Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

Another Change to the Second Maliki Government as the Electricity Minister Is Sacked

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 8 August 2011 11:58

Late Saturday night Iraqi newswires began spreading the news: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had sacked the electricity minister, Raad Shalal al-Ani, because of allegations of questionable deals with foreign companies and corruption. Most media commentators reported the act as a fait accompli and began discussing possible successors to replace Ani.

But hold your horses for a moment: Can Maliki really do that? Sack a minister without consulting with anyone else? No, he can’t. Not without the consent of the parliament, as detailed in article 78 of the Iraqi constitution.

In other words, the sacking of the electricity minister must be confirmed by parliament in one of its sessions this week. It should be stressed that when Iraqiyya (the political bloc to which the sacked minister belongs) expressed a desire for a different procedure, namely, for the minister to appear before parliament to answer questions before being relieved of his duties by way of an absolute-majority vote, they are not being entirely faithful to the constitution either. It is true that this kind of procedure exists as an option in the constitution, but it is mainly intended as an avenue for parliamentary initiatives to get rid of a minister. By way of contrast, the prime minister’s prerogative to sack a minister does not stipulate any hearing in parliament, and a simple majority will suffice to confirm the action of the PM.

Given the serious charges of  large-scale, fictitious dealings with two foreign companies, it seems highly likely that parliament will opt to confirm Maliki’s actions in this case.  For the time being, deputy prime minister Hussein al-Shahristani will reportedly take care of the vacant portfolio, which is interesting given the recent government downsizing and reports that Maliki is seeking to give all three deputy PMs more specific portfolios. Any permanent move by Shahristani to electricity would in turn affect the contentious balance between Maliki’s State of Law coalition and Iraqiyya in the current government.

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27 Responses to “Another Change to the Second Maliki Government as the Electricity Minister Is Sacked”

  1. observer said

    Constitutional issues aside,
    I think it is time that the whole corruption issue comes to the fore. Not only the details of this deal should be investigated but the entire portfolio of electrical services should be investigated from Ayham’s time till now. There were reports a few weeks ago in which it was calculated that Iraq has spent over 100 billion dollars in the last 8 years generating electricity (fuel for generators, money spent by government, etc.). For a 100 billion dollars we should have no less than 50,000 mega watts of electrical generation capacity!!!.

    ps
    30 billion (or more like 27 billion) was spent by the government. More by the citizens for generators and diesel, etc (total is supposed to be 100 billion).

  2. Reidar Visser said

    One aspect that seems to come up again and again in the Iraqi media about this is the promptness of Maliki in acting against Ani compared to his failure to take effective steps against previous instances of corruption (such as the trade ministry scandals).

  3. Santana said

    That’s cuz Ani’s mom never taught him to share. LOL….

  4. observer said

    Reidar, and all,
    Frankly I would be disappointed in allawi/Iraqiya if he/they defended the minister as it means that he is no different than any of the others. It is an opportunity for Iraqiya – really – to prove that they are a different brand.

    I am told that there is a meeting going on to decide what to do….

  5. observer said

    Excellent news… Now lets see if the action is going to meet the rhetoric. I wish that they will go deeper and open older files. The electcity problem did not happen today. It has been breweing for years. Ofcourse if Iraqiya opened older files, they are going to be accused of playing politics…. So it is damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I say that it is time to open the corruption files everywhere. Either we have an Iraq worthy of worrying about or let it go to hell as it rotts with corruption.

    العراقية» تؤيد مساءلة وزيرها للكهرباء و«الفضيلة» يدافع عن وزير «العدل»

