The victory of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party in Iraq’s recent election has put the United States in a wait-and-see position, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis told reporters yesterday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The secretary was in Colorado to preside at the change-of-command ceremony for North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

“History tells us that all wars eventually end, and the decisions you take following a war — comparing the United States leadership after World War II, versus what came out of Versailles after World War I — can set the conditions for the future,” the secretary said, adding that in this case, the United States must first see who is going to be the prime minister, because no party or coalition won enough to govern Iraq on its own.

After World War II

“First, all wars eventually come to an end. By 1948, ’49, after the vicious World War II, the Pacific Island Campaign was as vicious a fighting between two nations that’s ever been in history,” Mattis said. “We all know what Germany did during World War II with death camps [and] with invasions across Europe.”

And yet, by 1948 and 1949, he said, “we were standing up NATO to defend Western Europe, and we were working with Germany.”

“The Marshall Plan was underway,” Mattis said. “We were [also] working with Japan.” Germany and Japan now are U.S. treaty allies, he noted.

Mattis pointed out that despite the rout of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, some terrorists remain in Iraq. “But it was interesting, wasn’t it, that in the midst of everything going on next door in Syria, having recently destroyed the ISIS strongholds in Iraq – they are still isolated cells of them, of course,” the secretary said.

A Responsive Government

The secretary reiterated the United States will have to see whether the new Iraqi leaders form a responsive government.

Mattis noted the Marshall Plan was met with initial skepticism.

“People in 1944 were told basically in five years we’ll be serving alongside German troops and sending locomotives and railroad tracks to Germany,” he said. “We would have laughed in your face, said that’s not going to happen; this is a war to the death. Damn near lost.”

But that’s exactly what we did, he noted.

“So wars rub the veneer off all of us and leave the passions really exposed, and now it’s time for strategic thinking, for looking to the future, and determining how the Iraqi people can dictate their future,” the secretary said, “not external threats from Iran, not money from Iran, not internal threats from ISIS or other terrorists.

“This is between our two governments, and we’ll see what government they end up with,” Mattis said. “So we’ll play that forward. It’s too early to tell.”

(Source: US Dept of Defense)


Source: Iraq News

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Mosul Dam Engineer may be Rescued

By John Lee.

Reuters reports that Bain Capital Credit has been chosen for a 900-million-euro ($1.06 billion) deal to rescue the heavily-indebted Italian engineering firm Trevi.

Among Trevi’s current projects is the stabilisation of Iraq’s Mosul Dam.

More here from Reuters.

(Source: Reuters)


Source: Iraq News

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DNO Completes $400m Bond Placement

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has completed the private placement of USD 400 million of new, five-year senior unsecured bonds to be issued at 100 percent of par with a coupon rate of 8.75 percent. The bond placement received strong investor demand across international markets and was oversubscribed.

The bond issue is expected to be settled on or about 31 May 2018, subject to customary conditions precedent. An application will be made for the bonds to be listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

In connection with the bond placement, the Company has agreed to roll over USD 200 million in nominal value of DNO01 bonds (ISIN: NO0010740392) at 103.25 percent of par plus accrued interest into the new bond. The rolled over bonds will be canceled and USD 200 million of outstanding DNO01 bonds will remain.

Net proceeds from the new bonds will be used towards refinancing the outstanding DNO01 bonds and for general corporate purposes.

Pareto Securities AS acted as lead manager and bookrunner with Danske Bank and SpareBank 1 Markets AS as co-managers and bookrunners.

(Source: DNO)


Source: Iraq News

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DNO Contemplates New Bond Issue

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas company with operations in Iraqi Kurdistan, is contemplating the issuance of a new, five-year senior unsecured bond with a minimum size of USD 400 million through a private placement.

The coupon rate and the issue size will be determined during the accelerated book building commencing today.

The net proceeds from the contemplated bond issue will be used towards the refinancing of DNO’s existing DNO01 bond (ISIN NO 0010740392) and for general corporate purposes.

Existing DNO01 bondholders that participate in the contemplated new bond issue will be given the opportunity to offer part or all of their DNO01 bonds at 103.25 percent of par plus accrued interest at settlement of the contemplated new bond issue.

Pareto Securities AS is acting as lead manager and bookrunner with Danske Bank and SpareBank 1 Markets AS acting as co-managers and bookrunners.

