Talabani's Party Stung by Loss In Iraqi Kurdistan Elections
By: Wladimir van Wilgenburg for Al-Monitor
ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — The political party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is recovering from a December 2012 stroke, is facing internal problems and challenges after the party’s poor showing in the Sept. 21 parliamentary elections of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), when it fell to the third place. The loss caused a power vacuum inside the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The PUK won 18 seats, while the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 38 seats, and the PUK offshoot Gorran ("Change") Party won 24, including a majority in Sulaimaniyah, a longtime PUK stronghold.
“This is the third election; the PUK lost,” said Yusuf Muhammed Sadiq, who lead the opposition’s electoral list.
On Oct. 10, the party held its fifth plenum and is reportedly planning for another conference on Jan. 31, 2014, when it is possible new leaders will be chosen. In the plenum, its members criticized the PUK leadership for failing to win votes.
On Sept. 30, Hero Ibrahim Talabani, the president’s wife, resigned from her post as leader of the PUK branch in Sulaimaniyah after facing criticism in meetings. She was quoted by PUKmedia, the party’s official site, as saying, "Unfortunately, after I failed to win the approval of most of you, I decided to return to the political bureau and leave the post of the party center in Sulaimaniyah to others."
Barham Salih, one of the most popular PUK politicians, said, “The real judgment will take place in the next congress of the party.” PUKmedia reported that Salih indirectly criticized PUK officials that caused the party's electoral defeat in Sulaimaniyah.
The PUK has been suffering from the rise of the new opposition party Gorran, which won 25 seats in the 2009 parliamentary elections. Although the PUK performed better in the January 2010 Iraqi parliamentary elections due to its strong support in the city of Kirkuk (which is not officially included in the Kurdistan Region), it did not manage to recover due to Talabani’s sudden stroke.
After that, the PUK has been left leaderless, and many people believe Talabani won’t be able to return, as he has not fully recovered from this stroke. Diplomatic sources claim that even some PUK members were thinking of splitting from the PUK before the elections.
The Gorran list is mostly a grassroots reaction within the PUK against its strategic agreement with the KDP, led by KRG President Massoud Barzani, to divide the government posts.
Many in the PUK dislike Barzani dating to when the two parties fought after the Kurds won de facto autonomy after 1991, when the Western powers imposed a no-fly zone over the Kurdistan Region. Some left the party due to the lack of reform and allegations of corruption among the leadership.
“People inside the PUK criticized the leadership for closely aligning with the KDP, and there is a strong opinion in the rank and file of the PUK that this is why they lost the election. But what the leadership of the PUK will do, I don’t know,” said Muhammed Tofiq, the head of Gorran’s foreign relations, formerly of the PUK.
PUK Leadership Committee member Ala Talabani told the Kurdish magazine Livin that his party has suffered losses for not implementing the strategic Dabashan Agreement with the Gorran Movement in September 2012 to send the Kurdistan Region’s draft constitution to the parliament and to change the ruling system to a parliamentary one. Instead, members of the PUK leadership decided to support the extension of Barzani’s presidency for two years on June 30.
Adel Murad, the general secretary of the PUK’s central council, says he was surprised to see PUK members voting for Gorran when he went to the polling station with his wife.
“They said, 'Mr. Adel Murad, we will vote for Gorran because the PUK moved to the wrong side [the KDP].'” He called the extension a "bullet of mercy."
According to Murad, the only way the PUK can save itself is by a change of leadership and bringing in a new generation. He told Al-Monitor, “We are in a big crisis; the absence of Talabani is a very big problem.”
Murad thinks the entire PUK leadership must be changed, and said, “Most of them are corrupt; others cannot continue. The urgent thing is to change some corrupt people — these people make a lot of problems for the PUK.”
