Iraq needs support to ‘leave violent past behind’, says UN envoy as Security Council extends UN mission for one year

 

OCHA/Themba Linden
Pictured here the destruction in 17 Tammuz district, western Mosul, Iraq, one of the most important districts in Mosul.

21 May 2019

Iraq’s democratic transition – weighed down by political infighting, weak institutions, corruption, and the constant threat of ISIL – needs more international support, “lots of time and lots of hard work,” the top United Nations official in the country said on Tuesday.

In a briefing to the Security Council, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), described the country’s challenges as “manifold”, but pledged the operation’s “continued and strong commitment to assist and support wherever we can.”

She urged the Council to recognize that the ongoing political infighting is a costly obstacle, and a full year after national elections, ministerial appointments have yet to be made to the key posts, including Interior, Defence, Justice and Education.

“Political parties have not yet shown themselves willing to compromise. It should be understood, however, that political compromise is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a sign of political maturity – and a requisite for resilience.” Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert said, also adding that with critical laws pending, it was “high time” for chairs and deputies to be selected for parliamentary committees.

She went on to say that it was no secret that the Iraqi authorities, institutions, mechanisms and systems continued to struggle with deep rooted problems, often hampering swift and robust responses from the Government to pressing needs, such as reconstruction, development and security.

“These problems can be schematized, as a range of individual interests and arguments, many of which arise from long-standing grievances and differences between communities, between political entities, between the federal and the Kurdistan Regional Government,” she said, warning that this could become entrenched in the form of concealed, private networks of power, “operating independently and pursuing narrow objectives and goals.”

With this in mind, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert said it was necessary to spotlight the scourge of corruption, which she described as being “pervasive at all levels in Iraq … taking money that should be spent on public services [and] placing it instead in private pockets”, deterring economic activity and hindering business development, which would result in much-needed job creation.

“Achieving tangible results [in wiping out corruption] will be crucial, in so many ways, most importantly it will revive public trust which is essential for the further development of Iraq’s democracy,” she stated.

Moreover, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert stressed that Iraq can only achieve its full potential with the active political, social and economic participation of women and youth. While UNAMI had recently organized and participated in a variety “meaningful” of women and youth events throughout the country, she “warned against change as mere window dressing. At the end of the day, it is all about translating excellent intentions into positive action.”

According to the UNAMI chief, although Baghdad is “opening up”, the security situation will continue to require close monitoring, “not only in Baghdad, but throughout the country. Attacks continue, as seen with recent blasts and suicide bombings. Also very relevant: the [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] threat is still out there.”

She called for continued, wide-based international support, support to ensure that Iraq leaves its violent past behind, and to ensure that the country does not slip back into the turmoil from which it so recently emerged. “In other words: to prevent ISIL from regaining a strong foothold in Iraq a long-term approach is critical,” she stressed.

Among the dominant security concerns she raised were returning ISIL-fighters from Syria to Iraq, along with their families, and the issue of armed actors operating outside State control, engaged in illegal or criminal activities and exerting economic and social influence throughout the country.

“Clearly, the activities of these actors undermine state authority, they affect vulnerable communities, they weaken the national economy and sadly, they also prevent the peaceful return of displaced persons,” noted Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert, and while she welcomed certain actions, such as the closing down of so-called illegal economic offices, she warned that “the road will certainly be long.”

It would therefore prove crucial to hold to account all armed actors involved in criminal enterprise or illegal activity.

Ahead of today’s meeting, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in which it decided to extend the mandate of UNAMI until 31 May 2020.

By that action, the Mission is, among other duties, to give priority to providing advice, support and assistance to the Government and people of Iraq “to promote inclusive political dialogue and reconciliation at the national and local levels”.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/05/1038941

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Halabousi gives promise to a government-funded international official

 Political  21/05/2019  35

Halabousi gives promise to a government-funded international official
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The new UN Resident Representative for Iraq, Zeina Ali Ahmed, and the accompanying delegation discussed on Tuesday the government’s decision to pay its share of the program’s fund.
“The importance of the work of the United Nations organizations and their role in humanitarian work, especially the UNDP projects in the liberated cities, which have been severely damaged by the organization of the terrorist advocate,” Halaboussi said, adding that ” Return of IDPs “.
The Speaker commended the work of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nineveh and Anbar and promised to urge the Government to expedite the payment of its financial share to the Program Fund in order to encourage donor countries to pay their obligations.
For her part, praised the director of the United Nations Development Program in Iraq, the support of the Speaker of the House of Representatives for its programs in the field of reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the liberated cities of the terrorist advocate, indicating its willingness to work with the Iraqi government; to achieve the goals of sustainable development.

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Washington warns Iraqi banks of monetary transactions with Iranian banks

– 8 Minutes Ago

Shatha Khalil *

Most countries seek to work within a precise and cautious system in monetary and banking transactions because they directly affect the economy of the state. It is the backbone of the economy of any country. It helps to generate capital and thus can be directed to investments that need a stable economic environment for growth and development. The banker is weak and needs a lot of reforms to serve the Iraqi economy, not to serve other countries.

