The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015
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  1. #1

    The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015


    US dollar USD 1166.000 1164.000

    US dollar USD 1166.000 1164.000
    Euro EUR 1282.833 1282.192
    British pound GBP 1791.909 1791.013
    Canadian dollar CAD 975.406 947.918
    Swiss franc CHF 1221.070 1220.460
    Swedish krona SEK 137.105 137.037
    Norwegian krone NOK 152.992 152.916
    Danish krone DKK 171.918 171.832
    Japanese yen JPY ----------- ----------
    Drawing Rights
    SDR 1628.949 1628.134

    Indicative rates - (as of) 30.04.2015

    Currency Auctions

    Announcement No. (2942 - most recent listing)

    The opening offers the sale and purchase of foreign currency in the window of the Central Bank of Iraq on 30/04/2015 and the results were as follows:

    Number of banks 18
    Number of remittance companies 2
    Auction price selling dinar / US$ 1166
    Auction price buying dinar / US$ -----
    Amount sold at auction price (US$) 133,894,775
    Amount purchased at Auction price (US$) -----
    Total offers for buying (US$) 133,894,775
    Total offers for selling (US$) -----

  2. #2

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    The Exchange Rate of Foreign Currency in Economic Feasibility Studies

    Below are the central controls related to the exchange rate of the foreign currency to convert the project inputs and outputs from foreign currency to its equivalent in the local currency, and that is by calculating the net discounted present value standard and the internal return on investments in economic analysis that governs investment projects that costs excess one million dinars.

    Estimate the shadow price of foreign currency:

    1. It is necessary to put central controls to amend the official exchange rate * to reflect the shadow price of the foreign currency, and that is considered one of the necessary requirements to implement the net discounted present value standard and the internal return rate on investment in the economic calculation stated in the instructions, paragraph nine.

    The central controls for adjusting market prices distinguished a group of outputs and inputs traded internationally, where the projects production or usage of them is reflected on the abundance of foreign currency in the economy and thus project outputs or inputs used of such are considered purely foreign currency outputs or inputs.

    * What is meant by exchange rate: the number of units of foreign currency, expressed in dollar per one dinar.In particular the following outputs and inputs of foreign currency were distinguished:

    • Export-outputs.
    • Outputs marketed locally that substitute imports.
    • Imported inputs.
    • Inputs produced locally that usually go to exports.
    • Foreign labor.

    According to the pricing rules the value of the output and input (traded) is calculated using export prices (FOB) and import prices (CIF), according to what is listed in the pricing rules.

    In other words the pricing rules calculate what the project produces from foreign currency (quantity of exports multiplied by the export price (FOB) in foreign currency or the quantity of substitute imports multiplied by the import price (CIF) in foreign currency, as well as what the project uses from foreign currency and imported inputs multiplied by the import price (CIF) in foreign currency …. etc.).

    In a later step, project outputs and inputs must be converted from the foreign currency to its equivalent in local currency (dinars) by using a specific exchange rate for the foreign currency.

    2. Justifications for exchange-rate adjustment: there are a number of important and powerful arguments which support the view that the official exchange rate reduces the real value of foreign currency for purposes of calculating the economic national profitability for investment projects and hence for the purposes of investment planning. It is demonstrated in this context to call for assessing the dinar for less than (3.208) dollar (official exchange rate) when assessing project outputs and inputs of traded goods of exports, substitute imports and imports… etc.

    The justifications to call for the use of an exchange rate that is lower than the official exchange rate are:

    • The use of an exchange rate that is lower than the official rate is the appropriate action at the investment planning level to translate the country’s economic strategy aiming at stimulating central investments in the sectors that encourage the development of non-oil exports, as well as sectors that encourage the expansion of domestic production base in order to reduce imports and compensate it with local commodities. This helps to reduce reliance on foreign exchange earnings from crude oil exports and increases the share of non-oil sectors in the local production.
    • The application of the amended exchange rate on project imported inputs will assist in directing investments away from aggregated sectors dependent on imported inputs and the preference of those sectors that rely on locally produced inputs.
    • The use of the amended exchange rate helps to correct the balance in favor of the traded goods sectors compared to non-traded goods.
    • The real exchange rate has declined rapidly since the early seventies, through rapid rise of the level of prices and local costs which led by the steadiness of the official exchange rate to change in prices and actual local rate costs that gave an advantage for imported goods at the expense of locally produced goods, meaning that it led to deterioration of the competitiveness of alternative replacement goods and export commodities.
    • This action shows that the official exchange rate overestimates the value of the dinar, compared to the foreign currency and from the promoting goods substituting imports and export commodities point of view of.

    And in support to this view is the state’s utilization and in a broad approach to the customs and quantitative protection policies especially for consumer goods, as well as export subsidies that exports have through an amended export exchange rate.

    3. Estimate the amended exchange rate of the Iraqi dinar to be used in technical and economical feasibility studies and for (1.134) dollar per dinar. This price should be approved for 3 years until re-appreciation by the competent authorities.

    The Republic of Iraq – Ministry of Planning


    A "flashback recap" of a Live Q and A Call from about a year ago - on THE DAILY DINAR NEWS BLOG...

    In general terms – there were three main focal points of interest I wanted to cover and then allow listeners to ask whatever questions they liked.

    1) the SIGR report…

    2) the Gold Article…

    3) the IIER report…

    I started the conversation out last night by highlighting how crazy this campaign being fielded to contact our lawmakers and bank CEO’s and tell them how unfair it is they are getting to exchange (exchange is the right terminology BTW – NOT “CASH-IN”) at 32.00 per Dinar and we are not – is. It is nuts.

