Sheikh Abbas Muhammadawi calls the political blocs to rewrite the Constitution, rather than engage in a dispute over election law
18-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Secretary-General called for the coalition of the Sons of Iraq fervent Sheikh Abbas Muhammadawi political blocs to rewrite the Constitution ellipse instead of busy dispute about the election law.
He said in a statement today: it was better that the political blocs are busy correcting their mistakes and work to rewrite the Constitution ellipse form a national and not partisan, rather than the split on the election law and continue to exchange accusations and statements convulsive fire, which I make no delay.
He Muhammadawi: the political blocs that have wronged the Iraqi people Bouklavadtha and divisions over most of the laws that are in the interest of the citizen, the time has come her to deal conscientiously with the problems that burdened the Iraqi people, and that their decisions and legislation responsive to the interests of citizens rather than to meet the interests of narrow partisan .
He continued: that it is the duty of the political parties unite their word and begin to make constitutional amendments or rewrite the constitution if necessary, and then they can then approve the vote on election law paragraphs instead of wasting time in the search for a political consensus on it.
While the Iraqi government seems to be in a coma when it comes to bridging the gaps between the different segments of Iraqi society, Iraqi youth volunteers have opened the doors of communication among themselves in an effort to develop a true sense of citizenship. These youths, who belong to different sects, groups and regions, became acquainted with one another during events held by the Masarat Institute, which promotes the protection of minorities.
Citizenship Ambassadors aims to bring together youths from Iraq's various religious and ethnic communities and regional affiliations to combat the escalating sectarian conflict in the country.
Citizenship Ambassadors .. The Youth Are Searching For Another Iraq
Author: Ali Mamouri
Posted on: October 17 2013
Translated by: Tyler Huffman
They then continued to communicate and develop a broad network of cooperation spanning Iraq's various regions, while the Baghdad government remained only capable of convening ceremonial conferences. These youths call themselves Citizenship Ambassadors. Each one considers him- or herself to be an official representative of Iraqi citizenship and responsible for spreading a culture of co-existence across the Iraqi spectrum.
Included among these ambassadors are Zuhair, a Yazidi; Mona, a Bahai; Lara, a Christian; Insijam and Itifaq, Mandean twins; Ahmad, a Turkmen; Marouj, a Kurd; Hussein, a Shabak; Wissam and Wojoud, black Iraqis; Muhannad, a Sumerian; Ahmad, from the southern provinces; and Seif from Anbar among many others. The members represent the majority of Iraq's various identities through their different nationalist, religious and regional affiliations. At the moment, the project includes 10 teams comprising 400 volunteers throughout Iraq.
The Citizenship Ambassadors aim to correct the stereotype of Iraqi society as divisive by personally getting to know one another and holding constructive discussions. Each participant forms a team of members from his or her province to create a comprehensive picture of Iraq's diversity, reflecting an objective picture of all the components of the country. They then gather at workshops, where they discuss the foundations and principles of citizenship. Each session ends with a visit to the holy places of a religion, so group members can become personally acquainted with them all and talk with their leaders. A session lasts a week and is followed by additional gatherings in which new members participate. This result is an expanding social network of relations among members of different sects and groups in a direct and continuous manner.
Al-Monitor met with members of Citizenship Ambassadors to learn more about their work. Lara said that thus far she has worked with 20 youths — including Christians, Yazidis and Shabaks. She presented them with information on minorities in Iraq, including those who are no longer around, such as Jews, and explained some of the misconceptions regarding the beliefs of various religions. She then took them to the monastery of Raban Hermzid, near al-Qawsh, so they could meet with a Christian cleric, who talked to them about tolerance and love for the other in Christianity. They then traveled to Lalish, in the northern Sheikan district, to meet with a Yazidi expert, who spoke about his religion and clarified some of the misconceptions regarding it. Next, they visited a mosque, where a sheikh explained to them that terrorism in Iraq is in no way connected to the Islamic faith. He informed them that those who carry out such acts are criminals far removed from the essence of the religion.
