Iraqi Politician Attacks “Central Bank Corruption”

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The controversial Iraqi Sunni politician Ahmed al-Alwani, who is president of the Economic Commission in the Iraqi parliament, ridiculed the notion that if Anbar province gains autonomy, its economy will be weak because the province lacks essential economic resources. He said that large Iraqi provinces can attract a lot of investment.

Alwani proudly claims to be “the godfather of the Anbar [autonomy] project.” He said that “whoever says that Anbar wishes to become an [autonomous] province in order for it to throw itself into the arms of neighboring Sunni Arab states is getting his information from [the wrong sources].”

Alwani is considered to be at the forefront of the Anbar protest movement that started more than two months ago and spread throughout Sunni-dominated areas in Iraq to oppose Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s policies. The protests turned into an open-ended sit-in on the international highway that passes through Anbar and connects Iraq to both Syria and Jordan.

Alwani gained fame when he was reported to have accused Iraqi Shiites of being subservient to Iran and working to serve its interests in Iraq, but he has denied saying that.

Anbar is majority Sunni and the largest of Iraq’s provinces, covering a third of the country. It borders Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and has one of the largest untapped gas fields in Iraq, the Okaz field.

Alwani said that “establishing a province does not mean secession. According to the constitution, [Anbar] should receive a portion of the state budget to manage its affairs, as happens with the Kurdistan region.” He added that “the Iraqi constitution provides for the formation of [autonomous] regions, but it also provides for the existence of federal ministries, such as finance, defense and foreign affairs. This is to ensure the success of the [autonomous] regions project.”

3 Responses to Iraqi Politician Attacks “Central Bank Corruption”

  1. saffar March 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    The problems with Abdel Basit Turki al-Sae’ed are

    1) there is a conflict of interest as he also happens to be the Head of the Bureau of Supreme Audit (BSA). You cannot audit the CBI and be the Head of the CBI. But because the PM office wants to control the CBI, Turki was the best man to select.

    2) he mis-managed the daily currency auction, creating a shortage of dollars in the market. The Dinar has gone down, it is trading at IQD1255=1USD when it used to be at IQD1196=1USD before Turki took over. It proves that Turki has no experience in monetary policy and/or currency stabilization.

    3) he led an questionable audit in September 2012 of the central bank currency auctions convincing him that $800 million is “transferred illegally under false pretenses” outside of the country every week. Strange enough, since he took over the demand for dollars in the daily auction is still $800 million a week and his AML unit has not reported one single suspicious case until now.

    The CBI has lost its independence unfortunately since Abdel Basit Turki took over, simply because he does not have the required background & knowledge and he is a “Yes ” man to the PM office. Remember he is the “Acting” governor, i.e. he is acting like a governor of central bank but he is not one, and that suits the PM office really well.

  2. Nasab March 12, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Totally agree.

    I think it is time to forget this RV thing altogether.

    All the ingredients are there, the PM office controls the CBI as per political agendas, a new CBI puppet head, and an excess demand for foreign hard currency on the iraqi street.

  3. Bob March 14, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    I agree that it is frustrating waitng the for the “RV” to happen. Think of this, no country wants to rely on another contrie’s currency. They would be foolish to do that. They want to control thier own destiny. It will happen, just wait. Unless you are in it for 100k or more, just ride it out.