Iraq protests death toll rises to 300 with nearly 15,000 injured

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Iraq protests death toll rises to 300 with nearly 15,000 injured

Protesters try to scale walls of Iranian consulate
Protesters try to scale walls of Iranian consulate 02:08

Baghdad (CNN)At least 301 people have been killed and nearly 15,000 have been injured in Iraq since the start of anti-government protests in October, the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR) said in a statement Saturday.

The higher death toll includes two people who were killed Friday in the southern city of Basra during violent protests, the IHCR said. Basra is an oil-rich city located some 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Iraq’s capital Baghdad.
Another 100 people were wounded in Basra as Iraqi security forces used teargas and live bullets.
Iraqi demonstrators gather in al-Khalani square in central Baghdad on November 9.

Protests erupted in Baghdad and in several Shiite provinces in the south over unemployment, government corruption and the lack of basic services — such as electricity and clean water.
Many Iraqis blame the current political parties in power for their economic hardship and the scale of the protests, believed to be the biggest since the fall of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003, took the government by surprise.
Following the deadly response from Iraqi security forces, demonstrators are calling for early elections and demanding that the government step down.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi agreed to resign on October 31 after weeks of anti-government protests.
In a televised speech to the nation on Iraq’s Al-Iraqiya TV, President Barham Salih said Abdul Mahdi had agreed to step down on the condition that a successor is agreed to replace him.
“The Prime Minister has agreed to resign,” Salih said, adding that Abdul Mahdi had asked “political blocs to reach an acceptable alternative” in order “to prevent a vacuum.”
Officials have attempted to regain control with the use of lethal force, while also imposing curfews and internet blackouts. The government said it only shoots when attacked, but demonstrators have disputed that.

U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields

(This article is courtesy of NPR news)
(THIS IS LOGICAL FOR OUR PRESIDENT, PUT AMERICAN TROOPS LIVES IN DANGER FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING OUR ENEMIES INCOME AND FUEL FOR THEIR WAR MACHINES TO USE AGAINST SYRIAN CIVILIANS.)(oped: oldpoet56)

Some U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields

U.S. military vehicles drive on a road in the town of Tal Tamr on Sunday after pulling out of a base in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says some troops may remain in northeast Syria to secure oil fields.

Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. may now keep some troops in northeast Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of consequential pivots the Trump administration has made in its Syria policy.

Esper said the troops are needed to secure oil fields from falling into the hands of ISIS and profiting from them, The Associated Press reports. But most recently it was Russian mercenaries, not ISIS fighters, who tried to seize the oil fields and who were repulsed by U.S. airstrikes, NPR’s Tom Bowman reports.

Despite President Trump’s earlier announcements that ISIS is defeated and that he is bringing the troops home rather than being entangled in “endless wars,” the U.S. forces are not heading immediately for home. Instead, they’re being moved to western Iraq to continue to fight ISIS there, Esper said during his overseas trip to Afghanistan and other countries.

Shortly after Esper spoke, President Trump acknowledged during a Cabinet meeting that the troops would be deployed to different areas first — but he added they would then return to the U.S.

“Well, they’re going to be sent initially to different parts, a different method,” Trump said. “Ultimately, we’re bringing them home.”

According to a White House pool report, Trump said of America’s allies in Syria, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”

U.S. forces could be seen withdrawing on Monday. They left a base in Turkey and rolled into the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, NPR’s Jane Arraf reports. Thousands of refugees are also flooding across the border into Iraq, doubtful that the ceasefire the U.S. brokered with Turkey last week will hold, and unsure of what will happen next.

As U.S. forces left the northeastern city Syrian of Qamishli, residents of the majority Kurdish city pelted American military vehicles with potatoes, the AP reported. “Like rats, America is running away,” a man was quoted shouting in Arabic.