(Source: DNO)


Source: Iraq News

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US puts Sanctions on Iraqi Bank

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on the Governor and a senior official of the Central Bank of Iran, an Iraq-based bank and its chairman, and a key Hizballah official, all of whom have moved millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to Hizballah.

They were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

“Iran’s Central Bank Governor covertly funneled millions of dollars on behalf of the IRGC-QF through Iraq-based al-Bilad Islamic Bank to enrich and support the violent and radical agenda of Hizballah.  It is appalling, but not surprising, that Iran’s senior-most banking official would conspire with the IRGC-QF to facilitate funding of terror groups like Hizballah, and it undermines any credibility he could claim in protecting the integrity of the institution as a central bank governor,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“The United States will not permit Iran’s increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system.  The global community must remain vigilant against Iran’s deceptive efforts to provide financial support to its terrorist proxies.”

Today’s action cuts off Iran’s use of a critical banking network and follows last Thursday’s disruption of an IRGC-QF-associated currency exchange network procuring millions of dollars through the UAE.  Both actions seek to stifle Iran’s ability to abuse the U.S. and regional financial systems.  These actions continue the aggressive campaign against the IRGC and its proxies that the Treasury Department has led under this Administration.

These actions build upon President Trump’s May 8 decision to cease the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and begin reimposing U.S. sanctions that had been lifted under the JCPOA, including against the Central Bank of Iran.

The IRGC-QF was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on October 25, 2007.  The IRGC-QF’s parent organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) itself was also designated on October 13, 2017 pursuant to E.O. 13224 for its support to the IRGC-QF, and consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

Hizballah was designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997 and as an SDGT pursuant to E.O. 13224 in October 2001.  It was listed in January 1995 in the Annex to E.O. 12947, which targets terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process, and also designated in August 2012 pursuant to E.O. 13582, which targets the Government of Syria and its supporters.

Iran’s Central Bank Governor and a Senior Staff Officer

OFAC is designating Valiollah Seif, Iran’s Central Bank Governor, for assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.  Seif has conspired with the IRGC-QF to move millions of dollars through the international financial system in a variety of foreign currencies to allow the IRGC­QF to fund its activities abroad.  Seif has also supported the transfer of IRGC-QF-associated funds to al-Bilad Islamic Bank, an Iraq-based bank which is also being designated today.

OFAC also is designating Ali Tarzali, the assistant director of the International Department at the Central Bank of Iran, for assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.  Tarzali has worked with Hizballah and proposed that the terrorist group send funds through Iraq-based al-Bilad Islamic Bank.

As a result of today’s actions, Veifollah Seif and Ali Tarzali are subject to secondary sanctions pursuant to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR), which implement, among other authorities, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).  Pursuant to the IFSR, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for designated agents or affiliates of the IRGC or persons designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or E.O. 13382 in connection with Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

Today’s designations of Valiollah Seif, Iran’s Central Bank Governor, and Ali Tarzali, assistant director of the International Department at the Central Bank of Iran, do not extend to the Central Bank of Iran.  However, due to President Trump’s May 8, 2018 decision to cease the United States’ participation in the JCPOA, as of August 7, 2018, the United States Government will re-impose sanctions that extend to certain transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, including sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of U.S. dollars banknotes by the Government of Iran.  Furthermore, on November 5, 2018, additional sanctions will be re-imposed on persons knowingly engaging in certain significant transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

Al-Bilad Islamic Bank and Its Chairman and Chief Executive

OFAC is designating Aras Habib, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Al-Bilad Islamic Bank, for assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.  Aras Habib enabled the IRGC-QF’s exploitation of Iraq’s banking sector to move funds from Tehran to Hizballah, jeopardizing the integrity of the Iraqi financial system.  Habib, who has a history of serving as a conduit for financial disbursements from the IRGC-QF to Iranian-backed Iraqi groups, has also helped provide IRGC-QF financial support to Lebanese Hizballah.  Al-Bilad Islamic Bank is being designated for being owned or controlled by Aras Habib.