    Firstly, “they” are NOT being allowed to exchange “early” – or at 32.00 per Dinar. It makes you sound “stark raving MAD” to be caught saying such things. You would be better off barking at the moon. It is demeaning to the validity of a true currency play.

    Secondly, this is entirely the wrong way to approach them. I pointed out on the call that Poppy and I fielded a very successful such campaign a couple of years ago. However, we sat down and came up with a much different approach. It was designed to get answers and to approach our lawmakers with respect and as their constituents. Not like a bunch of lunatics. We had extraordinary participation (because it made sense) and we received a good response from lawmakers. It started the conversation in a reasonable manner.

    I asked one caller – “when was the last time you asked a banker for money and told him how unfair it was if he didn’t give it to you”??? Obviously – we chuckled…

    Another caller asked me if (as DC had relayed) – the “zero’s were raised” and the lower denominations were in circulation??

    I said plainly “no”…lower denominations being in circulation would (at the very least) imply there had been a value change. If there were no value change the lower denoms would not only be of little value, they would be such a hinderance – people might even throw them away just to get rid of them. So no – no lower denoms. I told the caller to check the website for “real” info on rate change.

    The “zero’s being raised” or “deleted” – as explained by any reasonable researcher, economist or authority – is simply the process removing the large (3 zero notes) from circulation.

    Referring to an Enorrste post from today on
    THE DINAR OBSERVER DAILY(you may want to put this on your favorites and check in several times a day – we to it often )

    “…I have never found a single article from the CBI or the IMF that equates “delete the zeros” to the idea of “move the decimal point.” Instead, the statements overwhelmingly come out to mean “remove the large notes from circulation.”

    Also – this recent internal memo put out by Wells Fargo is likely “push back” from this recent campaign. I pointed out that Pinnacle Bank published an article by an “affiliate” in their internal publication and then “highlighted it” in a similar internal memo a couple of years ago. It is just a defense mechanism. I’m sure Wells is tired of having their name dragged through the “internet rumor mill”. This is highly likely the reason for their vigorous denials about handling it in the future. They get so many useless calls – it isn’t worth the headache. Can you blame them??

    Further, for any bank, lawmaker, adviser or official to state the “Dinar is a scam” is nearly as foolish as some of the internet “Gurus”. It is the official currency of a COUNTRY. I pointed out (below) the post from yesterday’s
    – highlights page 94 of the quarterly SIGR report to THE US CONGRESS in April of 2012…
    __________________________________________________ _____________


    We are seeing and hearing that the inflation rate is still climbing and they are pushing to get us our money?? This report is from page 84 of the massive SIGR report.

    BGG ~
    This is a screen shot from the “Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction” – Apr 2012, quarterly report to Congress. For members of our Government to say they have no idea what is going on here – means they haven’t read some very basic documents presented them.
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    I pointed out (last night) this is a highly speculative investment. We are, in no way, guaranteed anything. However, this SIGR report gives us some valuable insights…

    1) This is information given to the US CONGRESS on a quarterly basis… I find it hard to believe such an information source would intentionally mislead Congress. They tend to frown on such behavior. Which goes directly to the validity of this adventure – against all advice from Wells Fargo or other such naysayers.

    2) It points out there having been a legitimate “plan” – or time frame in motion…having been projected to be done in 2013. We are obviously in “over time” now.

    3) It gives us an idea as to who is in charge…the CoM – or Council of Ministers. Who do they answer to?? Maliki. Period. When is he likely to push this forward?? Historically – he has been a “weak Dinar” policy advocate. However, rumor from his own inner circle admits he can’t win a third term in office without some currency reform.

    I fully expect him to use every tool in his “wheel house” to win – his recent moves in Anbar and the disputed territories prove as much. Currency reform has to be a “biggie”. Though this WAS their thinking a couple of months ago – there is no promise it is still part of their political calculus. We shall see.

    4) Though no guarantee of the actual future plan they wind up engaging – this report points out an increase in value that would have taken the Dinar from “one-tenth of a cent” to a value “of slightly less than $1″..

    __________________________________________________ ______________


    Coins put on the market !!

    Nora Albjara member of the committee of economy and investment in the House of Representatives revealed that the central bank completed its preparations for the issuance of metal coins of seven small groups, in conjunction with the implementation of the project to delete the three zeroes from the paper currency is currently in circulation.

    She said in her statement Albjara "The project will take between four and five years, and which will be the launch of the categories of small coins gradually."

    He predicted the financial expert Hilal Taan inflation rate declines, with the issuance of metal coins of small denominations in the daily financial transactions, remarkable that 3% of the value of inflation in Iraq due to the presence of large cash block.

    The economic expert on behalf of Jamil Anton, noted that he may not find metal coins accepted by a lot of Iraqis, especially young people, due to the existence of an entire generation of Iraqis had not trading coins due to stop use since the early nineties of the twentieth century


    CBI is preparing to issue a monetary metal parts

    Metal coins from the category of 25 fils were in circulation until the nineties of the last century

    Nora Albjara member of the committee of economy and investment in the House of Representatives revealed that the central bank completed its preparations for the issuance of metal coins of seven small groups, in conjunction with the implementation of the project to delete the three zeroes from the paper currency is currently in circulation.

    She said in her statement Albjara Radio Free Iraq, "said the project will take between four and five years, and which will be the launch of the categories of small coins gradually."

    He predicted the financial expert Hilal Taan inflation rate declines, with the issuance of metal coins of small denominations in the daily financial transactions, remarkable that 3% of the value of inflation in Iraq due to the presence of large cash block.

    The economic expert on behalf of Jamil Anton, noted that he may not find coins accepted by a lot of Iraqis, especially young people, due to the existence of an entire generation of Iraqis had not trading coins due to stop use since the early nineties of the twentieth century.


