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Why I believe our wait will be longer.

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23 hours ago, Laid Back said:

The military dimension in the context of US-Iraqi relations.

 

Thank you Laid Back for another excellent and insightful article. I really appreciate you bringing these to us to keep us better informed.

Blessings brother....Ron :salute:

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8 minutes ago, ronscarpa said:

 

Thank you Laid Back for another excellent and insightful article. I really appreciate you bringing these to us to keep us better informed.

Blessings brother....Ron :salute:

You are welcome Ron,

I really appreciate your input my brother.!

Blessings🙏🏼

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The American Withdrawal from Iraq: A Kurdish Vision.

 
 

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The issue of the American presence in Iraq did not turn into a core issue in the political debate only after the America killed the leader of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, accompanied by the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, near Baghdad airport on January 2, 2020. This prompted the House of Representatives on January 5, 2020 to take a decision that “binds” the Iraqi government to “cancel the request for assistance submitted by it to the international coalition to fight ISIS,” requesting “it” to work to end the presence of “any foreign forces on Iraqi soil, and to prevent it” from the use of Iraqi land, water, and air for any reason. ”

Regardless of the legality of the “decision” to remove US forces from Iraq, it is also, like all important decisions in the Iraqi parliament, that do not enjoy unanimity and there are different positions in it . The American-Iranian confrontation on the land of Iraq revealed the nature of the apparent disparity in the position of the sub-identities on this issue .The Kurdish and Sunni blocs rejected this decision ( they did not attend the meeting at all ), in exchange for a semi consensus of the Shiite blocs on it It was noticeable that the Speaker of the (Sunni) House of Representatives, who always repeated the phrase “transgressing sectarianism”, did not preside over this session, in order for this decision not to be counted on him by the USA , but rather to leave it to his deputy. He spoke frankly that this decision is a “Shiite” decision; it is not a decision of the Council as a whole .

In the light of this decision, the statements of Negavan Barzani seemed sharp about it, through his assertion that «the decision taken by the Iraqi parliament was not a good decision, and that the Kurds and Sunnis did not participate in it. Moreover, it sets a bad precedent, as the decision was taken by the Shiite bloc, without consulting any of the main components of this country: the Kurds and the Arab Sunnis,”indicating that it was“ a very critical step that was taken without seeking consensus, and thus violating the spirit the Iraqi Constitution.

Barzani pointed out that «the question that must be addressed first is: Why are American forces here? They are here at the invitation of the Iraqi government in 2014, and in consultation with the United Nations Security Council, when (ISIS) was on the outskirts of Baghdad. ”He added:“ The second question is: Does the current situation in Iraq justify the withdrawal of US and coalition forces, given its mission, which is to help defeat ISIS? We, the Kurdistan Regional Government, are concerned that the answer is clearly no, as all intelligence data indicates that ISIS has regrouped, and that they carry out attacks against Iraqi targets on a daily basis. Hence, the interest of Kurdistan concerns the American forces as much as it is in the interest of all of Iraq.

“The Kurdish parliamentarians have acted with great courage to move away from the parliamentary vote,” said Bilal Wahhab, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He noted that Kurdish lawmakers had received threatening messages from Shiite militias, including the Hezbollah Brigades, whose founder, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed alongside Soleimani in the US raid. The question that arises in this context is why the Iraqi Kurds rejected the decision of the Iraqi parliament? Perhaps there are two dimensions that contributed to building this rejection:
First – The American military presence in Iraq represents a political support for the Kurds. On the one hand, their presence guarantees that the Shiite political class will not seize control of Iraq alone. Their presence also represents an opportunity to reinforce their desired dream of establishing their independent state, whether in the near future or medium term.

The Kurds, by refusing to participate and not just voting, are to send a message from the political leadership in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to the United States of America : that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq greatly appreciates the close alliance between them since 2003 and to the present day, and that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a strategic ally in the Middle East that the United States of America can rely on in facing common challenges.

Second – The American military presence in Iraq represents a military and security support for the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the face of the dangers of the terrorist organization ISIS , and the Kurds, and sensing from them the danger of the terrorist ISIS over the lines of the presence of Peshmerga , settled their position by rejecting that decision, including not participating in the parliament session that voted to remove the American forces from Iraq.

From a security standpoint, the Kurdish vision in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is based on the need for the American forces in Iraq to maintain a United States military presence, however modest, to ensure the ultimate defeat of the terrorist organization ISIS. On the other hand, if the killing of Soleimani leads to the withdrawal of the American forces involved in the local operations against the organization, this would constitute a major blow to the war on terror. Even after the organization has lost its last strongholds of its Caliphate in March 2019, it was still able to carry out 867 terrorist operations inside Iraq alone during the rest of the year. There is no doubt that the number and intensity of these attacks will increase in the absence of the military pressure exerted by the American and allied forces.

It is worth to be noted that the ongoing operations against the strongholds where the organization is just as active in Syria will also be mortally undermined indicating that there are potential dangers to the growing pockets of ISIS in many liberated areas, and the possibility of their strong return after the departure of coalition forces , which provide air, intelligence, and technological services .

The United Nations estimates that the terrorist organization ISIS still has a reserve of $ 300 million to support its terrorist campaign, while Kurdish officials note that today, the organization has secretly redeployed its ranks in Iraq equipped with “better techniques and better methods.”

The “early” exit of these forces could bring back the 2014 scenario, i.e. the return of ISIS, thus posing a real threat. Also, any decisive political decision regarding the exit of American forces may open the way for a Kurdish rejection of a decision in this way. Therefore, the survival of the American forces in the Kurdistan region, especially if the United States decides to reconsider its decision regarding the “independence” of this region or if it supports directly, Sunni forces to announce their commitment to the survival of the American forces in Iraq in their areas, which seriously threatens the country’s unity.

The Kurds believe that Iraq so far is unstable in terms of security, political, and even economic aspect , in order to work to remove US forces from it. This American presence contributes strongly to the elimination of ISIS, especially through air strikes that have had a great impact in ending its presence in Iraq. And they consider that ending the American presence in Iraq will make it to lose the compass of balance. There are armed factions that openly talk that they are with Iran, even if the war is with Iraq. The American presence is holding back and reducing Tehran’s influence within the Iraqi arena. And that “the Kurdish political forces fear the end of the American presence for fear of the domination of these armed factions on the Iraqi scene, politically, militarily and economically.” And talk about ending the American presence must be preceded by the condition that Iraq is the master of itself and its official security forces are in control of the security situation, and this needs time and not now.

Accordingly, the Kurdish vision is based on the fact that the positions and calls for the hasty exit of American forces from Iraq appear to be ill-considered moves, and they involve the dimensions of some of the interests and opportunists, while others carry sympathy with the neighboring countries, and this is not commensurate with the nature of international relations and obligations that are required by constants that must be observed in the end.

Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

 
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2 hours ago, Laid Back said:

The American Withdrawal from Iraq: A Kurdish Vision.

 

Thanks for another good article Laid Back..!  It's nice to see the strong position the Kurds have taken, supported by the Sunni blocks. It also reveals the influence Iran has on the Shia members in Parliament, who have been systematically introduced into the political mechanisms over the past several years, and put into positions of power to influence Iraqi thought and direction of the Government (GOI). I believe Iran wants to take over Iraq from within, and that seems obvious by the thousand Iranian led Iraqi militias. JMHO...!