Seif told Al-Monitor that he views the Citizenship Ambassadors project as a microcosm of Iraq. He said that he and his friends are working to expand the group to include the largest number of people possible, from all the provinces and every affiliation. Speaking about the difficult security situation for such work in his home province, Anbar, Seif offered, "Despite the difficult challenges, we were able to hold preparatory workshops and then we visited the Shrine of Abu Hanifa al-Numan, the imam of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence, as well as the shrine of al-Kazim, the seventh imam for Twelver Shiites. Most of the participants were visiting the holy places of other religions for the first time in their lives to get to know the other directly, face-to-face."
Saad Salloum, the director of the Masarat Institute and the man behind the idea for Citizenship Ambassadors, told Al-Monitor that what these youths are doing is part of We Are All Citizens, a comprehensive program organized by his institute, in cooperation with a range of civil activists, to establish the bases of citizenship in society and bring together the elements necessary to reduce Iraq's escalating sectarian conflict. The program works on a number of levels: with the Iraqi parliament to ratify relevant laws; with religious figures to strengthen communications with them and urge them to play a positive role in ameliorating sectarian conflict; with universities and research institutes to focus studies on phenomena and problems associated with the issues of Iraqi citizenship, to change and develop school curricula (which currently includes content that helps spread hatred but should be transformed into a tool for establishing a sense of shared citizenship and coexistence between the various segments of society); and with a wide-ranging and expanding social network to stand up in the face of the growing gap dividing various segments of the people.
The worthiness of this project has led international humanitarian organizations, among them the IKV Pax Christi Institute, to form ties with it, support it and develop similar programs in other countries in the Middle East, a region suffering from a number of sectarian crises. This is important for Iraqis, because the sectarian conflict in their country has become linked to what is happening in other parts of the region. It is thus necessary to be prepared and ready to take proactive stances toward events.
Ali Mamouri is a columnist for Al-Monitor's Iraq Pulse. He is a researcher and writer who specializes in religion as well as 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.
Hashemi: Willing to appear before a court in Baghdad if I got on European guarantees
18-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
He former Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi sentenced to death in absentia for his country, for his willingness to return "immediately" to Baghdad to appear before the courts in the event of the European Union has pledged to ensure a fair trial for him.
The head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, in a press conference in Brussels that he was "ready now and immediately to appear before just spend provides me and individuals protect me suffering a real chance to prove their innocence." And sentenced al-Hashemi, Iraqi Vice President until May 2011, to death in absentia in September / September 2012 after being convicted of killing judges, a lawyer and a brigade, a charge he denies categorically saying he is the victim of prosecution of political goals stand behind Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Hashemi said at the conference that "the chances of litigation just non-existent in Iraq under the clear complicity of Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud with the Prime Minister's Office and اذعانه all orders, which distorted the image and reputation of Iraq, both domestically and internationally."
Hashemi, who issued an international arrest warrant against him, he was able to reach Brussels thanks to an official invitation from the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament., But he was unable to hold a press conference on the campus of the European Parliament.
Close to him said that the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz officially prevented from entering the parliament under the "pressure of the state" a member of the European Union. And held a press conference recently in a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels. Hashemi displayed in a press conference documents and videos "proving the involvement of al-Maliki and his office in acts of torture and serious violations of human rights."
He also explained that "most of the detainees are innocent while the real criminals are still at large with the knowledge and expertise of the security services and the directory in which no doubt collapse continuous and continuing security incidents and assassinations, sectarian displacement of the support of the security services associated with al-Maliki."
Hashemi, a leading Sunni political leaders in Iraq, the main opponents of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. After being charged in December / December 2011 under the leadership of a number of "death squads" and the issuance of a warrant for his arrest, al-Hashemi fled to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq and then traveled to Qatar Saudi Arabia before moving to Turkey.
High Nassif demanding that the government and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to submit a protest to the European Union on the invitation of Hashemi
18-10-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Demanded the MP for the coalition, the Iraqi Free high Nassif government and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry protested to the European Union on the call of the Union to Tareq al-Hashemi despite being wanted on terrorism-related charges.
She told him the Information Office of the coalition: "Iraq has several agreements with the European Union in various fields, and it was better for the Union to respect these agreements instead of it penetrates through the invitation of Hashemi."
She added: "The al-Hashemi is accused of terrorism offenses and the Iraqi judiciary is required, if the EU calls for human rights, how file sends an invitation to a person accused of violating human rights?".
