" The Dinar Daily ", Monday, 9 December 2013
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  1. #1

    " The Dinar Daily ", Monday, 9 December 2013

    Iraqi Prime Minister loses two prominent allies parliamentarians

    09-12-2013 | (Voice of Iraq)

    Baghdad: «Middle East»

    Lost Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's main allies parliamentarians have decided to disassociate themselves with him, with elections looming in 2014, accusing him of nepotism, and failure on the security front. And reflect the accusations made by Sami al-Askari and Izzat Shabandar to al-Maliki, the ones that communicated to him by his opponents, and especially critical of the deal, which military and police forces with the Sunnis.
    In statements to the «Middle East» Shabandar said that «oratorical National conciliatory, which aims to unite the word, and the rejection of sectarianism and dialogue with adversaries, no longer seem to appropriate to the trends of the President of the State of Law coalition, after we had worked with him over the past years in this direction».
    He Shabandar: «I am at the time remained a constant on the same approach I have found that there is a variable significant in a speech Brother al-Maliki and his approach, which was a surprise shocking to me, as it is at a time when his national rejects sectarianism has turned this project to project sectarian ».
    The Shabandar, who is preparing this week to announce new political bloc to contest parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in Iraq, in the 30th of the month of April 2014 that «after it was found that there is a clear decline in the approach to al-Maliki, especially as we are now on the threshold of elections, I felt I lost the base of grammatical and convictions, especially that Brother Maliki began frequently, even before it was published in the newspaper (the Middle East) on my tongue concerning my meetings with brother Rafie al-Issawi, say that what comes out of me is not represented, and it is not responsible for, and I can not continue In this approach, because it undermines my credibility towards others, especially that everything that I do agree about either the details or in the general framework, at least, and leave space for myself to move ».
    In response to a question on his interpretation of what several steps regressive by al-Maliki, Shabandar said: «in fact failed to find a convincing explanation and rationale for this, note that the brothers prominent; whether the Dawa Party or the rule of law are the ones with Tugeati against my departure, but for me it was with full conviction, that I have with your expository what happened, but I keep it to another time, because it confirms what I have physical evidence ».
    The straw that broke the relationship between al-Maliki and Shabandar statements he had made Shabandar «Middle East» on the 8th of November (November) last on interviews collected with the former finance minister and leader of the Iraqi List, Rafie al-Issawi to arrange a reconciliation with al-Maliki, which was rejected Maliki strongly, where he issued two statements in one day, denying it.
    In separate remarks to reporters in Baghdad, reported Agence France-Presse, Shabandar said that Maliki must change in security strategy quickly, and work to win back the support of Sunni areas north and west of Iraq is witnessing demonstrations against him nearly a year ago.
    In addition to the charges against him of failing to control the deterioration of security, al-Maliki also faces charges of nepotism, especially in light of the work of his son Ahmad as deputy director of the office. Maliki was defended in an interview with Channel «Sumerian» recently for the actions of his son, which led to a campaign widely criticized, especially in Iraqi newspapers.
    The Prime Minister stressed during the interview that Ahmed, a civilian, he led a group of security forces to execute an arrest warrant for a contractor in the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.
    Maliki said then: «Ahmad problem is that they want to challenge al-Maliki, they do not have anything against me, and I challenge them». He continued: «there is someone contractor in (the region) Green taking six drugs, and required him to six billion dinars, has founded a company to protect unlicensed car and has a hundred and several hundred smuggled guns where silencers» voice. He explained: «Every time issued the order on this person (...) until the forces are afraid to go to him, (...), but Ahmed said they gave me the warrant of arrest and they gave me the troops and I go to him, Voattoh (elements) Police and rode with them and gone to him and entered with the police (...) Vokrjh of the drug and took six billion and take up arms and taking cars ».
    Sami al-Askari believes that the Prime Minister is not the only politician who uses members of his family, stressing at the same time that this practice is wrong. He told foreign journalists in Baghdad: «This is a mistake. When talking about Ahmad, it is not about the little Ahmad employee in the office. No, it son al-Maliki. So the speech and its decisions will be taken to be from al-Maliki ». The military said he had discussed this issue several times with al-Maliki, the prime minister disagreed.

    http://translate.googleusercontent.c...#ixzz2mx3IEFgW

    and

    Allies distance from Maliki as polls loom
    December 09, 2013

    BAGHDAD: Two long-time parliamentary allies are distancing themselves from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki ahead of April elections, accusing him of a deeply flawed security policy and nepotism.

