The Acting Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (A-SRSG), Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, has condemned in the strongest terms the assassination on 22 July of the Head of the Arab bloc in the Kirkuk Provincial Council and Deputy Chairman of the Provincial Council Security Committee, Sheikh Abdallah Sami Al-Assi, and two of his bodyguards.

Sheikh Al-Assi was a pivotal and well-respected political figure in Kirkuk, who always advocated dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the province. He engaged with UNAMI in the discussions on the way forward for holding Kirkuk elections.

Mr. Busztin extends his sincere condolences to the families of Sheikh Al-Assi and of those who were murdered with him, as well as to the Kirkuk Provincial Council.

(Source: UNAMI)

(Picture: The Government Electoral Office in Kirkuk, Iraq. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry has said that exports of crude oil fell in June for the second consecutive month, due to bad weather at the ports and attacks on northern pipelines.

Shipments dropped to 69.8 million barrels for the month, or 2.33 million barrels a day (bpd), bringing in a total of $6.8 billion in revenue. This is down from the 76.9 million barrels shipped in May and 78.7 million in April, earning $7.48 billion and $7.76 billion, respectively.

The fall was blamed on sabotage of the pipeline network from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, together with high winds and dust storms that halted tanker loadings at southern terminals (pictured). In addition, the country’s self-governing Kurdish region has stopped exporting since December amid a dispute between Kurdish authorities and the central government.

Continued attacks on the pipeline are expected to lead to further falls in July.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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

Two Iraqi parliamentary committees monitoring fiscal policy in Iraq have held two contradictory positions on the Iraqi currency “reset” project, which would delete three zeros from the currency. There has been much debate about the project’s feasibility and the date of its implementation.

While the parliamentary Economic Committee believes that the deletion of three zeros from the Iraqi currency would strengthen it, the parliamentary Finance Committee fears that this project would open the door to counterfeit operations.

In a statement to Al-Monitor, Mudher Mohammad Saleh, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, warned against the consequences of such a step if it is not implemented at the appropriate time.

Abdul Abbas Shayya, a member of the Economic Committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Al-Monitor, “Reforming the management of the Iraqi currency now requires the deletion of three zeros. This has been endorsed by the parliamentary Economy and Investment Committee.”

Shayya, an MP for the State of Law Coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, added that the Economic Committee “asked the government and the Central Bank to quickly replace the current Iraqi currency with another that is less [in value] by three zeros.”

“The Iraqi currency is weak, and the money supply has amounted to multi-trillions because of the existence of these useless zeros,” he said. “The country will witness a significant increase in oil revenues, financial earnings and high budgets. Thus, we need to print new banknotes, as estimated by the Central Bank.”

By John Lee.

Iraq has officially requested the UN Security Council to extend the term of UNAMI in Iraq for another year, reports Aswat al-Iraq.

The request was submitted by Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Ali al-Hakeem to the United Nations.

He requested that UNAMI will have logistic assistance to provide adequate observers for the coming parliamentary election, to be held in the middle of next year.

Ambassador Hakeem also denounced the attacks on the anti-Iranian Camp Liberty residents and praised Albania for granting refugee status to 270 camp residents, as well as the German government for receiving 100 Iranians.

On the current demonstrations, he pointed out that the government is seriously trying to meet the legal demands of the demonstrators according to Iraqi constitution.

(Source: Aswat Al Iraq)

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

Iraq has been hit by a wave of bomb attacks in the biggest increase in violence in five years.

The latest attacks have included blasts at football fields, mosques and cafes, as people mark the month of Ramadan.

More than 300 people have been killed so far this July.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reports from Kirkuk:

By John Lee.

Iran’s outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is set to make a two-day visit this week to Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s spokesman said on Sunday.

He is expected to arrive in Baghdad on Thursday to meet with the Prime Minister.

According to a report from NCR-Iran, Ahmadinejad’s visit to Iraq in 2008 prompted widespread protests.

(Source: NCR-Iran)

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

The June 30 events in Egypt deserve to be carefully and attentively interpreted at all levels, as far as Iraq is concerned.

The rapid political change in Egypt did not take place against the old political leaderships, which had spread like cancer in the Arab countries for decades and required the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings to be undone. This time, the Egyptian popular movement was against political Islam movements, which were the biggest winners in the Arab revolutions.

Contrary to the tendencies that attempt to describe Egypt’s June 30 events as a “military coup,” in reality it was a popular movement par excellence, before the army intervened in determining its options.

In this regard, it is right to say that isolating the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohammed Morsi (pictured) would not have happened by popular will alone without the army’s intervention. The same is true for former President Hosni Mubarak.

Based on that, the controversy over the terms “revolution” and “coup” should not prevail over the attempt to interpret the real side of the conflict in Egypt and the region. It precisely falls under the description of the political Islam movements’ experience in governing the peoples of the region, and the significant mistakes that have been committed, especially when monopolizing power, and considering the political right as being divine.

The popular resentment against religious parties in the region cannot be understood separately from the Iraqi experience. Iraq is a vivid example of the experience of both Shiite and Sunni political Islam.

By Waheed Ghanim.

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.

Currency Class War: Damaged Dinar Notes result in Bribery, Injustice

Exchange shops, bank cashiers and savvy housewives are doing big business as they deal with Iraq’s dodgy, damaged, low-denomination notes – for a price. The losers? Pensioners and low-income earners who end up with cash they can barely use.

Every two months Makiya, a 65-year-old Iraqi woman, travels a long way to pick up her pension in cash. She lives 40 kilometres out of Basra and the journey is a difficult one for her. And then to her chagrin, whenever she gets her pension, it mostly comes in low-denomination notes that are damaged, torn or otherwise destroyed.

“The people who come to collect their pensions are not treated the same way as others,” Makiya complains. “To get clean, undamaged bank notes you have to pay the bankers a bribe.”

Additionally Makiya says that if anybody complains about the IQD3,000 that is usually deducted from the payments by the bankers –a service fee taken for no apparent reason, she says – they are punished by being given even more of the damaged or distressed banknotes.

“And then when you get the damaged bank notes you can’t do anything with them because nobody accepts this money,” Makiya says.

The descriptions “talef” and “naqes” are often used by people like Makiya when they talk about money. Respectively the words mean damaged and missing and are terms used to describe the smaller notes – the IQD1,000 notes and the half and quarter dinar notes – that those who can’t afford to pay for better, bigger banknotes end up with.