The Englishman

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  1. It has been ( in my opinion ) Baghdad who have tried to reign in the KRG and get a deal done albeit in Baghdad interests, but this unexpected KRG news release seems like the Kurds are the ones pushing for a deal. This report is a government release, unlike many other individual politicians who get quoted in many news articles. Looking forward to the outcome of this get together.
  2. Iraq’s Ministry of Finance on Brink of Collapse: MP Basnews English 28/05/2017 - 19:24 Economy BAGHDAD — Iraqi Ministry of Finance is suffering from lack of management and it is likely to collapse at any given moment, said a member of parliament. MP Jawad Polani, who is also a member of the parliamentary Committee for Economy and Investment, said on Sunday that 17 high positions at the Ministry of Finance remain vacant since months ago which has led to a difficult situation. He further explained that besides the position of the minister, several general manager and advisory positions are free now. Those operating are also being run by acting officials in position, the MP said. In September 2016, the Iraqi parliament dismissed the then Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari over corruption allegations which led to controversies. The position is yet to be filled. Minister of Higher Education is serving as the acting minister up to the moment.
  3. Iraqi Military Launches Massive Operation to Conclude Mosul Assault The Iraqi military aims to liberate last neighbourhoods within 72 hours Basnews English 28/05/2017 - 14:05 Iraq MOSUL — The Iraqi Federal police forces seized on Sunday vital targets in the Zanjili neighbourhood in west Mosul and the Iraqi military has launched large scale operation to complete the liberation of the city in the next few days. Federal police chief Major-General Raid Shaker Jawdat, said that the police forces managed on Sunday to control vital targets in the Znjili neighbourhood in west Mosul. He added "snipers and anti-armoured weapons were spread in the middle of the neighbourhood," pointing out that the field artillery units targeted the Islamic State (IS) militants in north of the Old City district of Mosul." Moreover, Iraqi military launched on Sunday an extensive military operation to liberate the last neighbourhoods of the city of Mosul, aiming to clear the entire city from IS militants within the next 72 hours.
  4. " , and looks forward to hosting the minister soon for constructive discussions on resolving outstanding issues on oil and gas." O&G law included, just when i thought this was all hot air again, well a sharp u-turn from my perspective and belief that this is well and truly back on the agenda.
  5. http://mnr.krg.org/index.php/en/press-releases/587-krg-welcomes-positive-statements-by-iraq’s-federal-oil-minister-al-luaibi. KRG Welcomes Positive Statements by Iraq’s Federal Oil Minister al-Luaibi Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq (mnr.krg.org) - The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) welcomes the recent positive statements by the federal Minister of Oil Jabbar Ali al-Luaibi about improved relations between the KRG and Baghdad, and looks forward to hosting the minister soon for constructive discussions on resolving outstanding issues on oil and gas. The KRG further welcomes the recent constructive discussions with the federal Minister of Electricity, Qassim Mohammed Al-Fahadawi, regarding cooperation in the electricity sector and the need to provide fuel for power and refined products to help reconstruct Mosul and other liberated areas following the defeat of IS. The KRG notes and appreciates the support of Prime Minister Abadi for this confidence-building approach. The KRG affirms its commitment to constructive dialogue with its partners in the federal government and enters discussions over energy cooperation in good faith. However, it is also noted that a few officials and political figures in Baghdad oppose this new atmosphere of pragmatism between the federal government and the KRG. Therefore, it is important for both sides to remain vigilant to ensure these opposing voices do not undermine the chances of progress. For example, in a recent interview with Iraq Oil Report, Dr Falah Alamri, the Director General of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO), made several contentious and misleading comments regarding the KRG’s oil export and sales process. Despite insisting he wanted to avoid interference in politics, his comments were clearly at odds with the new atmosphere of cooperation. The SOMO director made misleading statements about the selling price of Kurdistan Oil on the international oil market. In fact, the KRG oil sells at a similar price to the SOMO Official Selling Price (OSP). There are the usual discounts for quality from the crude blend benchmark, as used by SOMO. The only extra reduction offered by the KRG is for the cost of the money for prepayment purchases for its crude. Amid the crash in the oil price, compounded by the illegal budget cuts of 2014 imposed on the KRG by the Maliki Government, and the influx of over one million refugees and internally displaced persons, the KRG was forced to sell oil on a prepayment basis in order to pay salaries and fund its security forces. As with any loan-type arrangement, there is a cost to the money. Any other deductions from the KRG oil export revenues are due to increases in shipping and insurance costs caused by SOMO’s aggressive and counterproductive campaign of harassment against the legal buyers and shippers of KRG oil. Such actions also increase the costs for SOMO’s own oil. Since the KRG crude export started in May 2014, the KRG blend has successfully established itself on the international market, and now, through contracts with the world’s leading buyers and refiners, it is in demand, reaching a wide range of refineries and locations. At a time of economic crisis, the revenue from those sales has paid salaries in the KRG and surrounding areas, provided humanitarian support to the victims of war in Iraq and Syria, and sustained the Kurdish security forces who are fighting bravely against terrorism. The KRG’s energy policies and its positive approach to on-the-ground cooperation with the federal oil authorities in Kirkuk and the federal electricity minister in Baghdad have not only enabled it to provide power to Kirkuk, but also to come up with planned win-win arrangements whereby power and refined products can help to rebuild the liberated areas that border the Kurdistan Region. The KRG is confident that both sides will approach the coming talks with a positive, can-do attitude, and will not let politics stand in the way of progress.
