*** " Evict Maliki " Countdown is 68 Days until the Election ***
Deputy PM: Kurdish Ministers Should Withdraw from Baghdad over Budget
Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Roj Nuri Shawais.
BERLIN, Germany – Kurdish ministers in the Iraqi cabinet should pull out of the government if Baghdad refuses to resolve a burgeoning budget row, said Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Roj Nuri Shawais.
“If the Kurdish ministers would not withdraw from Baghdad while the salaries are not sent to Kurdistan employees, then what's the job of Kurdish employees in Baghdad and what should they do?” questioned Shawais, himself a Kurd.
“I think all the Kurdish ministers are ready to withdraw if the situation gets to that point,” said the deputy minister, speaking to Rudaw on the sidelines of the Iraq-Germany Trade and Investment Forum in Berlin.
An Erbil-Baghdad row over independent Kurdish oil exports and Erbil’s share of the national budget has intensified over the past several months, with Kurdistan insisting it is ready to export oil through a pipeline to Turkey and Baghdad claiming that is illegal.
Baghdad has reportedly been holding disbursements from the national budget, which Kurdish officials say is a pressure tactic.
A Kurdish delegation extensively debated the budget delay in Baghdad recently. Sources tell Rudaw that Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani strongly protested the move, calling it “unacceptable.”
“This matter was debated extensively and frankly it was put forward that cutting the budget of the Kurdistan employees and not sending the Kurdistan budget portion from Iraqi budget is unconstitutional,” Shawais said.
“This has not happened in Iraq before and this would be considered a big aggression,” he warned.
Meanwhile Ali Shala, an MP from the ruling State of Law party, accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of being non-transparent in its dealings.
“KRG does not deal with the federal government in a clear and transparent way,” he alleged. “The KRG does not let the Federal Audit board work in the Kurdistan Region. We don't know anything about them,” he said.
Both Shawais and Shala agreed that solutions were needed to resolve the dispute.
Shawais echoed previous notes of Kurdish optimism about the last round of talks in Baghdad. “I think there were identical views between the two delegations,” he said.
Asked if it was Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who was responsible for withholding the budget, Shawais said: "We can't say if it’s Maliki or which party it is; it’s the federal government,” he said.
“Whoever has advised this, it’s bad advice,” he added. “It harms the federal government and harms trust between the KRG and the federal government.”
Iraq’s Kurdish deputy finance minister Fazil Nabi told Rudaw earlier that it was Maliki and his deputy for energy affairs, Hussein Shahristani, who were personally responsible for stopping the money to Kurdistan.
But Shahristani told al-Iraqiya TV: “It’s the finance ministry that blocks the portion of Kurdistan Region’s budget.”
Mohammed al-Karbouli Holds the Political Forces and Particularly the National Alliance Responsible for the Continued Crisis in Anbar
BAGHDAD / NINA / MP for al-Hal /Solution/ bloc belonging to Motahedoon Coalition / United for Reform / Mohammad al-Karbouli , held on Thursday 20 Feb. the political forces and the National Alliance , in particular, the legal responsibility for the continued crisis in Anbar province.
He called, in a statement today, to stop the random shelling of the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, if the federal government was serious about the success of national initiatives aimed at resolving the crisis of our people in Anbar and save the blood of innocent citizens.
Al-Karbouli added that the " Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces should issue orders to stop the random shelling and aerial gunner to prove the seriousness of efforts to develop a quick and effective solutions to the crisis of Anbar province and the restoration of confidence of the citizens of al- Anbar, in the two central and local governments.
Sistani's critics want greater activism in Iraqi politics
An Iraqi man holds a picture of top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani at a campaign rally in Baghdad for Ammar al-Hakim, March 5, 2010. (photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Under his religious leadership, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has been committed to moderation and has treated with tact and wisdom the situation in Iraq, which may ignite with each crisis, small or large. However, it gradually became apparent that Sistani’s behavior does not appeal to some Islamist currents, because he did not succumb to their political agenda.
Sistani has been heavily criticized by some Sunni and Shiite parties for not supporting resistance movements against the Americans when they were in Iraq and for not entering the sectarian conflict in favor of one side against another. But these criticisms were usually directed at him by Islamist parties or groups from outside the religious establishment. This time, however, the criticism is coming from within the religious establishment, and from those in the same Islamist trend.