The veteran PUK official says the party needs new blood and that “these people will save the PUK, not me.” He pointed out that PUK leaders Shallaw Kosrat Rasul and Hero Talabani are both pushing their sons for the PUK leadership. Qubad Talabani, Talabani’s charismatic son, has refused to run for the PUK leadership in the past. Kosrat Rasul was elected to the PUK leadership in June 2010.
“[Qubad Talabani] is not involved in corruption, which is very important," he said. "The new generation is a big problem in the PUK because the PUK didn’t give them the chance for the new leadership.”
Some young PUK members are already making changes. During the elections, Kosrat’s young son Darbaz Rasul collected three times the votes of the PUK’s leader of the electoral list, Arsalan Bayiz.
Another challenge for the PUK is the formation of the next government. Some members prefer to form a government with the KDP without Gorran, while others are thinking of forming one without the KDP. According to Gorran representative Kawa al-Mufti, the PUK will be finished if it chooses to form a government with the KDP.
Adel Murad agrees, saying, “There are some people in our PUK who are saying, 'We don’t need Gorran; let’s do a coalition only with the KDP.' I think this would be the death of the PUK. Why? Because Gorran used to be a part of our party.”
Senior PUK leader Mullah Bakthiar told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Gorran list had approached the PUK to form a government without the KDP, but that the party rejected the idea.
But Adel Murad also says that a government cannot be formed without the KDP, the winner of the last elections. He said, “Then the border of this government will end at Degela [the border of Sulaimaniyah and Erbil]." He says a majority government including all the parties is the only solution; otherwise, the government would be destroyed.
“There are four directions in the PUK," said Amanj Abdullah, from Gorran in Erbil, referring to Hero Talabani, Kosrat Rasul, Mala Bakthiar and Barham Salih. He suggested the PUK is facing an existential challenge. "It is very difficult for them to join the government or not. It’s like the Iraqi Communist party in the late 1950s, which dominated political life in Iraq. Now they cannot win one seat.”
It is clear that the PUK will face challenges in the future. The next party conference on Jan. 31, 2014, will show if the PUK is able to make reforms, or whether the leadership will remain the same. The PUK will have to make a tough choice for the formation of the government.
Wladimir van Wilgenburg is a political analyst specializing in Kurdish politics. He has written extensively for Jamestown Foundation publications and other journals, such as the Near East Quarterly and the World Affairs Journal. He currently writes for the Kurdish newspaper Rudaw. On Twitter: @vvanwilgenburg
Sistani Issues Fatwa Against Sectarian Violence in Iraq
By: Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse
Amid the rising flames of sectarianism, occasionally there are people and groups that hurl insults at other religious sects, fueling the fire and stoking the cycle of violence and hatred. In contrast, moderate Iraqi clergymen make every effort to thwart this trend and try, as much as possible, to limit its influence.
Among the latest developments of the sectarian crisis that rages in Iraq, dozens of young men organized a provocative march in the predominantly Sunni al-Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad on Oct. 7. They did not chant for a return to unity and the rejection of violence, nor did they condemn bombings and terrorism. They, in fact, hurled insults and cursed Sunni holy historical figures, labeling them “nawasib,” a derogatory term used against Sunnis.
A video clip shows that the group marched with the protection of members of Iraq’s security forces, leading many to doubt the spontaneity of the act. This also raised hypotheses as to the existence of political motives behind the march on the part of parties affiliated with the regime.
This same faction previously established satellite TV channels, such as Fadak and Sawt Alitraa, that transmit from European countries, as well as YouTube channels on which they publicly air insults and curses against some of the Prophet Muhammad’s female relatives and companions who are revered by Sunnis. The faction belongs to an extremist Shiite movement that believes insulting the aforementioned figures is a duty prescribed by their faith.
The faction is faced by an equally extremist Sunni movement that believes Shiites are apostates, the killing of whom is permissible under certain circumstances. It also runs many satellite channels and websites, the most important and best known of them among Iraqis is the Safa Channel, which has been broadcasting for years, sermons and interviews that are degrading and demeaning to Shiites in the region, and Iraq in particular.