There has been widespread criticism of President Trump’s decision two weeks ago to pull troops from northeast Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey to assault the Kurds, key allies with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, says 120 civilians have been killed since Turkey began the operation it calls “Peace Spring” on Oct. 9. The group says 300,000 people have been displaced by the violence.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Monday that Turkish-aligned forces had violated the terms of the ceasefire. The SDF said violent clashes had broken out, with casualties among both the SDF and the Turkish-backed forces.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Jordan on Sunday, leading a delegation meeting with leaders including Jordan’s King Abdullah II to discuss the crisis in Syria.

With the U.S. pulling out its troops, Kurdish commander Mazlum Kobani is predicting his people will be slaughtered.

“There will be ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people from Syria, and the American administration will be responsible for it,” he told The New York Times. He said the U.S. should work “to limit the damage of this past decision and preserve the areas we liberated together.”

Bosnia Will Take back and Try 9 Captured ISIS Fighters

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Bosnia Will Take back and Try 9 Captured ISIS Fighters

Wednesday, 9 October, 2019 – 11:30
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Security Minister Dragan Mektic. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Bosnia is preparing to take back and try nine of its nationals suspected of fighting for ISIS in Syria, its security minister said on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people are believed to have left Europe to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and many await in detention camps to be handed over to their countries of origin.

“We are working to bring back nine persons for whom Bosnia and Herzegovina had issued arrest warrants,” Minister Dragan Mektic told Reuters.

Mektic declined to say when the suspects would be returned to Bosnia, but added they would be handed over to the judiciary immediately upon arrival.

The Sarajevo-based investigative portal http://www.zurnal.ba reported the nine men, all captured and kept in detention camps in Syria and Iraq, should be returned by the end of the week.

According to a 2014 criminal code, all Bosnians who leave the country to fight in foreign wars must be prosecuted under terrorism charges.

According to Bosnian intelligence, 241 adults and 80 children left Bosnia or the Bosnian diaspora in 2012-2016 for Syria and Iraq, where 150 more children were born. About 100 adults, including 49 women, remain there, while at least 88 have been killed or died.

ISIS’s last territorial foothold, in Syria, fell in March this year.

Bosnia’s state court has tried and convicted 46 people who have returned from Syria or Iraq in the past few years.

Several women with children have pleaded with the Bosnian authorities to be allowed to return home but there is still no clear policy in place on how to deal with them because their children do not hold Bosnian citizenship.

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

(OPED: by OLDPOET56)

 

I know that there are a lot of people who don’t even know who the Kurdish people are and that is a shame because they have been a Ally to the U.S. military for decades now. They have fought along side our troops in Syria for years now helping us to defang ISIS and other terrorists in that region. The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group of people in the whole world that does not have a country of their own. The eastern population of Turkey has a huge percent of Kurdish people within their borders as well as in N.W. Syria, Northern Iraq and N.W. Iran. We have armed and trained the Kurd people for many years now but now that ISIS is supposedly defunct in Syria President Trump has turned his/our back on these people again but even worse this time.

 

Turkey’s President Erdogan has been trying to commit genocide of the Kurdish people every since he took office. Now, with the help of Iran and Trumps good friend President Putin of Russia President Erdogan has his military set up 20 miles deep into Syria (against the Syrian governments wishes) for the purpose of killing the Kurd’s. This Turk military action is also against the wishes of President Trump’s other good friend the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia MBS. The only reason that I can think of why President Trump would commit treason against the Kurdish people is because of his butt buddy Putin asking him too. For President Trump to agree with this Genocide of the Kurdish people is beneath the dignity of a snakes belly but then again this plays all to true for this President.

More Than 100 Killed And Thousands Injured In Anti-Government Protests In Iraq

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

More Than 100 Killed And Thousands Injured In Anti-Government Protests In Iraq

Anti-government protesters set fires and close a street during a demonstration in Baghdad on Sunday after nearly a week of unrest throughout Iraq.

Khalid Mohammed/AP

Iraqi authorities say at least seven more people were killed in clashes between protesters and police in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, bringing the death toll from nearly a week of anti-government rallies throughout Iraq to more than 100 with thousands of others injured.