Blessings...RON :salute:

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On 1/24/2020 at 8:16 AM, ronscarpa said:

 

Thanks for another good article Laid Back..!  It's nice to see the strong position the Kurds have taken, supported by the Sunni blocks. It also reveals the influence Iran has on the Shia members in Parliament, who have been systematically introduced into the political mechanisms over the past several years, and put into positions of power to influence Iraqi thought and direction of the Government (GOI). I believe Iran wants to take over Iraq from within, and that seems obvious by the thousand Iranian led Iraqi militias. JMHO...!

Blessings...RON :salute:

Thanks for your input Ron,

The Kurds are good US allies, they know what could happen if the US leave Iraq, (total chaos) the Shia members in parliament are

trying to choose another Iranian puppet as PM. I hope the protesters keep the pressure on the streets till their demands are full filled.

take care my friend 👍🏼😉
 

 

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Potential US sanctions on Iraq.

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Researcher Shatha Khalil *
After the Iraqi parliament voted on a resolution that obliges the government to work to end the presence of foreign forces in the country, within the repercussions of the killing of the Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Iraqi popular crowd Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and pass the resolution with the support of the powerful Shiite bloc close to Iran, noting that the Sunni and Kurdish representatives boycotted voting session.

Although parliament’s decisions are not binding on the government, because it is a caretaker government, and analysts say that if the United States is really forced to leave Iraq, this will give Iran’s appetite for its influence not only on Iraq but the region.

US President Donald Trump said, “If they ask us to leave, if we do not do it in a very friendly way, we will impose on them (and Iraq intended) sanctions, unprecedented before,” adding, “It will make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

“We have a very expensive air base, it has cost billions of dollars to build it,” Trump said. “We will not leave unless they pay us for it.”

The sources indicate that these sanctions will be economic and can be used by the White House to try to isolate and punish any person, entity or government, including to impose sanctions on American companies in the event they work with another Iraqi ones , and to prevent any person or entity from dealing with the economy and the financial sector in the United States , it can be a very severe punishment.

A collapsed economic situation : Despite the country’s many and varied riches, such as mankind, for example, Iraq is one of the wealthy countries , rich with energies of its youth , capable of building the greatest societies, but it did not find the opportunity and the land suitable for exploitation and investment, and the material wealth such as oil, gas, minerals, agriculture, and other countless resources, but it suffers because of failed administration to manage those riches.

Iraq is classified as the second largest oil producing country in OPEC, and oil constitutes more than 90% of the general budget of the Iraqi state, and is funding the salaries of Iraqis, in addition to corruption in oil contracts that do not serve the national interest that it constitutes a burden on that budget signed and concluded by Hussein Al-Shahristani, responsible for the energy file during the era of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki , foreign companies have a large part of the production returns and impose on Baghdad their expenses, in addition to giving them the right to reject development and exploration plans, and international investigations have revealed evidence of corruption in those contracts.

In addition to stopping most projects, such as construction, petrochemical and oil industries, which resulted in the deficit in energy sources, which Iraq is compensating for by importing them from Iran, and today the infrastructure of the country is almost completely collapsed.

As the energy shortage has become a chronic crisis in a country floating on a lake of oil, and Washington has so far allowed Baghdad to import what it needs from Iran to provide additional hours of feeding per day.

Exposure to economic sanctions exacerbates the problems of Iraq, where one out of every five people lives below the poverty line, and one in four young people suffers from unemployment. According to the Ministry of Planning, the official indicator for measuring the poverty rate approved locally, and in the World Bank, is 22.5%, meaning that about a quarter of Iraqis are poor. in Basra Governorate (south), there are 100,000 families living under the extreme poverty line, it is unreasonable for the province to float on a sea of oil and its children do not get the simplest needs of life, due to failed government policies, which makes job opportunities very difficult.

And the increase in the poverty rate in Al-Muthanna Governorate to a level that caused an increase in the crime rate.

Can the effects of sanctions be avoided, as the problems are intertwined, economic, political and social problems:

In popular and academic circles about the consequences of any measures taken against Iraq, the Iraqi Advisory Council issued a research paper that included 10 solutions to avoid those effects.
In its report, “proposed solutions and remedies to avoid the effects of possible US economic sanctions on Iraq . It is worth avoiding any potential sanctions, direct or indirect, to prevent repercussions that are difficult to realize for decades to come.

It cited examples of recent sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran and Russia, and mentioned what Iraq witnessed in the nineties of the last century, noting that “Iraq was able to overcome horrific famines by implementing the ration card system, in addition to the fact that its population is less than it is today, in addition to its possession of a productive agricultural sector, an industrial base, and infrastructure, despite that, the effects and consequences of the embargo were catastrophic, and Iraq has not recovered from them to this day.

Iraq’s economy is fragile, being rentier due to its dependence on oil exports, its lack of the industrial and agricultural sectors, and its lack of ability to export what it produces to Iraq to increase national income from hard currencies.
It summarized the implications of imposing direct or secondary sanctions on Iraq by “the collapse of the Iraqi dinar, which leads to an increase in the size of cash inflation, an increase in the size of excessive inflation, a decline in the purchasing power of the dinar, an unprecedented rise in the prices of goods and commodities, and a decrease in the value of savings.”

It added, that the global economy depends on the dollar, and if the United States decides to limit or reduce the flow of the dollar to Iraq, it will inevitably not stand up to internal and external challenges, especially as the central bank is directly and closely linked with the American banking system since 2003.

As for the solutions, the advisory council proposed a set of steps, but before mentioning them, Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies through the presented economic studies confirms that any solution is aborted with distinction unless the Iraqi state was run by Iraqi men belonging to Iraq and the soil of Iraq first and not loyalty to another country or religion, doctrine, or party only, thus in this case suggestions, solutions and plans for the country’s revival can be taken.

Among these proposals are : “Diversification of income sources to reduce dependence on oil sales, pay attention to non-oil sectors such as industry, agriculture, and tourism, transferring certain percentages of dollar storage with the central bank to other difficult currencies, and changing the regulations and laws of banks and the central bank law to keep pace with the evolution of banking systems in the modern world, opening channels of dealing with large European banks and adopting them as intermediary banks for financial transfers and opening government bonds.

The most important thing is to follow the food security policy and secure the requirements of this policy for achieving self-sufficiency and encouraging the food industries, packaging, and marketing, which will in turn be reflected in the employment of more Iraqi manpower and the reduction of unemployment.
And encourage professional and technical education, and establish a fund to support small craft projects, develop a diplomatic dialogue with influential countries in the world, activate mutual understanding with them and the United States of America, encourage foreign investment, and establish a sovereign monetary fund by financing it with a certain percentage of monthly oil sales.

And the American-Iranian military confrontation in Iraq raised fears that the country would turn into an open arena of conflict between Washington and Tehran, before the decline of tension in the past few days.
And about 5 thousand American soldiers are deployed in military bases throughout Iraq, as part of the international coalition to fight ISIS, but the Iraqi parliament voted on the fifth of January 2020 , on a decision to expel foreign forces in the absence of Sunni and Kurdish representatives, and as a result, Trump threatened, imposing economic sanctions on Iraq if Baghdad decides to remove American soldiers.

