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Washington Leads Push To Freeze Corrupt Iraqi Officials' Assets In US !


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CNN. Broadcasting From A Camel 'Bulldozer' While Pushing The Corrupt Iraqi Officials Off A Cliff !



(by samson)

Washington leads push to freeze corrupt Iraqi officials’ assets in US

Donald Trump 

3rd November, 2017

Iraqi corrupt officials will be targeted amid a new crackdown campaign. But this time, the US is the country that will spearhead a push to hunt Iran’s agents in Iraq in attempt to curb Tehran’s terrorist activities and influence in the country.  
According to media sources, Washington is intending to freeze assets and bank accounts of Iraqis officials, affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and implicated in terrorist activities, in the US.

The sources said that US President Donald Trump is likely to consider taking this step. Trump believes that the money, deposited by some Iraqi officials in US banks, is generated from corrupt deals and bloodshed of innocent Iraqis, they noted. It was reported that many Iraqi officials purchased properties overseas. These officials’ profits have been generated from illegal deals and embezzlement of state funds.   

In September, leaks revealed that US investigators are tracking down corrupt Iraqi officials as they have paid visits to Beirut, London and Dubai in an attempt to hunt officials and recover the stolen assets.  The sources further stated that those politicians did not only plunder the money of the Iraqi people and siphon off funds from state coffers, but also supported Shiite armed militias that are involved in killing and kidnapping Sunnis and other ethnics. These Iran-backed militias also seek to make demographic changes in Iraq by expelling residents from their cities. By this move, they aim at helping Tehran create its Shiite Crescent, they added. 

In mid-October, the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on an elite Iranian military organization, IRGC, part of its broader strategy to ramp up pressure on Tehran. The announcement came after Trump started a campaign to fix the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, telling Congress the agreement is no longer in the United States' interests. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin contended the group has "played a central role to Iran becoming the world's foremost state sponsor of terror.

Trump and Mnuchin said the IRGC had supported Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, as well as terrorist groups namely Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Similarly, Sadr Movement leader Muqtada al-Sadr, a champion of reform in Iraq, can also play an important role in the crackdown campaign against corrupt officials, analysts said.  Massive protests that Sadr movement organize can put more pressure on the Iraqi government to hold corrupt officials accountable for their actions and stand trial as soon as possible, they added.  

Media sources unveiled a list containing names of some corrupt Iraqi officials. Former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, former minister of finance Hoshyar Zebari, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Mohamed al-Karbouli, Ahmed Nouri al-Maliki, Hassan al-Anbari are among the names listed.

Late in August, it was reported that Iraq’s anti-corruption court issued 26 jail sentences to high-profile Iraqi politicians. The sentences ranged from six months to 15 years.

Among the prominent names the former defense minister Hazim al-Shalan was sentenced to 13 years in jail as well as Mohsin Shlash, the former minister of electricity for seven years. The former minister of agriculture, Sawsan al-Sharifi was also convicted of graft charges and sentenced to five years in prison. Other sentences include former ministers of oil, trade, youth and sport. 

Iraq ranks 166st out of 176 nations in Transparency International’s Corruption Index.  According to observers, corruption in Iraq is tied to chronically weak accountability and murky governance.

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25 minutes ago, DinarThug said:

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

What has this man done to get on this list? Is what he may be accused of done before or after he received the Premiership. IE; did he do those things because he was under the thumb of say al-Maliki at the time. Sort of do this illegal act with me or you won't be trusted and you won't rise to the top of the political list. To where you may become more honest and powerful to him. His corruption has been floating around for sometime now. His corruption got him to where he is now, but with all that he has done on behalf of the Iraqi people and nation, it does not appear that it is part of his vocabulary still. At least he didn't try and buy the DNC. :eyebrows:

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Things are changing toward the crooks in Iraq and I couldn’t be more pleased. I didn’t like seeing Abadi’s name on the list and hoping it is a typo. 🙄


My personal opinion is that the corrupted officials and their stolen billions have been as much of a hold up with our money as ISIS has been. 

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Haider al-Abadi, the 'weak and sluggish' man who rose to tower over Iraq

Iraq's PM took over a country in tatters. Three years later IS is defeated, and Kurdish separatism has faded. But his challenges are far from over


BAGHDAD - Haider al-Abadi entered power as the "compromise" prime minister, thrust upon a nation by a political system in crisis which had no other answer. He was, said detractors in his own party, a "weak" man, a "sluggish" apparatchik who had displayed none of the qualities needed to save his country.

Almost a third of Iraq was in the hands of Islamic State, the security establishment was in disarray, the state treasury empty, and parliament riven by political and sectarian divisions stoked by his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, and cursed by corruption.

For a man who once ran a company servicing lifts while in exile in London, Abadi's elevation was remarkable.

"I realise there are so many difficulties blocking our way," Abadi said in August 2014, in a nervy first news conference as prime minister only months after IS had walked into Mosul. "There are serious challenges in our way. But we must restore confidence."