    The allegations by key Maliki supporters Izzat Shabander and Sami Al Askari echo those of the Shiite premier’s opponents, who charge that heavy-handed tactics by the police and army against Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority have fuelled a sharp escalation of violence this year.

    Critics say Maliki should have realised that heavy-handed tactics such as mass arrests and the closing off of entire neighbourhoods were alienating Sunni Arabs.

    “A year is enough time for a person to change,” Shabander told foreign correspondents in Baghdad.

    “A nationalist is one in thought, in ideology and culture — and in addition, by practice. He is a nationalist by ideology and aspiration, not a sectarian. (But) his poor security tactics have put him in a sectarian position.”

    Shabander, who was elected to parliament on Maliki’s State of Law list in 2010, last week announced he was breaking away to run as an independent in the April 30 poll.

    “Maliki has no other solution, other than confrontation,” Shabander said, speaking at his home in the upscale Harithiyah neighbourhood. “He does not have any other way to tackle problems.

    “For example, the nature of the random arrests creates a sectarian gap. “Two hundred people are arrested in a village, even though only 10 are wanted, so 190 people think that the only reason they were arrested was because they were Sunni. That practice is sectarian.”

    Shabander said Maliki needed to change the tactics of the security forces quickly, and do more to win back Sunni-majority areas of northern and western Iraq where there have been persistent protests for nearly a year.

    Maliki has also faced accusations of nepotism, particularly over the employment of his son Ahmed as deputy head of his office.

    The issue was brought to the fore after Maliki defended some of his son’s actions in a recent television interview that drew widespread derision.

    Maliki confirmed to Al Sumaria television that his son, a civilian, had commandeered a group of policemen to execute an arrest warrant against an allegedly corrupt contractor residing in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone complex, home to the US embassy and parliament.
    Agence France-Presse

    http://gulftoday.ae/portal/0fc25890-...ac70d2a46.aspx
    Last edited by chattels; 12-09-2013 at 12:17 PM.



  2. #2
    *** MISSED THIS INTERVIEW FROM A WEEK AGO ***


    Turkish Energy Minister: Turkey Cannot ‘Sit Idly’ Over Kurdistan Energy Supplies
    By RUDAW 2/12/2013

    Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.

    Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz is in Erbil today to attend a major energy conference. He arriived from Baghdad, where he reportedly spoke with Iraqi officials about the mechanism of oil exports from the Kurdistan Region and how revenues would be divided between Erbil and the central government. In an important interview with Rudaw, Yildiz stressed that Ankara “will not sit idly” and overlook Kurdish supplies of oil and gas so close to its borders. The minister, who could not attend a similar conference in Erbil last year after Baghdad refused his plane permission to land, said that the United States and Baghdad would both drop their opposition to direct oil exports from the Kurdistan Region once they were convinced of the transparency of the deal, and saw that it benefits not only all of Iraq but the whole region. Here is his interview with Rudaw:





    Rudaw: A new deal on the exploration and export of Kurdish oil has been signed between Ankara and Erbil. What are the contents of that deal?



    Taner Yildiz: First of all, the visit of Nechirvan Barzani (Kurdish Prime Minister) was very productive and we have signed many deals. We see our agreements with Iraq’s central government and our deals with the Kurdistan Region as significant steps to normalizing the overall situation in Iraq. The deals will stand and we will certainly have more meetings and talks. Our deals, be they in the north of Iraq or the south, are only aimed at taking Iraq’s oil and natural gas to the world market.




    Our deals, be they in the north of Iraq or the south, are only aimed at taking Iraq’s oil and natural gas to the world market.



    We believe that our deals with our brothers in Iraq and with the Kurdistan Region are very valuable. We certainly expect some people to say that these deals are good or bad, but that is only natural. I would say frankly that Turkey will not sit idly about its nearby sources [of energy]. Iraq will benefit from Turkey’s stability and that is not surprising. Turkey is one of the most secure gateways to the outside world. This deal is for 15 years and wherever in Iraq there is crude oil it should go through the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline, which we expect to be at least 1.5 million barrels per day.



    Though what is important is that this is done transparently. I believe the more honestly we explain this issue to the United Nations and the US, the better they will understand. Our efforts for the benefits of both countries will be seen more clearly in the future.



