Clare: Al-Sudani leaves Iraq for Germany
The Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, left Iraq today, Thursday, heading to Germany, at the head of a high-ranking government delegation, to participate in the 59th Munich Security Conference.
The President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, is also scheduled to participate in the Munich Security Conference, which will be held on the 17-19 of February.
According to information obtained by Shafaq News Agency, the President of Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, will participate in the fifty-ninth Munich Security Conference, which will be held from February 17 to 19, with the participation of 45 presidents and prime ministers to discuss global political and security issues, and 100 defense and foreign ministers will also participate in the conference. And internal to various countries of the world, as well as dozens of leaders, prominent global personalities, security and terrorism experts.
The President of the region, Nechirvan Barzani, the French President, the Secretary of NATO, the President of the European Union, and a large American delegation that mostly includes members of Congress, in addition to a Ukrainian delegation and many international delegations, organizations and global strategic and political centers, will participate.
Both Iran and Russia will not participate in the conference, according to conference chairman Christoph Heusgen, who stated that Russia has no place in the conference because it has been proven to have committed war crimes in Ukraine, adding that Iran will also not participate in the conference this time for violating human rights principles, and a number of people will participate instead. opposition figures. LINK
Henig: Parliamentarian calls for speeding up the adoption of the oil and gas law: it will regulate the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil
3 hours ago
A member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Saadoun Al-Sudani, on Wednesday, called for the need to speed up the adoption of the oil and gas law, and while stressing that the law will regulate the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil, he indicated that Kurdistan is required to abide by the decisions of the Federal Court.
Al-Sudani said in a press interview seen by Taqadum that “the issue of oil and gas is one of the most prominent outstanding problems between Baghdad and Erbil, as a result, everyone must resort to the decisions of the Federal Court.”
He added that “the judiciary has proven more than once the unconstitutionality of the sale and export of oil by the region without returning to the federal government.”
“The oil and gas law assumes speeding up its legislation in order to solve this problem,” the member of the House of Representatives said, calling on the regional government to “abide by the decisions of the federation and the constitution, which stand at the same distance from everyone.”
“The oil and gas law will regulate the relationship between the region and the center and will put the dots over the letters,” al-Sudani said. LINK
Clare: Q&A: Iraqi Foreign Minister Discusses US Ties, Currency Issues, Iran Policy
February 15, 2023
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein is visiting Washington this week to discuss with U.S. officials the country’s faltering currency and a new money-tracking program aimed at cracking down on money laundering.
In an interview with VOA’s Kurdish Service, Hussein discussed his country’s strategic relations with the United States, the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, and Iran’s influence in the country, among other issues.
Hussein said his team discussed the sharp decline of Iraq’s currency against the U.S. dollar, an issue that has been tied to Iranian money laundering.
“The Central Bank of Iraq has taken a number of measures that appear in this regard, and I think the currency rate is slowly stabilizing,” he said.
Hussein, who previously served as minister of finance, said a system has been set up in which the United States and Iraq can monitor where money goes.
“Under the new system, it will be more difficult for dollars to move without the knowledge of the Iraqi government and the U.S. Treasury,” he said, adding that “a mechanism has been put in place to regulate the outflow of dollars” from Iraq.
U.S. officials recently met with Iraqi officials in what they called an attempt to discuss “reforms” in Iraq’s banking sector and “a mutual commitment to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.”
Brian E. Nelson, undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, met with Central Bank of Iraq Governor Ali al-Allaq in Istanbul earlier this month.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said Nelson praised Iraq’s “steadfast dedication” to improving its compliance with international standards “and offered continued cooperation in modernizing the banking sector.”
Following a meeting last week with Hussein, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to work with Iraqi officials “to strengthen Iraq’s economy, its integration, reintegration in the region in ways that make a material difference in the lives of the Iraqi people.”
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
VOA: One of the main purposes of your visit to Washington is discussing the rate of the Iraqi dinar against the dollar. Have you reached any conclusions?
Fuad Hussein, Iraq’s foreign minister: Our main reason for coming here is to strengthen ties, especially in the fields of finance and economy, and one of these issues is related to the currency. I think the discussions we had with the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve have reached a good conclusion. The Central Bank of Iraq has taken a number of measures that appear to have support, and I think the currency issue is slowly stabilizing.
VOA: One of the concerns of the United States is that dollars do not go from Iraq to the countries in the region, especially Iran. What steps has the Iraqi government taken to prevent this money from going to Iran?
Hussein: Iraqi society buys everything from abroad, from agricultural materials to food and medicines, and industrial goods. If you look at Iraq’s trade or its trade balance with other countries, you will see that everything comes from abroad. The Iraqi market and the Iraqi government spend a lot of dollars on this. So, the dollar going abroad is fine if it is related to trade. And in fact, most of this is related to trade. However, there was no mechanism on how the dollar would be issued from the central bank, who would receive it from the Iraqi market and how it would go abroad. Now, a mechanism has been established to regulate the movement of the dollar. This mechanism slowly controls the outflow of dollars through smuggling or for other purposes.
