New Baghdad Administration Finds Millions Stolen In Corrupt Construction Deals

September 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Baghdad Administration Finds Millions Stolen In Corrupt Construction Deals

In 2013, most of Iraq’s provinces received new governments following elections. One of the first things many of the new administrations did was announce that the previous governorate councils walked away with millions of dollars in corrupt development deals. Over 200 of such cases were just discovered in Baghdad. The new governor blamed the theft for the lack of services in the province. The problem is the new officials are likely to be just as crooked as the old ones as stealing government funds is considered a privilege of holding office in Iraq.

In September, new Baghdad Governor Ali al-Tamimi announced that tens of millions of dollars had been stolen by the previous provincial government. The governor held a press conference saying major politicians and businessmen from the previous administration were involved. He said one project had $68 million taken, while another had $18 million missing, and included such notable landmarks as the Baghdad Airport. In total, the new provincial council turned over 211 cases to the anti-corruption Integrity Commission to investigate. He added that none of the projects surpassed a 5% completion rate, and was the reason why the capital lacked essential services. Baghdad is not the only new local government that has charged the old one with stealing tons of money. Governor Tamimi also has a vested interest in condemning the former council. Tamimi is from the Sadr Trend, while his predecessor was from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law. One of the themes that the Sadrists have been pushing in recent years is that they are against corruption. Moqtada al-Sadr has also become increasingly critical of the premierin anticipation of the 2014 national vote. The governor therefore is killing two birds with one stone by bringing up these cases. He can try to win over the public with his claim of clean government, while taking on Maliki at the same time. The real question is if anything substantive will come of it. Iraq is rated one of the most corrupt countries in the world. That’s because graft has become institutionalized as a means of ruling the country. Taking money is considered part of the compensation for taking a public job, and accepting bribes is how things get done. Therefore there is no push to follow through on any major corruption case. Since these ones allegedly involve powerful people nothing will come of them, and Governor Tamimi is just looking to score political points by making them public.

The Problem Of Institutionalized Corruption In Iraq

July 8, 2013 at 6:57 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Problem Of Institutionalized Corruption In Iraq

Tsparency International is a global organization committed to fighting corruption. In April 2013 it released a report looking at the problem in Iraq, and its attempt to deal with it. Like many that have researched the issue, Transparency International did not find a pretty picture. It found that corruption wasn’t just at the bottom where bribes for example are commonplace amongst the police and bureaucrats. The real theft came at the top where all the political parties were involved in skimming money off of contracts, the oil industry, and the budget. It’s for that reason that Baghdad shows no real interest in dealing with the matter even though there are plenty of offices, laws, and agreements to prevent it from happening. It’s this institutionalization of corruption that will continuously plague the country, and prevent it from reaching its huge potential.

(Iraq Business News)

Every group that looks at corruption in Iraq finds a bleak situation. Corruption was widespread under Saddam Hussein, especially when sanctions cut off much of the country’s money. Almost everyone believes that it got worse after his overthrow in 2003. Transparency International in its annual report on corruption has consistently ranked Iraq one of the worst in the world. In 2012 for instance, it was 169 out of 175 countries with a score of 18 out of 100. The World Bank put Iraq at the bottom 10 percentile of nations trying to control corruption in 2011. The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer found that 77% of Iraqis surveyed believed that corruption had gotten worse in the previous three years with only 4% saying it had decreased. A poll conducted the next year by the World Bank found that 62% of companies said that corruption was a major obstacle to doing business in Iraq. This has all cost the nation tremendously. There’s no way to know exactly how much it has lost, because of theft, fraud, and embezzlement, but there have been several estimates. Judge Radhi Hamza Radhi, the former head of Iraq’s main anti-corruption agency the Integrity Commission said that from 2003-2008 $18 billion was lost. A study funded by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank estimated that $65 billion was smuggled out of the country from 2001-2010. In 2013, the Board of Supreme Audit, which is in charge of checking Baghdad’s finances, believed that $40 billion in illicit funds left the country each year. Those are staggering figures for a country that is trying to pull itself out of wars and sanctions. Losing that much money is simply robbing the future from the nation, and severely handicapping its development.