  6. Thanks Thug. The problem i see this law is it has been around for years, and has always fallen short of the final hurdle. The Kurds are not bothered anymore, they are only interested in pulling away from Iraq through independence. At the present time Iraq needs to accept the Kurds will ( if they have it there way ) no longer be part of the unity. Both parties might as well adopt a new O&G law individually and i am sure these will be passed immediately. Just my take on this subject.
  7. Kurdistan oil exports not subject to OPEC reduction agreement By Rudaw 22 minutes ago Iraq’s oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi, speaking at OPEC’s meeting in Vienna. VIENNA, Austria – Kurdistan Region oil exports are not subject to OPEC’s renewed reduction targets, Iraq’s oil minister stated, adding, however, that he hopes they will be included. He said he will visit the Region to discuss the matter with the Kurdistan government, with whom, he said, Baghdad has good relations. “Our relations with the Kurdistan Region are very good. We have coordination with each other. There might be misunderstanding and lack of clarity with respect to some issues. Nevertheless, we continued relations, but we should be more accurate,” Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi told Rudaw Thursday in Vienna while participating in the OPEC meeting. On Wednesday, OPEC member states announced that they have agreed to cut oil outputs for another nine months as they attempt to bolster the oil market. “The reduction doesn’t include the Kurdistan Region,” Luaibi said. “But we will be trying to include the Kurdistan Region in the reduction of its oil. I have plans to visit the Kurdistan Region and discuss this with them after my return to Iraq.” OPEC members and non-members first reduced production after reaching an agreement in November 2016 to cut productions by 1,200,000 barrels per day for six months. Iraq’s share in this collective reduction in oil production was 210,000 barrels of oil daily. Also attending the OPEC meeting, Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said his country is signing contracts with European and Asian oil companies, but not American companies who are limited by the US administration. Pointing to the country’s recent high election turnout and public desire for greater international ties, Zanganeh said, “it’s the time, I think, for the US administration to change their position against the Iranian nation.” Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh speaking in Vienna.
  8. US Informs Iraq About Maliki's Attempts to Organize a Coup: Report US has asked Iraq to remove 785 officers from the defense and interior ministries Basnews English 25/05/2017 - 15:55 Iraq ERBIL — Former Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki,with the support of Iran, has been preparing for a coup attempt to take over the power in Iraq and the US has warned the central government of Baghdad. According to a report by Turkiye Gazetesi, Nuri Maliki, who is currently the Iraqi VP, has established a parallel army within the official Iraqi army while he was in power in 2006-2014. Relying on diplomatic sources, the source said that the United States has officially requested the Iraqi government via President Trump's advisor Jared Kushner to remove of 785 military officials from the government. The US delegation has informed the Iraqi government that these officials are receiving instructions from the commander of Iran's Quds Brigade Qassen Soleimani and that they are acting on Maliki's order. "The United States has called on the Iraqi official administration through President Trump's senior advisor Jared Kushner to suspend 785 senior officers in the army, security forces and directors of the key departments," Secretary General of the European Department for Security and Information, Haissam Bou Said said on Tuesday. He added that the US believes that those officials are implementing the Iranian agendas, specifically the agendas drawn up by Major General Qassem Soleimani, Iran's Quds Force commander, with support from the Iraqi VP Nuri al-Maliki. Maliki served as the Iraqi PM from 2006 to 2014 and has been blamed for the security failure and corruption in the country. Moreover, during his reign, hundreds of Sunni figures and officials who opposed Iran's interventions in the Iraqi internal affairs were assassinated.
