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27. August 2023 19:55
Today, the Federal Supreme Court rejected three appeals against a ban on the importation and sale of alcohol in the country, according to one of the claimants who spoke to Rudaw. The claimant stated that they were not informed of the reasoning behind the rejection.
Originally passed in 2016, a law banning the import and sale of alcohol began being enforced in March of this year. This move was controversial among the country's Christian minority, and several of their representatives in parliament attempted to challenge the law in the courts. Now that the Federal Supreme Court has rejected all of these challenges, the law is poised to remain on the books for the foreseeable future.
The agency claims 3 PKK fighters died in the attack.The report is uncorroborated until now and neither the PKK nor outlets close to it have issued a statement yet.
27. August 2023 17:47
PUKMedia has published excerpts from Bafel Talabani's statements during today's Leadership Council meeting. Bafel is quoted as saying, "The congress aims to further encourage the success of the party's program in serving the Kurdish people and improving their lives and welfare, which is the basis and unchanging strategic objective of the PUK."
"We'll organize a united and successful congress," he said. "We will certainly normalize the tradition of holding congresses every two years, like Western parties," Bafel added.
"The recommendations of the PUK Forum, which was the largest gathering of PUK members at all levels, organs, and cities of Kurdistan, will help us all plan a successful congress that will take into account the opinions of all PUK members," he said, referring to the much-publicized PUK Forum that took place in May 2022.
These public statements urging unity by Talabani directly fly in the face of the changes he made to the party's bylaws, including many changes made earlier this month. These changes not only gave him unprecedented control over party organs but also afforded him much greater control over when and how party congresses are held.
Discover how Bafel Talabani is changing PUK bylaws and internal mechanisms to further consolidate his grip over the party.
27. August 2023 16:31
Spot the difference
"We haven't said and we won't say there are no problems with the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in the Kurdistan Region! We won't say that everything from the judiciary is right and is not under political pressure! There are serious problems and challenges facing the judiciary that need reform," said Nechirvan Barzani on Sunday during a graduation ceremony for law students.
"In the Kurdistan Region, the judiciary is an independent branch ... and no internal or external party can interfere in the affairs of the courts," Dindar Zebari, KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy, said in an interview with VoA Kurdish yesterday when asked about Amnesty International's statement criticizing the jailing of journalists in Kurdistan.
These two answers perfectly exemplify the differences in public messaging, if not policy, between the two wings of the KDP.
In a statement to the SCF-affiliated Al-Rabia, Mouin Al-Kazmi, a high-ranking member of the Badr Organization, MP, and member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, said, "Kurdistan hasn't handed over any of its revenues."
According to Kazmi, the finance ministry is awaiting the KRG to fulfill its obligations before sending the money.
"We hope that the KRG pays its dues or provides the figures so there can be a reconciliation of accounts, taking into account the money obtained during the past months of 2023," he added.
On the Kurdish side, KRG spokesperson Peshawa Hawramani said the KRG has met all its obligations to the Iraqi government. "Starving the Kurdish public is against the constitution and prior agreements between the two sides," he said, adding that "Kurdistan's budget share should have been sent by now."
Amid delays in efforts to restart the Turkish-Iraqi pipeline, ongoing disagreements over the budget between the KRG, led by the KDP, and the State of Law Coalition threaten to severely destabilize the KRG's finances.
This could hamper its ability to pay civil servants and halt investment spending. Although multiple meetings have been held to resolve issues between the two sides, no breakthrough has been reached.
27. August 2023 16:26
According to KDP-affiliated K24, KDP offices in Kirkuk will reopen soon, following an order by Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani three weeks ago to "vacate and hand over these buildings" to the KDP.
The K24 report states that the KDP has 33 offices in Kirkuk, most of which have been deserted. The party vacated its offices in the region following the Battle of Kirkuk in 2017. This battle saw Iraqi forces successfully take over the city from the Peshmerga forces, leading the KDP to deem it an 'occupied city.'
Due to broader shifts both within the KDP itself and in Iraq as a whole, the party altered its policy and has been trying to fully reestablish itself in the city since 2019. However, due to opposition from political parties representing other ethnic groups, these efforts have not been successful. With the upcoming provincial elections just months away, the KDP is once again attempting to regain control over its offices in the city. As of now, it is unclear how successful this attempt will be.
Headed by Bafel Talabani, the PUK's Political Bureau and Leadership Council held a meeting in Erbil today. The meeting focused on the details and mechanisms of the party's upcoming fifth congress, which was announced a week ago and is slated for September 27.
The newly-appointed spokesperson for the affairs of the PUK's upcoming congress, Talar Latif, stated that the party has decided 600 delegates will participate. This automatically includes members of the Supreme Council, politburo, and the Leadership Council. The remaining participants will reportedly be decided through PUK organs, in coordination with the political bureau.
According to Latif, the mechanisms for the congress will be finalized next week. Due to changes made to PUK bylaws last year, however, the political bureau can only vote on these mechanisms after Bafel Talabani approves them.
Dubbed 'historic' by several party leaders, the speed of preparations for the upcoming congress underscores Bafel Talabani's resolve to impose de jure domination over party organs. With comments from PUK leaders—both public and anonymous—suggesting there will be significant changes and the number of leadership council members will be halved, Bafel appears poised to successfully remodel the party in his image, seemingly unimpeded.
27. August 2023 13:02
In a statement to the government-affiliated newspaper Al-Sabah, Sabah Subhi, a KDP MP and member of the federal parliamentary oil and gas Committee, claims that Turkey has outlined six primary demands to resume oil flow from Ceyhan.
Although Subhi did not list all the demands, he did outline several:
A $13 pipeline transportation fee.
The withdrawal of the pending International Arbitration Court case against Turkey concerning KRG oil exports from 2018 to 2022.
Paying Turkish oil companies their dues, which allegedly amount to $7 per barrel.
Receiving entitlements as part of the oil agreement between the KRG and Turkey.
Subhi went on to say that these demands are subject to negotiations and that there is a "positive environment" for a deal.
The reliability of this information is unclear. While some elements have been confirmed by other outlets, others appear questionable on their face. For instance, the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reported yesterday that Turkey is indeed seeking a new ITP agreement, corroborating Subhi's statement.
On the other hand, the transportation fee under the prior ITP agreement was reportedly just $1.27 per barrel. If accurate, Turkey would be proposing a more than tenfold increase in costs, which seems unrealistic.
Although the situation is unclear at the moment, one thing is certain: there is no breakthrough in sight as of now.
بغداد: مهند عبد الوهاب ذكرت لجنة النفط والغاز النيابية أن الوفد التركي الذي زار العراق مؤخراً اقترح ستة شروط لإعادة استئناف تصدير الخام عبر ميناء جيهان، فيما دعا مختصون إلى الإسراع بتسوية الخلافات في هذا الملف. وأجرى وزير الخارجية التركي هاكان فيدان محادثات في بغداد التي وصل إليها الثلاثاء الماضي
27. August 2023 13:00
In a statement to INA, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) revealed the numbers for coalitions, parties, and candidates participating in the upcoming provincial election.
Number of coalitions: 38
Number of parties not entered into coalitions: 28
Number of candidates: 6,022
Number of candidates from coalitions: 4,223
Number of candidates from parties not part of coalitions: 1,729
Number of unaffiliated candidates: 70
Just yesterday, the "Kirkuk is Our Power and Will" coalition, consisting of the PUK and the Kurdistan Communist Party (KCP), revealed the names of their candidates in Kirkuk. Many other coalitions and political parties are expected to follow suit in the coming days as they finalize their preparations for the elections slated for December.