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Carrello last won the day on June 30 2012

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    Carrello the KamelKeeper

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  1. The US is deploying a carrier and bombers to the Middle East in a warning to Iran PUBLISHED AN HOUR AGOUPDATED AN HOUR AGO KEY POINTS The United States is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, U.S. national security advisor John Bolton said on Sunday. This is to send a clear message to Iran that any attack on U.S. interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force,” Bolton said. US national security adviser John Bolton in Jerusalem to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on August 20, 2018. Sebastian Scheiner | AFP | Getty Images The United States is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a clear message to Iran that any attack on U.S. interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force,” U.S. national security advisor John Bolton said on Sunday. Amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, Bolton said the decision was “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.” “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement. It marked the latest in a series of moves by President Donald Trump’s administration against Iran in recent weeks. Washington has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. It has also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Trump administration’s efforts to impose political and economic isolation on Tehran began last year when it unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal it and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015. “The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said. Bolton, who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish U.S. policy on Iran, did not provide any other details. A U.S. official said the forces “have been ordered to the region as a deterrence to what has been seen as potential preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks on U.S. forces in the region.” The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States was not expecting any imminent attack on U.S. forces.
  2. Laid Back didn't say anything about August 24th. He said 24 months out would put the review at August 2019. I think the 137 page report must have some good info it and I'm going to read it. Thanks, Laid Back!
  3. The HCL and census maybe required by the constitution, but what does that have to do with the value of Iraq's currency? Alaska basically has the same oil sharing program for their residents, but our dollar value is not affected. Iraq's currency has value today without the HCL, and has risen over several years with no HCL. Perhaps the constitution requires a revaluation? Hmm. I just never have bought into no HCL, no RV theory.
  4. Another opinion by someone who studies the ME Iraq’s choice: US air strikes or Iranian air conditioners? by Tanya Goudsouzian, 19 March 2019 Iraq’s choice: US air strikes or Iranian air conditioners? ↑ As American delegations swoop in and out of Iraq attempting to persuade, cajole or bully Iraqi politicians to limit relations with Iran, there is a running joke in the region: ‘With summer around the corner, must we choose between American air strikes and Iranian air conditioners?’ As ISIS is afar in Syria and no longer an existential threat to Iraq, this is hardly a choice. In fact, the choice may not be in Baghdad at all, but in Washington: demand that Iraq adheres to draconian Iranian sanctions and let people from Basra (in the south) deep-fry again this summer; or embrace a broader strategy that relies less on military support and diplomatic demands, and more on humanitarian, commercial and economic assistance. The first (let them fry) will lead to more unrest and further calls for the US forces to leave; the latter could help to reverse the trend of declining American influence. In the battle for influence, the US is being challenged by an increasingly ambitious Iran which sees Iraq as a (re)developing country, not as a proxy battlefield with the US. While it has provided significant military support in the anti-ISIS fight, Tehran has recently shifted its focus towards broadening its relations with Baghdad. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s first visit to Baghdad on 12-13 March was billed by mainstream western media as an attempt to increase its influence in Iraq, and regional media spoke of the Islamic Republic’s aspirations to deepen economic ties and ‘strengthen brotherly ties’. And then there were the unassailable optics of the trip. It was hard not to compare Rouhani's daylight trip, touring every part of Iraq and warmly greeting Iraqi politicians and clerics, to Donald Trump’s clandestine three-hour nighttime visit to Al-Asad airbase in Baghdad last December, which did not involve any meetings with Iraqi leaders. Rouhani earned praise for boosting business and diplomatic relations; Trump earned opprobrium for violating Iraqi sovereignty and disrespecting national leaders. Worse, Trump’s widely panned gaffe on 3 February about using US troop presence in Iraq surprise visit was seen as a further affront to Iraqi sovereignty and drew condemnations from across the Iraqi political spectrum. Another surprise visit this time by Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in an apparent bid to patch up the damage, did little to help. And Shanahan’s efforts were insufficient to deter the influential political blocs Sairoon and Fatah from drafting a bill calling for the eviction of all foreign troops from Iraq. If the US is trying to maintain or enhance its influence in Iraq, there is a significant disconnect between its words and actions. While its words may speak of a strong bilateral relationship, its actions suggest that Washington’s concerns are not to address the needs of Iraq, but to use Iraq as a platform to carry out US policy against Iran that is best described as ‘Iran foe: Iraq pawn’. Any irony seems lost on Washington. Money talks louder than ultimatums What also seems to be lost on Washington is the level of popular discontent throughout Iraq and the potential for follow-on instability. From mid-July to the end of 2018, violent protests swept across Basra and Baghdad as people lamented the absence of employment opportunities and basic services. ISIS was, and is, low on the list of concerns, especially as victory had been declared in December 2017. With few significant attacks, bombings or televised atrocities, ISIS seems a distant problem. Basic services, by contrast, are problematic, immediate and