Iraq is the fourth Arab economy and precedes a rich Gulf country
International Monetary Fund estimates of the gross domestic product indicated that Iraq has the fourth largest Arab economy.
International monetary estimates indicated that the expectations of the Iraqi gross domestic product amount to 190.7 billion dollars at the end of 2021.
Iraq's economy comes behind Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt and precedes Qatar. LINK
Samson: The Egyptian Fatwa forbids “FOREX”
25th July, 2021
The Egyptian Dar Al Iftaa issued warnings regarding the so-called “Forex”, which is an updated transaction related to the exchange of foreign currencies in a number of global markets.
And the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, answered a question about the statement of the Sharia ruling in “forex”, saying: “After extensive research and study of this type of dealing, the Egyptian Dar Al-Iftaa sees the prohibition of the forex transaction and the prohibition from participating in it, because of the risks involved in its practice for clients. and countries, and some jurisprudential institutions have also issued fatwas, such as the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah.
Dar Al-Iftaa warned against “Forex”, while “Al-Watan” newspaper pointed out that through this program, the customer pays a sum of foreign currencies that he deposits to a broker, a brokerage company, a bank or otherwise, and the broker in return adds an amount of currencies to raise the amount of that the balance in his account; This is in order to maximize the financial amount that the dealer pays to increase the percentage of trading in exchange transactions, and the amount that the broker puts in the client’s account may reach from fifty times to five hundred times what the investor deposited in the account of this transaction, and the broker exchanges it for other currencies in favor of this investor.
It should be noted that “FOREX” is an abbreviation for “Foreign Exchange”, that is: “Foreign Exchange”.
Samson: Angry protesters storm a power station in southern Iraq
25th July, 2021
Angry demonstrators in Dhi Qar governorate, at dawn today, stormed a power station south of Nasiriyah city, the center of the governorate.
In contact with Shafak News Agency, eyewitnesses informed; "Angry demonstrators from the people of Al-Tar district, affiliated to Souq Al-Shuyoukh district, south of Dhi Qar, stormed the district's power station, due to the deterioration in the supply of electricity in the district."
And witnesses said, "The demonstrators used burning tires in the process of storming the electrical station," pointing out that "the demonstrators closed the power station." LINK
Samson: US administration officials: Washington will withdraw a small number of its forces from Iraq
25th July, 2021
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, plans to visit Washington, DC, at the end of the week, to demand US President Joe Biden to withdraw all US combat forces from Iraq, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper quoted US officials as saying that it is likely to be announced, Monday, for a deadline for the withdrawal of US combat forces from Iraq, which may be by the end of this year.
According to what the newspaper quoted Pentagon and US administration officials as saying, Washington will respond to the demands to withdraw a small number, still undetermined, out of the 2,500 US troops currently stationed in Iraq, in addition to reclassifying the role of other forces "on paper." In the words of the newspaper, Al-Kazemi, with this achievement, will achieve a political victory that will bring him home to satisfy the anti-American parties in his country, while maintaining the American military presence.
The newspaper described Al-Kazemi’s move as Al-Kazemi’s latest effort to align the needs and demands of Iraq’s two closest allies, the United States and Iran. The Iranian-backed factions are demanding the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, while Iraqi officials insist that they still need the support of US forces.
Officials in Washington pointed out, according to the newspaper, on Friday, that they expect the levels of US forces in Iraq to remain at their current status, 2500 soldiers, while the roles of some of them will be redefined. While the newspaper described Al-Kazemi's move as giving him "temporary political cover", it pointed to what officials in Baghdad confirmed that redefining the roles of US forces instead of withdrawing would likely not be satisfactory for the parties calling for the withdrawal of forces. “Changing their name from combat forces to trainers and advisors (..) we consider it an attempt to deceive,” said the political spokesman for the Iran-backed Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia, Muhammad al-Rubaie, according to the newspaper. Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq is one of the largest militias backed by Iran in Iraq, and controls 16 seats in parliament in Baghdad.
