Live: Red notices ‘requested’ in Theft of The Century probe; progress in talks on unified hydrocarbons law

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According to local media, a Turkish airstrike on a car carrying two passengers near Duhok this evening has resulted in one death and one injury.

Both passengers are reportedly local residents of a village near Duhok with no apparent connections to the PKK.

Local residents frequently become collateral damage in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has not yet issued a statement.

Local Kurdish media report that a colonel in the Peshmerga forces, Fuad Shahid Zirara, was fatally shot in Erbil this morning.

The incident reportedly occurred near Erbil Airport, where the colonel was injured during a shootout with unidentified assailants. Zirara later died before reaching the hospital.

If confirmed, this would be the second death of a Peshmerga member associated with the KDP in the past two weeks. Retired Brig. Gen. Mohammed Mirza was assassinated on July 23 when his car exploded, reportedly due to a sticky bomb. The KDP-controlled Kurdistan Region Security Council later accused the PKK of carrying out the assassination.

Though relations between the PKK and the KDP have always been strained, clashes between the two sides have been rare in the past year. As Turkey intensifies its campaign against the group, the PKK might be retaliating against the KDP, viewing it as a partner of the "fascist AKP-MHP government" in Turkey.


Here are the protests occurring throughout Kurdistan today:

  1. Farmers from Duhok and Semele are protesting in front of the governor's office in Duhok because the government has failed to buy their wheat at subsidized prices.
  2. Employees of the mayorship of Chamchamal are protesting delays in their salaries.
  3. Teachers who are employed on a contract basis are demanding permanent positions in Halabja.

The keen-eyed among you will notice a trend. Things might calm down a little, as the Ministry of Finance announces new dates to distribute salaries to public sector employees in the upcoming week.

However, it is yet to be seen if they'll stick to their own timetable.

Two main Kurdish Islamist parties combine in surprise coalition for upcoming provincial elections  

The Kurdistan Justice Group (KJG) and the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) have formed a formal coalition for the upcoming provincial elections.

Named "Kirkuk's Torch," the alliance was originally intended to include the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK), but that part of the plan fell through due to the IMK's leadership struggles, Bestun Hama Salih, head of KJG's Election Office, told Rudaw this afternoon.

Peregraf was first with the scoop this morning before officials from each party began officially briefing larger outlets like Rudaw this afternoon.

This announcement comes as a surprise, as just a few weeks earlier, on July 19, the PUK announced a 13-party alliance for the upcoming election that included the KJG. Neither the PUK nor the KJG have made statements about any breakup of the coalition that was announced by the PUK.

The coalition could also signal a prelude to a similar alliance by the Islamist parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kurdistan. Both the KJG and the KIU have expressed interest in presenting a united front.


Karwan Yarawais, a PUK MP in Baghdad and member of the Parliamentary Transportation and Telecommunication Committee, says the order to ban the popular social media app Telegram doesn't apply to the Kurdistan Region.

In a statement to Draw Media, Yarawais also confirmed that the order to ban the app was related to the leaking of official government documents and data on the platform.

The Kurdistan Region operates under its own telecommunication policy and is often unaffected by many decisions made at the federal level, including site bans, nationwide blackouts, internet service provider tariffs, and more.


Just a week after a joint KDP-PUK statement that claimed both sides agreed to "support the agreements of the ninth cabinet of the KRG," the head of the PUK caucus in Baghdad, Harem Kamal Agha, harshly criticized the conduct and agreements of the KRG with Baghdad in a statement to PUK's official media.

Kamal Agha claimed, "the KRG has not followed through with its commitment to deliver the amount of oil stipulated in the Federal Budget Law, and the KRG delegation, during a visit to Baghdad, announced that the non-oil revenues of the KRG is 4.5 trillion IQD but now claim the region's non-oil revenues are, in fact, much lower. The Iraqi government is dealing with the Kurdistan Region on the basis of the figure it has announced itself prior."

"The amount of money deducted from the KRG's share this month has been taken instead of KRG's non-oil revenues, which the KRG has failed to hand over to Baghdad," he continued, referring to Baghdad only sending 598 billion IQD this month instead of the KRG's full share, which the KRG claims to be upwards of 900 billion IQD.

"The KRG is obliged to deliver 400,000 barrels of oil per day to the Iraqi government and must also hand over 50% of its domestic revenue to the Iraqi government. The KRG has failed to do either, and this has caused issues in budget transfers to Kurdistan," Kamal Agha explained his reasoning.

PUK media also quoted Shirwan Mirza, PUK member and ex-member of the Iraqi parliament, who added, "From the 907 billion dinars that should have been sent to the Kurdistan Region, after deducting KRG's internal revenues, the Iraqi government has sent 598 billion dinars. Therefore, if there is a problem, it is the fault of the Kurdistan Regional Government as it has previously reported false internal revenue figures."

KDP and PUK have been at loggerheads over internal revenues for years, with the KDP often accusing the PUK of failing to return non-oil revenues from regions under its control (Green Zone) to the KRG's treasury while the latter has accused the KDP of putting the Green under "punitive sanctions." Both internal revenues from zones under PUK and KDP control are recognized as "KRG's internal revenues" by Baghdad.