Sheikh Mohammed al-Yacoubi, the religious leader of the Al-Fadilah (Virtue) Party, which is part of the Iraqi government, has scathingly attacked Sistani in a series of speeches over the past month. Yacoubi considered Sistani hostile to what’s right, called him the pharaoh of the times and considered his positions a betrayal of the Shiites.
The reason for all this is that Sistani did not cave to the demands of religious parties to establish a religious state applying Sharia in Iraq. Sistani had recently rejected the Jaafari personal status law because it included violations of human rights, rights of other sects and rights of religious minorities.
Historically, criticisms against Sistani started from the early 1990s, when a political current within the Najaf hawza (Shiite seminary) opposed the traditional approach, which was represented and led by Sistani. That current received indirect support by the former Iraqi regime because it represented an Arab religious reference against the traditional Shiite current, which was often of Iranian origins. That trend later became known as the Sadrist movement, named after its founder Mohammad al-Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr’s father.
The phrase “the silent hawza” was made famous by Mohammad al-Sadr as he criticized Sistani’s approach, who preferred to work in a calm way and deal wisely with the overall situation instead of taking revolutionary positions. In contrast, Sadr used the “vocal hawza” approach, which adopted a revolutionary discourse in leading the Shiite community.
The conflict continued after the regime’s fall. Muqtada al-Sadr adopted his father’s discourse in dealing with the US occupation, as he put it. But gradually, and especially after the US troops left Iraq, the rift between Muqtada al-Sadr and Sistani’s followers was reduced significantly. That was helped by Sistani’s positive role in resolving the crisis that took place between Sadr’s followers and US forces in Najaf in 2004.
Some groups remained separate from the main Sadrist current regarding their anti-Sistani attitudes. The most prominent of these groups is the Virtue Party, led by Yacoubi, one of Mohammad al-Sadr’s followers. There are also militias that broke away from the Sadrist movement, joined the Iranian side and considered themselves not bound by Sistani’s orders but affiliated with the supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The most prominent of these groups is Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.
The position of the Iranian regime has not been welcoming of Sistani since he became a religious leader until the fall of Saddam in 2003. Yet, the situation later changed because of the key and visible role played by Sistani in managing the situation in Iraq in general and the leadership of the Shiite community in particular.
There is another extreme Shiite current known as the Shirazi current, which criticizes Sistani because of his call for affection and closeness with the Sunnis and for opposing violations carried out against their sanctities by Shiite extremists.
When searching for a reaction to the criticisms from within or outside the religious establishment, it is very difficult to find any position by Sistani himself, his office or his followers. That is because Sistani has followed the policy of silence and indifference for things that are not crucial, especially those that may cause strife and conflict. Sistani also ordered his office to not issue any statement or declaration in such situations, according to what a source close to Sistani told Al-Monitor.
Sistani’s moderate and tolerant positions have made him a man of peace and a safety valve in Iraq. Yet, despite that, many fear that his discourse has become inaudible to the decision-makers in the country. On the other hand, many worry about what will happen when Sistani departs, as there are schemes by his rivals to acquire the Shiite leadership in Najaf after Sistani’s departure.
Maliki adviser: There is not a new initiative to end the crisis, but the plan of Fallujah Council of Ministers
Thu Feb 20 2014 20:11 | (Voice of Iraq)
Alsumaria News / Baghdad
Said an adviser to Prime Minister Ali al-Moussawi, on Thursday, that there is no new initiative to end the crisis Fallujah only plan approved by the Cabinet recently, pointing out that he did not raise any plan or initiative to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Moussawi said in an interview for "Alsumaria News", "The Council of Ministers agreed last week to plan the Prime Minister on ending the crisis in Anbar province and approved the funds for that," noting that he "did not ask the Maliki any new initiative regarding the crisis of Fallujah did not hear it. "
He was Vice President of the Council Faleh al-Issawi announced earlier on Thursday that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agreed to the initiative put forward by the provincial council in connection with the crisis included Fallujah and stop the bombing and the withdrawal of the army from the outskirts of the judiciary.
The Advisor to the Prime Minister that "some people are trying to disrupt the Iraqi government's plan put forward by the Prime Minister during his visit to Inbar recently put through initiatives here and there", stressing that "there is only the government's plan."
It is noteworthy that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived in (February 15, 2014) to the Anbar province, accompanied by a number of officials, and ordered during the visit, set 10 000 of the sons of the clans in the city of Ramadi, who fought for "elements Daash", while stressing that all the demands of the people of Ramadi related to the government will be met immediately.