    Another "FLASHBACK"...

    Economists Divided Over Deletion Of Zeros

    By Amina al-Dahabi for Al-Monitor.

    The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has been attempting to delete three zeros from the Iraqi currency since 2003. This project has raised many concerns among the Iraqi public and within the business community, and Iraqi economists are divided…

    …Haider al-Abadi, the head of the Iraqi parliamentary Finance Committee, told Al-Monitor that while deleting zeros from the current currency is possible, this has been postponed until after parliamentary elections. He noted that studies are being carried out to ensure that, following the currency change, counterfeiting is limited and that Iraqis don’t go back to trading in the old currency.

    The step to delete zeros from the currency has been postponed several times, leading the parliamentary Economic Committee to demand that the CBI accelerate this project, as Al-Sharqiya reported. In a news conference held July 6, the Economic Committee confirmed that the deletion of zeros will lead to an increase in the value of the Iraqi dinar and will have positive repercussions, including a reduction in unemployment and poverty rates in the country.


    Crush Expected When Kuwaiti Banks Reopen Today

    March 24, 1991|From Reuters

    KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — Thousands of Kuwaitis are expected to jam the country's banks today when they open for the first time since the end of the Iraqi occupation.

    Customers will be allowed to withdraw funds and to swap pre-invasion money for a new currency issued to make more than $1 billion in pre-invasion dinars stolen by the Iraqis worthless.

    "We expect a rush of people," said Issam Asousi, an executive with the Bank of Kuwait. He said it could be a chaotic first week because customers have a lot of questions about their accounts.

    Kuwaiti banks continued operating during the seven-month Iraqi occupation under managers brought in from Iraq, but they have been closed since the U.S.-led alliance ousted the Iraqi army from Kuwait a month ago.

    When the banks reopen today, customers will be able to withdraw up to 4,000 Kuwaiti dinars, equivalent to about $14,000 at pre-invasion exchange rates from their accounts, and to exchange a like amount for foreign currency.

    Balances of customers' accounts will go back to what they were on Aug. 1, a day before the invasion.

    Clients will not be able to exchange Iraqi currency issued during the occupation, when Baghdad pegged the rates of the strong Kuwaiti dinar to the far less valuable Iraqi dinar.

    The new Kuwaiti money will be exchanged for old at a one-to-one rate.

    BGG ~ Thanks to wmawhite for some facts on the subject.

    Hi BGG,

    Just thought I would drop you an email. I listened to the call, and was interested in what was said about Kuwait, if I may - I will add my 2 cents worth.

    You were spot on with what you said, I have a close friend who's father made a killing on the KWD. He bought from people who had fled the country and he paid pennies on the dollar (we are in Australia). He took the chance that Iraq would be kicked back out and he was right.

    When the money was reinstated, he exchanged it for AUD at a rate in the mid 3s. The interesting thing about it is, Iraq invaded in November 1990 (I think), they were kicked back out at the end of Feb 1991, the banks reopened with a brand new KWD in late March, that's not a bad time frame to get a currency designed, printed and made ready to use, also the time that the old KWD was valid was initially only for 2 months, then extended to 6, so it was valid until Sept 1991, interesting I think.

    Also the other thing that seems to be a "fact" in Dinar land is Bill Clinton used the Kuwait RV to pay off the debt. However, Clinton was not President in 91, he did not take office until 93, even I know that and I am an Aussie.

    Anyway thanks for the site and enjoy listening to your calls.

    Kind Regards,

  3. #3

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Iraq’s Kurds win own seat in future talks at European Union

    Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani at the EU parliament in Brussels last year. Photo: Rudaw

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq will henceforth be allowed to attend high-level meetings between the European Union and Baghdad, according to an EU decision.

    “Now that we are included, our people can express their wishes, make their own demands, objections and have influence," said Zana Kurda, an advisor to the KRG's European Union mission.

    Until now, the KRG had not been included in the talks between Iraq and the EU, where issues such as trade, energy, human rights and other topics were discussed.

    Since 2009, the KRG mission had expressed its will to be part of the process, but Kurda told Rudaw that the EU had always maintained that was “an Iraqi matter.”

    The new decision by the EU allows KRG representatives to sit at the table alongside Iraqi authorities.

    Dellawar Ajgeiy, ‎‎‎the KRG’s representative in Brussels, expressed delight at the decision.

    “This is a political and diplomatic victory,” he told Rudaw. “It is a positive improvement of the relationship between the EU and the KRG, but also between the KRG and Baghdad. Now we can better defend the Kurds' interests.”

    The EU decision followed meetings with KRG representatives and with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani during a visit last year.

    Ajgeiy said that on May 19, a trade delegation from Iraq will be visiting the EU to sign an agreement on trade and energy, a meeting the KRG will attend.

    "If something is decided, our representative will also be present, so that's very positive."

    The KRG has gained greater international visibility since it was thrust into the frontlines of a war with Islamic State (ISIS) last summer.

    The US-led coalition leading that war has called the KRG’s Peshmerga force its most reliable ally on the ground.

  4. #4

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    President Barzani set for key talks in Washington

    President of Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani. Rudaw photo.

    - President Masoud Barzani will arrive in Washington on Sunday for a week-long trip during which he is scheduled to meet the US president, vice president and other senior officials, the US State Department said Thursday.

    “President [Barack] Obama will also join Vice President [Joe] Biden in welcoming President Barzani to the White House,” said State Department’s acting spokesperson Marie Harf.

    “[Barzani] will meet with administration officials, including here at the State Department with Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken on Wednesday, to discuss a range of issues including the US’ strong and continued support to Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdish people,” she added.