  9. PM Barzani: Baghdad-Erbil relations akin to landlord and tenant, neither party likes it By Rudaw 16 minutes ago PM Nechirvan Barzani speaks to an international conference in Erbil on May 24, 2017 titiled Iraqi Kurdistan at a Crossroads: Current Issues of Domestic and Middle Eastern Politics. ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has said that the relations between Erbil and Baghdad is akin to that of landlord and tenant — neither party likes it — as he argued that the Kurds should face the challenge and take advantage of a “golden opportunity” in forming an independent Kurdistan that could have a good neighbourly relations with the central government of Iraq. “Kurdistan has never had a better opportunity throughout its history to determine its fate,” PM Barzani said, calling it “the golden opportunity”. He said that Kurdistan successfully has gone through “fire” in the past few years, an experience that few nations could survive when they are pushed to the “extremes.” On the economy he said that there are early indications, though slow, that the economy is developing again. PM Barzani addressed an international conference on the future of Kurdistan in the Erbil-based University of Kurdistan-Hewler (UKH) on Wednesday morning. In light of the ISIS-claimed Manchester attack in the United Kingdom that has killed at least 22 people, he stressed that all nations have to join arms to face what he called “a global threat” that needs to be defeated militarily and ideologically. Regarding the much-anticipated Kurdish referendum on independence widely expected to be held in 2017, PM Barzani said that the federal system that binds Erbil to Baghdad is not satisfactory for either side. “Our current situation [relation] with Baghdad on paper has more meaning than on the ground. Certainly forming a good neighbourly relation with Baghdad is far better than continuing a relation that is akin to the relation between landlord and tenant, a relation that neither party likes. Neither do we like it, nor do they like either.” He said that while it is true they are not able to influence the outcome of certain events, Kurdistan should not wait for change to come, and instead it should look into specific objectives and try to sway the tide of the events in its favour. "[There are] big events and global trends that we [Kurds] cannot influence their outcome: Oil prices, wars, and changes in the international alliances. We have to understand these factors, but we should not busy ourselves too much with these factors forcing us to forget what can we change and what is it that we want to change.” PM Barzani however was mindful of the domestic politics where there are strong disagreements between the main Kurdish parties, especially with regard to the now-paralysed Kurdistan parliament that has not convened since 2015 because of tensions between PM Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran or Change Movement, the second-biggest Kurdish party. "Without a strong political and social wall, we cannot build the independence roof,” PM Barzani said, just days after he paid a visit to Sulaimani where he showed respect to the late Gorran leader Nawshirwan Mustafa, a move seen as attempt to mend ties with the Sulaimani-based party. He said that unity in Kurdistan will give greater value and strength to stand against what he called “foreign agenda.” “One of the objectives [of the referendum] is that independence in itself is our common objective,” PM Barzani said of the Kurdish parties. He said the way ahead for Kurdistan is that of nation building which “means unity [among Kurds] and eventually becoming an independent nation.” He continued to say that independence alone does not solve all of the challenges facing Kurdistan. "We do not claim that independence is a magic solution to all problems. But it will become the starting point of a new journey towards the right direction." War against extremism Making reference to recent ISIS attacks against the Peshmerga positions south of Kirkuk in Tuz Khurmatu, the PM said that the extremists always strive to test the security capabilities of the Kurdish government, an attempt he said the extremists failed to accomplish. "We in this city, and every other city of Kurdistan feel fully protected,” he said. “Thanks to the bravery of the Peshmerga, the security forces and those who help them,” he added, mentioning this has come at the expense of some 1,700 Peshmerga fighter’s deaths and nearly another 10,000 injured in the war against the ISIS group. He extended his condolences to the victims of the Manchester attack, a reminder that extremism does not respect borders. “The issue of terror is not confined only to one place. This is a global threat that concerns us all,” he said, adding that the Kurdistan Region is proud to have been at the forefront of the fight against the ISIS group. “This shows that all of the international community has to work to root out