    Rudaw: How does the Iraqi central government see those deals?



    Taner Yildiz: We understand the concerns of the Iraqi government very well. The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has now replaced the Nabucco line, and it is their right that they have demands and concerns, especially with our new deals. But the revenue we are talking about is the property of all Iraq and our Iraqi brothers have made a joint decision in their constitution and Turkey must accept this and act accordingly.



    That constitutional agreement marks 83 percent of oil revenues for the central government and 17 percent for the Kurdistan Region. Therefore Iraq’s demand for its share of the revenue is right. We have to deal with all this with transparency.



    Rudaw: Iraqi Prime Minister is due to visit Ankara and Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit Baghdad. These meetings are to do with the oil deals. But is it likely that they will affect the signing of the deals?




    Our efforts for the benefits of both countries will be seen more clearly in the future.



    Taner Yildiz: Signing isn’t that important. What is important is for the process to continue. Maliki’s visit to Ankara and Erdogan’s visit to Baghdad, our meetings with Hussein Shahristani, Maliki and Abdelkarim Luaibi will only help the process. Also our meetings and discussions with Nechirvan Barzani and Ashti Hawrami in Erbil will help strengthen our ties. I especially want to say that friendship will contribute to the economic prosperity of both sides. God willing, we will carry this out in the Coming days.



    Rudaw: It has been reported in the media that you have suggested keeping the revenue of oil exported via Turkey in a Turkish bank. Is this true?



    Taner Yildiz: Yes, that is true. We want an observer appointed by the central government to be at the metering station. The Kurdish officials know this too. Whatever amount of oil goes through here, whether it is just 100 barrels, whether it is $1000, it will be deposited in a special account and the Iraqi government will see it daily. We have to be transparent about this.



    Rudaw: How does Washington see all of this?




    Our meetings and discussions with Nechirvan Barzani and Ashti Hawrami in Erbil will help strengthen our ties.



    Taner Yildiz: Washington undoubtedly wants the situation in Iraq to normalize and the more Iraq’s revenue increases the more it will help. Iraq currently exports 2.7 barrels of oil per day. If that goes up to seven million bpd it will take Iraq to more stability and prosperity. I think Washington’s stance to this will be positive. From time to time we hear different comments, but we have to look at we are doing. If oil and gas is produced in Iraq, then it has to be said publically. And Turkey has to use its stability in this regard, not only to its own advantage, but to the region as a whole.



    There are countries that extract oil but cannot send it to the destination they want because of their national policies or their geographic reality. We should do this in Iraq. If Basrah’s revenue increases we should be delighted, not saddened. Basrah’s gateways to the outside world aren’t enough and should they increase their capacity they should announce it publically.



    Rudaw: Turkey now enjoys strong relations with the Kurdistan Region. Is this temporary? Can both sides speak of a possible strategic agreement?



    Taner Yildiz: The situation isn’t such to say that we do this today and something else tomorrow. Politically, socially and economically, we should focus on continuation. It is about our future and that of our children. We want to continue our relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region with the same warmth.

    http://rudaw.net/english/interview/0....B1nes6Br.dpuf

  3. #3
    Maliki's housing initiative may be part of election strategy

    In Iraq, the early election media campaign has taken various forms. Notably, the government has started giving away residential land in return for votes.

    Summary⎙ Print Is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's "National Initiative for Housing" a means to win votes?

    AuthorOmar al-JaffalPosted December 8, 2013
    Translator(s)Rani Geha

    In an interview with Al-Monitor, writer and political analyst Safa Khalaf described the “National Initiative for Housing,” which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched, as being consistent with the mind-set of political “gratuities.”

    It seems that the election campaign for the next Iraqi Council of Representatives, which will be held no later than April 30, 2014, has started early. This time, some political blocs are using a wide array of enticements to earn citizens’ votes.

    Maliki was the first to start this campaign by declaring the distribution of 420 plots of land in al-Rashid as part of an initiative called the “National Initiative for Housing.” But Maliki’s opponents considered the move to be a signal that his bloc’s electoral campaign has started. They recalled what he said at a famous news conference in 2009, when he opposed the distribution of land to citizens: “To be able to apply [a land distribution policy], we would have to take land from neighboring countries, because Iraq’s land is not big enough.”

