IMF says Iraq has requested emergency assistance, talks ongoing



By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – Iraq has requested emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund and talks are ongoing between the parties, the IMF said late on Sunday.

Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi told Bloomberg News earlier that Iraq was in talks with the IMF for a $6 billion loan package.

“The Iraqi authorities have requested emergency assistance from the IMF under the Rapid Financing Instrument, and indicated their intention to also request a longer-term arrangement with the Fund in support of planned economic reforms,” an IMF representative said in an emailed statement.

“Discussions of the authorities’ request for emergency assistance are ongoing.”

Iraq may ask for an additional $4 billion in low-cost loans through another programme linked to government reforms, Allawi said on Sunday.

Iraq devalued the dinar last month after a collapse in global oil prices, a major source of Iraq’s financial resources.

Allawi told Bloomberg that Iraq also planned other types of funding to help plug the budget gap. Once the spending plan was approved, the government would move to issue $5 billion in domestic bonds to expand its financial base.

The OPEC member’s economy has only a small manufacturing base and almost all goods are dollar-priced imports.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates and Peter Cooney

Profile .. the “architect” of the ISIS war and the attack on Baghdad at the head of the Pentagon

Reports and Analytics


The Pentagon

Lloyd Austin


2021-01-24 14:00

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Shafaq News / The “silent general” or the mastermind of the attack on Baghdad, as described in the media or US army generals, Lloyd Austin, became the first brown defense minister in American history.

The biography of General Austin (67 years old) bears many stages of ups and downs, but his name nevertheless kept his way up in military hierarchies and delicate roles despite his occasional clashes with war politicians in Washington, and his disagreements with their military strategies in war zones, including the former American president Barack Obama and former Senator John McCain.

Even so, Austen’s confirmation was supported by 93 senators, while two rejected him.

And because Austin was not a man who liked to appear in the media, his name has been frequent for many years at the head of the US military command, although his name first emerged in a disaster that could have led to his military career in the army.

According to a version by the American magazine “Foreign Policy”, in 1994 Austin was the commander of a battalion stationed at a military base in North Carolina, at which time two military aircraft collided in the air and crashed over the base, killing and wounding dozens of his soldiers during training in the disaster.

But the success of Austin and Officer Stanley McChrystal, another battalion commander at the stricken base, who later became director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commander of US forces in Afghanistan, in dealing with the consequences of the disaster on the soldiers at North Carolina Base, opened the way for them to assume higher positions.

On the eve of the 2003 Iraq war, Austin had become deputy commander of the Third Division during the war, the force to which he credits the success of the April 2003 ground attack on Baghdad by the Second Brigade. “Austin was the mastermind behind the attack on Baghdad,” a military commander said. “He was pressing, pressing and lobbying.”

Because of the success of this operation, it caught the attention of the high military leadership. A prominent general presented a report in Austin, opening the doors for him to advance militarily, and then he became commander of the American forces in Iraq, then deputy chief of staff, then commander of Central Command.

The “silent general” remained calm despite his anger at Barack Obama’s decision to increase US forces in Afghanistan in 2008 as part of the US administration’s plan to wrest control of territory from the Taliban. Austin was upset because he supported an alternative plan based on a specific counterterrorism strategy aimed at striking and defeating Al Qaeda there. It appears that Vice President Joe Biden at the time supported such a plan and informed Obama of that.

It appears that he will now restore that vision, as he told senators during the confirmation session that he supports the withdrawal from Afghanistan, explaining, “I would like to see this conflict end with a negotiated settlement,” but he stressed that “focusing on counterterrorism operations in the future would be beneficial.” “. The new US administration informed the Kabul government a few days ago that it would reconsider the agreement that Trump reached with it in February 2020 regarding a complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 2021.

Just as he was rewarded for his leadership role in coordinating the attack on Baghdad in 2003, so Austin played a key role as well, on orders from Obama, in arranging an orderly and complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in 2011.

And in Iraq again, where Austin was commander of Central Command (Centcom) in 2014, when Obama began forming the coalition against ISIS, he disagreed with him about the US President’s appointment of retired General John Allen as a special envoy for the administration in the coalition, while Austin preferred to appoint an experienced diplomat in The position, and he believed that the appointment of Allen would cause confusion about who would actually lead the coalition against ISIS.

