Iran criticizes Iraq's oil policy
03-11-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
And criticized the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangana Iraq's decision to increase its exports of crude oil accusing Iraq so to compensate for the shortfall in OPEC production after Iran's exports decline due to the international sanctions imposed on them.
The Iranian minister described in a press statement the move "that it is not friendly at all," and added that "Iraq's oil policies damage the interests of Iran."
It is noteworthy that Iran's oil exports had fallen from 2.5 million barrels per day to 1.2 million barrels, as a result of Western sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry had Alent Friday about the high rate of oil exports for the month of October compared to last September after oil exports for the past month more than 69 million and 843 thousand barrels, compared with 62 million and 100 thousand barrels last September.
The ministry said the average Iraq's exports of crude oil stood at 2.253 million barrels a day last month.
4 provinces: stabbed Maliki Beslahiatna of the advocates would be in favor of regions
03-11-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Baghdad / Wael grace
Local officials said high-level in the governorates of Anbar, Mosul, Diyala, Salahuddin, said the appeal made by the government against the new powers to the provinces will revive again claim territories character sectarian, and did not rule out that this challenge well thought out to make way for supporters of the idea to demand the provinces of sectarian nature, but they confirmed that they would form a united front with the southern provinces to defend their new powers.
As confirmed those that challenge the government works to devote Central, considered that the interest of the government to install these powers because they ستتخلص problems of the provinces and devote themselves to draw public policies that correct the one hand, and contribute to the eradication of the scourge of corruption that necrosis of the state institutions and their causes are mostly projects the federal ministries in the provinces .
The President of the Council of Nineveh province Bashar الكيكي in an interview with the "long" that the Second Amendment to the law of provincial councils was a substitute for the idea of the regions, considering the appeal the law, "a blow to democracy and decentralized system," he said, adding that he "proved practicable and by experience whenever I got the provinces on the wider powers, I said the problems and limited sources of corruption, "pointing out that" given the powers to the provinces will raise a lot about the federal government. "
And confirms الكيكي that "the federal government to support the law, not to stab him," noting that "the law will allow the government full-time political and public relations, foreign and defense rather than preoccupation with the services and the problems of the provinces," he would reduce the law "blame and demonstrations against the government, the default within governorates سيوجهه against the province and its departments and not against the government and its ministry. "
The head of the Council of Nineveh provincial challenged the law amended to "challenge the core of the democratic process and decentralization" affirmed by the Constitution, explaining that "the government challenged the law evidence of a thought (categorical) in the Council of Ministers encourages central."
And refers الكيكي to the possibility of returning to the idea of "claim provinces," especially since the amendment of the law of provincial councils has become a substitute for "regions," explaining that "Nineveh has already begun to work on the basis of last amendment to the law of provincial councils," stressing the readiness of the province to receive a ration card and the rest of files, despite the difficult security situation in the province.
Meanwhile, a Chairman of the Board of Diyala Mohammed al-Hamdani said in an interview with the "long" that challenged the law of the provincial average evidence "to devote central in the minds of some ministers and officials in the government," adding that "the provinces very excited to amend the law to get rid of red tape long to get approvals and the implementation of important projects, "noting that challenged the law will negatively affect the province and its residents.
And indicates al-Hamdani, a member of the Liberal bloc in Diyala that "experience in the Kurdistan region and access to broad powers, and out of thought Central is a lot of reality, and was able to recover economically and promote the services," likely to stand the population provinces against the resolution, stressing rejection of conservative " boycotted "the appeal submitted by the government, and believes that the government and the insistence of some ministries not to the transfer of powers to the provinces evidence of the control of the" central reason "in the state administration.