    الإثنين, 08 أغسطس 2011
    بغداد – عمر ستار/ الحياة
    أبدت «القائمة العراقية» بزعامة رئيس الوزراء الأسبق اياد علاوي تأييدها لمحاسبة وزير الكهرباء رعد شلال وإقالته إذا ثبت صحة الاتهامات الموجه إليه بإبرام عقود وهمية مع شركات أجنبية، فيما أعلنت الحكومة أنها بانتظار أن يصوت البرلمان على قرار الإقالة. في المقابل دافع «حزب الفضيلة الإسلامي» عن وزيره حسن الشمري في أعقاب أحداث سجن الحلة واعتبر الاتهامات الموجهة إليه «مفبركة».
    وكان رئيس الحكومة نوري المالكي قرر السبت إقالة وزير الكهرباء العراقي رعد شلال (من القائمة العراقية) بعد اتهامه بإبرام عقود مع شركات وهمية بقيمة تصل إلى بليون و700 مليون دولار.
    وأكدت الناطقة باسم «العراقية» ميسون الدملوجي في تصريح الى «الحياة» أن كتلتها «لا تمانع في محاسبة الوزير شلال لأنها قطعت وعداً لجماهيرها بمحاسبة كل مسؤول مقصر حتى لو كان من ضمن القائمة أو محسوباً عليها، وهذا ما سيحصل». وأضافت: «إذا ثبتت إدانة وزير الكهرباء سنصوت على إقالته وإذا حصل العكس فإن الكتلة تكون أدت دورها الرقابي في البرلمان».
    وأضافت الدملوجي أن «وزير الكهرباء من الكفاءات العراقية وهو من تكنوقراط الوزارة منذ فترة طويلة وكل الاتهامات التي وجهت إليه حتى الآن إعلامية، وعلينا أن ننتظر نتائج التحقيق أولاً ومن ثم مساءلته داخل البرلمان، وحتى ذلك الوقت فان الوزير بريء الى أن يثبت العكس».
    وزادت: «نأمل أن تكون الاتهامات بعيدة عن الانتقام السياسي أو الابتزاز، ومن جهتنا، سنتعامل مع هذا الموضوع ببعده الوطني وليس الحزبي».
    وأوضح المستشار الإعلامي لرئيس الوزراء علي الموسوي لـ «الحياة» أن «المالكي قرر إقالة وزير الكهرباء على خلفية التعاقدات الوهمية مع شركات أجنبية، إلا أن الإقالة في شكل رسمي لم تتم حتى الآن».
    وبين أن رئيس الوزراء «بصدد تقديم طلب الى البرلمان لإقالة الوزير».
    .
    يذكر أن الكتل البرلمانية في العراق تعرقل باستمرار مساءلة الوزراء والمسؤولين الذين ينتمون إليها، الأمر الذي أدى الى فرار الكثير منهم أو إغلاق ملفات آخرين على غرار دعوى الفساد المقامة ضد وزير التجارة السابق فلاح السوداني (دولة القانون).
    وكان عضو «لجنة النزاهة» جواد الشهيلي أكد أن معلومات وردت إلى اللجنة تفيد بصدور مذكرة إلقاء قبض ثانية بحق وزير الدولة لشؤون مجلس النواب الحالي صفاء الدين الصافي (دولة القانون)، لكنه كشف عن «ضغوط مورست على القاضي المختص لإلغاء أمر القبض».
    الى ذلك، دافع «حزب الفضيلة» عن وزير العدل حسن الشمري الذي ينتمي إليه، اثر اتهامات له بالمسؤولية عن أحداث سجن «الحلة» أول من أمس ودعوات الى إقالته. وقال رئيس «كتلة الفضيلة» البرلمانية عمار طعمة إن «الهجمة العدائية المقصودة لاستهداف وزير العدل وإجراءاته الإصلاحية في إدارة الوزارة، تقف خلفها دوافع سياسية ضيقة ومنطلقات ترتبط بأمزجة أشخاص عـُرفوا بفبركة الأحداث وقلب الحقائق وصولاً الى أهداف غير مقبولة».
    __._,_.___

  6. Salah said

    Maliki he lead an Ali Baba government in Iraqi he is the head of the most corrupted government ever in Iraq history.

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Well, today’s parliament session is underway now and no vote on the electricity minister is on the official agenda yet. Incidentally, there are also media reports to the effect that the draft law on the strategic policy council has been received in parliament and the first reading may be on Thursday.

  8. observer said

    been told that there are documents that implicate shehrestani and maliki in same deal of fake companies… The plot thickens!! Nothing is simple in Iraq – eh?

