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Everything posted by Abarvets

  1. So true, we have seen crazier things become fact.
  2. Zig I do have one problem with this article. Did you notice how the dates were written? Up top it is the traditional method day month year. Yet in the article they switch it to the American method of month day year. This is not typical of articles coming from the Middle East, just an observation.
  3. FNB thanks for the great thread! Zig really the language.........
  4. Machine, thank you for your insight! Very informative.
  5. 10 April 2012 Security Council SC/10604 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York Security Council 6747th Meeting (AM) With Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq at End of 2011, Iraqi Government Poised to ‘Turn Page in History, Assert Full Sovereignty’, Security Council Told Top Envoy Says United Nations Assistance Essential as Iraq Confronts Domestic Political Impasse, Terrorism, Displacement, Potential Fallout from Regional Crises Following the completion of the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq at the end of 2011, it was critical for the United Nations to continue comprehensive assistance in the areas of political facilitation, electoral support, human rights, reconstruction and development, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council this morning. “The withdrawal has provided the democratically elected Government of Iraq with the opportunity to turn a page in its history and assert its country’s full sovereignty,” Martin Kobler, who is also Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), said in a briefing that was followed by a statement by Iraq’s representative, Hamid Al-Bayati and consultations on the situation in the Middle East country. “I firmly believe that UN assistance at this critical juncture in Iraq’s history remains essential,” Mr. Kobler added, as he introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report (see Background). He noted that recent months were also particularly significant due to the 29 March hosting of the League of Arab States summit in Baghdad, along with steps between Iraq and Kuwait to normalize their relations, culminating with the 14 March visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to the neighbouring State. On the other hand, the domestic political impasse, continued terrorism and displacement and potential fallout from regional crises such as the one in Syria still posed obstacles for Iraq “as it marches on the road to full recovery”, he said. In particular, “the continued delays in convening a national conference underscores the urgent need for Iraqi leaders to summon the requisite political will and courage to work together to solve the country’s problems through an inclusive political dialogue”. He pledged that UNAMI would remain steadfast in its commitment to help Iraqis address those challenges. He said that in the six months since taking up his position, he had expanded consultations with political leaders of all Iraqi political parties and components, including several visits to the Kurdistan region and other governorates to try and reduce tensions that had created a “political impasse”. He said that the Iraqiya party’s decision to end its boycotts of the Council of Ministers and Council of Representatives was the right step. President Jalal Talabani suggested holding the national conference as a way forward to end the stalemate, but an inclusive forum was needed as a first step. He called on all Iraqi leaders to sit together to address all their differences in that light. Arab-Kurdish relations and the resolution of boundary issues, he said, remained at the heart of UNAMI’s mandate. In that regard, the Standing Consultative Mechanism launched by the Mission was critical, but the series of political crises had made it difficult for that mechanism to convene. During his last visit to Kirkuk, all interlocutors had emphasized the need to conduct provincial elections in that locale as soon as possible with the facilitation of the United Nations. UNAMI, he said, had been instrumental in its assistance in the selection process for new members of the High Electoral Commission before the expiration of the current board’s term this month, as noted in the report, but the final vote was now unlikely to take place. For that reason, and in order to avoid delays in the Kurdistan elections planned for September and the provincial elections slated for early 2013, he encouraged the Council of Representatives to extend the mandate of the current board. He said terrorist attacks threatened to heighten communal tensions, as the attacks targeted pilgrims and had resulted in the killing and wounding of scores of defenceless people practicing their religion. Other attacks across the country had resulted in large numbers of deaths of civilians, including children. In the first three months of 2012, a total of 613 civilians were killed and 1,835 injured, slightly less than the same period of last year, but still horrific. Gender-based violence also continued, much of it due to entrenched cultural practices. Iraqi leaders were duty-bound to counter those violations. Violence and marginalization against minority groups were unacceptable, he said, noting that he had expanded regular consultations with those communities, including Christians, Shabaks, Sabean Mandaeans and Yazidis. On displacement, he said that there were still more than 1.3 million persons unable or unwilling to return to their places of origin. Baghdad hosted the largest number, with over 300,000 in almost 60,000 families registered. The United Nations was working to ensure that the displaced were adequately cared for followed by their voluntary return, resettlement and local integration. He welcomed, in that