" The Daily Dinar " .......... Monday, 17 December 2012
Talabani confirms continuity of his efforts to settle crisis
Monday, 17 December 2012 08:49 | | |
Baghdad (AIN) –The President, Jalal Talabani received the Adviser and the member of the U.S. Council of Foreign Relations, Brett Maikark.
A presidential statement received by AIN cited "Talabani and Maikark discussed the latest developments in the political situation, especially the current crisis between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, where Talabani stressed that he will continue his efforts to calm down the tensed situation and find a suitable ground for dialogue in order to find acceptable solutions to the pending issues."
"Maikark, for his part, reiterated the United States of America’s keenness to support Iraq's stability and maintain its democratic experiment and develop it," the statement added.
"He praised Talabani's efforts to settle the crisis between Baghdad and Erbil, which resulted in the suspension of the media escalation between the two sides as the beginning to resolve the disputes between them," the statement concluded.
Barzani, head of Kurdistan Islamic Union discuss latest political updates in Iraq
Monday, 17 December 2012 08:20 | | |
Baghdad (AIN) –The President of Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, discussed with the head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, Mohammed Faraj, the political updates in Iraq, KR and the region.
A statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government received by AIN cited "The two sides discussed the means of developing the relations between the Kurdistani political sides in order to serve the people of KR."
"The two sides appreciated the unity of the stances of the Kurdistani political sides to face the challenges that KR is facing," the statement concluded.
SLC MP: Minimum retirement salary must not be less than 400,000 IQD
Monday, 17 December 2012 09:21 | | |
Baghdad (AIN) –MP, Ibrahim al-Rikabi, of the State of Law Coalition called the Parliamentary Finance Committee and the parliament chairmanship to endorse the Retirement law draft during the current year.
In a press statement received by AIN, he said "The Retirement law draft is with the Finance Committee and there are intentions to delay endorsing it," assuring that "There are huge amounts of money that can be allocated for the retirement salaries."
"The Finance Committee and the parliament chairmanship have to show justice in dealing with this issue," he pointed out.
"The minimum retirement salary must not be less than 400,000 IQD," he concluded.
Independent MP: political blocs cause problems, escalate crises before the election, and then agree.
BAGHDAD / NINA / The independent MP in the National Alliance, Jawad Al-Bazzooni accused all political blocs as causing problems and escalating crises before the elections, and then come back and agree, noting that "this scenario prepared in advance and agreed upon by the political blocs."
He said in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that "The crises and problems will continue because all the political blocs are beneficiaries," explaining that "most of the political blocs create crises with the approaching of the elections to convince voters that there is a sectarian and nationalism problems, thus the voter should elect them again for sectarian and nationalism reasons. "
He added that "The solution of problems and crises and properly administrating the State lay with the citizen, because his election to the good competencies and independent in the upcoming elections, and stay away from parties that have not submitted anything to the citizen and the country, can change the political map and the political consensus and quotas."
He noted that "the formation of a political majority government is the only way to provide services to the country and the citizen away from political and sectarian quotas."
MPs Worry Baghdad Will Cut Kurdistan Budget amid Tensions over Troops
Iraqi leaders debating the country's 2012 budget. Photo: rt.com
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish MPs in the Iraqi Parliament express worries over what they say are efforts by the ruling party to impose budget cuts on the autonomous enclave, where officials charge that the region always has been short-changed on its share of the federal budget.
This year’s heated debates over the 2013 budget take place against the tense backdrop of serious tensions between Erbil and Baghdad over troop deployments in disputed northern territories, which both sides claim.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ignited the weeks-old tensions when he sent in his controversial Dijla forces into the energy-rich disputed territories, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) responded by deploying thousands of its own Peshmarga troops. Since then, both sides have warned of a possible war.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) customarily has received 17 percent of the total federal budget, but Kurdish officials and MPs say there are calls by Maliki’s State of Law Party to trim the Kurdistan Region’s allocation in the 2013 budget.