Protesters, who took to the streets on Tuesday frustrated over joblessness and corruption, have been met with live ammunition from security forces attempting to break up the mass demonstrations that have convulsed Baghdad and parts of southern Iraq for days.

So far, 104 people have been killed and 6,107 have been wounded in the unrest, according to figures released by Iraqi security officials. More than 1,200 security members are among the injured.

Demanding better basic public services like electricity and water and renouncing corruption, a small group of protesters assembled seemingly spontaneously last week before being dispersed by security forces.

Then the protesters put out a call to re-converge on social media and the response took observers and government officials aback: Thousands of mostly young adults in their 20s, outraged over inadequate services and poor job prospects in the oil-rich country, came out to push for more opportunity and an end to corruption.

The Iraqi army and police have responded by firing live rounds, tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds. As protests spread to other parts of the country, the bloody clashes continued.

The six days of street demonstrations mark the most serious challenge Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has faced since he assumed office last October. He has committed to meeting with protesters without armed forces to have a dialogue about their demands.

“I will go and meet them without weapons and sit with them for hours to listen to their demands,” Abdul-Mahdi said on Saturday in remarks on state television.

Anti-government protesters run for cover while Iraqi security forces fire live ammunition in the air during a demonstration in Baghdad on Sunday.

Khalid Mohammed/AP

Abdul-Mahdi announced a plan to pay out unemployment assistance and provide government-backed housing for low-income residents in an attempt to satisfy the demonstrators who have set buildings aflame and sparred with authorities.

The United Nations envoy for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, took to Twitter on Saturday to denounce the violence, saying: “This must stop.”

“I call on all parties to pause and reflect. Those responsible for violence should be held to account. Let the spirit of unity prevail across Iraq,” wrote Hennis-Plasschaert.

Protesters called for top government officials to step down, as authorities cut of Internet service in Baghdad and across much of the country.

Demonstrators on Sunday also called for Iran to stop meddling in Iraqi politics.

Amid growing unrest, Marta Hurtado, a spokeswoman for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, urged the Iraqi government to allow citizens to peacefully assembly and exercise their rights to freedom of expression without fear of a violent crackdown.

“The use of force should be exceptional, and assemblies should ordinarily be managed without resort to force,” Hurtado said in a statement.

All incidents in which security forces killed or injured protesters should be promptly and transparently investigated by the government, Hurtado said.

Hurtado also said reports that three journalists covering the protests were detained and the government cutting off Internet service were alarming and should be examined.

“Blanket internet shutdowns are likely to contravene freedom of expression, unduly restricting the right to receive and impart information and may exacerbate tensions,” she said.

NPR’s Daniel Estrin contributed to this report.

Deaths Mount as Iraq Goes to War With Itself

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Deaths Mount as Iraq Goes to War With Itself

ImageAntigovernment protesters behind a burning barricade in Baghdad on Friday. There have been been protests against government corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services.
Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

Iraq is at war again, but this time with itself.

Security forces have repeatedly turned their weapons on fellow Iraqis this past week, killing at least 91, and wounding more than 2,000, as of Saturday.

This past week, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Baghdad and across southern Iraq to protest widespread government corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services such as electricity.

The Iraqi authorities lifted a multi-day curfew in Baghdad on Saturday that many anti-government protesters had ignored. Parliament was set to meet to discuss protesters’ demands, while senior Iraqi officials, including the prime minister and Parliament speaker, were set to meet with protesters.

The harsh response by the security services suggested, however, that they had been given leeway by the leadership to take any steps necessary to halt the protests, signaling how ill-prepared the government was to respond to the demands of its own citizens.

It was also a reminder that Iraq, which never experienced an Arab Spring-like rebellion with people pouring into the streets, had security forces that were trained to deal with terrorism but were a loss to find less lethal ways to control crowds.

“I came out to the streets to ask for reform in my country and to find salvation from the mafias who have stolen my country and was greeted brutally by the security forces,” said Ibrahim Ahmed Yusuf, 34, who was wounded in the neck while demonstrating in Tahrir Square in Baghdad.

