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Everything posted by Alexyn1006

  1. You're most welcome! IYO, do you think this extends Iraq's ability to push out RV.RD.RI?
  2. Thanks for the posting. A link would be very appreciated.
  3. UNAMI Mandate -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Security Council Resolution 1936 - 5 August 2010 The Security Council, 1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) until 31 July 2011; 2. Decides further that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMI, at the request of the Government of Iraq, and taking into account the letter of 28 July 2010 from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq to the Secretary General (S/2010/404, annex), shall continue to pursue their mandate as stipulated in resolution 1883 (2009); -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Security Council Resolution 1883 - 7 August 2009 The Security Council, 1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for a period of twelve months from the date of this resolution; 2. Decides further that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMI, at the request of the Government of Iraq, and taking into account the letter of 29 July 2009 from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq to the Secretary General (S/2009/ 395, annex), shall continue to pursue their expanded mandate as stipulated in resolutions 1770 (2007) and 1830 (2008); -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Security Council Resolution 1830 - 7 August 2008 The Security Council, 1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for a period of twelve months from the date of this resolution; 2. Decides further that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMI, at the request of the Government of Iraq and taking into account the letter of 4 August 2008 from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq to the Secretary-General (S/2008/523, annex), shall continue to pursue their expanded mandate as stipulated in resolution 1770 (2007); -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- UNAMI Mandate Renewed-UNSCR 1770 The UN Security Council renewed UNAMI’s Mandate (UN Security Council Resolution 1770) expanding UN role in Iraq. Below the main points pertaining to the new mandate: The Security Council, Decides to extend the mandate of UNAMI for another period of twelve months from the date of this resolution; Decides further that, as circumstances permit, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMI, at the request of the Government of Iraq, shall advise, support, and assist: the Government and people of Iraq on advancing their inclusive, political dialogue and national reconciliation; the Government of Iraq and the Independent High Electoral Commission on the development of processes for holding elections and referenda; the Government of Iraq and the Council of Representatives on Constitutional review and the implementation of constitutional provisions, as well as on the development of processes acceptable to the Government of Iraq to resolve disputed internal boundaries; the Government of Iraq on facilitating regional dialogue, including on issues of border security, energy, and refugees; the Government of Iraq at an appropriate time and in connection with progress on reconciliation efforts, on planning, funding and implementing reintegration programmes for former members of illegal armed groups; the Government of Iraq on initial planning for the conduct of a comprehensive census; promote, support, and facilitate, in coordination with the Government of Iraq: the coordination and delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safe, orderly, and voluntary return, as appropriate, of refugees and displaced persons; the implementation of the International Compact with Iraq, including coordination with donors and international financial institutions; the coordination and implementation of programmes to improve Iraq’s capacity to provide essential services for its people and continue active donor coordination of critical reconstruction and assistance programmes through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI); economic reform, capacity-building and the conditions for sustainable development, including through coordination with national and regional organizations and, as appropriate, civil society, donors, and international financial institutions; the development of effective civil, social and essential services, including through training and conferences in Iraq when possible; the contributions of UN agencies, funds, and programmes to the objectives outlined in this resolution under a unified leadership of the Secretary-General through his Special Representative for Iraq; and also promote the protection of human rights and judicial and legal reform in order to strengthen the rule of law in Iraq; Recognizes the important role of the Multi-National Force Iraq (MNF-I) in supporting UNAMI, including security and logistical support, and further recognizes that security is essential for UNAMI to carry out its work on behalf of the people of Iraq; Calls on Member States to continue providing UNAMI with the necessary financial, logistical and security resources and support to fulfil its mission; Expresses its intention to review the mandate of UNAMI in twelve months or sooner, if requested by the Government of Iraq; Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within three months from the date of this resolution on UNAMI operations in Iraq, and on a quarterly basis thereafter on the progress made towards the fulfilment of all UNAMI’s responsibilities; and Decides to remain seized of the matter -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- UNAMI Mandate - UNSCR 1546 In accordance with Security Council Resolution 1546, the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is as follows: “… in implementing, as circumstances permit, their mandate to assist the Iraqi people and government, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), as requested by the Government of Iraq, shall: (a) Play a leading role to: (i) Assist in the convening, during the month of July 2004, of a national conference to select a Consultative Council; (ii) Advise and support the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, as well as the Interim Government of Iraq and the Transitional National Assembly, on the process for holding elections; (iii) Promote national dialogue and consensus-building on the drafting of a national constitution by the people of Iraq; ( and also: (i) advise the Government of Iraq in the development of effective civil and social services; (ii) Contribute to the coordination and delivery of reconstruction, development, and humanitarian assistance; (iii) Promote the protection of human rights, national reconciliation, and judicial and legal reform in order to strengthen the rule of law in Iraq; and (iv) Advise and assist the Government of Iraq on initial planning for the eventual conduct of a comprehensive census; UNAMI Mandate From Security Council Resolution 1936 - 5 August 2010 The Security Council,
  4. I've asked my son-in-law, who speaks Arabic to translate this and get back to me. I'll post his response asap.
  5. I agree with photochic. I'm wondering if, for us layman's, if you might be doing some kind of webchat, wherein you explain further your illustrations? I've been researching laws and everything I can get my hands on, and still find your postings a bit hard to decipher and furthermore apply to the breadth of knowledge I'm gathering? One question, if it does double RV, can we just cash in a portion of our dinar at the first RV, hold onto what's left and cash the rest in later when it RV's higher? What would you do? Thanks so much for all of your hard, dilligent, insightful work, Scooter, I mean it. Alexyn.