These accusations by the PUK should be understood in this context, telling the KDP, "you inflated KRG non-oil revenue figures to score political points and demand more money from the Green zone, and this is now coming back to bite you in Baghdad. Admit your prior accusations against PUK stealing the Green Zone's non-oil revenues were wrong."


Deputy Speaker of Parliament Shakhawan Abdullah says a senior KDP delegation will visit Baghdad this week.

According to Abdullah, the delegation will be headed by Fazil Mirani, head of the KDP's Political Office Executive Committee.

The KDP's official website was vague about the purpose of the meeting, specifying only that "a number of topics will be discussed."


Yesterday, a high-level meeting to discuss the drafting of the long-awaited federal oil and gas law took place in Baghdad.

The meeting was led by the federal Ministry of Oil and included participation from a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation and governors of oil-producing provinces.

Iraqi Minister of Oil Hayyan Abdul Ghani, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, and KRG President of the Diwan of Council of Ministers Umed Sabah Othman were all present.

A statement by the Oil Ministry after the meeting said "the atmosphere of the meeting was positive, reflecting the interest and keenness of all parties to complete the project as it represents a commitment to the ministerial program that was voted on by the House of Representatives."

It added, "The oil and gas law represents the backbone of the government's energy policy and enables investing the nation's oil and gas wealth according to the best international practices and in a manner that secures the interest of all the Iraqi people."

According to the statement, two points were agreed to:
  1. the creation of committees to follow up and organize subsequent meetings.
  2. A working paper, based on the vision set forth by the Ministry, the KRG, and the oil-producing provinces during negotiations, will be presented through committees to be studied further.

Drone strikes reportedly kill two near Chamchamal

Turkish drones struck areas near Chnartu village in Chamchamal, Sulaymaniyah at around 8AM this morning. According to preliminary reports, two died as a result of the bombardment. Neither has been identified.
The KDP's Counter-Terror Agency says it was a Turkish strike, confirming earlier suspicions. 

According to a report by Rudaw, villagers had heard airplanes flying overhead last night as well before the strikes.

This isn't the first time this region is targeted for drone strikes. Last year, a Turkish drone strike targeted a car belonging to the PKK, which resulted in two casualties for the latter.

According to Rudaw, villagers have reported sighting PKK fighters moving through the region on a number of occasion.The war between the PKK and Turkey is increasingly playing out in Iraqi Kurdistan, after the latter largely succeeded in clearing out the former from Turkish areas.

Telegram to be banned in Iraq

Telegram, one of the most popular social media apps, has been banned in Iraq due to "directives by higher authorities relating to national security," according to a statement from the Ministry of Telecommunication.

"State institutions have repeatedly asked Telegram to cooperate in closing channels that leak data of official state institutions and citizens' personal information, which poses a threat to Iraqi national security and societal peace, but the company did not respond to any of these requests," the statement added.

Iraq, home to a competitive, zero-sum and sometimes bloody political scene, is regularly rocked by leaks from ministries targeting government personnel associated with prominent political parties in the country. The government has taken several steps in the past to curb these leaks without success. Because of the anonymous nature of Telegram, it is the platform where these leaks typically occur.
Opening by stating the reasons for the press conference, which included moving public opinion and putting pressure on foreign governments to hand over the stolen money and suspects, the head of the Federal Commission of Integrity, Haider Hanoun Zayer, gave an explosive speech on the theft of the $2.5 billion from the country's tax accounts, which has been colloquially dubbed "The Heist of the Century."

He began by proclaiming that it's the biggest "corruption case found to date." It is a corruption case "mixed with treason," as its motive was not only to steal money but also to "weaken the public's trust in the government." "We assure [everyone], the case is not dead."

He continued, in an effort to bring the perpetrators to justice and force countries whose citizenship these suspects hold to hand them over, "we've arranged red notices" for the following suspects:

  • The previous Head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), Raed Al-Juhi, "who has American citizenship."
  • The previous Finance Minister, Ali Allawi, "who has British citizenship."
  • Previous Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi's personal secretary, Ahmed Najati, "who has American citizenship."

He then publicly asked the "relevant authorities in both the United States and the United Kingdom to carry out the arrest warrants issued for them."

"We ask these governments to prove their support for Iraq's anti-corruption efforts. We need a [clear stance]. ... Those countries who tell us, day and night, to carry out anti-corruption measures have to hand over the suspects that reside there and the money that has been deposited there," he continued.
In a different part of his speech, he claimed there are other suspects related to the case in Turkey, Jordan, and the UAE, with the total number of suspects "they've been able to reach" numbering 48.

It's important to note that none of these individuals were directly named in the press conference. They were only identified by their job title "in the previous administration headed by Mustafa Kadhimi," which was a phrase repeated three times for all three individuals.

Morning briefing 

Good afternoon! Here are the hottest news stories in Kurdistan and Iraq.

  • Following a meeting between the Iraqi Oil Ministry and a high-level delegation from Kurdistan yesterday regarding the ever-elusive federal oil and gas law, a statement from the oil ministry claims that they have agreed on certain points.
  • Local Kurdish media reports that two individuals have died in a drone strike on the countryside in Chamchamal, Sulaymaniyah.
  • In a fiery and theatrical press conference, the head of the Commission of Integrity claimed that the country has "arranged" 'red notices' for previous administration's intelligence chief and finance minister, as they are directly implicated to what's colloquially called "The Theft of the Century."