Corruption is an everyday occurrence in Iraq. One of the most common forms it takes is bribes. According to the Integrity Commission, the police, customs, and the judiciary asked for bribes the most. A poll by Transparency International conducted in 2011 found that 64% of Iraqis said they paid a bribe to the police. That was the worst institution in the survey. Paying money is also expected to get jobs in the police and army as well. This also has an affect upon the economy. The World Bank’s enterprise survey reported that bribes were asked for 33.8% of times in business transactions with the government. This rate varied across the country with some of the province at the high-end being Baghdad, 70%, Karbala, 89%, and Basra at the top at 100%. It was also different based upon the size of the company. For instance, 64% of medium sized firms said they were expected to pay up to get a government contract. At the bottom end, the citizenry to get better services or speed up the bureaucracy usually pays some money. The fact that this goes all the way up to winning tenders with the authorities shows the extent to which corruption is part of the governance of the country. Officials expect kickbacks in most transactions whether it is to get papers filed or to build a power plant. It is because this problem extends all the way to the top that it is such a dilemma for state building.

One cause of this rampant corruption is nepotism and clientelism. Every Iraqi government since 2005 has been a national unity one meaning that every party that wins a seat in parliament gets its own ministry and office. These officials then fill the government with their family members, followers, and tribesmen.

In 2012, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index reported that this kind of clientelism led to massive hiring of unqualified people into the public sector. For example, in 2011 the Integrity Commission stated that there were around 20,000 government workers with fake degrees. The Justice Ministry thought the problem was even worse at 50,000 employees. This extends to politicians themselves. In the 2009 provincial elections, 352 candidates had fake credentials and degrees, and 102 candidates in the 2010 parliamentary vote had them as well. Government offices continuously talk about dismissing all these people, but it either never happens or the ones who replace them are using fake papers as well. Without educated people and technocrats Baghdad can’t hope to carry out the planning and execution of the projects needed to reconstruct the country. What’s more important is maintaining the patronage networks the parties use to stay in power.

This also points to the high-level corruption, which is at the root of the problem in Iraq. In 2009 the Integrity Commission issued 152 arrest warrants for director generals or above, including eight ministers. Former Integrity Commission head Judge Rahim al-Ogaili was forced to resign in September 2011 after he discovered a network of shell companies stealing government funds, which was run by high level officials including some in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office. Ogaili went on to say that the Baghdad had no interest in fighting corruption, and just wanted to protect itself from prosecution. In late 2012, the President of the Board of Supreme Audit told the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction that high-level theft and fraud had become institutionalized. It’s because all of the country’s political parties and their ministries are involved in the systematic theft of government funds that Iraq consistently ranks as one of the most corrupt in the world. It’s one thing for a policeman to take a bribe to look the other way and ignore a crime. It’s quite another for ministers to steal billions, and then have his party block him from going to court for his offense. It’s because those at the top are acting criminally that all those below them are following suit. It’s also the reason why the nation has done nothing about the problem. If all the parties are involved there’s no reason to go after offenders, because it would implicate them all.

