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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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    Iraq: money laundering through the mafia razing agricultural lands

    Rocky
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    Iraq: money laundering through the mafia razing agricultural lands Empty Iraq: money laundering through the mafia razing agricultural lands

    Post by Rocky Sun Aug 20, 2023 6:01 am

    [size=47]Iraq: money laundering through the mafia razing agricultural lands[/size]


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    Baghdad

    Marwa Al-Sawadi


    August 20, 2023

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    Fears of the growing phenomenon of bulldozing fertile lands (Zaid Al-Obeidi/AFP)
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    Corruption continued to spread in Iraq, but in new forms, including the laundering of smuggled money by bulldozing agricultural land and converting it into housing projects and other activities.
    In this context, the General Union of Agricultural Associations in Iraq called, finally, to stop the razing of orchards, describing it as a "theft" of agricultural land taking place in different regions of the cities of Iraq, and carried out by "influential parties", to convert it into investment projects, the aim of which is to restore The entry of smuggled money through legal frameworks, through the construction of housing complexes under the pretext of addressing the housing problem.
    The area of ​​exploited agricultural land in Iraq is 18 million dunams out of 32 million dunams, according to the statements of the Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Karim al-Khafaji, after it was all exploited before the American invasion of Iraq.
    As for the area of ​​natural and artificial forests, they constitute only 6.1 percent of the total area of ​​Iraq, according to what was reported by the Central Agency for Government Statistics in 2020, which indicated that 69 percent of agricultural areas have deteriorated due to drought, and large areas of them have been exposed to deforestation and desertification.

    Serious repercussions
    The call of the Union of Peasant Associations in Iraq came after a series of construction and bulldozing operations that affected agricultural lands, especially in the vicinity of the capital, Baghdad.

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    Observers of Iraqi political affairs confirmed that the crime of money laundering negatively affected agricultural lands in Iraq, which led to a dangerous rise in supply prices, and that the financial crisis experienced by a number of countries hosting money smuggled from Iraq under multiple titles and names, such as Lebanon and Iran, It forced the smugglers of this money to return it to the country, but by different means, whether through buying real estate, building residential complexes, or commercial investments on agricultural lands or others.

    American sanctions
    An employee in the real estate department, who asked not to be named, confirms that most of what goes under the name of money laundering is related to the file of US sanctions, on quite a few Iraqi companies and personalities, due to the difficulty of transferring funds outside the country, in addition to the tightening of banks, control and credit. Where the value of foreign transfers is limited to 10 thousand dollars, with an emphasis on justifying their reasons.
    The source added, in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that if the amounts are for the sale of real estate, agricultural land, or the like, the amount is deposited in a bank after opening a registration statement issued by a government agency attached to the sale contract and a letter of notification from the real estate registration of the bank stating that the person owns agricultural land. Or something else, and sold it for a fixed price, and this is the reason for the conversion.
    He explained that "the owners of suspicious money resort to fraudulent methods inside the country to launder money, by searching for proposals or options to become clean money," noting that residential complexes or commercial projects are two options for money laundering, as it is easy for the investor to finance the project with suspicious money, and waits for his profits. After buying residential units or commercial complexes from citizens, then you will return to him clean money.
    Iraq is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world, in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index issued by Transparency International, as it ranked seventh in the Arab world and 157th globally out of 180 countries on the organization's list.
    Parliamentarians indicate that the total looted funds exceed 450 billion dollars, while the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported last year that the total figure is 360 billion dollars.

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    Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani put the fight against corruption at the top of his government program’s priorities, and immediately after assuming office in October of last year, he took steps to bring the corrupt to justice, but corruption is still expanding and taking many forms, including money laundering by bulldozing lands. agricultural.