Nassif stressed: "the need to take the government and the Iraqi Foreign clear stand away from the political courtesy, through the provision of protest to the European Union to extend an invitation for Hashemi to participate in a conference on human rights."
Shahristani: Iraq to be main provider of oil for world
Friday, 18 October 2013 08:30
Baghdad (AIN) –The Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, Hussein al-Shahristani, assured that “Iraq is working to increase its oil production and will be the main provider of crude oil in the world.”
A statement by Shahristani’s office cited “The Deputy PM for Energy Affairs participated in the 22nd International Energy Conference which was held in Daigo city in South Korea.”
Shahristani highlighted the importance of the Middle East and Africa on the economic level since they are the main providers for oil for the world wide, noting that “We expect to have 95% of the increase in the oil production from these countries, especially, Iraq.”
He stressed “Iraq is working to increase its production of oil through developing its oil fields and increase the foreign investments in this sector to be the main provider of oil though the political unrest in the region which is the main reason for the international worries over oil supplies.”
CBI announces decline in USD sales during Monday auction session
Monday, 14 October 2013 17:25
Baghdad (AIN) –The Central Bank of Iraq announced a decline in the dollar sales on Monday auction session compared with the auction session of Sunday where the US Dollar sales reached USD (227,000,000).
The CBI reported in statement received by AIN ''During the auction session of Monday, the CBI sold USD (221,570,000) at a price of (1166) with the participation of (20) banks.''
''The price of the US Dollar cash sale reached (1179) including the commission deducted by the CBI while the price of bank transfers reached (1171),'' the statement added.
''The CBI will continue selling USD in return to (1166) Iraqi dinar along with same commission,'' the statement concluded.
Statistics prepared by AIN regarding the USD sales of the CBI revealed selling USD (5,275,645,000) during September which is an increase comparing to USD sales during August where it reached (4,563,000,751).
Thousands of people participate in Fri prayers and sit-in,of Anbar.
Ramadi / NINA /--Thousands of people flocked from different parts of Fallujah and Ramadi cities , to participate in the unified Fri-prayer.
Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad, one of the organizers of Anbar sit-ins ,said to NINA reporter : "The citizens participated in the prayers that held in the courtyard northern Ramadi and eastern Fallujah cities , stressing that the goal of this trickle is to send one again a message to the governing in Baghdad that our demonstrations are peaceful and backed by citizens deep conviction.
"The source added that the central government seeking by every means to provoke the demonstrators especially through nonsense statements .
A light may finally have appeared at the end of the Iranian tunnel. In the past, negotiations between Iran and the West about its nuclear program generally descended into Iranian platitudes and obfuscation, Western frustration and a huge waste of time for everyone (except perhaps the expensive hotels hosting the negotiators). This time may be different. In the first talks since Mr. Rouhani became president, Iran apparently came to the table with some serious, tangible offers.
Iranians need relief from the increasingly severe sanctions regime the West imposed on them. The Rial has plummeted to unheard of lows against other currencies, Iranian oil revenues have slumped as the only countries still willing to buy from Teheran demand huge discounts just because they can, and Iranian banks now find themselves shunned by the outside world. Average Iranians especially now face increasingly harsh difficulties just getting by, and blame for the situation will inevitably find its way to the mullahs and their friends running the country.
At the same time, the West desperately needs a way to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. A nuclear armed Iran would spark a nuclear arms race across the whole volatile Middle East, as the likes of Saudi Arabia scramble to catch up and close the new nuclear weapons gap. With the ultimate deterrent under its sleeve, Iran would also likely pursue an even more assertive foreign policy in the region, with possibly dangerous repercussions. The contest with Israel, among other things, could get very much out of control in such a scenario. Given the extensive, often buried and likely still secret aspects of the Iranian nuclear program, it’s also not at all clear that even the United States could rely on a military option short of full scale invasion to stop an “Iranian bomb.” Americans, along with any other likely contenders, clearly have no stomach for such an undertaking – hence their reliance on the sanctions that have begun to turn the Iranian economy upside down.
