US Trying to get More out of Relationship with Iraq

From The Economist.

America is trying to get more out of its relationship with Iraq

US President Donald Trump thinks America is being ripped off. “We have spent $7trn—trillion with a T—$7trn in the Middle East,” he told a crowd last year, exaggerating slightly. “You know what we have for it? Nothing. Nothing.”

To right this perceived wrong, Mr Trump has long favoured seizing Iraq’s oil. But after he hinted at the idea with the Iraqi prime minister (who demurred), his aides admonished him. “We can’t do this and you shouldn’t talk about it,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser at the time, according to reports. Still, Mr Trump may be getting what he wants from Iraq in other ways.

When America reimposed sanctions on Iran last year it gave some countries extra time to stop buying Iranian oil before they would lose access to the American market. Most were given 90-day exemptions. In November Iraq, which shares a long border with Iran, was given half that time to cut off electricity and gas imports.

As it negotiated for extensions, American companies made a push for Iraqi contracts. In December, Rick Perry, the energy secretary, led America’s largest trade delegation to Iraq in over a decade. “It was a quid pro quo,” says an oilman. “You give us priority and we’ll give you an exemption.”

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Lukoil confirms Geological Model for Eridu Field

Russia’s Lukoil has successfully completed testing of the fourth well as part of Eridu field (Block 10) appraisal phase in the south of Iraq.

The testing resulted in the commercial flow of dry crude oil that proves the current geological model of Eridu field as effective. ​

Lukoil continues geological exploration at Block 10. For instance, the company plans to drill and test several appraisal wells and to complete 3D and 2D seismic surveys for Eridu field and the block’s southern and central parts, respectively.

Block 10, covering 5.8 thousand square kilometers, is located 150 kilometers west of Basra, 120 kilometers away from West Qurna-2 field.

Interests in the project: Lukoil – 60% (operator), Inpex Corporation (Japan) – 40%. The Iraqi party to the agreement is represented by the state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC).

(Source: Lukoil)

Iraq Stock Market Report

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 10th January 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD672 (+2.2%) / $723 (+2.0%) (weekly change) (+2.0% and +1.8% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 3.5 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.3 bn ($1.1 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • According to the ISX announcement, the opening price of the IQD5.0 mn class bonds (CB125) will be IQD5,314,321 on Sunday (Jan. 13, 2019). [Table: 1.9]
  • ISX will suspend trading of Ahliya for Insurance (NAHF) starting Jan. 16, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 21, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Bain Al-Nahrain Investment (VMES) starting Jan. 13, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 16, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of the following companies on Jan. 13, 2019 due to not disclosing their 3M18 financial results: BASH, HISH, SKTA, HASH, IICM, ITLI, IELI, IMPI, IHFI, IMCM, IFCM, IKHC, SBAG, SIGT and VKHF.
  • Babylon Hotel (HBAY) invited its shareholders on Jan. 9, 2019 to receive their 2016 cash dividend. The company decided in its AGM on Nov. 19, 2017 to distribute 20% cash dividend (IQD0.20 dividend per share).
  • ISX suspended trading of Commercial Bank of Iraq (BCOI) starting Jan. 8, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 13, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • Iraqi Agricultural Products and Marketing Meat (AIPM) resumed trading on Jan. 7, 2019 after discussing and approving 2017 annual financial results.
  • Dar Al-Salam for Insurance (NDSA) invited its shareholders to subscribe to 40% rights issue to reach IQD7 bn paid-in capital.

Rent and Property Prices Increasing in Kurdistan

By John Lee.

Housing prices in Iraqi Kurdistan have reportedly increased by 20 percent in 2018, while rents has gone up by 15 percent.

Citing research from real estate company Baghi Khoshnawati, Rudaw says that demand for rental accommodation in the second half of 2018 has increased by 45 percent compared to the first half of 2018.

It adds that the rent for a house in the Italian Village in Erbil has increased from was $500 per month in May 2018 to $650 now, but “there are no houses available because of high demand“.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

(Picture credit: Jan Kurdistani21)

$2m to Launch of Mosul Heritage Stabilization Program

Cultural Property Consultants (CPC) and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) have been awarded a $2 million grant to launch the Mosul Heritage Stabilization Program (MHSP).