In conclusion… Iraq is still one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the Transparency International index, over the past years, and international reports always provide in the presence of embezzlement and waste of public money, and the country ranked 169 out of 180 countries in the corruption index.

Corruption was a major reason for weak government performance, weak decision-making, state fragility and the domination of external forces, such as Iranian interference and the control of Iranian militias over state administration, whether parties or people, and thus loyalty is to Iran and not to Iraq, and Iraqi youth became conscious and angry and took to the street to bring back the homeland to its people.

Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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The exit of American forces from Iraq, the losers and the winners.

 

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The events in Iraq represented by the American strike on a Hezbollah battalion camp in the Al-Qaim region located on the Iraqi-Syrian border on December 29, 2019, and then the American raid that targeted General Qassem Soleimani (commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps in charge of military operations outside the Iranian border) , which finally led to take decision by the House of Representatives on the US presence in Iraq.

US President Donald Trump has rejected the idea of the exit from Iraq, threatening to impose severe sanctions against Baghdad if US forces are forced to leave. He said, “If they do ask us to leave, and if they don’t do it in a very friendly basis , we will impose sanctions on them like they have never seen before , it will make the Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame ‘. ” And if there is any hostility, and they do anything that we think is inappropriate, we will impose very large sanctions on Iraq “.

That decision sparked great Iraqi controversy and division, and in the event that the American forces leave in an unfriendly way – as Trump said – we wonder who are the losers and the winners from that exit?

As for the for the losers, Iraq will be the most prominent loser from the exit, and this will be reflected on the Iraqi economic and military side, economically: Iraq will not be able to withstand long in the face of the US economic sanctions to be imposed on this country burdened by crises, in the event that the caretaker government implemented the decision of the House of Representatives to remove American forces from Iraq.

And about the potential risks in the event of sanctions against Iraq by the United States of America, including : The possibility of stopping the supply of Iraq with the dollar, which is an easy measure to take by the United States, given that countries have full sovereignty over their currency, and this would negatively affect the rise in the price of the dollar against the dinar here, and Iraq has no choice but to go to deal in other currencies, which will need a period of not short, for example, the shift to dealing in the euro, which means entering into negotiations that are not easy with European banks, as most international banks have difficult conditions and restrictions to deal with a Iraq as an unstable country with many problems and will be dealt with very cautiously, in addition to the transition to other currencies requires changing the country’s commercial behavior.

Among the possible risks is the United States of America’s going to “deprive certain parties in Iraq of carrying out their activities or may issue a ban on dealing with them by most international companies because of its impact on these companies (directly or indirectly) governed by the interests of those companies, for example , it is prohibited to deal with certain companies specialized in marketing Iraqi oil.

The other danger is the inclusion of certain entities with the ban. These entities may be (individuals, companies or banks), as the American Treasury provides a list of specific names to prohibit dealing with them in dollars or it may freeze their assets, while noting that “the other possibility is to submit requests from the creditors to press for an immediate payment of their debts (countries or individuals) immediately, and here we point out that Iraq owes (28) billion dollars in foreign debt except for abhorrent debts (debts of Gulf countries) amounting to (41) billion dollars, and according to the United Nations agreement for the immunities of States and their Property from Jurisdiction in 2004, Article 21, Paragraph C of it , the immunity over the central bank reserve (currency cover) was realized.

In the event that the Iraqi government’s decision to withdraw Iraqi funds from the United States of America and deposit them in the banks of other countries , it will be of the same degree of risk, as global banks implement the decisions of the United States of America because of the direct and indirect effects on them, as well as most of the global banks are not ready to deal with Iraq because of the high degree of risk in it, it must be noted that all Iraqi payments are in the currency of the dollar, and accordingly, Iraq will lose the status of the conversion to other currencies (losses of the conversion difference).

Iraq is counting on oil as a primary resource for its financial budgets, which transfers its funds directly to the American Federal Bank, in the midst of an almost complete absence of its other revenues from the commercial, agricultural, industrial and other sectors, which do not supply the gross domestic product with anything to be mentioned.

Followers of the Iraqi issue believe that in the event of economic sanctions being imposed on Iraq, the economic blockade imposed on Iraq in the 1990s cannot be compared and how it is managed and the money needed to pay the obligations with the status quo of Iraq, which cannot withstand such shocks, as there is a big difference in numbers of the employees and then the salaries, as well as the existence of profitable industrial companies at the time that used their profits to cover the salaries, not to mention the «amount of documentary credits which most of it in dollars and to the presence of (14) billion dollars in sums reserved for the purpose of covering government sector imports and the guarantees of the Ministry of Finance. And the repercussions of the American threat to freeze the balance of Iraq in the American Federal Reserve Bank, which includes the deposited oil money and the catastrophic effects on the Iraqi economy, stressing that you do not venture into the economy of Iraq.

As for militarily, Iraq will lose a lot if the American forces leave Iraq, as Iraq comes in the forefront of the Arab countries that receive American aid, as it got 5.28 billion, 89 percent of which is for the military field. The United States is also the primary source of armaments for the Iraqi army, the counterterrorism service, federal police forces, and surveillance and espionage technologies for intelligence, and national security services.

The withdrawal will push the United States to proceed to study the possibility of cutting military aid to Iraq, as the United States is considering reconsidering military aid to Iraq if Baghdad decides to end the foreign presence on its soil. The American Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the State and Defense ministries discussed reducing the value of military aid by about $ 250 million, and reviewing other military and economic aid.
The newspaper revealed that the US Department of State’s Near East Affairs office submitted a request to the White House Administration and Budget Office, whether it could cancel the $ 100 million request for fiscal year 2021, due to the current situation in Iraq. A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a final decision had not been taken, but senior administration officials have ordered a review of the funds that may be held or reallocated in the event that Iraq requests the troops to leave the country.

And if Trump implements his decision to cut US military aid to Iraq, this will have repercussions on the structure of the military system, and adversely affect the completion of this structure and its rehabilitation, after being exhausted by the battles with the terrorist organization ISIS . In light of the budget deficit and the financial and administrative corruption that hangs over the formation of the state, its frameworks and interfaces, especially that Iraq’s accounts are protected in the American Federal Bank.

Almost all the countries of the “Gulf Cooperation Council” consider that the American forces in Iraq are the basis for the American military units hosting them on their soil, and a vital factor in defending themselves against Iran. And beyond of the framework of governments or elites, recent opinion polls in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other “Gulf Cooperation Council” countries have demonstrated that a feeling of resentment from Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Tehran-backed parties such as Hezbollah and the Houthis is common throughout the Gulf. In recent years, Gulf support for Iraq has been hesitant and very scarce, despite American pressure. But after the latest decisive US action against Iran in Iraq, the prospects for more generous aid and the creation of stronger diplomatic ties improved.

