Deputy: Al-Zarfi will submit a request to Parliament to hold a session of granting confidence next week

19:27 – 31/03/2020

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Information / private …

Member of Parliament Assaad Al-Murshidi confirmed on Tuesday that Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zarfi will submit a formal request to the House of Representatives next week to hold a session to give his government confidence.

Al-Murshidi said in a statement to “Information”, that “the House of Representatives is unable to apologize for holding a session to give the Zarfi government confidence because of the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, as this contradicts the constitutional timing,” noting that “the parliament’s apology may lead to major constitutional problems not It can be solved. ”

He added that “Al-Zarfi is in the process of completing his cabinet and political consultations procedures to pass his government,” noting that “Al-Zarfi will submit an official request to the House of Representatives next week to set the date for the session to grant confidence to his government.”

And a number of political figures suggested, earlier, that Parliament apologize for holding a session to grant the government of Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zarfi in light of the Corona pandemic and the application of the curfew. It ended 25

https://www.almaalomah.com/2020/03/31/465815/

US report: The mix of crises in Iraq has badly affected the economic situation

Baghdad / .. A New York Times report confirmed that political tensions, low oil prices and the Corona virus outbreak made Iraq in an extremely difficult economic situation as the country is going through its worst crisis in decades.

The report stated that “Iraq’s economic situation is falling apart day after day, as oil prices have fallen as the main source of income for the country, and with the collapse of the world price of oil, the government has resorted to requesting donations to help it overcome the crisis of the Corona virus.”

He added that “the curfew at the national level, which was imposed to slow the spread of the virus, led to the closure of trade and the expulsion of the vast majority of non-governmental workers from jobs, while the government wavered after the anti-government protests toppled the Prime Minister and Parliament remained unanimous in choosing a new leadership for the country.”

“What makes the situation particularly bleak is that the mix of crises has virtually eliminated the entire economy,” said Iraqi economist Basem Jamil Antoine, adding that “the current economic situation is worse than what we saw before because all productive sectors were suspended, there is no industry, no tourism, nor Means of transportation and agriculture are affected to some extent, we are witnessing almost complete paralysis in economic life, with the closure of the borders between the provinces of Iraq and its borders with other countries.

The report added that “oil is currently sold for less than half its price three months ago due to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. It has decreased from about $ 60 a barrel at the end of last December to less than $ 30 at the present time.”

For his part, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency in Paris, Fatih Birol said that “the drop in prices dealt a severe blow to the oil-dependent economies.” But he made it clear that “he will face the most severe blow and is the number one country in terms of impact because he does not have financial reserves and because 90 percent of his revenues come from oil.” “All of these economic pressures are coming in a really very tense political environment.”

And Antoine said that “Iraq’s reserves amount to 62 billion dollars, which the International Monetary Fund considers insufficient.”

The report continued that “Iraq has a limited private sector, some of which are supported by government contracts, in addition to a thriving informal economy. However, both were severely hit by the Coruna virus and by a 24-hour curfew nationwide, and construction workers, street vendors, domestic workers and taxi drivers were forced to stay in their homes. Because most of them live day after day as they earn and have little or no savings, and they may soon be on the brink of hunger. ”

A number of Iraqis said that “it is difficult to say for how long such enormous economic pain can be tolerated, but it is particularly difficult in the absence of political leadership and an epidemic.”

https://aynaliraqnews.com/index.php?aa=news&id22=132082

The United States gives Iraq $ 15 million to confront Corona

money and business

Economy News _ Baghdad

The United States of America announced, on Tuesday, the allocation of more than 15.5 million dollars to Iraq to counter the Corona virus. 

The US embassy in Baghdad said, through a statement seen by Al-Iqtisad News, that “the US government announced the allocation of more than $ 15.5 million to Iraq in the field of health and humanitarian aid, which in turn will help in setting up laboratories and implementing public health emergency plans at border and interior entry points , Activating the preventive mechanism, and monitoring developments for influenza-like illnesses.

He added, “This aid depends on long-term investment in the health sector in Iraq, which is approximately $ 4 billion in health alone.”

http://economy-news.net/content.php?id=19536

Al-Zarfi moves to win the Shiites through an “American-Iranian” step

Politics

03/31/2020 11:25:16

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Shafak News / A parliamentary source revealed, on Tuesday, the efforts of Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zarfi to win Shiite powers by investing his good relations with American officials to exclude Iraq from Washington’s sanctions imposed on Iran.