As a result, Iraq has been transformed into a raging inferno pitting extremists from both sides against each other. Usually, after each wave of abuse, tsunami-like reactions ensue from the affronted side, squelching the voices of moderation calling for calm.
Iraq’s Sunni mufti, Sheikh Rafeh al-Rifai, issued a statement calling for a general strike in the six Iraqi provinces with Sunni majorities, threatening dire consequences if such events were to re-occur. The strike did in fact take place on Oct. 10 and included the closure of schools, as well as government institutions and markets in the aforementioned provinces. Meanwhile, Facebook and other websites overflowed with violent, demeaning reactions similar to those that accompanied the instigating event.
In contrast, the highest-ranking Shiite authority in Iraq, Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa condemning the abuse of Sunni sanctities, saying: “This is to be condemned and denounced, and is contrary to the instructions of Shiite Imams.” The Imam al-Khoei Foundation, which is influential among Shiite religious circles, issued a statement denouncing events and called for the respect of everyone’s sanctities.
Muqtada al-Sadr also delivered a speech denouncing and condemning the provocative act by some feeble minds, as he put it. At the same time, he decried the wave of bomb attacks, and tried to distinguish between moderate and extremist Sunnis. He said: “I salute Iraqi Sunnis who have shunned sectarianism and vile ideological extremism; who have rejected terrorism, al-Qaeda, booby-traps and acts of violence.” Before the events, another fatwa was issued in this regard by the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Ali Khamenei. It read: “It is forbidden to abuse our Sunni brothers’ symbols, as it is forbidden to accuse the Prophet’s wife of anything that taints her honor.”
As a result of these developments, a number of Iraqi social activists proposed the establishment of a sectarian observatory that monitors provocative acts in the country and contains their dangerous effects through legal means and the media.
As one rumor spread about a legal decision to apprehend the leader of the group that perpetrated the provocative act, another claimed that the Council of Ministers had assigned an armed detail to protect that same person because he had received threats on Facebook.
No official statement has been issued by the Iraqi government in this regard, despite the seriousness of what occurred and its dangerous ramifications, while noting that a number of laws criminalize insulting the sanctities of others and stirring sectarian tensions, and require that the government punish those who commit such acts.
Finally, in these circumstances, the Iraqi government is expected to remain impartial and perform its legal duties. This is to prevent, through the implementation of legislation, the occurrence of similar acts.
Ali Mamouri is a researcher and writer who specializes in religion. He is a former teacher in Iranian universities and seminaries in Iran and Iraq. He has published several articles related to religious affairs in the two countries and societal transformations and sectarianism in the Middle East.
Editorial on the the Process of Deletion of zeros from the Iraqi Dinar
Raised the issue of deletion of zeros from the Iraqi dinar and promoted by the central bank in recent times a lot of talk among professionals about the economic feasibility and its impact on the Iraqi economy, has reported advisers at the central bank that the deletion of zeros will help to alleviate the Event inflation suffered by the Iraqi economy where This action will help to reduce the money supply in the country, which according to them is one of the causes of inflation arguing that the timing is so suitable for the stability of the Iraqi economy, which is experiencing a stable dinar exchange rate against foreign currencies.
Is Xavi on specialists in monetary policy, economists how dangerous this procedure on the Iraqi economy at this time, as the results that are expected to achieve a reduction of inflation do not need to delete the zeros, but you need to development work in the field of the real economy and not a placebo policies cash is a reflection of the reality the real economy, which is production of goods and services and when we want the reduction of limited inflation must look to the productive sectors in the country and help them obtain the salvation of the obstacles they face and live up by the local industry through the provision of support to them in addition to doing codified volume of goods and imported goods through taxes, tariffs, customs and other legislation and laws that guarantee prosperity for all sectors of local industry. We need authorized the reduction of inflation led to deliberate and sustainable development organization for all the real economy based facilities monetary policy and fiscal policy in turn through the coordination between the various policies and development plans.