Later this year, Gulf Cooperation Council countries are expected to start supplying Iraq with electricity to reduce its dependence on Iranian supplies. And at the appropriate time, if the United States remains involved in the events, Iraq may turn from a threat into a partner with other Arab allies in the region. If America withdraws, some governments and their people may view Iraq as a state affiliated with Iran even to a greater degree, whether because of its Shiite majority or because the possibility of the exit of main balance force . And the willingness of these governments to rely on US guarantees – already doubtful – will further diminish. All of this would increase the pressures felt by the countries of the “Gulf Cooperation Council” to satisfy Iran, which effectively means extracting an American defeat from the fountains of victory.

A US withdrawal would radically limit the ability of European forces to continue to train Iraqi counter-terrorism forces. For example, Germany and Canada have already announced that they intend to remove part of their small units due to insecurity at present, although France plans to stay in Iraq.

Conversely, if the United States improves its performance in Iraq – not only militarily but also politically and economically – the burdens are likely to be better shared with allies. In addition, the greatest objective of the western military presence in Iraq is to address some of the issues that have paved the rise of the terrorist organization ISIS, specifically insecurity, marginalization of the Sunnis, and the absence of economic development. This helps to understand why the European capitals responded with great caution to the assassination of Soleimani, by indicating his primary responsibility for the escalation and calling on all parties also to de-escalate in the next stage.

As for the winners from the American exit from Iraq, Iran and the terrorist organization ISIS are at the forefront. Iran has long sought to expel the United States from Iraq, with which it shares long land borders, for fear of being encircled by a hostile army, and therefore the United States, if it decides to withdraw in the wake of the strike against Soleimani, will provide Iran with a number of advantages to strengthen its position, in the short – Long term.

In the short term, the withdrawal will present a symbolic victory for Iran’s regional and global standing, where some believe that Soleimani’s killing has already led to this result : that in the wake of the anti-Iran demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon, and in the wake of Iran’s protests in November 2019 that resulted in a brutal crackdown against its own people , Soleimani’s killing that it helped the Iranian government to support its regional and local position. ”Thus, the withdrawal of the United States immediately thereafter, would likely prompt Iran to depict this as the Trump administration had left Iraq for fear of retaliation by Iran and its regional proxies, allowing it to claim victory over “The Great Satan” and then encourage its supporters.

As for the long term, the American withdrawal would allow Iran to expand its already large influence in Iraq, that the withdrawal of American forces would leave Iraq completely at the mercy of Iran, as it is certain that the absence of American forces and civilian advisors in the country will create a political vacuum in which Iran can maneuver on it. And that Trump’s abandonment of Iraq would leave it completely to the Iranian influence, and then Soleimani gives this kind of victory after his death, which the Trump administration had not previously gained while he was alive.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing is that Iran will have the opportunity to expand its military hegemony in Iraq amid the absence of American forces on the ground to act as a deterrent, in a way that is greater than what Tehran is already exercising of great control over the Iraqi army through the PMF, which operates as its local agent in Iraq The consequences of requiring US forces to leave may be dangerous for Iraq and may ultimately lead to the handing over of security control to pro-Iranian factions within the security services.

In addition to Iraq’s geostrategic and political value, this country is today considered one of the largest oil exporters in the world, with huge reserves in the long run. And if the US presence remains the same, the economies of the United States, Iraq, and the global economy will reap these benefits together. But if it leaves the United States, it will actually increase Iran’s control over the energy and huge financial resources, and prevent it from being used in Iraqi development projects in order to avoid sanctions and largely support its ambitions of hegemony.

As for the second winner from the exit of American forces from Iraq, the terrorist organization ISIS, where ISIS comes as the second potential beneficiary of the issue of the American withdrawal; Washington has helped a number of factions in eliminating ISIS elements in Iraq by the end of 2017, as the United States played the most important role In combating that terrorist group by providing the basic air and technological forces that helped undermine the capabilities of the fighting factions and tightening US control over Iraqi territory in return, and when considering the work of the American forces in the country at the present time as a deterrent against the possibility of ISIS returning again, in the event that the United States withdraw – at least in part – from Iraq, ISIS would dare try to re-establish regional control again.

In this context, “Stacy Petitjon” – Director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program at the American Rand Corporation – says: “Whether the American forces left Iraq or not, this attack that targeted Qasim Soleimani had already consequences for the impact on the American military operations against ISIS, which It has been paused to reinforce US defenses in anticipation of Iran’s anticipated reprisals, which could enable ISIS to reconfigure its combat networks to once again pose a serious threat to Iraqi security. ”

“Ben Conabel” – a retired US Navy intelligence officer and political expert at the aforementioned Rand Corporation – explains how the absence of the US presence in Iraq can gradually and continuously enhance the return of ISIS in the Middle East, where he stresses: “The impacts may be far-reaching Harmful to the American strategic interests, because the absence of any forces on the ground, nor the planes hovering over the air, will mean that the American forces will lose their ability to see and strike the targets of the terrorist organization ISIS in Iraq, and will affect the operations in Syria, which depend heavily on support from Iraq.

On the whole, the efforts made by the US administration and its allies to contain Iran’s regional ambitions and defeat ISIS completely appear to be threatened by any possible US withdrawal from Iraq; although this withdrawal is not certain, it seems increasingly likely with the Trump administration; and if it happens Indeed, Iran will undoubtedly move to take advantage of the power vacuum by tightening more control over both Iraqi political affairs and the military establishment, which will be portrayed as a symbolic victory for Tehran and its real strength. Moreover, the withdrawal will lead to an increase in sectarianism within the spectrum of Iraqi society, as well as the possibility of the return of ISIS, given that the withdrawal means the cease of efforts of the international coalition against the Islamic State due to the decline in US support in this regard. And although Trump has consistently expressed his desire to withdraw US forces from the Middle East, he should – at least for the time being – in favor of Iraq, the United States, and the entire region, not do so.

Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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On 1/24/2020 at 5:05 PM, Laid Back said:

The American Withdrawal from Iraq: A Kurdish Vision.

 
 

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The issue of the American presence in Iraq did not turn into a core issue in the political debate only after the America killed the leader of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, accompanied by the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, near Baghdad airport on January 2, 2020. This prompted the House of Representatives on January 5, 2020 to take a decision that “binds” the Iraqi government to “cancel the request for assistance submitted by it to the international coalition to fight ISIS,” requesting “it” to work to end the presence of “any foreign forces on Iraqi soil, and to prevent it” from the use of Iraqi land, water, and air for any reason. ”

Regardless of the legality of the “decision” to remove US forces from Iraq, it is also, like all important decisions in the Iraqi parliament, that do not enjoy unanimity and there are different positions in it . The American-Iranian confrontation on the land of Iraq revealed the nature of the apparent disparity in the position of the sub-identities on this issue .The Kurdish and Sunni blocs rejected this decision ( they did not attend the meeting at all ), in exchange for a semi consensus of the Shiite blocs on it It was noticeable that the Speaker of the (Sunni) House of Representatives, who always repeated the phrase “transgressing sectarianism”, did not preside over this session, in order for this decision not to be counted on him by the USA , but rather to leave it to his deputy. He spoke frankly that this decision is a “Shiite” decision; it is not a decision of the Council as a whole .

