Barzani Cancelled US Trip to Protest Visa Process for Kurds, Sources Say
By HEVIDAR AHMED
It seems that the protest has as much to do with branding Kurdistan’s ruling parties – the KDP and PUK -- as suspect organizations by the US, as with the visa applications.
It seems that the protest has as much to do with branding Kurdistan’s ruling parties – the KDP and PUK -- as suspect organizations by the US, as with the visa applications.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – There has been much speculation over why Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani did not visit Washington as expected last week.
Some said that US President Barack Obama had cancelled the meeting. An earlier statement from Barzani’s chief of staff Fuad Hussein had explained that it was because the timing was not right.
But a letter sent by President Barzani to Obama apparently tells it all: The reason has to do with the fact that the US government has both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) on its blacklist.
It is said that Kurdistan residents have to specify in their visa application forms if they are members of the PUK and KDP, and if they are, then their process gets complicated and lengthy.
A source close to the president told Rudaw, “When the president found that out he decided not to visit the US until that issue is solved.”
“Until the issue of giving visas to the citizens of Kurdistan is solved, I wouldn’t visit the United States,” Barzani is said to have written to the White House as he cancelled his trip.
The head of the Kurdistan Region’s Foreign Relations Department, Falah Mustafa, confirmed that is an existing issue and that the Kurdish government is trying to resolve it with the US authorities.
“In the past years we have sent many letters to the US embassies and consulates,” said Mustafa.
But it seems that the protest has as much to do with branding Kurdistan’s ruling parties – the KDP and PUK -- as suspect organizations by the US, as with the visa applications.
According to Mustafa, the US had put both Kurdish parties on that list following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
“After the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, any group consisting of more than two members and fighting an armed struggle against their government was put on that list,” Mustafa told Rudaw.
He said that the PUK and KDP are at the third level on the US list, which is reserved for suspected armed groups.
“We told the Americans ‘you removed Saddam Hussein yourselves and now you should remove the Kurds from that list,’” said Mustafa.
He explained that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the US government maintain good relations and that this particular issue has to be solved in the US congress.
According to the presidential source, US Vice President Joe Biden had told Barzani on the telephone that the Obama administration is keen on resolving this matter, hence setting a date for the Kurdish president’s visit.
However, Barzani reportedly responded, “If that issue is solved today, I will visit the US tomorrow.”
Shortly after the cancellation of the visit, Barzani’s Chief of Staff denied that the president’s decision was taken because Obama had been too busy for a meeting. “It is that President Barzani didn’t find the time suitable for such a visit, not that Obama didn’t have time,” Hussein said, without elaborating on what might be the real cause the cancellation.
According to another well placed source who talked to Rudaw on condition of anonymity, Barzani had told the US administration, “I am the head of a party and the president of the Kurdistan Region. You refuse members of my party visas because they are with the KDP, yet on the other hand you welcome me. What would I say to my people then?”
Barzani is said to have taken up the case of the PUK in his letter to the US, saying, the treatment is an insult to both parties.
The US Consulate in Erbil, contacted by Rudaw, responded that it does not reply to visa questions.
Kurdish MP: the problem of terrorism had to be dealt socially rather than attacking Anbar with heavy weapons
BAGHDAD / NINA / A member of the parliamentary Commission on Security and Defense, Shwan Mohammed Taha said that addressing the problem of terrorism should be socially instead of attacking Anbar province with heavy weapons ," noting : "The fight against terrorism and eliminate it is a popular and parliamentary demand."
He explained in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA /: " What is happening in Anbar is something very unfortunate, as members of the House of Representatives we are not fully aware of what is happening there, because cutting off communications and media, and that the Iraqi government does not give any information about what is happening there, but we hear through the media an amplification as if Anbar has become a piece of terrorism or ISIS . "
He added: "This matter needs to be careful and prudent by the government, no one denies the existence of terrorism and ISIS in Iraq," asking "before the events of Anbar, was there a presence ISIS ? " .
He continued: "If the Iraqi government has a genuine intention to combat terrorism and gouge his roots, it had to address the problem within the community without resorting to the use of heavy weapons against our people, if they raised the issue in the House of Representatives , we were able to help them through the provision of advice and good ideas , because terrorism target everyone and everyone should combat it . "
He added that : " It is unfortunate that some members of parliament , especially from state of law are targeting the rest of the political forces and interpret the matter politically , as if they are only against terrorism , while we are all against terrorism and we are against ISIS, but mixing cards under the pretext of combating terrorism is unacceptable and has a negative impact on the political scene , ".
