TNT – “Tidbits From TNT” Saturday 3-9-2024

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Tishwash:  A leader in Al-Fatah identifies the reasons for the continued American presence in Iraq

The leader of the Al-Fatah Alliance, Aed Al-Hilali, today, Saturday, identified the reasons for the continued American presence in Iraq, while stressing the importance of Washington’s commitment to its agreements with Iraq.

Al-Hilali told Al-Maalouma, “The American presence in Iraq is due to, among other things, Washington’s fear for its interests in the region,” expressing its conviction that “it will not abide by any commitment with the Iraqi government.”

He added, “The other issue revolves around the absence of unity in the discourse of the components in Iraq, which Washington is investing in to a very large extent.”

Acting Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, confirmed earlier that Parliament intends to legislate the law ending the American presence in the coming weeks. ink

Tishwash:  Iraqi Militia Subsidiary signs MoU with Chinese Firm

A subsidiary of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), described as “The General Engineering Company“, signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday (Thursday) with the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC).

According to a press release from the PMF, the memorandum covers cooperation in various fields including construction engineering, trade, services, and energy projects, with the aim of establishing joint projects between the two sides. “Several projects across multiple provinces were included in the memorandum,” it adds.

CMEC is a subsidiary of China National Machinery Industry Corporation (Sinomach), which, according to the PMF statement, reported revenues of $43 billion in 2020.

The “General Engineering Company” is understood to be the Muhandis General Company (Sharakat al-Muhandis al-Amma), a powerful new organisation thought to be modeled on Iran’s famous Khatam al-Anbia.   link

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Tishwash:  Head of the Media Commission discusses with the World Bank the information technology strategy in Iraq

The head of the Media and Communications Commission, Ali Al-Muayyad, discussed, today, Friday, the information technology strategy in Iraq with the Central Bank.

A statement by the authority stated, “The Chairman of the Media and Communications Authority, Ali Al-Muayyad, discussed with a high-ranking delegation of World Bank experts the communications and information technology strategy in Iraq and the support that the bank can provide in this field, as well as the efforts that Iraq is making to accelerate the pace of digital transformation and spread digitization in the joints.” Various government initiatives, which came on the sidelines of the 2024 World Bank Digital Summit in Washington.

He pointed out that “the World Bank Digital Summit 2024, held in Washington, hosts senior officials and ministers in governments and the private sector, with the aim of exploring opportunities, accelerating the pace of digital transformation, and reviewing the reality of development in countries of the world, as well as revealing the latest technologies and scientific visions in the field of innovation, communication, and digital transformation.”  link

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Tishwash:  No money, high prices: Kurdistan’s bazaars quiet ahead of Ramadan

Kurdistan Region’s bazaars are quiet ahead of Ramadan because of delays in payments of government salaries and increased prices for certain essential goods.

“There is no salary, nothing,” Iskandar Rahim, an Erbil resident, told Rudaw’s Horvan Rafat on Friday. “Everything has become so expensive and people do not dare to go to the market.”

Sdiq Ahmad, another resident of Erbil, commented on how quiet the market was when he went to do some shopping.

“If they have salaries, people would buy necessities such as meat, chicken, and other home necessities, but now people cannot afford them,” he said. “People are borrowing money for the month of Ramadan.”

Market vendors say that government delays in distributing salaries have slowed their business and many goods are priced beyond the reach of their customers.

Committees from Erbil’s governor’s office are actively overseeing market activity and plan to expand their monitoring during the holy month of Ramadan to more effectively curb price hikes. Shops are usually busy during Ramadan as people buy special foods for the holy month and clothing ahead of Eid. 

“A kilogram of meat has gone up to 20,000 [Iraqi dinars]. It is very expensive,” said Gaylan Maghdid, a butcher.

It has been 40 days since the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last distributed salaries for its civil servants and pensioners.

The government has failed to pay its civil servants on time and in full for nearly a decade. The situation worsened over the past year after Turkey suspended the flow of Kurdish crude oil through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to its Ceyhan port in March following a ruling from a Paris arbitration court, causing the KRG billions of dollars in losses.

Without the funds to meet its payroll, the KRG has turned to Baghdad, which is sending Erbil 618 billion dinars monthly.  ink