The source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the information, told Shafaq News that “the Prime Minister-designate informed a number of members of the House of Representatives, his willingness, through his relations with American officials, to obtain an extension of Iraq’s exemption from US sanctions on Iran.”

The United States had recently extended Iraq’s exemption from sanctions imposed on Iran for one month, while it would represent the last of its kind.

Iraq imports electricity and gas from Iran to run power stations in the center and south of the country. In the event that the exception is not extended, Iraq will face a major energy problem, especially in the summer.

The source said, “The period of Iraq’s exclusion from the US sanctions on Iran to import energy is nearing completion, especially as Iraq imports electricity from Iran via four lines, at the same time it also imports dry gas to run some gas stations to generate electric power.”

On March 16th, the President of the Republic tasked Barham Salih, the head of the parliamentary victory bloc, Adnan al-Zarfi, to form the new government within 30 days.

But Al-Zrafi faces rejection from prominent Shiite forces close to Iran, headed by Hadi al-Amiri’s Al-Fateh coalition and the State of Law coalition led by Nuri al-Maliki, which makes the task of passing his government in parliament very difficult.

The new government will succeed Adel Abdel Mahdi’s government, which was forced by unprecedented popular protests to resign in early December 2019.

https://www.shafaaq.com/ar/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A9/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B2%D8%B1%D9%81%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%83-%D9%84%D9%83%D8%B3%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%B9%D8%A9-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D8%AE%D8%B7%D9%88%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%83%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A5%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9/

Disclosure of the size of Iraq’s cash reserves amid strict warning

Economy

03/31/2020 06:36:03

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Shafaq News / Parliamentary Finance Committee revealed, on Tuesday, the size of the central bank’s reserves of foreign currency and gold bullion, while warning of tampering with the reserve by implementing agencies.

“The central bank reserves amounted to 87 billion dollars, and it does not include cash and foreign currency only, but it includes gold bars,” the committee’s rapporteur, Ahmed Al-Saffar, told Shafaq News.

He added that “an increase in the reserves comes through the process of withdrawing, depositing and obtaining the benefits that are taken from the loans granted by the bank to the government, banks and state institutions.”

Al-Saffar continued, “The central bank reserves are used only in critical cases, and any manipulation of the reserves by the implementing agencies will affect the financial arrangement of Iraq within the global rankings.”

He explained, “Withdrawing funds from the bank’s reserves without studying will reduce the Iraq-B rating to D, confirming that“ this classification depends on the domestic product, the general budget, and the economic situation of the country.

”Fitch maintained the credit rating of Iraq at (B). -), a degree of risk, but with a stable outlook look.

Iraq, the second largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum exporting countries (OPEC), with an average daily production of 4.5 million barrels per day.

the decreased government debt in Iraq to less than 50 percent of GDP in 2018, compared to 66 percent of GDP in 2016

and reached the reserves Foreign Mellat excluding gold, Iraq has $ 61 billion at the end of 2018, compared to US $ 46 billion in 2017. The

range of external debt service to the Iraqi government between $ 2.5 billion and 2.

Fitch said that the decline in oil prices leads to a renewed deterioration of the fiscal situation and balance of payments in Iraq between 2019-2021.

Iraq, a member of OPEC, relies on oil revenues to finance up to 95 percent of the country’s expenditures.

https://www.shafaaq.com/ar/%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%80%D8%A7%D8%AF/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%B4%D9%81-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%AD%D8%AC%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AA%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D9%82%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%B7-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%B0%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%85/

Iraqi prime minister-designate faces challenges in gaining political support

Adnan Abu Zeed

Dana Taib Menmy March 31, 2020

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adnan al-Zurfi is struggling to secure the needed parliamentary votes for his Cabinet.

As Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Adnan al-Zurfi struggles to secure adequate parliamentary votes for his candidacy, Iraqi political parties are uncertain about whether they should support him, find a new candidate or even keep caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in office.

President Barham Salih nominated Zurfi on March 17. He must now form a Cabinet and obtain parliamentary approval for that Cabinet by April 17 to become prime minister. 