The warning came during a visit to the Assistant Secretary of Treasury for the fight against the financing of terrorism, Marshall Blingsley, to Baghdad and his meeting with the three presidencies in the country, were informed of the work to expel the Iranian banks (“Parcian” and “Melli Iran”) and stop banking and cash with them, Bank of Iraq, which is subject to US sanctions, against the background of the transfer of suspicious funds to the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Blingsley, when he met with the Finance Minister and the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, were informed that the Iraqi funds “oil revenues” kept by DFI Fund and transferred to Iraq annually worth 8 billion dollars in the form of cash will reduce the value to an unknown number. Information (especially the Center for Research and Strategic Studies)

Marshall Blingsley stressed the need to develop the Iraqi banking sector and enhance the prospects of cooperation between Iraqi and American banks and to carry out economic reforms through the activation of electronic systems in monetary exchange, which will contribute to the development and revitalization of the infrastructure of the Iraqi economy.

In this context, it must be observed in dealing with Iranian banks, which are working to exploit the hard currency in Iraq and turn it into Iran, and that monetary and banking transactions on banks imposed sanctions have a direct impact on the Iraqi economy.

The Iraqi economy since 2003 has not fully recovered after the sectarian incidents and the war against the organization calling for the liberation of Iraqi cities, as any tension or conflict will negatively affect the market and economy of Iraq, and the political situation in the Middle East is worrying and threatening economic and political security.

But Billingsley stressed that the developments in the political scene in the region and the measures taken by the United States to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran are far from the bilateral relations between Iraq and America, especially in the fields of economy and finance. The agreement with Washington was to continue cooperation to protect the Iraqi economy and ensure its stability. Any repercussions in the region.

Baghdad stressed its desire to resolve the outstanding problems by peaceful means, diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations, because any tension or conflict will affect negatively on all countries in the region, especially Iraq, and this will adversely affect the economy and the Iraqi market as it depends heavily on recovery from the Iranian market, here I ask when the economy Iraqi people with resources and wealth and achieve economic independence and sustainable development at all economic levels and be independent and free and works for his own benefit first and not for the benefit of other countries.

Iranian banks wrap around the Iraqi economy to save itself:

The Iranian banks have been operating in Iraq for nearly ten years in the days of Maliki’s government in 2010 and are an important engine for trade between Iraq and Iran. They have branches in Baghdad, Najaf and Basra. They gave commercial and personal loans and provided banking services to Iraqi tourists, And the Iranian “Melli Iran” Bank.

In light of the bankruptcy faced by the branches of the Iranian banks in Iraq, “This requires urgent intervention by the Central Bank of Iraq, and comes the failure of work or bankruptcy because of US sanctions on Iran, and the difficulty of obtaining hard currency.” The orders were announced to the two banks, To implement the guardianship

Iran is exploiting the hard currency and is working on decisions that protect its interests only and are used and exploited and depleted the Iraqi economy, ie after the decline of Iranian exports to Iraq during the recent period, because of the difficulty of paying the value of exports in foreign currency and converted to Iran, in a new step decided the Central Bank of Iran to branches Iranian banks in Iraq to transfer the value of dues instead of cashiers, as the value of Iranian exports to Iraq during the past ten months about $ 7 billion and 515 million dollars.

The Iraqi-Iraqi Chamber of Commerce said that Iraqi importers had in the past paid foreign currencies to Iraqi bankers in order to transfer them to the Tuman and pay the dues of exporters in Toman, while the Central Bank of Iran decided that the branches of Iranian banks in Iraq to replace the cashiers in such a process.

This means that the Iranian source can receive the dinar or dollar from the Iraqi importers and handed over to the branches of Iranian banks in Iraq, to receive instead of the two at the price of discharge that day in Iran.

As the economic expert Abdul-Hassan al-Shammari, that Iran is witty in the exploitation of the hard currency in Iraq, has been able to develop mechanisms to withdraw foreign exchange of Iraq and gave a very large interest rate exceeding 22%, as they benefit from hard currency to save its national currency, which deteriorated because of US sanctions.

The Iranian currency suffers from fluctuation and instability in price because of the economic embargo imposed on Tehran recently, these are all factors in Iran helped to attract foreign funds to deposit in banks, conditions are easy and there is no complexity so that you can deposit money on behalf of the owner of the money and not in the name of someone Iran benefits from this as it attracts the dollar and converts it to the Tuman, at the expense of the economy and the Iraqi citizen.

Economic Studies Unit

Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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Iraqi delegation arrives in Tehran and carries an Iraqi initiative to resolve the crisis between America and Iran.

Local | 10:28 – 21/05/2019

Baghdad Mawazine News 

Gulf media confirmed on Tuesday the arrival of an Iraqi political delegation to the Iranian capital of Tehran as part of the mediation between Iran and the United States.

According to the sources, an Iraqi official announced the arrival of the delegation to the Iranian capital carrying an Iraqi initiative to mediate between the United States and Iran, without giving further details about the initiative, or members of the delegation.

