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  1. US Ambassador Bids Farewell to Kurdistan Region Posted on 28 May 2012. President Masoud Barzani welcomed US Ambassador James Jeffrey on Sunday for a farewell visit to the Region as he concludes his term in Iraq. Ambassador Jeffrey thanked President Barzani and the Kurdistan Regional Government for their important role during his two year posting in Iraq. “I thank you for your support and cooperation. Under your leadership, Kurdistan has seen a lot of growth and prosperity and it is part of US policy in Iraq to protect this success,” said the outgoing Ambassador, who is scheduled to leave Iraq later this week. President Barzani and Ambassador Jeffery discussed the current political crisis in Iraq and the ongoing efforts to resolve this crisis, particularly the recent meetings held in Erbil and Najaf. The Ambassador reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the democratic process in Iraq and said his government will support any decision that the Iraqi people make within the framework of the democratic and constitutional process. Ambassador Jeffrey was confirmed as the US Ambassador to Iraq in August 2010 when he replaced Ambassador Christopher Hill in that post. Prior to this role, he served as the US Ambassador to Turkey. He also previously completed assignments as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Iraq, Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad, and US Chargé d’Affaires to Iraq. Ambassador Jeffrey is expected to be succeeded by Mr Brett McGurk in the near future. Mr McGurk was nominated as the new US Ambassador to Iraq by US President Barak Obama on 27 March, and he is now awaiting a confirmation hearing by the US Senate. The farewell meeting was also attended by President Barzani’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Fuad Hussein, and the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa. (Source: KRG) Cal
  2. BAGHDAD (Iba) .. في الوقت الذي اعتبر مراقبون لقاء نائب رئيس الوزراء صالح المطلك مع الفضائية العراقية بداية لنهاية الازمة الخاصة به مع رئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي الذي كان يطالب باقالته ، عاد المطلك ليصف المالكي بالدكتاتور مجددا اتهامه بالتفرد بالسلطة . While observers judged to meet the Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq with Iraqi Satellite beginning of the end of its own crisis with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was dismissing the claim, he returned to describe al-Mutlaq al-Maliki a dictator once again being accused of exclusivity power. وقال المطلك في تصريحات نشرتها صحيفة الشرق الاوسط اللندنية اليوم أنا قلت خلال حديثي لـ(العراقية) بأن المالكي كان وطنيا في موقفه من الاتفاقية الأمنية مع الإدارة الأميركية وفي خطاب له شدد على وحدة العراق وكل زعماء العراق السياسيين يشددون حرصهم على وحدة العراق بمن فيهم الإخوة الزعماء الأكراد . Mutlaq said in remarks published in the Middle East London today, I said during my talk for the (Iraqi) that Maliki was a patriot in the position of the security agreement with the U.S. administration in a speech he stressed the unity of Iraq and all Iraqi leaders, politicians emphasize their keenness on the unity of Iraq, including brothers, leaders Kurds. وأضاف لكنني قلت أيضا في ذات الحديث التلفزيوني بأن وطنية بلا عدالة لا تعني أي شيء ، مشيرا الى أن الضجة الإعلامية التي أثيرت حول حديثي التلفزيوني لا مبرر لها ولا تعني تنازلي أو تراجعي عن وصفي السابق للمالكي بأنه ديكتاتور ويحاول الاستفراد بالسلطة لأنهم خلال الحديث في قناة العراقية لم يسألوني ولم يتطرقوا لا من بعيد ولا من قريب لهذا الموضوع ولهذا الوصف. He said but I said also in the same modern television that a national without justice does not mean anything, noting that the media hype that have been raised about the newborn television unjustified does not mean descending or downward for descriptive former owners as a dictator and is trying to monopolize power because they are by talking in a channel Iraqi did not ask me Attrkoa not from a distance or from close to this subject, but this description. واعتبر المطلك ان تصريحاته في قناة العراقية قد شوهت منوها الى انه كانت هناك انتقادات مهمة للمالكي ولنظام العمل في الحكومة ولم أتنازل عن أي كلمة قلتها سابقا أو عن أي موقف اتخذته في السابق ، مشددا على ان المالكي ديكتاتور ونص ولن أتنازل عن وصفي له بالتفرد . He said al-Mutlaq said his remarks in Al-Iraqiya has tarnished adding there had been criticism of the task for the owners and Employment in the government did not give up any word I have said previously, or any position taken in the past, stressing that al-Maliki a dictator the letter will not give up on a descriptive his uniqueness. واذا ما كان قد قدم اعتذارا للمالكي عن تصريحه السابق لاحدى الصحف الامريكيةقال المطلك المالكي لم يطلب مني مجددا الاعتذار ولن أعتذر لأنني متأكد من صحة مواقفي . If they had offered an apology for his statement to the owners of a newspaper the previous Alammerakihqal Mutlaq al-Maliki did not ask me again to apologize and will not apologize because I'm sure the health of my positions. واشار الى انه سيعود إلى اجتماعات مجلس الوزراء |عندما يحصل اتفاق حقيقي لإجراء إصلاحات سياسية مهمة .