“Things are not clear yet. We don't know if there is a direct attempt to reduce Kurdistan's budget share, or an indirect way to cut our budget through increasing the sovereign and governance budgets of the Iraqi government," said Najeeb Najeeb, a Kurdish MP in the Iraqi Parliament.
"Cutting the budget of Kurdistan is unacceptable and against the laws and treaties between Baghdad and Erbil," said Arif Tayfur, deputy speaker of the Iraqi Parliament.
He said that Kurdish MPs would not accept less than the 17 percent allocation, and that cutting Kurdistan’s share to make up for increases in the Iraqi ministries of interior and defense, “Plague the Kurdish share of the budget. Their allocations must be reduced, because there is corruption in their budgets,” he charged.
The KRG’s share of the next budget is around 14 trillion Iraqi Dinars (ID). However, if the region’s budget is cut and those funds are diverted for the overall governance of the nation, some of that money should still end up in Kurdistan again.
But MPs and officials say that the KRG will not benefit.
"When the sovereign and governance budgets of Iraq increase through cutting the budget of the Kurdistan Region, the Peshmarga forces get nothing from that increase in the sovereign budget, despite the fact that they are considered part of the Iraqi defense forces,” said Kurdish MP Omer Hawrami.
"Baghdad is cutting the Kurdish budget in various ways,” said Bayiz Talabani, minister of finance in the KRG. “The budget of identity and citizenship must be covered by Baghdad, but it is the KRG that pays it from its own budget,” he said.
“The KRG also pays the police and customs budgets. The raises in teachers' salaries were also supposed to be paid by Baghdad, but the money sent was less than half the required amount, so the KRG paid the rest from its own budget,” Talabani said.
"People don't know these facts, but if we are to consider the amount of money that the KRG pays to cover the expenses that are supposed to be covered by Baghdad in the first place, it becomes clear how little money we receive from Baghdad," he said.
Talabani disclosed that Baghdad had not been paying the expenses of the Peshmarga forces for several years, and that the KRG had been covering the shortages. "Baghdad owes the Kurdistan region around seven trillion ID," he said.
The KRG also faces another problem: Baghdad has been deducting the income from customs checkpoints from the Kurdistan budget, without returning any of that money back to the region.
"In 2010 and 2011, we sent Baghdad 750 billion ID as the income from the customs checkpoints in the Kurdistan region, and they only sent back 16 billion IDs. As the Iraqi ministry of finance admitted, 70 percent of the customs income of the Kurdistan region has been given to Baghdad," Talabani said.
About half of Kurdistan’s residents are employed by the KRG or the federal government. The KRG spends about 96 percent of its income and budget receipts from Baghdad on salaries and other expenses, placing a huge burden on its financial resources.
Najeeb said that, "The government of Baghdad has put $67 billion in reserve in the Iraqi Central Bank, which is the money from oil revenues. No doubt this money belongs to all of Iraq, but Baghdad is giving us none of it."
According to an agreement between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region, 17 percent of the money kept in reserve at the Central Bank belongs to the KRG.
"Although part of this money is ours, the central government is not willing to give us even a single bill," said Talabani.
Kuwait is ready to help Iraq address missing persons, missing property to quickly close CH VII
Posted: December 17, 2012 in Iraqi Dinar/Politics
Tags: House of Al-Sabah, Iraq, kuwait, Kuwaiti, Mubarak Al-Sabah, Nouri al-Maliki, Sabah, Sheikh
KUWAIT, Dec 16 (KUNA) — Kuwait is ready to help Iraq address the issue of remains of Kuwaiti prisoners and Kuwaiti properties to quickly close this file, a senior government official said Sunday.
“Kuwait has been flexible in helping Iraq exit from Chapter VII (of the UN Charter) and is ready to offer assistance for the Iraqi side to finalize the issue of remains of Kuwaiti prisoners and Kuwaiti properties to speed up the closure of this file,” Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah told reporters on sidelines of a reception by Bahrain Embassy on occasion of the Gulf Kingdom’s 41st Independence Day.
Kuwait, he said, asked the UN to expand the mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) to include the search for Kuwaiti properties and remains of prisoners.
