“Tidbits From TNT” Sunday 9-17-2023



CandyKisses:  Internet shutdowns will resume in Baghdad and the provinces Sunday. The reason?

{Local: Al-Furat News} Internet service will stop in the capital Baghdad and the provinces from 4 am to 7 am  Sunday.

Internet service will be cut off during the second round exams for sixth preparatory students, starting tomorrow, Sunday.

The Ministry of Education / Standing Committee for Examinations announced on Sunday, 17/9/2023, the date for the start of the general exams / second round for the sixth preparatory grade for all branches (biological, applied and literary).

CandyKisses:  The Council of Ministers holds its regular session under the chairmanship of Al-Sudani

Baghdad Today – Baghdad

Today, Sunday (September 17, 2023), the Council of Ministers held its regular session under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the Council, Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani. 

The media office of Al-Sudani’s office said in a statement received by “Baghdad Al-Youm,” that “the Council of Ministers held its regular session headed by the Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ Al-Sudani.”

It is noteworthy that the Cabinet session was held today, Sunday, instead of Tuesday, due to the Prime Minister’s travel to America to attend the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly

Shybaby:  WOW…. So what last minute relevant and timely APPROVALS have been made… to warrant this particular “dramatics” of holding it Sunday as oppose to the regular Tuesday schedule?


Tishwash:  Baghdad is rushing to fix the Kurdistan salaries and currency smuggling crisis before the Sudanese-Biden meeting

The countdown has begun for the expected meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani and American Joe Biden, while the event may coincide with two demonstrations in Baghdad, one of which is by supporters of the Sadrist movement.

Several files control the meeting between Al-Sudani and Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations meeting, including Kurdistan salaries and dollar smuggling.

The expected meeting had its level reduced from “extensive” to “marginal” due to objections from wings within the coordination framework and the relationship with Tehran.

The day before yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein arrived in New York to participate in the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, while Al-Sudani will join him soon.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahhaf said in a statement following the announcement of the Foreign Minister’s arrival in New York, “The Iraqi delegation will be headed by Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, and the delegation will meet with many world leaders.”

He continued, “The minister will also hold many political events and a large number of meetings with his foreign minister counterparts.” Iraqi sources close to Washington who had sought to arrange the meeting fear the impact of the issues that were recently raised on the upcoming meeting.

These sources say, “Baghdad is now trying to find solutions to the crisis with Kurdistan regarding the issue of salaries because keeping it suspended is not in the interest of the meeting with the American President.”

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, who visited Baghdad last week, announced that his government had submitted two proposals to the federal government regarding solving the problem of securing financial benefits for the region’s employees.

Barzani said in a press conference after the end of his talks from Baghdad: “We, as the delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government, came to Baghdad to defend the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan and to reach several solutions to the current problems with the federal government.”

The head of the regional government continued, “With regard to the long-term proposal, we need to legislate and amend some laws.”

Regarding the short-term proposal, Barzani confirmed that he presented the proposal to officials in Baghdad: “We are awaiting the Council of Ministers session on Sunday (today) to transfer these measures to the executive side.”

Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani previously confirmed, during his meeting with Barzani last Thursday, that the government is serious about finding radical solutions to deal with the Kurdistan region.

The Prime Minister’s Media Office stated that “the current government’s approach is based on the principle of working towards establishing permanent stability away from disputes,” stressing “the government’s seriousness in finding radical solutions to deal with the Kurdistan region.”

He pointed out that “the government has worked, and is still working, to ensure that the requirements for a decent living for Iraqi citizens, including the citizens of the region, are not affected by any legal or administrative problems.” The United States had called on the federal government and the Kurdistan government to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences regarding the financial budget in a manner consistent with “the interest of the people.”

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a press statement, “We continue to call on Erbil and Baghdad to resolve their problems regarding the budget in a manner consistent with the interest of the Iraqis.”

In the second file, which may hinder the Sudanese-Biden meeting, sources say that the problem of dollar smuggling is still ongoing, and Tehran is threatening Baghdad because of the issue of the opposition parties. US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Elizabeth Rosenberg, met with Al-Sudani a few days ago, but an economics professor warned that the visit indicated sanctions on Iraqi banks.

Sanctions were imposed on 14 Iraqi banks last July, before Baghdad and Washington announced that they would address the situation of those banks that were accused of currency smuggling. Professor of economics at Al-Maqal University in Basra, Nabil Al-Marsoumi, says: “It seems that the visit of US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Elizabeth Rosenberg to Baghdad did not It was not linked only to assisting the Central Bank of Iraq in its efforts to stabilize the exchange rate, but rather to threatening additional sanctions on the Iraqi banking system in the event that dollar smuggling operations continue.”

Al-Marsoumi spoke in a blog post on social media about the Central Bank’s recent reforms to adhere to the digital platform: “But the gap between the official and parallel dollar prices has begun to widen, reaching 20%, which is much greater than the recognized global levels, which amount to only about 2%.” The gap is linked, according to the economics professor, to two important reasons. The first is the prevention of financial transfers through banking channels to countries sanctioned by the United States, especially Iran, which led to financing trade with it by purchasing dollars from the parallel market and then smuggling it to Iran.

The second is the large demand from Iraqi travelers to Iran for dollars from the parallel market because the instructions of the Central Bank do not allow them to buy dollars at the official price, which is a large demand because Iraqi travelers to Iran constitute 55% of the total foreign tourists in Iran, and Iraqis spent about 3,410 dollars in 2022 in Iran. Billion dollar. Al-Sudani said in a statement from his office after meeting with the US Treasury Assistant Secretary that banking reforms: “have contributed significantly to reducing money laundering operations, as well as addressing suspicious trade and reducing corruption.” He stated, “The government has made great strides in implementing its reforms in financial institutions, in the public and private sectors.” On the other hand, the statement quoted Rosenberg as saying that she praised “the great steps taken by the government in the field of financial and banking reform.”

Demonstrations in front of the government headquarters

Meanwhile, information is leaking about the possibility of supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement, holding demonstrations due to the sentencing of 18 officers to imprisonment for attacking the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.

Al-Sadr’s supporters set fire to the embassy last July, after an Iraqi in Sweden burned a copy of the Qur’an.

Al-Sadr, who has been out of politics for more than a year, criticized the government after meeting with the families of embassy officers who were sentenced to imprisonment and expulsion from service.

Al-Sadr said in the text of his response to the complaint of the officers’ families: “It is not surprising that that (Abbasid) government issued that punishment, as they have no companionship from the Qur’an, nor companionship from the faith, and they only have chairs, dinner, and money.”

The judiciary issued rulings that included imprisonment for a period ranging between two and three years for the convicted officers, in addition to expulsion from service against officers of the embassy protection, anti-terrorism, and law enforcement forces. The ranks of the convicted officers range from a major general, 3 brigadier generals, 5 colonels, and 3 lieutenant colonels, in addition to two with the rank of captain.

In addition, a group calling itself the “Iraqi People’s Demonstrators” broadcast a statement in which it called for what it called a major “demonstration” in Baghdad, heading to the Green Zone.

The statement said: “During a whole year, we listened a lot to the promises of the framework government, and their talk about an integrated program to address the crises that the country is going through, but none of that happened.”

The group’s statement criticized the continued rise in the price of the dollar, the drying up of rivers, the shrinking rations, and the lack of attention to poor families. The statement also touched on what it described as a “violation of sovereignty” by Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, and the United States.

The group called on the Iraqis: “to participate in the next major demonstration, which will start from the heart of Baghdad towards the headquarters of the current government.”

The statement indicated that the gathering will take place on Wednesday, September 20, in Nisour Square at 9 am. link