  6. There is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning all angles...that's why we're all here (well most of us, I would guess). Supposing an RD is the initial outcome, with a (hopeful) exchange of (for example) 1:1, even if the exchange rate comes out lower than that, and with a time limit for cash in, and with a postponed RV to follow later, why then could we not exchange our dinar (within assigned timeline) for newer dinars, and cash in again at the later RV rate? Thanks, Alexyn
  7. I'm not saying your opinion holds no validity, but, if what you're saying turns out to be true; why are so many other dinar sellers ( a couple considered to be reputable) still promoting sales? Also, the link that you provided doesn't hold enough water to back up your opinion. Do you have further information to do so? Thanks so much, Alexyn.
  8. Thanks, Jai5 but do you think there will be a time limit associated with a cash-in, regardless of whether it's an RV/RI/RD?
  9. Hello, as a newbie to this investment, I'm wondering if anyone knows of an official Iraqi link, whereby we can see passed laws/policies? Thanks, Alexyn
  10. Hello, I'm wondering if anyone out there with financial expertise might be able to tell me, if the RV comes out around .86 and at a managed float: 1) In your opinion, do you think we'll have a timeline for cash-in, or will we be able to hold onto our dinars until rate rises? 2) As such, do you think we'll be able to cash in at the lower rate and exchange for more dinars? Thanks, Alexyn
  11. As I've read on several key dinar sites: "This is a (potentially) long term investment." We know it has to occur at some point. If we get bogged down by the inundation of information, some of which seems true, is true, is obviously false, etc...we know that Iraq has to RI/RV at some point. If we attach emotionality to this investment and get stuck in the thinking "everything hinges on this", or "dates and rates", well, this won't serve to help any of us. I implore everyone to stay informed, but detach from this emotionally. It will happen. It won't help to get stuck in, "I've heard this so many times, the same thing for years now...and still, NOTHING!". As I'm sure you've all been's best to just go on with your daily lives, detach, leave this to your higher power. Attaching fear to this investment may find the progression towards your desired outcome, slowed. The mechanisms driving the need for this RI/RV are in place. I, and I'm thinking many of you as well, just need to stay focused on this investment as a potential blessing, but not the sole determination of my life's meaning, blessings, etc. I don't mean to preach, just to perhaps help add some words that provide grounding.
  13. Based on months of gathering data from various dinar sites, it seems just a tad unrealistic to expect that the press conference would include an announcement regarding specific financial information, such as an RV/RI, however; as others have commented, it may be a sign?
  14. Hi all, I'm wondering, based on the article quoted below, how does the U.S. govt know/monitor, and as result prevent off shore banking? Thanks, Alexyn1006 "Seeker’s Evaluation, Opinion & Theory Quote May 7,2011 Today at 8:42 am Seeker is a Mod at Planet Dinar Ok – I’ve been mulling over what has been/is transpiring before our eyes regarding the Dinar Dealers and the US Banks. I think I’m beginning to see the ‘plan’ – The US Government needs to somehow ‘organize’ a massive cashin of Dinar so that they have ‘literal’ control. How does one go about accomplishing this? It’s really quite simple… First you begin applying new regulations to prevent ‘scattering’ of investment returns by… A – preventing investors from using ‘offshore’ or ‘foreign’ venues to place funds. B – You prevent investors from direct exchange of Dinar into precious metals to avoid ‘up front’ taxation. C – You prevent investors from utilizing ‘ledger to ledger’ bank transfers of funds to avoid the ‘Federal System’ Once this has been accomplished the next phase is the operational planning of ‘Post RV Logistics’ The ‘Powers that be’ must reduce venues [cashin locations] nationwide in an effort to ‘funnel’ all US investors into an ‘absolute’ controlled cashin environment. Some US banks that have been selling IQD to their customers are notified and told to stop, other are reintroducing ‘negative’ responses to the Dinar. ‘Selected’ Banks have trained personnel at ‘pre-designated’ locations thru out the US that will ‘specialize’ in assisting investors with the cashin process. UST with ‘limited’ human resources cannot cover every bank in the US so they designate main banking hubs across the nation as ‘cashin points’. This will allow for controlled security which must be a correlated effort between local, regional, state and federal law enforcement levels. In addition – Ty with DinarBanker has pre-established the ‘ability’ to open cashin locations at airports around the country. Everyone knows that airports fall under the jurisdiction of the TSA [Homeland Security Agency] Which also plays right into the ‘plan’ I think. IMO – ‘ALL’ ‘designated’ cashin locations will have a ‘De La Rue’ machine on the premises to ensure valid currency and thus thwart any attempts to pass counterfeit currency – with adequate security presence [any criminals] trying to infiltrate the cashin process will be immediately apprended. Furthermore – I believe the presence of a US treasury agent and/or IRS agent will allow investors the ‘OPTION’ of paying their taxes at the point of cashin [regardless of rate(s)] In either case your funds value will be [exposed/recorded] at that point anyway. I do not agree with any [forced] payment of any tax at cashin [or double taxation] because that is simply unconstitutional and must be approved thru Congressional legislation. I am ‘not so sure’ if DinarBanker will be permitted to ‘guarantee’ the CBI prime rate if they are to be a ‘part’ of the ‘designated cashin system’ Because… (1) it will give them an unfair advantage over the designated banks (2) they would be undulated with Investors trying to squeeze out every last penny of [rate value] I think it will be a close competition between all the banks and DB so that ‘cashin operations’ would be spread fairly ‘even’ across the boards and no one will have much advantage. Also I expect ‘Security’ to be a fairly large undertaking with a combined multi-agency effort that may even include private security firms to supplement demand. I think appointments will be required at ‘ALL’ US cashin locations in order to maximize the ‘effect’ of security at these locations. Authorities will not allow ‘cashin lines’ to wrap around the block with investors waitin to cashin at the ‘teller window’ [so to speak] In closing – I believe that the ‘organizing’ of this process/plan is why we might be ‘still waiting’ for the RV to actually appear across the board and I also believe that when the RV finally does appear – it could take a few to several more days before cashin appointments will be conducted. If in fact the sheer estimated numbers of private investors in the US are accurate [well over 1 million] it would stand to reason that the above plan would be completely necessary to have a successful experience on behalf of both the US government and the investor. I guess we shall certainly see – hopefully very soon! DISCLAIMER: This is not a fact, only a theory and opinion by Seeker on what may and I say “MAY” take place. No One Knows for Sure Outside of the –> US Government and The UST DEPT! seeker"