    According to Harf, discussions will include topics such as ISIS and “the status of ongoing political initiatives to address the needs of the Iraqi people, and to foster cooperation across all communities.”

    The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) office in Washington said Barzani will speak at a joint Atlantic Council-US Institute of Peace event on Wednesday and address the local Kurdish community on Saturday.

    Barzani will also meet members of US Congress and will speak at the US Chamber of Commerce.

    KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Minister of Peshmerga Mustafa Qadir are among the senior Kurdish officials expected to accompany Barzani to Washington.

  5. #5

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Financial crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan kills off Kurdish media, endangers fourth estate

    A Kurdish man reading Hawlati newspaper. Photo: Hawlati

    SLEMANI, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Before the current financial and security crisis, some of the media in Iraqi Kurdistan had been thriving. Now, as circulation and advertising revenue drops, they’re struggling to stay afloat – and endangering any gains made by independent media in the region over the past decade.

    The publisher of the Hawlati newspaper, generally regarded as the first independent newspaper in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq’s north, can demonstrate how tight things are financially – he needs only show off his back page. It is almost empty of advertising except for one promoting the newspaper itself.

    “Before this financial crisis, companies were racing to get a space on this page and we were selling the space at very high prices,” says Hawlati’s publisher Tariq Fateh, referring to the financial problems the northern region is facing due to what has been referred as Baghdad’s financial blockade of Iraqi Kurdistan. “Now nobody wants to advertise.”

    Over the past three years Hawlati has typically allocated three out of its 24 pages to advertising. However this has recently halved, with only one and a half pages now carrying ads, most of which are more like classified ads – things like court announcements and lost and found notices – that the newspaper cannot charge as much for as commercial advertising.

    “We’re trying to minimize our costs – both for staff and for printing,” Fateh says. “We need IQD70 million [around US$56,000] to be able to continue publishing the newspaper but we are not making that much, which means we are incurring a loss each month. In the past we used to sell 3,000 copies but today we’re only selling 1,500,” he adds.

    Sources of revenue for newspapers and magazines in Iraqi Kurdistan are hard to find anyway. On April 21, Iraqi Kurdistan’s journalists and media celebrated the 117th anniversary of the first publication printed in Kurdish – this was in Cairo. Since then, Kurdish language publications have multiplied massively. Still, in Iraqi Kurdistan today, much of the local media – even the larger and more professional organisations – can be considered partisan, as they’re often funded by political parties or actors with political affiliations. It’s even more difficult for independent media.

    Since political tensions between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan began, during the last administration headed by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the semi-autonomous region, with its own military, parliament and judiciary, has not received it’s disputed share of the federal budget. The new Iraqi government, headed by Haider al-Abadi seems to be creeping toward a negotiated compromise with the Iraqi Kurdish government in Erbil, but the lack of cash has seen a slowdown in what was supposedly on its way to becoming Iraq’s “new Dubai”. Now neither the government nor the private sector have many commercial activities or developments they want to, or can afford to, advertise.

    The Committee on Culture and Media in the Iraqi Kurdish Parliament is well aware of the impact the financial crisis is having on local media, says Zana Abdul-Rahman, a member of the Committee. “That is why we have held meetings with many of the editors-in-chief of the most prominent newspapers here,” Abdul-Rahman says. “It’s true there is a financial crisis but one shouldn’t sacrifice everything because of this crisis. Newspapers and freedom of opinion is as important as bread – so we should support publications until they can overcome this challenge,” he suggests.

    In fact, Abdul-Rahman was critical of the fact that the local Ministry of Finance had cut the budget that was meant to go toward buying local newspapers.

    Obviously local journalists are feeling the impact, says Karwan Anwar, the secretary general of the Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate, although he doesn’t have any accurate figures on how many publications might have closed or how many journalists might have been made redundant.

    “Some channels are now trying to put into place temporary contracts,” Anwar told Niqash. “In these the journalists agree that their salaries be treated like debts and that they will be paid when the media organisation finds a way to resolve the financial crisis. Some organisations have not paid their journalists for months.”

    The financial crisis obviously also has an impact on locals’ disposable income and how much they have to spend on magazines and newspapers.

    Sankar Ali, who owns a print distribution company, Bilaf Baq, that is based in the city of Slemani (Sulaymaniyah), estimates that around 18 publications have been forced to close because of the financial crisis. Ali believes that a lot more have closed in Iraqi Kurdistan but that he only has figures for those distributed by his company.

    “There used to be a high demand for those magazines before the financial crisis,” Ali says. “But they were unable to keep publishing because of lower sales.” And although Ali couldn’t talk about sales figures for other publications he confirmed that sales for newspapers and magazines they were still distributing had also seen significant decreases.

    Editors of local publications acknowledge that circulation has decreased. However many of them also still insist that they continue to sell a reasonable amount.

    “The impact of the crisis on our sales is a decrease of around 30 to 35 percent,” Ahmed Mira, the editor of Levin magazine, told Niqash. “But our sales are still reassuring compared to a lot of other publications.”

    Local editors have been using all their contacts and networking to try and get advertising. “The lack of advertising in local printed press must eventually lead to the closure of all newspapers,” Mira says. “We are just one among many.”

    To cope, Levin has tried to reduce expenses – the number of staff has been reduced as have the magazine’s pages. They have also tried to cut printing and other costs. And now they believe that Levin should be able to keep publishing until the end of the year, should their plans work out. At that stage though, Mira says that if things have remained the same they’re going to need some kind of bail out either from the government or from other media-supportive organisations.

    Hawlati, and publisher Tariq, are in the same position. Before the crisis Hawlati was looking to expand into a radio station and satellite TV channel. Now the organisation is just trying to avoid closure.

