait (2 August 1990 to 2 March 1991).

The Commission received approximately 2.7 million claims and concluded its review of all claims in 2005.

Approximately $52.4 billionwas awarded to over 100 Governments and international organizationsfor distribution to 1.5 million claims in all claim categories.

Successful claims are paid from the United Nations Compensation Fund which receives a percentage of the proceeds generated by the export sales of Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products.

This amount was previously set at five per cent under Security Council resolution 1483 (2003), and reaffirmed in subsequent resolutions.

Pursuant to Governing Council decision 276 adopted in November 2017, the percentage was set at0.5 per cent for2018 and increased to 1.5 per cent in 2019.

This amount will increase to 3 per cent beginning in 2020 and remain at that level until such time as the outstanding compensation has beenpaid in full. Payments are made on a quarterly basis utilizing all available funds in the Compensation Fundunder Governing Council decision 267 (2009).

With today’s payment, the Commission has paid out $48.7 billion, leaving approximately $3.7 billion to be paid to the only claim with an outstanding award balance. This category E claim was submitted by the Government of the State of Kuwait on behalf of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and awarded $14.7 billion in 2000 for oil production and sales losses as a result of damages to Kuwait’s oil field assets.

It represents the largest award by the Commission.

(Source: UNCC)

By John Lee.

Iran has reportedly reassured Iraq that there will be freedom of international maritime navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (pictured) gave the reassurances to an Iraqi delegation visiting Tehran.

(Source: Reuters)

Former Unaoil executive pleads guilty to conspiracy to give corrupt payments

Basil Al Jarah, Unaoil’s former partner in Iraq, pleaded guilty on 15 July 2019 to five offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in connection with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO)’s investigation into Unaoil.

The offences relate to the award of contracts to supply and install single point moorings and oil pipelines in southern Iraq. A court order restricting reporting of the plea was lifted today.

In the same investigation, Ziad Akle, Paul Bond and Stephen Whiteley have been charged with conspiracy to make corrupt payments. A trial is scheduled to begin on 13 January 2020 at Southwark Crown Court.

(Source: UK Serious Fraud Office)

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On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two militia figures, Rayan al-Kildani and Waad Qado, and two former Iraqi governors, Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan and Ahmed al-Jubouri, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.

“The United States is taking action against four individuals in Iraq implicated in serious human rights abuse or corruption,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “We will continue to hold accountable persons associated with serious human rights abuse, including persecution of religious minorities, and corrupt officials who exploit their positions of public trust to line their pockets and hoard power at the expense of their citizens.”

Many of the corruption- and abuse-related actions committed by these sanctioned individuals occurred in areas where persecuted religious communities are struggling to recover from the horrors inflicted on them by ISIS.  Therefore, today’s sanctions demonstrate solidarity with all Iraqis who oppose corruption and human rights abuse undertaken by public officials, and underscore the Administration’s commitment to support the recovery of persecuted religious communities in Iraq.

As a result of today’s actions, all property and interests in property of these individuals, and any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by these individuals, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit any dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked persons.

RAYAN AL-KILDANI

Rayan al-Kildani (al-Kildani) was designated for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or who has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse.

Al-Kildani is the leader of the 50th Brigade militia.  In May 2018, a video circulated among Iraqi human rights civil society organizations in which al-Kildani cut off the ear of a handcuffed detainee.

The 50th Brigade is reportedly the primary impediment to the return of internally displaced persons to the Ninewa Plain.  The 50th Brigade has systematically looted homes in Batnaya, which is struggling to recover from ISIS’s brutal rule.  The 50th Brigade has reportedly illegally seized and sold agricultural land, and the local population has accused the group of intimidation, extortion, and harassment of women.

WAAD QADO

Waad Qado (Qado) was designated for being a foreign person who is or has been a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to the leader’s or official’s tenure.

Qado is the leader of the 30th Brigade militia.  The 30th Brigade has extracted money from the population around Bartalla, in the Ninewa Plain, through extortion, illegal arrests, and kidnappings.  The 30th Brigade has frequently detained people without warrants, or with fraudulent warrants, and has charged arbitrary customs fees at its checkpoints.  Members of the local population allege that the 30th Brigade has been responsible for egregious offenses including physical intimidation, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, and rape.

NAWFAL HAMMADI AL-SULTAN

Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan (al-Sultan) is designated for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or who has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.

Al-Sultan is a former governor of Ninewa Province, Iraq.  Following a ferry accident in Ninewa’s capital, Mosul, that killed nearly 100 people, Iraq’s parliament removed al-Sultan from office.  The ferry, loaded to five times its capacity, had been carrying families to an island on the Tigris River when it sank.  Iraqi authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the former governor, who fled shortly after the accident.