  15. This post has no business being listed in the "News" section, unless there's a verifiable link.
  16. Hello, all! I found these two links. The latter is a link I found on the DD site. I'm trying to understand (not great at math), what this currency conversion rate of: -0.0101 actually means/translates to in U.S. dollars, and if any one of you have any information as to whether these sites are authentic? Thanks, Alexyn
  17. Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts pertaining to this article and its potential relationship to our investment (if any)? Article 140 in action again Friday, February 11th 2011 8:41 PM Friday, February 11th 2011 8:41 PM Wasit, Feb. Wasit, Feb. 10 (AKnews) - The director of the Wasit Office stated on Thursday that the committee of Article 140 in Wasit province, distributed today about 440 million dinars among people included within its provisions in the counrty. 10 (AKnews) - The director of the Wasit Office stated on Thursday that the committee of Article 140 in Wasit province, distributed today about 440 million dinars among people included within its provisions in the counrty. Abdul Amir al-Yasiri told AKnews that the first payment of compensation was distributed among the persons included within the provisions of Article 140 and these amounts included 44 citizens each one of them got 10 million dinars, according to the guidelines of the Committee. Abdul Amir al-Yasiri told AKnews that the first payment of compensation was distributed among the persons included within the provisions of Article 140 and these amounts included 44 citizens each one of them got 10 million dinars, according to the guidelines of the Committee. "The office of the committee of the Implementation of Article 140 in Wasit received until now about 5000 request from citizens who were subjected to forced migration and displacement by the former regime and their money was confiscated and the largest number of these transactions were completed and will be decided by the higher authorities." "The office of the committee of the Implementation of Article 140 in Wasit received until now about 5000 request from citizens who were subjected to forced migration and displacement by the former regime and their money was confiscated and the largest number of these transactions were completed and will be decided by the higher authorities. " "The committee is now working on completing the subsequent payments after checking the required legal archives," noting that "the next few days will witness the distribution of amounts of second payment among a number of citizens." "The committee is now working on completing the subsequent payments after checking the required legal archives," noting that "the next few days will witness the distribution of amounts of second payment among a number of citizens." Article 140 of the constitution state on solving the problem of disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil, and it is treated at three stages: normalization, and then conduct a census, followed by a referendum among the population about the fate of the disputed areas. Article 140 of the constitution state on solving the problem of disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil, and it is treated at three stages: normalization, and then conduct a census, followed by a referendum among the population about the fate of the disputed areas. Reported by Nabil al-Shayeb Reported by Nabil al-Shayeb RN\GS AKnews RN \ GS AKnews
  18. The Ongoing Government-Formation Process in Iraq: Phase 2 Completed Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 13 February 2011 15:45 The second government of Nuri al-Maliki that was confirmed by the Iraqi parliament on 21 December 2010 was in many respects an incomplete one. No security ministers had been nominated, and these portfolios, along with almost a dozen other ministries for which the parties in government had failed to nominate candidates, were left in the hands of caretaker ministers who were already heading other jobs. Notably, these arrangements included Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki himself with respect to his continued control of the security ministries. In today’s session in the Iraqi parliament, some further steps were finally taken after a long period of inaction, although the government-formation process remains far from complete… Full story here. Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, Iraqi constitutional issues | 2 Comments » In Egypt, a Popular Revolution; in Iraq, a Struggle about a Fourth Vice President Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 12 February 2011 17:25 In one of the least glorious acts of his presidency, Jalal Talabani has asked the Iraqi parliament to amend tomorrow the newly passed law on “one or more deputies for the president” so that the number of deputies can be expanded from three to four. Some reports even say Talabani has specifically requested that the law reserve the fourth seat for a Turkmen (the three persons already nominated are two Shiites and one Sunni Arab). The realpolitik behind this move is as follows. The two biggest Kurdish parties promote a vision of Iraqi politics in which ethno-sectarian collective groups rather than the individual citizens are centre stage. In accordance with this policy, the Kurdish parties ask for ethno-sectarian quotas in government (percentages of jobs that will go to Kurds), identify “disputed territories” (where a majority of people defining themselves as “Kurds” live) and have introduced the general concept of “racial entitlement” (istihqaq qawmi) as a means of justifying these demands. Another facet of this strategy is to make as many non-Kurdish Iraqis as possible think of themselves as members of ethno-sectarian communities too, as seen particularly in the way the Kurds have been building relationships with Iraq’s Christian communities. The latest step, then, is to reach out to the Turkmen community through the promotion of a separate Turkmen vice-presidency. This strategy makes sense for the Kurds, firstly since they need to win over Turkmens in order to advance their aim of territorial annexation of the disputed city of Kirkuk, and secondly since they are much less worried about the Turkmen as a minority community than the prospect of Turkmens and other non-Kurds joining a strong Iraqi nationalist party. Briefly put, to the Kurdish strategy, it is a good thing when the Turkmens emulate their calls for “racial entitlements” – a concept that does not occur in the constitution – instead of joining other Iraqis in cross-sectarian parties. At the same time, it is a move that will pay off nicely for Talabani, since his deputies according to the law has no other powers than what he himself delegates to them from his own, largely ceremonial prerogatives. Nonetheless, Talabani has succeeded in prompting Turkmen politicians to fight among themselves for a deputy president position that has only symbolic value, while at the same time sacrificing opportunities to obtain ministries where they could have played a more national