widespread. Yet, the Americans continue to trumpet their accomplishments in the war against ISIS and, although the fight has moved on from Iraq to Syria, still believe the anti-ISIS coalition retains enough leverage with the people of Iraq to not only justify a continued US military presence in the country but for Iraq to join with the US to ‘keep an eye on Iran’. For the Iraqis, drinking fetid water and sweltering in the heat, and for the leaders who carefully calculate the threat of popular discontent, these are the most important and most immediate problems. While this may be lost on the US, it is not lost on the Iranians, the Chinese, and a host of other countries which see leverage in humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, economic development and government grants. Indeed, for average Iraqis, the equation is simple. US military support does nothing to improve basic services or quell popular discontent. Iraq relies on foreign countries for financial and economic assistance, and depends on Iran for day-to-day needs from fresh produce to natural gas and automobiles – trade which has grown to almost $12 Billion a year. For energy needs alone, despite US efforts to push for Saudi Arabia to replace Iran as a supplier to meet Iraq’s energy needs, the solution is years away. The need is now. ‘The [US] ultimatum is not going to work because Iraq’s situation is more than black and white,’ said Farhad Alaaldin, chairman of the Iraq Advisory Council and former political advisor to President Fuad Masum. ‘Iraq needs Iran and has strategic relations with it, long border, common culture, common faith and shared interest, but also desire to be independent if it can help it. Breaking Iraq away from Iran takes a lot more than just waving a stick.’ According to Ali Allawi, a former minister of both trade and finance, the US approach is ‘a losing strategy because there is no long-term basis of US support outside of the Kurdish area.’ By contrast, ‘Iran has a large natural constituency of support inside the country and have made themselves indispensable players across all of Iraq’s communities,’ he said. ‘The Chinese wield huge economic power and are able to marshal it and focus it on specific programs and projects that are of interest to Iraq.’ For example, in May 2018, the Iraqi oil ministry and China’s ZhenHua oil company signed a contract to develop part of the East Baghdad Oil Field. Earlier this month, Iraq and China were reportedly set to finalise a major bilateral agreement that would give investors access to roughly $10 billion worth of financing. An infusion of foreign investment of this magnitude is expected to help prop up the Iraqi economy and fund much needed reconstruction projects in the country, and adds another major player in the battle for influence. Short term victory, long term defeat If the US merely seeks to use Iraq as an element in its anti-Iran strategy, there is little benefit to expanding its assistance efforts in Iraq. Yet if America is genuinely interested in retaining a first-among-equals influence with Iraq, there has to be a major shift in its approach. Military support alone (perhaps tempered with a bit of nostalgia and guilt for assistance in days long past) is a losing strategy. ‘The US has to carve for itself a mutually supportive relationship with Iraqi political parties and groups,’ said Allawi. ‘A longer term strategy is to preside over the economic regeneration of the country. However, unlike the Far East experience, Iraq’s economic regeneration cannot be based on access to US markets or the inflow of US direct investments.’ Alaaldin shares these sentiments: ‘The Americans have helped immensely in the past but they never presided over the economic regeneration. We didn’t have regeneration at all, we simply have oil to sell and if the prices are high then Iraq’s economy is excellent and if they go low then Iraq’s economy is in trouble.’ Influence matters. So does leverage So how does the US up its game? ‘Inflow of US money has stopped a while ago,’ said Alaaldin. ‘The US only injects money in what they call “stabilisation effort” and it is limited to the war struck areas such as Ninawa and other provinces. US investment is near non-existent, although a recent visit by some 50+ businesses to Baghdad have rekindled some interest from US corporations to come to Iraq, but I think this is sometime away.’ Yet, as is evident of late, the Iranians, Chinese, and Koreans are already on the doorstep. Achieving influence in Iraq will be gained through resolving near-term shortfalls in basic services and, in the long run, addressing economic, humanitarian and reconstruction needs. In this, Iran, China and other countries are gaining while the Americans are well behind. To the Iraqi on the street, military support against ISIS and the Great Game competition between the US and Iran is far less consequential than human needs, and it seems everyone but the US is leveraging those needs into palpable influence. While the US and Iran were both essential to the Iraqi victory against ISIS, the effectiveness of the post-ISIS follow up by Iran and others seems lost on the US. In Baghdad, leverage matters. Iraq is still dependent on outside powers for critical needs and will be for years. If the US continues to see and use Iraq only as a pawn in its fight against Iran, it should expect significant pushback. If it fails to up its game in Iraq through increasing commercial, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian support, it will cede influence to others with a better sense of Iraq’s needs and wants. If the US believes military support and diplomatic pressure will remain the primary source of leverage in Iraq, it better get used to disappointment. Tanya Goudsouzian Tanya Goudsouzian is a Canadian journalist who has covered Iraq and Afghanistan for over 15 years. She is former Opinion editor of Al Jazeera English Online. Follow her on Twitter: @tgoudsouzian.
  5. Perfect. Then wind power is always an option too.
  6. I wonder if any of these "water projects" will be used to generate electricity, which IMO is a prime necessity for Iraq to move forward with investors, especially considering Iran can cut off their electrical supply at a whim whether the bill has been paid in dollars, dinars, or riyals. Why isn't Iraq installing solar plants all over the country? I would guess this could happen fairly fast and sunshine is in ample, never ending supply in the ME. If I were an investor looking to build plants requiring electricity, I would look to push for or invest in solar plants myself first to guarantee Iran didn't pull my investment plug and then watch it go down the drain.
