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Saturday, September 24, 2011

MFS - The Other News

                        Afternoon Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Chile 4.8 and 4.5 India ! More info here.

  • Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.

  • Egypt's Youths Vow to Raid US Embassy if Palestine Bid at UN Vetoed.(FNA).A group of Egyptian youths in a call via an internet social network called for demonstrations in front of the US Embassy in Cairo to take over the US compound if Washington vetoes the Palestinian bid for UN membership.According to a report by Palestine al-Yawm (Palestine Today) news network, the young Egyptians have posted a request on their Facebook webpage and blasted Barack Obama's speech after his presidency in Cairo in which the US President pledged a new approach towards Muslims. They said that the threat by the Obama administration to veto the Palestinian bid for UN membership revealed the realities about Obama and the fact they "he is a liar and is no different with his predecessors in supporting Israel and blatant violation of the Arab nations' rights". The Egyptian youths said the attack on the US embassy would serve as a strong message in response to the US hegemonic policies. They further warned the US to refrain from vetoing the Palestinian bid, saying that such a move by the US would encourage violence in the world. Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmud Abbas has brought a Palestinian request for UN membership to New York, where top officials of all the member states of the world body have convened to attend an annual General Assembly sessions. The future Palestinian state would include the West Bank and Gaza, with East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital. The PA says it believes that more than 130 countries would recognize the state of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders. Israel and the US strongly oppose the Palestinian move. Washington, which supports Tel Aviv's position, claims that a Palestinian state can only be achieved through talks with Israel. Palestinians stress that they have never gained anything through talks with the Zionist regime, mentioning that negotiation with the racist regime is a waste of time and gives the Zionists the chance to push their settlement construction plans ahead and come along with their international and internal problems.Hmmmm....."The Audacity of the Arab Spring?"Read the full story here.

  • Obama’s opportunism.(IsraelHayom).By Abraham Ben-Zvi.Ladies and gentlemen, a stunning turnaround has taken place. The U.S. president, who began his term in office with a policy that was confrontational toward Israel, is shifting direction. This is directly linked to the upcoming election season. Still, it is Obama’s elasticity that should worry us.Two decades ago, on Sept. 12, 1991, U.S. President George H.W. Bush convened a news conference during which he broke one of the most firmly established laws in American politics. In an extraordinary display, he bitterly attacked the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. Bush’s statements condemning the lobby’s narrow-minded and sectorial-driven views, which he claimed came at the expense of the wider national interests of the U.S., brought back memories of previous confrontational remarks made by aides to President Dwight Eisenhower during the rocky days of U.S.-Israel relations in the 1950s.As a result of his verbal assault, the first President Bush’s Jewish support dropped from 35 percent (which helped him win election in 1988) to just 11% four years later, which contributed to his defeat to the Democratic challenger, Bill Clinton.In his adoring and highly effusive speech before the U.N. General Assembly two days ago, U.S. President Barack Obama proved that the lesson of Bush’s defeat is etched deep in his psyche. There is also the possibility that the president, who routinely boasts of the deep knowledge that he has amassed regarding key moments in American history, has resurrected the “reassessment” option of American policy toward Israel, as was done by President Gerald Ford. That episode cast a pall over U.S.-Israel relations in 1975, and the fallout even contributed to Ford’s defeat at the hands of Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter some 18 months later.After a chill lasting more than two years in the White House’s attitude toward Israel, there has certainly been an about-face in Obama’s conduct. This is due to the fact that the U.S. of 2011 is almost entirely ensconced in election season, one in which the Republicans, who hope to unseat Obama, have come out with sweeping statements of support for Israel while at the same time voicing strident criticism of the president’s policy on the peace process.The fact that both houses of Congress have initiated legislation against the Palestinian Authority and U.N. institutions over the attempt to attain unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state; and the fact that these actions have garnered bipartisan support contributed mightily to the dramatic turnaround exhibited by the president in his attitude toward the special relationship.Although a pragmatic course of action that is adjusted according to new political and strategic circumstances often speaks to a willingness to embrace new thought processes and an admirable ability to disengage from the errors of the past, the case before us is starkly one of clear-cut opportunism.Let us consider that just four months ago, an entirely different set of winds was blowing in from Washington. In a span of three days, Obama redefined his concept of “the 1967 borders” after the blunt, confrontational speech that he gave at the State Department on May 19.Still, Obama’s decision to exclude any specific mention of this formula in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly brings him back to the days of the election campaign in 2008, when his strong statements of support for Israel smelled strongly of politicking.From this standpoint, despite the heartwarming gesture and the warm meeting of the leaders in New York, this presidential opportunism should be quite disconcerting to Israel in the long term. Of course, that is contingent on whether Obama will regain the faith of the American public and win another four-year term.Indeed, a president who is so sensitive to pressures from home could just as easily flip-flop in the other direction when the circumstances change and a window of opportunity opens up, allowing him to make diplomatic moves at Israel’s expense.Given that Obama’s fundamental worldview is not an outgrowth of the special relationship and does not dovetail with the American narrative, which posits that Washington’s ties with Israel are based on shared moral, religious, cultural and historic values, it would be a mistake to develop far-reaching expectations of this White House despite the warm, affectionate words uttered by the president at the U.N.Obama is not cut from the same cloth as Lyndon Johnson, the Democrat who completely identified with the Israeli ethos; or George W. Bush, who possessed a deep, unshakeable understanding of Israel’s security needs and dilemmas.In contrast with these two gentlemen, whose basic policy toward Jerusalem was anchored in affection, an acknowledgment of Israel's strategic utility, and an ideological, social and cultural symmetry that connects the two peoples, Obama’s conduct toward Israel is based solely on cold, calculated analyses of cost-benefit that is devoid of sentiment.As such, just as he began his term in office by applying pressure on Israel in the initial belief that concessions (particularly the freezing of settlement construction) would give him the leverage he needed to build a strategic and diplomatic coalition of Sunni states, Obama could just as easily return to that forceful, aggressive and adversarial path if he feels that the domestic and international circumstances allow him room to maneuver.In summary, there is no place for complacency or euphoria despite the warm words of friendship that have been heard lately from the White House. In addition, the base of support that Israel enjoys among American public opinion and Congress continues to be extensive and rock-solid, so much so that it grants Jerusalem a security net. Still, one cannot come to the conclusion that the administration has changed its attitude entirely. Thus, one should prepare for any scenario from this president, and do so in a sober-minded manner that is devoid of illusions.After all, this is a marriage of convenience from Obama’s standpoint, and not the start of a long-term special relationship.Hmmm........."I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction," Read the full story here.