The Council of Ministers decided in (18 February, the current) the adoption of a plan by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to impose security and stability in Anbar and compensate the damage to public property and private citizens, and the formation of a higher committee headed by al-Maliki and the membership of Ministers of Construction and Housing, defense, interior and municipalities, financial and electricity, Displacement and Migration, in addition to the Anbar governor and provincial council chairman oversees the process of reconstruction and develop plans to do so.
Shahristani: the Kurds have agreed on the marketing of oil through the Sumo and refused to deposit its revenues by (DFI)
Thu Feb 20 2014 18:16 | (Voice of Iraq)
Long-Presse / Baghdad
Counting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, said Thursday that the approval of the Kurdistan region to export crude oil through the pipeline state president of the Export and under the supervision of a marketing company National Oil (SOMO), constitutes "an important step" forward, noting that representatives of the federal government and Kurdish "I did not agree "the style of deposit and imports oil export Kurdistan, while the detection of sending and Federal Ministry of Finance" enough "money to cover the salaries of employees of the region to January last, said" the inability of "Government of the Territory of reimbursement of expenses for February, the current and the coming months unless resume oil exports .
Shahristani said, in comments carried by satellite Iraq (semi-official), followed up (range Press), "The meetings lengthy between representatives of the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government resulted agreed to be our brothers in the region represented in the SOMO, and that the export of oil through the port the only official in the country responsible for the export of oil, "adding that" the agreement is an important step forward. "
The head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, arrived in the capital Baghdad, on Monday, (the 17th of February 2014 present), at the head of a government delegation to discuss the differences between the two governments and federal Kurdistan, on file oil, and met upon his arrival, the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, In his second visit in less than a month.
Shahristani said, that "the agreement is not on the desire of the region deposited imports oil export issued by the account of his own in the Development Fund for Iraq, DFI, who deposited it imports the sale of oil and is based in New York, United Nations, that the Federal Government shall be distributed later."
In the axis of the meeting, said al-Shahristani, that "the Federal Ministry of Finance was sent to the Kurdistan region of sufficient funds to cover the salaries of his government in January last," pointing out that "the Government of the Territory will face a liquidity crisis will not be able to pay the expenses of February, the current or coming months Unless the province resumes oil exports. "
The Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, that "the Ministry of Finance stated that they will not be able to continue to pay the salaries of the staff of the region at a time to refrain the government for the export of oil," returned that "the only solution to this problem is to initiate the region to export oil."
The leader of the Kurdistan Alliance bloc representative, Mahmoud Othman, said in an interview to the (long-Presse), on the first Tuesday (the 18th of February, the current), said that the meeting, which was conducted by the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, Hussain al-Shahristani, was "positive" for the first time, stressing that the issue of the export of oil from the region such as the "main problem" in the negotiations between the two parties.
The official spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, Sven Dzia, said in a press statement today, that the requirement of Baghdad supervision SOMO on the export of oil region and the deposit of its revenue with the DFI makes the Kurdistan region under the "mercy of the federal government," spoiled it not to send it (Baghdad ) staff entitlements region of salaries and allowances.
He said Dzia, that Baghdad "did not object" to export the region's oil, but stipulated that the supervision of the SOMO on the mechanism of export sales and revenues and deposited with DFI and then send the Ministry of Finance of the Federal share of the region to Erbil, noting that the delegation of the region stipulated deposit of the region's share of the proceeds to the bank branch CBI in Erbil, and that the Government of the Territory "is free to dispose of" its share of the revenue after the ratification of the general budget in the Parliament of Kurdistan, and that this "is the only point at which the two sides remained at odds on them."
Promised the official spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, that the failure of Baghdad to pay the salaries of the staff of the region, constitutes a "clear violation of the Constitution and the law," adding that Baghdad "are using this issue as a pressure-political region, to satisfy fans of influential parties in the government because of the proximity of the elections of the Iraqi Parliament ".
Kurdistan Regional Government denies its agreement with Baghdad on oil export
Thu Feb 20 2014 13:33 | (Voice of Iraq)
Sven denied Dzia spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government agreement with the federal government to export oil region to the outside.
The Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani, has revealed the approval of the Kurdistan Region on the export of crude oil from the region through the State Oil Marketing Organization "Sumo", returned it "an important step forward."
He added Dzia in a statement published by the provincial government, on Thursday, "After meetings between the delegations of the provincial government and the federal government in Baghdad and put points both sides, it was agreed that in the coming days will be the answer to the proposals of the two parties on the issue of the export of oil by the provincial government to the outside" .