context, progress on the establishment of the first High Commission for Human Rights, including an endorsement of the first commissioners on 9 April, as well as steps taken to implement the National Action Plan on Human Rights. The Government must build on those positive steps, he stressed. Among recovery efforts, he said that the United Nations Country Team would focus on youth, water resource management and the environment, all critical issues for the political, security and governance situations. In particular, he called on all countries in the region to work together on finding a durable solution to managing their shared water resources. Finally, he said that the issue of Camp Ashraf — which had housed Iranian groups for more than two decades and was now called Camp New Iraq — had placed a heavy burden on UNAMI. In an effort to reach a peaceful and durable solution following last year’s violence, the Government and the Mission had signed a Memorandum of Understanding and were extending the deadline for the camp’s closure. Between mid-February and the present, almost 1,200 persons had been safely relocated to a temporary transit location in Camp Hurriya in Baghdad, where United Nations monitors were deployed and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was carrying out verification and adjudication of claims for refugee status. On 8 April, a confrontation at Camp New Iraq, however, momentarily disrupted relocations from that camp to Camp Hurriya, but he anticipated that soon half of the residents would have been relocated. He encouraged the Iraqi authorities to pursue the relocation of the remaining residents in a manner that guaranteed their human rights, safety and security, pledging United Nations support for the relocation and signalling the possible need for flexibility on deadlines. He added that camp residents had shown goodwill and cooperation in the relocation process, overcoming their initial lack of cooperation in the relocation process. He encouraged them to continue to work in a cooperative spirit. In addition, he reiterated his call to Member States to accept the residents of the camp in their countries, noting that none had yet made commitments and only one country had pledged funds for the relocations. Meanwhile, he said that the relocation process was still fragile and vigilance against further violence was required. Mr. Al-Bayati affirmed that the convening of the Arab Summit in Baghdad, as well as diplomatic activity with Kuwait and the completion of the withdrawal of United States forces, represented historic steps forward for his country. Regarding the domestic political situation, he said that, under the auspices of President Talabani, the political blocs had agreed on 6 February on guiding principles of a united stand against terrorism and armed groups, the constitutional resolution of conflicts, inclusive representation of all Iraqis and the independence of the judiciary. A few days later, on 12 February, the general framework of a National Conference had been agreed and sub-committees had been formed to study all the issues raised in preparation for the Conference. He said that the achievement of security and stability was and would remain a central priority for the national partnership Government, a principle clearly embodied in the Iraqi security forces’ ability to take full responsibility for the country’s security before and after the withdrawal for foreign forces. That move had clearly led to a decrease in the levels of violence, he said, adding that the Prime Minister, in a meeting with senior Iraqi security officials, had stressed the need to ensure control of the security situations and to fill all possible gaps that could be used by terrorists to destabilize the country. He had also called for more cooperation and coordination between local governments and the military and security forces. Turning to economic and social issues, he said that a Federal budget of some $100 billion had been ratified on 8 March, reflecting a 20 per cent increase over 2011. Further, Iraq’s economy had improved noticeably since 2003, buoyed by significant decreases in unemployment, poverty levels and inflation. He went on to note that Prime Minister al-Maliki had also called for more cooperation between the Ministries of Oil and Electricity, in order to boost fuel supplies to power stations and to address the challenges that had arisen from a sharp increase in electricity consumption. Along with initiatives to bolster the agricultural sector, the Government had also inaugurated the country’s first “floating port”, in Basra, which had an export capacity of 850 barrels of oil per day. On human rights, he said that the 9 April ratification of the Independent Commission for Human Rights was “a milestone in improving human rights in the new Iraq”. The Commission would aim to improve the country’s effort to protect and promote fundamental rights and promote wider human development. In the framework of efforts to determine the fate of missing persons who were victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Ministry of Human Rights had signed in March a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Commission for Missing Persons, which would allow Iraqis to carry out DNA tests on the remains of victims discovered in mass graves. He went on to highlight several key regional developments, including the recent agreement between the Iraqi and Egyptian Foreign Ministries to immediately pay Egyptians who worked in Iraq under the former regime. Iraq, which had long faced the threats posed by Al-Qaida, had cautioned all States in the region and beyond to ensure that recent Arab revolutions were not “hijacked” by terrorist groups. Such groups must not be allowed to steal the people’s “Spring” and distort the great principles for