  • You Got To Be Kidding!Obama Administration Set to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns.(WeeklyStandard).Remember how Obama recently waived new ozone regulations at the EPA because they were too costly? Well, it seems that the Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer:
Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government's latest attempt to protect the Earth's atmosphere.The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday patients who use the epinephrine inhalers to treat mild asthma will need to switch by Dec. 31 to other types that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons, an aerosol substance once found in a variety of spray products.
The action is part of an agreement signed by the U.S. and other nations to stop using substances that deplete the ozone layer, a region in the atmosphere that helps block harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun.But the switch to a greener inhaler will cost consumers more. Epinephrine inhalers are available via online retailers for around $20, whereas the alternatives, which contain the drug albuterol, range from $30 to $60.The Atlantic's Megan McArdle, an asthma sufferer, noted a while back that when consumers are forced to use environmentally friendly products they are almost always worse:
Er, industry also knew how to make low-flow toilets, which is why every toilet in my recently renovated rental house clogs at least once a week. They knew how to make more energy efficient dryers, which is why even on high, I have to run every load through the dryer in said house twice. And they knew how to make inexpensive compact flourescent bulbs, which is why my head hurts from the glare emitting from my bedroom lamp. They also knew how to make asthma inhalers without CFCs, which is why I am hoarding old albuterol inhalers that, unlike the new ones, a) significantly improve my breathing and b) do not make me gag. Etc.Well, tough cookies asthma sufferers! You should have written bigger checks to the Democratic party while you had the's called "CHANGE"!Read the full story here.

