By John Lee.

Two companies have won tenders to supply Safety and Security Demining Equipment and Binoculars to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Iraq.

The contract with US-based Sarkar Tactical Ltd is valued at $21,260, while the contract withUS-based OKI General Trading is valued at $2,725.

(Source: UNGM)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Mission to Baghdad: December 9-11, 2018

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the first business mission for American companies to Baghdad since the 2018 parliamentary elections.

Delegates will have an opportunity to meet Iraqi leadership and learn about commercial and investment opportunities across a range of sectors.

Host: Andrew Peek, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Guest Speakers: Deputy Secretary John Sullivan; U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman; U.S. Chamber’s Vice President for the Middle East Steve Lutes

More details here.

(Source: US Embassy)

By Saad Salloum for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

To what extent can US aid help Iraq’s minorities?

Iraqi minorities have warmly welcomed the Oct. 16 announcement by the US State Department that it would be providing $178 million in additional aid for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq.

Murad Ismael, the executive director of Yazda, a global Yazidi organization, wrote on his Facebook page, “Thank you, America, because you are the mother of persecuted minorities. … The United States today stands with the Yazidi people … this is not something new for America, but the Yazidis really appreciate this stand.

Mona Yako, an expert focusing on the protection of minorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, welcomed the size and timing of the US aid. She also stressed to Al-Monitor that such aid must be disbursed fairly, be based on priorities and be free of corruption.

Click here to read the full story.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warmly welcomes the generous 2018 contributions from the Government of the United States of America, which reached a cumulative total of US$ 128.8 million for Syrian refugees and internally displaced Iraqis.

With the support of donors like the United States, UNHCR can continue to provide assistance to the millions of people who are still in need in Iraq.

While the country recovers from conflict, the needs of Iraqis diversify. Even as cities are rebuilt and communities begin to flourish, approximately two million people, many of them extremely vulnerable, are still displaced.

An essential component of the protection of displaced people is voluntary, safe, and sustainable return, which in turn is at the heart of the recovery and stabilization of Iraq. Sustainable return is an important step on the road to peace and stability.

Cities like Mosul and Ramadi were heavily damaged during the conflict. Restoring these cities is an immense task, and the work is far from over. In parts of West Mosul, Sinjar, the Ninewa Plains, and Anbar, rubble is not yet cleared of explosives and services like water and electricity are not fully functional. In such instances, conditions for sustainable return are not yet met. It is of the utmost importance that assistance for displaced Iraqis continues to avoid premature returns to these areas, which could result in further displacement.

At the same time, the communities hosting displaced people also face increased hardship, and resources are stretched. Without ongoing support, many among the displaced and hosting population would struggle to make ends meet. U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman commented: “The United States is deeply committed to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to refugees in Iraq and Syria… [The U.S. Government] contribution will assist those who are not yet able to return home voluntarily, safely, and with dignity.”

“A year since the end of large-scale fighting in Iraq, our work is far from over,” said Bruno Geddo, UNHCR Representative in Iraq. “The wounds inflicted by years of conflict on people and communities will take a long time to heal. Major efforts are underway by the authorities, UN agencies and partners to support displaced Iraqis as they return. Rebuilding Iraq is not just about bricks and mortar, but the coming together of cohesive and inclusive communities, which will take time. With the extraordinary support of donors like the United States, UNHCR will continue to stand with the people of Iraq until the job is done.”

(Source: UN)

TGS USA, of McLean, Virginia, USA (Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings Ltd) has been awarded a $39,543,009 firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (Iraq) contract for Toyota Land Cruisers and spare parts.

Bids were solicited via the internet with three received.

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 16, 2018. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-19-D-0010).

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

By John Lee.

Both Germany’s Siemens and US-based GE have signed deals with the Iraqi government on Sunday to provide major additional power generating capacity to Iraq.

Following a hotly-contested competition, the two rivals are to share the work, with GE supplying 14 Gigawatts (GW), and Siemens 11 GW.

(Sources: GE, Siemens)

GE (NYSE: GE) signed Principles of Cooperation (POC) with the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity to develop the country’s power sector.

The plan is expected to generate up to 14 gigawatts (GW) of power, create up to 65,000 direct and indirect jobs, support the government to realize savings and recoverable losses of up to $3 billion per year, establish a local technology center and support water and healthcare access.