In a letter to Members of Parliament after the ferry accident, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi accused al-Sultan of negligence and dereliction of duty, and said there was evidence the former governor was misusing funds and abusing his power.  On March 27, 2019, the Ninewa investigations court said the former governor and several other officials were suspected of misusing their powers and wasting public money.

Al-Sultan has faced allegations of widespread corruption since 1994.  He was removed from his first post as mayor because of corruption and a conviction on smuggling charges.  In 2017, the United Nations Development Program suspended reconstruction projects after multiple allegations of al-Sultan siphoning off United Nations funds.

AHMED AL-JUBOURI

Ahmed al-Jubouri (al-Jubouri) is designated for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or who has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.

Al-Jubouri, also known as Abu Mazin, is a former governor of Salah al-Din, Iraq, and current Member of Parliament who has engaged in corruption.  Al-Jubouri was removed as governor and sentenced to prison in July 2017 upon conviction for misusing authority and federal funds and appropriating land for personal use.  Al-Jubouri has since been released.  Al-Jubouri has been known to protect his personal interests by accommodating Iran-backed proxies that operate outside of state control.

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY

Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, on December 20, 2017, the President signed E.O. 13818, “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, has reached such scope and gravity that they threaten the stability of international political and economic systems.  Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets.  The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.

To date, OFAC has sanctioned 113 individuals and entities pursuant to E.O. 13818.  These designations are in addition to the numerous human rights- or corruption-related designations Treasury has issued under various other sanctions authorities.  In total, since January 2017, Treasury has taken action against more than 680 individuals and entities engaged in activities related to, or directly involving, human rights abuse and/or corruption.  The Treasury Department has also published advisories to U.S. financial institutions on human rights abuses enabled by corrupt senior foreign political figures and their financial facilitators that can be found here, as well as advisories related to some of the programs listed above, which can be found here.

View identifying information on the individuals designated today.

(Source: OFAC)

By Robbie Gramer, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Pompeo Seeks to Make Baghdad Embassy Pullout Permanent, Officials Say

In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered a partial evacuation of diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Now, several State Department officials say they are being told the drawdown in embassy staff will effectively become permanent, a move that could leave the U.S. Embassy short-staffed to undertake important tasks like countering Iran on the diplomatic front—and in the short-term has marooned hundreds of diplomats in the Washington area without an embassy to go back to.

Click here to read the full story.

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Defense Minister of Iran Brigadier General Amir Hatami called for the expansion of military and defense ties between Tehran and Baghdad, describing support for Iraq as a principled policy of the Islamic Republic.

In a telephone conversation with his new Iraqi counterpart, General Hatami congratulated Najah Hassan Ali Al-Shammari on taking the post.

Hailing Iraq as a friend of Iran with age-old religious, social and civilizational commonalities, the Iranian minister expressed the hope for the enhancement of military and defense cooperation between the two neighbors during Al-Shammari’s tenure.

Supporting the Iraqi government and nation is a principled policy of the Islamic Republic, General Hatami noted, adding, “We consider Iraq’s security, stability and progress as being in the interests of the region, and have always defended it.”

Stressing the need for closer consultations between Tehran and Baghdad on the bilateral and regional issues, the defense minister invited his Iraqi counterpart to pay a visit to Iran.

For his part, Al-Shammari praised Iran for supporting Iraq in the fight against terrorist groups, saying the two neighboring states share a lot of interests and their security and stability are interrelated.

Earlier in June, Commander of Khatam al-Anbia Anti-Aircraft Base of the Iranian Army, Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi Fard, said the Iranian Air Defense is fully prepared to satisfy Iraq’s air defense demands in all areas.

In April, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to launch air defense cooperation to combat possible threats to Iran’s western border.

In July 2017, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to boost military cooperation in a host of fields, including counterterrorism.

Based on the deal, Tehran and Baghdad try to promote interaction and share experiences in the fight against terrorism and extremism, work together to ensure border security, and provide each other with training and logistical, technical and military support.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iraq: Thousands Detained, Including Children, in Degrading Conditions

Nineveh’s extremely overcrowded detention facilities are holding thousands of prisoners in Iraq, most on terrorism charges, for extended periods in conditions so degrading that they amount to ill-treatment.

The authorities should ensure that prisoners are not held in inhuman conditions and that there is a clear legal basis for detentions, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

The Iraqi government urgently needs to rebuild and rehabilitate its detention facilities,” said Lama Fakih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Iraq has a duty to ensure that detainees are housed decently, in line with international standards.

More here.

(Source: HRW)

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

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Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com