terror both militarily, and ideologically which I think the ideology — fighting the ideology is far more important than the military defeat of these terrorists,” he added. Early indications for development PM Barzani said Kurdistan is indeed at a “crossroad,” also the official title of the conference. To understand this, he said, we have to understand how Kurdistan reached this stage. He outlined the recent history of Kurdistan in three phases: freedom after what the Kurds call the liberation of Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2003, followed by development until 2014, and finally the current economic, security and humanitarian crises. "We were faced with economic, security, and humanitarian crises,” he explained. “Few countries can prevail against [these crises] without existential damage inflicted on them.” He said the Kurdish region is now on the verge of a new phase of development. He warned though that the pace of development wouldn’t be as fast as the economic recession. It will be slow, he maintained. He added that he sees what he called “indications of optimism” further ahead for Kurdistan’s development. He described the progress he anticipates as “development post war.” “We may not see the initial indicators for [the development] just yet,” he said. “But the positive indications for optimism are being surfaced.” As part of the phase ahead, he said that his coalition government that critically includes the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) with great influence in the two provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja as opposed to the KDP strongholds of Erbil and Duhok is committed to the reform plan that extends through all government sectors. He specifically said that he as PM and his deputy Qubad Talabani from the PUK are committed to the biometric registration of the region's estimated 1.4 million public employees that is expected to cancel the monthly salary of thousands of ghost employees and double salary holders. Kurdistan at its best PM Barzani said that people and societies alike are tested best when they are pushed to the “extremes” during which the real identity of that individual or society would surface. "I believe we were successful in this test,” he said. “We passed through fire, and our genuine values surfaced, something that we all in Kurdistan have to be proud of." He continued to give examples of Kurdistan being able to show its best despite the crisis in Kurdistan Region: an ongoing economic crisis, the war against ISIS, and a humanitarian crisis caused by the influx of millions of people to Kurdistan caused by the ISIS war. “At no stage did we embrace extremism,” he said. “Extremism could not make a nest in Kurdistan. We continued to protect the religious and ethnic coexistence. We did not block the door in the face of the refugees, despite the difficult pressures on the economy of Kurdistan, the health and education sectors and other service sectors.”
  10. Even better Chuck, Only 3% of Mosul is left under the control of Islamic State (IS) according to this report, the end is so, so close, well for the city of Mosul. 450 IS Fighters Cordoned off in Mosul Basnews English 21/05/2017 - 20:15 Iraq ERBIL— Only 3% of Mosul is left under the control of Islamic State (IS) organization, while 450 members of the organization are besieged by Iraqi forces in the city. The Arabic Sputink news quoted a member of Nineveh Provincial Council as saying 97% of eastern bank of Mosul has been freed. Hisam al-Abar said the Iraqi forces are now advancing to liberate the three remaining neighborhoods of Shifa, Zanjabil, and Sihha and will launch an inclusive offensive to clear the city from IS members when these areas are freed. He also indicated that some 450 IS militants from different nationalities are cordoned off in the mentioned neighborhoods.
  11. Russia Ready to Send Representative to Kurdistan Referendum Basnews English 21/05/2017 - 17:01 Kurdistan ERBIL— Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s representative to Russia stated on Sunday that Moscow has agreed to send a representative to oversee Kurdistan Region's referendum on independence from Iraq. Khoshawi Mala Ibrahim said a member of the Security Council of Russian Federation informed him about Russia's willingness to send a deputy to oversee the imminent process which will be held in 2017. He thought Kurds need foreign countries' support to the same extent they need internal support for running the process. Ibrahim believed senior Kurdistan Region officials' visit to the US and Jordan are "vital to upgrade the Kurdistan Region's power balance." At the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with Arab leaders in Jordan and discussed with them Kurdistan's appeal for referendum. Meanwhile the Chancellor for Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani headed to the US to shore up further support for referendum as well as Peshmerga forces.