This theft affects every aspect of the government. The budget for instance, is non-transparent. The Open Budget Survey gave Iraq a score of 4 out of 100 in 2012, which means hardly any information is made public. That means the people can’t hold officials accountable for what they do with the funds, and they in turn can do what they like without any scrutiny. Oil is Iraq’s most important industry, and brings in billions each month, which offers a huge source of money to steal. Oil smuggling for instance, is still going on from everything from local pipeline tapping to large-scale fraud. This all goes to financing political parties, individual politicians, gangs, and insurgents. Oil smuggling is estimated to have cost $7 billion from 2005-2008. In 2013, a strike amongst oil workers in Basra complained that their management was involved in stealing oil. The government has also failed to install meters upon the entire industry, probably because it would interfere with their nefarious activities. Finally, contracts with the security ministries have repeatedly been found to include kickbacks and other illegal activities. In 2008, former Integrity Commission head Judge Radhi claimed that $4 billion was lost in corruption in the Defense Ministry and $2 billion in the Interior. The fake bomb detectors are a perfect example. Jim McCormick who made and sold the devices was recently convicted of fraud in England, yet Prime Minister Maliki claimed that Iraq had taken care of the issue a long time ago, and that some of the detectors actually worked. To admit to wrongdoing would be to admit that the entire deal was corrupt from the beginning, and included the premier’s office. Instead, the fake devices are still being used throughout Iraq. At the end of 2012, an Iraqi delegation went to Russia to finalize an arms deal for the Defense Ministry, which involved huge kickbacks as high as $500 million allegedly going to the Defense Minister Sadound Dulaimi, former government spokesman Ali Dabbagh, the prime minister’s media adviser Ali Musawi, and various generals and others officers in the Iraqi military. It’s this illegality at the top that makes the situation in Iraq so bad. Iraqi officials seem to think that it is their right to steal the country’s resources and money at every turn. Governance is taking a backseat to greed, negatively affecting daily life and the future.

If the government wanted to it has the tools and resources to combat corruption. In 2007 it adopted the United Nations’ Convention Against Corruption. It went on to develop an anti-corruption strategy with the help of the international organization. It repealed Article 136b of the Criminal Code that allowed ministers to stop investigations and protect their officials. Baghdad has signed onto the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which covers the oil and natural gas fields. It has the judiciary, parliament’s integrity committee, the Integrity Commission and Inspector Generals in each ministry and office to look into corruption, the Board of Supreme Audit to go through public finances, and the Anti-Corruption Committee to coordinate all this work. The problem is there is no will to implement these laws and initiatives or to support these various offices. Instead the heads of the Integrity Commission have routinely been dismissed, and the prime minister attempted to disband the Inspector Generals. The courts are supposed to be independent, but have continuously come under pressure from the government and other forces, which prevents it from convicting anyone but the lowliest officials of corruption. That doesn’t stop Maliki from talking about taking up the fight against this issue every year, but those are just empty words. His State of Law list and all the others are up to their necks in robbing the government till, and therefore has no reason to push the matter. Instead he has stood in the way of investigations, and helped get rid of several Integrity Commission heads.

In its overview of corruption Transparency International pointed out why it is such a pressing issue in Iraq, and why it will not be solved. Everyone from the clerk at a government office to top ministers are stealing billions of dollars each year. Most government contracts involve bribes and kickbacks, while oil is being smuggled and funds stolen. The agencies tasked with fighting this problem have been made ineffective by the leadership who are partaking in this theft. The result is that Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world with no end in sight. As long as everyone in the government feels that they can take a piece of the pie there is no incentive to stop the practice, and it becomes institutionalized as part of running the country.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “Ministries of Defense, Trade, Health, Municipalities, electricity – the most corrupt ministries in Iraq, Parliament official says,” 7/19/11

Dagher, Sam, “Iraqi Report on Corruption Cites Prosecutors’ Barriers,” New York Times, 5/6/09

Al-Rafiydan, Al-Zaman, “Iraqi Integrity Authority Identifies $49M In Corruption, But Recoups Only A Fraction,” MEMRI Blog, 6/15/11

Ramzi, Kholoud, “iraq gets tough on fake qualifications, up to 50,000 jobs at risk,” Niqash, 4/18/11

Shafaq News, “Integrity Commission announces names of wanted in the Russian arms deal investigation,” 11/29/12

Sowell, Kirk, “Inside Iraqi Politics No. 50,” 11/21/12

Transparency International, “Iraq: overview of corruption and anti-corruption,” April 2013

 Posted by  Joel Wing    Musings on Iraq

IRAQ – $84m from Fake Bomb Detector Scam

April 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Zero Tolerance for Corruption

Posted on 25 April 2013

IRAQ BUSINESS NEWS

Before the local elections, an art student climbed the tallest building in central Baghdad and hung a banner depicting a giant eye, with the caption “We can see you”, overlooking the Green Zone.

