Where Do the Millions Go in Iraq?
Luqman Hma Salih | Exclusive to Ekurd.net 10 May 2020
During October 2019 to January 2020, protesters were loud, “Where is my share of the oil profits?” When the protesters took to the streets of Baghdad and reached the microphone with a heavy-handed response talking about the corruption of oil. But most politicians who visited them have not been hoping to solve oil corruption because the real problem in Iraq now is not just corruption itself, but rather it is trying to legitimize the corruption.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : KURDISH TURMOIL / SOUTH KURDISTAN – IRAQ
9 May 2020 – HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) issued dueling statement late on Thursday attacking each other’s conduct during a controversial vote in the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament stripping an opposition lawmaker of his parliamentary immunity.
Earlier in the day, 57 members of parliament, mostly from the KDP, voted to remove Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) lawmaker Soran Omar of the protections he enjoyed as a legislator, which leaves him vulnerable to prosecution. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani filed a complaint against Omar after the MP accused him of corruption.
MESOPOTAMA NEWS Intel: US renews waiver for Iraq to import Iranian electricity after Kadhimi forms government
May 7, 2020 – AL MONTOR – The Donald Trump administration said Wednesday that the United States will renew a sanctions waiver for Iraq to continue importing Iranian electricity; the statement came shortly after Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi managed to form a new government following months of political gridlock. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement after a phone call with Kadhimi, who has received support from both the United States and Iran.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : FIRST STEPS FOR SMASHING PKK HEADQUARTERS IN QUANDIL MOUNTAINS (IRAQ – SOUTH KURDISTAN)
Kurdish tensions in northern Iraq raise prospects of PKK crackdown
Kurdish intelligence source tells MEE of operation being prepared to drive armed group out of Iraq – By Sylvain Mercadier – MIDLE EAST EYE MEE
Published date: 2 May 2020 08:27 UTC | Fears are growing of a major confrontation between Kurdish factions in northern Iraq, as tensions continue to rise between Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over control of a strategic territory.
A power struggle over a mountain pass in Zini Warte as well as an air strike by Turkey on a PKK base on 15 April have led to suggestions that a joint KRG-Turkey operation to drive the PKK out of the region could be in the works.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INTERVIEW : Former Iraqi Deputy PM Saleh Al-Mutlaq: Iraq Not Ready for U.S. Withdrawal; Had We Known Pro-Iran Militias Would Fill the Vacuum, We Would Not Have Voted for the 2011 Withdrawal
Former Iraqi Deputy PM Saleh Al-Mutlaq said in an April 16, 2020 interview on Alsumaria News TV (Iraq) that the Sunnis in Iraq’s parliament did not vote in favor of the recent resolution to expel U.S. forces from Iraq because Iraq is not ready for the U.S. to leave. He explained that in retrospect, the Sunnis would not have voted in favor of the 2008 security agreement with the United States that provided for the withdrawal of U.S. forces by 2011 had it known that it would result in the “security vacuum” that was filled by Iran and its militias in Iraq. He elaborated that this fragile situation is what resulted in the rise of ISIS and he argued that since there are still ISIS forces in Iraq, now is not the time to vote for the expulsion of U.S. forces. In addition, Al-Mutlaq said that the war against ISIS would have lasted much longer were it not for American logistical and military support.
Interviewer: “How come (the Sunnis) did not vote (in favor of expelling U.S. forces)?”
Saleh Al-Mutlaq: “We did not vote for this because the country is not ready for it. When we voted for the (2008) security agreement, which provided for the withdrawal of the Americans by 2011… We would not have voted for it had we known that this would be the outcome.”
Interviewer: “What do you mean?”
Saleh Al-Mutlaq: “A security vacuum was created and it was filled by Iran and its militias in Iraq. This is not the Iraq we want. Nobody wants the Americans to remain in Iraq – nobody wants any foreign country to have a presence in Iraq – but in light of the fragile security situation…
“There are still ISIS cells out there, the military has not been properly (re)built, there are no weapons in the areas where ISIS is present, and nobody has the weapons necessary to fight ISIS… There is a threat that these areas might fall again to ISIS at any moment. This is not the right time to vote for or against the (American) withdrawal. The second point is that you were the one who called upon the Americans, the British and the international community to come and save you because you were in a tough situation. And they came to help you…”
Saleh Al-Mutlaq: “So if you want them out, you need to sit down with them and reach understandings about a timetable for withdrawal, and they will leave. But you cannot expel them in a humiliating way. You invited them and they came to fight by your side, investing all these soldiers, capabilities, and money…”
Interviewer: “(Iran’s supporters) say that the Americans supported ISIS and did not fight them…”
Saleh Al-Mutlaq: “That’s not true. I know all the details. The (U.S.) intelligence services would identify ISIS positions and bomb them. Rest assured that if not for the (Americans’) logistical support, the war (with ISIS) would have lasted much longer.”
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : BY MECRA / MIDDLE EAST CENTER FOR REPORTING & ANALYSIS
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN and MECRA STAFF 3. May 2020
Iraq’s powerful Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd al-Sha’abi) are in the midst of a struggle over who will control them and whether they will remain as one umbrella-group of brigades or split apart. Recent reports that up to four key PMU brigades could pass to control by the Prime Minister’s office in Baghdad have led to questions about the underlying disputes driving the changes.
Militiamen killed in massive, multi-pronged ISIS attack in central Iraq
Khrush Najari | 2 May 2020 – ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In the early hours of Saturday, members of the so-called Islamic State launched a multi-pronged offensive against positions held by Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) militia units in the central Iraqi province of Salahuddin. The attacks have resulted in at least ten deaths among various Iraqi forces, as per preliminary reporting.
Remnants of the terrorist organization attacked militia positions from four main locations in rural parts of Salahuddin, specifically in Tikrit, Samarra, al-Dur, and Balad, according to multiple Iraqi media reports that cited local officials.
Nineveh Plains Transitional Justice Report: April
By Claire Evans International Christian Concern – Posted 2020-04-30 23:20 GMT
While COVID-19 dominates most of daily life in the Nineveh Governorate, sectarian tensions are further defining the landscape. Residents report competing mandates between the governorate and checkpoints operated by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). A fracture within the PMF could further engrain Iranian influence in Nineveh and deepen the governorate’s disputed status. Meanwhile, Shabak activism has increased regarding their growing presence near Christian areas. Christians are negotiating their role with the immigration portfolio in Iraq’s government.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS PKK STATEMENT SOUTH KURDISTAN / QANDIL – KCK-Erklärung zu Zînê Wertê: Wir zeigen uns verantwortlich
Die KCK hat auf die zahlreichen Aufrufe reagiert, dass der innerkurdische Konflikt in Zînê Wertê am Rande des Qendîl-Gebirges in Südkurdistan über einen politischen Dialog gelöst werden muss. – ANF BEHDÎNAN – Montag, 27 Apr 2020, 13:25
Kurdistan Region reopens two border crossings with Iran
Hiwa Shilani | 28 April 2020 – The international border crossing of Bashmakh on the Kurdistan Region and Iran border.
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Interior announced the reopening of two border crossings with Iran starting from April 28.