  • UK Muslims gather for rally against extremism, to promote moderate Islam.(AlArabiya).Thousands of Muslims are gathering at a rally in London Saturday to fight extremism and promote a moderate, inclusive version of Islam.The event’s organizers Minhaj-ul-Quran International say some 12,000 Muslims are expected at Wembley Arena. The event will be broadcast live to dozens of countries around the world.The group’s founder, the Pakistan-born Islamic scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, says killing innocents is forbidden in Islam and Muslims must integrate into the societies in which they’re living.Some Islamic scholars like Tahir-ul-Qadri have warned that a power vacuum in North Africa and the Middle East could lead to militant and extremist groups gaining ground in upcoming elections caused by the so-called Arab Spring.“If these elements come into power, it will be a big disaster,” Tahir-ul-Qadri told The Associated Press.Minhaj-ul-Quran International says it represents a moderate vision of Islam that works for peace and integration. Later Saturday, the rally will feature what it calls a collective peace prayer, led by religious leaders of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other major faiths.Britain has been involved in some of the largest international terror plots. On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers killed 52 people in synchronized attacks on London’s subway system.The men behind the 2006 trans-Atlantic liquid bomb plot began their plan in Britain. A Nigerian man who tried to smuggle explosives onto a plane in his underwear studied in London.Read the full story here.

  • Erdogan "hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed.".(Ynet).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's aggressive rhetoric towards Israel continued Saturday, this time in an interview given to CNN. Erdogan spoke about severing ties with Israel in the wake on the UN's Palmer Report – which probed the 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla – and said that "for the time being I can clearly state that the relations between Israel and Turkey have been broken on the basis of an issue… which began when a flotilla bearing humanitarian aid was trying to get to Gaza. "It has passengers from 33 countries and was attacked both from the sea and from the air. At the end of these attacks, nine Turkish citizens died… Still to this day no serious attitude has been adopted against Israel for the lives lost there. We are very upset about this. "It this situation, no matter who we are talking about, democracy, rights, freedom, should be defended," he continued. "If liberty is in question in should be defended. We gave our warning to Israel – this is reason for war. This is something you cannot do in international waters. But as a great state we have been very forgiving. "That's why we have been very patient. We demanded that they apologize, pay compensation and eliminate the embargo on Gaza once and for all. If these demands are not met relations between Israel and Turkey will never become normal again. "We have nothing against the people of Israel (only) against the attitude adopted by the administration in Israel. If you are insistent on creating a source of unrest you are bound to become lonelier and lonelier. They used to be great friends of ours. This solitude is Israel's fate under these circumstances. Israel is going to be alone in the region."As for the possibility of Turkish escorts for future flotillas to Gaza, Erdogan said: "It might be Gaza it might be Egypt… but after such an incident took place there's lack of confidence in security, so these flotillas might be dispatched to wherever they are going with the escort of the navy. Because Israel cannot be trusted.""Israel was on the brink of admitting to withdrawing to the 1967 borders, a few remarks (in the draft) needed to be corrected and we were working on the documents, but not even a week later Gaza was attacked – Israel did that."Here's what being said and this is upsetting to hear: (Israel) says that Palestine is bombing Israel and many Israelis have been killed. I would like to see accurate statistics on how many Israelis have been killed by the bombs thrown by Palestinians or by the rockets that were launched by them. Ten? 20? 100? 200? How many? Please document it and let us know! "But on the other hand we know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed. Thousands have been killed by the Gaza attack alone. These are very clear numbers. Hmmmm.....I guess Erdogan mixed up Palestine With the Armenian Genocide by the Turks what concerns numbers of the Armenian Genocide: "There is general agreement among western scholars that over 500,000 Armenians died between 1914 and 1918. Estimates vary between 600,000 (per the modern Turkish state) to 1,500,000 (per Western scholars)."Read the full fairytale story here.