KRG President meets, in Arbil, with British Ambassador to Iraq
BAGHDAD / NINA / KRG President, Nichervan Barzani discussed, in Erbil, with British Ambassador to Iraq Simon Collis the differences between Arbil and Baghdad, budget issues, the oil and the Peshmerga as well as the areas covered by Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution .
A statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government cited: " the two sides also discussed, during the meeting, which was attended by British Consul General in Erbil, the political and security situation in the Iraqi arena in general, and the military and security developments in Anbar province in particular.
For his part, Barzani, according to the statement said that " the provincial government is ready to tackle terrorism , stressing at the same time the need to respond to the legal and constitutional demands to the people of the province by the government.
He also stressed that " the provincial government with addressing the problems through dialogue and understanding, based on the Constitution and taking into consideration the supreme interests of Iraq in general .
For his part, the British ambassador expressed "his country's readiness to cooperate in addressing the problems through dialogue and offer any assistance , hoping to come up with solutions through understanding.
BAGHDAD / NINA / Kurdistan leader, Massoud Barzani discussed, in Berlin, with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter relations between Erbil and Baghdad and the oil policy of the Kurdistan region and the political situation in the region, especially in Syria .
A statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government said: " the meeting, which was attended by Fuad Hussein, head of the Presidium of the province and Falah Mustafa, head of the Department of Foreign Relations in the provincial government and Dilshad Barzani representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Germany, discussed relations between the province and Germany and also discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and the situation of the community of Kurdish in Europe and its role in the construction process in the Kurdistan region .
The statement noted " the current situation in Iraq in general and al-Anbar province in particular was discussed as well as the process of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq .
For his part, Barzani highlighted, in response to questions from the German foreign minister, , according to the statement "the security situation in Iraq and al-Anbar province in particular, adding that he believes it is necessary to address this situation as soon as possible .
He added that all parties cooperate and coordinate to tackle terrorism , because the terrorists promoted their strength and they are now all pose a threat to the region.
Regarding the relations between the Kurdistan region and Turkey, he stressed that " these relations in the interest of both parties as well as the interest of Iraq in general .
He called " the German foreign minister to visit the region again to see the progress being witnessed in the Kurdistan region , referring to the relations between Germany and the Kurdistan region, who described them important .
Breaking News …Maliki assures end of military operations in Fallujah soon
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:21
Baghdad (AIN) –The Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, assured the end of the military operations in Fallujah soon.
In his weekly speech on Wednesday, Maliki said "We do not want to harm the civilians and wish them to come back home soon where the battle with terrorism will end soon," welcoming "The initiative of the local government and the tribes in facing terrorism and responding to the legislative demands away from the political affects."
Muhammadawi describes MPs' suspension from attending parliament sessions as "Following foreign agendas"
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 12:57
Baghdad (AIN) –The Secretary General of Sons of Iraq Alliance, Abbas al-Muhammadawi, described the suspension of some MPs from attending the parliament sessions as "Following foreign agendas and electoral propagandas."
In a press statement received by AIN, he said "The MPs suspended attending the parliament session are following foreign agendas and want to make an electoral propaganda where they do not care for the interests of the Iraqi people."
"Many families from Anbar are displaced and escaped from the violence, but the MPs do not care even to attend the parliament sessions," he concluded.
*** The Secretary General of Sons of Iraq Alliance, Sheikh Abbas al-Muhammadawi, supported Maliki and the appeal of the term limits law , sought the dismissal of Nujayfi and survived a " terrorist " assassination attempt in August, 2013. A Shiite, He has threatened the Kurds with extermination in Arab areas and demanded that the Kurds announce their position regarding Hashemi if they are part of Iraq. A Minister of Parliament, he heads an armed militia group under the name of Badr ( not THE Badr militia, but a similar name ) and favors the government's military operation in Anbar. He may have some sympathy with the Fayli ( " Iran / Shiite ) Kurds. ***
Indemnity 100 thousand dinars for retirees
Law applied retroactively
Baghdad Sarah Kassem
Confirmed the parliamentary finance committee that the pension law will run from January 1, 2014 and retroactively .. said committee member Najiba Najib's ((Constitution)) that state employees if Canon hold a Ph.D. insert them 20% of the last salary Tzlmoh for their retirement and if they hold Masters they have 15% and possible to reach the pension to 50% of each deputy, a condition that does not exceed 80% .. She explained: that the pension law includes journalists, lawyers and employees of other unions of non-recruited in the state who practiced the profession with the support of the union attributed to it, and press or lawyer, for example, but not limited to those who spent a period of time in accordance with the pension law in favor of the union could be his submission of the application of the union for having a pension in accordance with paragraphs controls the Unified Retirement Law., revealing: that the minimum pension 400 000 dinars, then add the certificate and the length of service and group privileges earned by the employee .. She explained: that the retirement age 63 years maximum with the exception of the patient or the attainment of premature aging are also entitled to an official top Add 3 years to those who have experience and the actual service of 15 years for retirement .. confirmed Najib: he will be re-distributed to grant retirees The 100 000 dinars within the monthly dues between retirees and covered retroactively after the ratification of the federal budget for the year 2014 ..