    Khalaf said, “When the government gets defeated by its citizens, it begins exploiting [the people’s] rights and returning [those rights] as gifts. The state has used that method in past decades and now, the new rule is doing the same thing by buying electoral votes.”

    Khalaf said, “Maliki tried to buy votes in previous elections, when he announced from Basra that the squatters on state lands (al-Hawasim) would not be evicted. That decision was made haphazardly in front of applauding crowds and he wasn’t held accountable for it. Mr. Maliki is now back to playing the same game by giving donations to the Journalists Syndicate and by giving away land to citizens.”

    Baghdad Governor Ali al-Tamimi, who is from the Sadrist Movement, accused those behind the land-distribution initiative of nepotism and favoritism in how they are distributing the land. He said that many of those who received land are wealthy people who own houses.

    Tamimi asserted that land distribution in Baghdad is one of the prerogatives of the governor of Baghdad, as the head of the local government, and not the central government. He said that Maliki didn’t consult him about the matter and didn’t listen to the province’s experience in this regard.

    In addition to directly distributing land to citizens, Maliki is attracting professional associations by promises of distributing land to its members. He ordered the allocation of housing land plots for all teachers “in recognition and as gratitude for their efforts in building the next generations,” according to the head of the teachers syndicate in Najaf, Mohammed al-Badri. Badri added, “The approval of the prime minister came after a meeting with the head of the [union] branch in al-Rasafa, Mohammed Saeed al-Saadi. [The meeting] resulted in the allocation of land plots to all teachers in Iraq.”

    But many teachers in Baghdad deny that land has been allocated to them. Basma Ismail, a school teacher at al-Karkh, told Al-Monitor that the school administration was instructed to request that she and her colleagues who did not receive land from the state to refer to the education departments tasked with filling the forms for teacher land grants. She added, “I and hundreds of my fellow teachers, when we contacted the Education Department, they told us that the forms have been completed, but they didn’t tell us when the distribution started and in accordance with what mechanism. When I asked the employee in charge, they forcibly expelled me and a number of teachers, who received nothing but election promises.”

    Iman Fadel told Al-Monitor, “Land distribution is part of an empty electoral campaign that is no different than the lies about electricity, state services and security, which we have not seen come into effect on the ground.” Her husband, Karim al-Rubaie, a journalist for a daily newspaper, interjected saying, “We have gotten used to getting the officials’ attention about the citizens’ suffering every time the parliamentary elections approach.”

    The land-for-teachers program may have been just an empty promise, but the program for journalists actually reached the stage where a thousand land plots in Baghdad were distributed by lottery drawings. Despite the passage of more than two months on that, no one knows the fate of those lands. And if the plots are not delivered before the election, then the whole thing would have been just a trick by the politicians to win votes.

    Director of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Baghdad, Ziad al-Ojaili, said that the Iraqi government is working according to random plans to distribute land to citizens and journalists. In an interview with Al-Monitor, he said, “The government, especially the prime minister, is trying to distribute these lands to silence journalists or bribe them. But journalists will not be quiet about the government failures at the services and political levels, which are getting worse by the day.”

    Omar al-Jaffal

    Contributor, Iraq Pulse

    Omar al-Jaffal is an Iraqi writer and poet. He is an editor of Bayt and Nathr, two intellectual magazines that are published in Iraq. He is also the chief editor of Al-Aalam al-Jadid, an electronic newspaper.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...#ixzz2mx67RPft

  4. #4
    US, region pivots to confront terrorist threat in Syria

    MANAMA, Bahrain — Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking at the Manama Dialogue Regional Security Summit convened by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, warned of an “Islamic emirate” emerging in Syria.

    Summary⎙ Print Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warns of a ‘Islamic emirate’ in Syria, former US diplomat Ryan Crocker suggests a channel to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Israeli president Shimon Peres says he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    AuthorWeek in ReviewPosted December 8, 2013

    Just this past week, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliated group, attacked the ethnically mixed Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a further sign of the linkage between terrorism in Syria and Iraq. The relative security of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, whose capital, Erbil, suffered a deadly attack in October along with the rest of Iraq, is under an unprecedented threat from the spillover of the Syria war.

    The rise in terrorism is giving increased urgency to finding a political solution to the Syria conflict, including diplomacy with the Syrian government, to stem the surging jihadist threat.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...#ixzz2mx6yYDYB

  5. #5
    For Iran, nuclear deal is not at expense of regional concerns

    With the Geneva nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, the ground for increased Iran-West cooperation for dealing with regional and global issues has been laid. But this development won’t be at the expense of Iran’s increased regional relationships, which have been a fundamental priority of Iran’s foreign policy.