It’s an image that should be in the minds of all who consider bribery to be a perk of the job, or even an entitlement.

This week in the UK, businessman Jim McCormick was found guilty of selling fake bomb detectors to security forces, many of them in Iraq; he made an estimated $84 million from the scam, and was facilitated by corrupt officials who were happy to take his life-changing backhanders. Many others, however, had their lives changed in very different ways, when they fell victim to the bombs that went undetected by McCormick’s phoney devices.

At a different level, there are many who believe it’s OK to accept ‘gifts’ for simply doing their jobs, and they will always have an excuse for it: “everyone else is doing it”, “I need the money”, “other people are taking more”,

But it’s all part of the same amoral culture that must be eradicated from any civilised society. Finding the culprits is one thing, but making the crime of corruption socially unacceptable is another. The people can see you, and ultimately will have zero tolerance for what you do.

The Undermining Of The Integrity Commission, Part II Of Washington And Baghdad’s Failed Attempt To Fight Corruption

November 9, 2012 at 11:42 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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The Undermining Of The Integrity Commission, Part II Of Washington And Baghdad’s Failed Attempt To Fight Corruption

 Posted by Joel Wing – Musings on Iraq

Iraq is a country where corruption plays a role in everyday life. Politicians hire not only their followers, but also family members into the government. Bribes are the most common way to receive services from the authorities. Public procurement is notoriously manipulated by officials to skim money, and funnel it to their supporters. Theft and graft not only undermines the country’s democracy, but its economy as well as huge amounts of money are siphoned off, usually to foreign bank accounts, instead of used to rebuild the nation. After the 2003 invasion, the United States was hoping to prevent all that from happening in Iraq when it created two new anti-corruption agencies. The lead in this fight was going to be the Integrity Commission. The Americans however, failed to come up with an adequate structure for the agency, didn’t support it, and it was eventually undermined by politicians who did not want a check on their ability to make off with Iraq’s wealth.

Continue Reading The Undermining Of The Integrity Commission, Part II Of Washington And Baghdad’s Failed Attempt To Fight Corruption…

The Rise And Fall Of Iraq’s Inspector Generals, Part I Of Washington And Baghdad’s Failed Attempt To Fight Corruption

November 9, 2012 at 11:34 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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The Rise And Fall Of Iraq’s Inspector Generals, Part I Of Washington And Baghdad’s Failed Attempt To Fight Corruption

Posted by Joel Wing – Musings on Iraq

In 2004, the United States under the auspices of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) created three agencies to fight corruption in Iraq. One of those was the Inspector Generals (IGs), which were to operate within each ministry and government body. That would put them at the forefront of investigating crime. The IGs instantly caused resentment and suspicion, and a fierce battle erupted over who would control them. That undermined their independence, and made them largely ineffective overseers of Baghdad.

The Coalition Provisional Authority created the Inspector Generals to monitor the work of Iraq’s ministries. Order 57 issued in February 2004 created an IG office in each ministry. They were supposed to conduct audits, recommend cases and investigate them, and then pass on the information to the Integrity Commission, the premier anti-corruption agency, and the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. They were given extra authority by having subpoena power. CPA head Paul Bremer appointed the first 29 IGs in June just before he closed up shop, and went back to the United States. It turned out the inspectors didn’t have much authority, because they were not independent, but rather part of the ministries. CPA Order 57 also did not allow cooperation between inspectors from different ministries. The rules and responsibilities were so oblique that many IGs believed that they had to go to their ministers to get permission before they gave any information to the Integrity Commission, putting a huge barrier to any serious anti-corruption work. The Commission set up a coordinating committee to try to solve some of these problems, but it is just for consultation, so its decisions do not have to be followed. The Americans believed that the Inspector Generals in Iraq would operate much like their American counterparts. This was to be a basic check upon the new government’s excesses. It turned out the planning behind its implementation was poor to say the least. The CPA set up a new institutions without giving much thought on how it was going to work within the existing Iraqi bureaucracy, because like too many decisions at that time, the U.S. went ahead with a plan without consulting with the Iraqis.

