Qayara Refinery available for Investment

By John Lee.

The Ministry of Oil has announced an opportunity to invest in a 100,000-bpd refinery at the Qayara field in Ninawa governorate.

In a statement, the Ministry said:

The execution is according to the methods of BOOT or BOO and according to the investment law of the refineries No.64 for the year 2007 and its amendments.

The products of the refinery must be environment friendly according to the international standards.

The tax breaks must be according to the investment law No.13 for the year 2006.

In accordance with the second amendment of the investment law No.64 for the year 2007. The subtraction on the crude oil price over the ship is (8%) “The subtraction must be more than 5$ and less than 10$ of the global price”.

The studies, planning and follow-up directorate in the ministry of oil have prepared the data portfolio of the refinery and the price of the data portfolio shall be (30) thousand dollars “nonrefundable”.

The closing date of selling data portfolios is at the end of the work hours of Sunday the 1st of April 2018.

–  The receipt of the documents from the companies which would like to invest in the above mentioned refinery must be to the end of the work hours of Sunday the 15th of May 2018.

The presentation of the documents will be to the Studies Planning & Follow-up Directorate directly in a closed envelop. Otherwise the documents will be rejected.

For further information please contact the E-mails (studies@oil.gov.iq) or (studies.oil@gmail.com).

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

CEO Jailed for Fraud

The owner and chief executive officer of an armored vehicle company was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for his role in orchestrating a scheme to defraud the United States by providing the U.S. Department of Defense with armored gun trucks that did not meet ballistic and blast protection requirements set out in the company’s contracts with the United States.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle of the Western District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.

William Whyte, 72, of King City, Ontario, the owner and CEO of Armet Armored Vehicles of Danville, Virginia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser of the Western District of Virginia, who also ordered Whyte to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay restitution in the amount of $2,019,454.36.

On Oct. 9, 2017, after a two-week trial, Whyte was found guilty of three counts of major fraud against the United States, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of criminal false claims.  Whyte was charged by an indictment in July 2012.

Evidence at trial demonstrated that Whyte executed a scheme to defraud the United States by providing armored gun trucks that were deliberately under-armored.  Armet contracted to provide armored gun trucks for use by the United States and its allies as part of the efforts to rebuild Iraq in 2005.

Despite providing armored gun trucks that did not meet contractual specifications, Whyte and his employees represented that the armored gun trucks were adequately armored in accordance with the contract, the evidence showed.  Armet was paid over $2 million over the course of the scheme, the evidence showed.

The case was investigated by the FBI and DCIS.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Caitlin Cottingham of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Carlton of the Western District of Virginia.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

Iran to process Russian Wheat for Iraqi Flour Market

By John Lee.

Iran is said to be negotiating a deal to import around 100,000 tonnes of wheat per month from Russia, enabling private millers it to increase flour exports to Iraq.

Iraq imports about 3 million tons of flour a year, almost half of its demand of 6.9 million tons a year.

According to a report from Reuters, private millers in Iran are not allowed to use domestic wheat for flour exports.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Iranian flour millers are operating at 50 percent of capacity.

(Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters)

Pentagon Stops Budgeting for Peshmerga Salaries

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

The Trump administration’s budget proposal for next fiscal year does not include peshmerga salaries even as the Pentagon aims to continue training the Kurdish force.

The Department of Defense had requested $365 million in stipends for the year that ends Sept. 30 but did not spend the money after negotiations to extend an expiring memorandum of understanding broke down in September. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had agreed to pay the peshmerga wages in October, but a US Inspector General report released earlier this month said the Kurdish fighters still hadn’t been paid

“Those documents do not specifically refer to training/stipends for the peshmerga,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Al-Monitor in an email today. Lawmakers have yet to weigh in on the $716 billion Pentagon request for fiscal year 2019.

Instead, President Donald Trump’s budget request for the year starting Oct. 1 seeks $850 million to train and equip Iraqi troops with a focus on bolstering the Iraqi Security Forces with Ranger brigades. As part of that amount, the peshmerga force of about 150,000 could still be eligible for up to $290 million in so-called operational sustainment funds aimed at preventing the Iraqi government from becoming more reliant on Iran and Russia, according to budget language.

The shift in focus by the United States comes as the Iraqi Kurds have been marginalized by Baghdad following the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) controversial independence vote in September. As a result, US and peshmerga officials are at odds over how much assistance is actually getting through to Erbil since Baghdad has to sign off on any weapons shipments to the Kurdish troops.

“Right now, the Iraqis are stopping a lot of stuff,” said Michael Knights, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Though the Pentagon acknowledges that the peshmerga proved helpful to the US-backed coalition until the beginning of the Mosul fight in 2016, the Kurdish force has faced difficulties in assimilating US equipment, experts say, in part because the peshmerga relies on its own training structures and tactical formations. The US-led coalition said in December that 5,200 American advisers in Iraq had stopped advising the peshmerga as the Pentagon appears set to draw down its presence.

Over the past year, the United States also sold the Iraqi government nearly $300 million worth of military equipment to outfit two infantry brigades with M-16 rifles, .50 caliber machine guns, up-armored Humvees and mine-resistant vehicles. That was cut down from an initial effort to outfit four peshmerga brigades — each typically between 4,000 to 8,000 troops — including a border unit.

“Peshmerga brigades didn’t fit a US brigade set,” Knights told Al-Monitor. “A lot of the German equipment went everywhere. Gucci German assault rifles got given to commanders and bodyguards.”

The US-led force has trained 26,000 peshmerga over the course of the anti-IS mission that began in 2014. Even though the funding stream appears to be in a winnowing process, the United States and the KRG remain engaged in high-level dialogues, with the peshmerga still playing an important role as the Pentagon aims to curb the influence of Iran-backed Shiite militias that are enmeshed in the Iraqi Security Forces.

In meetings in Washington in November, the head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations called for the United States to do more to encourage talks with Baghdad and keep tenuous supply lines open on the border, including the Fish Khabur crossing, a critical lifeline for the 2,000 US troops serving in Syria.

“We already have border guards,” Falah Mustafa told Al-Monitor in a November interview. “Border guards are wearing Iraqi uniforms, they are on the payroll of the Iraqi government, they are getting instructions and directives from the Iraqi government in Baghdad.”

(Picure Credit: David B. Gleason)

UNDP Iraq Launches Trilingual App

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq launched a trilingual mobile application for iOS and Android to become the first ever UNDP Country Office to have such an application and one of a few within the UN community worldwide.

UNDP Iraq’s Communications Unit led the development process of this application with support on information technology from the Regional Hub.

The Unit explained:

Out of over 37.2 million Iraqis, more than 30.2 million are mobile users*. The UNDP Iraq mobile application was developed not only to keep Iraqi users well informed of UNDP’s support to the people of Iraq, but also to reach out to a wider global audience.

“With its user-friendly design, the application is very informative in terms of highlighting UNDP’s work and impact as well as the country’s progress towards respective Sustainable Development Goals.

The mobile application features news, impact stories, publications, a media library, infographs and visualized data in Arabic, Kurdish and English languages. It is now available for free download from App Store and Google Play.

(Source: UNDP)

RANDY KOONCE UPDATE: “The RV will (should) take place within the next 2 weeks”, 21 FEB

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Whitelions: The recovery of the Iraqi dinar http://economy-news.net/vrsfls/cntnt/pctr/6028.jpg Samir Nusairi After great efforts and exceptional by the Ce ntral Bank of Iraq during the past two years in the development of monetary policy tools and the specific procedures of the specialized departments in the Central Bank and direct supervision of the banking sector and its assessment and

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