which they had fought. Terrorists must not be allowed to tarnish the image of Islam. Since the outbreak of violence in Syria, Iraq had confirmed its rejection of military options when dealing with the demands of the Syrian people, he said. The Iraqi Government had called on Syrian authorities and the opposition to avoid such military options. “Historical and moral responsibility urges us all […] to exert pressure on both sides of the conflict to start a national dialogue,” he said. On the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, he said that the mid-February meeting between Prime Minister al-Maliki and the Emir of Kuwait had led to “a final and comprehensive settlement of many issues and claims against Iraqi Airways by the Kuwaiti Government”. That meeting had also emphasized Iraq’s full commitment to fulfilling its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, including the payment of Iraq’s share of $600,000 to the United Nations to cover the expenses of the border pillars maintenance and to find a solution to the problem of Iraqi farmers. The historic meeting between the two leaders had been an important step and the results achieved had marked the beginning of a new stage in bilateral relations between the two countries. Finally, on the issue of Camp Ashraf, he confirmed that, with the help of Mr. Kobler, 1,200 members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran — known as the MEK — had been transferred from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, also known as Camp Hurriya. “The Iraqi Government urges the Security Council members to help in relocating these people to other countries, as, under the Constitution, the Iraqi Government cannot allow them to stay in Iraq,” he said. The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:52 a.m. Background The Security Council had before it the Second report of the Secretary-General pursuant to resolution 2001 (2011) (document S/2012/185) on the situation in Iraq and progress made towards the fulfilment of the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for that country, known as UNAMI, since 28 November 2011. The report states that Iraq has entered a new chapter in its history following the completion of the withdrawal of the United States forces and that the Iraqi people have been steadfast in rebuilding their country, despite continuing problems. The Secretary-General expresses concern, however, over a rise in tensions between the main political blocs in the country, noting that, in December, the Al-Iraqiya party called for full implementation of the November 2010 Erbil agreement on power-sharing, after which the Higher Judicial Council issued an arrest warrant for Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi, a senior member of Al-Iraqiya, on charges related to terrorism. As a result, the party decided to stop attending the meetings of the Council of Ministers. In the effort to end the current political stalemate, the Secretary-General urges all political blocs to engage in dialogue and to work for the success of the national conference proposed by President Talabani under the principles of inclusiveness, compromise and constitutionality. He pledges the support of UNAMI for such an initiative. Regretting that the deadlock is hindering resolution of disputed internal boundaries and other matters, including Arab-Kurdish issues, he urges Iraqi leaders to work together with the support of UNAMI to build trust and find common ground. Welcoming progress in the appointment of new members of the High Electoral Commission, on the other hand, he strongly encourages timely and credible completion of that work, reiterating UNAMI’s commitment to support the body ahead of its busy electoral calendar. He also welcomes recent constructive discussions between Iraq and Kuwait, as well as the holding of the Arab League summit in Baghdad. Expressing continued concern over the almost daily attacks on civilians, as well as the increased use of the death penalty in the country, he calls on the Government to take further steps to ensure that the fundamental rights of all Iraqis are protected, in light of the welcome adoption of the National Action Plan on Human Rights. He encourages the Government to work with the United Nations to find a durable solution to the high number of displaced persons in the country and warns of an influx of Syrian refugees if the situation there deteriorates further. He reminds the Iraqi Government of the continued need to safeguard the security of residents being relocated from Camp New Iraq to Camp Hurriya. Noting that Iraqis are looking to their leaders to do more to improve services and rebuild infrastructure, he welcomes Government allocations for co-financing projects under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework and calls upon Member States to further contribute to that work. Outlining the activities of UNAMI, he urges the Government to take the necessary steps to ensure the earliest enactment of a status-of-mission agreement with the Mission, stating that the lack of an agreement adversely affects the Organization’s work. He expresses gratitude, at the same time, for the security support Iraqi forces are providing to United Nations personnel following the United States withdrawal.
  6. Thanks Zig! I am surprised that folks overlooked this. There is some good stuff in here. I didn't bold it maybe I should have. including the vision of Iraq out of the crisis, the second axis for the economic side will focus on activating the joint Arab action on various levels and call for the development of bilateral trade between Arab countries and work to find a market and the currency of a common Arab, "noting that" Iraq believes that the stability of the relations of political come from the development of economic relations.