  • Will Turkey succeed where Iran failed?(AlArabiya).By Huda al Husseini.Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is following in the footsteps of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The latter attempted to “hijack” the Arab street prior to the “Arab revolutions,” and when these revolutions broke out he claimed that they were inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran. As for Erdogan, he is trying to seize the opportunity and “harvest” the enthusiasm of the Arab street at the height of the Arab Spring, before the onset of the revolutions’ winter, particularly as nobody knows how long the Arab Spring will bloom.The Arab street is bestowing power upon these leaders, who are playing on their dreams and speaking about the region’s prosperous future. However the Arab street is like mercury; it is impossible for any leader to grasp it firmly. The Arab street is fickle, and so it turns its back on leaders as quickly as it [previously] rushed to adore them. What happened to the power or influence that Ahmadinejad believed the Arab street had granted him? He used this to quell the demonstrations staged to protest the allegedly rigged presidential elections that brought about his re-election. As a result of this, he lost the Iranian street, whilst the Arab street turned its back on him.The power that Erdogan obtained from his recent tour [of the Middle East] prompted him to threaten Greek Cyprus, and begin to proceed with exploring oil and natural gas surveys in the waters off northern Cyprus. Erdogan continued issuing threats, but at the same time he told the United Nations [U.N.] and the [Greek] Cypriot leadership that his country is no longer prepared to accept the concessions previously accepted by Ankara with regards to the reunification of Cyprus, in accordance with the U.N.’s 2004 plan. Turkey has said that it will not accept anything less than the recognition of two states in Cyprus. Turkey has also warned the European Union that it will not accept any solutions after [Greek] Cyprus takes over the EU presidency early next year.Erdogan is now seeking to place Turkey as a leading supporter of the Palestinian cause, and he wants the “Arab Spring” to view Ankara as a supporter and role model, stressing the need for firm Turkish – Arab unity. He is also planning to establish strategic cooperation between Turkey and Egypt.The preparation for such cooperation was clear in the size of the delegation that accompanied Erdogan during his tour of the Middle East. The Turkish delegation was made up of 6 ministers, and around 200 Turkish businessmen, which represents a clear signal that Turkey is determined to investing heavily in the region. In 2010, the Turkish trade with the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] amounted to 30 billion dollars, and constituted 27 percent of Turkish exports, whilst more than 250 Turkish companies have invested a figure totaling $1.5 billion in Egypt.We must acknowledge that despite Ahmadinejad’s attempts to win over the Egyptian street by waging a war of words with Mubarak’s regime; he failed to tempt Egyptian public opinion to support Iran. Despite this, Tehran did establish strong relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Egyptian Islamists, and there is an Iranian street named after Khaled Islambouli [the Islamist Egyptian army officer who assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981]. As for Erdogan, the Turkish state model has been extremely popular in Egypt, namely an Islamist party in power (Erdogan’s Justice and Development party), under a secular constitution. Although the army does enjoy a strong presence in Turkey, it has returned to its barracks, and this is not to mention the economic boom being witnessed by the country.Yet the problem with Erdogan is that he is not pursuing fixed foreign policies, and a quick review of his recent policies casts doubts on his commitment to these.Erdogan warned of the consequences of invading Libya, insisting that if there was going to be regime change; this must happen from within, not through foreign intervention. Turkey had billions of dollars invested in Libya, whilst more than 20,000 Turkish laborers were evacuated within days [following the outbreak of protests]. Although Turkey is a member of NATO, it strongly condemned UN resolution 1973 [which formed the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan civil war]. However after all of this, when the Gaddafi regime was overthrown, Erdogan welcomed the rebels with open arms.Last Sunday, in an interview with CNN, Davutoglu stressed that Turkey’s “zero problems” foreign policy had only failed in Syria, meaning that relations with Iran are good.In his book “Strategic Depth” Davutoglu stressed that Turkey is now a key player in the Middle East, saying that “this is our homeland.” To put this into context, Davutoglu drew up a new equation, namely that neo-Ottomanism plus Turkish nationalism plus Islam equals the New Turkey.This neo-Ottomanism has brought Turkish influence into the Arab world and the Balkans, whilst Turkish nationalist ties extend to Central Asia. As for Turkey’s Islamic links, this extends from Morocco to Indonesia. Therefore, and this is more significant for Davutoglu, he sees the partnership between Turkey and Iran as something equal to that between France and Germany [in Europe]. In light of Davutoglu’s conception of this alliance [with Iran], we can understand the relationship between Turkey and Brazil, and the position that Brazil adopted in the UN Security Council last year against Washington, London and Paris with regards to the Iranian nuclear program.So far, Erdogan has lost two battles, the first when Syria declined to listen to his advice, and the second when Israel declined to offer Turkey an apology [for the deaths of Turkish citizens killed by Israeli forces on the Freedom Flotilla].There are those in Turkey who have begun to warn [against Turkey’s new policies], noting that there are more Azerbaijani expatriates in Turkey than there are Azerbaijani’s at home, as is the case with Turkey’s Armenian Albanian, Bosnian, and Kurdish communities. These all represent potential powder-kegs.Read the full story here.