He said Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, on Tuesday, expressed his intention to send delegations to Tehran and Washington, in an effort to end the escalating tensions in Almnt

ended

https://www.mawazin.net/Details.aspx?jimare=47785

Baghdad will send two delegations to Washington and Tehran to calm down

21 May 2019

A joint photo of the

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Paris on May 3, 2019

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said Tuesday that Baghdad will send two delegations to the United States and Iran, in order to calm the tension that has escalated between them recently.

Tension between Iran and the United States has grown since the Bush administration put the IRGC on the black list of “terrorist organizations” and tightened sanctions against Tehran after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal a year ago.

Tensions rose as the United States deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers in the Gulf more than a week ago to counter what it said were “threats” emanating from Iran. Trump also ordered the non-essential US diplomatic staff to leave Iraq because of threats from Iraqi armed groups supported by Tehran.

“Iraq will send very soon delegations to Tehran and Washington to push things forward for the interests of Iraq and its people first and the region in general,” Abdul Mahdi said at his weekly press conference.

The Iraqi prime minister said that there are Iraqi messages to the parties to the need for calm and “not to allow other parties to fuel the situation and march towards war,” stressing that there is no Iraqi party involved in the political process wants to push things towards war.

He stressed that Iraq is not a threat in the issue of self-distancing, and we do not allow Iraq to be a battlefield or a starting point against any country. ”

Iraq is an extraordinary forum for the United States and Iran, which are hostile to each other and allied with Baghdad.

“The United States considers Iraq the only country capable of bringing the two sides to a negotiating table that might be in Baghdad,” a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He added that “Abdul Mahdi has a vision of the solution, and presented during his visit to Paris earlier this month,” pointing out that “the two delegations will be headed by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed Halbusi.”

The Prime Minister said Tuesday that Baghdad is working with European and Arab parties also to calm the situation.

He is due to travel to Kuwait on Wednesday for a one-day official visit. He also postponed a scheduled visit to Qatar for logistical reasons, according to the source.

On the other hand, Abdul Mahdi also stressed that Iraq will participate in the meetings of the Arab summit in Mecca at the end of May.

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Disclosure of the details of the hosting of the Ministers of Finance and Trade in Parliament

2019-05-21 18:25:59

A member of the Finance Committee of the parliamentary on the axes hosting the Committee, the Federal Ministers of Finance and Trade, while noting that Baghdad will not cut the salaries of employees of the Kurdistan Region.

The website of the Patriotic Union of Sherwan Mirza said that the Committee, and by order of the Presidency of the House of Representatives hosted today the Ministers of Finance and Trade in the federal government, noting that the meeting included the discussion of 3 axes.

He added that the first axis included discussing the issue of non-delivery of the Kurdistan Region oil to the company Sumo and receivables of the financial region, while the second axis discussed the ration card items and how to distribute to citizens, adding that the third axis included the search of financial dues of the farmers of the Kurdistan Region for the years 2014, 2015, 2016 .

And that the Baghdad government will wait for a decision of the Court of Cassation to have a peremptory role, and a second decision of the Council of Ministers to pay the amounts, noting that the Federal Trade Minister confirmed during the meeting, The amounts owed to the farmers, amounting to 299 billion dinars exists as cash liquidity and not as a financial allocation.

The member of the Finance Committee, said that during yesterday, the heads of Kurdish blocs to Abdul Mahdi that if the allocation and financial abundance will pay the dues of farmers in the Kurdistan region, and that the payment of the amount requires a final decision of the court after discrimination and a decision of Abdul Mahdi, and will be spent in the future.

On the oil file, a member of the Finance Committee said that the Federal Finance Minister pointed out during the meeting, to the existence of a crisis in the oil file between Baghdad and Erbil, and the problem is confined between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Oil, which is an old problem and not modern, and in terms of sending amounts as salaries to the Kurdistan Region, , According to a member of the Finance Committee, “sent the financial amounts as salaries to the staff of the region according to the budget law,” noting that “the interpretation of the budget law is so, according to Article 10 of paragraph C”.

The member of the Finance Committee pointed out that there is an urgent and binding need in the Kurdistan Region to send a high-level delegation to Baghdad to discuss and end the crisis of the oil file and the budget, stressing the need to show good faith and the need to end the differences before the preparation of the 2020 budget and start to search the oil file.

On the issue of sending the government of Baghdad salaries of employees of the Kurdistan region, he said that Baghdad did not address the severance of salaries of regional staff, noting the salaries allocated according to the budget law, but is used by some political parties to pressure the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on the subject.

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The agenda of the parliament session tomorrow

Editorial date: • 2019/5/21 20:08 • 154 times read

{Baghdad: Al-Furat News} The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, its normal session.

The agenda includes “the swearing-in of some substitutes and the continuing discussion of the housing crisis.”

It also includes “Report and discussion of the draft law on the ratification of the Convention on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of financial evasion in respect of income tax and capital between the Government of Iraq and the UAE and report and discuss the draft law on the rights of martyrs of the crime of the air base.

The parliament will also present a general topic for discussion on cancer diseases and the hospital in Basra, as well as a general discussion for 15 minutes