One of Austen’s comrades says of “The Silent General” that the issue is not that he has no opinions, rather that he just does not like to talk to reporters. He described Austin as the “architect” of the war against ISIS.

But Austin, just as he was dissatisfied with the way the coalition was running against ISIS, some also criticized him because, as he was in a position of central command, he did not expect the emergence of ISIS and its great danger in 2014. But he played a major role in fighting it in coordination with the Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, and with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the year 2014. Syria.

It is also blamed for him that, in his capacity as Central Command, he did not expect the beginning of the Saudi war on Yemen in March 2015. A senior officer who worked alongside him says, “Austin was angry at the Saudi intervention, because we (the Americans) were supporting the Houthis in their fight against Al Qaeda In Arabia at that time. ” Austin was so upset that he considered formally asking the Obama administration to condemn the Saudi war.

But Austin also predicted the Saudis will face great difficulties in their war, and he expressed these expectations to the top political officials in the Pentagon, that Saudi Arabia will lose the war in Yemen, and that Washington will have to find a way to help them. Austen’s expectations were fulfilled in both cases.

The Yemen war was the first time, when the chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee at the time, Senator John McCain, criticized the Pentagon for not providing strong assistance to Saudi Arabia in the war. McCain cited his offensive arguments against Austin by saying that Saudi Arabia would not inform Washington of its plans to attack Yemen because Riyadh believed that the Americans were biased towards Iran!

It seems that Republican Senator McCain was trying to tarnish the image of the Obama administration, nothing more. The important thing is that Austin came under another attack from McCain months later, when he accused the military leaders that the US military intervention against ISIS in Syria was not strong enough. Sources say that Austin sat there receiving criticism, and he could have contented himself with saying that he was carrying out the instructions of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but he did not, and preferred to take the blows alone. This raised his position in the military and political institutions in the White House, especially Obama and Biden.

And it wasn’t just that what impressed Biden Austin. In his positions on China, Austin was calling for the need to follow “strategic patience” in dealing with Beijing, contradicting this with the American trend, which considers that Washington should follow a strict policy in dealing with external opponents, especially China.

It seems that the Chinese file is precisely what distinguishes between the two groups, for and against Austin, to be Minister of Defense. But Austin, by this, meets Biden’s view now of being tough with China on many issues, including its military capabilities and encouraging cooperation with it economically.

During the confirmation session, he was asked about China, and he said that “China is the most difficult problem .. and the most complicated.” While Washington wants to deter Beijing militarily, it wants to cooperate with it on the commercial level.

As for Iran and Biden’s possible desire to resume dialogue with it, Austin said that Tehran is still a “factor to destabilize the region” and that its system would have a nuclear weapon would be dangerous.

In total, Austin spent nearly 40 years in the Ministry of Defense, and he is now in charge of the ministry to which the largest military budget in the world has been allocated, with more than 700 billion dollars, and he has to deal with the files of the US military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Japan, Korea and others.

Austin will certainly benefit from the special relationships he forged during his years of repeated service in Iraq with Iraqi and Kurdish officials. It will still be important to monitor how he will deal with the Iranian file in Iraq, after the previous Trump administration assassinated Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, which left major repercussions on the security situation in the country. Austin visited the Kurdistan Region several times and met his political and military leaders more than once, the last of which was to Erbil in 2016.

Austin also pledged to Congressional representatives that he would put the US military at the service of the battle with Corona, which has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans so far.

The first thing Austin tweeted after his appointment as defense minister was, “Let’s get to work.”

Al-Halbousi and Al-Kaabi arrive in Kuwait and discuss with Al-Ghanim issues of common concern

22:32 – 01/24/2021


The information / Baghdad

The Speaker of Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, and his deputy, Hassan al-Kaabi, arrived on Sunday in Kuwait for a one-day official visit.

Al-Halbousi’s media office stated in a statement received by the information that “the Speaker of Parliament arrived in the State of Kuwait accompanied by First Deputy Hassan Al-Kaabi and a number of deputies on a one-day official visit, where he was received by his Kuwaiti counterpart Marzouq Al-Ghanim.”

The statement added, “Al-Halbousi will meet the Emir of the State of Kuwait, Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim. To discuss bilateral relations and cooperation between the two brotherly countries. 25 n

Employment 7000 MasterCard cards are issued to beneficiaries of the salary of a full-time employee

Editing date: 01/24/2021 16:38 • 64 read times


On Sunday, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs announced the issuance of 7000 (MasterCard card) for the beneficiaries of the full-time employee’s salary during the past 30 days.