For his part, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Anbar province, Saleh al-Issawi challenged the government against the law of the provincial average "deliberate" and directed against the provinces certain to revive the demands of "regions" again, adding in a statement to the "long" that the second amendment to the law of the provincial non-performing province was " transferred the task to the provinces and work to obtain administrative and financial powers and wide to enable them to advance services in the province. "
He pointed out that the Anbar met with a number of tribal elders, clerics and notables to unify the government to reject the appeal, saying that "the province then would go to the southern provinces to form a broad front deduced from the government challenged the law."
Issawi reveals that "a number of alliances in Anbar has to form a government on the basis of persuading the parties in the local government to abandon the idea of the regions," and modify the law of the provinces in support of the idea came from some quarters "to renounce the idea of regions" and get on the powers of administrative decentralization.
But al-Issawi says that challenged the law will embarrass some of the parties in the local government, which persuaded its partners to drop the idea of "regions", indicating that the appeal revive the idea of a new, noting that the recent action against the law of provincial councils "as if directed against provinces certain to raise the slogan regions. "
No different from the position of the Council of Salahuddin province on Anbar and Mosul, in fear that the appeal against the law of provincial councils, "a justification for some parties to revive the regions," said council member Khaled al-Daraji told the "term" yesterday that "the rejection of the transfer of powers to the provincial councils will not be in the interest of the citizen, "expected to arise provinces and citizens against the decision.
And refers Darraji that "the appeal controversial and attention of the provincial council, and it is considering a united front with large western provinces and the South against the decision of the appeal," warning at the same time that "the abolition of the law will return to talk about the establishment of provinces," especially since the "Saladin saw claims
New York Times: U.S. intervention in Iraq expected if Syria continued to deteriorate
03-11-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
BAGHDAD / Press-term
American newspapers quoted, on Saturday, the statements from Iraqi officials within the visiting delegation of the United States, which is headed by al-Maliki, to indicate that Iraq has asked Apache helicopters equipped with modern missiles, as well as surveillance drones, and the assignment of U.S. intelligence.
The New York Times, in its edition yesterday, and seen by (the long-Presse), that Iraqi officials, did not reveal their names, said that "the Iraqi government submitted a list of demands included helicopters Apache attack armed with missiles Joe - Land (Hellfire), as well to assign more U.S. intelligence and other types of aid to combat terrorism, such as drones march, run by the Americans. "
The newspaper quoted U.S. President Barack Obama admitting to aggravate the power of al-Qaeda, saying "It is unfortunate that Al Qaeda is still active, and increased strength and active recently," as quoted by the Iraqi prime minister as saying that "the Iraqi government to mobilize the people to fight al Qaeda because this is in the interest of Iraq and the Middle East. "
Promised New York Times that "undo the political and security have put the two leaders in a position confusing, President Obama, who welcomed two years ago down the levels of violence and the price of Maliki's efforts leadership of a government that includes all the spectra, it tends now to focus on other priorities, while finding Prime Minister Maliki, who paid the direction of the U.S. withdrawal and try to keep a distance from Washington, himself now in a position motivates him to seek help from the U.S. president. "
The newspaper pointed out that "the changes in the current circumstances were evident in the White House's decision to refrain from conducting a joint news conference like the one held during the previous Maliki's visit, and instead merely provide a brief outline leaders from within the Office of the White House."
Says Brian كاتولس, an expert specialist in Iraqi affairs from the center of Progress American in a statement to The New York Times, that "it is difficult for the U.S. administration to make any claim that things were going well in Iraq," returned "all the blame on the consequences of that is located on the Iraqi leadership . "
However, expert says كاتولس that "the U.S. administration felt that it must maintain its focus on Iraq, to say the least because of the escalation of al Qaeda activity in western Iraq, which may worsen the ongoing civil war in Syria with the movement of terrorists back and forth across the border between the two countries" .
He added كاتولس the saying, "There is convinced that if the situation continues in Syria for what it is, the need to intervene Iraqi situation would be more urgent."