    Tariq says he is waiting until November 2015 to decide the fate of his newspaper – that month Hawlati will be 15 years old and, he says, he will be forced to either close it or sell it. Tariq admits he had actually had similar thoughts last year. “But I kept on despite the pressures and the crisis,” he says. “If I had closed it then maybe I would have spared myself the trouble of waiting. Then I’d be feeling much more relaxed today,” he confesses.

    By Alaa Latif | Slemani, Iraqi Kurdistan

  6. #6

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Abadi and Shiite militias engage in a struggle over the Iraqi state

    Kirk H. Sowell| The Daily Star

    After the recent Tikrit offensive, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi turned his focus to Anbar, where only limited areas of the expansive western province remain under government control. Yet while the fight against ISIS continues, there is another vital struggle going on inside Iraq over the Iraqi state itself. This battle pits Abadi and aligned nationalist Shiite factions against a series of Iran-backed militias and their political wings, whose power expanded dramatically following the June 2014 collapse of the Iraqi army in the north.

    Although the Tikrit offensive appears to have been an Iranian initiative, Abadi deftly managed to make the Iraqi state a central player. Initially, the bulk of the media attention was on the presence of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in Salahuddin, and reports of Iranian-backed militias closing in on Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. The key groups included Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which splintered from the nationalist Islamist Sadrist movement in 2004 and became Iran’s proxy during the previous civil war; the Badr Organization, which was founded in Iran in 1982 and whose longtime leader, Hadi al-Ameri, is viewed as the political godfather of the Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashd (Al-Hashd al-Shaabi); and the Hezbollah Brigades, a smaller group with a reputation for quality operations, headed by a man known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Hashd’s military commander and a Soleimani confidant.

    As the militia-led advance into Tikrit stalled in mid-March, Abadi had the chance to invite the U.S.-led coalition to take part, targeting the most well-defended positions of ISIS within the city. This required the militias to pull back – not only because the United States demanded this, but because the militias could not allow themselves to cooperate with U.S. forces. Then Abadi ordered government forces forward, led by “Golden Division” special forces personnel. Abadi’s well-choreographed walk on April 1 down central Tikrit, with Salahuddin Governor Raed al-Jubouri, reinforced the impression of the government in the lead.

    Abadi’s strongest move to bring the Hashd to heel was an April 7 Cabinet vote that formally put them under his authority as commander-in-chief, as Iraq’s constitution dictates. This authority is reinforced by the power of the purse, as only the Cabinet can appropriate budget money for salaries for Hashd personnel. It may also be reinforced by legislation, as the proposed “National Guard” law, which would give legal structure to the Hashd and create locally recruited units in Sunni provinces, places authority in the hands of the prime minister. However, that bill is tied up in parliament, and at present the Hashd’s only legal standing comes from the budget authorization; there is no statute regulating its structure, chain-of-command and such.

    Abadi’s challenge in reasserting the authority of the state is easier to understand with a look back at the Shiite militias’ rise. Their growth prior to June 2014 may be divided into three periods. The first was pre-2003, when Iran supported a series of Islamist factions as part of its war with Baathist Iraq. All of them, directly or indirectly, were splinters from the Daawa Party, the mother party of all Shiite Islamists, which was founded in 1958 and has held the premiership in Iraq since 2005. The most powerful was the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of what is now called the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI). While ISCI was an Iranian tool during this period, some factions, such as Daawa itself, maintained some independence from Iran.

    The second period of militia growth was post-2003. The key militia that challenged the Badr Brigade was the Mahdi Army, the armed wing of the Sadrist movement. The Sadrists arose out of a movement created by Mohammad Sadiq al-Sadr, whose son, Moqtada al-Sadr, became a symbol of the movement. During the 2005-2006 civil war, both Badrists and Sadrists fought Sunni militants, while death squads killed thousands of Sunni civilians. Crucially, ISCI/Badr’s advantage in military power and organization allowed them a disproportionate share in elections, and many Badr militiamen infiltrated the security services. The Sadrists were more associated with criminality, and the resulting backlash allowed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to make a name for himself as a nationalist by going to war against them in 2008.

    The third militia period began in 2010 and revolved around the parliamentary elections. Although Maliki’s State of Law Coalition won a majority in Shiite areas, the secular, mostly Sunni Iraqiyya coalition won a narrow plurality. Maliki turned to Iran for help, and in retrospect this was the beginning of an alliance between Maliki and Iran. Although the United States and Iran supported Maliki, only Iran used his re-election to form an enduring alliance.

    While Maliki would come to sponsor multiple militias, two connections were notable. One was a new alliance with Ameri’s Badr Brigade. Ameri threw his seats behind Maliki in 2010, formally split with ISCI in 2011, and then joined Maliki’s coalition for the 2013 provincial elections.

    More telling was Maliki’s sponsorship of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a minor splinter from Sadr’s movement that didn’t amount to much until Iran sponsored them. In 2010 they were still a small group, but they took on a visible presence in Baghdad during Maliki’s second term (December 2010 to September 2014). State of Law Coalition parliamentarian Kamal al-Saadi appears to have been Maliki’s political liaison to the group. At a June 2012 Asaib Ahl al-Haq military parade, Saadi gave a speech warning that Maliki was the target of a conspiracy that targeted all of Iraq. He attended a similar event with Asaib Ahl al-Haq in May of the next year.