Three years later, Iraq's prime minister has arguably done just that, and more. The army - in 2014 weak and humiliated by IS - has been restructured and reshaped into a fighting force that, with significant international backing, did the dirty work to roll back IS from almost all the territory it held when he took office.

He has, in recent weeks, called the Iraqi Kurds' bluff over their attempts to secede from Iraq, drove Kurdish forces from contested areas outside the Kurdish region's original 2003 borders, including Kirkuk, and regained the crucial northern oil fields.

All of this has, for the first time in a long time, led to adulation for an Iraqi leader from their own people. 

"Abadi received Iraq with 13 provinces and the brought it back with 15," Shujaa al-Khafaji of Baghdad wrote on his page in Facebook.

"Tell Arabs that now we have a man of state, a constitution and victories to talk about," said another Facebook user, Rachel Correi from Mosul.

Abadi, the "compromise" whose appointment many in his own Shia State of Law parliamentary bloc opposed, a man ruthlessly mocked and compared to "Dambi" - a short, pot-bellied and bumbling Japanese cartoon character - has proved himself the country's strongest leader since the 2003 invasion.

But this strength has not come through tyrannical, revolutionary, do-or-die politics, the default setting for decades in Iraq.

Three Iraqi analysts spoken to by Middle East Eye paint a picture of Abadi's ways building over his decades as a political underling, where the inner workings of government were studied, power circles pinpointed and potential rivals placated rather than destroyed.

"Abadi is the son of this system," said Abdulwahid Tuama, an Iraqi political analyst. "He emerged from the same political and governmental society of this system and knows all its secrets and keys.

"He has been using his accumulated political and governmental experiences to defuse crises, address problems and find solutions."

Rahman al-Jobori, a senior researcher at the National Endowment for Democracy, based in the US, agreed: "Abadi presented a new model for political conflict in Iraq.

"Iraq's politics have for decades been dominated by ostentatious display. Abadi works quietly and shuns the limelight. That's the difference."

Abdulkareem Khalaf, a general and the former commander of operations of the interior ministry, said: "Abadi is committed, calm and does not rush into decisions.

"He consults experts as well as his own team, he sits with them, listens to what they have and then decides."

Friends in high places

But none of this would be effective without significant international support. Abadi, while promoted under an Iraqi government deal, was Washington's man: brought in with American support to tackle the rampant corruption and sectarianism that was so prevalent under Maliki's leadership.

In early 2016 Mishan al-Jabouri, a Sunni politician, framed the problem in very personal terms: “Everybody is corrupt. Including me... at least I am honest about it. I was offered $5m by someone to stop investigating him. I took it, and continued prosecuting him anyway.”

Abadi was a "good guy" and the best of a bad hand, the Sunni politician said. "He is cleaner than so many in parliament. But he cannot do this. Nobody can."

US generals in Iraq are fans of the "great guy", a fluent Anglophone who acts as a direct interlocutor.

"Generals, officers and the ambassador respect him, and have showed that they are dealing with him as a partner not a vassal," said Kadhim al-Waeli, an Iraqi former member of the command of Operation Resolve, the multinational anti-IS mission in Iraq.

"The generals love him because he is calm and calculates everything. Some have said he works like a human computer." 

An everyman. Iran's man. America's man

Also crucial, undoubtedly, is the support of the US bete noire Iran. Keeping both nations on side has been a geopolitical juggling act which Abadi, so far, has managed - to the significant benefit of the war against IS.

Both Iran and the US have been central to the campaign - the US through Operation Resolve, and the Iranians through their backing of the predominantly Shia Popular Mobilisation Units. Yet despite their close proximity in conflict, and the bellicosity of the Trump administration, the sides have never clashed.

"Americans were mainly working with the regular troops which were formed, trained and equipped by them, while the Iranians were working with the Popular Mobilisation troops and the federal police," said Waeili.

"Abadi established a balance between the two sides. They operated in different areas. There was an unwritten 'gentleman's agreement' between them and they respected each other."

And the decision by Abadi to integrate the PMUs into the restructured Iraqi armed forces, answerable to the prime minister as their commander-in-chief, was a masterstroke.

"Abadi has exploited the strength of the PMUs, while also making them accountable to central government," said General Khalaf.

"Any faction that steps out of line, Abadi simply cuts its money and restricts its movement."

A Kurdish question. An Abadi answer

And the Kurds, whose push for statehood threatened the integrity of Iraq, have been similarly brought to heel. Only weeks after a resounding "yes" to Massoud Barzani's breakaway plans, which included taking oil-rich Kirkuk with him, the Kurdish president has stepped down in humiliation and disputed areas are in the hands of Baghdad.

"There were no surprises relating to the military campaign. The prime minister had warned them (the Kurds) many times but they did not take him seriously," a senior security official involved in the military campaign, who declined to be named, told MEE.