In the light of this decision, the statements of Negavan Barzani seemed sharp about it, through his assertion that «the decision taken by the Iraqi parliament was not a good decision, and that the Kurds and Sunnis did not participate in it. Moreover, it sets a bad precedent, as the decision was taken by the Shiite bloc, without consulting any of the main components of this country: the Kurds and the Arab Sunnis,”indicating that it was“ a very critical step that was taken without seeking consensus, and thus violating the spirit the Iraqi Constitution.

Barzani pointed out that «the question that must be addressed first is: Why are American forces here? They are here at the invitation of the Iraqi government in 2014, and in consultation with the United Nations Security Council, when (ISIS) was on the outskirts of Baghdad. ”He added:“ The second question is: Does the current situation in Iraq justify the withdrawal of US and coalition forces, given its mission, which is to help defeat ISIS? We, the Kurdistan Regional Government, are concerned that the answer is clearly no, as all intelligence data indicates that ISIS has regrouped, and that they carry out attacks against Iraqi targets on a daily basis. Hence, the interest of Kurdistan concerns the American forces as much as it is in the interest of all of Iraq.

“The Kurdish parliamentarians have acted with great courage to move away from the parliamentary vote,” said Bilal Wahhab, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He noted that Kurdish lawmakers had received threatening messages from Shiite militias, including the Hezbollah Brigades, whose founder, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed alongside Soleimani in the US raid. The question that arises in this context is why the Iraqi Kurds rejected the decision of the Iraqi parliament? Perhaps there are two dimensions that contributed to building this rejection:
First – The American military presence in Iraq represents a political support system" rel="">support for the Kurds. On the one hand, their presence guarantees that the Shiite political class will not seize control of Iraq alone. Their presence also represents an opportunity to reinforce their desired dream of establishing their independent state, whether in the near future or medium term.

The Kurds, by refusing to participate and not just voting, are to send a message from the political leadership in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to the United States of America : that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq greatly appreciates the close alliance between them since 2003 and to the present day, and that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a strategic ally in the Middle East that the United States of America can rely on in facing common challenges.

Second – The American military presence in Iraq represents a military and security support system" rel="">support for the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the face of the dangers of the terrorist organization ISIS , and the Kurds, and sensing from them the danger of the terrorist ISIS over the lines of the presence of Peshmerga , settled their position by rejecting that decision, including not participating in the parliament session that voted to remove the American forces from Iraq.

From a security standpoint, the Kurdish vision in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is based on the need for the American forces in Iraq to maintain a United States military presence, however modest, to ensure the ultimate defeat of the terrorist organization ISIS. On the other hand, if the killing of Soleimani leads to the withdrawal of the American forces involved in the local operations against the organization, this would constitute a major blow to the war on terror. Even after the organization has lost its last strongholds of its Caliphate in March 2019, it was still able to carry out 867 terrorist operations inside Iraq alone during the rest of the year. There is no doubt that the number and intensity of these attacks will increase in the absence of the military pressure exerted by the American and allied forces.

It is worth to be noted that the ongoing operations against the strongholds where the organization is just as active in Syria will also be mortally undermined indicating that there are potential dangers to the growing pockets of ISIS in many liberated areas, and the possibility of their strong return after the departure of coalition forces , which provide air, intelligence, and technological services .

The United Nations estimates that the terrorist organization ISIS still has a reserve of $ 300 million to support system" rel="">support its terrorist campaign, while Kurdish officials note that today, the organization has secretly redeployed its ranks in Iraq equipped with “better techniques and better methods.”

The “early” exit of these forces could bring back the 2014 scenario, i.e. the return of ISIS, thus posing a real threat. Also, any decisive political decision regarding the exit of American forces may open the way for a Kurdish rejection of a decision in this way. Therefore, the survival of the American forces in the Kurdistan region, especially if the United States decides to reconsider its decision regarding the “independence” of this region or if it supports directly, Sunni forces to announce their commitment to the survival of the American forces in Iraq in their areas, which seriously threatens the country’s unity.

The Kurds believe that Iraq so far is unstable in terms of security, political, and even economic aspect , in order to work to remove US forces from it. This American presence contributes strongly to the elimination of ISIS, especially through air strikes that have had a great impact in ending its presence in Iraq. And they consider that ending the American presence in Iraq will make it to lose the compass of balance. There are armed factions that openly talk that they are with Iran, even if the war is with Iraq. The American presence is holding back and reducing Tehran’s influence within the Iraqi arena. And that “the Kurdish political forces fear the end of the American presence for fear of the domination of these armed factions on the Iraqi scene, politically, militarily and economically.” And talk about ending the American presence must be preceded by the condition that Iraq is the master of itself and its official security forces are in control of the security situation, and this needs time and not now.

Accordingly, the Kurdish vision is based on the fact that the positions and calls for the hasty exit of American forces from Iraq appear to be ill-considered moves, and they involve the dimensions of some of the interests and opportunists, while others carry sympathy with the neighboring countries, and this is not commensurate with the nature of international relations and obligations that are required by constants that must be observed in the end.

Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing....Good stuff

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8 hours ago, Laid Back said:

The exit of American forces from Iraq, the losers and the winners.

 

Another excellent article Laid Back - thanks ... interesting perspectives presented..!

Ron 

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17 hours ago, umbertino said:

 

 

Thanks for sharing....Good stuff

You are welcome umbertino.

 

15 hours ago, ronscarpa said:

 

Another excellent article Laid Back - thanks ... interesting perspectives presented..!

Ron 

Thank you Ron.

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Partitioning … Is it the future of Iraq?

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Muammar Faisal Khouli

Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi

In the aftermath of the assassination of the Quds Force commander of Iran, Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the Iraqi Council of Representatives on January 5 issued a resolution calling for the removal of foreign forces from Iraq… This decision angered the American administration, which threatened If American forces leave Iraq in an “unfriendly” manner, Iraq will face sanctions never seen before.

But the United States of America may surprise Iraq with more bitter sanctions than the aforementioned sanctions, such as encouraging the idea of dividing it into three “Kurdish, Sunni, and Shi’ite” states, this idea would worry the Iranian state, because Iran built its regional project in the post-Saddam Hussein era and the Arab Spring, on a weak Iraq that is easy to control, and not a divided Iraq with which it is difficult to implement its project or perhaps lead to its cancellation.

So the Iranian leadership may use all of its tools in Iraq to nullify this project.
But this idea may find a Sunni and Kurdish welcome alike. The project to rebuild the Iraqi state in the post-2003 period, on the foundations of the democratic system, has so far proven unsuccessful… Politically, Iraq has failed to establish the rules for the peaceful transfer of power away from sectarian quotas and ethnicity… As for civil, Iraq witnessed a flagrant violation of human rights, and economically, Iraq comes in the forefront of countries that “flourish” with financial and administrative corruption, since 2003 AD and until now Iraq has been subjected to organized financial plunder, reaching nearly 500 billion US dollars, this huge number was the guarantor of the reconstruction of Iraq, making it Singapore of the Levant, after of lean years as a result of wars and sieges.