    By June 2014, when army divisions defending Mosul collapsed in the face of the ISIS onslaught, Badr, State of Law Coalition, and smaller Shiite militia groups were already well-established. During a moment of national despair, on June 13, three days after the fall of Mosul, Abd al-Mahdi al-Karbalai, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, gave a sermon of monumental importance. He declared in a fatwa that the fight against ISIS was a jihad and called upon believers to volunteer for the security services in sufficient numbers. However, his language (“citizens able ... are to volunteer for the security forces to achieve this holy aim”), along with later clarifications, makes it clear Sistani was not giving Shiites a mandate to wage war against Sunnis in general, but rather to support the state. Nonetheless, the fatwa gave cover for a militia surge that led to a garrison state mentality and their dominance of Baghdad and surrounding regions.

    This statement has been the subject of much controversy, in part because Sistani had always been a restraining force against Shiite vigilante action against Sunnis and for national unity. The statement itself did not single out Shiite citizens, although the religious sermon that immediately preceded it unusually contained comments on physical preparation for war under the leadership of “the Imam the Mahdi,” giving the call a more Shiite flavor. (The Friday sermons typically come in pairs, a religious sermon, then a political one.) And the popular response, with volunteers streaming into militias, enhanced this sense.

    It was shortly after this that Maliki created the umbrella organization for the militias, commonly referred to as Hashd, from Al-Hashd al-Shaabi for “popular mobilization.” Maliki offered volunteers roughly $750 per month, including amounts for salary, hazard pay and food allowance, although few volunteers were paid for much of 2014. He had no legal basis for doing so, aside from his constitutional office as commander-in-chief.

    The command of the Hashd is the most controversial issue in the continuing debate over the national guard bill. Despite Sistani’s apparent intent that Shiites would enlist in the armed forces, the bulk have joined irregular forces. The most prominent are Iran-aligned groups. This includes Badr’s Ameri, the political godfather of the Hashd, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

    It also includes Hezbollah Brigades commander Muhandis, a man infamous for having a U.S. (and Kuwaiti) terrorist designation and whom Maliki took as an adviser during his second term. Muhandis now appears to be the Hashd’s military commander. Having played a shadowy role last fall, he gave his first news conference as “deputy leader” of the Hashd on Dec. 31. National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyad, a subdued, “gray-suit” Islamist tied to former Prime Minister (and current Foreign Minister) Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is the Hashd’s nominal leader, but it is unclear whether Fayyad has any real control.

    Yet despite the prominence of the pro-Iranian groups, there is another collection of Shiite volunteer forces that identify clearly with the Iraqi state. They are tied either to Sistani’s organization in Karbala or established Shiite parties, mainly the Sadrists and ISCI. Sadr’s primary militia, the “Peace Companies” (Sarayat al-Salam), is the successor to the Mahdi Army. The Sadrists have taken a nationalist line, saying that the Hashd organization should be abolished as soon as possible and volunteers enlisted in units under the prime minister’s direct authority. Their interest is clear: Sadrist candidates won 34 seats in last year’s parliamentary election, compared to just a single seat won by Asaib Ahl al-Haq – yet Asaib Ahl al-Haq, due to joint support from Iran and Maliki, has seen its power grow. ISCI has taken a more ambiguous stance, but politically is closer to Abadi than Ameri.

    Thus the stage is set, with the key political struggle being between Abadi and Ameri. Ameri’s party already has 22 seats in parliament, and his allies are more powerful on the ground at present, having experienced a surge in recent months due to their front-line role fighting Sunni jihadis. Yet Abadi has the constitutional office, the power of the purse, and can count on the support of Shiite factions whose interests lie in maintaining Iraq’s independent political system. So the open question is whether, in the three years until Iraq’s next election, that period ends with someone like Abadi or Ameri in control.

    Kirk H. Sowell is a political risk analyst based in Amman, Jordan, and the publisher of the biweekly newsletter Inside Iraqi Politics. He can be followed on Twitter @uticensisrisk. This commentary first appeared at Sada, an online journal published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (

  7. #7

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Ataya Exhibition to launch Sunday to raise funds for maternity and children's hospital in Iraq's Kurdistan

    ABU DHABI, 5th April, 2015 (WAM) -- This year’s Ataya Exhibition in Abu Dhabi will launch on Sunday to raise funds for building a maternity and children's hospital in Iraq's Kurdistan Region.

    The hospital will serve underprivileged refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Iraqi northern region. It will provide medical care for mothers and newborns to reduce postnatal complications and diseases.

    Ataya (giving in Arabic) was launched as a charity exhibition in 2012 by Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan, wife of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC). Sheikha Shamsa is also Assistant President of ERC for women's affairs, and chair of the higher organising committee of Ataya.

    The event will provide a platform for some 97 exhibitors from ten countries including the UAE to sell fashion items, jewellery, and home accessories where proceeds will be used to support children.

    The Ataya Exhibition which will run at the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) Arena until 7 May is sponsored by IPIC, Al Dahra Agricultural Company, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Media Company and Al Foah Company.

  8. #8

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Syrian Kurdistan’s Kobani still a ghost town, months after liberation from Islamic State

    Kobani, Syrian Kurdistan. Photo: Reuters

    SURUC, Turkey’s Kurdish region ,— The battle for the Syrian border Kurdish town of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan was a watershed in the war against the Islamic State group — Syrian Kurdish forces fought the militants in rubble-strewn streets for months as U.S. aircraft pounded the extremists from the skies until ultimately expelling them from the town earlier this year.

    It was the Islamic State’s bloodiest defeat to date in Syria. But now, three months since Kobani was liberated, tens of thousands of its residents are still stranded in Turkey, reluctant to return to a wasteland of collapsed buildings and at a loss as to how and where to rebuild their lives.

    The Kurdish town on the Turkish-Syrian border is still a haunting, apocalyptic vista of hollowed out facades and streets littered with unexploded ordnance — a testimony to the massive price that came with the victory over IS.