As a result of today’s actions, Aras Habib and Al-Bilad Bank are subject to secondary sanctions pursuant to the IFSR, which implement, among other authorities, CISADA.  Pursuant to the IFSR, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for designated agents or affiliates of the IRGC or persons designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or E.O. 13382 in connection with Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

Hizballah Official Working with IRGC-QF

OFAC is designating Muhammad Qasir (Qasir) for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah.  Qasir acted as a critical conduit for financial disbursements from the IRGC-QF to Hizballah.  Qasir has worked with the IRGC-QF to transfer funds.

Qasir is subject to secondary sanctions pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which implements the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015.  Pursuant to this authority, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for Hizballah, or a person acting on behalf of or at the direction of, or owned or controlled by, Hizballah.

Identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.

(Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury)


Source: Iraq News

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Video: Corruption Watchdog says $320bn Stolen

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

The parliamentary transparency commission in Iraq says $320 billion has gone missing in the past 15 years, because of government c.

It’s one of many big issues weighing on the minds of Iraqis as they prepare to vote for a new parliament on Saturday.

Al Jazeera‘s Imran Khan reports from Baghdad, Iraq.


Source: Iraq News

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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on May 8 registered $146,004,033 in sales, a 45.59% volume increase from the US $100,281,900 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on May 7.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on May 8 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the May 8 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3694.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to May 8, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $12.38 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to May 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.82 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 2.1 11%
2018 May 0.4 -81%

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Source: Iraq Business News

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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on May 7 registered $100,281,900 in sales, a -31.30% volume decline from the US $145,980,618 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on May 6.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on May 7 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the May 7 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3693.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to May 7, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $12.23 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to May 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.81 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 2.1 11%
2018 May 0.3 -86%

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Source: Iraq Business News

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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on May 6 registered $145,980,618 in sales, a -15.25% volume decline from the US $172,241,200 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on May 3.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on May 6 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the May 6 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3692.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to May 6, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $12.1 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to May 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.81 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 2.1 11%
2018 May 0.2 -90%

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Source: Iraq Business News

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JICA to Support Reconstruction through Development and Rehabilitation of Water Supply and Irrigation Facilities:

On 3 May, 2018, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Iraqi Government signed two loan agreements at Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

These two ODA (Official Development Assistance) loans, amounting to JPY 34,880 million (approximately USD 329 million) in total, will be used for Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project (II) and Irrigation Sector Loan (Phase 2).

The loan agreements were signed by Dr. Maher Hammad Johan, Acting Deputy Minister of Finance and Masayuki Hirosawa, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq.  These concessional ODA loans aim to contribute to economic and social reconstruction of Iraq by supporting the Government of Iraq and Iraqi people in efforts to reconstruct and develop further the basic infrastructures for utilization of water resources.

The first loan, Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project (II) amounting to JPY 19,415 million (approx. USD 183 million), is the second tranche loan for Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project.  The entire project is intended to develop water supply facilities and to improve quantity and quality of water supplied in Basrah city and Hartha city.

A new treatment plant with a reverse osmosis plant and transmission system, including a reservoir and a pumping station, are under construction with the finance of the first tranche, the amount of which is JPY 42,969 million (approx. USD 350 million).  The second tranche will be utilized mainly for construction of transmission lines.  After the completion, approximately 600, 000 residents and businesses in the two cities are expected to have access to clean and reliable water.

The second loan, Irrigation Sector Loan (Phase 2) amounting to JPY 15,465 million (approx. USD 146 million), aims to improve agricultural productivity by construction and rehabilitation of irrigation/drainage facilities and restoration of farmland mainly in the Tigris and Euphrates river basin.

While agriculture is the main source of employment and livelihoods for rural population in Iraq, its productivity remains low due to drought in summer seasons, aged irrigation and drainage systems, and rising salinity level of soil and water, and reduced river inflow from the upstream countries. Following the previous first phase project in similar nature assisted by JICA, this second phase project is expected to contribute to increased agricultural production, reduced soil degradation, more job opportunities, and alleviation of poverty in rural areas.

These loans are very concessional with the low interest rates and long repayment periods: the interest rate of 1% and the repayment period of 20 years including 6-year grace period for Basrah Water Supply Improvement Project (II), and the interest rate of JPY 6-month LIBOR+0.15% and the repayment period of 25 years including 7-year grace period for Irrigation Sector Loan (Phase 2).

(Source: JICA)


Source: Iraq News

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