VOA: With Iran’s obvious influence in Iraq, can this method prevent dollars from entering Iran through Iraq?
Hussein: We have not come to say that the dollar should not enter this country or that. We have come here to regulate the situation of the dollar in the Iraqi market. When it is regulated in the Iraqi market, this means that dealing with the U.S. dollar will be normal. Some of the dollars that went to some countries in the past were actually our problem — a problem related to the system in Iraq. But with this new system, it will be more difficult for dollars to go elsewhere without the knowledge of the Iraqi government and U.S. Treasury. With this system of the central bank, the entire U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve are allowed to monitor it.
VOA: Did the Americans make demands of you, or did you make any demands of them?
Hussein: We met many officials of this country. They discussed many issues, ranging from politics and the economy to oil, gas, electricity and the investment of U.S. companies in Iraq. They had some comments about their Iraqi policy, and we have reached an agreement on most of the issues that were raised. They support us, and we understand some areas of their policy. In the currency field, there is a good understanding by the Americans of the policy pursued by the Central Bank of Iraq.
VOA: What are some of the other issues that you have not agreed on?
Hussein: We have not come here to agree on everything. They have their own policies. For example, they have their own policy towards Russia, and they have their own policy towards Iran. For us, Iran is a neighboring country, and we treat it differently. This is a reality.
VOA: Baghdad and Washington have a strategic partnership. But some Iraqi factions have been demanding that foreign troops withdraw from Iraq. Does that include U.S. forces?
Hussein: U.S. forces that are still in Iraq obviously need to stay there for Iraq’s security and military interests. But let me make something clear: These are not combat forces. Based on a mutual agreement, these American troops advise and train the Iraqi army and the [Kurdish] peshmerga forces. They have also been helping us with intelligence sharing, especially with regards to ISIS [Islamic State] terrorists.
This story originated in VOA’s Kurdish Service. LINK
Henig: Integrity announces the execution of an arrest warrant against defendants who embezzled 3.5 billion dinars
The Integrity Commission announced on Wednesday the execution of an arrest warrant against defendants who embezzled about 3.5 billion dinars.
The authority said in a statement that “the operation, which was carried out under a judicial warrant, was able to implement a team from the Commission’s Investigation Directorate in Baghdad to execute the arrest warrant issued against a treasurer in the Industrial Bank, and an employee in the State Real Estate Department, for embezzling an amount of (3,428,000,000) billion Iraqi dinars.”
She explained that “the defendants embezzled the amount under (33) instruments written by the Industrial Bank for the order of the State Real Estate Department,” noting that “the instruments are related to a public auction related to real estate belonging to the Ministry of Finance, where the team was able to seize the instruments after the treasurer admitted that he submitted – in agreement with the representative of the State Real Estate Department – to issue the absence of need for the instruments;
In its statement, Al-Nazaha noted “organizing a fundamental report of the operation, and presenting it with the defendants and the seized exhibits to the judge of the Rusafa Investigation Court, which is competent to consider integrity cases, who decided to arrest them in accordance with the provisions of Article 315 of the Iraqi Penal Code, and after believing the statements of the defendants, arrest warrants were issued against other defendants.” LINK
Henig: Integrity: Seven years in prison for the assistant manager of Rafidain Bank branch in Khalidiya
3 hours ago
The Federal Integrity Commission announced the issuance of an adversarial verdict against the assistant manager of the Rafidain Bank branch in Khalidiya, sentencing seven years in prison for harming public funds.
The Investigations Department of the Commission, while talking about the case investigated by the Commission’s Investigation Directorate in Baghdad and referred it to the judiciary, reported that the Rusafa Criminal Court, which is competent to hear integrity cases, issued an adversarial sentence sentencing a seven-year prison sentence against the former assistant manager of the Rafidain Bank branch in Khalidiya, “credit officer”, against the background of issuing (6) letters of guarantee in the amount of (3,411,000,000) billion dinars, without following the required mechanism when issuing letters of guarantee.
She went on to explain that the details of the case indicate that the defendant issued (6) forged letters of guarantee in collusion with the former branch manager, at the request of two trading and general contracting companies Ltd., for the benefit of a company affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Minerals merged with the State Company for Copper and Mechanical Industries, indicating that the issuance of letters of guarantee was without following the required mechanism when issuing them, which is to take commissions and insurances, while taking sufficient guarantees to cover the amount of the guarantee.
The Chamber pointed out that the court, after reviewing the evidence obtained in the case, represented by the statements of the legal representative of the bank who requested the complaint against the defendant and the minutes of the administrative investigation, reached sufficient conviction of her negligence, and issued a verdict against her, based on the provisions of Article (340) of the Iraqi Penal Code.
On the twenty-second of last January, the Authority announced the issuance of a decision to sentence (in attendance) by the Rusafa Criminal Court, to imprisonment for a period of (15) years and a fine of (10) million US dollars on the assistant director of Rafidain Bank / Khalidiya branch, as a result of transferring, transferring and legitimizing the proceeds of the embezzlement crime that it carried out from the bank’s funds. LINK