Iraqi budget bill a ‘bomb’ for Kurdistan, says minister

By HEVIDAR AHMED 2 hours ago

Fazil Nabi, Iraq’s Deputy Finance Minister.

Neither Baghdad nor Erbil is likely to abide by the 2017 budget bill, said Fazil Nabi, Iraq’s Deputy Finance Minister. “Both are now convinced that it is better for each to financially run itself independently,” he argued.

Rudaw: The Iraqi Parliament passed the country’s 2017 budget bill. You play the role of Iraq’s Finance Minister now. Is this budget bill in favor of the Kurdistan Region? 
Fazil Nabi: We, the Iraqi government, settled on the content of the 2015 Erbil-Baghdad agreement for the new budget bill. The agreement was not, however, followed through. I already had a feeling that the pact would not be enforced, although it was followed through until the end of June. The problem was Baghdad’s demand that the Kurdistan Region send 550,000 barrels of oil to Baghdad, including the Kirkuk oil. 
A word was fixed in Article 9 of the Iraqi budget bill which addresses the budget share for the Kurdistan Region. This word led to the failure of the agreement. It was phrased as: expenses would be from active expenditures. According to the agreement, Baghdad was bound to send 17 percent of its budget to Kurdistan monthly. But they said that they didn’t have enough cash to send 1.2 trillion Iraqi dinars (IQD) to Kurdistan monthly, claiming that they could only spend 60 percent of the country’s overall budget. They could have sent 640 billion IQD at best. 
Did the Kurds not know that this word was that bad? Why was it put there?  
The Kurds knew that, but it was unfortunately done anyway. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should do its own calculations, which is very easy. It can make 800 billion IQD monthly if it sells 550,000 barrels of oil for $40. But it will get 500-550 billion IQD monthly according to the new budget bill if the KRG commits to it. 
I don’t think Kurdistan will commit to the new Iraqi budget bill because it is not in its interests. 
If the Kurds knew that the word ‘active’ was not in their favor, why did they put it there? 
The word does not exist in the version which the Ministry of Finance drafted. It was added to it later. 
What are the negative aspects of this new budget bill to the Kurdistan Region? 
The budget is perhaps in the interests of Kurdistan under normal economic situations. It is in the favor of Kurdistan if Baghdad can fully deliver on the promises laid out in the budget bill. But Iraq is not in a favorable economic situation to obtain the amount mentioned in the budget bill. 
Baghdad has put over 100 trillion IQD in the budget as its annual income. How much do you think it can make for 2017? 
I predict that Iraq will be able to make 60-65% of the amount mentioned in the budget bill for 2017.
What minefields are there in the new Iraqi budget bill for the Kurdistan Region?  
The budget bill had no minefields for Kurdistan until it reached the parliament. The Kurdistan Region was at liberty to sell its oil independently or reach an agreement with Baghdad on this. It was riddled with minefields at the parliament. I don’t know whether this was done deliberately or out of ignorance. Some people showed themselves to be heroes in this case. But the question is the extent to which they can defend this budget bill. 
These heroes have now added Article 10 to the budget bill which stipulates: we will oblige the KRG to send its oil to Baghdad. They should have first figured out whether this budget bill was in favor or against the interests of Kurdistan. What these heroes have done is political maneuvering and entanglement of the KRG.  
I am puzzled. I don’t understand how this happened in Baghdad while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is involved in the current KRG cabinet and Qubad Talabani, the son of its leader Jalal Talabani, is the KRG’s Deputy Prime Minister. 
In the presence of knowledge that the budget share dedicated to Kurdistan is not sufficient to pay the salaries of all its employees and that the income Kurdistan is currently making is more than this budget share, how could they oblige the KRG to do something which is not in the interests of its people? Article 10 of the new Iraqi budget bill is not only a minefield. It is a big bomb planted for the Kurdistan Region. 
Can the Kurdistan Region choose to not abide by this budget law? 
Yes, it can. It would, however, have abided by this new Iraqi budget legislation if the word ‘active’ was not fixed in it. The Kurdistan Region will choose the path that will lead to more income. 
Has the previous Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had a part in drafting this budget bill? 
The reality is that al-Maliki is popular within the Iraqi parliament. He can get many things done by the parliament due to his leverage on many Iraqi representatives. Let’s not enter the political arena much. Come back to the economic issues. 
You have recently been very close to the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. What is his opinion about Kurdistan? 
His stance on the Kurdistan Region is very good now. President Barzani’s visit to Baghdad and the cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad on the offensive to eject ISIS from Mosul led to many changes between the two. 
One of the strong fronts within the Iraqi parliament now is the al-Maliki, al-Jabouri, and the PUK triad. This was very clear when the Iraqi parliament withdrew trust from the country’s former Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari. This was a political issue, not a financial one. It was done against the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) position in Baghdad rather than against Zebari himself. Neither Abadi nor his party’s parliamentary bloc was in favor of removing Zebari. Zebari has filed a lawsuit, and the Federal Court will decide on his case on December 20. He is very hopeful that he will return to his position. 
What is Abadi’s current position? What agreement does he want to reach with the Kurdistan Region?  
Abadi is smart in economic matters. He is for the 2015 agreement between Erbil and Baghdad. He speaks highly of the Kurdistan Region for about 15 to 20 minutes in current Ministerial Council meetings. His stance has recently been very positive toward the Kurdistan Region, especially since the joint Iraqi-Erbil offensive has been launched against ISIS. The new Iraqi budget bill is, however, not in the favor of Kurdistan. 
Does Abadi think this new budget bill is not in the interests of the Kurdistan Region? 
Abadi himself knows this. He is very smart. He even takes into account a penny. He is very meticulous. He understands everything in budget matters. 
It’s said that neither Baghdad will send this budget share to Kurdistan, nor will Kurdistan hand over its oil reserves to Baghdad. Do you think both sides are now convinced that it is better for each to finance itself independently of the other? 
Yes – under the current circumstances. Both are now convinced that it is better for each to financially run itself independently. 
According to the new budget bill, which the PUK and the Change Movement (Gorran) support, the Peshmerga budget is fixed within the budget dedicated for the Iraqi Infantry Forces. Can you explain this? 
The Iraqi Prime Minister is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. He knows the amount of the money. His Excellency knows how much the Iraqi Infantry Forces are getting paid. Out of the budget dedicated to the Iraqi Infantry Forces, 38 billion IQD will be given to the Peshmerga forces. 
How much money has been dedicated to the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi militia in the 2017 budget bill? 
$1 billion has been dedicated to the Hashd al-Shaabi salaries alone over the past 10 months. The 2017 budget bill has dedicated 3 trillion IQD to the Hashd al-Shaabi forces whose number is set by the new budget bill to be 122,000 soldiers. 
Iraq gets lots of cash from international lending institutions. Do they give anything to Kurdistan? 
Iraq gets 19 trillion IQD from these institutions. But they don’t give a penny to Kurdistan. 
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US Secretary of Defense: The days of “Daesh” are numbered in Mosul