It is unclear whether Parliament will convene on Sunday, February 23, or not.
It is unlikely that the Budget is on the Parliament's agenda.
It is questionable whether the Parliament can convene a quorum for any action, but improbable that a quorum can be had for any action on the budget. I am unaware that the budget has had a first reading ( two readings are required ) so no vote is possible under the rules of Parliament. The Kurds are on record as being opposed to the proposed budget without amendment.
No amendment(s) to the budget have been announced other than the per barrel allocation / distribution to oil producing provinces that are pertinent to the numerous Kurdish objections to the proposed budget. ( approved by the Council of Ministers - COM ).
To my knowledge the proposed budget has not been returned to the COM for consideration / action upon any amendment(s).
Even if there is a limited or partial agreement on the oil export / pipeline issues between Baghdad and Erbil, which I do not believe is the case, there remain significant longstanding issues for the Kurds with the proposed budget.
It is possible that Parliament could pass a budget for 2014 by majority vote as was done in 2013, but nothing is or can happen without a quorum. It is unclear whether the Kurds are / will boycott the budget again this year, but the Motahedoon coalition ( Nujaify's party ) continues to boycott over the Anbar crisis as of this writing and a quorum is not a foregone conclusion for any Parliamentary session, boycott(s) or not.
Obama urges Erdogan to support a possible deal of energy between Baghdad and Erbil
Thu Feb 20 2014 16:00 | (Voice of Iraq)
Search U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the dispute between Arbil and Baghdad on oil exports, and stressed the support of a possible deal between the two sides.
The White House said in a statement briefed Ramp "Twilight News that Obama phoned Erdogan addressed a series of issues and topics of bilateral, regional, and he stressed the importance attached by the United States for bilateral relations with Turkey.
The statement added that the two sides addressed the escalating acts of "terrorism" in Syria, and agreed that the common interests between the two countries had to work on them in order to reach a political solution to the war taking place in Syria.
The statement noted that Erdogan and Obama stressed the importance of supporting the agreement to be reached between Baghdad and Erbil, and to promote it, in order to find common ground between them in energy issues.
The head of the Kurdistan Regional Government Naچervan Barzani has received assurances from the Turkish government on its commitment to the agreement of Arbil and Ankara on the export of oil through the pipeline region, the new Turkish, during his visit to Ankara, last Saturday, despite opposition from Baghdad.
He held Barzani's meetings with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other senior officials in his government, Sunday last, eating, during which the contentious issues between Erbil and Baghdad over files of energy, security and the general budget, without an agreement to end these problems so far, as indicated by official reports issued by the two parties .
*** The likely meaning of the foregoing to me is that Obama is weighing in on behalf of Baghdad given the stated position, needs and desires of Turkey together with the previous position of the U.S. on the issue of " control " of the oil contracts by Baghdad. Obama is possibly cautioning Turkey NOT to buy or facilitate the export / sale of Kurdish oil stored at the end of the pipeline in Turkey ***
Iraq resumes pumping oil to Turkey after four days on a stopover
Thu Feb 20 2014 15:41 | (Voice of Iraq)
Long-Presse / Kirkuk
A source in the North Oil Company in Kirkuk on Thursday, that the pumping of Iraqi oil from the northern fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan resumed after four days on a stopover following the exposure line carrier to detonate an improvised explosive device, south of Mosul, while stressing that the export volumes reached 325 000 barrel.
The source said in an interview with the (long-Presse), "The pumping operations of the company across the line Iraqi-Turkish resumed as normal today, after the reform of the line, who was on track to an act of sabotage by detonating a bomb in the urban area, south of Mosul, by about four days." .
The source, who asked not to be named, said: "export group arrived from 300 to 325 000 barrels of the total output of up to 690 000 barrels after it was repaired the line," adding that "we are now exporting naturally and the rates of natural to us."
A source in the North Oil Company said in an interview to the (long-Presse), in the 17th of February 2014, said that unidentified gunmen detonated an explosive device down the line carrier oil to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, near elimination of urban, south of Mosul, which led to the suspension of export.
The exposure line carrier oil from the Kirkuk oilfields to the port of Ceyhan International to more than 54 attack and the bombing and sabotage in 2013, "and that" the majority of these attacks are bombings, improvised explosive devices suffered tube in areas named colt aperture and Baiji in Salahuddin In the Shura Council and the urban in Nineveh The northern Salahuddin. "and exposed pipes carrying oil between the period and the other for bombings and sabotage improvised explosive devices sometimes cause fuel supply cut off, or disable the export of several days or more.