  9. Reidar Visser said

    Are you sure it’s the same deal? There are of course reports that Maliki got involved in some electricity deals, I think with Korean companies, during state visits to foreign countries, but I’m not sure if those are the same ones.

  10. observer said

    i am told it is the same deal.

    On Korea — Hussien Uzri refused to issue the LCs requested by Maliki without a sovereign guarantee. Within 1/2 hour he had to leave his office when he was told that he would be arrested.!! (so I was told)..

  11. Yes it is the same deal although Shahrestany said that the deal was cancelled. Maliki probably doesn’t want Ani to testify in parliament because he might uncover some unpleasant things, guess who got the cheapest life in Iraq? Ani’s of course, I feel sorry for the guy.

  12. JWing said

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if these corruption cases are real. Earlier there were also stories about millions of dollars in fuel meant for power plants being stolen by gangs working with members of the Ministry as well. It’s just as corrupt as the rest of the government. That being said, my overwhelming feeling is that the Minister is being scapegoated because of the rising temperatures and the return of blackouts. Maliki was under a lot of pressure in early 2011 due to the protests, and made a big deal about all these new deals to provide power, while quietly saying that nothing substantive could be done about supply until 2013 at the earliest. There is no way possible to increase power output, anger is growing again, sack the Electricity Minister!

  13. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Just to clarify, I agree with most things you say on this website, and admire your courage for going back to Iraq and helping to rebuild. Your more recent posts where you advocate that Iraq will probably need a generation at least before things can truly stabilize is probably true, and that it in the iterim we must protect democratic institutions is also correct. Where I have disagreed with Iraqiya in general is that it seems that they and others like ISCI play obstructionist politics in Iraq. For example, Allawi is so consumed with the national security council and security file in general, that bigger issues that impact the day to day lives of Iraqis are ignored or intentionally delayed. I have always advocated a focus on the real things that make a difference in people’s lives: electricity, healthcare, jobs, and education. Fix those issues and violence and security will not be a problem. When people live in poverty, crime and corruption will be rampant. There are areas of Detroit or East Los Angles. that I would not dare walk the streets on in the middle of the night because of the crime there: and they are the poorest places in America. Poverty and lack of infrastructure development is the real national security problem facing Iraq. Have Allawi build a power station in Falluja so that everybody there has electricity 24/7 and as part of the deal, you can hire locals to guard it (kill two birds with one stone).

    Now, you bring up the issue of Iraq spending 30 Billion and only having 7-8 thousand megawatts of capacity. Total incompetence. The question is why? Somebody told me they were watching an Iraqi news channel prior to the last election and an ISCI official was caught on camera basically saying: “We cannot allow electricity to be developed under al-Maliki because then people would love him and our group would lose out (paraphrasing this).” Strangely enough, that tactic is not so foreign to me living in the USA. The republicans have openly said that the most important thing on their agenda is making sure Obama is a one termer. Do you think the republicans would like to see the economy grow and the stock market shoot up thousands of point, and 10 million americans find jobs? No way. The would surely lose the next election, and they know it…so they are obstructionists because their goal is to achieve power. And just so you understand where I come from, I am sure democrats would do the same thing to a republican president. If al-Maliki was able to get Iraq from 7000 to 50,000 megawatts by next year (of course this is impossible), he would be hailed a hero, and that would seal the elections much more than any tampering with IHEC would.

    Now going back to Iraq: Maliki’s opponents seem to want him to fail (so they can achieve power) more than they care about Iraq succeeding. I am not a dawa guy or Isci guy or Iraqiya guy. I have no party or personality loyalty. Can al-Maliki be a corrupt person??? yes. Can Allawi be corrupt??yes.. My loyalty should be to the truth and for protecting the rights of people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am sure that a chunk of al-dawah people are corrupt, as are ISCI, and yes, Iraqiya as well. However, for better or worse, these are the politicians we have for now until the next generation grows up.