File corruption dominates the meetings Iraqi businessmen officials economists
Wed Feb 05 2014 10:40 | (Voice of Iraq)
Baghdad: Hamza Mustafa
Hall Center «Anhidwana» Studies, discussed the economic experts and businessmen on the first Saturday of the month of February, the current crisis in financial and administrative corruption in Iraq, as one of the main problems faced by Iraq after 2003, and is still facing today, in light of What is enjoyed by corrupt protections after that turned into mafias, as well as administrative and legal chaos experienced by the country. And presented during the seminar, which was attended by the «Middle East» working papers Aqtsaditan: the first presented by economic expert, Dr. Majid picture and titled «financial and administrative corruption and waste of public money». And the second made by the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq the previous appearance of Dr. Mohammed Saleh and titled «corruption in the context of behavioral economics: Addressing processors». At the same time, the deployment of the former head of the Integrity Commission, Rahim Ugaili, a paper entitled «sincere political will: the only requirement to tackle corruption». The irony is striking that two of the three experts were among those detained (the appearance of Mohammed Saleh, deputy governor of the Central Bank of the former Iraqi who accused the issue of buying and selling the currency, at the time he was released on bail it is still facing trial), and the second is merciful Ugaili Chairman of the Integrity Commission's previous sacked Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on corruption charges and an arrest warrant issued against him and the other is released on bail.
Dr Majid picture count in his paper that «corruption, according to Transparency International's definition, is the exploitation of the career center, which is what is happening in Iraq now». He pointed out that «corruption in Iraq swell a lot after the American occupation of Iraq in 2003, because it is not the occupation he has had no political parties, despite the issuance of the laws were important; including the State Administration Law, the Law on the Central Bank, the Banking Act, and the law of the state finances and public debt» . He explained that the picture «problematic due to which economic policy in Iraq, is not to link the budget plans for economic development, and did not put political programs to address poverty and the housing crisis, sustainable development and activation of the private sector». What has happened «is to ignore all of these laws, in addition to the emergence of sectarian and partisan, which later became the fortresses». Among the problems experienced by the Iraqi state institutions, he does not know with certainty the number of ministries, which was formed after the 2010 elections despite the cancellation of some of them. He explained that «the numbers of staff in Iraq, with a population of about 35 million people, is about three and a half million employees, in addition to them retirees and contractors, bringing the number to about four and a half million employees», indicating that «the studies and statistics confirmed that the proportion of employee work in Iraq does not exceed 17 minutes per day, as well as the absence of plans and programs and the weakness of research and development centers ». He revealed that the picture for «about four thousand people who have been imprisoned on corruption charges released under the general amnesty law». While among the «most corrupt ministries in Iraq, are: trade, electricity and security ministries and municipalities any defense, interior and national security». In his paper titled «corruption in the context of behavioral economics: Addressing processors», draw a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Iraq the past, the appearance of Dr. Mohammed Saleh, a comprehensive picture of images and patterns of corruption in Iraq during what he called corruption systemic in Iraq, which promise closest in interpretation of corruption rampant almost be epidemiologically, returned it due to «weakness EDM and stumbled administrative processes within the hierarchy of government per», adding that «weakness or weakness in the composition of the administrative generates a state of contradiction or bonding reverse the functional relations».
Saleh pointed out that the change of the political system in Iraq after 2003 led to the radicalization of systemic corruption, because of the growing numbers of civil servants recruited; than 850 thousand employees in 2003 to nearly 4 million employees in early 2014. For his part, has counted former head of the Integrity Commission, Judge Rahim al-Ugaili, «lack of political will is the reason why not to fight rampant corruption in the country». He said in his paper titled «sincere political will is the only requirement in the fight against corruption».