It owns the North Oil Company 996 oil wells, of which 18 wells invader divided by eight fields in the area Ajil, (120 km south of Kirkuk), and six within the fields Jamboree, south of Kirkuk, and four within the field of Akash in Anbar province, and date back drilling the first oil well in Kirkuk In 1927 Pope field.
Iraq exports about 450 thousand barrels per day of pipeline stretching across Turkey to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea, after it was issued about 600 000 per day they come from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, but stopped because of the problems between Baghdad and the region to pay dues of companies producing oil in region.
The Iraqi-Turkish line, saw more than 50 sabotage during the past year in 2013, causing a cut off fuel supplies, disrupting export to several days, and cost Iraq material losses estimated at millions of dollars.
Alewi holds CoMs of CG, KRG responsibility over delay in endorsing 2014 budget
Friday, 21 February 2014 12:49
Baghdad (AIN) –MP, Karim Alewi, held the Council of Ministers of the Central Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, the responsibility over the delay in endorsing the 2014 budget law.
"The obstacles that hinder the endorsement of this law are caused by the two governments," he added, noting that "The rejection of the KRG to vote on the budget law are caused due to the procedures of Baghdad over the exportation of the oil of KR and its 17% share of the budget."
Shahristani confirms the agreement .. and denies export across the region «Sumo»
Fri Feb 21 2014 05:04 | (Voice of Iraq)
Erbil: Muhammad Zangana
Announced Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, Hussein al-Shahristani, the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq agreed to the supervision of the Iraqi National Oil Company (SOMO) on the process of «oil exports from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which was the only point in the dispute about the file of oil between the province and Baghdad».
Shahristani said, in comments reported by channels and agencies Kurdish and Iraqi, that the meeting that took place in Baghdad «was a lot of points put out by the best about this issue, especially on the appointment of staff in response to the Kurdistan region in the oil company».
It also showed that delay the sending of Baghdad monthly salaries to the staff of the region caused by «non-exporting region Seller accepts the agreed oil by the Kurdistan region», adding that «Banks Iraq is now free of financial liquidity, where the government can not conduct its affairs, and will not be able to send employees' salaries Territory did not resume KRG oil export quantity agreed ».
Shahristani's remarks were rejected by the official spokesman of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, Sven Dzi, who confirmed in a statement, published by the official website of the Government of the Territory, yesterday, that «the two sides did not reach so far no agreement on this issue».
Dzi stressed in his statement that «the talks, which were held recently between Erbil and Baghdad in the presence of President of the Government of the Territory Barzani, took place in a positive atmosphere, where the two sides discussed at length the views and proposals and differences between Baghdad and Erbil».
The official spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government confirmed that the federal government of the territory they «will respond to the proposals of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the coming days on this issue and the mechanism of export oil region».
He reiterated his refusal to reach the region Dzi with Baghdad «any form of agreement regarding the export of oil from the Kurdistan region of Iraq to the outside through the Company (SOMO), which Baghdad insists it yet».
And about linking Baghdad disagreement on this point, the question of sending the salaries of the staff of the region in response to the visit the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government the last to Turkey, confirmed Dzi told «Middle East that« no connection between this issue and the meeting of the delegation of the Government of the region with a delegation from the Iraqi government in Baghdad » , pointing out that «visit Barzani to Turkey and met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were not the cause of this crisis existing between the province and Baghdad can not be considered a justification for its federal government, and in particular on the issue of delay in paying salaries to the staff of the region, the fact that the problems that still exist, have existed even before this visit to Turkey », stressing that the Turkish government« expressed its commitment to the implementation of the oil agreement between the two parties, in favor of talks between the province and Baghdad ».
Did not rule out the official spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government to continue the talks between the two parties and that the visiting delegation from the Iraqi government to resume talks Erbil, «but did not specify any date or agreement on this issue».
Dzi also confirmed that «the government is committed to the region and is committed to the Iraqi constitution, which emphasizes Bdibajth implement the provisions of this Constitution, which guarantees the unity of Iraq, and nothing else in its policy».
*** agreements are by definition consensual in nature, if one side says there is no agreement then there is no agreement no matter how often the other side insists that there is an agreement - why would the kurds make a partial agreement as to what Baghdad wants without anything in return ? ***