    Getting back to the electricity minister problem, Perhaps shahristani and al-maliki’s signatures may be on the capgent agreement. I agree that they did not do their homework on this one (and it will be interesting to figure out exactly how this was all uncovered..perhaps Jawad Hisham? who reportedly lives in canada)…However, I will refrain from accusing al-Maliki of corruption for this problem just like I would not accuse Allawi of the Hazzem Shalaan debacle. Fortunately, this was caught before Iraq’s money was swindled unlike the Shalaan defense funds theft. Again, my problem is that the tone of your posts seems to WANT to show that al-Maliki is intimately involved in this, rather than cheering al-Maliki for rooting out corruption. I WANT Allawi to fight corruption, I want him to be better just like I want al-Maliki to be better…these are Iraq’s leaders for better or worse and for the sake of Iraq we should want them to be the best they rise to. And if al-Maliki is guilty of stealing money for himself, then yes, he should be booted out and jailed, but until that happens, I have seen very little evidence that al-Maliki is trying to steal the people’s money in the past, and not even his worst opponents have dared accuse him of this. And to answer your other question, we SHOULD be fair and root out corruption in all Iraq’s ministries regardless of party/sect. al-Maliki has not been consistent with this in the past..he did stop some people, but not others (I agree with you Observer)….the question is why the inconsistency? Is it because he is powerless against larger forces at play, or simply unwilling to bring down his own corrupt party loyalists…I dont know.

    Now perhaps somebody on this forum can look up who Muhannad Samara is…I looked this up as the guy who is running this fake canadia company (just go to register.com and this points you to godaddy.com (where site was registered) that hosts capgent).

    http://who.godaddy.com/whois.aspx?domain=capgent.net&prog_id=GoDaddy

    Registrant:
    CAPGENT

    Amman
    Amman, Amman 11118
    Jordan

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: CAPGENT.NET
    Created on: 04-May-11
    Expires on: 04-May-12
    Last Updated on: 04-May-11

    Administrative Contact:
    Samara, Muhannad husam@maraqax.com
    CAPGENT
    Amman
    Amman, Amman 11118
    Jordan
    +962.796494200 Fax — +962.62504123

    Technical Contact:
    Samara, Muhannad husam@maraqax.com
    CAPGENT
    Amman
    Amman, Amman 11118
    Jordan
    +962.796494200 Fax — +962.62504123

    Domain servers in listed order:
    NS1.MEDIATEMPLE.NET
    NS2.MEDIATEMPLE.NET

  14. Tore said

    Reidar, the google translation is a bit bad on this one: http://www.alliraqnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9255:2011-08-09-11-17-53&catid=45:2011-05-03-12-11-51&Itemid=77

    Does it say that Shahristani signed the contracts with the fake companies?

  15. Reidar Visser said

    Tore, Yes, the article says the energy committee was informed and that Shahristani signed, and if you look at the document to the right, the signature of Shahristani is clearly visible.

  16. Salah said

    More stink stories by the “Nuclear scientist” who was crying for Iraq and Iraqis, now he is Oil & Electricity Scientist….

    وأضاف حسين الشهرستاني نائب رئيس الوزراء لشؤون الطاقة اليوم للصحفيين أن هذه العقود ألحقت وثائق سرية تكشف عن تحكم شركة النفط البريطانية برتش بتروليوم بأقتصاد العراق.

    More here

    In a secret meeting, Baghdad government agreed to pay BP even when oil is not being produced by Rumaila oil field, confidential documents obtained by Observer, showing a “stranglehold” on Iraq’s government and more evidence that the war on Iraq has been for its oil, not terror, say critics according to The Guardian on Sunday. Some of those critics are hitting the road this week with their new movie, “Freedom,” to prove Americans can stop violence for oil now and instead, manufacture safe, healthy, renewable energy.

    this forum can look up who Muhannad Samara is…

    Mohammed,
    this forum can look up who Muhannad Samara is…

    Mohammed,
    New democratic Iraq have tens of ” Muhammad Samara” you do not need to keep talking about one was gone years ago rescued by Americans/Mercenaries from the prison.

    Let talking about what he had with elected government and representative who promised to lead Iraq for better life now. Eight years gone and nothing done to the public service and infrastructures of the country that demolished by occupier who intentionally targeted the state.s infrastructures.

    The problem not Just ” Muhammad Samara” if that name make buss for you to keep bring it again, everyone here knew his story well,

  17. JWing said

    1) The Korean power station deal was sunk because the Korean company couldn’t get backing from Korean banks.