All of which is why real progress in negotiations between Iran and the West represents good news for everyone. Iran has a right to pursue nuclear energy of course. The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Iran signed in 1968 reaffirms that right, and makes technical assistance for Iran’s nuclear program available, provided that Iran also meets certain legal obligations, such as allowing unfettered International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities, limiting uranium enrichment, and not pursuing weaponization technologies such as missile warheads capable of carrying nuclear payloads. For some time now, Teheran has refused to fulfill its legal obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pointing out that the likes of Israel, Pakistan and India had nuclear weapons did not help allay Western suspicions of Teheran’s nuclear intent (and these countries never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, meaning they also never received technical assistance under the treaty’s terms either).
It now seems that for the first time in a long time, the Iranians may be offering to fulfill their treaty obligations. Most importantly, this would include agreeing to a regime of comprehensive verifications, including surprise inspections of their nuclear sites, and some kind of limit and control on their uranium enrichment activities.
Perhaps when leaders in Teheran saw how the Assad regime was able to deflect threats of Western military intervention by coming clean on its chemical weapons program, they figured they too could take some pressure off of themselves. Whatever the reasoning, however, the development is welcome. If the Iranian offer turns out to be serious this time, rather than just another attempt to buy more time for a nuclear weapons program, the West needs to clearly state how it plans to reciprocate. A timetable for ending the sanctions on Iran, along with firm commitments from the United States and other Western powers not to militarily threaten Iran anymore, would form the essence of the expected quid pro quo. If that happens, perhaps Washington and Teheran can get back to nurturing their economies and hating each other more respectfully and constructively.
David Romano has been a Rudaw columnist since August 2010. He is the Thomas G. Strong Professor of Middle East Politics at Missouri State University and author of The Kurdish Nationalist Movement (2006, Cambridge University Press).
By: Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor Posted on October 17.
Iran has put forward a new proposal to resolve the nuclear crisis that includes a freeze on production of 20% enriched uranium, a pledge to convert its stockpile to fuel rods and an agreement to relinquish spent fuel for a still-to-be completed heavy water reactor, according to an Iranian source who has proven reliable in the past.
Iran offers to freeze its 20% enrichment of uranium but still wants to complete a reactor that could yield plutonium, another potential bomb fuel.
Author: Barbara Slavin
Posted on: October 17 2013
The offers, combined with increased scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are meant to provide confidence that Iran could not quickly break out of its nuclear obligations and make nuclear weapons.
The Iranian, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations that resumed Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Geneva are supposed to be confidential, said the proposal presented by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif included two stages, each to last a maximum six months.
In the first stage, the source said, Iran would stop producing 20% enriched uranium and “try to convert the stock” it has amassed to fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, an old American-origin facility that produces medical isotopes.
Iran has already converted or set aside the bulk of the more than 370 kilograms [815 pounds] of uranium it has enriched to 20% — which is easy to further enrich to weapons grade — but it isn’t clear whether Iranians have the know-how to produce workable fuel rods.
According to the source, other elements of the proposal include:
• More information about the Arak heavy water reactor, including access by the IAEA to monitor construction of the facility, whose completion has been repeatedly delayed and is now scheduled for the end of 2014. In the past, the IAEA has had limited access to the site. While the reactor is being finished, the source said, an agreement could be concluded with the IAEA to handle spent fuel, which contains plutonium, another potential bomb fuel. The source compared the arrangement to the one Iran currently has with Russia, which takes back spent fuel from Iran’s only working civilian nuclear power reactor at Bushehr.
• Full monitoring of the underground enrichment plant at Fordow, which would be turned into a research center, and negotiations on limiting the scale of production at the Natanz enrichment plant.
• Iranian ratification of the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which allows unannounced inspections of nuclear sites.
Representatives of the State Department and the European Union declined comment on the purported elements of the Iranian program, citing their pledge to keep negotiations confidential at this delicate stage.
While the plan contains interesting new ideas, it does not meet previous demands by the United States and its negotiating partners for removing Iran’s stockpile of 20% uranium from Iran, suspending operations at Fordow and halting work on Arak. It also does not address Iran’s growing stock of low-enriched uranium — some 10,000 kilograms [22,046 pounds].