Unlike the previous prime minister-designate, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, who failed to form a Cabinet due to a lack of parliamentary support, Zurfi is the leader of the Nasr parliamentary bloc, headed by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. However, this bloc is small, made up of 27 members, which means Zurfi must negotiate with other political parties to secure votes, especially since Iraqi political parties are prone to changing their decisions in the blink of an eye.

Shiite camp is divided

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Zurfi knows he cannot obtain Kurdish and Sunni support without securing the Shiite camp, which has held the premiership since 2004. Therefore, he has approached Shiite parties to make sure they do not turn their back on him when it comes time to approve his cabinet. If the Shiite parties withdraw support, that would most likely lead to a Sunni and Kurdish withdrawal of support.

Sources close to Zurfi told Iraq media March 25 that Zurfi is supported by 100 Shiite parliamentary members. This means his government could obtain parliamentary approval with only a small number of Sunni and Kurdish members. He needs the support of at least half plus one of the parliamentary quorum, which is 165 members of parliament, a total of 83 votes. This means the parliament can vote on his cabinet if 165 members attend and if a half pulse one of them, which is 83 members vote for him, he will get the confidence. 

However, this assessment does not seem accurate. Two parliamentary blocs — the Fatah bloc of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law, which have about 70 seats — still oppose Zurfi. They are trying to nominate a new candidate while accusing Barham of acting unconstitutionally in his appointment of Zurfi.

Yet it is still difficult for the PMU and its allies to find a candidate to replace Zurfi. The appointment of Zurfi, who is close to the United States and opposes Iranian influence in Iraq, caught the PMU by surprise. But its adherents believe they can block parliamentary approval for his cabinet. They, therefore, support keeping Abdul Mahdi in office until early elections are held. 

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, described Zurfi as a “corrupt” candidate. Khazali called for granting more powers to Abdul Mahdi’s government and announcing a state of emergency in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Iraq.

“Iran’s allies have no interest in seeing Abdul Mahdi stepping down,” Ihsan al-Shammari, director of the Baghdad-based Iraqi Center for Political Thought, told Al-Monitor. “This is because such a thing would greatly shake the influence they acquired under his rule.”

“Abdul Mahdi leaving his post would result in President Salih running the government,” Shammari said. “[Salih’s] positions are not consistent with the [Iran-friendly] policy that the parties who want Abdul Mahdi to stay have adopted. … Salih assuming this responsibility would result in pro-Iran parties being greatly exposed. This is why they are pushing toward Abdul Mahdi remaining in his post.”

But Abdul Mahdi voluntarily stepped away from his caretaker position on March 2. He does not seem willing to return unless parliament were to approve him and his cabinet, which is unlikely due to strong objections from protesters. 

Abdul Mahdi took this “voluntary absence” in November 2019 due to pressure from protesters, who demanded a competent government and public services. Yet he continued to serve until a new government could be formed. Typically, the prime minister heads the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, yet when Abdul Mahdi left office, he handed over the reins to Finance Minister Fuad Hussein — a controversial move since it may be unconstitutional.

Abdul Mahdi said he stepped aside to avoid a constitutional and administrative vacuum. “Abiding by the relevant constitutional articles would be the best solution,” he said, stating that he consulted legal experts to ensure he was taking the right action. Not everyone agrees, however, that his moves were legitimate.

Qassem Abboudi, a political analyst at Nabad Center for Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor that Abdul Mahdi’s stepping away aimed to send “the political class that failed him in the middle of his rule the provocative message that there is no alternative” to replace him.

Shammari said that Abdul Mahdi took leave from the post as opposed to resigning because “remaining in his post would provide him with personal and political immunity.” This also explains why he wants renewed parliamentary approval to return to the office.

Sunnis are uncertain

The Sunnis appear to be happy with Zurfi, so long as he is close to the United States and keeps his distance from Iran. However, even some Sunni groups are under Iranian influence, and it’s difficult to imagine them supporting a prime minister who opposes Iran.

A well-informed source close to Iraq’s ruling elites told Al-Monitor, “Zurfi will fail to gather the needed vote in the Iraqi parliament to pass his cabinet, since Iran’s strategy is keeping Adel Abdul Mahdi until the next parliamentary elections in 2022.” The source added, “So far, Zurfi enjoys Kurdish and Sunni support, but no one in Iraq wants to make Iran mad yet.”

There are also those among Sunnis who want Abdul Mahdi to stay in office until early elections are called. General elections are currently scheduled for 2022, but protesters have demanded they be held this year. 

