Monthly Archives: September 2010
|September 25, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
By Waleed Ibrahim – – BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The alliance which won most votes in Iraq’s March election said on Friday it would not join any government headed by incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a step that could further complicate forming a government. Iraqiya, a cross-sectarian alliance led by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, was the bloc that won the most […]
|September 20, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
BAGHDAD – The Iqraa bookstore on Mutanabi street has more than tripled in size in the last two years. Business is up 50 percent since 2003. But, say the store’s two owners, the future is uncertain as long as they can’t count on safe streets, stable government and reliable electricity supplies. Yet Iqraa’s growth reflects a tiny step forward in a […]
|September 15, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
At a time when Iraqis are hardly compensated for damages. The news of Iraq agreeing to pay $400 million to compensate Americans who say they were abused by Saddam Hussein’s regime, have outraged Iraqis, the UAE-based The National reports from Baghdad. The 400 million suing claims go back to hundreds of U.S. citizens who were caught up in Iraq’s invasion of […]
|September 14, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Privately-owned banks are flourishing in Iraq as lower violence and increasing savviness among Iraqi bankers fuel a lending boom, U.S. officials and Iraqi banking executives say. Iraq’s tiny banking sector is dominated by two of seven state-owned banks which alone control 86 percent of assets, but private banks are expanding rapidly around the country and targeting growth areas […]
|September 12, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
by Michelle Chen – The footprint of the United States occupation of Iraq is embedded in the country’s rocky political sojourn, and the status of women marks the nation’s arrested progress. After the invasion, Washington thought Iraqi women would find American-style freedom irresistible. Today, they’re left holding up half the sky in the midst of a ravaged political and economic landscape. […]
|September 10, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
By Mohamad Bazzi, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies The bad boy of Iraqi politics, the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is once again positioning himself as kingmaker–this time in forming a government and the selection of a new prime minister. Sadr may well determine the political fates of current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his rival Ayad Allawi, a […]
|September 6, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
Gunmen tried to storm an army base in Baghdad on Sunday, officials said. A large explosion on Sunday rocked an Iraqi ministry of defence complex that three weeks ago was the site of a suicide bomb attack that killed dozens of would-be army recruits. Gunmen tried to storm an army base in Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least seven people and […]
|September 6, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
WASHINGTON: The United States likely will need to keep thousands of troops in Iraq beyond 2011 to keep a lid on sectarian tensions and to bolster Baghdad’s fledgling military, experts and former officers say. American officials privately acknowledge that the US military presence in Iraq will almost certainly be extended, even though a security agreement in force requires all US forces […]
|September 4, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
Reuters, Baghdad – After an explosive device tore through the back of an armoured SUV carrying Chinese oil workers in Iraq in mid-July, security contractors said the US military, not China’s Daqing Petroleum, was the likely target. The Explosively Formed Projectile, designed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp and often used by Shi’ite militia in Iraq, shredded the rear of the car […]
|September 3, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
By Ikaraam Ullah During its initial assessment in 2004, the IMF optimistically forecast oil production in Iraq to double in five years while the country’s ministry of oil was expecting to at least treble its production levels. Those years have passed all too quickly. According to the ministry, crude production in Iraq this year has averaged 2.4 million barrels per day […]
During its initial assessment in 2004, the IMF optimistically forecast oil production in Iraq to double in five years while the country’s ministry of oil was expecting to at least treble its production levels.
Those years have passed all too quickly. According to the ministry, crude production in Iraq this year has averaged 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd), no different from the levels reported in February 2003. The grim reality is, oil production in Iraq has not increased in more than a decade. Then again, neither has electricity.
The ministry now plans to increase production to 6 million bpd in the next four years and double once more in a decade – making it a leading producer in the Gulf. Even this seems unrealistic. The output expansion deadlines do not allow enough time to build the pipelines, ports and other facilities needed to transport enormous amounts of oil.
Despite this, there are some very good reasons as to why Iraq hasn’t managed to achieve its goals, starting with the most obvious: violence.
According to the government, last month at least 500 people were killed in acts of insurgency and more than 1,000 wounded. As a marker for intensity, commentators have hastened to add the death toll is significantly lower than the 4,000 in the same month in 2006 and 2007. It is no secret that security risks make Iraq a difficult environment to operate in.
The second most compelling reason is the exodus related to the violence. Almost all of Iraq’s middle class escaped the violence by seeking refuge in neighbouring Arab states. The result was a breakdown in normal life in Iraq.
Every Iraq budget since that of Jerry Bremer, the US diplomat appointed administrator to Iraq from May 2003 until limited Iraqi sovereignty was restored on June 2004, has been approved late. The capital budget has typically been under-executed while the recurrent budgets have been hugely overspent. In other words, it has been easier to pay salaries than spend on large-scale infrastructure projects.
This leads to the third reason: institutional capacity. Not spending on capital projects could be attributed to a lack of know-how or lack of practical experience. Iraq’s last major construction project was the Doura power plant in 1987. There are also other types of budget quick-sand. Almost all the government-led corporations are still mired in the subsidy-led industrialisation attempts of the 1970s.
The ministry of industry and minerals controls some 70 companies in six sectors that do not have auditable accounts or turn profits. There has been an understandable interest in privatising them all. Other ministries control an additional 100 state-owned enterprises with the same predicament. The risk for the investor is that state-owned companies come bonded with employees who need to be managed.
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