    2) Saleh, the story about the BP – Rumaila deal is overblown. All of the foreign companies that signed deals in 2009 had it in their contracts that they would only be paid once they met certain production targets. As part of that, they would be compensated if the government decided to cut those targets. This has been mentioned in the press about Iraqi oil several times. It’s not a new revelation.

    3) The reason why Iraq’s electricity sector has not been developed since 2003 is multi-fold. First, the U.S. came in building large power plants that the Iraqi government had a hard time maintaining. There are examples of power plants being turned over to Iraqis and then standing idle because the Iraqis didn’t have the know how or fuel to run them. Second, because of the lack of security from 2003-2007, a huge amount of money spent then was diverted to security and undermined a lot of these projects overall. Third, Iraq is running a lot of their generators off of diesel when they’re supposed to run off of natural gas so they’re being run down much quicker than they should be. Fourth, Iraq has reached record highs in actual production starting in 2009. The problem is that demand has constantly increased since 2003 outstripping supply every year. With the end of sanctions and increasing wages in Iraq, people have gone on a buying spree of consumer electronics that have dramatically increased usage. Fifth, most Iraqis don’t pay for their power so there is no constraint on that use. Finally, corruption has wasted a lot as well.

  18. observer said

    Muhammad,
    I am on the go – so quickly. I have a problem with all “religion based” parties. Period. For me it is secular politics vs. Islam based politics. I do not believe that Islamic parties will bring Iraq into the fold of a globalized world, rather I see a future like that of Iran. Worst still, political Islam is on the rise regionally and has a way to go before these parties prove to the people that they are just as incompetent as those that preceded them and that the only safeguard we have is democracy and free market.

    This in a nutshell explains to you my frame of reference. It is not Maliki vs Allwai. It is Islamic politics vs. secular politics. That said, I have no problem calling BS on a position of Allawi vs. that of Maliki. But up close and personal I have seen Allawi take stances on principal and have never changed his tune to suit a tactical advantage.

    Back to corruption. You ignore the FACT that Allawi sacked one of his own and put four others on investigation. He was no interested in building alliances rather he was interested in building a state. Maliki and company make their decisions based on tactical steps (very Baath like circa 68 to 75). Principals be damned as long as the goal is attained. This is why I keep on warning against the step wise fashion through which Da3wa is trying to usurp power.

    On electioneering. Are you kidding me. All the US decisions in Iraq were driven by local politics in the US… Where have you been my friend? I’ve stated in here that it is treasonous to put party politics before the nation interests (that goes for Iraqi as well as American or otherwise). But politicians are very good in finding justifications for decisions to prevent being accused of putting their party before the nation. Note the recent debacle on the Spending Limits in the US. Did you realize that the whole theater was about reducing the projected debt limit from 28 trillion to 26 trillion in 20 years???? No wonder it makes the average man weary about all politicians…
    Signing out.

    PS
    On blaming electricity on incompetence. I am not as sure as you that the reason is incompetence, or interference by other parties to hinder progress, unless shehrestani and company are into suicidal behavior. Come to think of it, letting corruption be this deep is suicidal for Maliki, but he seems oblivious. Talk to your relatives and ask them about Ahmed Maliki and what is going on in contracts from ministry of trade to somo, to, to…..

    pps
    Apparently fighting corruption has been identified as the new area of political growth in Iraq.

  19. Salah said

    JWing said

    I regards to No3-
    I believe your assessment not accurate in this matter, as far as early 2003 Siemens & GE both start what it called repairing or building power stations. these two companies reported in Iraqi new out let on Al-Dorrah Power station GE left the site without commissioning the station, Iraqi engineers tried to do the job the part was not fully delivered to site so that was the power station left repairable/ unworkable.

    Secondly Siemens was done some power and electricity works from memory Nasiriya power station the company give subcontract to local Iraqi contractors those contractors were controlling the Iraqi power station and electricity stores in that region from old regime so they pay those Iraqi to do the job obviously the did not done it.