Continue Reading The Rise And Fall Of Iraq’s Inspector Generals, Part I Of Washington And Baghdad’s Failed Attempt To Fight Corruption…

Kirkuk bombing and State of Law bombs in an attempt to reject an ICR report

September 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Kirkuk bombing and State of Law bombs in an attempt to reject an ICR report

Reuters reports a Kirkuk bombing has claimed 2 lives and left at least thirty-six injured. DPA notes it was a car bombing and that at least 3 are dead with over sixty injured.

 Meanwhile Patrick Cockburn (Independent) observes:

The Iraqi government is seeking to silence critics who accuse it of rampant corruption by removing officials who try to prosecute racketeers and intimidating politicians and journalists who support them.
This month alone it has forced the head of its anti-corruption watchdog to resign. And a prominent Iraqi journalist, who had been threatened for leading anti-government protests, was shot dead in his home in Baghdad.
There is growing anger that the ruling elite is stealing or embezzling much of the country’s $2bn (£1.3bn) a week in oil revenues, depleting funding for electricity, water, health care, housing, education and even rubbish collection.

Tuesday’s snapshot included, “The International Crisis Group has released a new Middle East report which, in the section on Iraq, ‘examines the steady erosion of the credibility of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government resulting from the failure to safeaguard institutions against corruption and abuse.’ The Iraq section can be found here (that’s not PDF, for anyone worried), ‘Failing Oversight: Iraq’s Unchecked Government.’ Corruption is common place in Iraq, the report notes [. . .]” Al Mada attempts to get reactions from Iraqi political blocs. State of Law mumbles a great deal but Abdul Salam al-Maliki keeps calling it a UN report — it’s not a UN report. He also complains about the ‘long’ recommendations. Six recommendations for the government of Iraq are too many? Has he even read the report? Here’s what taxed an al-Maliki:

RECOMMENDATIONS

To the Government of Iraq and to the Council of Representatives:

1. Strengthen the anti-corruption framework to allow for greater and more effective cooperation and coordination between the various state institutions involved in combating corruption, specifically by:

a) allowing all anti-corruption and audit officials to refer criminal matters directly to the courts;

b) guaranteeing the independence of the Inspectors General from government ministers, in particular by providing that ministers and the prime minister play no role in inspectors’ recruitment and dismissal;

c) formalising cooperation between oversight agencies by requiring them, notably the Inspectors General, to adopt standard operating procedures;

d) increasing each oversight institution’s training budget to develop skills necessary to carry out auditing and investigatory missions independently of other institutions; and

e) passing effective witness protection legislation and ensuring public access to government information.

2. Pass political party legislation requiring parties to display financial transparency and publish detailed annual accounts, including all sources of income and expenditures.

3. Reform the Council of Representatives’ bylaws, including by removing administrative matters from the speaker’s prerogatives, facilitating the formulation of legislative bills and accelerating the lawmaking process.

4. Streamline the legislative process by:

a) clarifying and strengthening the working relationship between institutions involved in the preparation of new legislation;

b) clarifying each institution’s role; and

c) establishing clear lines of communication between these institutions.

5. Reform the Council of Representatives’ oversight function to focus on policy implementation through the questioning of senior technocrats and administrative officers rather than politicians.

