The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, the Republic of Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC):

The Government of Iraq, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United States have renewed their full support for the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) project to connect the electricity grids of Iraq and the GCC. The United States is committed to facilitating this project and providing support where needed.

This project will provide much-needed electricity to the people of Iraq and support Iraq’s economic development, particularly in the southern provinces.

The Government of Iraq, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United States look forward to increased close economic and energy cooperation between the United States, Iraq, and the GCC countries, as a basis for peace, development, and prosperity in the region.

The Government of Iraq, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United States called for the speedy and full implementation of the pledges made in 2018 by the international community at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

(Source: US State Dept)

By Elizabeth Hagedorn for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US squeezes Islamic State’s cash flow with new sanctions

The United States and six other countries imposed fresh sanctions today on half a dozen targets accused of helping fund the operations of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), including by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to the group’s leaders in Iraq and Syria.

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By Yerevan Saeed for Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Coronavirus could cause US to lose Iraqi Kurdish region to China

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, China has been working to expand its influence over the KRG through medical aid.

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The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF), the United States’ largest charity devoted exclusively to advocacy and support for Iraq’s children, premiered today a fresh, impactful design and message for the cause.

ICF Board Chairman Mohammed Khudairi explained:

Today, we reintroduce ourselves to Americans and the international community with a fresh voice. For over a decade, ICF has intervened with love and hope in the lives of children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists. 

“We have invested in life-changing education, legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and other support for the most marginalized children: orphans, street kids, children displaced by war, child laborers, and disabled kids.  We are now standing with them in the face of new dangers from COVID-19.

Liz McRae, Executive Director, said:

We started this process in early 2020 and poured our hearts and souls into creating a new image that would accurately depict who we are at our core, as an organization. As COVID-19 began to dramatically impact the world and our work, we doubled down on our efforts to refocus on our organization and the way we do things.

“Our mission and vision are strong, and we recognized the importance of the right tools to communicate messages driving real and meaningful change. We are committed to ‘thinking big’ to address the critical need for orphans and street children in Iraq, now more than ever.

ICF’s voice for Iraq’s children is reflected in the visual identity the organization debuted today.  It reflects a modern, bright, optimistic and inclusive outlook, focused on the deepest needs of children to belong to their family, community, and nation.

This idea is presented in the graphic pattern, with four elements surrounding the map of Iraq: the sunshine symbolizing hope, growth in the form of the date palm leaf and fruit of Iraq, and water marking the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which represent the historic position of Iraq as the seat of civilization.

The tagline – Protect. Nurture. Empower. – codifies ICF’s core mission to ensure all children are safe, have a voice, and are empowered to reach their full potential.

* Cuneiform inscriptions based on the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia.

That mission – to protect, nurture, and empower – is manifested in ICF’s projects in recent years, including a “Street Lawyers” project providing legal protection and aid to more than 1,200 children and securing legal identity documents needed for school and nutrition and other benefits for 1,300 children.

Social services – including services for mental health, ending abuse, stopping child labor, and medical care – have been delivered to 1,006 children.  Two child-friendly and colorful “Hope Buses” in a desperately poor neighborhood provide tutoring and nutritious meals to empower an average of 100 orphans and street children each school day.

Some of these initiatives have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 related curfews in Baghdad and other obstacles to service operations.

ICF is a non-partisan, non-sectarian tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity with top Platinum status on Guidestar.  It is also listed on the U.S. government’s workplace giving platform, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #95191).   Board and Advisor leadership includes veterans, former Ambassadors, top U.S. child welfare experts, Iraqi-American professionals, and business executives.  ICF initiatives in Iraq are executed with competent, trusted Iraqi NGO partners who know local communities and urgent needs best.   ICF relies on both private and corporate donations to make this work possible.

Learn more about our work and donate at www.iraqichildren.org, or contact ICF Executive Director Elizabeth (Liz) McRae at liz@iraqichildren.org

(Source: ICF)

By John Lee.

Spartan Air Academy Iraq LLC, Irving, Texas, has been awarded a $14,769,952 firm-fixed-price modification (P00006) to contract FA8617-20-C-6232 for the Iraq T-6A contractor logistics support and training maintenance program.

The modification provides for the exercise of an option to extend the term of the contract for the continued services needed in order to effectively maintain and operate a fleet of 15 T-6A training aircraft.

Work will be performed at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2020.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

 

By Toby Dodge, for Chatham House. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Twin Pillars of US Policy Puts Iraqi Dialogue at Risk

A new strategic dialogue between US and Iraqi governments is meant to place the bilateral relationship on a sustainable basis.

But current US policy towards the region will make this tough to achieve.

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By Anthony H. Cordesman, for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Strategic Dialogue: Shaping a U.S. Strategy for the “Ghosts” of Iraq

The Burke Chair is issuing the fourth major revision to a Burke Chair analysis of the political/governance, economic, and security challenges that Iraq faces in creating a lasting strategic relationship with the United States.

This analysis was developed to explore the issues raised by Secretary Pompeo’s announcement on April 7, 2020, that the United States would hold a strategic dialogue with the Iraqi government in mid-June 2020.

Please click here to download the full 86-page report.

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

The future for more than 5,000 US soldiers in Iraq is about to become clearer.

Since joining the fight against ISIL in 2014, Washington has provided about $5bn in military aid to Baghdad.

But discussions are now being held on how much longer the troops will be there.

Al Jazeera‘s Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad:

Consul General in Erbil Virtually Meets President and Students of Sulaimaniya University

The U.S. Consul General in Erbil, Steve Fagin, met virtually with Dr. Ridha Hassan Hussein, President of Sulaimaniya University and students to discuss future academic collaboration, the impact of COVID19 and recent activities organized by the American Corner in Sulaimaniya.

Consul General Fagin encouraged the university students and staff to apply for exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The U.S. remains committed to building academic linkages between U.S. institutions and universities in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

(Source: US Embassy in Baghdad)

By Larry Luxner, for the Atlantic Council. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US-Iraq strategic talks not just about security issues, says Iraqi former foreign minister

Mustafa al-Kadhimi was confirmed as prime minister of Iraq on May 6 and the task before him has rightly been called a suicide mission.

There is hardly any national issue that does not present a potentially crippling challenge for al-Kadhimi.

He faces a virtually bankrupt treasury, public sector expenses that are among the highest in the world, collapsing public services, entrenched corruption, a resurgent Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), rogue militias, rising US-Iran tensions, and the prospect of renewed demonstrations as the summer advances.

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