The U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed, on Saturday, on the need to take Iraq further steps towards building a democratic system comprehensively resolve differences "through politics rather than violence," and as pointed to the need for Iraqi forces pressing for additional equipment for operations in remote areas, showed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Baghdad's desire to buy American hardware as a means of strengthening relations with Washington, stressing his commitment to "strict laws and American rules governing the use."
By: Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor Posted on November 1.
Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Friday, Nov. 1, that Congress should not pass new sanctions against Iran while the Barack Obama administration “tests” the chances for a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee opposes new Iran sanctions while the United States “probes” Iran’s sincerity in negotiating limits on its nuclear program.
Author: Barbara Slavin
Posted on: November 1 2013
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington a day after Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry briefed senators on the current negotiations, Levin said he did not know whether the softening of Iranian rhetoric since the election of President Hassan Rouhani represented “real change.” But, he added, “Whether it is a 10%, 40% or 60% chance [that the change is real], it should be tested and probed. We should not at this time impose additional sanctions.”
As Levin spoke, technical experts from Iran, the United States and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany were concluding two days of talks in Vienna on the details of an Iranian proposal tabled in Geneva last month. Iranian officials also met earlier this week with Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and reportedly made a new offer to clarify long-standing disagreements with the IAEA about Iran’s past nuclear work.
Amano, speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars later Friday, said Iran "made a proposal that contains real substance" after years of "going around in circles" in talks with the IAEA. He did not provide details on whether Iran had agreed to live streaming of its nuclear facilities with remote cameras. He did say that Iran was no longer tying progress on resolving questions about possible military dimensions of its program to the broader talks about a nuclear agreement.
The next round of high-level talks convenes in Geneva next Thursday, Nov. 7. The Senate, which had been expected to take up new sanctions legislation in October immediately after the end of the US government shutdown, now looks unlikely to act for another 10 days, if not longer.
Responding to a question from Al-Monitor about the legislation, which would attempt to further curb Iran’s already diminished oil exports, Levin warned that if “we respond to this possibility [of a nuclear deal] in a negative way, … if we tighten the screw when it looks as though the Iranian leadership … may be willing to talk about modifying, changing, making less threatening the nuclear program, we could lose the very countries — particularly Russia and China — who have stood with us to put sanctions in place. We should not at this time do something on top of what we have done.”
In the past, sanctions bills have been attached to defense spending legislation that is regarded as must-pass in Congress. Asked by Al-Monitor if Levin, as the Armed Services Committee chair, could prevent such a move this year, he was noncommittal. Other “people may try to do it,” he said.
Following fairly upbeat meetings in Geneva last month, the Obama administration has been lobbying hard for a pause in new legislative action. In addition to Biden and Lew, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, the chief US negotiator with the Iranians, has been briefing members of Congress and calling for a respite while negotiations continue and look promising.
The administration has also spent considerable time briefing Israel about the talks and this week reportedly convinced four major US Jewish organizations to agree to a 60-day moratorium on pressuring Congress to vote on new sanctions.
Levin would not divulge details of US-Iran negotiations apart from saying, “My hunch is that this is going to be done in phases,” and that the first phase might begin “hopefully in a month or so.”
He suggested that the United States should respond through unspecified sanctions relief to “significant” Iranian concessions. He also said that Iran would not be required to cease uranium enrichment in the first phase of an agreement, although zero enrichment remains a US goal.
“At the end of the day, we may not allow enrichment … but obviously, that won’t happen in phase one,” he said.
Iran has insisted on the right to enrich uranium on its soil under any final accord.
Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council where she focuses on Iran. On Twitter: @BarbaraSlavin1
Iraq's election law standoff
Posted By Kirk H. Sowell Friday, November 1, 2013 - 9:34 AM Share
With Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki now visiting Washington, most of the criticism directed at him has related to the allegation he has "marginalized Sunnis" and created the atmosphere leading to the current increase in sectarian violence. Among those following this line have been a group of U.S. Senators who sent a letter to President Barack Obama preceding Maliki's visit. But they are missing the point. Maliki is actually more inclusive of Sunnis than his Shiite rivals, and only one Sunni minister, former Finance Minister Rafia al-Isawi, has resigned permanently. Sunnis control most of the economic ministries as well as all the provincial governments where they are a majority. The most anti-Maliki provinces, Anbar and Ninawa, have renewed security coordination with Baghdad.