    Nevertheless, I fully agree the killing point of left behind most of public service is due to wide spread corruptions in all the sectors while was billions vanished without major progress given to the public
    As US was busy building 144 or more military bases around Iraq some of them like small cities. It is very obvious US diverted its attention to her interest including power stations if we looking to Ballad Campus as one the major US logistic military hub(you cn read more here, here& here) with the amount of water electricity and swage that need to be build around that campus also roads airport ….ect.

    These are some reading to refresh the memories

    Committee Continues Investigation of Widespread Electrical Problems in Iraq http://oversight-archive.waxman.house.gov/story.asp?ID=2101

    Iraq: follow the money

    The disappointment was all the worse because the Iraqis believed that US, with its wealth and might, could fix anything if it chose. Comparisons were made with Saddam’s regime: after the massive bombing during the first Gulf war in 1991 destroyed all Iraq’s infrastructure (bridges, roads, electrical generators, telecommunications, factories, oil refineries), the Saddam regime instituted an emergency reconstruction campaign. Using jerry-rigged contraptions or cannibalising parts from one plant to get another one operating, electricity was back on within weeks.

    Every engineer in Iraq, including nuclear physicists, was sent out to rebuild bridges. Within three months the telephone system was reconstructed. Whereas, when there was an electricity blackout in New York City in 2003, people over in Baghdad joked: “Let’s hope they’re not waiting for the Americans to fix it.”

    Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq

    level of 3.5 million bpd. It will cost an estimated $5 billion to repair
    and restore previously used facilities, in addition to an estimated $3 billion in annual operating expenses. An estimated $20 billion will be needed to restore Iraq’s pre-1990 electricity capacity. Iraq has previously stated a desire to expand its oil-production capacity to 6 million bpd. This is geologically possible but would take
    a number of years and tens of billions of dollars in investment.

  20. Mohammed said

    Hi All:

    Reidar, can you comment on practically what it really means to even be a cabinet minister in today’s Iraq? What powers and responsibilities does the constitution or parliament endow upon an “electricity minister” (for example)? Is he able to hire/fire deputies in his ministry? Can he/she crack down on corruption? It seems that everybody blames al-Maliki, but I would like to understand the process and why a minister should not be held to account for his ministry’s failures. It seems to me that I have never even seen a national blueprint for how to get iraq out of the stone age when it comes to electricity. Why can’t the minister hire a reputable american consulting firm like McKinsey or BCG or others to help develop a strategy for rehauling iraq’s power infrastructure, and then develop an implimentation plan, and simply just execute it? If a minister had a free hand in meeting up with companies and dishing out 1.7 billion dollars, why cant he hire a firm for 10 million dollars to at least get a good plan together so another 30 billion is not wasted (Iraq has suffered such a brain drain, it needs outside help to develop plans on how to invest their money wisely).

    Observer, Santana, any thoughts?

    regards,
    M

    p.s. Observer, regarding your last post, let me just say: I would prefer secular, free market politics in Iraq as well because I certainly do not want Iraq to be another Iran. Free market economics all the way. That is not going to happen overnight though because at least 30-50% of the country dont think that way. But I just want to make sure that we don’t go to much in the other direction where religion is equated with evil. One man, one vote. Period. If you want to grow your beard 10 feet go ahead and do so, and if you want to look like a super-model that’s fine too. My observation is that sometimes secular politicians develop such a hatred for religion, that “anti-religion” becomes their religion and hence, they are as narrow minded as religious fanatics…What comes to mind is how many secular people automatically believe any religious shiite is by default loyal to iran. If I believe in the Mahdi, I should be able to sit down and talk with you and still have your respect even if you think it is a fairy tale just as I would respect you.

  21. Salah said

    Letter To Prime Minister Of Iraq

  22. observer said

    Jwing.
    On Korean deal. A sovereign letter of guarantee for a 5 billion dollar deal must be issued by a state. No bank or company is big enough to handle such risk. Imagine what the accusations that Uzri would have had to deal with had he issued the LC’s requested by Maliki? I do not like the way TBi has a monopoly on the LC’s of Iraq but fair is fair. Uzri was not in a good position and frankly he lost out in the power struggle between two giants in the trade game of Iraq (namely Maliki and Chalabi). Anyway, that is a side issue (a big one nonetheless).