  12. SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 Sadr preconditions Iraqi Premier Ibadi's second term 7:53 PM ADMIN .for Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Ibadi. Baghdad/ Iraq TradeLink: The Shiite Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr preconditioned the second term Al-Sadr called Ibadi to "reconstruct what have been devastated by others", in reference to ex-Premier Nouri al-Maliki, as he stated in a TV interview. He called to forma anti-sectarian political bloc with new electoral commission and new electoral law that will have new personalities. "I want to build a political future for the country", Al-Sadr confirmed. He did not exclude alliances with the current premier Ibadi, the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and vice-president Usama al-Nujaifi, "provided they will submit new personalities". "There are differences between Ibadi and Maliki, which means there is light at the end of the tunnel", al-Sadr confirmed. Posted in: Baghdad,Politics
  13. Iraq Makes $300 Million Payment Towards Its Debt to Iran Shoguna B. Sobir 20/05/2017 - 16:55 Iraq ERBIL — Iraq has made its first debt payment of $300 million out of the total of $1.1 billion it owes to Iran, said Iran’s Deputy Energy Minister Houshang Falahatian, as reported by Oil Price. Under the power-export agreement that was signed between the two countries, Iran had been exporting 1.500 MW of electricity to Iraq with plans to increase it to 2,000 MW. However, after Iraq failed to meet its financial obligations for about two years, in 2017 the supply was cut off for about two months, thereafter resuming in March. The two countries have also been discussing the joint development of oil and gas fields along the Iranian-Iraqi border.
  14. Interview Hungary looks to enhance military, cultural, economic ties with Kurdistan By Majeed Gly 29 minutes ago Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Photo: Rudaw Final defeat of ISIS is a global responsibility, Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told Rudaw’s Majeed Gly in New York. As part of their efforts as a member of the global anti-ISIS coalition, Hungary is extending its military commitment in Erbil to 2019. Hungary is also looking to expand cultural, education, and economic cooperation with the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, because economic progress reduces the instability that leads to insecurity, Szijjártó explained. As for Kurdish independence aspirations, Szijjártó declined to express an opinion but argued that a “one size fits all” political solution does not work. Rather, differences in culture and heritage must be taken into account when finding a solution to Middle Eastern problems. He hopes that the US and Russia can work together, as relations between the two global superpowers bear heavy influence on regional and international issues. Rudaw: Thank you very much Mr. Foreign Minister for being with us for this opportunity. I know you have a very hectic schedule so we appreciate your time. Péter Szijjártó: It’s my pleasure. Thank you very much. I want to start with the war against ISIS. Your country is obviously contributing, helping the Kurdish fighters and the Iraqi fighters to counter ISIS that started over two years ago. How’s that military assistance going so far and will you continue after the liberation and after the taking back of the city of Mosul from ISIS? Well we have been committed members and contributors of the anti-ISIS global coalition almost since the founding of the establishment and we consider ISIS as the most dangerous threat on the civilized world. When Donald Trump said that apparently a non-state actor is the most dangerous enemy of the world, he was right. ISIS is threatening the civilized nations of the world, so we contribute to the fight among those 27 countries that send real troops to this real fight. So far we’ve had 150 soldiers serving in Erbil as a force protection unit and as trainers and the mandate of them will expire at the end of this year. So we’ve already initiated by the parliament to prolong that mandate until 2019 and increase the number of troops from 150 to 200 and to widen their functions from force protection and training to advise and assist as well. So we’d like to increase our contribution. You know we have delivered guns to the Peshmerga. We have delivered ammunition. We have received the Peshmerga fighters in our military hospital to carry out rehabilitation and we will definitely continue this contribution because it’s not only the job of the Kurds and the Iraqis to fight against ISIS. This is a global responsibility and we have to work on these challenges as soon as possible. About extending the mandate of your troops until 2019, that’s a long commitment. Does that mean that Hungary and other European countries perhaps think that the war will be extended as far as 2019 or you think you need to have those troops just in case? Well, hopefully, it’s going to be concluded much earlier than that, but we’d really like to be a long term predictable partner in this fight. That’s why we chose this date. It’s an additional two years in order to stay after the liberation as well we have stayed in Afghanistan. So when the Afghanistan mission was over, it was changed to resolute support mission. We have been staying there with 107 troops We are absolutely ready to enhance our economic cooperation as well currently. But we will stay definitely and we have another struggle there which is helping the Christian communities. You know we are a Christian country so really we feel a responsibility for helping those communities and we try to assist them to go back to those territories from where they were forced to leave. I think it’s not only in the interest of the Christian communities to return, but it is in the interest of the countries from where they had to leave. And about the weapons that you have