    Summary⎙ PrintThe Geneva nuclear deal between Iran and the West can provide Iran the opportunity to address regional concerns with its neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia.

    AuthorKayhan BarzegarPosted December 8, 2013

    The prevailing view in the Arab world — especially among the conservative Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf, at the top of which is Saudi Arabia — is that a possible permanent nuclear deal with Iran is equivalent to increasing Iran-West, and especially Iran-US, relations at the expense of Arab countries’ interests.

    But strengthening regionalism has been a constant in Iran’s foreign policy strategy for two reasons. The first is to decrease the role of outside power in regional affairs. The second is to withdraw from the traditional balance-of-power architecture and instead focus on a balance-of-interests strategy and regional cooperation.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...#ixzz2mx7NzUao

  6. #6
    Currency Auctions

    Announcement No. (2549)

    The latest daily currency auction was held in the Central Bank of Iraq on the9-Dec-2013.The results were as follows:

    Details Notes
    Number of banks 19
    Auction price selling dinar / US$ 1166
    Auction price buying dinar / US$ -----
    Amount sold at auction price (US$) 220,746,000
    Amount purchased at Auction price (US$) -----
    Total offers for buying (US$) 220,746,000
    Total offers for selling (US$) -----

    Exchange rates

    U.S. Dollar (USD)

    1,163.2000
    U.S. $ 1 = 1,163.2000 Iraqi dinars
    1 Iraqi Dinar = U.S. $ 0.0009

    1,165.1000
    U.S. $ 1 = 1,165.1000 Iraqi dinars
    1 Iraqi Dinar = U.S. $ 0.0009

    -0.16%

    http://cbi.iq/index.php?pid=CurrencyAuctions and http://translate.google.com/translat...ages%26id%3D85

  7. #7
    Allawi's bloc: We will enter the next elections in one individual List
    09/12/2013 08:39:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / The leading figure of the National List, led by Iyad Allawi , MP Salem Daly confirmed that his coalition will enter the next parliamentary elections in one individual list" denying "the existence of high-level talks with the Motahedoon coalition or with the National Dialogue Front, to form one list in the upcoming parliamentary elections."

    He said, in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that "The national list has taken a decision to participate in the next parliamentary elections in one individually list, adding " after the elections, the political arena will be open to form coalitions," explaining , " It's not necessarily that Iraqiya coalition goes with Motahedoon or with the national Dialogue Front in one coalition after the election. "

    He hinted to "the possibility of forming a coalition after the next parliamentary elections with some parties of the National Alliance, which its visions match the national list project."

    About the possibility of passing important laws during the remaining period of the parliament , he said that all important laws will be transferred to the next parliamentary session , attributing the cause , to the inability of the political blocs on the compatibility with each other , because of increasing problems , especially in the recent period . "

    It is mentioned that a leading figure of the Motahedoon coalition, led by House Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi , MP Hamid Kassar al-Zobaie , revealed the existence of high -level talks between his coalition and National List, led by Iyad Allawi and the National Dialogue Front , headed by Saleh al-Mutlaq , and the (Hal) solution to revive the Iraqiya List and form a strong alliance, with an effect on voter to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections . "

    http://www.ninanews.com/english/News...s.asp?Nn„€lID=[`[^_]

  8. #8
    Baird sees trade potential in troubled Iraq

    CAMPBELL CLARK

    BAGHDAD — The Globe and Mail

    Drawn by the prospect of billions more in trade, the Canadian government is suddenly making a bet on Iraq, deciding it must also be willing to engage a country whose sectarian divides and political fault lines pose challenges for the Mideast.

    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird signalled the desire to reconnect with Iraq with a surprise trek to Baghdad under heavy security on Monday, the first visit by a Canadian foreign minister in 37 years.

    Iraq, still troubled by violence, now has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, including an oil industry in which Canadian companies can see bigger potential. It’s also a fragile country with partisan divides whose stability is, Ottawa believes, important to a region with many fault lines.

    But the trip to Iraq is in some ways an unlikely pilgrimage for Mr. Baird to lead now. The new Iraq has traded U.S. troops for heavy influence from neighbouring Iran, and Mr. Baird is a vocal Iran critic who presided over the cutting of Canada’s diplomatic ties with Tehran.