Khandan – The US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, said that the ongoing operation against al “Daesh” terrorist in the city of Mosul, is going as planned, considering the days the terrorist organization in the city “are numbered.”

He said Carter in his speech on Thursday, during the opening of the defense ministers of the international coalition countries meeting against “Daesh” held in the British capital London, the international coalition forces reached a major milestone in its operations against “Daesh” in Mosul and tenderness, as quoted by the agency “Anatolia “.

Regarding the situation in Raqqa, Carter said that “tens of thousands of local fighters are now just 20 kilometers from the city, and impose the blockade it.”

Carter explained that the US Special Forces elements in Syria, with the support of local forces that are trying to control the tenderness.

Carter said , “I can not speak for the next US administration, but I am sure that the United States and military power, will continue as a key partner in this campaign, given the results we have achieved, and the strength of the international coalition.”

Trump tells Vietnam prime minister he hopes ties will grow stronger


By My Pham | HANOI

In a telephone call, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump told Vietnam’s prime minister he wanted to further strengthen fast-warming ties between the two countries, the government of the Southeast Asian nation said on Thursday.

Vietnam has advanced ties with the United States to a new level under the Obama administration as it faces down communist neighbor China’s challenge to its territorial claims in the busy waterway of the South China Sea.

During Wednesday’s conversation, Vietnamese premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc congratulated Trump on his election win and stressed the importance of maintaining friendship and cooperation.

“President-elect Trump spoke highly of the achievements of Vietnam, as well as the positive developments in bilateral ties,” Vietnam’s government said on its news website.

“He also asserted his wish to cooperate with Vietnam to accelerate the relationship between the two countries.”

Trump has had conversations with several leaders of countries locked in maritime disputes with China, among them Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.