(النهاية) He said he would return to the meetings of the Council of Ministers | real deal when it gets to make important political reforms. (End) Cal
  3. Baghdad (NINA) – Lawmaker from State of Law Alliance, Hadi al-Yasiri, said that the State of Law Alliance is not bound by any agreement out of the Constitution's frame or the National Alliance. Yasiri told NINA on Saturday, May 19, that the meeting called for by President Jalal Talabani is the only solution for current crisis because it contains all disputed issues between blocs. He added that all side meetings, whether in Erbil or Najaf are singular, since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki or the State of Law did not attend; such meeting do not reflect public desire, therefore the State of Law is not bound, legally or constitutionally, to comply by any agreement reached in it. Earlier today, a meeting was held in Najaf on the invitation of Muqtada al-Sadr, attended by a number of political leaders to discuss the country's current political crisis. / End Cal
  4. Barazani, Allawi, Nijaifi held Consultation meeting in Erbil preceded Najaf meeting 19:56:00 Erbil (NINA) – President of Kurdistan region, Massoud Barazani, held a consultation meeting on Saturday, May 19, to discuss Iraq's current situation; it was attended by leader of Iraqiya slate, Iyad Allawi, Speaker of Parliament, Usama al-Nijaifi, Deputy Prime Minister, Rowsch Nuri Shaways, and Deputy Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Barham Saleh,. Informed source said that the meeting has preceded the Najaf meeting, discussed latest political developments in Iraq; they stressed the support to the decisions announced by the Iraqi 5-partite meeting held on 28 April. On Thursday afternoon a meeting held in Najaf on the invitation of Muqtada al-Sadr, attended by leaders of political blocs discussing a mechanism to get Iraq out of its current political crisis. / End. Cal
  5. Deputy: application to replace the currency deliberately limits the fluctuation of the dinar against the dollar 05/12/2012 <P align=justify> BAGHDAD / JD / .. counting member of the Finance Committee and the parliamentary deputy for the National Alliance Haitham Jubouri currency exchange operation may confuse the market due to the fluctuation of the Iraqi dinar afterthought but if properly applied the substitution reduces the volatility quotient. Jubouri said L / JD / "The replacement of the currency reduces the volatility of the current Iraqi dinar and the dollar if carefully studied and applied the correct steps." He explained, "The increasing demand for hard currency as characterized by small size and high purchasing value resorts merchants to Iraqi Dnanarh conversion into dollars." And between Jubouri "The switch of the Iraqi dinar in hard currency caused great pressure on the dollar and contributed to Ptzbzbh which confused the market at the present time." He was a member of the Finance Committee and the parliamentary deputy for the National Alliance, expressed his optimism that "the process of removing zeros from the dinar free of confusion and steps according to the school in order to keep the market on any of the Iraqi currency fluctuations." And the central bank to the process of replacing the currency and which are deleted three zeros of which are scheduled to be put in the Iraqi market in early 2013. At present suffering of the Iraqi dinar against the U.S. dollar fluctuation has hosted several of the Central Bank Governor Sinan Shabibi and his deputy in the committees of the financial and economic integrity and even parliamentarians to identify the problems happening in the monetary policy and more. / Finished / 11 n Calvin,
  6. <br /><br /><br />Very well put Cheerful. Patience in the present, Faith in the future, Joy in the doing.... Calvin