6. Enact a law that would prevent the head of the Higher Judicial Council from occupying the position of chief justice, and protect the Supreme Court’s independence by forbidding any political interference.

Failing Oversight: Iraq’s Unchecked Government

September 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Baghdad/Washington/Brussels  |   26 Sep 2011

Spreading corruption threatens to undermine the significant progress Iraq has made toward reducing violence and strengthening state institutions.

Failing Oversight: Iraq’s Unchecked Government , the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the steady erosion of the credibility of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government resulting from the failure to safeguard institutions against corruption and abuse. This, along with the related problems of service delivery, constitutes a serious threat to the legitimacy of state institutions and is giving strong ammunition to Maliki’s critics.

“The revolutions that have spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa since December have given new impetus and a sense of urgency to the call for better governance in Iraq”, warns Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “To bolster its faltering legitimacy, Maliki’s government will have to launch a vigorous anti-corruption campaign, improve service delivery and create checks and balances in the state system”.

As violence spread following the 2003 U.S. invasion, and in an environment of escalating kidnappings, explosions and assassinations, public services were thoroughly devastated, and Iraq witnessed an explosive and alarming rise in corruption. Longstanding projects were abandoned overnight, and judges and parliamentarians were targeted. Oversight agencies, which should have been less exposed to risk because of their lack of direct contact with the general population, were forced to roll back their operations, leaving state institutions without effective safeguards against corruption or abuse. As a result, state output declined dramatically for a number of years, even as the annual budget steadily increased due to elevated oil prices. The state’s paralysis contributed to the proliferation of graft, nepotism and other criminal activity throughout the bureaucracy.

In order to strengthen its credibility, the government and the Council of Representatives should develop an anti-corruption framework that will allow for greater and more effective cooperation and coordination between the various state institutions. Likewise, reforms of the Council of Representatives, the most important body in the new oversight framework, have to facilitate the formulation of legislative bills and accelerate the lawmaking process.  In addition, political parties’ independence should be reinforced by introducing binding financial transparency legislation. The U.S. and other members of the international community should encourage these changes and offer immediate and direct support, while publicly expressing disapproval of the government’s resistance to long-overdue legislation designed to repair the damage caused to state institutions since 2003. 

“Until these and other actions are taken, the government will continue to operate virtually unchecked, bringing with it the type of chronic abuse, rampant corruption and growing authoritarianism that is the inevitable result of failing oversight”, says Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. “The types of reform Iraqis are demanding are achievable, but they require unity of vision and good faith – qualities desperately lacking today”.

Religious outrage over Iraq MP expenses

November 7, 2009 at 8:46 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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First Published 2009-11-06

 

Criticism also came from aide to Iraq’s top Shiite cleric

 
Iraqi religious leaders hit out at how MPs secure themselves lavish perks amid election crisis.

 
By Hassan Abdul Zahra – NAJAF, Iraq

An expenses scandal erupted in Iraq on Friday after religious leaders hit out at how MPs have secured themselves lavish perks while failing to ensure the nation’s general election goes ahead.

They said parliamentarians had approved legislation guaranteeing diplomatic passports for them and their families, as well as land and generous salaries and pensions, instead of concentrating on passing a stalled electoral bill.

“We have a big question mark towards members of parliament who vote with unanimity on laws that serve their own interests,” said Sadr al-Din al-Qubanji, a prominent cleric in the holy city of Najaf who is close to Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Iraq’s biggest Shiite party.

“Why is there not such unanimity on the election law?” Qubanji added, referring to legislation designed to regulate national polls planned for January 16, which could yet be delayed due to parliamentary stalemate.

Iraq’s presidential council, which normally rubber stamps legislation, earlier this week said it twice opposed moves by MPs to secure the perks but had been powerless to stop the law from passing at its third reading.

Under the law, an MP will have a monthly budget of around 25,500 dollars (17,230 euros) encompassing a salary of 8,450 dollars and allowances for up to 30 staff, primarily security.