already sent to Peshmerga, have you sent the weapons directly to Peshmerga or through Baghdad? Of course in any case we come to an agreement with the Iraqi central government because we don’t want to cause troubles to ourselves and we don’t want to cause troubles to you. So we understand that it’s a sensitive situation but we do hope that there will be an agreement between Baghdad and Erbil to continue in a peaceful manner on mutual benefit of both parties so we really cross fingers for the success of that, let’s say, peaceful coexistence. Your prime minister famously a couple of years ago announced his support for the right of the Kurdish people for independence. Does Hungary still have the same position? Well, you know we always try to avoid interfering in internal issues of other countries. We try to avoid all types of statements which could destabilize the region and cause any type of difficulties. We’ll leave it for you, for the Kurdish and Iraqis to continue agreement. We don’t like anyone else interfering in our domestic issues either you know, so we respect your rights, we respect your history, we respect your culture a lot and we do hope that those issues which are not very pressing and challenging will be overcome. I know it’s very hard to predict the future, especially in international politics, but you said to leave it for you to decide, but the Kurds are now taking steps towards making a referendum. We want to announce independence at some point. On that point, what do you think the international community’s reaction will be? Well, you know, one think I’ve learned was that sentences starting with “if” do not make sense neither in politics nor in sports, especially football, (laughing). So I’d rather avoid to make predictions about such kind of situation. Let’s revert the situation that’s evolving. What I know from both sides is, and this is encouraging, talking to the Foreign Minister of Iraq and talking to the Foreign Minister of yours, whom I’m going to meet as well and we are in a very, very good personal contact, that both of you want peace and I think that is the most important and stable position from which you can negotiate with each other. And you visited KRG and Erbil. Can you tell me more about the relationship, other than the military, with the Kurdistan Regional Government? Well, first of all, we respect your culture very much and that’s why we try to encourage very much more and more cultural exchange. We are very happy that the Trump administration takes fighting against terror very seriously We try more and more to encourage student exchange as well as we offer scholarships not only for the central government in Baghdad but for Kurdish students as well. We would love to have them at the Hungarian universities to study in English language. We are absolutely ready to enhance our economic cooperation as well because what I understood as well from the last years is that if you have a good economic cooperation, if you have a good trade cooperation, if there’s economic progress, then there’s less and less place for instability and war and such kind of challenges. Well, Hungary, I know it’s a smaller country than other members of the international coalition against ISIS, but it has a unique voice in Europe, let’s just say that. When it comes to the war against ISIS, there are some voices right now among the US administration that we need at least a permanent, long term military presence in Iraq to avoid having yet another, let’s say, ISIS in the region. What do you think about proposals like that? Well, first of all I have to say that we are very happy that the Trump administration takes fighting against terror very seriously. That’s something which is for the benefit of the entire world I think. Well, I really do agree with the position that we do not only have to eliminate ISIS but we have to make sure that no such of an organization would be established in the future. You know having foreign troops on the soil of other countries is always a sensitive issue so we always have to come into agreement with the given country where the troops are present but I think that a balanced and forward looking cooperation between the Middle East countries, US, Russia and the anti-ISIS global coalition can end up for a presence for the future as well to avoid establishment of ISIS-like organizations. So, I think, we have to look into the details and we shouldn’t do anything against the will of the countries in the region. Definitely, this seems to be, when you say ISIS is the outcome, or one of the factors that led to the creation of ISIS in Iraq and the expansion of the so called caliphate is the withdrawal of US forces in 2011. And it seems to be that the international community deserves some assurances after all we saw in Iraq and Syria, which is still going on. ISIS is still a threat. You know, there were some terrible decisions on an international level in the last years or decades which led to the very unstable situation in North Africa and in the Middle East region. I think we need to understand that “one size fits all” is not only a lie when it is written in baseball caps but it is a lie when it comes to global politics. We have to understand that there are different cultures, different Without a US-Russia agreement, many of these international conflicts... will not be solved heritage, different religions, different traditions so one size dos not fit all obviously. So whenever we’ve made decisions regarding international politics, we have to be aware of the outcome. So sending troops somewhere is relatively easy, but creating peace in the long term and ensuring a sustainability and progress of a country is another issue. So I have some doubts and question marks about the American foreign policy under the democratic administration definitely and I really do believe that the Obama administration made some terrible mistakes when it comes to North