On Thursday, an Iraqi delegation began talks in Washington in several areas within the strategic dialogue between the two countries, including what is related to the US military presence in Iraq, prior to Al-Kazemi's meeting with Biden, Monday, at the White House. And Mara Carlin, the official in charge of international affairs at the US Department of Defense, the Pentagon, received a delegation headed by the Iraqi National Security Adviser, Qassem Al-Araji, to discuss "long-term military cooperation" between the two countries, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. Kirby noted that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin joined the talks to "reaffirm his commitment" to continuing the fight against ISIS.
After American interests in Iraq have been targeted since the beginning of the year with about 50 missile or drone attacks, Austin stressed "the need for the United States and the coalition to be able to assist the Iraqi army in complete safety." Al-Kazemi had discussed with the White House envoy, Brett McGurk, last week, in Baghdad, the withdrawal of "combat forces from Iraq." But White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, on Thursday, that the Iraqi government "would like the United States and the coalition to continue training and assisting its military, providing logistical support (and) exchanging information."
On Friday, Iraq and the United States renewed their commitment to strengthening the partnership between the two countries, and emphasizing its "strength" and based on common interests, with the start of the strategic dialogue meetings between the two countries. The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, stressed "the strength of the US partnership with Iraq," adding that "the work we are doing with Iraq today is based on achieving common interests."
The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fouad Hussein, said that "ISIS is still present in Iraq", and that his country renews its commitment to strengthening its strategic partnership with the United States as a key partner in the international coalition to fight the organization, adding, in statements to Al-Hurra TV, that the Iraqi security forces "are still They need the programs provided by the United States in terms of training, arming, equipping, and building capabilities.” LINK
Samson: Vatican reveals it owns more than 5,000 properties
24th July, 2021
The Vatican has released information on its real estate holdings for the first time, revealing it owns more than 5,000 properties, as part of its most detailed financial disclosures ever.
The information released on Saturday was contained in two documents – a consolidated financial statement for 2020 for the Holy See and the first ever public budget for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (Apsa).
Apsa, a sort of general accounting office, manages real estate and investments, pays salaries, and acts as a purchasing office and human resources department. Between the two documents – each with an unprecedented number of pie charts, graphs and maps – and two explanatory interviews, the Vatican issued more than 50 pages of financial material.
The 30-page Apsa budget showed it owns 4,051 properties in Italy and about 1,120 abroad, not including its embassies around the world. Only about 14% of its Italian properties were rented at market rates, while the others were rented at cut rates, many to church employees. About 40% were institutional buildings such as schools, convents and hospitals.
The documentation showed Apsa owns properties as investments in upmarket areas of London, Geneva, Lausanne and Paris. One building, in London’s South Kensington, led to enormous losses after it was bought by the Vatican’s secretariat of state as an investment in 2014.
On Tuesday, the trial of 10 people in connection with its purchase, including the prominent cardinal Angelo Becciu, starts in the Vatican. They are charged with financial crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.
Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, head of the Vatican’s secretariat for the economy (SPE), told the official Vatican News website that the building would be sold soon. He said the trial would be a “turning point” in the Vatican’s credibility in economic matters and that a similar event could not be repeated because of measures put into place since.
Last year, Pope Francis stripped the Secretariat of State of control over its funds, transferring them to Apsa and with oversight by the SPE.
A separate consolidated financial statement for the Holy See issued on Saturday showed a €64.8m (£55m) deficit in 2020, down from a €79.2m deficit in 2019.
The Holy See budget includes the central administration of the Roman Catholic church, known as the Curia, that oversees the governing of the 1.3 billion-member worldwide church, its global diplomatic representations and media operations. Vatican City, including the Vatican Museums and the Vatican bank, has a separate budget.
To plug the 2020 deficit, about €50m was taken from Peter’s Pence, a fund of donations to help the pope carry out the church’s worldwide work.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit Vatican revenues hard in 2020. St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican museums, the latter a cash cow that received about 6 million paying visitors in 2019, were closed or only partially open for much of 2020. LINK