  • Putin to return as Russian president.(AlArabiya).Vladimir Putin declared on Saturday he was ready to return to the Russian presidency after current head of state Dmitry Medvedev announced he would bow to his mentor at March’s election.Ending months of speculation over which of them will be president, Medvedev proposed Putin, now prime minister, at a congress of the ruling United Russia party. Putin, widely regarded as the driving force in the country for the last 11 years, invited Medvedev to take his place as prime minister.“It is a great honor for me,” Putin said to loud cheers and applause from thousands of party members gathered in a Moscow sports stadium. “Thank you, I hope for your support.”Opinion polls show Putin is sure to be elected for a six-year term in the March presidential election, ushering in what critics say could be an era of stagnation in the world’s biggest country.His party also hopes to hold on to its two-thirds majority in the State Duma lower house in a parliamentary election on Dec. 4 with Medvedev as the top candidate on its list.Putin, 58, is widely seen as more conservative than Medvedev and some economists have said his return to the Kremlin could herald an era of economic stagnation in the world’s biggest energy producer.Others have said that although Medvedev, 46, is widely portrayed as more liberal, there is more difference in their style than in their policies.Putin was president from 2000 to 2008 but steered Medvedev into the Kremlin in 2008 because he was barred from a third successive term by the constitution.Medvedev agreed at the United Russia congress that he would head its list of candidates in the parliamentary election and Putin then invited him to take over the government.The next government is expected to face many economic challenges and calls for tough economic and political reforms, which critics say could provoke unrest.It also faces difficult relations with the United States, despite calls for a “reset’ in relations, and foreign policy uncertainties following the upheaval in the Arab world.“Medvedev is leaving the presidency but stays on the scene as a reformist prime minister to implement unpopular and painful modernizing reforms,” said Vladimir Frolov, president of LEFF Group, a government relations and PR firm.Andrei Piontkovsky, a political analyst at the Russian Academy of Science, said: “The danger is that it (the decision) deprives the establishment of any illusions for liberalization and modernization.“For today the country must face a very gloomy outlook ─ this is stagnation and decay for another 12 years, this is the Brezhnev era revisited,” he said, referring to the 1970s and 1980s under Communist chief Leonid Brezhnev when a boom in natural resource extraction masked a steep industrial decline in the Soviet economy.Hmmmm......"The Good Old Days Are Back?"Aren't you glad Obama gave them the British their nuclear secrets?Read the full story here.

  • Stalin's style revived?Turkey - 355 military officers may face coup plot charges.(TodaysZaman).The ongoing trial of a clandestine gang comprising mostly military officers who allegedly plotted to overthrow the government might see the indictment of 355 more officers who attended suspected anti-government seminars to discuss coup plans.The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which is hearing the trial of the coup plotting Ergenekon gang as well as several related trials, had earlier requested the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) provide information on the identity of the officers who attended six coup seminars in 2008 and 2009. The court's query about the officers came after an unnamed witness in the trial testified that a total of six suspicious seminars had been organized in two army corps in the years 2008 and 2009. Earlier, the prosecution believed that only one seminar had been held in 2009 for discussing the coup plot its creators purportedly dubbed Sledgehammer. One of the coup-related trials being heard by the İstanbul 13th Criminal Courts is about an alleged online smear campaign the military launched against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).This trial was merged with another one -- which commenced in 2009 -- that centers on a document titled the Action Plan to Combat Reactionaryism, which the prosecutors say was also a coup plot. The testimony that revealed that more officers than the prosecution initially thought might have attended coup seminars came during a hearing in this trial.The General Staff, as per the request of the court, sent information on the identity of 355 officers of the 8th and 9th Army Corps who attended similar seminars in 2008 and in 2009. The court is likely to hear testimony from each of them. Whether they will be suspects or not remains unclear, but it is a possibility that they will be tried in one of the Ergenekon-related trials, which already have nearly 200 suspects in total.The witness (referred to as Efe for security reasons) who testified about the previously unknown seminars delivered his statement earlier this year during a closed hearing considering allegations against former Erzincan Public Prosecutor İlhan Chaner and 8th Army Corps Commander retired Gen. Saldıray Berk, saying that they had plans to plant weapons at student homes associated with the Fethullah Gülen movement and frame these individuals. Efe’s revelations about the other seminars were confirmed by Ethem, another secret witness. Hmmmm....."OutBreak WWII - The Red Army had been crippled by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's Great Purge of 1937.With over 30,000 of its army officers executed or imprisoned, including most of those of the highest ranks."Read the full story here.