Africa or the Middle East. Can you give us some examples of some of the terrible mistakes or the Obama administration? Would you say that one of them is Syria? It’s very interesting when it comes to that. I mean, it became such an issue right now. It’s a global issue almost. Yeah and I think we should concentrate on the solution. The solution will only come if there is an agreement between the US and Russia. I think it’s very simple in this way. You know we are really crossing fingers for the American and the Russian presidents to be able to build up a more pragmatic relationship, a more successful or a more friendly, if you wish, relationship between Russia and the United States. You know, when you speak like this in Europe currently, or in international media, you’re going to be attacked and accused immediately of being pro-Russian, being a spy of Putin, all these kind of terrible things. No, we are not taking sides. We are only just having the compass of our national interests, and the interest of Hungary is a central European interest that we don’t want to have a hostile relationship between Russia and the US because history has taught us that whenever there was a conflict between east and west, Soviet Union, Russia, NATO, US, central Europe was always a loser and we don’t want to be losers anymore so that’s why we are crossing fingers for a much better, a much more pragmatic relationship between US and Russia because without a US-Russia agreement, many of these international conflicts we have touched upon will not be solved for sure. The point that you made about the US and Russia, how bad is the relationship right now and how concerned are you about the outcome? Well I think that everyone sees, whoever watches television or reads newspapers, that currently the relationship is not the best ever for sure. If you look back at the recent period of time, then you can see that whenever there were serious international issues, solution was much easier or much more realistic whenever the Russians or the Americans were able to work together on the solution. Look back to Iran, the nuclear deal. As you can see from the picture, the Russian and the American foreign ministers were sitting on the same side of the table. And actually before negotiations had started, no one really gave a bet on the success of those negotiations. But then, those negotiations were successful because US and Russia were able to work together. Or when it comes to anti-terror fight, counter terror fight, we think that it’s vital to have involvement and engagement of both parties. So we hope for the best in this regard because, for central Europe, because that would be much more relaxing to have a balanced relationship between the two of them. Well, certainly this view that you mentioned is not popular between members of the European Union… No. And I believe that just today they passed a law in the parliament and they proposed that Hungary change its policy regarding immigration and certain other issues. What is your comment about that, that position, from your opinion? You know we always rejected any attempts to interfere in our domestic issues. There are certain authorities that are the competence of the European Union and there are many authorities which are the competence of the member states and migration policy is the core We laid the security of Europe into the hands of the Turkish president and the Turkish government competence of the member states. And they’ve made it very clear regardless of any kind of international pressure that we will not let any single person enter the territory of ours illegally. There are legal ways of how people can enter the territory of our country. Everyone is welcome who comes legally, who comes to respect our laws and regulations. But we never let anyone violate our border and we never let anyone enter the territory of ours illegally. This position is pretty much un-liked in the European Union, pretty much un-liked by the European institutions because they are pushing for a regulatory relocation system of the migrants. But we will never accept that because it’s against European regulations, it’s against the will of the people in Hungary, it’s un-implementable, and it’s against common sense. But there are threats from some European Union members of taking away your voting rights at the moment. Aren’t you concerned about that? You know taking away a voting right of a member state must be based on consensus, and I believe that some member states would never support such type of decision, as Poland was frightened by such a decision as well. But we made it very clear in the first moment that Hungary would never vote in favor of such kind of a decision against Poland. With this migration crisis and refugee crisis, whatever you name it, there’s a consensus that the war in Syria and the ISIS war created this mess. Basically the instability created that. And now there are suggestions, actually a proposal in agreement between Turkey, Iran, Russia in Astana to create safety zones in Syria. How do you view the creation of safe zones inside Syria basically as a measure to prevent further refugees flowing over to Turkey, then to Europe? Well, you know I have to tell you we are too small of a country to have important positions in this issue, so I don’t think anyone would care about our position. But what I can tell you is that we welcome all types of initiatives which bring us closer to peace in Syria, which bring us closer to more people living under safe conditions. If it is safe zones, then let’s call them safe zones. I think that here it is a very favorable development that somehow the Americans are putting into consideration the Astana format. We are happy that the Turks and the Russians could manage their issues and their challenges on the bilateral stuff. So, well creating safety at least in parts of Syria is at least a positive development. Do you think