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told Al-Monitor that if the proposal is accurate, it is "a genuine, serious response to the P5+1 proposal presented in April at Almaty, which was not a final offer from the P5+1." Kimball added that the offer to stop production of 20% enriched uranium and convert the stockpile into fuel rods "essentially meets the goal of the P5+1 to stop production and ship out the remaining material" while the "proposed solution on Arak should also be very appealing to the P5+1, especially since Iran doesn't even have a plutonium separation facility that it could use to extract plutonium from Arak's spent fuel rods. Arak also does not require enriched uranium fuel, rather natural uranium fuel."
While declining to reveal details of the negotiations, officials from the United States and the other five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (the P5+1) have praised Iran for changing the tone of the talks and coming to Geneva with a serious new offer.
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is the chief US negotiator with Iran, told Christiane Amanpour of CNN, “Foreign Minister Zarif and his delegation came prepared for detailed, substantive discussion with a candor that I certainly have not heard in the two years I’ve been meeting with Iranians, and my P5+1 colleagues, some of whom have been doing this for quite some time, found quite new and different.”
Asked whether the Iranians made concrete proposals including a six-month confidence-building agreement, Sherman said, “What is correct is that we've always had a framework and one which Iran has adopted as well, and that is we will have discussions about what our objective is, what the final steps should look like and what an initial confidence-building measure might look like, to put some time on the clock to negotiate that comprehensive agreement.”
Al-Monitor reported prior to the talks that Iran would be coming with substantive new proposals but was also insisting on seeing an “endgame” before agreeing to initial concessions.
Iranian officials have also indicated that they would not expect the US Congress to remove sanctions initially — which is realistic, given that Congress is contemplating adding new sanctions.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for additional sanctions, while an Arizona Republican congressman, Trent Franks, is sponsoring a measure authorizing President Barack Obama to use military force against the Iranian program.
Pointedly, the Iranian proposal shared with Al-Monitor referred to UN resolutions, not American laws.
However, there are steps the US government could take in response to Iranian concessions that would ease pressure on the Iranian people and not require congressional action. One possibility would be to ease practical hurdles to US and European exports of medicine to Iran, which is technically exempted from sanctions but has been impeded by the lack of a direct, authorized banking channel between Iran and US and European banks.
Participating in the nuclear negotiations for the first time was Adam Szubin, head of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the body that implements US sanctions laws.
Asked by CNN why Szubin came, Sherman said, “The purpose of having our sanctions team here with us is because … Iran wants to get sanctions relief. But they also have to understand what the range of our sanctions are, what they require, how they work, what it takes to implement sanctions relief, what sanctions we believe need to stay in place.”
Iran and the P5+1 are expected to hold talks on a technical level before the next full meeting in Geneva on Nov. 7-8.
Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on Iran. She tweets @BarbaraSlavin1.
Reinforcing file at the top of the agenda of Maliki's visit to Washington
10:20:18 / 10/2013
Khandan - confirmed close to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, that the file of arming Iraqi forces and weapons contracts with the United States would be at the top of the agenda of his visit to Washington, in addition to research on regional issues, especially the Syrian crisis.
The leader of the Dawa party, Abdul Hadi al-Hassani, that "Maliki is leaving to Washington during the next few days, after agreement on a deadline for official visit between the channels concerned."
Hassani said in a statement to the newspaper Al-Hayat that "one of the most important files to be discussed by the Prime Minister and the accompanying delegation arming Iraqi forces with modern weapons and advanced technologies to fight terrorism and remind Washington of its obligations towards Iraq in the strategic framework of the agreement."
He continued that "what is happening in Iraq, terrorist attacks impose on the United States helped Iraq to change the power in 2003 to continue its logistical support and technical support to the security forces and military to control security, but unfortunately the U.S. forces did not comply with that quoted all devices and equipment that were used in the prosecution and the fight against terrorism. "
Hassani said that "Iraq is in need of a sophisticated defense system to control security, and as a matter of urgency, and I think that the Prime Minister will discuss it openly with Washington to urge them to arm Iraq as soon as possible."
He pointed out that regional issues, including the Syrian crisis, and the latest developments in the region will be on the agenda of the visit.
For his part, said a source in state law for Al-Hayat that "the visit is aimed to know the position of the U.S. administration, which is happening in Iraq as well as to know the fate of arms deals concluded by the government with Washington, as it was scheduled to receive a large part of it."
He added: "If you can not get Iraq's armament system agreed with Washington فسنبحث from another source."