  7. Calvin, Patience in the present, Faith in the future, Joy in the doing.
  8. And undertakes to meet the demands 03/05/2012 09:09 Baghdad, April 3 (Rn) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi List, to attend the National Congress, who called him President Jalal Talabani pledged to meet all their demands, provided compatibility of the Constitution. Maliki and Labour day-Maliki's call for the Iraqi list a day after the delivery of President Jalal Talabani, the agenda of the forthcoming National Congress of the Preparatory Committee. And refused to come to the meeting of the Iraqi National Congress that did not meet the demands made by the five earlier. Al-Maliki said during a joint press conference with the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim in Baghdad late last night that "the adoption of the Constitution is the best solution to resolve crises in the country," and called on "the Iraqi List, to attend the national conference and put all of their problems." Maliki has vowed to meet at his press conference, "all the demands of the Iraqi provided that they are under the roof of the Constitution." He said. Maliki, denied the existence of differences in the National Alliance, asserting that "the National Alliance brings together a coherent and strong relationships of its components." For his part, stressed the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim, who met Maliki at the prime minister the need to "apply all the political agreements that was reached by the blocks and start Ptsfir crises." Hakim said in response to a reported withdrawal of confidence from the Maliki government that "the trend in the National Alliance and the Islamic Supreme Council is to resolve differences and strengthen and support the Maliki government." It was announced last Thursday, the National Alliance for completion and a draft working paper National Conference to be held during the coming period. The Kurdistan Alliance has authorized the members of the Preparatory Committee of the National Alliance to prepare a working paper and the National Congress after the rejection of the Iraqi List, attendance to the meeting. From: Haider Ibrahim. Open: Abdullah Sabri Calvin, Patience in the present Faith in the future Joy in the doing
  9. Good information to read: Calvin
  10. Hard-line Shiite cleric al-Sadr meets Kurdish leader to resolve Iraq’s political deadlock (Khalid Mohammed/ Associated Press ) - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr looks on during a press conference in Irbil, a city in the Kurdish controlled north 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 26, 2012. A hardline Shiite cleric is meeting with the president of Iraq’s Kurdish region to try to end a political crisis that has deadlocked the nation’s government. Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr offered plans Thursday to resolve the impasse through political inclusiveness. By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, April 26, 10:33 AM IRBIL, Iraq — Two political leaders who put Iraq’s prime minister in power met Thursday to discuss if they should withdraw their support, now that a bitter sectarian political deadlock has even led to calls for secession. Hard-line anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr flew to Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, in what was billed as a historic visit, to meet with its president over how to end the months-long political impasse. The mini-summit underlined the explosiveness of Iraq in the wake of the U.S. military pullout in December, marked by bloody attacks and the political stalemate, both sectarian in nature. Speaking to reporters at the airport in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, al-Sadr pointedly avoided blaming Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki personally for letting the Shiite-led government sideline Kurds and Sunnis, as his critics accuse. But the cleric demanded inclusiveness in Iraq’s politics, because “divisiveness is not good for the people.” “I have said it many times: the policy of exclusion and the policy of marginalization must end in Iraq,” al-Sadr said, wiping his brow repeatedly in the heat during an eight-minute news conference. “All Iraqis should live under one roof and for one goal.” Asked if he would try to broker a new political coalition among al-Maliki’s opponents, and try to push the prime minister from power, al-Sadr answered: “I will answer later.” Spokesmen for al-Maliki and the central government in Baghdad could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday. Kurdish President Massoud Barzani met al-Sadr at the airport, where a red carpet was rolled onto the runway for his first trip to the Kurdish region. The Kurdish president did not join al-Sadr in talking to reporters. The two were due to sit down for extended talks later Thursday night. It was only with the support of Barzani and al-Sadr that al-Maliki kept his job after his party fell far short of winning the most seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections. Al-Maliki cobbled together a political coalition with the Kurds and al-Sadr’s followers, winning the right to head the government. But he failed to set up a policy committee that Sunnis demanded to serve as a check on the Shiite government, touching off more than a year of bitterness and accusations. Barzani and others charge that al-Maliki is becoming a dictator. Sunni insurgent groups have responded to their perceived sidelining with deadly attacks against Shiites and government officials. On Thursday, bombings in two of Baghdad’s largest Shiite neighborhoods killed five people and wounded 31. Police and medics confirmed the casualties but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Al-Sadr’s visit comes the day after Barzani said in an Associated Press interview that he would give the government until September to break the political logjam. After that, Barzani said, he could consider letting Kurds vote to secede from Iraq