that Turkey is doing enough to prevent refugee flows into Europe? Well, currently I do, definitely. We made it very clear at the beginning that we can come to an agreement with Turkey, but this is not, let’s say, the final solution. The best solution should be to enable Europe, to enable European Union, to be able to protect itself. Currently, we laid the security of Europe into the hands of the Turkish president and the Turkish government. We respect them a lot so we enjoy a very good bilateral relationship with Turkey. But in the meantime, Europe is not ready and not able to protect itself. This is the problem. We should have taken advantage of this period when there were no migrants coming because of the agreement with Turkey and we should have enabled ourselves to be able to protect ourselves. Currently if refugees or migrants leave Turkey, then the first place that they are stopped is the southern border of Hungary. Macedonia has done a very, very good job recently before the deal was made. But currently they are undergoing an unstable internal political situation unfortunately. I was a former refugee. I’m a former refugee as are many Kurds. Most of them, they don’t have a choice. The camps in Turkey are overcrowded, the situation is not perfect and they are desperate. Basically, building a wall on a European border is not, as many would say, is not a humanitarian situation. Here we have two principals. Number one is that we have to bring help where it is needed. So our understanding is that we have to help people to stay as close to their homes as it is possible in order to be able to return after a situation is solved, after the challenge is We liked [Trump's] approach regarding safety and security solved. How we should do it? We have to give very heavy financial support, not only to Turkey, but to Jordan, to Iraq, to the Kurdish region, to Lebanon to be able to host those people who had to leave their homes in order to keep them as close to their homes as possible. The second issue is in the international law. International law doesn’t say you have a right to pick a country where you would like to live in and order to get there, to violate borders. Our issue is the violation of the border. I mean how it comes that hundreds of thousands just violated our border and marched through our country and then to Germany and Austria and Sweden and afterwards, the Swedish, the Germans, and the Austrians would like to send them back to us saying that we were the first EU member state where they stepped into the territory into an EU member country. So, this is a very complex situation. Our position is that we have to bring help to the people where they are. Number two, we have to stick European funding to conditionality, meaning that European Union funds very heavily deferred countries. We should stick this funding to conditionality. Look, we give you the money, but you have to carry out reforms, political or economic that doesn’t matter, which would not force your people to leave their homes. And we have to overcome the war, the crisis as well because the ideal situation is that no one had to leave his or her home, right? And we should encourage anyone to do so. Basically what you’re suggesting is to find a solution to the crisis in the Middle East but still there are people in the US and Europe that are reluctant about this. They are saying we have to be careful, not about just funding. I’m talking about in general. But the Trump administration, the new administration in Washington, it seems that they don’t have that reluctance. How are you rating Trump’s foreign policy so far? You know what, we liked his approach which was against this “one size fits all” principal. We liked his approach regarding safety and security. We like his approach saying that America is first, but what would the American president say, if not, that America is first or who would say America is first if not the American president. For us, Hungary is first. For us the security and safety of the Hungarian people and the country and the investments in the country are first. So, I have to tell you that we look at his policy with great sympathy. We hope that he is going to be successful. We see media being very hostile to him. Nothing new for us, we had the same experience with the international media being very hostile to Hungary. I see some international television channels being very frustrated of the fact that it was not them to appoint the president of the US but the American people to make the decision. So we really cross fingers for his success, because having a successful United States is an interest to the whole world. With that we’ll end this interview. Thank you very much for this interview and this opportunity and I wish you all the best with your trip here in New York and the US.
  15. FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017 "Unknown sources" charged with reducing Iraqi dinar value, Advisor 8:26 PM ADMIN Baghdad/ Iraq TradeLink: Iraqi Premier's economic advisor charged "un-named quarters" to disseminate the idea of the deterioration of the Iraqi currency before the US dollar. Advisor Mudh-hir Mohammed Saleh, in a press statement, pointed that there are "some quarters" are trying to create a state of economic deterioration and stability to enhance inflation. He warned that this situation will make the country enter through three crises, the first will be financial which cannot be solved by quick measures like the decrease of the dinar's value. The second crisis will be the inflation and the deterioration in economic stability with lesser purchase power due to the lack of confidence in the Iraqi dinar, he pointed out. The third crisis will be a security one due to the war against Da'ish (ISIS) organization, he elaborated. "The only loser will be the people and winners will be the rich-dollar quarters and terrorism", he confirmed. Posted in: Baghdad,Economy,Politics