role. Tomorrow’s other main scheduled event in parliament, the second reading of the budget before it goes to a vote later in the month, exemplifies the potential benefits to the Kurds of promoting an ethno-sectarian paradigm in Iraqi politics. If ethno-sectarian identities were of limited significance, then one could expect many nationalists in the Iraqiyya movement to support the deputy prime minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, in his persistent reservations against recognising the contracts of the foreign companies operating in Kurdistan without adjustments. Conversely, if Iraqiyya and State of Law are unable to cooperate due to differences in which sectarian sentiments play a part, then the position of the Kurds is looking a lot stronger. Lately, of course, there are indeed signs that that appears to be the case, with Iraqiyya reportedly seeking assistance from the Kurds to achieve progress on legislation for the strategic policy council, another institution that just like the deputy presidencies will help enshrine a sectarian architecture in Iraq’s political institutions. Reports that Iraqiyya have accepted the directorship of the Sunni religious endowment authority (awqaf) would just seem to emphasise this trend towards a Sunnification of Iraqiyya; as do statements by Haydar al-Mulla of Iraqiyya that they are happy with a Turkmen president to fill the third seat as long as there is not a fourth one for a second Shiite! It is increasingly unclear whether the budget text will actually clarify the exact government position on oil exports, but the debate surrounding it will no doubt be influenced by the degree to which an ethno-sectarian quota logic continues to prevail among Iraqi politicians. Some in the international community will no doubt laud Talabani for his latest move. (“Expanding the number from three to four – how did he think of that?”) Critics will point to the instrument of ever more vice presidents and deputy ministers as the cardinal symptom of a political system in great crisis, where quotas for imagined collective identities matter more than talent in providing services for individual citizens. Why stop at four vice presidents? Why not add some for the Christians and Sabaeans? There are plenty of sects and tribes that need recognition; in the end “Every Iraqi Is a Vice President” will be a suitable slogan. With hopeful signs of a no-nonsense democracy in the making in Egypt, perhaps Iraq, too, will one day get a democracy that is less characterised by exogenous forces than the current system and political culture, still rooted in the days of Paul Bremer in the years from 2003 to 2004. There are signs that Iraqis are already calling for “better services” but until they also start calling for “fewer vice-presidents” their revolution is likely to remain a frustrated one. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues, Iraqi nationalism, Sectarian master narrative | 5 Comments » Maliki vs Shahristani? Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 7 February 2011 15:08 This is becoming somewhat farcical, but today the Iraqi deputy premier for oil and energy affairs, Hussein al-Shahristani, tells Reuters that the Iraqi premier, Nuri al-Maliki, was misquoted when he said the Kurdish contracts with foreign oil companies had been approved. Shahristani reiterates the argument that he has always made about the need for the central government to review the contracts before they are approved, even going as far as explicitly saying they need to be converted to technical service contracts (more similar to what is being used by the central government for oil contracts in the south). It is rather remarkable for the deputy premier to contradict the premier on such a key issue, and the suggestion about a “misquote” does not quite make sense: Maliki was presenting an elaborate argument about the geological differences between Basra and Kurdistan and the interview included several comments which all went in the same direction. Surely no simple “misunderstanding” can assert itself in this way across a whole section of an interview even though it seems likely that the interview with Shahristani was conducted in English and the one with Maliki in Arabic? Nonetheless, the refutation seems to reflect the prevailing mood in the Iraqi oil ministry, where Reuters reported astonishment and even disbelief during the weekend when the news of Maliki’s comments broke. No one, it was said, had heard anything. So who is right and who is wrong? On the one hand, Shahristani himself has a record of recent misquotes, as when he allegedly said Iraq would reach an oil production of 4 million barrels per day at yearend – a figure which was promptly adjusted downwards by one million bpd by the oil ministry. But Maliki has also been acting strangely since the start of his second term. First, there was the seemingly suicidal attempt to alienate almost every force in Iraqi politics by attaching IHEC and other independent commissions to the executive, which just weeks ago brought about an alliance of critics reminiscent of the opposition Maliki was facing in early 2010 at the time of the budget. And then there was this latest episode involving the Kurdish oil deals, in which Maliki seemed to abruptly give up his pretensions to keep Baghdad as the ultimate power broker as far as the energy sector is concerned. Perhaps what we are seeing is Maliki’s old tendency of turning to the Kurds in times of trouble, which was evident already in autumn 2009. If that is the case, the key question is how many members of his own Shiite alliance are willing to follow him in that direction, and how far are they willing to go when it comes to making concessions to the Kurds on issues like oil/energy, Kirkuk and generally enshrining the kind of quota-based, ethnicity-oriented political system that the Kurds are seeking. The latest move by Maliki was surprising in that it seemed to indicate that Shiite attempts to assert a centralist policy in energy questions were dead; Shahristani’s response today suggest that the centralist/nationalist element in the National Alliance, which also includes Sadrist and Turkmen components, is still there and at least is putting up some kind of resistance when it comes to independent energy deals by provincial authorities. Alongside Maliki and Shahristani, a third force to watch for is erstwhile Daawa member Ibrahim al-Jaafari, now parliamentary head of the National Alliance bloc, who is cutting a dominant figure both in parliament and at NA meetings, sometimes at the expense of Maliki himself. Jaafari was famously deselected as premier for a second term in 2006 thanks in part to Kurdish pressure. A meeting of the National Alliance on 31 January 2011. Maliki is sitting to the right of Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Meanwhile, parliament was supposed to have done the second reading of the budget today, but the budget had not arrived in parliament from government! The second reading was postponed until tomorrow, to be followed by a vote later in February. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues, Oil in Iraq | 13 Comments » The Law on the Federal Supreme Court: The Balance of Islamic and Career Judges Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 6 February 2011 17:52 The other big news out of Iraq over the weekend, in addition to the story involving the Kurdistan oilfields, was the first reading of the law on the federal supreme court in parliament yesterday. The reason this piece of legislation has suddenly been fast-tracked in the Iraqi parliament is as follows. The constitution adopted in 2005 calls for special legislation to establish a federal supreme court, to be passed by a two-thirds-absolute majority in the Iraqi parliament. In 2006, this seemed to be a distant and unrealistic goal, and perhaps not a terribly pressing one since there was some kind of broad satisfaction with the pre-constitutional federal supreme court that had been put together in 2004. That court, which still exists, was staffed mainly with career judges, many of whom worked for the old regime, although care was taken to compose it on the basis of ethno-sectarian quota arrangements that came in vogue with Paul Bremer and his exile politicians back then. This background notwithstanding, after it showed some judicial independence in the years between 2006 and 2008, the Iraqi judiciary has increasingly been seen as a tool in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s pocket, especially after he seemed able to more or less dictate some of its decisions relating to the latest elections, including the recount in Baghdad. Most recently, a convoluted ruling by the court attached the “independent commissions” (such as the electoral commission) to the executive despite the existence of an explicit constitutional injunction that they be subject to the control of the Iraqi parliament. This in turn prompted strong reactions across the political spectrum, with Iraqiyya, Kurds and even Sadrists in Maliki’s own, all-Shiite National Alliance complaining that he had gone too far and that change was needed. The speaker of parliament, Usama al-Nujayfi of Iraqiyya, has apparently played a role in propelling the new draft law to its first reading. In evaluating the draft law, one should consider its somewhat complex origins. A draft was prepared several years ago by the existing court, which probably moulded it in a way that would guarantee continuity as far as its own members were concerned. That draft was actually read in parliament in 2008 but the government presented a number of objections which are believed to have been incorporated in the current version. The above-the-fold excitement concerning the latest draft relates to the proposed composition of the court and the mechanisms for its recruitment, all of which were left unspecified by the drafters of the constitution in 2005 because they were unable to agree on an exact formula of Islamic and secular judges. Here is the new proposal: The court will consist of 13 members altogether, including an advisory board of 4, half of which will be ordinary legal specialists and half of which will be specialists in Islamic law. In other words, the only quota for Islamic judges relates to the 4-person advisory board, which does not take part in deciding cases as such. The recruitment procedures are also remarkable: The higher judicial council, a body largely made up of career judges (and for which another piece of legislation will be read next week), will propose three candidates for each of the 9 positions in the court proper, with the field limited to judges with a service of no less than 20 years; the president of the republic will then select one of the candidates for each position (in other words, the law creates a prerogative of the president which is not described in the constitution!) As for the four members of the advisory board, four professional judges will be nominated by the ministry of higher education and four Islamic ones by the two Islamic endowment (waqf) authorities (hence, one Sunni and one Shiite), with two from each group being selected by the government and approved by parliament. The judges will serve six years; the requirement that they should not be subject to the de-Baathification law of 2008 may well be a later addition to the draft by the government since some present members of the court are believed to fall in this category themselves. In other aspects, such as the prerogatives of the court itself, the draft law seems to largely reiterate the constitutional provisions. The rather modest role suggested for Islamic judges to some extent reflects the origins of the first draft, and it would be surprising if it wins approval by the required 216 members of parliament, many of whom will be Shiite Islamists with rather bigger ambitions for the role of Islamic law in Iraqi society. Perhaps the most immediate effect of the first reading of this bill will be to put the existing court on notice and remind it about how many of its latest decisions have been perceived as highly politicised. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues | Leave a Comment » Maliki Capitulates on the Kurdish Oil Deals Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 5 February 2011 16:04 Comments to AFP by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki today on the oil deals signed by the Kurds are nothing short of sensational. That exports from the Kurdistan fields will go ahead has been rumoured for some time, but the more crucial point is the clear assertion by Maliki that the contracts signed by the Kurds with foreign companies will be honoured. To appreciate the extent of the change of Maliki’s position, one needs only remember the vehement criticism of these bilateral deals by his point men on energy issues like Hussain al-Shahristani and Abd al-Hadi al-Hassani. It was this kind of opposition that led to the breakdown of the first export attempt back in summer 2009. In fact, just weeks ago, oil ministry officials were adamant that even if the exports were to be resumed, costs only (and not profit) were to be paid to the operating foreign companies by the central government. In terms of the perennial debate about the constitutional right of provincial entities to sign contracts without reference to Baghdad, Maliki appears to sidestep the question somewhat by offering an ad hoc justification to the effect that oil drilling in the Kurdish areas is technically more difficult than in the south and for this reason it is permissible to accord greater profits to the companies that invest in the north than those operating in the south (where technical service contracts and more modest per-barrel remuneration have been the norm for foreign companies dealing with Baghdad). In this way, it looks as if the affair has been dressed up as the oil ministry “recognising” the deals because of the special geological challenges presented by the Kurdistan region, but it still begs the question of whether any deal signed by the Kurds in the future, regardless of profits etc., will automatically be recognised. The question is