The real problem with the legacy Maliki and his cohorts are creating lies elsewhere, and is symbolized in the current stalemate over a bill for a new election law which is based entirely around strengthening the oligopolistic nature of the current system. The law is necessary for the parliamentary elections due by the end of April 2014, and since the electoral commission says it needs six months to make preparations, parliament is cutting it close. But with the Kurds and the Arab parties deadlocked, and Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani threatening to boycott the elections, Speaker Osama al-Nujayfi has repeatedly postponed the vote.
The core dispute that is holding up the law is between the Kurdistani Alliance and the Arab blocs, with the Kurds wanting a return to electoral systems used in 2005, under which they did better, and the Arabs preferring a modified form of the law used in 2010. But another amendment on which Maliki and his Sunni rivals agree is intended to suppress independent challenges to the major blocs. Maliki, in particular, is keen to avoid a repetition of this year's provincial elections, in which he (only partially with justice) blames losses by his State of Law Coalition to the system used to allocate seats.
The Arab-Kurd dispute, which is at the forefront of the public debate, relates to the choice between a "single district" system and a "multi-district system." The single-district system, used in January 2005, treats the entire country as a district, with seats divided proportionately. Since Kurdish voter participation rates are typically 70 to 75 percent or more, nearly double the Arab participation rate, this increases the numbers of seats elected in Kurdish areas.
Arab politicians usually avoid mentioning this directly, but some acknowledge it is the reason they want the multi-district system. Member of Parliament (MP) Salman al-Jumayli, a leading member of Speaker Nujayfi's Mutahidun bloc, recently argued in a debate on the Sunni Arab-leaning Al-Sharqiya TV that conditions in Arab provinces gave the Kurds an unfair advantage in voter participation. More recently MP Ahmad al-Abassi, of Maliki's bloc, made the same argument, saying no system giving the Kurds more seats was acceptable.
A related issue is that of the so-called "compensatory seats," which are seats awarded to blocs with high vote totals, which party heads can distribute to candidates who did not win enough votes to win a seat directly. The Kurds have proposed dramatically increasing the number of compensatory seats as a compromise. This would make the electoral system similar to how it was in December 2005, and would help the Kurds since their "surplus" votes in the three Kurdish provinces would win more of those seats. And precisely for this reason, the Arabs reject the idea.
Some Kurds also argue that the 2010 system is unfair to them in terms of their seat allocation. Since Iraq has not had a modern census, seats are allocated by province according to the ration card system -- the number in each province poor enough to receive the benefit is a proxy for overall population. Given Kurdistan's relative economic security however, it is possible this undercounts Kurds.
The main knot blocking passage of a new law therefore is not Kurdish votes per se, since the Arabs have a near five-to-one majority, but the political calculus of the speaker. Nujayfi, whose home province of Ninawa in northwestern Iraq is adjacent to the Kurdish region, held to a Sunni Arabist line until 2011, when Turkey, which is his regional patron, changed course and began allying with Barzani. This meant Nujayfi needed to do so, and he began working with the Kurds both in his own province and nationally. Yet their electoral plan is directly adverse to the interests of his base.
To make things more complicated, there is a constitutional technicality that hinders passage of the law by simple majority. It relates to the fact that the bill under consideration is a legislative proposal, not a bill approved by the cabinet. This matters since the Supreme Court has ruled that parliament not only cannot originate legislation not backed by the cabinet, it cannot even make dramatic changes to a bill without executive branch approval. So if this bill passes into law by majority vote, the losing bloc will sue, a point made explicitly by a Kurdish MP during the October 31 session.