    On why electricity has not worked up. Care to compare KRG policies with Federal policies? KRG has more than 22 hours of service in the middle of the heat of the summer. The answer is PRIVATIZATION. When you get private capital working, you have efficiencies that simply do not exist in the government structure. Why the light bulb has not turned on in the head of the brilliant politicians running Iraq is beyond me. Maybe it is the lucrative contract kick backs that has prevented them from going to the private sector. Why it has taken 8 years (and counting) to get some use of the flared gas in Rumaila, Majnoon, Nahrain Omar, and West Qurna? The gas is being burned anyway, why not give it to a private contractor who would then be required to sell electricity at 5 cent or 7 cents a kilowatt or even 10 cents as KRG is doing. Do you think the Iraqis would not pay? Hell they are paying through the nose for diesel fuel to run their generators 16 hours or more a day. It certainly would be cheaper to pay for a good reliable source of electricity. Afraid for the poor? Ok, the 1st so much kilowatts for free and double up on the higher consumers. In the big picture, it will be cheaper for the Iraqi economy as a whole.

    Here is the problem. The politicians that are running Iraq can not think outside the box if their lives dependent on it. Furthermore, they have an inherent interest in maintaining the system as is to maximize their influence and time at the trough. What they do not understand is that if there is real democracy – the voters are going to throw the bastards out. But then again – do we really have free elections? Guess why Maliki wants a new “independent” election commission.

    Do I make sense, or is this all hot air?

  23. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, the Iraqi constitution is deficient in terms of describing the internal working of the cabinet and the prerogatives of individual ministers. In fact, one of the few things that are reasonably clear are the procedures for getting rid of an unwanted minister. This is one of the reason that defining the bylaws of the cabinet remains a priority for many Iraqi politicians.

  24. observer said

    Reidar,
    ALL deputy ministers are appointed as “interim” (Wakala)!!! there is Muhassassa there too. It is just sickening.

    Muhammad,
    I responded to JWING with ideas on how to solve electricity problems, but there is a life time before such thinking becomes a reality. Maybe with the installation of the strategic policy council we can get “policies” approved and have a blue print. Certainly, the ministry of planning is incapable and needs a lot of help from outsiders. But me thinks that decentralization is the best option forward for services anyway, with a central federal law on investments so that foreign capital and private capital can be moved in and out without hindering by the likes of the Iraqi banks that take three weeks to do a transfer from Baghdad to Basra !!

    Anyway, on the hate of religion – don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against religious people. One of my grandfathers was an Ayat ullah !!! But my family never shoved the religion down my throat and frankly I did not learn about the fairy tails until I went to the US and mixed with Iraqis there !!! So back to your beliefs. All religions are myth and require FAITH. I have no problems with people who choose to take the “faith” route. I have a great problem when they try to shove it down my throat and proclaim my beliefs to be outside the law of god.

    Did your read the news article about the workers who broke their fast by drinking water inside a tent and were arrested for breaking their fast?. Tell me under which constitution is that allowed? You guys sitting on the outside have no clue how much work is being done to enforce Islamic Shree3a (or at least the political Islam version of it). You may think I am exaggerating when I bring in the comparison to Iran but you are wrong!. If we stand by and let them keep on tightening the noose and sprouting their roots deeper and deeper in government, the game is lost.
    Cheers

  25. Santana said

    I agree with Mohamed and Observer’s suggestions wholeheartedly. Privatization is the way to go and this old socialist system of leaving everything to the State is a complete disaster. We need Western consulting companies to help Iraq solve the Electricity, Trade and Oil industries and as Mohamed pointed out- the fees paid to them are miniscule and Iraq will end up save billions in the long run….but greed, corruption and kickbacks is the path these Ministers are on. They all have ” Joo3 qadeem” and they wanna stash away as much as they can, while they can at the expense of the millions of poor Iraqis. The Kurdish bliss and prosperity is a totally different situation- the Kurds did the right thing and brought in all these Western consultants cuz they don”t need kick backs and commissions- they just steal openly and sell Oil to Iran and thumb their nose to the rest of Iraq and if anyone says anything then they cry about Halabja like the Jews cried about the Holocaust for years to get special priveledges….Then the Kurds brag how efficient they are and how Irbil is such a model city when in fact all Iraqi cities should be this way !!!- why is Nasriyah for example in shambles while Irbil is so great? Why is an Iraqi family from Hilla any less deserving than a Kurdish family in one of these nice homes on the outskirts of Irbil or Sulaimaniyah?? We need one hell of a “Nazaha” committe that is givin UNLIMITED powers to watch over all these ministries with a zero tolerance policy. The guys on this committee must be handpicked and vetted thoroughly… “Elliott Ness” types that are rotated annually.