  7. Skinner reveals's (long) axes adopted in the Declaration of Baghdad بتاريخ : الخميس 29-03-2012 07:54 صباحا Date: Thursday, 29.03.2012 7:54  Baghdad / Iyad al-Tamimi Chairman of the Committee commended the media for the Arab summit and the Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh attend Gulf Arab summit, denying the existence of objections to the initiative on the Iraqi crisis, the Syrian, also said it stems from the visions of the Arab League to handle the file there. As for the declaration of Baghdad, which would yield him the summit meeting of Arab al-Dabbagh said that it would involve two things, political and other economic. She says Baghdad Arab summit twenty-third, over the three days, I started meeting of the Arab Ministers of Economy yesterday, held yesterday in a meeting of foreign ministers, is scheduled to hold a summit of presidents and kings and princes of Arab States on Thursday. On the participation of the GCC summit in al-Dabbagh said it's good, "I will be supportive of these countries for joint Arab action in the Baghdad summit." In response to a question about the Syrian file Dabbagh said, "There is a difference in views between the Arab countries about the events in Damascus .. We strive to bring them closer and to overcome obstacles in order to go beyond our neighbor this ordeal," and added, "we raised earlier in the initiative to resolve the crisis and is not far from those announced by the Arab League, but in Baghdad, looking for a mechanism to implement these proposals, though we did not find an objection to Our thesis until the moment .. We expect the differences to get items at the summit today. Syria confirmed, yesterday, refused to deal with any initiative issued by the Arab Summit to be held in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday. Quoted, "Agence France-Presse," a spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Jihad Makdisi saying that "the Syrian authorities will not deal with any initiative issued by the League of Arab States at any level." He added that "Syria, since the suspension of its membership in the Arab League launched its relations with Arab countries in binary only." As for the declaration of Baghdad during the Arab Summit Dabbagh said that it will include two axes, a political deals with several basic issues, including the vision of Iraq out of the crisis, Syrian, and activation of democracy and human rights in Arab countries, and the establishment of a criminal court joint Arab. "He added by saying that" the second axis for the economic side will focus on activating the joint Arab action on various levels and call for the development of bilateral trade between Arab countries and work to find a market and the currency of a common Arab, "noting that" Iraq believes that the stability of the relations of political come from the development of economic relations. "The activities of the Baghdad summit of Arab began yesterday, the first meeting of the Ministers of Economy and Finance and Trade Arabs and resulted in the adoption of three strategies economic. The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Arab Nabil, earlier, for "the inclusion of the Declaration of Baghdad on the agenda of the summit, which included one tenth paragraphs of a basic" and stressed that "the Baghdad Declaration prepared in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States." The Arab League and participate effectively in the Syrian file, especially after naming former Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy to the joint United Nations and the University to discuss the deal with the crisis in Syria.
  8. Breaking news….Talabani sets date for holding national meeting Sunday, 25 March 2012 19:54 | | | Baghdad (AIN) –The President Jalal Talabani decided to invite for holding the National Meeting on April 5th. Presidential statement, received by AIN, cited Sunday “After intensive discussions with the Premier Nouri al-Maliki and Speaker Osama al-Nijaifi and other political leaders, the President Talabani decided to set April 5th, 2012 a date for holding the National Meeting.” “Talabani also called the preparatory committee for holding the national meeting to speed up accomplishing its works and preparing its agenda before that date,” the statement added. “President Talabani wished the mutual intentions to reach comprehensive settlements that meet the desires of the Iraqi People and sustain stability and accomplish building the State institutes and achieves prosperity in Iraq,” the statement concluded. /End/
  9. Carlos, thank you for the insight. Greatly appreciated. You are welcome. I agree, I would like to see the people rise out of poverty. They used to be a brilliant nation. Scolars, rich in heritage and all to be lost for a time... One can only hope that greed loses this battle and the people and the nation will win.
  10. Carrello, great question I do not know. I have gone through all their press statements and public viewing meeting items and there is nothing. Though there were several numbers missed in between items. Love the fact that they have numbers on everything. Follow the order and you see missing items. It is very possible that it will be released later for "security reasons." They have done it in the past. So I keep checking. We will see.
  11. Iraqi committee to end the file of Kuwaiti Airways The advisor said the Ministry of Transport Karim Nouri said a joint committee Iraqi Kuwaiti will meet soon to end the file of Iraqi Airways «. He said in a statement to the National Iraqi News / Nina /« The committee meeting will be different from the meeting of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti, headed by the Foreign Ministers of two countries, which will hold its beginning of the month next «. said Nouri« that what has been agreed upon with the Kuwaiti side during the visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last week to Kuwait is to pay the Iraqi side of $ 300 million in compensation and the remaining $ 200 million will be in the form of joint investment projects «. The MP for the coalition / blocks Kurdish / Rapporteur of the Committee of Economy and Investment parliamentary / Mahma Khalil / The «The Iraqi Airways will resume flights to various countries of the world the beginning of Maes next after the agreement with the Kuwaiti side to settle disputes relating to compensation for Kuwait Airways. said in an earlier statement of the National Iraqi News / Nina / «The Maatmkhadd for the visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Kuwait conventions, especially those relating to Iraqi Airways will be reflected positively on the company's future in the resumption of flights of State».