The POC was signed by Minister Qasim Al Fahdawi, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity, and Joseph Anis, President & CEO of GE’s Power Services in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The comprehensive plan builds on GE’s legacy of continuous presence and commitment to bring progress to the people of Iraq over the past 50 years, and is comprised of the following key tenets:

  1. Supporting the path to energy security with 14 GW. As an immediate priority, GE will deploy proven fast power technologies and undertake upgrades at existing power plant sites to bring approximately 1.5 GW of additional power online by 2019 – the equivalent electricity needed to supply up to 1.5 million Iraqi homes, as well as undertake maintenance and rehabilitation services to secure the availability of another 7 GW that are currently operating. In addition, the agreement includes upgrades and services for existing power plants; the conversion of simple cycle power plants to combined cycle, which can help bring new power online without consuming additional fuel or releasing further emissions; as well as the establishment of new power plants with efficient, reliable power generation technology. Furthermore, GE will develop substations and overhead lines across the country, and a centralized energy management system covering generation, transmission and distribution. These initiatives will add up to 14 GW of power and strengthen grid connectivity.
  2. Realizing $3 billion in savings and recoverable losses annually. Overall, GE’s activities will help the Government realize savings and recover losses of up to $3 billion per year. Repairs, maintenance, upgrades and other services will help to reduce the operating costs of existing power plants. To further improve the transmission and distribution of power, GE will undertake comprehensive decongestion network studies, as well as advisory services to reduce collection recoverable losses. In addition, GE is offering its unique solution for integrating the capture of flared gas and power generation using GE’s advanced Gas to Power technologies. In July, Baker Hughes, a GE company signed a contract with the Iraqi Ministry  of Oil for a modular natural gas plant solution for flared gas recovery in the Nassiriya and Al Gharraf oilfields.

GE will assist the Government of Iraq to unlock financing for these projects through its extensive relationships with Global Export Credit Agencies and financial institutions.

As part of the proposals included in the POC, as well as GE’s commitment to a shared future and the progress of the Iraqi people, the company also expects to:

  1. Build local capabilities. GE plans to establish a local Technology Center comprising of a Repairs Center, a Monitoring & Diagnostics Center and a Training Center.
  2. Contribute towards providing critical services to local communities. GE intends to supply three trailer-mounted mobile water treatment units to help deliver drinking water to contribute to the everyday needs of the people of Basra. The company also plans to provide neonatal intensive care equipment and advanced medical care training for nursing staff at a neonatal intensive care center to meet the need for specialized healthcare services.

Mussab Almudaris, official spokesperson of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, said, “Our focus is on rebuilding Iraq to provide stable, sustainable development for our people, and developing the electricity sector is a critical component of these efforts. GE’s action plan is an ideal fit for our needs, offering a holistic package that brings industry-leading technologies, financing and social services to meet our most critical immediate and long-term needs.”

Russell Stokes, President & CEO of GE Power said, “Our presence in Iraq is based on a history of trust, partnership and success that spans over 50 years. We are honored to support the government’s focus on rebuilding Iraq, and we are proud of our legacy of delivering power where needed in the country. We understand how important it is to deliver power immediately and our holistic action plan brings together advanced solutions, financing, local investments, trainings and social services that are expected to benefit families, businesses and industries across Iraq.”

GE employs up to 300 people in Iraq and has three offices in the country – in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil. Today, GE and its partner CFMI power more than 90 percent of the aircrafts operated by Iraqi Airways, the company’s technologies contribute up to 55 percent of the current electricity production in Iraq and nearly 4,000 GE Healthcare products are deployed in hospitals and clinics across the country.

(Source: GE)

US Assistance to Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Iraq

As part of the continued commitment by Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo (pictured), and USAID Administrator Green to support ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq as highlighted earlier this year at the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, the United States is proud to announce over $178 million in U.S. foreign assistance to support these vulnerable communities in Iraq. This brings total U.S. assistance for this population to nearly $300 million since Fiscal Year 2017, implemented by both the State Department and USAID.