A lot of concerns surrounding the process of deletion of zeros, if we look at the countries that have done so are the latest countries are Turkey, we find that it has a strong economy and stable and that this process has stages and the most important is the community’s understanding of this process in all its details and absorbed for the new currency, but if we do that there are a lot risks and concerns that must be put into consideration, including the possibility of confusing the economic lead to loss of confidence in the Iraqi dinar and the possibility of exchange rate changes in addition to the cost of the new currency and especially that Iraq did not possess Press private, but prints the currency in Britain, not to mention the difficulties related to balancing the state and investment plans debt and equities, bonds and other risks which may be caused by the move.
That the deletion of zeros from the currency is not a treatment, but comes as a necessity when the economy situation of the growth of a continuous and stable full, not stability, they are talking about is the stability of the exchange rate is stable and placebo because it is not based on economic power, when it is the process of removing zeros from the currency is necessary because it helps to coordinate between policy and give plans and clearer more with numbers understandable for all and contribute to the reduction of the money supply and more importantly that this process must be carried out at different stages according to a deliberate plan and that the process is educating for the new currency in all ways and methods to accommodate by the citizen and the investor.
When you take a closer look at the reality of the Iraqi economy, we find that the dependence on oil, primarily the basis for the financing of the state budget, in addition to loans and income from simple, and industrial and agricultural production and other sectors is negligible clear to us is that the so procedure does not achieve any growth of the national economy, but may contribute to reactions affect a negative impact on the general economic situation, and the reduction of limited inflation, a main justification for all this will not be achieved as soon as the deletion of zeros and that this process will not achieve any increase in the purchasing value of the Iraqi dinar frequency in the news lately about the process of deleting three zeros from the Iraqi currency under the pretext of reducing the amount of money in the markets and raise the value of the currency against the global foreign exchange, which reflects positively on the economic situation of the country and the return of Iraqi dinar to its former glory and glory before the first Gulf War
But reduce the amount of money is not a formal is the most effective solution to the problem of inflation and revive the country’s economic situation
Who became a yield economy depends mainly on what issued by the country of Petroleum.
But the problem lies in the difference between what is produced locally from goods and imports and work to reduce the madder between exports and imports so that the country produces Ihottagh of food agriculture local available merits of the wealth of water and muck only need to support the government as well as goods manufactured locally, which is produced in neighboring countries, less potential and wealth of material and human resources of Iraq, which is available where all means of development and this step, we have maintained the hard currency of migration out of the country and thus add real value of the Iraqi dinar and create jobs to support the economy and reduce unemployment
It must be noted that there are important steps should be taken before the replacement process, but it spread the culture of the Iraqi individual in how to deal with currency precedent and a new currency on the market and not to be drawn behind the rumors promoted by weakening the souls of beneficiaries that the old currency value
As happened in replacing the current currency after 2003 as well as to be government control of the bankers
The government and private banks and ensure impartiality and non-extortion for the simple citizen against the replacement of the old currency.
Economist calls on CBI to adopt oil and gas instead of gold and USD currency reserves
Economist calls for the adoption of the oil and gas reserve of the Central Bank
May 11, 2013, 1:43 pm Economic expert called on behalf of Jamil Antoine, on Saturday, the central bank to adopt oil and gas Kkhozan the reserves instead of gold and the dollar, stressing that the value of oil exports during the year twice all the gold reserves in the country.
Said Antoine told him the reporter, “news agency Iraqis,” that: “reserves the central bank alone is not enough to maintain the stability of the Iraqi economy, where you must rely on reserve economist is the stock of oil and gas, because the reserves the central bank money and gold is not equal to the export of oil to one year . “
Noting that: “Reserve the main possible to protect Iraq’s economy is the stock of oil and gas in the ground,” and explained that “the statistics of the Ministry of Oil indicate that the oil reserves reached about 150 billion barrels and 19 billion m3 of gas, up to the month of February of the year Current. “
Jumaili pledges to provide electricity continuously
Saturday, 12 October 2013 11:49
Baghdad (AIN) –The Minister of Electricity Karim Aftan al-Jumaili renewed his pledge to provide electricity power for citizens continuously.