UNAMI’s mandate can be expanded as the term of Gennady Tarasov, UN high-level Coordinator for missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals and of missing Kuwaiti property, expires later this month.
Sheikh Sabah said Iraq has honored many international obligations with little remaining to be met.
Kuwait is ready to provide assistance for Iraq to speed up the resolution of the file of remains of Kuwaiti prisoners, Kuwait national archive and properties.
Asked about His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah’s visit to Iraq, Sheikh Sabah said Kuwait and Iraq were preparing 10 cooperation agreements, and “once these agreements are ready, His Highness the Prime Minister will visit Iraq in return of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s visit to Kuwait last March.”
Sheikh Sabah said members of Kuwait-Iraq joint committee would be meeting during the first quarter next year.
Pan-Shiite Alliances in Diyala and Salahaddin: Sectarianism on the Rise in Iraq before the April 2013 Elections?
Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 17 December 2012 11:09
After having approved the political parties allowed to run in the April 2013 local elections, the Iraqi elections commission IHEC keeps updating its list of coalitions as the various parties join to form greater alliances.
The current list is very preliminary, especially since the leading Shiite Islamist parties have not shown their hands as regards what they will do south of Baghdad (where they use to fight against each other given the Shiite majority population). However, their alliances for two governorates with Shiite minority populations – Diyala and Salahaddin – have now been declared. In both provinces, they will run on a joint Shiite sectarian ticket including everything from ISCI and Badr via Daawa to Sadr.
For anyone who is worried about sectarian tendencies in Iraqi politics, this development should give reason for concern. Suffice to say that back in the provincial elections in 2009, when the climate in Iraqi politics was considered at its most non-sectarian in the post-2003 era, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ran separately in both places. Not only that, he played a role in challenging the other Shiites (chiefly ISCI) when the battle for the governor position in those provinces got going during the months following the election.
To those who are interested in an Iraqi politics defined in non-sectarian terms, the ups and downs of the relationship between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdsih federal government in Erbil is not as worrisome as many analysts claim. As long as both parties stay within bounds, there is hope for a settlement, and the dispute itself often forces Iraqis in the central-government areas to rethink the relationship between their sectarian and national identities. On the other hand, what is happening in Diyala and Salahaddin regarding these new coalitions seems like miniature replays of 2005, when Iran played a key role in bringing together a unified Shiite coalition at the national level. Still, the most interesting part will be to see what coalitions the Shiite parties will form south of Baghdad over the coming weeks.
Investigations over armament deal with Russia to be revealed soon, says MP
Monday, 17 December 2012 09:50 | | |
Baghdad (AIN) -MP Jaafar al-Musawi, member of the Integrity Commission, also member of the parliamentary committee which is tasked to investigate in the armament deal concluded with Russia revealed that the results of the investigations will be declared soon.
Musawi told All Iraq News Agency "The committee intends to summon other figures to interrogate with them over the corruption that accompanied the armament deal where a combination of questions was sent to the Premier Nouri al-Maliki in this respect."
"After receiving the answers about those questions they will be sent to the parliamentary commission in order to complete the investigations," he added noting "The biggest part of the investigations was finished and the results will be declared soon."
It is worth mentioning that the Iraqi Government has concluded an armament deal with Russia during a visit he made to Russia.
Ghurabi describes endorsing elections law as "Positive step"
Monday, 17 December 2012 10:22 | | |
Baghdad (AIN) –The member of the Regions and Provinces Parliamentary Committee, Eqbal al-Ghurabi, described endorsing the fourth amendment of the law draft of the Provincial Councils elections as "A positive step."
She stated in a press statement received by AIN "Endorsing the fourth amendment of the law draft of the Provincial Councils law draft is a positive step," noting that "Most of the members of the local councils are in their posts more than nine years ago."
"Most of those members were assigned during the former ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremier, and they have no graduation certificates and illiterate."
"Some political blocs do not want to endorse this law draft in order not to loss their followers in those posts," she concluded.