  26. Thaqalain said

    Overall responsibility goes to Shahrestani who failed due diligence in signing these documents

    There are 2 more challenges , I am looking as you have analyzed, each province is asking more freedom on the style of KRG.
    People demonstrating in support of Baghdad, but Missan Provincial Council rejected Baghdad’s interference in sacking Missan Oil Director and transfer of Missan Police Chief, so things are moving quite fast+Mubarakia Port Project will prove to be another Shatt-El-Arab dispute, the authoritative conflict b/w Baghdad and Powerful Tribes/Governing Council, handing over of Iraqi land on lease to Kuwait (by Shahrestani),
    I am looking US is rooting seeds of regional disputes, conflicts bringing Kuwait and Powerful tribes to rise up against Baghdad’s Al-Maliki, Shahrestani hegemony!
    Reason is crystal clear: US wants chaos in Iraq, specially soiuthern Iraq to prolong their illegitimate presence inside its military bases in Iraq.
    So , there will be more disasters , dictations to be followed right after Eid Jubiliations.

    I just noticed, Iraqi Government has taken its Iraq Ministry of Electricity website offline

    http://www.lhiraq.com

    Probably due to repercussions and heated debate worldwide is maligning Premier and Deputy Premier image, too.

  27. observer said

    I have been informed that in a meeting two nights ago it was decided by Iraqia to not only condemn the minister for corruption but to open the entire electricity file from 2004 till now. Even before the meeting was over, Maliki called the minister and asked him to submit a resignation in exchange for continuing to provide soldiers for protection, a land, and his retirement salary !!!

    A repeat of the Sudani episode. Why is Maliki afraid? If his hands are clean, and Iraqia is willing to condemn its minister? Or is this all for publicity…

    بيان حول عقود الكهرباء الفاسدة
    استجابة لإرادة المواطنين الشرفاء والتزاماً بالوعود التي قطعتها كتلة العراقية مع الشعب، أعلنت العراقية منذ اليوم الأول لانكشاف عقود الكهرباء الفاسدة بأنها تقف بحزم ضد الفساد والمفسدين مهما كلفها ذلك من ثمن. وطالبت العراقية بإجراء تحقيق فوري في مجلس النواب، لا يقتصر على العقود الفاسدة فحسب، وانما يشمل كل المليارات التي أهدرت في السنوات السابقة من أموال المواطنين، وما زالت الناس تعاني من الحر اللاهب والظلام الدامس، دون أن يتحقق تقدم يذكر في ملف الكهرباء، والذي هو من أبسط شروط السيادة والعيش الكريم.
    ومن هذا المنطلق، استجوبت قيادتها الوزير، وترى انه بات من الضروري والملح أن يجري استجواب كامل في لجنة النفط والطاقة في مجلس النواب لوزير الكهرباء ولجنة الطاقة الوزارية، والعراقية ترفض بشدة تعطيل الملفات وإغلاقها بعيداً عن أعين الشعب، وتؤكد على ضرورة اطلاعه على كل الحقائق. ان العراقية تصر على استجواب الوزير والآخرين المعنيين أمام مجلس النواب الموقر، وتحذر من إغفال مطاليب الشعب في معرفة تبديد الأموال عوضاً عن إقامة المشاريع التي تؤدي الى رفاهية المواطنين. وأن كتلة العراقية قد أبلغت لجنة النفط والطاقة بضرورة الدعوة العاجلة للاستجواب في مجلس النواب الموقر.
    كتلة العراقية
    15/8/2011

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