  • Piri Reis: Turkey’s Boogeyman Set Sail to Eastern Mediterranean Sea.(KeeptalkingGreece).Turkey’s hydrocarbon research ship Piri Reis has been Greeks’ nightmare for years. As Piri Reis has the bad habits to perform its research near Greece’s territorial waters, Athens expects another Turkish provocation near the island of Kastelorizo. Friday morning Piri Reis set sail from the port of Izmir for the Eastern Mediterranean waters to start oil and gas exploration, near the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus and with the aim to challenge the drilling of Noble, offshore and in the southeast of Cyprus.Ankara became very upset against Cyprus and Israel for drilling in the so-called common project for hydrocarbon. Cyrpus’s drilling for oil and gas is been carried out by the US firm Noble Energy near Israel’s recently discovered offshore gas fields of Leviathan that contains more than 450 billion cubic meters (15.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. Deposits are also believed to lie inside Cypriot waters near the Israeli finds, which Cyprus is now exploring by licensing Noble Energy.In a unilateral move and ignoring the International Law of the Sea, Turkey marked its marine borders with … Northern Cyprus, the part of the divided island which not international recognized. An offshore area that according to the ILS belongs to Cyprus Republic EEZ. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been foaming for quite some time over the Cyprus offshore drilling and has repeatedly ask the halt of the drilling. He has even threatened Israel with actions and sanctions. Read the full story here.

  • Baghdad alters oil law draft to erode Kurdish powers.(ArabNews).Baghdad: Iraq’s leadership has changed the draft of a long awaited oil and gas law in a way that would give central government more control over the country’s vast crude reserves and provoke a clash with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.The law, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, would give Baghdad more power to manage and develop the OPEC member’s petroleum resources, the world’s fourth largest.It alters a 2007 version agreed among political blocs that gave regional powers partial authority over their reserves.The amendments are set to provoke a political fight between Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s government and the Kurds, who are part of his ruling coalition and wield considerable clout in the Iraqi legislature.Iraq’s Arab-dominated central government, led by Al-Maliki, and the Kurdish region have for years disputed control of Kurdish fields. The row shut down exports from Iraqi Kurdistan from October 2009 to February of this year.“We’re still giving space to discussions to resolve this issue. We have not reached the moment of opening fire on Al-Maliki’s government,” a senior Kurdish lawmaker told Reuters.The amended law, approved by the Cabinet in late August, has been sent to Parliament for final passage, but the legislature’s speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi said talks to resolve the dispute could take a long time.The amended law would give the oil ministry authority to hold bidding rounds for most oil and gas fields, leaving currently producing fields and discovered but undeveloped fields close to them in the hands of a newly created Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC).The 2007 draft version restricted the ministry to auctions for discovered, undeveloped fields. The changes could result in the inclusion of Kurdish fields in future auctions, which the Kurds say they will not accept.Kurdish and central government officials are discussing the amended law at high levels, and the Kurds have made clear they could review their support for Al-Maliki’s government if a resolution is not found, officials said.The new oil law has long been considered vital to securing foreign investment to boost Iraq’s oil output, now at around 2.75 million barrels a day, and rebuild its shattered economy. International energy companies want a stable legal framework for oil and gas deals.Iraqi officials have said petroleum resources belong to all sects and ethnicities in Iraq, and logically the central government should manage them. The Kurdish region and the provinces, particularly oil-rich Basra and Sunni-dominated Anbar, have argued for more local control.The new draft calls for INOC to control coveted, already-producing oilfields — Kirkuk’s 2.3-billion-barrel Bai Hassan, and the 6-billion-barrel Nahr Bin Umar field in the south, for example.The law would create a federal oil and gas council as the ultimate policy-setter. It would give the council power to approve policies proposed by the oil ministry, agree procedures for negotiating and contracting during bid rounds, and ratify drilling, development and production contracts.The new law eliminates a clause that required the council to have Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish representation, and adds a clause reserving a council seat for the deputy prime minister for energy.The Kurdistan Regional Government adopted its own oil and gas law in 2007 and signed more than 40 production-sharing contracts with foreign firms, which Baghdad deems illegal.Hmmmm.......Why do i see the hand of Turkey and Iran in this?Read the full story here.

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