important, because according to the constitution, existing governorates can do exactly the same as federal regions as far as oil is concerned, and the issue of bilateral energy deals between governorates and foreign companies therefore forces its way onto the agenda as a potential domino effect that could gradually make Baghdad less influential in the energy sector (and, arguably, in governing the country as a whole). What if an existing governorate can reiterate the Kurdish argument about having a particularly challenging environment for drilling oil or gas? The political dynamic that has enabled these development has its roots in late 2009, when it became increasingly clear that Nuri al-Maliki was failing in an attempt to turn his State of Law coalition into a truly national political entity with appeal beyond the Shiite-majority areas of Iraq. Further weakened by the de-Baathification issue and results in the 7 March 2010 elections that were worse than he had hoped for, he needed both Iranian and Kurdish support to clinch a second nomination and to form the government. The Iraqiyya component in the government that was declared in late December was surprisingly strong and the Kurdish one comparatively weak, but Maliki has since come under fire for issues such as attaching the independent commissions to the executive, prompting protests from both the Kurds and Iraqiyya and even a surprise initiative to establish a new federal supreme court. In this kind of situation he is giving concessions to the Kurds even though they alone don’t have the votes to keep him in office. These developments are also a major defeat for his oil minister, Shahristani, who was unable to ramp up short-term production in the south and thereby became dependent upon comparatively modestly sized exports from the north while he is waiting for his own string of deals with foreign companies to come to fruition. The big question is how Iraqiyya will react, since its constituencies are critical of the Kurdish oil deals and concessions to the Kurdistan Regional Government in disputed questions generally. In that kind of perspective, the logical thing for it would be to withdraw from government and focus instead on an opposition role headed by the speaker of parliament, Usama al-Nujayfi (Adnan al-Janabi of Iraqiyya also won the presidency of the parliamentary oil and gas committee today). However it does seem its members are more concerned with more Byzantine ways of seeking power in government, including vice presidencies (Hashemi) and strategic policy councils (Allawi). In fact, Iraqiyya is rumoured to be asking the Kurds for help in both of these issues, signifying the extent to which Arbil has managed to come out on top in the latest developments despite a somewhat adverse point of departure. At the same time, these latest developments mark a triumph for a primitive, identity-oriented and Balkans-inspired political agenda of potentially destructive ethno-nationalism that many Iraqis had been hoping was on its way out. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues, Oil in Iraq | 15 Comments » False Alarm on Oil Exports or Not? Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 2 February 2011 13:57 The surprising aspect of the failure to start oil export from Kurdistan yesterday was not the fact that the target date of 1 February was missed. This happens in Iraqi politics all the time: Each day, for almost every issue of significance, one can find someone saying it will be solved “in two days”, others claiming it will take “two weeks” and some maintaining “the rest of the month” is needed. Rather, the remarkable thing was that the messenger in this case was someone who has a businesslike reputation and is seen as reasonably realistic by friends and opponents alike – the prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Barham Salih. It is still unclear whether the delay means the oil-export issue will simply become one among several items in the growing quagmire of pending questions in Iraqi politics or whether a solution is actually around the corner. The new government that was announced in late December 2010 remains incomplete without security ministers. The controversial, US-supported strategic policy council remains bogged down in detailed disputes about the status of its chairman/president (that technical distinction is part of the dispute!) and the country has no legally elected vice presidents (not that they are needed, but this issue keeps deflecting energy from potentially useful discussions). Before parliament can give the budget the full attention it requires, it needs to elect more committee heads and update its own bylaws, and with the recent outrage over Maliki’s moves to bring the “independent” commissions under closer control by the executive, there is more talk than ever about actually trying to craft the special legislation for the federal supreme court called for under the constitution (which requires a two-thirds majority in parliament). The oil-export issue itself has some additional problematic aspects that have received a certain degree of attention already and are likely to cause more widespread discussion once the issue reaches the full parliament through the budget, regardless of whether oil is actually about to start flowing (and some media reports suggest this is indeed the case). Ever since the first oil-export attempt was aborted in 2009 and local sales of oil were initiated in Kurdistan by the local authorities in order to compensate the foreign companies working there, voices critical of these local sales have been heard in Baghdad. When Ashti Hawrami, the KRG natural resources minister, told The New York Times on 8 July 2010, at a time when the local sales of oil were peaking, that proceeds from oil smuggled to Iran were being used to compensate foreign companies operating in the region, it certainly added to the controversy (even through Hawrami later claimed journalists had failed to understand his distinction between oil and oil by-products). At any rate, going forward, it seems clear that a part of the proposed new deal on oil “exports” from Kurdistan actually involves not exports as such but rather boosting production for local markets, and if this relates to some kind of special quota for Kurdistan that will be exempted from the general, population-based national revenue-distribution formula and hence less transparent – and if local sales are done according to a different formula than export oil (i.e. if more money gets pocketed by the foreign companies) – then it could certainly prompt criticism from Iraqi parliamentarians who are likely to ask tough questions about any deviance from the constitutionally mandated, universal pattern of distribution across Iraq. Again, it is critical to note that as far as oil is concerned, there is not one iota of difference between a federal region and a governorate when it comes to the relevant constitutional provisions. Meanwhile, the Kurds have made one important gain in that Khalid Shwani has reportedly been made head of the important legal committee in parliament, a job which the secular Iraqiyya had been seeking. The position is potentially useful, though particularly as a tool of obstruction. The challenge for the Kurds is that their long list of demands to Maliki (the 19 points) involve complicated pieces of legislation on issues like the presidency council and energy that are likely to stay in parliament for a very long time before they ever reach the legal committee, no matter what Shwani does (or what Maliki has promised). Ultimately, though, it is likely that these elected forums, rather than backroom deals, will decide the overall structure of Iraq’s oil-export regime in the long run, regardless of whether some kind of short-term fudge will enable oil to flow from Kurdistan in the near future. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues, Oil in Iraq | 21 Comments » Maliki and the Kurds: An Apparent Fudge on Oil Exports Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 27 January 2011 15:10 Among the first moves of the new Maliki government has been an agreement with the Kurdistan regional authorities (KRG) to resume oil exports from fields in Kurdistan operated by foreign companies that have cut separate deals with the KRG previously. Exports are supposed to start as early as 1 February. So far, relatively few details about the agreed arrangements have been revealed. Baghdad has reportedly agreed to lower the minimum export requirement for Kurdistan in the annual budget to 100,000 barrels per day (it was originally 150,000 bpd, which the Kurds found somewhat steep), and unlike the previous attempt at starting export in the summer of 2009, Baghdad will this time pay a “contribution” (musahama) towards covering the expenses of the foreign companies that operate in Kurdistan. So far, the exact size of the payment has not been specified, but according to Asim Jihad of the Iraqi oil ministry it will be paid to the Kurdish regional authorities rather than directly to the foreign companies, and there are certain “barter” elements to the deal as well, including improvements to the refining capacity and electricity supply of Kurdistan plus provision of oil for the local market there. Thus in legal terms, it seems as if the stalemate regarding the contract status of the foreign companies is continuing as before. The Kurds are reluctant to formally submit the contracts to Baghdad for approval since that would mean not only potential challenges to the contract terms but also cession of what the Kurds believe is their sovereign right to conclude such deals with third parties. Baghdad, for its part, is reluctant to pay the companies that operate in Kurdistan directly according to the contract terms, since that would mean recognising the right of federal authorities to sign deals with foreign companies without coordinating with Baghdad – which in turn would mean that not only federal regions but in fact every governorate across Iraq could do the same thing. Since federal regions and governorates have exactly the same residual rights under article 115 of the constitution, it would be potentially suicidal for the central government to admit a residual power to sign contracts for so-called “future fields” without coordination with Baghdad. Under this kind of permissive scenario, Basra, Maysan and Anbar would suddenly negotiate with foreign companies without reference to Baghdad. It seems far more likely that Baghdad is aiming for a restrictive interpretation of article 112, second, that would require coordination with the oil ministry for all future deals as part of the national “strategic policy” on oil – and instead will opt for for temporary, horse-trading solutions of the kind now agreed with the Kurds in the short term while it is working on boosting its own export capacity, which will still take some years. Thus unlike what happened in 2009, money will this time be paid from Baghdad to Kurdistan, and presumably the Kurds will then pay the operating companies. The problem for the Kurds is that as long as the contracts are not submitted for review (as opposed to just making them public), Baghdad will continue to pay Arbil with reference to its own assessment of reasonable costs rather than in accordance with the lucrative terms of the contracts. Whether this in the long run is actually good enough for the Kurds – and not least their foreign partners – remains to be seen. Clearly, the foreign companies that operate in Kurdistan are not there in order to do non-profit work forever, and the Kurds will be under pressure to pay them more generously instead of simply compensating them for expenses. Other potential hitches regarding the new arrangements relate to parliamentary oversight: Presumably the compensation payments are to be specified in the annexes to the 2011 budget to be debated in February, and presumably the payments due to be transferred to the Kurdish ministry for natural resources as part of the deal will be subject to parliamentary debate in the Kurdish regional assembly as well, where the PUK and Gorran have a history of asking critical questions about the KDP-led oil policy. Nonetheless, this deal represents an interesting move for the new Maliki government, where a key question since December 2010 has been whether Maliki will lean more towards the Kurds or Iraqiyya in hammering out his policies. Based on the latest move by Maliki to attach the independent commissions to the government, one can start wondering whether he actually has a viable grand strategy at all. He can afford to alienate either the Kurds or Iraqiyya, but not both at the same time. This holds true for the oil sector as well. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues, Oil in Iraq | 6 Comments » On Lions and Other Mesopotamian Creatures Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 24 January 2011 15:19 It was a pity the Iraqi soccer team, aka “The Lions of Mesopotamia”, lost by an extra-time goal to Australia in this weekend’s quarter-final in the Asian Cup. After a nervous beginning, the Iraqis played a lot better as the match progressed and once more demonstrated that the country has got word-class potential also beyond the oil and energy sector. The reason the Iraqi football team does so well is utterly simple: It maximises its potential by putting together the nation’s best talents regardless of their ethnic and sectarian backgrounds. Careful investigations based on a Paul Bremer paradigm for understanding Iraq would show that the number of Shiites in the team is disproportionately high compared with the national demographics and there are too few Kurds and Sunni Arabs. But the bigger point is this: No one cares. Most players are known only by their first name and their father’s name, with no family names indicating place or tribe of origin; TV commentators frequently use first names only during matches. During substitutions, Kurds are exchanged for Shiites and vice-versa, but no one is protesting even as the ethno-sectarian balance gets even more distorted during the course of a match: Only talent counts. The obvious contrast