As for security, and with the spread of the phenomenon of armed militias, Iraq has suffered a lot from the security aspect , as it currently clearly contributes to eliminating the movement of massive protests that swept the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, central and southern the country through the killing, kidnapping and assassination of protesters, and the Iraqi state has been , especially its executive and legislative institutions , run by armed factions that are working to establish Iranian influence in Iraq, and some of those factions have fought – and are still fighting – alongside Iran in Syria and Yemen.

As for the military, the Iraqi military establishment was severely weakened until the terrorist organization ISIS came to the outskirts of Baghdad without much trouble in the summer of 2014.

Against this, from a Sunni and Kurdish point of view, the continuation of this system, which is an extension of the pre-state stage, and becomes the natural recipe for governing Iraq, as this would pose a great danger to their interests in the present and future, so it may be inevitable for the Sunnis of Iraq to get rid of that Iranian regime and influence in Iraq, and move forward in the implementation of what has been termed the “Sunni” Western Region project, while the Kurds of Iraq will go forward in the realization of their long-awaited national dream in establishing an independent Kurdish state. There is no doubt that this project may have dangerous consequences if imposed by force without any peaceful Iraqi agreement on it, it may open the doors of civil war.

The United States of America understands that the decision to remove its forces from Iraq came with an Iranian request as a political response to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, and the idea of dividing Iraq may be the American response to that decision.

It seems that the destiny of Iraq in the period after 2003 AD, to continue to be a fertile ground for settling scores between Washington and Tehran.

As for the question that arises in this context: Will the United States of America allow Iran and China to enjoy the riches and strategic location of Iraq after its withdrawal from it?! But in order not to enjoy this, and also to preserve its interests in it, will the United States of America split it, as it divided – in light of international rivalry with the Soviet Union in the phase of the cold War – Germany was divided “East and West” and Korea was divided to “North and South” Korea , or are their historical contexts that are different from the current situation?

It is very painful for the division to be the final scene of the future of Iraq , and here we must say that the arrival of Iraq to that scene is not only due to the desire of the USA , but rather the political class that ruled Iraq in the period after April 2003 AD , bears the burden of that scene through its disastrous policies . That , class , from 2003 AD to the present day , reinforced social anxiety in Iraq , which later became the regulator of the relations of its social components , thus producing a failed state that was moving at a rapid , slow , or winding pace towards partition .

Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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The Iraqi economy between corruption and politics.

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Researcher Shatha Khalil *
In affirming the causes of the deteriorating situation with all its details in Iraq, and creating chaos professionally and maintaining its continuity, it is in short ((the strangest constitution)) in the world, placing countless mines, according to the confirmation of Iraqi and international professional laws, which caused a spiral of differences on which the political quotas have legalized the presence of these mines, the harvest of this democracy was bitter, with the fragmentation of people’s awareness and engagement with sectarianism, the unprecedented prevalence of corruption, and the birth of a nationwide militia community which has control over the state .

Iraq is witnessing massive protests and demonstrations against government corruption, the constitution, Iranian interference, corrupt religious parties and militias, as astronomical financial returns accrued by these parties for many years, at the expense of a poor people and institutions that began to crack and collapse, not to mention wasting the public money, in a country that possesses “the second largest reserves oil in the World ”, as the country was ranked 169th out of 180 on the corruption index according to Transparency International Organization , and the description of Iraq by Transparency International report and the prevalence of political, economic, and administrative corruption within its various institutions.

The organization’s reports also confirm that the volume of the looted money in the period after 2003 amounted to 300 billion dollars, and Iraqi sources add that about 350 billion dollars were wasted and stolen during the years 2003-2014 with fake projects and financial and administrative corruption in the country, in addition to the presence of five thousand projects that were not implemented because of poor planning, at a time when the country is going through an internal and external debt crisis, as corruption has exhausted the Iraqi economy despite all its material and human wealth.

The World Bank indicated that Iraq is ranked the second most country in the world to suffer from rampant corruption, in addition to the classifications that it is considered one of the most bad in terms of business and the weak investment environment, given the many problems in the legal and legislative structure and the fragility of the security situation, especially the past months.

The size of the growing corruption in Iraq created successive living and economic crises for citizens, and confused their country’s economy until it became among the worst in the world, although the country has the largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia, and Iraqi oil reserves represent about 10.7% of the total global reserve.

Iraqis are suffering from high unemployment, poor public services, and extreme poverty, whose ” official ” rates were in 2019, at 22.5%, while World Bank statistics indicate that poverty reaches 41.2% in areas liberated from ISIS, and 30% in Southern areas , 23% in the center, and 12.5% in the Kurdistan region. The World Bank added that 50% of children are poor in the southern governorates of Iraq.

The Iraqi economic and financial file, which successive Iraqi governments have sought since 2003, and gradually to destroy all pillars of the Iraqi economic, military, educational, and health state, and this is difficult to believe at all, but the numbers, statistics, documents, facts, and data on the ground demonstrate this in a manner that does not accept skepticism .

And the significant decline in Iraq’s industrial capabilities and in the aspects of energy saving and neglecting basic infrastructure played a major role in opening a wide door for Iran to develop its industrial and construction companies in an unprecedented way.

Iran’s role in destroying the country and plundering its wealth economically:
Iran enters as a basic partner in the Iraqi market with financial returns amounting to about thirty billion dollars annually, which is a sum earned from the export of its products to Iraq and from energy supplies and construction and investment contracts that it acquires through facilities and exceptions provided by those in the Iraqi government and their full loyalty to it – that is, Iran.

The economic expert, Salam Smaism, indicates that the significant decline in the material sector has made the Iraqi economy a rentier economy and exposed , meaning that it depends on one thing which is oil, and that it be exposed, that is, it covers all its needs through import and then it is exposed to external economies .

In the financial sector, Iranian and Iraqi reports indicate significant progress in the Iranian share at the expense of the Iraqi share, from the financial sector, as Iran now has about 11 banks operating in Iraq independently.

Iranian banks also bought a share of six other Iraqi banks, and the total money for the Iranians in those banks amounted to more than seventy billion dollars, which reflects an almost absolute Iranian domination over the Iraqi economy.

Laws do not serve the economy
The civil governor in Iraq in the second half of 2003, Paul Bremer, worked to destroy industry and agriculture by abolishing the customs tariff, and after pressing against this unfair measure towards the country’s right to collect customs and impose the economic policy that it deems appropriate to preserve its wealth and preserve its local industries, he imposed a formal fee of 5% for the reconstruction of Iraq, while the use of customs declarations that help statistical agencies in checking imports have ended, thus improving the degree of reliability of the statistics … Is this deliberate destruction of the Iraqi economy ?!
And it seems, there were two purposes of this procedure, except for the practical aspect of not controlling the border outlets, the control of some political parties and criminal mafias over many of the border outlets, and using them to enter goods without control and it costs the state treasury billions of dollars.

The border outlets adopt the old methods of payment, evaluation and primitive frameworks, and do not rely on modern technology electronic payment as most countries of the world do to preserve their wealth and protect the country.
Not to mention the forgery of official papers of many of the goods entering the country , for the purpose of tax evasion, as some reports stated that Iraq was losing $ 15,000 per minute due to corruption at the border crossing points.

The proper and efficient management of these outlets can achieve profits and revenues for the government treasury that may not be less than oil revenues.