He called Ugaili as collateral for the fight against corruption to be there full transparency «in the performance of the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister and his office and the Office of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the ministers and all the leaders in the executive branch that behave in public money, and starting salaries and allowances and Aivadathm and privileges». He also called for the formation of «government of technocrats and professionals as well as government responsible and accountable kinds of parliamentary and judicial and popular free media». He also called on Ugaili to «put strict controls on the movement of funds of public political figures, as well as the strengthening of the judiciary and prevent pressure on the judges and interfering in their business from any party whatsoever, repair and strengthen the Public Prosecution» which promise «clinically dead for decades». At the end of the seminar, there was discussion among those present for the most important states. Among the most prominent observations as those made by the leader of the «National Conference» Iraqi parliament member Ahmad Chalabi, who said in his speech that «in the light of the budgets of current and style spending and economic policy, the Iraqi state will be in ten years' time is not able to pay salaries». He revealed that Chalabi «In 2004, the company was founded with a capital of U.S. $ alpha contracted to supply weapons to Iraq worth one billion dollars on Iraq and did not get any piece of them so far». He added that «between 2006 and 2013, were converted into 56 per cent of oil imports to the outside hoping to import spare parts and goods and needs, but it has not been delivered more than 10 per cent of them».
Maliki: the battle in Anbar will be resolved soon and there is an initiative to resolve the crisis
Long-Presse / Baghdad
Announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Wednesday, that the battles taking place in Anbar province "will be resolved soon," and unveiled an initiative to launch the Government of Anbar local to resolve the crisis in the coming days, pledged to compensate the losses and damage to Plummtlkat own and respond to the legitimate demands which do not proceed from backgrounds "political, partisan or electoral."
Maliki said in his weekly, and seen by the (long-Presse), said that "the battle, and ended with him sympathy and coming together and harmony between the components of the Iraqi people to confront the threat of al Qaeda and terrorists in Anbar, Nineveh and Salahuddin, Karbala, Najaf and Basra, are the result of the effort of the Mujahideen and the mettle of fighters and awareness conscious. "
Maliki said that "the outcome of the battle produced a clearly between those who realize the fact that al-Qaeda and their organizations and between those who wanted to ride the wave of these criminals to realize the benefits of personal, partisan or sectarian," following "do not want to hurt the people of Fallujah, never, but I want to get these killers from the city to live her family again security, stability and peace. "
Maliki confirmed that "the battle on the doors of decisiveness and Fallujah and other areas encircled by our armed forces and the sons of the tribes," praising "initiative, which will be announced during the day, the local government and their elders heroes who stood face-Qaeda and took up arms."
He said the Prime Minister as "an initiative uniting position to resolve the battle against al-Qaeda in order to embark on a process of reform and construction and reconstruction and compensation for losses and damage and repair everything and respond to the legitimate demands which do not proceed from political backgrounds, partisan or electoral."
It was for the security and defense committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives confirmed, on Tuesday (February 4, 2014), that the crisis of Anbar "security crisis, not political", and referred to as "a military battle between security forces and elements Daash", and with an eye to be solved will not only be armed " , stressed that the upcoming elections "will take place on schedule and will not be adversely affected by the security situation in any area."
The Ktlta Kurdistan Alliance and the united accused, yesterday Monday (February 3, 2014), the federal government of "fabricating crises and shuffling papers," the political and security for electoral purposes, and while Astnkerta accuse the Kurdistan region, Salahuddin and Anbar as a "haven for terrorism", except that the "ill "Governance and political marginalization and exclusion" creates many kegs of terrorism, "and that the policy of the coalition of state law, will lead to the decline of the democratic system in Iraq, and build a government" based on the centrality of primitive iron and fire. "
The Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs Saleh al-Mutlaq, yesterday Monday, (February 3, 2014), to stop military operations in Anbar, and demanded its neighboring provinces to facilitate the establishment of Nazhaha until they return to their homes, while the proposed governor of Karbala introduction of a central fund to support displaced contribute the provinces and ministries.
It is noteworthy that the Anbar province, based in the city of Ramadi, (110 km west of Baghdad), undergoing large-scale military using various weapons, including weapons of U.S. and Russian Iraq began to be imported against armed groups, and severely strained against the backdrop of the arrest of the security forces MP List united, Ahmed al-Alwani, and the death of his brother, as well as the killing of a nephew of the President of the Anbar Salvation Council, Hamid al-Hayes, and Hayes, son of Mohammed, the leader of the Sons of Iraq, in (the 28 of December 2013 the past).