  12. Who is responsible for the benefit of the loss of Iraqi funds? .. .. Specialists: 17.5 billion dollars have been disbursed from the Development Fund for Iraq Conference / Hassan Nasser Confirms the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction that a committee immediate follow-up (Committee to Protect Iraq's money abroad) that the $ 6.6 billion is believed to be missing, or perhaps stolen from the funds of the reconstruction of Iraq and the amounts stolen or lost started to fade away day after day for many reasons such as lack of sergeant directly by the Iraqi government, or its presence in the hands of dishonest and despite reports sent sent by Iraq to the United Nations about the theft of this money is still going towards silence and the questions are many, and perhaps most important: Who is responsible for the benefit of? What is the fate of billions in Iraq? Thefts Organization Economic - Abdul-Hussein al-Rubaie - confirms that the results of the audit accounting for $ 6.6 billion is believed to be lost or stolen money from the reconstruction of Iraq has reached good results through the identification of a $ 6.6 billion can not be properly accounted for out of funds amounting to 21 billion dollars of Iraqi funds managed by the United States during the years 2003-2004 and are referenced accounts revealed sufficient evidence that the money for almost all been transferred to the Central Bank of Iraq has been resolved after the Coalition Provisional Authority in June 2004 noted that Iraqi officials stated that U.S. authorities were stolen the money. He adds spring: not only the officials within the Iraqi government but there are Iraqis who believe that the United States of America mismanaged Iraqi funds early in the implementation of the reconstruction of Iraq and even though the Iraqi Prime Minister shed light on the issue of billions lost last June, when the al-Maliki through a statement issued from his office to the Committee to Protect Iraq's money abroad, and her follow-up file of billions lost during the time of the civil administrator Paul Bremer and the disclosure of the fate of him this money and as soon as possible, as it says in the statement: "Given the gathering of many indicators that show the existence of suspicions about the fate of Iraqi money estimated at (17.5) billion dollars were confiscated or seized or withdrawn from the Development Fund for Iraq since the fall of the former regime, has authorized the Iraqi Prime Minister investigative committee all the powers necessary to investigate any official is relevant or has information on the subject and, without exception, also called Iraqi authorities and the U.S. government to cooperate with and support the Commission so as to enhance their work and help in completing work tasks to the fullest. Claims official On the other side demanded the Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al - U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden - to conduct a formal investigation and responsibly on the amounts of up to more than (17.5) billion dollars were spent from the Development Fund for Iraq, Najafi said: that these amounts disbursed without showing any documents or receipts to prove or justify the type of exchange or party, stressing that efforts are being made, represented by the financial regulatory apparatus in both Iraq and the United States to gather information and uncover the circumstances that Iraq sent a report to the parent Nations on the United States to steal the money. While emphasizing economic analyst Ibrahim grace: that the investigation is still going on about the loss Aktrmen $ 5 billion spent by the Pentagon in Iraq as part of program development and reconstruction of Iraq during the years 2003-2004, stressing that there is a waste of a clear and loss of Iraqi funds is difficult to obtain documents about what happened in Iraq during that period. He called grace Blaúhh integrated development projects in Iraq or the reconstruction projects and said that the reports of seasonal stresses that one of the Marines in Iraq, sent to his country's 430 thousand U.S. dollars in cash stolen by hiding in the closet his personal belongings in shipping troops last tens of thousands of dollars hidden in Child's play as the recognition of Sergeant and Inspector General reconstruction of Iraq, the existence of thefts big money scary, including planning to help the Iraqi contractors to steal 470 Generator is also intended to provide the Marines with electricity, and there are also a number of the staff of the U.S. government who had received bribes for the granting of tenders and contracts to local contractors and not others. The grace that the United States had pledged to spend $ 62 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq and $ 72 billion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the previously independent U.S. commission on contracts of war were estimated in August that at least 31 billion dollars lost due to waste and corruption in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the total waste came to 60 billion Dollarrolm only the audit of the funds allocated for reconstruction, but I checked the $ 206 thousand dollars related to logistical support for coalition forces and the performance of security duties.