    “We want to engage. It’s important,” Mr. Baird told The Globe and Mail as he rode in the back of an armoured car between a Baghdad church and a meeting with vice-president Khodair al-Khozaei. “The Iranian influence, does that concern us, here and in other parts of the region? Absolutely. But the way to combat that isn’t to not engage.”

    Mr. Baird is on a 12-day tour of the Middle East. The Iraq visit was unpublicized before he left, as a security precaution, and was heavily guarded as his convoy sped down Baghdad roads, past armoured vehicles and through checkpoint after checkpoint in the capital’s safer Green Zone, for meetings with senior Iraqis, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    His stops included a visit to Iraq’s parliament, to meet ministers and officials who almost uniformly said they want to see Canada take a bigger interest in Iraq. He also lit an Easter candle in a small Anglican church in the less secure Red Zone of Baghdad, where he met with clerics of several faiths, including Shiites, Christians and Bahai.

    After decades where Ottawa has had little connection to Iraq, the visit marked a sudden signal of interest. The last Canadian cabinet minister to visit was Mark MacGuigan in 1976, but two have now gone in about a month. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made a trip in March.

    And Mr. Baird came to announce that Canada is opening a diplomatic office in Baghdad, staffed by a permanent chargé d’affaires, Stephanie Duhaime. It will be housed inside the British embassy’s large, secure compound. Until now, diplomats based in Jordan flew to Baghdad to conduct Canada’s business.

    Business is one reason for the diplomatic interest. Even with continued violence and few government-to-government ties, Iraq has become Canada’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East, with annual two-way trade reaching $4.2-billion in 2012. Canada has its eye on opening a trade office in Erbil, in the more stable north, where oil business holds potential. But Ottawa needs to establish a permanent presence in Baghdad first.

    It’s not the full embassy Iraqis would like to see – officials said security would cost $20-million – but it is a return to Baghdad.

    That is a sign not only of Canada’s desire to expand trade, but also a desire to engage diplomatically with Iraq, whose Shia-Sunni divide threatens its stability and echoes tensions throughout the Mideast. But Mr. Baird suggested he believes Iraq is more than an Iranian puppet, and that there’s a possibility of affecting its complex politics with a steady push for pluralism.

    Mr. al-Maliki, a Shiite, has an uneasy coalition with Sunnis and Kurds. Widespread protests by Sunnis, who complain they have been marginalized, have gone on for months in many cities. Mr. Baird spent much of the day speaking of the need for pluralism, for inclusion of ethnic and religious groups, in meetings with parliamentarians, ministers and Mr. al-Maliki.

    Iraq’s position on regional fault-lines, like the civil war in Syria, is also increasingly important, and Mr. Baird said that dominated discussions with Mr. al-Maliki.

    Last week, visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Iraq to stop Iran from flying weapons to Syria through Iraqi airspace to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Iraq has since promised to conduct inspections, but it’s unclear whether it has the will to stop its ally’s shipments.

    “We’ve got to push them even more,” Mr. Baird said. “If you push them and they do more, that’s better than if they do less.”

    But Mr. Baird said Iraq, which has expressed concern that the opposition might displace Mr. Assad’s regime, shares one preoccupation about Syria with Ottawa. Baghdad fears that Islamist extremists fighting with the Syrian opposition might turn on Iraq. Mr. Baird noted that Canada is one of the few Western countries that has not recognized the Syrian opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the people, in part because Ottawa believes they have not done enough to distance themselves from extremists.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle10653975

  9. #9
    First Published: 2013-12-08
    Allies walk away before rivals: Accusations rain on Maliki ahead of elections

    Allegations by key Maliki supporters Izzat Shabander and Sami al-Askari echo those of Shiite premier's opponents.
    Middle East Online

    By Prashant Rao - BAGHDAD

    Accused of flawed security policy and nepotism

    Two long-time parliamentary allies are distancing themselves from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ahead of April elections, accusing him of a deeply flawed security policy and nepotism.

    The allegations by key Maliki supporters Izzat Shabander and Sami al-Askari echo those of the Shiite premier's opponents, who charge that heavy-handed tactics by the police and army against Iraq's Sunni Arab minority have fuelled a sharp escalation of violence this year.