ImageProtesters on Tuesday holding a poster that reads “We are all Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi,” referring to the general whose dismissal helped set off the protests.
Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

“We are peaceful protesters, but the security forces treated us with brutality, as if we were animals, not humans demanding our rights,” he said.

There have been protests in Iraq before, and some seemed more violent, including those in 2016, when crowds entered the Parliament and demanded an end to corruption, which is a core demand of the protesters now. This time, however, the protests have come with a broader and deeper sense of the government’s incompetence, and draw support from Iraqi youth, intellectuals and educated people, as well as from some political parties trying to make the most of it.

Many Iraqis are jobless, and despite the end of the largest part of the fight against the Islamic State, as well as the government’s increased oil revenues, little money is being put into jobs programs or improving services, at least not enough that people feel a significant difference in their daily lives.

Iraqis are continuing to protest despite a more violent, at times deadly, response on the part of the security forces, who in some cases have been firing directly at the protesters rather than into the air to disperse them, according to multiple reports from protesters. This itself suggests desperation, even a willingness to risk everything.

“This reflects a broad realization that the system is incapable of reforming itself,” said Randa Slim, a senior fellow and director of conflict resolution at the Middle East Institute.

“But then what is the path forward?” said Ms. Slim, who was in Iraq recently to meet with people from different backgrounds and political orientations. “I don’t think anyone has a clue.”

Image

Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

The protests, which began on Oct. 1, seemed to come out of nowhere, but were apparently sparked by a recent, disturbing political event: the removal in September of a highly respected general, Abdul-Wahab Al-Saadi, from the leadership of the counter-terrorism command.

General Al-Saadi, who was widely believed to have done a good job in fighting the Islamic State, especially on the difficult battlefields of Mosul and Falluja, was peremptorily removed from his job and assigned to the ministry of defense.

General Al-Saadi’s profile — he is a Shiite but not aligned with any party — made him something of an Every-man soldier-hero. His dismissal was explained on the street as linked to his lack of corruption, in contrast to other senior figures, and his refusal to kowtow to the Popular Mobilization Forces, military entities within the Iraqi security forces, some of which have links to Iran.

Whether people knew General Al-Saadi was less important than what he stood for, said Abbas Kadhim, the director of the Iraq Initiative and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who was visiting southern Iraq when demonstrations started.

“This was just a spark that unleashed all built-up grievances,” he said.

“Many of the grievances are not about Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s government,” he added, referring to the prime minister of Iraq. “But when you are the prime minister, you have to pay for your mistakes and those of previous leaders.”

At first, the demonstrations were small, but as the police and security forces responded with violence, they grew in size and quickly spread. The government made little effort to curb the security forces’ violence, and by Friday the Iraqi Federal Police had warned in a statement that snipers who were not part of the security forces were shooting at both the protesters and the police.

Image

Iraqi police officers standing guard in front of torched government buildings south of Baghdad on Friday.
CreditEssam Al-Sudani/Reuters

It was unclear whether these were shadowy entities within the Iraqi security establishment or elements linked to political parties or to neighboring countries seeking to promote instability in Iraq.

Caught off guard by the demonstrators, the government at first met the protesters’ anger with silence, allowing repressive actions by the security forces to dominate the narrative. The prime minister, Mr. Mahdi, put a curfew in place, shut down the internet and called in additional police forces. Then he made a brief statement that backed up the security forces.

Only on Friday — as criticism rained down from the senior Shiite clerics, the United Nations and rights groups, and the repression seemed to have little effect — did the government began to reach out to those among the demonstrators whom they called the “peace protesters.”

The Parliament speaker, Mohammed Al-Halbousi, invited representatives of the protesters to meet with him, offering a laundry list of concessions. Mr. Mahdi also was planning to meet with protesters on Saturday.