This irresponsible policy led to the flow of goods to the Iraqi market without controls, which led to an accelerated collapse in the local industrial capabilities, which had been weakened a lot due to the ban on the import of spare parts for their machines and equipment.

Corruption has led to the failure to examine and control the goods and materials entering the country, to ensure their suitability and possibility of human use , and that they do not pose any risk to human health or security, nor to verify the quantity and quality of goods entering the Iraqi market, and to limit the dumping policy, which is to import large quantities of certain goods and with poor specifications, low price .

And far from setting the proper foundations for the import process, and making sure not to import any product that can be produced internally, in order to preserve local production, and to encourage the Iraqi industry.

This industrial debility led to the collapse of competitiveness, and the domination of imported goods on the markets, which led to the demobilization of large numbers of workers in the industry to join the regiments of the unemployed, or the lines of those seeking government jobs without real production in return.

This is what corruption produces in all its forms, not only economic or political, as the repercussions are significant on the environment and social life, and the main reason is the weakness of the state and the inadequacy of regulatory systems, the inability to assess risks in a correct way, weak governance systems and ethical standards, and the failure to activate accountability mechanisms, in the light of the decline of the standards of efficiency and integrity in selecting top-level employees, the prevalence of bribery phenomenon among companies to rid transactions such as import and export, etc., and the extent of accountability of corrupt officials affiliated and loyal to Iran ..

All these reasons and others are the most important factors in the country’s weakness, plundering its economy and destroying its society..What do Iraqis expect?

Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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On 2/9/2020 at 9:59 AM, Laid Back said:

Partitioning … Is it the future of Iraq?

 

2 hours ago, Laid Back said:

The Iraqi economy between corruption and politics.

 

Thanks Laid Back for these two good well written articles. 

The real question is "Who Will Clean House..? "

Certainly not the US - we have our own corrupt government..!

Definitely not the UN, UK, or the EU...!

Let's hope Allawi will at least start the job - like Trump is trying to do here.

It all starts with exposing those involved.......TJMHO...! :salute:Ron

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On 2/12/2020 at 11:15 AM, ronscarpa said:

 

 

Thanks Laid Back for these two good well written articles. 

The real question is "Who Will Clean House..? "

Certainly not the US - we have our own corrupt government..!

Definitely not the UN, UK, or the EU...!

Let's hope Allawi will at least start the job - like Trump is trying to do here.

It all starts with exposing those involved.......TJMHO...! :salute:Ron

Thanks for your input my friend Ron,

Let’s hope Allawi backed by the US and the pressure of the protesters on the streets could help to tackle corruption and Iran interventionism.

Go RV 

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Iraq , a kidnapped country!

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Once again, a military base where American forces stationed in it near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, was attacked by a missile, last Thursday, and the attack by a “Katyusha” missile, hitting the “Kiwan” or “k1” base where the Iraqi Federal Police and US forces are present. An Iraqi security source confirmed that the American warplanes flew over the city at low altitudes, despite bad weather after the bombing of the base.

For its part, the United Kingdom condemned the attack, and the British ambassador in Baghdad, Stephen Hickey, tweeted, “We strongly condemn the missile attack on Iraqi and coalition forces this evening in Kirkuk.” He pointed out that “it is necessary for the Iraqi government to take urgent measures to deter the armed groups and hold them accountable to undermine the sovereignty of Iraq.”

This is the first attack on the base known as the “K1” since last December 27, when it was bombed by several rocket-propelled grenades at that time, killing an American civilian, and Washington blamed in this attack on the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades.

In another escalation step against the American forces in Iraq, the Al-Nujaba Movement in Iraq announced the start of the countdown of the military response to the American forces, two days after targeting by a missile to a base where Americans are stationed north of the capital Baghdad.
The movement’s spokesman, Nasr al-Shammari, said in a tweet on Twitter – today, Saturday – that this decision is an Iraqi privilege, and that it will not be allowed for the interference for its delay from any internal or external party.

Al-Shammari indicated that “the response will be in the name of the operations of the martyr Commander Jamal”, referring to the real name of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Committee who was assassinated with the commander of the Iranian Quds Force Qassem Soleimani with an American strike in Baghdad early last month.

In line with this threat, four missiles fallen near the US embassy in Baghdad in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to a US military source told “Agence France Presse”, without immediately clarifying whether the attack resulted in damage or injuries.

Several explosions were heard in the Iraqi capital, around 3:30 p.m. local time (12:30 GMT), followed by sounds of planes flying overhead. The siren sounded across the US embassy compound in the fortified Green Zone, according to the US source and a diplomat residing in a nearby area.

It seems that the American Middle Eastern political analyzes expected that the pro-Iranian Iraqi factions would attack the American forces present in Iraq, so the American administration demanded that its response to that provocation be in Syria and not in Iraq, saying, “If the United States launches more military operations in response on Iranian aggression or another by Iran’s proxies, it would be better to do it in Syria, because this would serve the twin goals of avoiding further escalation in Iraq and targeting an important Iranian center. The assassination of Soleimani and the abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on Iraqi soil had enabled Muqtada al-Sadr to exploit local anger to achieve his own goals. Targeting proxy groups in Syria would also send a message that Washington aims to end Tehran’s cross-border project. Operations inside Syria may be more difficult after the United States has fewer allies, but any actions it takes there may be more overt. Finally, US officials should verify how the various Shiite groups are interconnected in Syria and other countries, taking this overlap into account when developing future sanctions. ”

American political analyzes also indicate that response actions must be reviewed and updated regularly, so it is necessary to use any response system and inspect it continuously to ensure that it is still appropriate to its intended purpose. Washington can then change the method of calculating its response rate as secretly as it wants. By reducing the pressure of having to respond immediately for fear of consideration [that the United States] turns its left cheek, such a system can reduce the risk of being drawn into launching retaliatory strikes under dangerous conditions – especially when enemy forces aim to lure American forces into causing side effects. There are already many components of such a system (such as goal examination and proportionality considerations), but they are not incorporated into a logical framework of self-defense.

To get out of the current vicious cycle, the US government needs a more formal retaliation system in which mechanical and political advantages are balanced. Otherwise, Iran and its proxy militia will continue to cross the limits of deterrence until it kills more Americans or painfully wounds them. The assassination of the leader of the “Hezbollah Brigades” Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and the Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani on January 3 constituted a surplus of revenge at the same time, which creates a great danger of unintended escalation and the possibility of undermining the comprehensive American position in Iraq and Syria. Those who desire peace must strive to gradually create a more deterrent system that can reduce the temperature of the US-Iranian conflict.

After lean years of “wars, siege and occupation”, is it not the right of the Iraqi people to stabilize their state and establish a civil state that takes into account the interests of all its citizens, or is this state a dream that is difficult to achieve, and that its destiny to live in a continuous nightmare called the militias and armed factions that kidnapped the Iraqi state, so that It does not take into account the interests of the Iraqi people, and puts Iraq in constant problems with countries, foremost of which is the United States of America. It is always ready to implement an agenda that is being prepared outside Iraq for implementation on its soil!! Armed militias do not work to build countries but to destroy them, and here we ask: How long will Iraq remain kidnapped by it?!

Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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On 2/17/2020 at 8:42 AM, Laid Back said:

Iraq , a kidnapped country!

 

Thanks Laid Back for this interesting & enlightening article..!

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13 minutes ago, ronscarpa said:

 

Thanks Laid Back for this interesting & enlightening article..!

You are welcome Ron,

Thank you for all you do for this forum 👍🏼🙂

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The Iraqi economy and the crisis of budget approval.

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Researcher Shatha Khalil *

Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi

Iraq has been experiencing socio-economic political tensions from 2003 until today, but with varying crises, the most important and most serious of which began last October, from the ongoing street protests that led to the resignation of the Adil Abdul Mahdi government.

It is worth to be noted that the task of the new government is very difficult, with all the question marks and criticism surrounding it, it constitutes half of the real picture of what is happening in Iraq, what will happen to the future of the economy, and the other half, and most importantly, be the reaction of the demonstrators who are the driving force that shakes the streets of the country.

The Iraqi economy today is exhausted and inherited from failed , corrupt and weak governments , controlled by militias, armed groups and religious parties, and the most dangerous is the Iranian influence in Iraq and its control over the militias affiliated with it against the interest of the country, the formation of the next government will be accompanied by more intense external pressure campaigns than ever before, and this what will lead to the ambiguous future vision and ideas for managing the Iraqi economy.

In the chaos that ravages the country, will the new government succeed in building the new Iraq?
The general budget has been not approved, what does it mean:
From a legal point of view, experts point out that the budget instructions for 2019 cannot be continued until 2020, because the budget law is in effect for a period of one year and has full legal implications, whether at the level of spending or budget implementation, and legal procedures indicate that 2020 should be opened with a new budget law that responds and addresses all the problems that occurred in last year’s budget.

As the budget of the current year that was not approved (according to the project proposed by the government) is 162 trillion dinars (135 billion dollars), with a planned financial deficit of 48 trillion dinars (40 billion dollars), including three trillion dinars (2.5 billion dollars) to implement the agreed projects with China, and the government’s delay in sending the draft of the budget in order to include the reform decisions that cost the country more than ten trillion dinars ($ 8.3 billion) will have bad consequences .
Iraqi economists have warned of the dangers of not approving the draft of the budget this year and entering Iraq into the recession in the coming period.

• The budget includes two operational and investment aspects, and delaying its approval means converting the budget into a budget of paying salaries only and canceling investment, and thus high unemployment, and the economic consequences that follow such as entering the country in an economic recession, especially in light of the low demand for oil (the main source of income in the country ) after the crisis of the spread of the Corona virus in China, on the other hand, it will obstruct the development, and the agreement with China will not be implemented, due to the delay of the resigning government in sending the bill to Parliament due to the high deficiency rate.

• A non-reassuring message for investors and postponing investment operations in small, medium-sized projects and large ones that are already stalled. It will also give a negative signal to investors in the private sector to start their investments.

• Failure to approve the budget will create economic stagnation, and if it continues for more than six months, it will inevitably lead to recession, which means that economic losses will be widen to dangerous social joints.

• The risk of recession and its repercussions on the economy and society is very large, as public spending in Iraq constitutes about 45% of the gross domestic product, and that this spending and its high composition via an annual planned budget, have wide positive effects on achieving the real planned growth rates in the national product itself and in particular using the main production forces.
• The most dangerous is severe unemployment, i.e. an increase in the number of unemployed youth of working age who are able to work and find no work. These are the dangers in destroying societies and the low rates of growth, all of which are factors that may lead to further collapse, as the number of the population of Iraq is more than 30 million, and it is expected that their number will reach 50 million within a decade, as more than 60% of Iraqis are under the age of 24 years, and 700 thousand citizens need jobs every year.

• The stumble of planned or new investment spending will lead to an increase in poverty rates due to the annual growth of the population and the workforce that aspires to work and does not find it. Thus, many interrelated interests depending on investment spending especially the new government ones will be stumbled, that ultimately leads to problems in crippling the economy and stopping the investment growth wheel.

The new government and the challenges of reform:
Can the Iraqis be optimistic with the new government, by achieving radical reforms, the government must be strong enough to advance the bitter reality, the ability to control the sources of corruption, and mobilize an elite group of Iraqi officials that respect state institutions and commit to reform and pledge with what they can to fulfill, to reach the desired goals, directing the country’s money and wealth away from the hotbeds of corruption, and towards recovery and reconstruction, as it needs to invest in major infrastructure improvements, especially energy and transportation, in order for the economy to grow.

The development of the private sector should be encouraged without destabilizing the state-owned enterprises, which are the largest source of job opportunities in Iraq, as it suffers from poor performance, to meet the needs of the population.

And the crisis of declining water resources in Iraq to 30% since the eighties of the last century, must take into account the fact that it threatens the whole life in Iraq, where the water supply is facing a decrease that will reach 60% by 2025, which has severe effects on food and electricity production.

And the absence of factors of stability, security, transparency and strong will, which are necessary preconditions for preparing and implementing any program capable of pushing the Iraqi economy forward, and as is known, the Iraqi economy depends, to a large extent, on oil, which provides about 90% of government revenue, but Allocating 70% of the budget to pay the wages of public sector employees who are less productive, the World Bank has estimated that productivity for every Iraqi employee is embarrassing and very low and reaches 17 minutes a day.

As for the Iraqi educational system, too, is suffering from a lack of funding, as the education, construction and health sectors get only about 8% of the budget, and millions of Iraqi children do not go to school and instead go to permanent unemployment.

The lost wealth in the Iraqi border outlets must be controlled, and the imports of the outlets must be controlled, where officials asserted that their imports amount to more than 15 trillion Iraqi dinars annually, which is a large amount, but the problem that arises in this sensitive issue is that up to the sum of these imports not exceeding one trillion dinars only, and this means the largest percentage of these imports leaking into the pockets of militias, gangs, and political forces that control and manage them, and if the government controls this file and manages it properly, it will provide financial revenues that can be invested in solving the problems of society.

Conclusion… The dialogue remains open to several questions about the possibility of the new government in reform, in light of the continuing unrest and the method used in managing crises, where Iraq needs a man to pull the socio-political and economic reality from the bottom of deterioration and corruption, to build it again.
Economic Studies Unit

Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies

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4 hours ago, Laid Back said:

The Iraqi economy and the crisis of budget approval.  Iraq needs a man to pull the socio-political and economic reality from the bottom of deterioration and corruption, to build it again.

 

Thanks Laid Back for another good & informative article - it's very eye-opening..! 

RON :salute:

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2 hours ago, ronscarpa said:

 

Thanks Laid Back for another good & informative article - it's very eye-opening..! 

RON :salute:

Totally agree Ron,

Lets see if Allawi can pull this one out.

 

Go budget 

Go reconstruction 

Go development 

Go economic growth 

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1 minute ago, Laid Back said:

Totally agree Ron,

Lets see if Allawi can pull this one out.

 

Go budget 

Go reconstruction 

Go development 

Go economic growth 

 

I'm hoping he can...focusing on the needs of Iraqis, and what's best for Iraq..!

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