As the deadline parliament had set for passing the law by the end of October elapsed, there emerged a possible compromise plan. It involved adopting an alternative but informal population estimate conducted by the Planning Ministry, which would increase the total seats from 325 to 351, with the Kurds getting half of the additional 26. This would give them slightly fewer seats than they obtained in December 2005 (58 out of 275) but well more than in 2010 (57 out of 325). But the deal fell apart during the October 31 session over Shiite opposition, with Nujayfi making it clear he supported the deal.
Perhaps of greater long-term concern, though, are statutory amendments upon which Maliki and Nujayfi are agreed, which would squeeze out candidates with a local power base, and thus strengthen the oligopoly of the major blocs. Both men saw their blocs lose seats to independents in the provinces early this year, and the most commonly mentioned remedy is placing a 150,000 vote minimum for winning seats. Assuming results in Shiite areas are identical to those earlier this year, even a minimum as high as 110,000 would be enough to eliminate every winner outside the established parties. Some independents could overcome the hurdle by creating new cross-province blocs, but the residual impact would still be significant.
This change would be crucial because Iraqi parties do not have open election systems in which grassroots activists can nominate candidates with the party; they are all completely top-down. Maliki and his surrogates have framed the change as necessary to ensure a "strong" government. But what Maliki calls "weak governments" in the provinces are those in which he, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Ammar al-Hakim's Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq don't control everyone.
There is one other provision of note under discussion, which would allow party leaders to replace elected MPs at will. Although the current voting system does not allow Iraqis to nominate candidates, the "open-list" means that they can choose among names selected by parties, allowing MPs to develop some degree of independence. But this proposal, if it passes, will make the "machine" element of Iraqi politics even stronger, solidifying what is already a fairly closed system.
The reason why the law is needed in the first place is a Supreme Court decision striking down the previous law, and there is at least a possibility this could be a problem again. The decision, issued on June 14, 2010, declared the law unconstitutional because of its distribution of "empty seats" -- Article 16 of the 2009 law provided that a bloc's votes divided by the constitutional minimum threshold (the total votes divided by the number of seats allocated to the province) determined how many seats it won. This division naturally left a remainder, and these remainders, according to the law, were to be distributed to the blocs with the most seats.
In Basra, for example, in the March 2010 election there were 814,804 votes, divided by 24 seats, leaving a threshold of 33,950 votes. Maliki's bloc won 431,217 votes, giving them 12.7 seats. But they received 14 after winning an extra seat due to Article 16.
The court's reasoning was a study in vagueness. It cited constitutional provisions providing Iraqi citizens with "the right to vote" and "the right to free expression," and then concluded that the 2009 law deprived those voters who were the remainder of their right to vote, since their votes gave an extra seat or two to blocs for which they had not voted. In principle, the proposed law could also be vulnerable. Following the example above, in March 2010 Maliki's weakest winning candidate won 3,568 votes, and was his 14th seat. But under the contemplated law, the same candidate could still be elected over an independent candidate in Basra with 90,000 votes simply for being part of a large bloc. Given the court's past record of deference to Maliki it seems unlikely it would strike down a law he strongly supports, though since these decisions do not apply retroactively, once the election is over it may not matter.
Kirk H. Sowell is a political risk consultant and the Editor-in-Chief of Inside Iraqi Politics (www.insideiraqipolitics.com). Follow him @uticensisrisk.
*** THIS IS AN EXCELLENT ANALYSIS OF THE ELECTION LAW AMENDMENT POLITICAL DYNAMICS ***
Maliki gets significant intelligence support from Washington to fight "terrorism"
03-11-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Alsumaria News / Baghdad
An official source, Sunday, that the visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for America is one of the most successful visits and came with positive results, pointing out that he won the support of a large logistical and intelligence from Washington to fight "terrorism."
