Politics


Jordan and Iraq plan to Increase Trade

By John Lee.

King Abdullah II of Jordan arrives in Baghdad today on an official visit to Iraq for talks with President Barham Salih, and Prime Minister Adil Abd Al Mahdi and senior officials, with a view to strengthening bilateral relations and regional development.

According to a report from The Arab Weekly, the two countries are planning a border industrial zone with a possible 50,000 jobs. It would also facilitate exports of tax-exempted Jordanian goods to the Iraqi market.

In recent weeks, the two countries have agreed a series of measures to increase cooperation between the two countries, including a plan to finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will run from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019.

They have also agreed to upgrade the al-Karamah – Terbil Border Crossing.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, The Arab Weekly)

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.”

Read the full article here (subscription needed).

Moldova: The most Cost-Effective Passport from Europe

Advertising Feature

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.

Merger of Parliamentary Committees sidelines Women

By Sara al-Qaher for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Merger of parliamentary committees further sidelines Iraqi women

There are no easy options for Iraqi graduates who want to continue their education with post-graduate studies.

If they have good grades, they may try to obtain one of the few free spots at a public university in the country. If their grades are not good enough to take that path, they could try to find a private university in Iraq to attend or opt to study abroad, which could be cheaper.

Given this situation, a growing number of post-graduate students are choosing to leave Iraq, bound for neighboring countries or India, where numerous post-graduate programs are taught in English.

Click here to read the full story.

Video: Women in Iraq Reclaiming Roles in Society

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The role of women in Iraqi society has come under the spotlight as more women assert themselves in all areas of society.

Rights activists have felt those in charge are resisting the change, but 25 percent of Iraq’s parliament are women and activists feel that is crucial as there is still a long way to go before women are treated equally to men.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Baghdad:

Report: Reviving Mediation on Disputed Internal Boundaries

From International Crisis Group.

Reviving UN Mediation on Iraq’s Disputed Internal Boundaries

The conflict over the disputed territories and the unresolved boundary of the Kurdish region has lingered for decades and occasionally spawned violence.

These open issues leave both Iraq’s territorial unity and the governing system that would result from a reconfiguration of borders clouded in uncertainty, and the country’s post-conflict transition in limbo.

In 2017, a new constellation of forces emerged that may enable a negotiated settlement.

Read the full report here.

PM orders Investigation into Appointment at Civil Aviation Authority

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (pictured) has called for an investigation into the appointment of a deputy director general to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), citing allegation that the appointment was made under threat.

In a statement the Prime Minister said.

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi ordered to conduct an investigation on information indicating the issuance of an administrative order by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority to appoint a person in the position of Deputy Director General of the Authority under threat and intimidation, to consider the administrative procedure related to the position of the Deputy of the Chairman of the Authority frozen and inoperable, and the previous contexts shall continue to work until the completion of the investigation and the confirmation.

“His Excellency called for taking the necessary measures and imposing the most severe penalties on anyone who uses the threat or uses his powers to compel citizens or state institutions to carry out actions contrary to law and order.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

UN raises Awareness of Bias against African-Iraqis

By Saad Salloum for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

UN seeks to raise awareness of bias against African-Iraqis

A recently convened UN committee addressed discrimination against many minorities in many countries, including Iraqis of African descent. Its conclusions shed light on the marginalization of this almost forgotten minority — forgotten especially years after the 2013 assassination of one of its main leaders, Jalal Diab, in Basra.

Diab had posters of Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama on the walls of his school dedicated to teaching poor African-Iraqis in the slums of the Az Zubayr area of Basra.

The two pictures showed an unexpected awakening of identity in the areas of the oil-rich Basra province where this minority lives. And this same province has witnessed popular protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full story.

Iran pushes Iraq Trade without Dollars

By Salam Zidane for Al Monitor. Any views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

 Iran pushes Iraq to maintain trade without US dollar

Iran is exerting considerable pressure on the Iraqi government to compel it not to abide by the US sanctions that have been imposed on Tehran in order for it to change its policies in the Middle East and abandon its nuclear program.

These pressures include using the Iraqi dinar and Iranian rial in the trade exchange between the two countries.

Click here to read the full story.

Iran pushes Iraq Trade without Dollars

By Salam Zidane for Al Monitor. Any views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

 Iran pushes Iraq to maintain trade without US dollar

Iran is exerting considerable pressure on the Iraqi government to compel it not to abide by the US sanctions that have been imposed on Tehran in order for it to change its policies in the Middle East and abandon its nuclear program.

These pressures include using the Iraqi dinar and Iranian rial in the trade exchange between the two countries.

Click here to read the full story.