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The Fragmentation of the Political Landscape

The Fragmentation of the Political Landscape

By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Personal Vote Results from Provincial Elections in Anbar and Nineveh: The Decline of Nujayfi and the Fragmentation of the Political Landscape

Following the announcement of the final results on 27 June, the Iraqi elections commission (IHEC) has now also released the personal vote results from Anbar and Nineveh for the postponed provincial elections that were held on 20 June. The results add some interesting information on political dynamics in the two north-western Iraqi provinces.

In terms of comparison with the rest of Iraq, it is clear that politicians in Anbar and Nineveh are struggling in terms of building relationships with their voters. Despite running in the most populous governorate after Baghdad, politicians from Mosul and Anbar mostly fail to make it into the top 15 list of the best vote getters nationally. The five exceptions are Nineveh governor Athil al-Nujayfi of Mutahhidun (40,067 votes), the two top Kurdish politicians in Nineveh (14,218 and 13,672 votes respectively), ex Nineveh governor Ghanem al-Basso (12,716 votes), and Anbar governor Qasim al-Fahdawi (14,503 votes).

Additionally, beyond national comparisons, it is clear that for some of these politicians, personal vote numbers that may come across as decent actually look worse when compared with results in the previous local elections of January 2009. This is above all the case with regard to Nineveh governor Nujayfi. Reflecting his party’s stunning loss of more than 300,000 voters since 2009, his own results declined from around 300,000 personal votes to only 40,000.

And whereas it is clear that Mutahhidun has done a good job nationally in terms of transforming the original Hadba party in Nineveh of 2009 to the dominant force within the Sunni and secular camp from Basra to Diyala, the reversal of its fortune in Mosul itself may suggest that Athil al-Nujayfi’s governorship of that area may have become something of a liability for his brother Usama’s national ambitions (or, alternatively, that the move towards rapprochement with the Kurds is hurting them more there).

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Provinces to Manage More of Own Oil Wealth?

Provinces to Manage More of Own Oil Wealth?

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.

An Iraqi researcher has advised the councils of oil- and gas-producing provinces to take advantage of a loophole in the new amendment to the provincial law recently passed by the Iraqi parliament in order to “issue a law of oil and gas specific to each province, and repeal, retroactively cancel and renegotiate the Oil Ministry contracts (service contracts) in compliance with the choices and priorities of each province.”

The Iraqi parliament voted on June 23, on the second amendment of the Law of Provinces not associated in a region, Law No. 21 for 2008. According to several MPs, this law “addresses the overlap between the powers of local governments and the central government, gives broad legislative and regulatory powers to the provinces and will have a positive impact on all provinces.”

Article 2 of Paragraph 6 of the new amendment states: “The joint disciplines stipulated in Articles 112, 113 and 114 of the Constitution are managed in coordination and cooperation between the federal government and the local governments. In case of dispute between the two, the Law of Provinces not associated in a region gets the priority in accordance with the provisions of Article 115 of the Constitution.”

According to the researcher, Nebras al-Kadhimi, stipulating that the priority goes to the provincial law in the event of conflict between the central government and the province allows provinces to legislate their own laws to exploit oil production.

Kadhimi wrote on his Facebook page, “I have advice to give to the … provincial councils in Basra, Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar province), Amarah (Maysan province) and Kut (Wasit province) in light of the new powers set forth in the amendment of Law No. 21 for 2008, especially Article 2 of Paragraph 6.There is a large gap that you can benefit from. You can actually issue a law on oil and gas that is specific to your province.”

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Citigroup May Fund Iraq-Jordan Pipeline

Citigroup May Fund Iraq-Jordan Pipeline

By John Lee.

Forty companies are reported to be bidding for contracts to build and finance the new pipeline from Haditha to Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba (pictured).

Nateq Balasem Khalaf, deputy director general of the state State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP), told Bloomberg that Citibank is among the bidders, adding that other interested banks and companies are from Russia, South Korea, Japan, Italy, China, Egypt, Jordan, and Germany.

The new crude pipeline would carry 1 million barrels a day, including 150,000 barrels a day for Jordan’s domestic consumption, and the rest for export, while the gas pipeline would transport 252 million cubic feet a day, of which 100 million cubic feet would be exported to Jordan.

SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC) is advising the government on ways to build new routes to export oil currently shipped via pipeline to Turkey and by sea through the Persian Gulf.

Khalaf said that the government plans to build and finance a separate section of the network itself to Haditha from Basra, for which it will ask for bids from pipeline suppliers by the end of the year.

Citigroup, a U.S. lender scaling back in some emerging markets, plans to open offices and branches in Iraq to benefit from an estimated $1 trillion of infrastructure spending there, Mayank Malik, the bank’s chief executive officer for Jordan, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories, said in a June 27 interview.

Iraq will start operating its third offshore export facility for crude by the end of the year and plans to upgrade its two onshore terminals at Basra and Khor al-Amaya, Khalaf said. The government is building 16 crude-storage tanks in the southern port of al-Faw, each with a capacity of 58,000 cubic feet. Four are operational, another four are to be completed by the end of July and the rest by year-end, he said.

Iraq is on track to increase crude exports to 3.5 million barrels a day by the end of 2013, Khalaf said. The country produced 3.15 million barrels a day to 3.2 million barrels a day on average in June, according to an e-mailed Oil Ministry statement on June 29.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Oil & GasComments Off

Weekly Security Update 26 June – 04 July 2013

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By Tom Walker, Director, Assaye Risk

COUNTRY OVERVIEW 

This week saw no huge changes in the security situation other than a marginal increase in the number of high impact bombings and a slight geographical shift south. We continue to see pervading levels of daily violence with significant numbers of fatalities and wounding’s.