to the Iraqi national soccer team is the Iraqi political scene. Here some still believe that ethnic and sectarian affiliations are more important than talent: The distribution of key leadership positions almost invariably replicates a scheme in which ethno-sectarian affiliation, rather than ability, is centre stage. Once a Kurdish president had nominated a Shiite premier, the speaker of parliament “had to be” a Sunni. Once a Sunni had become speaker, his two deputies “had to be” a Shiite and a Kurd. In this setting, there is no dynamism and no meritocracy; hence it is unsurprising that the performance of the Iraqi political institutions is invariably substandard. The practice of allocating top jobs on the basis of ethno-sectarian criteria is a collaborative enterprise in which incompetent Iraqi politicians collude with ignorant Westerners and strong-minded Iranian strategists in order to hide the fact that they are not really qualified for their jobs. In actual fact, their task is simply to provide the best possible services for the Iraqi citizens; yet their inability to do this makes them resort to ethno-sectarian demagoguery instead of admitting that they are not really qualified to be part of the squad. The question Iraqi voters should ask themselves is why the notion of a “Kurdish” or “Shiite” or “Sunni” quota should be any more legitimate in government than on the soccer pitch. Posted in Iraqi nationalism, Sectarian master narrative | 21 Comments » The First Step of the New Maliki Government: Attaching the Independent Electoral Commission to the Executive Posted by Reidar Visser on Friday, 21 January 2011 14:50 The batch of decisions by the federal supreme court released earlier this week contained another interesting item in addition to the refusal to rule in the parliament replacement debacle. In a lengthy ruling, and probably one of the more innovative pieces of jurisprudence ever produced by the court, it has decided that henceforth the “independent commissions” and in particular the Iraqi election commission (IHEC) are to be “attached” to the executive branch of the government. This is an extraordinary move since the constitution is crystal clear in article 102 with respect to how IHEC is answerable to the legislative branch of government, i.e. the parliament and not to the the government: تُعد المفوضة العليا لحقوق الانسان، والمفوضية العليا المستقلة للانتخابات، وهيئة النـزاهة، هيئاتٌ مستقلة، تخضع لرقابة مجلس النواب، وتنظم اعمالها بقانون But through a lengthy argument and creative thinking, the court in its latest ruling manages to put this unambiguous provision to one side by arguing instead that the nature of the work of IHEC is of the “executive” kind and hence its subordination to the legislative branch of government contradicts the principle of separation of powers, which is also part of the constitution as a general principle! In other words, the court has detected an “error” in the 2005 constitution, and rules in favour of the government against a clause of the constitution itself. This is interesting firstly because it indicates the amount of pressure that must have been brought to bear on the court from the government. Secondly, it begs the question of why the court is not doing anything to explicitly address a far more glaring “error” in the constitution, i.e. the obvious contradiction between article 115 (which gives residual powers to both federal regions and governorates) and article 122 as well as the whole provincial powers law of 2008 (which subordinate the governorates to Baghdad in a more comprehensive way). In this question the court has increasingly ruled in favour of the central government although clause 115 on the residual powers of the governorates is arguably stronger. Thirdly, the timing is also interesting, since the request from Maliki’s lawyers to make the change is dated 2 December 2010, i.e. at a time when he had not yet had his new cabinet confirmed but evidently had the audacity to enter into such controversial legal territory apparently without any fear of creating scandal. But then again, this latest decision just adds to the impression of a political system that is rotten to the bone. Unlike the Tunisians, however, the Iraqis and the Iraqi press just don’t seem to have the guts to do anything about the situation. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues | 24 Comments » The Federal Supreme Court Refuses to Intervene in the Parliament Replacement Issue Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 18:01 In a shameful and so far much-overlooked development, the Iraqi federal supreme court today issued a ruling to the effect that it has no jurisdiction in the question of the laws that govern replacement of candidates, leaving it to the politicians themselves to sort out the mess. This is nonsensical for two reasons. Firstly, in appealing to article 93 regarding its own remit and its supposed inability to touch on issues that relate to interpretation of laws in force (as opposed to constitutional interpretation), the court has shown great inconsistency over the past years. In fact, in one of its landmark rulings in July 2009, the court actually used its interpretation of the law on governorates not organised in a region to overrule the constitution itself regarding parliamentary oversight of the governorate assemblies. Secondly, and more importantly, the issue at hand is about far more than interpreting the replacement law on candidates from 2006. It is indeed about constitutional issues, since the principle of 1 deputy per 100,000 Iraqis is coming under threat when party leaderships dispose of replacement seats as they see fit and thereby upset the balance between governorates. The court also serves as a court of appeal in cases arising from the application of federal laws. At any rate, by referring to a clause in the constitution that establishes a procedure for parliament to make decisions regarding the status of its own members by a two-thirds majority (which in turn can lead to an appeal to the federal supreme court), the court kicks the can a little further down the road and envisages possible involvement at a later stage. But it is totally unnecessary for the court to be so timid about the issue. Iraq needs a functioning parliament now, but instead of deciding on heads of parliamentary committees and its own bylaws, the assembly today declared another holiday which will last until 30 January, after the Shiite religious holiday of Arbain. Those waiting for a budget, security ministers, vice presidents or strategic councils will probably need to wait much longer than that. Posted in Iraqi constitutional issues | Comments Off[/size][/size]
  19. I have such difficulty understanding why it seems so many people on this site take what someone else says as "gospel", when : 1) the post is old, and 2) there are no forms of links/verification for the information in the initial posting. Where did the source info originate from and is it from a credible and verifiable source? Research, people.
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