The problem is that political parties now smell blood and believe they can topple Mr. Abdul-Mahdi and gain ground for themselves. Already, the leaders of two sizable political parties, Sairoon and Al Hikma, openly criticized the government and called for reform. The former is led by Moktada al-Sadr, the nationalist Shiite cleric who has been a thorn in the side of whoever has been in charge in Iraqi since 2003.

Mr. al-Sadr called for his bloc to stop participation in the Parliament and for the government to resign. If he decides to call his followers to the streets, he has broad influence in Sadr City, a sprawling, largely poor neighborhood of Baghdad that is home to more than a million people, as well as in Iraq’s second largest city, Basra, and elsewhere in southern Iraq.

Unlike the 2016 protests, when many participants were followers of the cleric, these protests include a cross-section of Iraqis, many without ties to political parties.

Different provinces have different demands, however. The disparate goals that drove people into the streets mean that, at least for now, there are no clear leaders to negotiate on behalf of the aggrieved.

Falah Hassan contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 4 of the New York edition with the headline: Iraqi Security Forces Kill Dozens in Week of Protest. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Iraq protests: Death toll rises to 20 as unrest spreads

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

Iraq protests: Death toll rises to 20 as unrest spreads

Authorities impose curfew and cut internet access in many cities as death toll from three days of mass protests hits 20.

Iraq protests: Death toll rises to 20 as unrest spreads
Demonstrators burn tyres during a curfew in Baghdad [Wissm al-Okili/Reuters]

The death toll from three days of mass anti-government protests in Iraq has risen to 20, with hundreds more wounded as authorities imposed curfew in several cities and cut internet access across much of the country to quell unrest.

The protests, which began in the capital, Baghdad, on Tuesday, are mostly spontaneous and without political leadership, staged by disenchanted youth demanding jobs, improved services, such as electricity and water, and an end to Iraq’s endemic corruption.

The demonstrations have since spread to cities across the mainly Shia south, making it the most serious challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government.

In Baghdad, authorities imposed a round-the-clock curfew early on Thursday, saying the measure was meant to “protect general peace” and protesters from “infiltrators” who committed attacks against security forces and public property.

But dozens of protesters defied the order early on Thursday and attempted to gather at the Tahrir Square, prompting security forces to use live rounds and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

“We slept here so the police don’t take the place,” one demonstrator told AFP news agency before riot police fired into the air.

Youths carry away a protester injured during clashes with riot police amidst demonstrations against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central
A protester injured during clashes with riot police during demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square is carried away [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

Early on Thursday, some cars and civilians were seen in the capital’s streets. Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from the capital, said there was an “eerie quiet over Baghdad” but “sporadic gunfire towards Tahrir Square” could be heard.

“The curfew does seem to be working,” he said. “The protesters have been trying to gather in different areas of Baghdad throughout the day, but every time they reach crowds of 50 to 60 people, the security forces disperse them. The government hasn’t indicated when the curfew will be lifted.”

Authorities said travellers to and from Baghdad airport, ambulances, government employees in hospitals, electricity and water departments, and pilgrims were exempt from the restrictions.

Curfew was also imposed in the holy city of Najaf and the southern city of Nasiriya, the site of the deadliest protests so far with a total of 10 people, including one police officer, killed. In the city of Amarah, medics and security forces have confirmed the killing of four protesters on Thursday, bringing the death toll over the past three days to 20.

More than 1,000 others have been wounded in the nationwide protests, while 62 people have been arrested, according to figures from Iraq’s Human Rights Commission.

Meanwhile, approximately 75 percent of Iraq is “offline” after major network operators “intentionally restricted” access, according to cybersecurity monitor NetBlocks.

Residents are wary that more protests could erupt after powerful Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr called for “a general strike”. His political bloc, Sairoon, which came first in last May’s parliamentary elections, is part of the ruling coalition.

Demonstrations over similar issues engulfed the southern city of Basra last summer and effectively ended previous Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s chances of a second term.