The preservation of Iraq’s rich historical pluralism is critical to reintegrating persecuted ethnic and religious minority communities into a peaceful Iraq. U.S. efforts to meet this objective span government agencies and are being implemented urgently, in close partnership with local faith and community leaders. Our efforts focus on the following areas:

Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response (GRPR)

  • Over $133 million in recently launched activities supporting the four pillars of USAID’s GRPR Program, bringing total funding for GRPR to $239 million.
    • Meeting Immediate Needs: Over $51 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to populations from the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, includes safe drinking water, food, shelter materials and household items, medical care, and psychosocial support.
    • Helping Restore Communities: $9 million in funding to support early recovery needs and restore access to services like health and education.
    • Promoting Economic Recovery: $68 million in funding to improve access to jobs and markets, support local businesses, and revive the local economy.
    • Preventing Future Atrocities: $5 million to address systemic issues affecting minority populations and prevent future atrocities.

Clearing the Explosive Remnants of War

  • Approximately $37 million in funding to support explosive remnants of war (ERW) survey, clearance, and risk education in and around minority communities. This support has enabled the Department to significantly expand the number of U.S.-funded ERW survey, clearance, and risk education teams across Ninewa and fulfills the Secretary’s pledge to expand ERW clearance efforts in Iraqi minority communities made at the July 2018 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

Social, Economic, and Political Empowerment

  • $8.5 million in additional assistance to projects that provide psychosocial services, legal support, and initiatives to help collect evidence of human rights abuses; increase minority representation in local and provincial government; increase access to justice for children; strengthen rule of law; and provide livelihoods support and access to economic opportunities for vulnerable groups bringing the FY 2017 total to $18.5 million.

Preservation of Historic and Cultural Heritage Sites

  • $2 million in ongoing programming to support the preservation of cultural heritage sites in Northern Iraq that were targeted for destruction by ISIS and other terrorist groups, safeguarding, preserving, and restoring access to significant cultural heritage sites of minority communities.

(Source: US State Dept)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions today on Afaq Dubai, an Iraq-based money services business (MSB) that has been moving money for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Today’s designation follows action taken by the Department of Defense—announced on October 11—against a key ISIS financial facilitation group.  This MSB is a part of ISIS’s financial network that includes an array of other MSBs, hawalas, and financial facilitators in the Middle East.

OFAC named Afaq Dubai as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224, for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIS.  Contrary to what the name may imply, this MSB is located in Iraq and does not have any branches in the United Arab Emirates.

“This Iraq-based MSB is a part of ISIS’s complex network of money services businesses, hawalas, and financial facilitators funding terrorism across the Middle East.  We are targeting this network in concert with the Department of Defense as part of this Administration’s ongoing campaign to cut off ISIS’s ability to launder money and move illicit funds,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  “Even as ISIS’s hold on territory is eliminated, we will continue to search for and shut down the illicit financial networks ISIS utilizes to fund terror attacks and sustain operations.”

Today’s action is a continuation of Treasury’s ongoing efforts to shut down financial facilitators and MSBs worldwide that move money on behalf of ISIS.  It follows the designation of two ISIS financial facilitators in September with ties to the Caribbean and the Middle East.  In December 2016, OFAC designated Selselat al Thahab Money Exchange in Iraq, ISIS financier Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi, and his company, the Hanifa Currency Exchange in Albu Kamal, Syria.  Prior to his death, al-Rawi used the Hanifa Currency Exchange in Albu Kamal, Syria and a global network of financiers to move millions of dollars on behalf of the terrorist group.

OFAC closely coordinated today’s designation with the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which released details on October 11 regarding its joint action against members of a key ISIS financial facilitation group, who leveraged this MSB as part of its operation.   Coordinated actions such as those conducted by DoD and Treasury this week disrupt and curtail ISIS’s logistical infrastructure, recruiting, and revenue generation.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Afaq Dubai subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

DESIGNATED TARGET

Afaq Dubai

Afaq Dubai was designated for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of ISIS.

Afaq Dubai — which is located in Iraq — is part of a network of ISIS-associated money services businesses and financial facilitators in the Middle East.  It is run by two ISIS financiers, and, as of early 2018, laundered money for ISIS and provided money to ISIS families.

In May 2018, a Jordan-based ISIS financial facilitator deposited $3 million from Iraqi dinar into three exchanges, including Afaq Dubai.

Identifying information on the entity designated today.

(Source: OFAC)