However, the official stressed there were "clear orders" not to cross 1991 borders of the Kurdish region, and their internationally recognised territory would not be interfered with.

Since their defeat and changes to the old guard in Erbil, Kurdish stubbornness has given way to compromise - an offer to freeze the referendum result, calls to hold joint patrols between forces who only a few days ago were enemies, and a roll-back on any notion of an expanded Kurdish homeland.

"The constitution is the key. We will all go back to the constitution," Gayath al-Suraji, a senior Kurdish leader told MEE.

Abadi earlier this week offered to take the Kurdish peshmerga forces under the wing of central government - an act of supreme confidence in his command of the situation, which also showed a conciliatory nature where others would seek further provocation.  

It also perhaps exposed the inability, and ultimate unwillingness, of many Kurdish soldiers to fight for Barzani's vision of statehood.

Two steps from disaster
Yet, for all the success of Abadi, the "national hero" and "saviour", many problems will rear their heads in the run-up to the next elections in May.

Abadi's most pressing domestic challenge is revitalising the economy and rebuilding areas deeply scarred by war - literally, psychologically and socially.

The prime minister knows he must secure hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild, bring 2.9 million internal and external refugees home, establish a reconciliation process and provide jobs for tens of thousands of soldiers awaiting demobilisation.

"As conditions have proved that security is integral, so is the economy," Abadi said last month.

"Development and prosperity cannot be achieved in one country without another's help. Without doing this together, all development and stability projects will falter."

But his answer appears to be a market-driven gamble and a slate of policies that have, in countries such as Egypt, Greece and Chile, proved disastrous for the ordinary population.

"He plans to open up to the market economy, privatise 80 percent of the public sector, and reduce the number of government employees," said Rahman al-Jobori, the analyst, but added there were as-yet undefined plans to "provide social security to all".

Unpopular mobilisation

The question of the PMUs will also present a geopolitical headache. Abadi has been pressed by the US and the international community to demobilise the groups to "terminate the Iranian influence" in Iraq. Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, last week said all must go home.

But Abadi, despite ostensibly being their commander-in-chief, has no power to order their demobilisation - that, according to Tuama, the Iraqi political analyst, is for the still-fractious Iraqi parliament to decide.

"The US demand is not realistic. They ask the executive authority, but this decision is in the hands of the parliament. Abadi has nothing to do with this," he said.

"Since parliament voted on the law of the PMU, these factions have become a part of the regular Iraqi federal troops. Abadi has no authority to cancel that vote, nor dissolve the groups."

Nothing seems definite, but the defeat of IS would suggest tens of thousands of Sunni, Shia, Shabak, Christian and Yazidi PMU volunteers have no reason to remain under arms. 

The hard core, however, will be subject to the Popular Mobilisation law, which does at least significantly limit their autonomy and, in theory, ensures they answer to the Abadi as their commander.

Healing the wounds

Reconciliation also looms large on the domestic front. How can a country, with its grievances and competing narratives, which at one point in the very recent past faced disintegration, patch itself together in any meaningful way?

In Nineveh, Anbar and Salaheddin, IS territory for years, Abadi has left control in the hands of local leaders, albeit supervised by federal authorities. This, his supporters say, avoids the interference from a Shia-dominated Baghdad government, a much-hated feature of the Maliki years which led to their fall into the hands of IS.

"It is obvious that we cannot secure any area without the co-operation of the people," said a senior Iraqi intelligence official, who requested not to be named.

"Abadi and his team realised this from the beginning. He wants people to trust the security forces and deal with them as family members.

"This would not be achieved if the members of the security services did not not mainly belong to these areas."

The local authorities, according to Abadi's plan, will work on legal and a tribal issues - the federal government will act on matters of compensation.

But this does little to address very real, and very dangerous fallout of years under the shadow of IS - thousands of collaborators, tens of thousands of victims, and millions of refugees. Nineveh and Salaheddin have witnessed almost daily retaliation murders since their liberation.

And no serious steps have yet been taken to deal with the problem - the resources of the government are still focused on the battlefields to combat IS.

"Abadi prefers not to directly intervene in this issue too," said the intelligence officer. "It is sensitive and has to be solved from inside not out."

"He has left this to the local authorities to deal with, the victims and the militants belong to the same areas and tribes."

Much to do, much to consider, and all in the unique framework of post-invasion, post-Islamic State, Iraqi politics.

Abadi's political bloc will win at the next elections, of that there is little doubt. 

But not even that, nor his performance as prime minister, guarantees his position in a country where loyalty is fluid and political fortunes can turn in a matter of hours.

Enemies lurk, and Maliki continues to circle. Self-aggrandisement and corruption are arguably as entrenched in the halls of power as they ever were.

"The results of the election will mean nothing," said Tuama, the political analyst, in reference to Abadi's grip on his position. 

"Everything will depend on last-minute deals and political horse-trading.

"Many international and regional parties will play a key role in the nomination of the next prime minister, so nothing is impossible."

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