  13. Ahh, thank you very much. Well if they do have 15 days and depending on how prompt they were in writing the article we are in the window.
  14. Rod you are going to make Stryker nervous trying to take his job...... :lol: Great points and you are not alone in your thinking! Let us not forget that everything is shut down for a few days after the summit as well.............
  15. Great points Stryker, just an fyi security council is not scheduled to meet today. If any decisions were made, they were behind closed doors the last couple of days.
  16. Basra’s Unfair Share: Wealthy in Oil, Poor in Every Other Way Posted on 23 March 2012. Tags: Basra The citizens and authorities in what is potentially Iraq’s wealthiest oil boom town are upset. They say oil companies are causing environmental problems and Baghdad is getting rich while they’re missing out, according to this article from NIQASH. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. The southern Iraqi region of Basra is estimated to hold about two thirds of all of the country’s oil reserves. It is also home to the giant oil fields of Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna which also produce a significant amount of natural gas. And late last year the central government in Baghdad signed new contracts for further exploitation of these resources with multi-national energy companies, Shell and Mitsubishi. Around 12 international oil companies are currently working in Basra province, including Russia’s Lukoil, Italy’s Eni and China’s National Petroleum Corporation. Yet the people of Basra feel they have seen barely any benefit from the natural resources in their home region. Despite the oil and gas in the area and the region’s potential to be Iraq’s wealthiest, “citizens’ living standards are still dire, unemployment is widespread, infrastructure is missing and reconstruction is not going anywhere,” local tribal leader, Falah al-Asdi, said. Additionally, al-Asdi said the companies involved in Basra were not addressing any of these problems. For example, Basra was beginning to experience a housing shortage because land was being reserved for oil and gas exploration and extraction. “These companies were supposed to take the initiative and implement both construction and service projects. But up until now all we have seen them do is pay lip service to these ideas,” al-Asdi complained. The work that oil companies were doing was also proving detrimental to other economic activities in the region. Many farmers north and west of Basra had seen their vegetable fields damaged by seismic exploration of oil in these areas. Even if financial compensation was paid, one farmer said, it wouldn’t make up for the deterioration in conditions for agriculture or for the rise in unemployment. This discontent is also being expressed by the regional authorities in Basra; they have gone so far as to file a lawsuit against the central government alleging that they have been left out of negotiations around lucrative oil and gas contracts. The local authorities in Basra believe that because they contribute so much to Iraq’s national coffers, that they should be receiving more than they are at the moment. Like many other regions, Basra believes the central government in Baghdad is keeping Iraq’s wealth for itself; this is just part of the reason for the various calls for more autonomy from Baghdad. The new contracts, signed late last year, “marginalize our role in strategic decision making,” Sabah al-Bazouni, head of the Basra’s provincial government, said. Additionally al-Bazouni felt that the international companies involved should be compensating locals for the damage they were doing, as well as the pollution they were causing. “Basra should get some kind of compensation from these companies,” he said. “Such as the provision of health services or social development projects for citizens.” The Basra authorities have also demanded that the payment plan by which the region gets its share of oil money be changed. Rather than being allocated one dollar per barrel of oil produced, they say they want 3 percent of the total oil revenues produced by the state. Only this would be enough to cover the costs of developing suitable infrastructure and compensating locals for the environmental and other costs of oil production. “Three percent would be a fair rate to the citizens of the city, in order to provide what they need in terms of state services and construction projects as well as to generally help Basra,” explained Ali Hussein, a member of Basra’s provincial government. In the longer term, some observers fear the result of ill will between the Basra region, the central government and the oil companies could result in insecurity and conflict in the area. Naysayers believe that the densely populated, geographical bottle-neck offers plenty of opportunities to extort funds by blowing up pipelines. Some have already drawn parallels with Nigeria’s violence-torn Niger Delta where local communities have suffered from frequent attacks on pipelines as well as environmental damage. And those tensions only seem set to rise further as Iraq continues to try and boost its oil production levels. However others are more optimistic. A professor of economics at the University of Basra, Nabil Jaffar, thought the area was well positioned to benefit from its natural resources in the coming years. “The city of Basra is living by a lake of oil, with oil infrastructure of great quality and a network of export pipelines for crude oil and natural gas,” Jaffar said. Basra could become “the most important oil city in all fields [of the oil industry].” (Source: NIQASH)
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