and turn their self-rule region into a fully independent state, as many want. Al-Sadr said he had a similar political discussion with al-Maliki earlier this week, when the two men were in Tehran. He did not disclose details of the talks. On Thursday he offered an 18-point plan to solve the crisis, mostly through dialogue and political inclusiveness. The plan calls for having good relations with neighboring nations, but to not let them meddle in Iraq’s affairs. That appeared to be a reference to Iran, which is close to al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government. In a nod to Barzani, al-Sadr said Iraq’s oil must be used for the benefit of Iraq’s people, “and no individual has the right to control it without participation from others.” Oil disputes — specifically Baghdad’s blacklisting of ExxonMobil from bidding on new projects as punishment for plans to work in the Iraqi Kurdish region — have been at the heart of recent feuding between al-Maliki and Barzani. Al-Sadr’s growing strength in Iraqi politics has unsettled U.S. officials, who have been offering advice on how to bolster the shaky government since the 2003 invasion — and since the final departure of American troops last December. Al-Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army, ran death squads against Sunnis in the worst years of the war, and targeted U.S. troops up until right before they left. Shiite lawmaker Abbas al-Bayati, a member of the State of Law political coalition that al-Maliki heads, said al-Sadr’s plan “represents a useful and fruitful effort for finding a solution to the impasse.” “We highly value his efforts to bring the points of views of all of the blocs close,” al-Bayati said. ___ Associated Press Writers Mustafa Flaih in Irbil, Iraq, and Mazin Yahya in Baghdad contributed to this report. Follow Lara Jakes on Twitter at Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  11. * visit country info tab 1) Visit Iraqi 2) Visit mess dated April 21 2012 Calvin
  12. Calvin
  13. The Sadrists’ Double Game: Criticizing Iraq’s Prime Minister, While Supporting Him At The Same Time 25/04/2012 16:52 By Joel Wing* Recently there were reports that the Sadrists were joining with other groups who opposed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to unseat him in a no confidence vote. While it is true that Moqtada al-Sadr and his followers have increased their public criticisms of Maliki recently, the bloc remains loyal to the premier. Their statements appear to be part of an attempt to maintain a populist image demanding better services and governance, while all the time backing the premier. In April 2012, Iraqi papers began reporting that the Iraqi National Movement, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Kurdish Coalition, and the Sadrists were going to depose Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. To dispel those stories the National Alliance met on April 21, and confirmed their support for the premier. Parliamentarians from Sadr’s Ahrar bloc came out of the conference saying that they were still a united list. Two weeks before that, the Sadrists were already saying that withdrawing confidence from Maliki would not be a good move. They repeated a remark made by the prime minister himself, that the parties that are complaining about being shut out of the government have their own ministries, and are part of the cabinet. These rumors were probably based upon statements from the Trend that have been increasingly critical of the prime minister’s job. However, those public statements overlook Sadr’s continued support for Maliki, and his refusal to confront him in any meaningful way. For the last several months the Sadr Trend has seemingly acted in contradictory ways, criticizing the premier, while giving them his full support at the same time. In February 2012 for example, an interview with Sadr was published in Asharq al-Awsat, in which he accused Maliki of becoming a dictator, and trying to take credit for everything positive that happened in Iraq. Those remarks were repeated by a staff member at Sadr’s offices in Najaf. On March 13, a parliamentarian from the Ahrar bloc said that not only was Maliki acting unilaterally, and not consulting with anyone else when making decisions, but also compared him to Saddam Hussein. Finally, on April 8, Sadr responded to a question by one of his followers by issuing a statement that called the prime minister an autocrat once again. On other occasions however, the Sadr Trend has stood by Maliki. In December 2011, it defended the prime minister from his critics who said that he was behind the arrest of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, when it was obvious that he was. The movement has also stated that Hashemi’s Iraqi National Movement has to follow the laws and courts in the vice president’s case, and that it rejected any political deal to solve the matter. These are all positions called for by Maliki’s State of Law list. On March 19, Sadrists held a demonstration in Basra called “Day of the Oppressed” that called for better services, jobs, and governance, plus fighting corruption. Earlier, the Trend had threatened to bring up those issues at the Arab League summit held in Baghdad, but instead backed down. The fact that it marched in Basra, far away from the capital showed their compliance with Maliki’s warning not to disrupt the regional conference. While the Sadrists have rhetorically bashed the prime minister more and more, in action they have stood by his side. The Trend wants to portray itself as standing up for the poor and oppressed in Iraq, and that obviously includes criticizing the government for its lack of providing basic necessities for the public, and its failure to adequately govern the country. At the same time, the Sadrists are a prominent party of the ruling coalition that they are criticizing. They hold important posts such as the Ministry of Planning that is supposed to help develop the country’s infrastructure and services. They were