Demonstrators gesture at a protest over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Baghdad
Demonstrators at a protest rally over unemployment, corruption and poor public services in Baghdad [Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters]

Anger over high rates of youth unemployment – which is approximately 25 percent, or double the adult rate, according to the World Bank – appears to have set off the latest round of demonstrations.

“We want jobs and better public services. We’ve been demanding them for years and the government has never responded,” said Abdallah Walid, a 27-year-old protester.

The protesters are mostly “angry young people who are not aligned to any political or religious party”, said Al Jazeera’s Khan. “They are simply very frustrated at the fact that they don’t have jobs.”

After a small protest was quickly dispersed by security forces on Tuesday, a social media call went out which resulted in thousands of people taking to the streets, he added. Since then, the protests have spread to other cities in the country’s south.

Meanwhile, two border crossings into Iraq – including one widely used by Iranian pilgrims – have been closed because of unrest in Iraq, Iranian border guards said.

Demonstrators block a road during a curfew, two days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili
Demonstrators block a road in Baghdad during curfew, two days after nationwide anti-government protests turned violent [Wissm al-Okili/Reuters]

According to Iran’s semi-official news agency Mehr, Iranian border guards commander General Qasem Rezaei said the Khosravi and Chazabeh crossings had been closed since late Wednesday but other crossings were open in the run-up to an annual Shia Muslim pilgrimage in Iraq.

The tension has been exacerbated by a near-total internet shutdown, the closure of government offices and at least one overnight explosion that hit the Green Zone, where some ministries and embassies are located.

A security source in the area told AFP there were two blasts, likely caused by indirect fire a little over a week after two rockets hit near the US embassy there.

Demonstrators run as they take part in a protest over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Basra, Iraq October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani
Demonstrators run as they take part in a protest rally over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Basra [Essam al-Sudani/Reuters]

The apparent attack came hours after security forces sealed off the Green Zone “until further notice”, fearing angry protesters would swarm state buildings or foreign missions.

The Green Zone had been inaccessible for most Iraqis since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but had reopened to the public in June.

It has often been the focal point for public anger, including in 2016 when al-Sadr’s supporters stormed it and paralysed state institutions.

Why are Iraqis protesting against the government?

INSIDE STORY

Why are Iraqis protesting against the government?

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Iraq Signs Deals with GCC Interconnection Authority to Transmit Electricity

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq Signs Deals with GCC Interconnection Authority to Transmit Electricity

Monday, 16 September, 2019 – 10:30
Iraq’s Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khateeb speaks during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq December 11, 2018. Hadi Mizban/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Baghdad – Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraq signed Sunday a landmark deal with the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCC IA) for a transmission line.

Initially, the line would import 500 megawatts of electricity to its overstretched grid by 2020 and in competitive Gulf market prices, revealed the Iraqi Electricity Ministry.

The 300-kilometer transmission line would run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC IA, according to the ministry.

Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb signed the deal, which comes amid other agreements signed with huge western firms under the strategy adopted by the ministry to reform and develop the sector, which has been suffering from a deteriorating power supply.

Iraq partly fills its power shortages by importing both electricity and natural gas from Iran.

Musab al-Mudarres, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Iraq seeks to become a promising market for energy by networking with the Gulf system and importing 500 megawatts by 2020, and being the link between the Gulf energy system and Europe’s.

Mudarres stressed that the ministry is working on a road map set to revitalize the energy sector, which depends on the assistance of giant firms such as General Electric (GE) and Siemens.

As for the volume of generated electricity and the target output of the ministry, the spokesperson said that Iraq has a power capacity of around 18,000 megawatts, including the amount imported through Iranian lines. But the ministry aims for 30,000 megawatts in the coming three to four years.

On Saturday, the ministry signed deals with Siemens and Orascom Construction to rebuild two power plants. Also, GE signed a new agreement with Mass Energy Group Holding (MGH) to help boost electricity generation to 4.5 megawatts.

Iraq: Prime Minister to Head to China to Sign MoUs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq: Prime Minister to Head to China to Sign MoUs

Saturday, 14 September, 2019 – 11:00
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (Reuters)
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraqi political and economic circles are optimistic about the upcoming four-day visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Beijing on September 19.