They would receive 80 percent of their MP salary as a pension for 10 years after they retire, as well as a plot of land of up 600 square metres, Baha al-Araji, said a Sadrist MP and chair of the parliamentary committee responsible for shaping legislation.

In addition they will not have to repay a one-off loan for up to 60,000 dollars to buy vehicles including armoured cars. They were eligible to the money under a law passed at the height of the country’s sectarian insurgency.

The presidential council took the unusual step of distancing itself from the legislation in response to vituperative press comment over the numerous benefits MPs had discussed and approved during closed door sessions.

Under Iraq’s constitution, the council can block legislation twice but MPs are then free to approve it if there is at least 60 percent support.

Meanwhile, in the nearby holy city of Karbala, an aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, also criticised parliamentarians’ actions.

“There are a large number of MPs voting for their own diplomatic privileges,” Ahmed al-Safi said.

“When someone acts that way it is difficult to preserve the interests of his own country.”

The head of the Iraqi electoral commission, Faraj al-Haidari, said on Thursday it is now too late to organise a general election for January 16 after repeated delays by MPs in adopting the electoral law.

The final word on the timing of the poll rests with parliament, which meets again on Saturday, but Haidari’s comments are likely to put pressure on MPs to push the date back towards the constitutional deadline of January 31.

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=35554

Tired from Iraqi News…Tired from Your Chaos. By Layla Anwar

August 18, 2009 at 9:42 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Tired from Iraqi News…Tired from Your Chaos.

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues

arabwomanblues.blogspot.com/2009/08/tired-from-iraqi-news.html

Qais Al SindiPainting: Iraqi Artist Qais Al Sindi

August 18, 2009

 

or Bullet points news…

I have a lot of “fresh” news from Iraq, but am very tired tonight and very depressed from what I have heard.

The destruction and resulting political, social, economic. ecological, cultural chaos is so gigantic,so monumental, that I don’t even know with which piece of news to start…

All I can tell you for tonight are two things :

1- Obama and Odierno, confirmed that much more violence is expected in Iraq. Odierno even stated that “areas of conflict” like Kirkuk and Nineveh province will require an indefinite American troop presence. The Americans want to see an Independent Kurdistan, I guarantee you that.

2 – the second piece of news I want to share with you, apart from over 7 explosions in Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdad leaving at least 50 people dead — is that again, Iranian special forces have been caught in Hilla, Babel and parts of Baghdad, armed with explosives, alongside some alleged Al-Qaeda members. All Baghdadis know for sure and agree that this latest wave of violence is also an attempt by the sectarian parties to mobilize their electorate along sectarian lines for the upcoming election – read U.S-Iran operative with the unceasing strategy of country partition.

I said I was going to share two pieces of news only but I can’t stop now…

3- Talabani has summoned in an urgent meeting the Iranian ambassador and expressed his “grave concern” over the fact that Iran has closed off some common lake and river dams in the south and center of Iraq. Talabani assured us that Turkey will help us with some water.

4 – the effect of closing some of the dams, has made it that in some areas like in parts of Diyala along the Euphrates river, the water has flooded many rural houses forcing entire villagers to flee and loose their livelihood in the process.
Another ecological/environmental silent disaster is also taking place, next to desertification/flooding and D.U contamination, that of heavy lead pollution generated by 5 MILLION electrical generators operating on fuel on a daily basis in Baghdad alone – Since there is still no bloody electricity. End result, a dirty thick grey smog covering Baghdad’s sky. Let your UN who is dead worried about global warming and the disastrous effects of climate change, come and produce a report on the climatic/environmental lethal hazards of American occupation(s).

5 – seems that AQ is back in Al-Anbar distributing CD’s and leaflets. The tribal heads like Abu Risha’s relatives confirm it is “regional interference”.
Whenever you hear an Iraqi say regional interference assume he is meaning IRAN.