Mohammed Dahhan, spokesman for the Salvation and Development Front, told Ahd TV on Feb. 21 that Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi, who stands to lose his position in an election, wants the caretaker government to remain in place.

Mahmoud al-Hashemi, secretary of the Iraq Media Observatory, told Al-Monitor, “Abdul Mahdi believes that he has the support of Sunni forces, in addition to the Kurds, and not to mention the majority of the Shiites.” He added that Abdul Mahdi seems to be the only one who can address the interests of all three groups.

Kurds are waiting

Though Kurds have said they would not make a deal with Zurfi until he secured Shiite votes, they are already negotiating regional interests with him.

Kurdish lawmaker Ahmed Haji Rashid, from the Kurdistan Islamic Group, told Al-Monitor, “Zurfi might not get support from the majority of the Shiites needed to pass his cabinet within the Iraqi parliament,” adding that “if the majority of the Shiites do not support Zurfi, Kurds and Sunnis would not defy the Shiites and vote for him.”

Zurfi is negotiating with Shiite blocs to ensure their vote, but he is also negotiating with Sunnis and Kurds as well. He has already met with Finance Minister Hussein, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, and has vowed to address unresolved issues in the Kurdistan region and seek “serious solutions.”

The Kurdistan region is currently on the brink of financial collapse due to the fall in international oil prices. The region’s four provinces are locked down due to the coronavirus, and the government needs urgent support from Baghdad as well as negotiations with Zurfi.

Amin Baba Sheikh, the spokesman of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, told Al-Monitor, “We are ready to make joint coordination with all the Kurdish political parties in order to jointly negotiate with Zurfi in Baghdad and safeguard the interests of the people of Kurdistan.”

He continued, “Formation of a new government and stabilizing Iraq is a priority for us. We think key issues of the Kurdistan region’s share from the federal budget, salaries of the [Kurdistan Regional Government] employees, including the peshmerga forces, and Iraq’s hydrocarbon law are more important than the posts of a minister, an adviser or a general director.”

Baba Sheikh is sure that parliament will approve Zurfi’s Cabinet.

“Zurfi is a pragmatic man,” said Sarkawt Shams, a Kurdish lawmaker from the Future bloc. “Zurfi is now making a series of public and secret meetings with the political sides. As for now, Zurfi has more supporters than opponents.”

Shams added, “If tensions between the US and Iran do not further escalate, Zurfi is expected to present his cabinet within the one-month period, because the oil price collapse coupled with the spread of coronavirus did not leave any room for presenting another candidate to form a new Iraqi government.”

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IRAQI ELECTIONS

Adnan Abu Zeed is an Iraqi author and journalist. He holds a degree in engineering technology from Iraq and a degree in media techniques from the Netherlands. 

 

 

Dana Taib Menmy is a Kurdish journalist from Sulaimaniyah who has been published by several Kurdish media outlets since 2006.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/iraq-adnan-zurfi-prime-minister.html#ixzz6IGGfPPKY

The international coalition determines the date for the resumption of its training in Iraq

Political | 09:52 – 31/03/2020

Baghdad – Mawazine News

, a spokesman for the international coalition against the “ISIS” organization, Miles Cagins, resumed training tasks for Iraqi forces after the end of the month of Ramadan, noting the continued support of the Iraqi forces and peshmerga.

“The coalition has supported Iraq with more than four billion dollars and hundreds of military vehicles and trucks, in addition to assisting the Iraqi air force,” said Caggins, stressing that it will continue to provide assistance to the Iraqi security forces, the Peshmerga and the “Syrian Democratic Forces”.

He explained that the coalition “was planning several months ago to hand over the bases to the Iraqi security forces,” noting that “the presence of ISIS militants in Jabal Hamrin, Qarajuj, Nineveh, Anbar and north of Baghdad, and that our partnership with the Iraqi security forces to ensure that ISIS is not able to seize the land through our work in Joint Operations Room We aim for the final elimination of regulation. ”

He emphasized temporarily suspending the training of Iraqi and Peshmerga forces due to the Corona virus, stressing that “coalition workers were subjected to quarantine during their arrival in Iraq and the Kurdistan region.” Ended 29 / A 43

https://www.mawazin.net/Details.aspx?jimare=92808