    Slums that violate the law,
    a member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, Representative Abdul Karim Abtan, said that the phenomenon of razing orchards is an explicit and clear legal violation, as these orchards have turned into slums, and there are no standards for basic designs.
    Abtan explains, in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, how to raze the basic design of agricultural orchards or other lands inside cities, indicating that they need legal mechanisms, including the lack of water for irrigation, then the activity turns from agricultural to residential or industrial.
    The parliamentarian notes that there are influential parties whose hand is higher than the hand of the law, carrying out bulldozing operations and building slums, stressing that there is chaos in slums where there are unorganized streets with electric wires lying on the ground and there is no sanitation or services, only used for money laundering purposes, And many parties benefited from this matter, including what is influential, merchant, or demographic change.
    A member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee in the Iraqi parliament asked: "You ask, and we ask: Who are these parties whose hand is higher than the hand of the law, carrying out bulldozing operations and building slums? And why did the Amanat Baghdad not answer who are those whom it cannot stop?"
    He added, "These questions I cannot answer, and the concerned authorities must answer this matter, including the prime minister."

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    Abtan points out, "There is a great and clear contradiction in the government's actions, which allocated five billion dinars to create green belts around cities at a time when orchards and agricultural areas are being bulldozed for real estate purposes. This was confirmed by the researcher on Iraqi affairs, Yahya Al-Kubaisi,
    to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, noting that the issue of bulldozing Agricultural land is not new, and it is linked to two factors: the first is the absence of plans for cities, and the second is the interference of political actors in bulldozing operations in the context of corruption that governs the country as a whole, and purposes with dimensions related to demographic change, or money laundering

    .
    Which have been largely subjected to bulldozing, namely Diyala, Basra, Baghdad and Babel, and then the rest of the provinces according to the agricultural geographical area, and the power of the influential people in them.
    In a telephone interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Fadel indicated that "powerful parties in the state have taken control of investment projects and residential complexes, and have taken over large lands, especially in the areas of the Baghdad belt, which witnessed massive bulldozing operations that deprived the capital of its natural lung and its abundant orchards." According to Fadel
    . The dredging operations that take place in Diyala, Salah al-Din, and others, are linked to money laundering crimes, in which the parties of the authority and their militias are involved. Fadel
    mentioned that agricultural areas have become a new victim of those crimes that brokers follow in order to launder stolen money. Greens were illegal or fraudulently obtained building permits, as major projects leading to the destruction of thousands of hectares of orchards were carried out with the approval of government authorities

    .
    Iraqi law prohibits bulldozing agricultural lands and orchards, but this did not prevent Baghdad from witnessing one of the worst bulldozing operations, especially in its surroundings, under the pretexts of investment projects or the security cordon.
    The Iraqi Minister of Water Resources, Aoun Diab, revealed that large areas of orchards in the capital, Baghdad, and a number of governorates have been completely bulldozed and converted into commercial spaces, indicating that the country's dredging operations are an environmental crime for which Iraqi law is held accountable.

    The Iraqi researcher, Ali Fadel, identified the provinces that were largely subjected to bulldozing, namely Diyala, Basra, Baghdad, and Babel.

    Theyab added, in a previous press interview, that there are agricultural lands and orchards that were completely swept away and converted into residential and commercial plots in front of everyone, without treatment or legal deterrence.
    He pointed out that the issue of bulldozing orchards is considered one of the painful issues that Iraq is witnessing, because the country is witnessing desertification, as it is in dire need of orchards and green spaces, and to confront this problem, a comprehensive study must be prepared and appropriate solutions should be put in place to reduce bulldozing operations.
    The agricultural sector in Iraq faces many crises, including drought due to climatic changes, and water scarcity in the Tigris and Euphrates due to neighboring countries seizing large quantities of Iraq's quotas.
    According to previous data from the Department of Forestry and Desertification Control at the Ministry of Agriculture, the decline in rainfall and the decrease in water releases from the upstream countries led to a reduction in the agricultural plan, which contributed to the desertification of the country's land due to its lack of productivity.
    She emphasized that the area of ​​desertified lands in the country amounted to about 27 million dunams, which is equivalent to approximately 15% of the area of ​​Iraq, stressing that about 55% of the area of ​​Iraq is considered lands threatened by desertification during the coming period.
    These crises prompted many farmers to leave their lands. In this context, the head of the Union of Agricultural Associations in Iraq, Hassan Al-Tamimi, said in previous statements that more than 50 percent of workers in the Iraqi agricultural sector live below the poverty line, and their living conditions are very poor.
    He added that among the reasons for the increase in poverty is the lack of government support for farmers, in addition to the bad plans presented by the government and the reduction of cultivated areas, which deprived many farmers of investing their lands, making them vulnerable to desertification and drought.

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