  7. jg1, I understand your sentiment, but the UN is run by the US and the largest financial contributor to the UN. If we can't handle a $41M contribution and make sure it gets to the proper accounts, especially considering the UST in sitting in the CBI penthouse, then we had better figure out a way to do things because this would be a stupid failure. Have a great weekend.
  8. After all the effort to place almost world-wide sanctions on Iran to strangle their access to the US dollar, I would think there are stipulations on the $41M in dollars from reaching Iran for food, don't you?
  9. This $41M in food will replace Iraq buying some food from Iran and paying for the food in IQD, which we see as a problem. Not too sure today, but it used to be that providing food to a country garnered allegiance and a cornucopia of good will.
  10. Iraq and Iran Build Economic Ties With the U.S. on the Sidelines Reports & News Iraqi President Barham Saleh (R) shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani upon his arrival at the Presidential palace in Baghdad on March 11, 2019. – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Iraq for his first official visit, as Baghdad comes under pressure from Washington to limit political and trade ties with its neighbour. (Photo by SABAH ARAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images) In the contest for Iraq’s loyalty, geography is proving irresistible. Baghdad is being urged to take sides in the U.S.-Iran confrontation that’s escalated into one of the Middle East’s top flash-points. President Donald Trump is pushing Iraq to stop buying natural gas and electricity from its neighbor. President Hassan Rouhani wants it to purchase more to ease the pain imposed by American sanctions. So far, Rouhani’s winning. On a three-day state that ends Wednesday, he’s held a press conference alongside his Iraqi counterpart, addressed businessmen, visited important Muslim shrines and chatted with tribal leaders. In December, after a 16-year American military presence, Trump caused a diplomatic furor by arriving unannounced in the middle of the night at a U.S. base, speaking to troops and leaving without meeting top officials. Barham Saleh greets Hassan Rouhani at the Presidential palace in Baghdad on March 11. “The essential part of Rouhani’s message is addressed to the U.S. — Iran’s on the ground in a major way,” said Ihsan Al-Shammari, an Iraqi political analyst. Tehran “is bolstering its relations in a broad way to support its political position inside Iraq.” Visas, Trade The two countries signed transportation and trade agreements, including one for the construction of a railroad link between the Iranian city of Shalamcheh and Iraq’s oil-hub at Basra. From next month, the neighbors will drop visa charges for each other’s citizens, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported. And Rouhani said officials planned to boost bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current $12 billion. Obstacles to banking between the two nations have also been cleared, Secretary of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Hamid Hosseini told state-run Tasnim news agency. Respective central bank governors signed an accord last month to make payments for oil and gas trade through non-U.S. dollar bank accounts, using euros and Iraqi dinars to skirt U.S. sanctions. This week, Iraq paid the first installment of $2 billion it owes for the import of Iranian gas and electricity, according to a report by Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, which didn’t specify the amount transferred. The payment had been delayed by the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions last year. Shiite Muslim Iran’s influence in Iraq has been deepening ever since the U.S. invasion of 2003 removed Sunni Muslim dictator, Saddam Hussein, and precipitated a shift in power to the country’s majority Shiites. Iranian militias played a significant role in pushing Islamic State jihadists out of Iraqi territory — a victory made possible by U.S. air power. And undeterred by an undercurrent of Iraqi nationalism, the three Shiite front-runners for the post of prime minister in last year’s elections trumpeted their good relations with the Islamic Republic. Vague Offers “We were standing by the Iraqi nation when times were hard and at a time of peace and security, we are at their side too,” Rouhani said in comments on Monday, according to Iranian state media. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Iraq in January amid Arab doubts over the U.S. commitment to their region following Trump’s announcement that he wanted to pull troops from Syria. While those talks focused on security issues, Pompeo also spoke about reducing Iraq’s reliance on imported energy that mostly comes from Iran. He didn’t get far, it seems. In a February interview in Moscow, Abdulkarim Hashim Mustafa, special adviser to Iraq’s prime minister, put the record straight. “These are American sanctions and we have the right to protect our national interests,” he said. “We tell them always: we are your friends but we are not part of your policies in the region.” Sunni Allies Trump has made isolating Iran’s economy and curbing its military potential the cornerstone of his Middle East policy, finding grateful allies in Israel and among Sunni Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia. Iranian oil production is languishing as foreign investors steer clear of the world’s fourth-largest holder of crude. Pledges by U.S. officials to tighten curbs on Iran’s oil sales and the expiration of waivers for several of the nation’s customers in early May are set to further restrict its exports. Dhafir Al-Ani, an Iraqi Sunni lawmaker, regretted that his nation was caught in the middle of the standoff. “The U.S. has the ability to punish countries helping Iran bypass sanctions,” he said. “I hope Iraq will not be the victim of the U.S.-Iran conflict.” Source: Boomberg. March 12, 2019,
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