MHSP seeks to assist Iraqis in the preservation and protection of cultural heritage by contributing to the maintenance and promotion of cultural memory, identity, diversity, and freedom of expression in an effort to mitigate the effects of genocide, cultural cleansing, and prolonged conflict in northern Iraq.

Funding for the 40-month project comes from a Department of State Cooperative Agreement, S-NEAAC-18-CA-0043, under the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and is a part of a larger $300 million USAID and Department of State initiative to support Iraqi communities after the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Richard L. Zettler is Project Director and an associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also associate curator-in-charge of Penn Museum’s Near East Section. Michael Danti serves as Project Manager and Allison Cuneo is Project Coordinator. Ali Jubbouri, former dean of the University of Mosul’s College of Archaeology, is the Iraq Team Coordinator. MHSP partners include Mosul University College of Engineering, Consultancy for Conservation and Development, and EAMENA.

(Sources: Cultural Property Consultants, University of Pennsylvania)

NATO to Lead Military Training in Iraq

By John Lee.

NATO is to take the lead in the ‘train the trainer’ mission to teach Iraqi military instructors to impart key skills.

According to a press release from the Combined Joint Task Force (Operation Inherent Resolve), the project will involve such skills as countering improvised explosive devices, civil-military planning, armored vehicle maintenance, and military medicine to their trainees. NMI will train the ISF in multiple capacities and build upon their professional military academies, amongst other critical military schools.

The Coalition will build on the training which has already been delivered to more than 173,000 Iraqis.

(Source: Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve)

Moldova: The most Cost-Effective Passport from Europe

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By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.

Moldova: the most cost-effective passport from Europe

Citizenship by Investment has become one of the most reliable ways to obtain a legal citizenship and passport for many nationalities around the world. Allowing the ability to travel easily and secure a better future for individuals. However, when we talk about obtaining a fast-track second passport or citizenship and without immigration requirements, many come at a hefty price.

The Republic of Cyprus has one of the world’s most famous citizenship by investment programs and it is the only country that can offer a European nationality without ever needing to immigrate or prove residence in the country to obtain it. However, the property investment required to obtain the Cypriot citizenship stands at 2 million EURO which it is not affordable to large number of potential applicants. Many consider Caribbean countries like Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada through which they can achieve a second citizenship with a considerably lower investment amount.

For many investors in the region, some Caribbean countries can pose some difficulties to obtain their citizenship. In some cases, certain nationalities are banned from applying and they could encounter issues to transfer funds to the Government’s accounts due to intermediary banks based in the United States.

Moldova recently launched its citizenship program, the country is located in Europe and investors can obtain its passport without any residency requirements. The program is cost effective and has a quick processing time where applicants can obtain their citizenship in approximately 3 months. Moldovan citizens have visa-free travel to major countries around the world, most notably, Schengen countries, Russia and Turkey. The Moldovan citizenship program requires an applicant to transfer an amount of EUR 100,000 to Moldova’s Public Investment Fund. The amount goes up to EUR 155,000 for an applicant with more than 4 dependents. Another positive feature in Moldova’s CBI program is the ability to transfer citizenship to future generations without restrictions.

Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe with a 4 million population. The country is famous for its world-class wine industry and picturesque landscapes. The service sector has grown to dominate Moldova’s economy and currently composes over 60% of the nation’s GDP. In 2017, total bilateral trade between the EU and Moldova increased by 18% to €4 billion. The European Union’s imports from Moldova increased by 23% in 2017, to the value of €1.6 billion.

Although Moldova is not yet part of the European Union, the EU is Moldova’s first trading partner and the first investor in the country, accounting for over 55% of total trade. The value of agricultural, machinery and transport EU imported products from Moldova also grew confirming the positive trend of growth in Moldovan exports to the EU.

Moldova is actively pursuing joining the European Union member states through the EU Eastern Partnership policy. As part of its effort, Moldova is working on integrating various sectors such as transport, Energy, Technology, Media and Telecom with the EU for the possibility to deepen its corporation with the EU and increase the chances of becoming a member state.

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

HRW claims Children Tortured in Kurdistan

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq is torturing children to confess to involvement with the Islamic State (ISIS), according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Children told Human Rights Watch that in 2017 and 2018, security officers, known as Asayish, used beatings, stress positions, and electric shock on boys in their custody. Most said they had no access to a lawyer and they were not allowed to read the confessions Asayish wrote and forced them to sign.

More here.

(Source: HRW)