    There is no electricity or clean water, nor any immediate plans to restore basic services and start rebuilding.

    While grateful for the U.S. airstrikes that helped turn the tide in favor of the Kobani fighters and drive out IS militants, residents say their wretched situation underscores the lack of any serious follow-up by the international community in its war against IS.

    “First, Islamic State fighters were holed up in our home and then the American planes bombed it,” said Sabah Khalil, pointing from across the border in Suruc, Turkey, to where her family house in Kobani is now a pile of crumpled cement.

    “Who is going to help us rebuild? That’s what everyone is asking,” she added, sitting on a stone outside her tent, soaking in the spring sun as children in tattered shoes played nearby.

    For four ferocious months, Kobani was the focus of the international media after IS militants barreled into the town and surrounding villages, triggering an exodus of some 300,000 residents who poured across the border into Turkey.

    The battle for Kobani became the centerpiece of the campaign against IS. Dozens of TV crews flocked to the Turkish side of the border and from a hill, trained their cameras on the besieged town, recording plumes of smoke rising from explosions as the U.S.-led coalition pounded IS hideouts inside the town.

    In late January, the Kurdish fighters finally ousted the Islamic State from the town — a significant victory for both the Kurds and the U.S.-led coalition. For IS, which by some estimates lost around 2,000 fighters in Kobani, it was a defeat that punctured the group’s image and sapped morale.

    But the price was daunting.

    Today more than 70 percent of Kobani lies in ruins. More than 560 Kurdish fighters died in the battles.

    About 70,000 of the refugees have returned to the town and surrounding areas, some only to pitch tents outside their destroyed homes, according to Aisha Afandi, co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD.

    With no outside help, the Kurdish fighters use primitive tools to dismantle mines and booby traps left behind by IS militants. The rotting bodies of dead fighters are still trapped under the rubble, and as the weather gets warmer, there are concerns of spreading disease.

    Afandi said an appeal for international donors and Kurdish communities everywhere will be launched at a Kurdish conference on Kobani, due May 2 in the mainly Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir in Turkey. There are also plans to transform parts of the town center into a museum, she added.

    “It is important for future generations to remember the history th at was made here,” she said over the telephone from Kobani.

    Three times a week, when Turkish officials open the gate at the Mursitpinar border crossing for a few hours, refugees trickle back into Kobani.

    On a recent day, a few dozen people carrying suitcases and bags were at the gate, waiting to cross. Vans loaded with mattresses and other belongings were lined up on a dirt road.

    At the nearby Arin Mirxan camp in Suruc, named after a female Kurdish fighter in Kobani who is said to have carried out a suicide bombing against IS militants in October, the hopelessness is on full display.

    Ali Hussein and his mother Zalikha Qader sit next to each other in the camp, eating roasted pumpkin seeds and wiling the time away.

    In nearby “Tent Number 3,” Shahin Tamo, 21, takes care of his 7-year-old brother Sarwan, a skeletal child with large eyes who suffers from a serious neurological condition. They are here with their parents, two brothers and two sisters. Their Kobani home was looted and burnt.

    “Everything is gone. Our house, my education, my future,” Tamo said. “Who will compensate that?”

    At least once a day, camp residents go out to the main street to greet a procession bringing in fallen Kurdish fighters from inside Syria.

    The bodies, in simple wooden coffins draped in the Kurdish red, white and green-color flag, are the tragic toll of still ongoing fighting back home between the main Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, and IS militants in areas around Kobani.

    “Your blood will not go in vain!” the refugees shouted in Kurdish.

    Regions and cities names in Kurdish may have been changed or added to the article by

    By Zeina KaramMohammed Rasool

  9. #9

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Syria in Last 24 Hours: Infighting Continues among Rival Militant Groups in Daraa Countryside

    TEHRAN (FNA)- The Al-Nusra Front, the ISIL and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) continued their infighting in Daraa countryside in the Southern parts of Syria.
    The Al-Nusra Front, the ISIL and the FSA militants have started their heavy clashes in the town of Al-Qahtanieh in Daraa countryside since Monday.

    The Al-Nusra Front and the ISIL are trying hard to get rid of the non-Takfiri terrorists such as FSA.

    Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian army continued to tighten noose on the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in many areas across the country on Thursday.

    The army troops killed terrorists and destroyed a mortar launcher belonging to them in Daraa al-Balad neighborhood in Daraa city.

    Meanwhile, the army destroyed the ISIL hideouts in the villages of Rasm al-Tawil, Rasm al-Sab’a and Manoukh in the Eastern countryside of Homs province.

    Elsewhere, the Syrian government forces struck a heavy blow at the foreign-backed militants in Idlib on Thursday.

    The Syrian army destroyed a convoy of vehicles belonging to the al-Nusra Front terrorists in al-Mutaleq roundabout in the vicinity of Mastoumeh village in the Northern Idlib province, where terrorists have been flowing into the Syrian territory across the Turkish border.

    The army also killed a large group of terrorists of Al-Nusra Front in Afes town in the countryside of Idlib.

    Meanwhile, the Syrian troops destroyed vehicles and weapons of al-Nusra terrorists in the villages of Kfar Lata, Sarmin, Fayloun and the vicinity of the brick factory after. A large group of the Takfiri militants were also killed during the military operations.

    A Twitter account with over 8,000 followers actively engaged in recruiting new people for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group and transporting them to Syria may have been operated by a twenty-something girl from Seattle, Channel 4 reported.

    Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the Syrian government accuses foreign actors of orchestrating the conflict by supporting the militant opposition groups with arms and money.

    The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 210,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.

    Over 3.8 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis. According to reports, more than seven million Syrians have become internally displaced.

    The Takfiri terrorist group, with members from several western countries, controls swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, and has been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities such as Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.