The number of people killed in militant attacks across Iraq reached 761 in June, lower than the month of May (where more than 1,000 people were killed in violence, making it the deadliest month since the height of sectarian bloodletting in 2006-07). The vast majority of casualties in June were civilian, with 131 policemen and 76 members of the Iraqi security forces also killed, the United Nations has reported with the worst affected region being Baghdad, where 258 people were killed. Salahuddin, Diyala, Nineveh and Anbar provinces each exceeded 100.

There have been a number of significant attacks across the country this week. On Friday 28 June a series of bombs near a bakery, at a funeral, inside a senior police officer’s car and at a football stadium killed at least 22 people across Iraq. Twin blasts at a neighbourhood football stadium killed five players in Madaen, about 30 km southeast of Baghdad, and a roadside bomb near a bakery shop in the west of the capital left three people dead.

Posted in Security, Weekly Security Update1 Comment

Interpipe Wins Preferred Supplier Status

Interpipe Wins Preferred Supplier Status

Interpipe, the Ukrainian seamless pipe producer, has announced that it is installing a local support team to work in Basra following the company’s approval from South Oil Company (SOC) as a preferred supplier.

The announcement sees Interpipe appoint a new Iraq country manager, based in Basra, with immediate effect. Following several recent meetings in Iraq with South Oil and a lengthy audit of its steel mill in Ukraine, the approval allows Interpipe to participate in local tenders. The meetings in Iraq also saw a tour of the oil fields due to the increasing need to provide a better service of transporting and stocking pipes from the ports.

Duncan Pell, regional director for MENA & Asia, Interpipe ME said:

The development of Interpipe in Iraq is part of our overall growth strategy across the wider Middle East and Africa region. Whilst at the World Economic Forum last week in Jordan, it was clear that the potential of Iraq will be realized over the next few years and Interpipe aim to contribute significantly to driving the Iraqi infrastructure, economy and development.

Andrey Burtsev, regional director, market development, Interpipe ME said:

The approval from South Oil signifies Interpipe’s commitment to Iraq which has the potential to reclaim its historical position as one of the most prosperous economies in the Middle East. With the National Development Plan well under way, we expect to see early signs of success in Iraq from our efforts in the latter half of 2013.

Interpipe has also appointed a local partner in Basra, Al Nukhba Oil Field Services, to provide company facilities and fulfill on-the-ground security requirements.

Interpipe has been working in the steel manufacturing industry since 1895 and produced over 1.1 million tons of carbon steel pipes in 2012.

(Source: Interpipe)

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UN Releases Casualty Figures for June

UN Releases Casualty Figures for June

According to UNAMI figures, a total of 761 Iraqis were killed and another 1,771 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in June.

The number of civilians killed was 685 (including 131 civilian police) and the number of civilians injured was 1,610 (including 221 civilian police). A further 76 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 161 were injured.

Baghdad was the worst-affected Governorate with 950 civilian casualties (258 killed, 692 injured), followed by Salahuddin, Ninewa, Diyala and Anbar (triple-digit figures).

Kirkuk, Babil, Wasit, Basra and Najaf also reported casualties (double-digit figures).

(Source: UNAMI)

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First Deputy Speaker Resigns Amid Queries

First Deputy Speaker Resigns Amid Queries

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

On June, 24 2013, Qusay al-Suhail (pictured), first deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament and a leading member of the al-Sadr bloc, also known as the Liberal bloc, resigned without providing any reasons. Suhail’s decision was attributed to his relationship with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the rage of his leader, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, over Maliki’s role in prohibiting the questioning of a minister in the State of Law Coalition.

An informed political source told Al-Monitor that “Suhail was dismissed and did not resign. He was instructed by Sadr to leave office after the exposure of his role in obstructing the questioning of Minister of Higher Education Ali al-Adeeb, a Shiite leader close to Maliki.”

The source said, “Suhail is accused of favoring Maliki’s State of Law coalition, and has opposed the questioning of several ministers, namely Adeeb. He also played a major role in the Central Bank of Iraq investigations.”

The source noted, “The Liberal bloc has been divided between supporters and opponents of Suhail’s approach and his way of representing the movement.”

On June 11, 2013, Sadr called on Suhail to expose corruption and activate interrogations. He warned him against deviating from the Sadrist line and refraining from exposing corruption. He said that Suhail “built his glory because of Sadr.”

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Black Iraqis Struggle To Shake Legacy of Racism

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

Many people are surprised to hear that there is a black minority of African descent in Iraq, particularly in Basra, and they are even more surprised to hear that this minority is being discriminated against and is falling victim to racism.

Their first reaction would be to repeat that the era of racism against blacks ended decades ago, or with the advent of Islam. But those ideas conflict with the societal reality in Iraq.

Although racism has been illegal under the Iraqi legislative system since the founding of the state in 1921, this minority is trapped by different types of discrimination and racism within society. The legislative and educational systems, as well as the official Iraqi media, need to give special attention to the issue by passing laws that criminalize any form of racism or discrimination, while educating the community in this regard.

Iraq, like other countries in the ancient world, witnessed a wide slave trade, as Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate for over five centuries. The trade was at its peak back then, and slaves of different races were brought to Iraq to be sold in the slave markets.

The Zanj rebellion (869-883 AD) paints a historical picture of the spread of slavery at the time and reflects the intensity of racism and injustice. The rebellion started in Basra, included half a million slaves and swept across a vast country. The rebellion continued to Mecca, where slaves stole the black stone of the Kaaba, seeing it as a symbol of the values ​​of their masters, who had legalized the trade. The rebellion was eventually put down, as thousands were killed and many displaced and brought back to slavery.

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