A statement by the Ministry of Electricity received by AIN cited “The Minister of Electricity conveyed the greetings and appreciation of the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the employees in the Ministry of Electricity for their great efforts which resulted in achieving a high level of providing electricity power for citizens in Baghdad and other provinces that reached 24 hours daily.”
The statement added “Aftan renewed his pledge for Iraqis to continue the efforts to provide power for 24 hours daily to end the electricity power crises which harmed Iraqis for years.”
“Minister Aftan urged the employees of the Ministry continue their efforts to improve the performance of the national grid and preserve the current achievements to achieve prosperity for Iraqis,” the statement added.
The electricity power has improved recently in Iraq to provide the citizens with power till almost 24 hours daily.
Mayahi urges to amend contracts’ forms with Iraqi contractors
Saturday, 12 October 2013 10:26
Baghdad (AIN) –Member of the Parliamentary Investment and Economy Committee, MP Aziz al-Mayahi, urged the Iraqi Government to amend the form of contracts with the Iraqi contractors to facilitate their flexible work in Iraq.
In a statement received by AIN, Mayahi said Saturday “The contracts concluded between the Iraqi government and the Iraqi contractors are not compatible with the contracts adopted by other countries in relation to facilitations and taxes exemptions granted for contractors to allow them work more flexibly in Iraq.”
“The current contracting forms cannot be described as partnership contracts since they contain penalty items against the contractors without any conditions that force the Government to compensate the contractors in case any harm or violation occurs from the government side,” he concluded.
US Ambassador encourages Iraqis to explore American business ventures at Baghdad International Affair
Posted: October 12, 2013 in Iraqi Dinar/Politics
Tags: Baghdad, Baghdad International Fair, Iraq, iraqi, Malta, Pavilion United States, UFI, United States
Counting the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, Robert Beckerov, on Friday, the presence of U.S. companies in the Baghdad International Fair as “evidence of the economic relations strong between the two countries,” and that the show “featuring American companies a manufacturer of aircraft, vehicles and electrical energy, financial services and defense,” and when he announced his pride severe “corporate contributions to his country for the continuation of the economic development of Iraq,” he urged Iraqis to “explore the U.S. wing of the vision of the importance of corporate America at the present and the future of Iraq.”
U.S. Ambassador Robert Stephen Beckerov in a press statement received (range Press) copy of it, while attending a session of the 40th Baghdad International Fair, “I am pleased to contribute to this celebration of the opening of the wing of the U.S. in the Baghdad International Fair forty,” noting that “the Pavilion United States this and the presence of exhibitors from the United States here today evidence of the strong economic ties that bind our two countries. “
The Beckerov added that “U.S. companies have realized the economic potential of exceptional stationed in Iraq and established a strong presence in it.”
He said the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, “at the Pavilion of the United States, there are great examples of U.S. companies, a manufacturer of aircraft and vehicles, as well as American companies working together with the Iraqi private sector and the Iraqi government in the industrial sectors important, such as electric power generation, health care, information technology, transportation, safety and security, financial services and defense” , noting that “the basic goods and services provided by the suppliers of the United States is helping Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure and its industrial and ability to create new job opportunities for the Iraqi people to achieve greater prosperity and successful integration into the global economy.”
Beecroft emphasized that “these companies bring to Iraq, the latest global technology and management systems and business practices”, declaring his pride severe “the contributions made by U.S. companies to the continued economic development of Iraq.”
U.S. ambassador urged Iraqis “to explore the United States Pavilion to see for yourself the importance attached by American companies in the present and the future of Iraq alike.”
The Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani opened, on Thursday, Fifty 40th Baghdad International Fair, with the participation of 17 Arab and foreign countries, as called for Arab and foreign companies to invest their participation in the see the size of investments in Iraq, called for the adoption of sources other basic alternative to oil for the construction and development of the Iraqi economy.
The Ministry of Commerce announced that, in the 22 of September, 2013, to bring forward the opening of the Baghdad International Fair to the current month of October, rather than the month of November, for the opening day of the session coincidence with the beginning of the month of Muharram.
It was the beginning of the Baghdad International Fair in 1956, when the exhibition was held industrial and agricultural which supervised by متصرفية the Baghdad Brigade.
The first session was held for the exhibition in 1964 and this is the real beginning of the Baghdad International Fair Participation was modest, where he participated only five Arab countries.
Continued sessions on an annual basis and took characterized as quantitative and qualitative expansion of the size of the halls and posts increased importance of the exhibition on the local and international level because it represents the interface of civilization, media and economic to Iraq, and joined the Baghdad International Fair to the International Federation of Exhibition (UFI) and the Paris-based to gain international character during the eighth session and became a member of the According to the decision taken at the meeting of the Union, which was held in Malta in October of 1971
CBI attributes the scarcity of quality banknotes (dinars) due to ineffecient replacement methods
Central Bank attributed the presence of the scarcity of good in paper currencies to the weakness of “mechanism” to receive damaged
He attributed the Central Bank of Iraq, said Thursday there is scarcity in Banknotes good with small category in the markets to the weakness in the mechanism of receiving damaged, and pointed out that “careful” not to treat citizens or markets currencies damaged, because it works to continually replace, while confirmed having confounded much of those currencies potable ready to put up for trading.
The governor of the central bank and agency Abdul Basit Turki said in an interview to (range Press), “The Central Bank is keen to not be there Banknotes damaged and in large quantities within reach of the citizen, or even in the market, because it works on them or replace them in ways that legal” noting that “the central bank has a large inventory of currencies, and has control of the Iraqi currency trading can not be that there is a lack of currency or something like that.”
The Turkish that “a mechanism to receive the central bank currency Damaged be through banks only, because the Directorates Bank does not have a presence in the market,” noting that “the bank records sometimes scarce in some categories of currencies small, because the damaged ones is not up to the bank in regularly until they are replaced with new ones. “
It is noteworthy that the phenomenon of the spread of the currency damaged or المتهرئة become a nuisance to a lot of citizens and traders, taxi drivers, because they are upset to handle any paper money cut or connected to, as well as that this phenomenon imposed itself on the circulation of people and led them to accept the deal currency damaged to preserve the continuation of their work well.
Othman: No agreement on election law, more problems among the political blocs
BAGHDAD / NINA / The independent MP, Mahmoud Othman, of the Kurdistan Alliance said, "Consensus among the political blocs on the election law and passed in parliament, will make it easier to pass the rest of the important laws." Adding, "If there is no consensus, there will be tension and new problems between the political blocs and the rest of important laws will be disabled.
He added in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / the Kurdish leaders met with MPs from the Kurdistan Alliance during the past three days." noting that " these meetings did not come out with a new results, therefore the Kurdistan Alliance remain on its notes and options to amend the election law .
He explained that "the final position of the Kurdistan Alliance on the election law will be announced officially during the meetings of the political blocs after the Eid al-Adha holiday."
He added that "each bloc has its own opinion on the election law, which is not binding on the other parties, noting that "Farhad al-Atrushi's remarks represent his personal opinion , because he is not the spokesman for the Kurdistan Alliance . "
The MP, of the Kurdistan Alliance, Farhad al-Atrushi said earlier that the Kurdistan Alliance held intensive meetings during the past three days in Erbil with the territorial Government and representatives of the four parties involved in the House of Representatives, and we came to a decision not to participate in vote on the electoral law in the event of the insistence of other political blocs to involve the issue of Kirkuk in the law.