  10. #10

    Re: The Dinar Daily, Friday May 1, 2015

    Iraqi Kurdistan News in brief

    Major political parties in Kurdistan release statement: KDP denying them from Erbil governorate

    Erbil: In the first anniversary of Provincial Council election, major political parties expressed their concern about Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP led by Massoud Barzani denying them from Erbil governorate shares. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK, Gorran (Change) and Islamic parties wrote to Kurdistan region President, PM and Parliament regarding KDP not allowing them in the Erbil governorate. According to the last election outcome, all the parties must participate in the Province governorates, but only Sulaimani coalition Governorate has formed and all the management posts are shared fairly among all the political parties. Meanwhile in Erbil and Duhok, KDP is controlling the governorate council without allowing other parties to participate. Although each of PUK, Gorran and Islamic parties have members at Erbil Provincial Council but they don’t have any authority. |

    Othman: Conflicts between Iraqi components is main reason for submitting a US draft law
    Baghdad: The leading figure of the Kurdistan Alliance, former MP, Mahmoud Othman attributed submitting a draft law dealing with Sunnis and Kurds as two states to internal conflicts between the components of Iraq,” pointing out that “the Iraq media hype on this project is exaggerated, as the US administration officially rejected this proposal. ” Othman said in a statement to the National Iraqi News “a Senate from the Republican Party in the Foreign Relations Committee of US House of Representatives, submitted a proposal to deal with the Kurds and Sunnis as two states for the purpose of arming them, and this matter will be discussed today in the Committee, and in case of acceptance of the proposed by the committee, the US House of Representatives will vote, for the purpose of approval, and then goes to the Senate for approval. ” He attributed the reason for the proposal of the US senate, that the Iraqi forces are disagreed,” stressing that: “If there was an agreement between the government, Kurds and Sunnis on arming and other matters, we will not see such proposals emerged from the American side or the other.”…

    Kurdish Peshmerga forces repel Islamic State attack in Shingal
    Sinjar: Kurdish Peshmerga forces repulsed an attack by Islamic State group (Is) militants in Shingal (Sinjar), with Coalition warplanes bombed the clashes accompanied the dens of the IS armed groups in the region. Ghiath Sorchi the Office connector for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK in Shingal told PUK media on Friday May 1, 2015, that IS attacked Peshmerga in the Center of Shingal, noting that Peshmerga responded violently to the terrorists and managed to repel the attack and resulted in killing and wounding a number of IS militants. Sorchi added that according to information from the battlefield were killed 12 terrorists and wounded 4 others, while coalition aircraft bombed as headquarters and gatherings of IS jihadists in the region. Sorchi also said that the Peshmerga forces have bombed IS militants and stopped their progress in the region.

    Kurdish Yazidi delegation meets United Left and Greens in European Parliament
    Strasbourg: An Iraqi Kurdish Yazidi delegation from Shingal (Sinjar ) in Europe has held a meeting with the European United Left and The Greens/European Free Alliance groups in the European Parliament. The delegation asked for concrete plans for the rescue of Yazidi hostages captured by Islamic State group (IS) and for the Yazidi people living in difficult conditions. The meeting was held between Fikret Igrek, Nofa Seleman, Fadil Naif Abdi and Ayhan Igrek from the Federation of Yazidi Associations and the Sinjar Council in exile, and Gaby Zimmer, the chair of the European United Left and Rebekka Harms, the chair of The Greens. The delegation discussed with the group representatives the problems and expectations of the Kurdish Yazidi people in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and diaspora as well as the aftermath of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by IS, particularly against Yazidi women and children in Sinjar. The meeting also discussed the concrete measures that have to be taken for the solution of the problems of the Yazidi people. The delegation stressed that the urgent issue is the rescue of hostages held by IS…

    A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter commits suicide in Erbil

    Erbil: A 26-year-old Kurdish Peshmerga soldier has commit suicide in his house in Hajiawa district in Kurdistan capital city of Erbil, the police of Erbil said in a statement. According to the source the man kills himself by hanging. Two other Kurdish police officer commit suicide in Erbil in the past months, NRT reported.

    US think tank: Kurds could replace strategic partnership with Turkey
    Washington: The DC-based think tank Bipartisan Policy Centre (BPC) in a report released last Thursday says the United States must look for a new reliable strategic partner such as the Kurds in Iraq and Syria to replace Turkey since Turkey is no longer dependable ally. Since the Cold War, the United States and Turkey have had a strong partnership based on shared strategic interests and aspirations towards sharing the same democratic values, the think tank says. But the Bipartisan Policy Centre now thinks that Turkey undermining U.S. interests (including the fight against the Islamic state (IS)). Moreover, , and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is eroding democracy in Turkey. Therefore the think tank proposes that the United States should build a US airbase in Kurdistan, as an alternative to the Turkish Incirlik airbase. According to the BPC, Turkey’s continued refusal to allow access to the Turkish airbase has forced the US to fly missions out of the gulf…

    Afren unveils funding deal amid $2bn loss on oil slump
    Afren has unveiled details of a long-awaited recapitalisation plan as it posted a massive $1.95bn (£1.27bn) loss for last year due to the falling price of crude and a write down in Iraqi Kurdistan. The company said that $255m of net total funding will be provided by bondholders as part of the recapitalisation, with the ability to increase this net funding to $305m on demand. Alan Linn, Afren’s newly named chief executive said “I am looking forward to working with the Afren team and its partners to deliver a lean and effective business with an oil production and development focus. The strong support shown by key stakeholders ensures we can now progress a number of important development projects in Nigeria which will contribute early production and revenue to the business and support our aim to be profitable in a lower oil environment.”…

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