    First elected premier in 2006, Maliki retained the post in 2010, buoyed by a sharp decline in unrest that followed a military offensive he ordered against the militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in 2008.

    But his security credentials have been badly dented by a resurgence of violence that has seen more than 6,200 people killed so far this year.

    Critics say Maliki should have realised that heavy-handed tactics such as mass arrests and the closing off of entire neighbourhoods were alienating Sunni Arabs.

    "A year is enough time for a person to change," Shabander told foreign correspondents in Baghdad.

    "A nationalist is one in thought, in ideology and culture -- and in addition, by practice. He is a nationalist by ideology and aspiration, not a sectarian. ... (But) his poor security tactics have put him in a sectarian position."

    Shabander, who was elected to parliament on Maliki's State of Law list in 2010, last week announced he was breaking away to run as an independent in the April 30 poll.

    "Maliki has no other solution, other than confrontation," Shabander said, speaking at his home in the upscale Harithiyah neighbourhood.

    "He does not have any other way to tackle problems.

    "For example, the nature of the random arrests creates a sectarian gap.

    "Two hundred people are arrested in a village, even though only 10 are wanted, so 190 people think that the only reason they were arrested was because they were Sunni.

    "That practice is sectarian."

    Shabander said Maliki needed to change the tactics of the security forces quickly, and do more to win back Sunni-majority areas of northern and western Iraq where there have been persistent protests for nearly a year.

    Analysts say that while most Sunnis do not actively support militants, a lack of faith in the government has made many reluctant to cooperate with the security forces in counter-insurgency operations.

    The result has been a dramatic rise in the death toll.

    November's 692 people killed represented a four-fold increase over the same month a year ago, according to a tally.

    Maliki has also faced accusations of nepotism, particularly over the employment of his son Ahmed as deputy head of his office.

    The issue was brought to the fore after Maliki defended some of his son's actions in a recent television interview that drew widespread derision.

    Maliki confirmed to Al-Sumaria television that his son, a civilian, had commandeered a group of policemen to execute an arrest warrant against an allegedly corrupt contractor residing in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone complex, home to the US embassy and parliament.

    "The problem of Ahmed is that they want to defame Maliki, and they have nothing on me," the premier said of his critics.

    Asked why his son had carried out the arrest warrant, the premier replied: "Because he is tough in his implementation (of rules), and because he is the son of Maliki."

    Askari, who is also breaking away from the prime minister's list to form his own bloc, said Maliki was not the only Iraqi politician to hand jobs to members of his family but that the practice was still wrong.

    "This was wrong," he said. "When they talk about Ahmed, it's not Ahmed, a small officer in the office.

    "No, he is Maliki's son. So his word, his decision, it will be taken as (that of) Maliki."

    Speaking to foreign correspondents in Baghdad, Askari said he had broached the issue with the prime minister several times but Maliki had disagreed with him.

    Askari said he still backed the premier but was forming his own party to reach out to disaffected voters whom Maliki, with his roots in Shiite religious politics could not, such as the secular, women and the young.

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=63078

  10. #10
    Kurds Helping Baghdad Save Face Over Oil Independence Battle

    By Editorial Dept | Fri, 06 December 2013 21:35

    Bottom Line: There is a great amount of confusion as to the recent steps the Iraqi Kurds have taken with Turkey towards oil and gas independence from the Iraqi central authorities in Baghdad. This story can be spun in different ways—but what appears to be the reality is that the Kurds are getting what they want, and helping Baghdad maintain its dignity from the losing side of this battle.

    Recommendation: The Turkey-KRG energy deal is a done deal—despite the official, purposeful “confusion.” Baghdad cannot stop this momentum, and the Turks and the Kurds are keen to let Baghdad restore some of its lost dignity over the issue by affording it some sense of control, which is now the only way to resolve the crisis without a conflict.

    Analysis: The big news last week was that the Kurds in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) finally signed a landmark energy agreement with Turkey. As usual, this announcement came with varying interpretations and predictably varying statements from officials in Ankara, Erbil and Baghdad. Some said no such agreement was actually signed; others that it was a done deal; still others that parts of the agreement have been signed off on while other parts have yet to be resolved. The deal—in whatever state it is in currently—will allow the KRG to independently export its crude oil directly to Iraq by the end of this year, via a new pipeline built for that purpose. The affirming and denying…

    http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Midd...e-Battle.html#

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