It is reported in some economic circles that the visit will lead to the signing of about 30 memorandums of understanding (MoU) between Baghdad and Beijing including construction, services, trade, and industry.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said last week that Asia and Australia Department organized a consultative meeting for a number of representatives of Iraqi ministries and institutions. During the meeting, the officials discussed the MoUs to be signed during the PM’s visit to China.

PM’s advisor Abdul-Hussein al-Hunayen said that Abdul Mahdi will head to China on the 19th of September chairing a large delegation including ministers, advisers and businessmen.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Hunayen said that the program of the visit includes major projects in roads, transportation, services, education, and health among others.

He noted that both sides have prepared for the visit through continuous meetings with major Chinese companies, and the completion of the funding model through the Iraqi-Chinese joint reconstruction fund.

During the visit, the adviser expects the officials to sign a number of contracts and major agreements in the sectors of industry and agriculture, construction of schools, hospitals, housing, roads, trains, and bridges.

Hunayen also noted that Iraq is considering signing a number of agreements with US companies, such as Exxon Mobil, Gi Group, and others. In addition, Iraq opened its doors to neighboring countries for investments, namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Gulf countries, and Jordan.

Earlier in April, a large delegation of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) visited Baghdad to discuss Chinese investments in the reconstruction of the liberated areas. The delegation met with Iraqi officials and discussed coordinating Iraqi-Chinese cooperation in the fields of reconstruction, security and economy.

China’s Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao told al-Sabah semi-official newspaper that the Chinese side attaches great importance to developing relations with Iraq and looks forward to seizing the opportunity of this visit to make joint efforts with the Iraqi side to further consolidate and deepen bilateral relations.

Zhang expressed his hope that Abdul Mahdi’s visit will contribute to upgrading the level of mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. He also hoped it will enhance human and cultural communication between the two friendly countries in the framework of the strategic partnership.

Differences Between Iraq, Kuwait over Border Issues

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Differences Between Iraq, Kuwait over Border Issues

Wednesday, 4 September, 2019 – 11:15
Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf (MOFA)
Baghdad – Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged Tuesday sending two identical letters to the UN secretary-general and president of the UN security council on controversial border issues with Kuwait. It also referred to a similar letter sent earlier by Kuwait in this regard.

Contrary to the convulsive statements made by Kuwaiti and Iraqi deputies in light of the complaint submitted, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, through its spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf, appeared to have sought to “calmly” deal with the issue.

In a statement, of which Asharq Al-Awsat has received a copy, Sahhaf said that there is a “legal dispute with Kuwait over dealing with a maritime border issue between the two countries.”

“It is in dealing with a border site which we refer to as (base) while the Kuwaiti side refers to it as (island) as the baseline adopted in drawing the maritime border between the two countries at a certain point after sign 162,” he explained.

He also pointed to the ongoing negotiations on the specific point of view.

It is noteworthy that Iraq has already expressed its objection over Kuwait’s unilateral construction projects in the disputed area.

“Kuwait has sent letters to the UN on its position in this regard, prompting Iraq to send identical letters to both the UN secretary-general and president of the UN security council,” Sahhaf explained.

Iraq’s goal is to indicate the legal interpretation of the situation, which would most probably serve Iraq’s favor, Sahhaf added.

Press reports in Kuwait quoted Monday UN diplomatic sources as saying that the Iraqi Permanent Representative to the UN, Mohammed Bahr al-Uloom, delivered a letter to the president of the Security Council requesting it to be circulated as an official document.

Reports added that the Iraqi government has called on the UN to document its official complaint against Kuwait’s’ geographical changes carried out in the maritime area after the sign 162 in Khor Abdullah by installing a port structure over Fisht Al-Eij area unilaterally without taking Iraq’s consent.

Latest developments between Iraq and Kuwait take place after years of calm and communication, which followed a long rivalry as a result of Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait in 1990.