The source said in an interview for "Alsumaria News", that "the visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Washington, which concluded yesterday, is one of the most successful visits", noting that it "came with positive results."
The source, who asked not to be named, said that "al-Maliki received logistical support and intelligence majora by U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, to fight terrorism."
He concluded by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, on Saturday (November 2, 2013), a visit to Washington, which lasted five days, where he held during meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and a number of other U.S. officials, focused on issues of combating " terrorism "and arming of Iraq and activate the Strategic Framework Agreement concluded between the two countries.
He also announced the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, on Saturday, that the latter's visit to Washington dealt with discussions of various aspects of bilateral relations and inter-Maliki, which he called to accelerate the process of equipping the Iraqi army what it needs from weapons and equipment, stressed that the U.S. side demanded the role of Iraqis toward the Syrian issue and Iran's nuclear file.
Parliament suspended its meeting of 32 to tomorrow for the lack of agreement on election law
03-11-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Range Press / Baghdad
I decided the presidency of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, on Sunday, to suspend the meeting of 32 of the first legislative term for the fourth legislative year to the day tomorrow, Monday, to the lack of agreement of the political blocs on the rest of the terms of the election law, while session saw the second reading of the draft Unified Retirement Act.
A source in the information department of the parliament said in an interview to (range Press), "The House Speaker Osama Najafi decided to suspend the meeting of 32 of the legislative term of the first legislative year the fourth-to-day on Monday," attributing the reason "for the lack of agreement heads of parliamentary blocs on the final version of the rest of the proposals for a draft law amending the parliamentary election law. "
The source, who requested anonymity, that "the meeting saw the second reading of the draft Unified Retirement Law, and the postponement of the first reading of the proposed law Kirkuk Provincial Council elections."
Hadi Al-Amiri : Hadi Al-Amiri is the current Iraqi minister of transportation and the head of the Badr Organization, which was the military wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC). Moreover, he is a member of the Iraqi parliament under the United Iraqi Alliance list, which mainly represents religious Shi'a parties.
Amiri fought on the side of the Iranians, as part of the Badr Brigade, during the Iran-Iraq War.
As leader of the Badr Organization, Hadi Al-Amiri had a very close ties to the Iranian leadership, and in particular the Islamic Revolutionary Guards which was responsible for training the Badr Brigade during Saddam Hussein's rule. Hadi Al-Amiri was also one of the first Shi'a politicians to call for regional federation in the south of Iraq.
Amiri has denied claims that he has overseen flights passing through Iraqi airspace from Iran to Syria containing shipments of weapons to help the Syrian Government in the Syrian Civil War. Amiri has however proclaimed his affection for Qassem Suleimani; the Commander of Quds Force, a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps believed to be playing an instrumental part in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadi_Al-Amiri
Cabinet announced Tuesday a public holiday on the occasion of the Islamic New Year
03-11-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)
Range Press / Baghdad
Announced that the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, on Sunday, disable official working in state institutions the day after tomorrow, Tuesday, on the occasion of the Islamic New Year.
A statement from the Department of Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination in the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, received a (Presse term), a copy of "The General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers announces disable working hours on Tuesday, 11/05/2013."
The statement added that "the holiday came because of Nasph the Islamic New Year on the first of the month of Muharram."
The Muslims celebrate New Year's Eve Hijra in the first of the month of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar, the date of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina, while occupying this month, a special place for Shiite Muslims, shall be deemed a month of grief and sadness because it is the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein and his companions on the day of Ashura.
It is noteworthy that the Shiite Muslims in Iraq has renewed a year later (2003), commemorating Ashura on the tenth of the month of Muharram every year, after prevented the former regime of revival, and is the Ashura of the biggest religious events in the Shiite, because they live where commemorate the death of Imam Hussein bin Ali ibn Abi Talib, in Karbala, in an atmosphere clouded by grief, and flying black flags, the center of the councils which tells the tragic biography of the event.