The head of the Disability Authority in the Ministry of Labor, Essam Al-Tamimi, said in a statement, “The authority, in cooperation with the concerned banking authorities, issued 7,000 (MasterCard) cards for beneficiaries of the full-time employee salary in Baghdad and the provinces except for the Kurdistan region for the period from 12/20/2020 until 20 / 1/2021 ‘.

He added, “The authority’s departments in Baghdad and the provinces continue to issue cards to those covered by the full-time employee salary.”

Al-Tamimi praised “the efforts of the employees in the departments to implement the directives of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Adel Al-Rikabi, which include the speedy completion of the transactions of those covered by the privileges of Law No. 38 of 2013 with high accuracy and professionalism to relieve them.”

Parliamentary Finance: Next week will witness the vote on the budget law

Date of editing: 01/24/2021 12:42 • 64 read times


The Parliamentary Finance Committee announced, on Sunday, that next week will witness a vote on the draft budget law after completing all observations and making amendments.

A member of the committee, Representative Shirwan Mirza, said in a televised interview, “Parliament will complete the amendments to the budget law on next Wednesday or Thursday and will present them at the beginning of next week for voting.”

And, “Parliamentary Finance has received all the notes and proposals on the budget from ministers and deputies, and work will be done to solve all the problems during the next few days.”

Mirza indicated, “The meetings are continuing and a group of governors will be hosted to discuss the entitlement of their cities and the most important service projects for the fairness of all.”

Al-Araji discusses with the American ambassador continuing cooperation in combating terrorism




The American ambassador

2021-01-24 08:54

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Shafaq News / The National Security Adviser, Qassem Al-Araji stressed, on Sunday, the need for the international coalition to continue supporting Iraq in combating terrorism and exchanging information in this regard.

The media office of the National Security Adviser said, in a statement received by Shafaq News, that Al-Araji received in his office in Baghdad the US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Toller, and they discussed together plans to combat terrorism and eliminate it.

Al-Araji said during the meeting, according to the statement, that Iraq looks forward to the continued support of the international coalition in the field of combating terrorism, and “exchanging information on terrorists, until the elimination of the remaining terrorist cells.”

For his part, the American ambassador offered condolences to the victims of Tayaran Square and the Popular Mobilization Forces who confronted the terrorist groups, yesterday, Saturday, stressing his country’s continued support for Iraq in the face of terrorism within the framework of the international coalition.

Tueller indicated that his country’s differences with Iran still exist, and that Washington is seeking to solve them through diplomatic means, noting that a diplomatic solution needs great efforts.

For the first time, including the dues of oil companies in the Kurdistan region’s budget

Kurdistan Region


The Iraqi budget

Kurdistan budget

2021-01-24 08:52

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Shafaq News / The Ministry of Finance and Economy in the Kurdistan Regional Government announced, on Sunday, that the region’s draft budget for the current year will include financial receivables for oil companies, extraction, export and sales disbursements for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

According to a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Finance and Economy received by Shafaq News, according to the decision of the Kurdistan Regional Council of Ministers, with the aim of preparing the drafting of the Kurdistan Region Budget Law in 2021 and within the framework of the Ministry of Finance and Economy plan in this regard, the Ministry will hold a number of meetings with all ministries . 

He added that the first of these meetings was a meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources, as the meeting took place on Sunday morning at the Ministry of Finance and Economy office under the supervision of Minister Awat Sheikh Janab.

The statement indicated that the Kurdistan Region’s budget will be a comprehensive budget and all ministries and agencies will have revenues and expenditures, general loans and deficits within the framework of the draft budget, indicating that in this context, for the first time in the Kurdistan Region, the budget will include revenues and expenditures (financial dues to oil companies, extraction, export and sale of oil). At the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The Iraqi Finance Minister talks about positive indicators regarding the 2021 budget

1,119 Policy 01/24/2021 17:11

Baghdad today – Baghdad

Finance Minister Ali Allawi confirmed that Iraq is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund with the aim of obtaining a loan of 6 billion dollars to save its economy mired in problems, while he gave positive indications regarding the 2021 budget deficit and linking it to high oil prices.

Iraq, the second largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), expects a budget deficit in 2021 of 71 trillion dinars ($ 49 billion), according to Bloomberg Agency that interviewed the minister.