6 – 3 Sahwa members have been killed by “unknown” gunmen and AQ vows to finish the rest off – read the puppet government forces and Iranian special forces vow to finish the rest off.

7 – In October 2009, a demographic census /survey of the population was to take place under the orders of the ministry of planning. The UN has asked for it to be postponed since the general conditions for such a census cannot take place in today’s Iraq.

The Turkmen and Arabs of Kirkuk and Nineveh are objecting to it since they state they are being forcibly moved, exiled from their houses by the Kurds. This latter wants to continue its ethnic cleansing of these areas. The Sunni Arabs are against it too, since the new demographic census wants to mention population division according to SECT and ETHNICITY in specific areas of Iraq. The Kurds and Shiite puppet government want it to go through as soon as possible. How can it be carried out when there are 5 million refugees displaced inside and outside the country ??? Think of the political implications of such a thing being carried out now.

8 – latest semi official figures for corruption and theft by the puppet government.
420 BILLION DOLLARS MISSING from the Iraqi treasury.

9 – well sourced figure for number of detainees – 300’000. Maliki even said a month ago, if we release one, he can be sure we will detain him again.

10 – well sourced figure for the number of people missing – 400’000.

11 – semi official figure for the number of forged Iraqi nationalities given to non Iraqis (i.e Iranians)- 2 MILLION since 2006. Bear in mind that an Iraqi citizen cannot even get a driving license these days but the puppets do give out Iraqi nationalities to their masters, ever so easily. Do you understand why the Kurds and the puppet Shiites want a demographic census as promptly as possible ?!
Iraq is now considered not only the number 1 country in corruption, but also no.1 in the forgery of documents, from university diplomas to nationalities.

This is making me so bloody tired and so bloody angry at you bastards.

12 – Iraqi journalists, thinkers, writers are complaining that they are being constantly censored and harassed by “democracy”, that some of them don’t even have a center like in the past where they were allowed to gather for discussion and intellectual exchanges, that the authorities including the Union of Iraqi Journalists refuse to issue a journalist ID if this latter is suspected of not towing the official line…and they are asking you and asking the puppet government – what are you so afraid of ?

13 – last but not least, a wave of ABDUCTION AND KIDNAPPING of young Iraqi women is being carried out in the Baghdad suburb of Arassat Al-Hindiya by a very well organized armed group – no one seems to know who they are. No ransom money is being asked and none of the young women has been seen again.

Congratulations.

P.S : I am VERY disappointed in Al-Jazeera Arabic and in the Iraqi presenter Leila Al-Sheikhly whom I thought highly of in the past – for not giving fair and equal air time to anti-occupation, anti-puppet Iraqi intellectuals, in exile but giving ample air time to chauvinistic Kurdish members of parliament and sectarian puppet Shiites from the government.
I suppose Leila Al-Sheikhly is just following her boss’s orders from the control room who is adamant about its pro-official Iran line. I find it sad that Al-Jazeera – Qatar, needs to stoop so low. Just thought I’d mention it.

Painting : iraqi artist, Qais Al-Sindi.

 

Iraq a land of low expectations, by Daud Salman

April 1, 2009 at 10:23 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

McClatchy Washington Bureau

Posted on Tue, Mar. 31, 2009

Commentary: Iraq a land of low expectations

Daud Salman | The Institute for War & Peace Reporting

last updated: March 31, 2009 02:51:41 PM

BAGHDAD — ]

Many Iraqis are skeptical that their newly elected local governments will be able to fulfill their campaign promises of delivering a better life for the country’s beleaguered citizens.

While many acknowledge that the security situation has improved, runaway unemployment, entrenched corruption and faltering reconstruction efforts are continued problems. And few have confidence that their provincial leaders are up to coping with these problems.

Instead, many worry that the failure to tackle these deep-seated problems could slide the county back into civil conflict.

Everywhere they look, Iraqis see problems that seem beyond the ability of local governments to solve.

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