His trade platform runs counter to Vietnam’s interests, however, with his opposition to a Trans-Pacific Partnership proving a major setback for Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter to the United States.

Trump and Phuc discussed ways to promote economic ties, trade and investment, the government added.

In a statement, Trump’s transition team confirmed the conversation, saying the two men “discussed a range of shared interests and agreed to work together to continue strengthening the relationship between the two nations”.

Just days after Trump’s win, Phuc told parliament that ratification of the TPP would be shelved because of political changes in the United States, but Vietnam still wanted good relations with Washington.

In a separate development, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, the Mustin, visited Cam Ranh international port on Thursday in a routine technical stop, the U.S. embassy said.

The ship’s visit was “an example of the depth of our comprehensive partnership and the importance of strengthening our civilian and military ties,” said U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius.

Vietnam has expressed support for the United States to maintain its security presence

in Asia. Washington fully lifted a U.S. lethal arms embargo on Vietnam in May, allowing closer defense links and some joint military exercises.

(Reporting by My Pham in HANOI; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in WASHINGTON; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Barzani: getting ready for dialogue with Baghdad on the future of the relationship and the problems are not an obstacle to independence


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The President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, said Thursday that the Kurdistan region is preparing to conduct a dialogue with Baghdad over the future of Kurdistan, noting that there is an understanding from Baghdad in this regard.

Barzani said in a speech during the independence of Kurdistan Conference organized by the American University of Dahuk and attended by Alsumaria News, “we are preparing to conduct a dialogue on the future of the relationship between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region with the federal government,” noting that “the dialogue will start in the post-war against Daesh.”

Barzani said he “turned for a positive understanding from the federal government and some Iraqi political parties in this regard,” noting that “Baghdad will remain a strategic depth for the Kurdistan region.”

He said Barzani “We Anrgb finding Iraq’s problems,” explaining “we worked a lot during the last period for Iraq’s reconstruction.”

Barzani stressed that “the internal problems in the region is not an impediment to the process of independence,” explaining that “the Kurdistan region of stability factor in the region.”

It is noteworthy that the Kurdistan region is witnessing from time to time calls for the declaration of an independent state of Kurdistan by activists and political parties, however, these claims have not formalized to prepare for the establishment of a Kurdish state.


Barzani is ready for dialogue with Baghdad and confirms that the problems will not constitute an obstacle to independence



Since 12/15/2016 15:22 pm (Baghdad time)

Barzani is ready for dialogue with Baghdad and confirms that the problems will not constitute an obstacle to independence follows ..

Expectations of higher oil prices to reach $ 60 a barrel



Khandan – expect Kuwait ‘s oil minister Issam Al – Marzouq on Thursday, said the rise in oil prices to reach $ 60 a barrel in the presence of positive indications about the oil states ‘ compliance with the recent agreements to cut production levels.

Quoted “Agence France Presse” for Marzouq said: “We expect that prices will be between 50 and 60 dollars per barrel reduction starts when the agreed” in January.

“We expect that the price up to $ 60 later and we hope to keep it. For us, the price is good and keeps the quotas OPEC (Organization ofPetroleum Exporting Countries) and non – OPEC countries “, noting that the price of a barrel of oil currently stands at $ 50.

At the end of last November, the member states agreed in theorganization , “OPEC” to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day.Following this decision, the oil producing countries declared outside the “OPEC” cut production by 550,000 barrels per day.

Announced Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait during the past few days its commitment to cut production with the beginning of the year 2017

saw Marzouq statements that oil -producing countries around thecommitment to reduce production , “promising”, a summer resort that the secretary – general “OPEC” Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo will visit Kuwait next month to discuss the mechanism for monitoring theproduction.

Kuwait was chosen to chair a committee to monitor the Member States ‘ commitment to the decision to cut production. Kuwaiti minister said the extent of commitment to implement the agreement “will become clear , ” next month.

Central Bank denies imposing fees or taxes on the sale price of the dollar

History of edits:: 12.15.2016 10:13

{Baghdad: Euphrates News} denied the Iraqi Central Bank, on Thursday, the imposition of fees or taxes on the sale price of the dollar against the Iraqi dinar. 
According to media bank told {Euphrates News} today that ” the Central Bank of Iraq announced that he does not intend to change the exchange rate of the Iraqi dinar against the US dollar.” 
” It also denies the imposition of fees or taxes on the sale price of the dollar , ” noting that “high oil prices will enable the Bank to inject greater than the dollar amounts into the market , ” .anthy

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