The American agency quoted Ali Allawi, that once the Iraqi parliament approved the spending plan for 2021, the government will be able to request rapid financing of two billion dollars from the emergency financing mechanism created by the International Monetary Fund for the benefit of countries affected by the repercussions of the Corona virus.

Allawi said that “Iraq can then request a second, low-cost loan of $ 4 million K dollars from the International Monetary Fund’s government reform program.”

The US agency stated that financing the International Monetary Fund would cover a small part of the expected deficit in the budget, but it would “reduce the severity of the depletion of Iraq’s foreign exchange reserves.”

Last year, the Iraqi government had to borrow more than $ 25 billion from the central bank in order to pay the salaries of public sector employees and meet other financial requirements.

The bond market

“Bloomberg” pointed out that the Iraqi government also plans to rely on other financing tools to help cover the deficit. Allawi said that once the budget is approved, the government will also move to issue domestic bonds worth $ 5 billion.

Regarding international bonds, the Iraqi Minister of Finance said that “international loans are somewhat expensive,” adding: “I do not know if there is a desire to buy Iraqi bonds. Returning to these markets now remains difficult.”

“Bloomberg” said that the average yield of Iraq’s dollar bonds is 8.3%, adding that it is among the highest levels of any government in the world, according to Bloomberg Barclays indicators.

Economic crisis

Iraq’s economy has suffered since the collapse of global oil prices due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Although oil prices have recovered during the recent period, Iraq is still struggling to cover its costs and avoid the exacerbation of the fiscal deficit.

And last year, Iraq exceeded the production limits agreed upon with other oil exporters in the “OPEC +” group, in order to collect the liquidity its economy needs. 

But Iraq is committed to compensating for the excess production over the past months, according to the Iraqi Finance Minister, who assured Bloomberg that “Iraq will respect the quota set for oil production within the OPEC + coalition” because it helps reduce the risk of price collapse. ”

Allawi praised Saudi Arabia’s sudden production cut by one million barrels this month, which helped oil prices rise.

Optimism for the future

Allawi said that Iraq’s budget deficit may shrink by 25% this year if oil prices remain around their current levels of $ 55 a barrel.

The International Monetary Fund expects the Iraqi economy to contract by 12% in 2020 – the highest rate among OPEC countries, and have experienced a budget deficit of 22% of GDP.

Iraq devalued its currency last year by the largest amount ever, to reduce pressure on public finances at a time when it is trying to secure billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Final touches” … what the Kurdistan delegation will discuss in Baghdad today

Today, 13:19



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Baghdad – IQ  

On Sunday (January 24, 2021), the head of the Kurdistan region’s representative in Baghdad, Faris Issa, revealed the agenda of the Kurdistan’s delegation in Baghdad, while stressing the importance of the meeting by putting “the final touches”, as he put it.

Issa told  IQ NEWS , “The Kurdistan Region delegation headed by the region’s Finance Minister, Awat Sheikh Janab, will arrive on Sunday evening in Baghdad to complete discussions regarding the Kurdistan region’s dues in the 2021 budget.”

Issa added that “these meetings are very important as they will put the final touches on the region’s share of the budget,” stressing, “the Kurdistan region’s desire to pass the paragraphs related to the region’s share according to the agreement that was made between the federal and Kurdistan regional governments.

Earlier in the day, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Rizan Sheikh Delir, said, “The delegation that will visit Baghdad is the same delegation that negotiated with the federal government in advance and an agreement was reached between the two parties.”

She added, in a press statement followed by   IQ NEWS , that “the aim of the visit is to talk about the agreement that occurred and to establish the region’s share in the budget and changes in the region’s share.” Border . ”

She pointed out, “The Kurdistan Alliance seeks to stabilize the two paragraphs related to the budget, but this requires discussions and a new agreement between the region and the center.”–.html

Al-Rafidain Bank begins launching self-financed and central employee salaries


Economy News _ Baghdad

On Sunday, Al-Rafidain Bank began launching the salaries of self-financed and centralized employees, according to the official Iraqi News Agency.
The Ministry of Finance announced, on Wednesday (January 20 this month), the launch of salary financing for the current month.
The Ministry called on all ministries and entities not associated with a ministry to review the Accounting Department for the purpose of starting the salary financing procedures in accordance with the established contexts and as of Sunday, 1/24/2021.