able to gain these positions by swinging their seats in parliament behind Maliki after the 2010 elections, so that he could hold onto his office for a second term. Since then, they have become some of his most ardent backers. That’s shown in the fact that they may have more critical words for the prime minister, but in action, they have not wavered in their support of him. The critical statements by the Sadr Trend led some to believe that they would switch allegiances, and push for a no confidence vote to get rid of Prime Minister Maliki. A closer examination of their position showed that the movement was still in the premier’s camp, and backed him in his drive against his political rivals such as the Iraqi National Movement. This is critical, because as long as the Sadrists with their 40 seats in parliament stand with Maliki, there is virtually no way his opponents can gain enough seats in the legislature to depose him. The Sadrists continue to benefit from this position, with their slew of ministries that give them power over jobs and contracts, which can be used in their vast patronage system. That doesn’t mean that Sadr will stop trying to play both sides with his calling the prime minister a dictator every now and then to keep up his popular image. When it comes to anything substantive however, he has not shown any willingness to change his stance. *With an MA in International Relations, Joel Wing has been researching and writing about Iraq since 2002. His acclaimed blog, Musings on Iraq, is currently listed by the New York Times and the World Politics Review. In addition, Mr. Wing’s work has been cited by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Guardian and the Washington Independent. RY/AKnews Calvin
  14. Iraq Micro-Finance Forum in Erbil Posted on 24 April 2012. The Government of Iraq in cooperation with UNDP Iraq, USAID-Tijara and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor organised the Iraq Micro-Finance Forum in Erbil. The Forum’s key objectives were promoting synergy between the Government’s poverty alleviation and job creation efforts and the existing microfinance industry, enhancing service delivery by microfinance institutions to micro-small and medium enterprises, enhancing access to financial services to the Iraqi people who currently have limited or no access to microfinance, with a focus on youth and women. “Limited access to institutional finance is found to be one of the key constraints to private sector growth in Iraq” said Peter Batchelor, UNDP’s Country Director. “A stronger private sector, able to provide jobs for the Iraqi people will ultimately contribute to Iraq’s welfare and poverty alleviation” he added. The combination of poverty and lack of formal job opportunities is increasing the already high demand for microfinance in Iraq. The Government has placed job creation high on its development agenda and aims to transform from direct lending it has previously engaged in to becoming a partner in sustaining and supporting the microfinance industry as a vehicle for private sector growth and job creation. The Forum featured experts and speakers from Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE, Italy, Poland and Pakistan. A shared vision for the microfinance sector in Iraq was formulated where opportunities for growth and challenges were identified, support activities explored and stakeholders’ roles operating in the sector were agreed upon. Participants in the Forum included representatives of the government from the Prime Minister’s Advisory Board, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Minerals, Kurdistan Regional Government, The Central Bank of Iraq, NGOs, microfinance institutions, academia and the private sector. The participants agreed on basic principles for supporting the development of the microfinance sector in Iraq to be formulated in policy recommendations and will be shared among participants for comments prior to finalisation and submission to the Task Force for Economic Reforms for endorsement. Cal
  15. Iraq’s Banking Changes could Unleash Economic Potential Posted on 22 April 2012. By Sherif Salem, of Invest AD. Iraq’s banks are quietly on the move, and the consequences for the economy could be powerful and far-reaching. The country has 49 banks, and although lending has increased in the last couple of years, the loan-to-deposit rate still stands at only 44%, compared to around 80-90% for other banks in the Middle East. However, we can now expect faster loan growth, and probably industry consolidation, because of action taken by the central bank. Commercial banks have prospered by taking deposits and parking them at the central bank, earning interest rates as high as 15-20 percent as recently as 2009. But with inflation waning, the policy rate has been slashed to 6 percent, effectively cutting off this income stream. At the same time, a requirement for lenders to increase their capital to at least 250 billion Iraqi dinars ($214 million) by mid-2013 is likely to result in mergers for those who struggle to reach the target. To thrive and attract capital, Iraq’s banks will now need to expand their loan portfolio by taking on greater calculated risk, increasing returns and offering competitive interest rates to attract deposits. Iraq’s economy is currently growing at a rate of nearly 10%, mostly due to high oil prices, but the benefits are only slowly improving standards of living. So huge investment is needed immediately, particularly in manufacturing, and this is where commercial banks should be stepping up. The coming shake-up could be disruptive for the banking sector in the short-run, but it is an important step if Iraq is to unleash its full potential. Sherif Salem is portfolio manager at Abu Dhabi-based asset manager Invest AD. He manages the Invest AD Iraq Opportunity Fund, as well as helping to manage other equities funds investing in the Middle East and Africa. Cal http://www.iraq-busi...omic-potential/
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